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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Crusaders can continue to purr against Rebels

Chiiefs may only edge out buoyant Los Jaguares

Super Rugby champions the Crusaders boast plenty of firepower
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Chiefs v Los Jaguares
Sky Sports Action, 8.35am Friday

Los Jaguares roll into Rotorua bubbling after three straight tour wins including a first success on New Zealand soil in Auckland last Saturday.

But beating the Rebels, Brumbies and bungling Blues at their bases is one thing, turning over the a high-calibre outfit like the Chiefs on home turf, albeit away from the Hamilton, is another.

The Waikato franchise bounced back from their defeat to the Hurricanes in Wellington with a convincing 36-12 success over the Reds in Brisbane to ruin the Queenslanders' 1000th game anniversary to make it six wins in seven since a heavy defeat at the champion Crusaders in round two.

Bookmakerx clearly expect the Cowbells to be chiming loudly - Los Jaguares get a 15-point start with Hills.

However, after last weekend's record rainfall in the region, mud pools may gather on the pitch not just beside the famed local geysers so a Chiefs win by one to 12 point could prove the value bet.

Three of the Chiefs' wins in New Zealand have been by a single-figure margin and the fourth was by 13 points. Two years ago in Buenos Aires, the Chiefs won the teams' only meeting 30-26.

Chiefs to win by one to 12 points
1pt 5-2 Coral, Ladbrokes

Rebels v Crusaders
Sky Sports Action, 10.45am Friday

The season began so brightly for the Rebels with four wins in five that their slide to that 51-27 defeat in Sydney, from 20-3 up, could be forgiven at first.

But the Waratahs exposed a defensive frailty that scorching afternoon at Allianz Stadium that the Hurricanes, Los Jaguares, Bulls and Stormers have all capitalised on in the last five rounds.

And the champion Crusaders should be backed to give up 14.5 points to their hosts at AAMI Park.

The Crusaders have only cut loose once on the road this season - in Buenos Aires - but they were so controlled in Canberra, after a slow start and even when collecting yelow cards, last Saturday that a 21-8 does not do justice to their superiority over the Brumbies. 

That success was a fifth on the spin and a tenth in a row outside New Zealand and the Crusaders won 41-19 in Melbourne last year and 85-26 at home in Christchurch two years ago. However, Melbourne defeats in 2014 and 2012 and Rebels AAMI wins this term over the Reds, Brumbies and Sharks should mean that there is no complacency in the away camp   

Crusaders -14.5
1pt 5-6 Betfair

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That success was a fifth on the spin and a tenth in a row outside New Zealand and the Crusaders won 41-19 in Melbourne last year
E.W. Terms
Sky bet