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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Brumbies can find a way tp stretch clear of Los Jaguares

Argentinian outfit are proving inconsistent once again

Sam Carter stretches to score for the Brumbies against the Reds
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Brumbies v Los Jaguares
Sky Sports Arena, 7am Sunday

Back the Brumbies to bounce the back from a second-half hammering at the Highlanders last week and give up five points to Los Jaguares in Canberra.

The ACT-outfit did not get the rub of the green in the first half in Dunedin either and trailed only 12-7, with their attacking endeavour reflecting the polished way that they pulled away to beat the Reds 45-21 the previous weekend at home.

The Brumbies were turned over on their own patch by the Waratahs in week seven but they ground out a 21-14 home success over the Sharks, who went on to wallop the Blues and scare the Hurricanes on their antipodean tour. 

Los Jaguares battled back from 14-3 down to beat the Rebels 25-22 in Melbourne last week but their campaign has been one of ups and downs from one round to the next and they lost by eight and 20 points in Cape Town and Johannesburg in February.

The Brumbies won 39-7 when the team met for the first time in Buenos Aires last year.

Brumbies -5
1pt 10-11 general

Blues v Highlanders
Sky Sports Action, 8.35am Friday

The Highlanders beat the Blues 41-31 in a see-saw round-one match at home in Dunedin and they are worth a wager to move clear of their hosts again in Auckland.

The Landers have lost their road games this campaign at the Hurricanes and Chiefs but they battled away in both and they bounced back by beating the Brumbies 43-17 last week. The ACT-outfit arrived at the Forsyth-Barr Stadium in good heart and threatened to be a nuisance for much of the first half so clearly they remain in fine fettle.

The Blues were very unimpressive in beating the Sunwolves 24-10 in Tokyo last Saturday and they were embarrassed 63-40 by the Sharks in their last outing at Eden Park three weeks ago. The Chiefs won 27-21 at the venue in round two.       

Highlanders -6.5
1pt 5-6 Betfair

Waratahs v Lions
Sky Sports Action, 10.45am Friday

The Waratahs have won all nine previous Super Rugby Sydney meetings with the Lions and they should be backed at 5-6 to make it a perfect ten with victory in this Allianz Stadium encounter with the back-to-back runners-up.

All nine of the Tahs' Sydney successes over the Johannesburg franchise have been by a margin of at least 13 points and they strolled away to a 37-16 triumph over the Reds at the SCG. At the Allianz Stadium in round five, Daryl Gibson's gang thumped the Rebels 51-27 after trailing by 20 points while in round two, they saw-off the Stormers 34-27. 

The Lions should be fresh after a bye week and slammed the Stormers 52-31 in round eight but that Ellis Park victory was the seventh time this season that they have conceded three tries or more and the Waratahs are in fluent attacking form. The Bulls scored four times in defeat to the Lions in Pretoria in round two and Los Jaguares scooted in six times in their Buenos Aires success. 

The Lions' physicality in the forwards and midfield and excellent kicking game should mean they trouble their hosts but the Tahs are far from short of talent at the set-piece and breakdown and fly-half Bernard Foley is purring at present with his decision-making on when to use his boot and when to bring into play his livewire backline.  

2pts 5-6 bet365, Betfair, Paddy Power

Crusaders v Sunwolves
Sky Sports Arena, 8.35am Saturday

The Sunwolves finally kept a side somewhat contained when they lost only 24-10 to the Blues in Tokyo last Saturday but surely their struggling defensive systems will be breached regularly again by the champion Crusaders in Christchurch.

The Crusaders are refreshed by a bye week after making it five wins out of seven in Buenos Aires with a 40-14 victory over Los Jaguares and the previous two times they had reached 40 points were home triumphs over the Chiefs and Stormers. A third AMI Stadium success was a 33-14 success over the Bulls.

Last year at the AMI, the Crusaders won 50-4 the teams' only meeting 50-3 but rather a bet on the hosts to give up 38 points, use the fact that the Sunwolves have conceded 44 tries in seven games to justify backing George Bridge to score two or more tries.

Bridge has crossed the whitewash seven times this campaign, including braces against Los Jaguares and the Stormers, and last season he claimed hat-tricks against the Cheetahs and Stormers.

The Crusaders are set to start Bridge at full-back in a bid to utilise his pace and angled running in the middle of the pitch but it would be no surprise to see him switch to his normal berth on the flank. Wings have dotted down 14 times against the Sunwolves this season with Jack Maddocks, Makazole Mapimpi and Solomon Alaimalo crossing at least twice in games.

G Bridge to score two or more tries
1pt 16-5 Betfair

Reds v Chiefs
Sky Sports Arena & Mix, 10.45am Saturday

Back the Reds with a start of 14 points from the Chiefs.

They will be happy to be back in Brisbane, where they beat the Brumbies and Bulls in round three and four, after three defeats on the spin at the Stormers, Brumbies and Waratahs, and they will be determined to put on a show in the Queensland Rugby Union's 1000th match.

A last-minute length-of-the-field try got the Reds a losing bonus in Cape Town and they made a fast start in Canberra and were only worn down after the break in Sydney. They scrapped for a worthy success over Los Jaguares in Buenos Aires in round five too.

The Chiefs have refreshed their pack after defeat at the Hurricanes brought an end to their five-game winning run but they are still battling an injury crisis.

And while the Waikato outfit have won the teams' last three meetings comfortably, including their last two trips across the Tasman,  a blowout success over the Sunwolves in Tokyo is the only time they have given up an ask this big this season.

The Chiefs were overrun by the Crusaders in Christchurch in round two, have gained two narrow wins over the Blues and another against the Highlanders and beaten the Bulls 41-28.

Reds +14
1pt Evs Betway

Bulls v Rebels
Sky Sports Mix, 2.05pm Saturday

Take the Bulls to give up 13 points to the Rebels at Loftus Versfeld.

The Pretoria outfit had looked to be heading for another humdrum season until back-to-back wins over the Stormers and Sharks and it is easy to forget that they began their campaign with a shock win over the Hurricanes.

By contrast, the Rebels have lost their last two games after winning four of their first five matches.

When games go well for the Melbourne men, they go brilliantly but when they begin to go bad, they unravel spectacularly and uncontrollably.

The Rebels were 27-10 up before losing 51-27 to the Waratahs in Sydney in round five and over the last fortnight they were leading 19-8 before being slammed 50-19 by the Hurricanes and they lost 25-22 to Los Jaguares after being 14-3 up at half-time.

The Bulls pack gored the in-form Sharks in atrocious Durban conditions last week and they have won all three previous meetings with the Rebels in the South African capital by at least 20 points and scored 40 points in four of the teams' five clashes.

Bulls -13
2pts 10-11 general

Sharks v Stormers
Sky Sports Mix, 4.15pm Saturday

Chance that forecast decent weather in Durban brings about a return to winning ways for the Sharks against the Stormers.

After ending their antipodean tour with a brilliant 63-40 win over the Blues at Eden Park and a heartbreaking, last-gasp 38-37 loss to the Hurricanes in Napier, the Sharks were destroyed 40-10 in a deluge at Kings Park by the Bulls.

The Sharks are much classier outfit than that and they should be able to give up two points in recording a fifth win in six meetings with the Stormers. They last two Durban meetings have finished 22-10 and 34-12 in favour of the hosts.

The Stormers have lost all five of their away games this campaign by seven points or more and while they have enjoyed a bye week since being walloped 52-31 at the Lions, it is hard to escape the fact that they have conceded 29 tries on their travels.

Sharks -2
1pt 10-11 Hills, Sky Bet

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The Brumbies won 39-7 when the team met for the first time in Buenos Aires last year
E.W. Terms
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