Super Rugby betting: Japan, Argentina join elite company for 2016

Updated: February 25, 2016

Super Rugby round 1 featured betting preview: Auckland Blues v Otago Highlanders; Eden Park, Auckland, NZ; Friday, February 26, 5.35pm (AEDT)


The Super Rugby competition enters a new era in 2016 with the addition of three news teams lifting the total to 18. With the new format has come a raft of changes that, for the most part, are bewildering. The competition, including new teams from Japan, Argentina and South Africa, will get kick-off on Friday, February 26, with matches being played in seven countries including Fiji and Singapore. The competition has been divided into two regional groups, one of which is Australasian with separate five-team Australian and New Zealand conferences.

The second is an African group of two four-team conferences comprising six franchises from that country plus the Japanese and Argentinian newcomers. The six derby matches apart, the five Australian teams will play each of the New Zealand sides and all of the franchises from one of the African conferences. Three of the South African teams will not play any New Zealand sides prior to a revised finals format in which the top team from each conference automatically qualifies for a new quarter finals phase. They will be joined in the last eight by four wildcards – the next three best Australasian group teams and one from the Africas. Got it?



The competition opens with two Friday night match-ups, and we’ll be dipping our toe straight into the water as Auckland host the defending champion Otago Highlanders (pictured above). Head coach Jamie Joseph has named an experienced line-up for their season opener. Joseph was able to call on all but two of his squad with only Mark Reddish and Marty Banks unavailable due to injuries sustained in the pre-season. The forwards feature former Chiefs player, Liam Squire, at number eight in his debut for the Highlanders.

The exciting trio of Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo and Patrick Osborne will combine at the back and All Black fly-half Lima Sopoaga will direct the attack. After slumping to 14th on the Super Rugby ladder in 2015, the Blues have experienced a pre-season resurgence under new coach Tana Umaga with wins over the Rebels, Hurricanes and Chiefs. Upfront, former All Blacks Patrick Tuipulotu and Steven Luatua have made the Blues a force while the electric Ioane brothers, former All Black Rene Ranger and speedsters Lolagi Visinia and Melani Nanai have given the Blues game-breaking ability across the park. The Blues lead the head-to-head 15-11 but the Highlanders have won six of the past eight.



Confirmed bets (more to come)

Auckland Blues v Otago Highlanders -2.5 (one unit @ $1.91)


Other R1 games (times AEDT)

26/2: ACT Brumbies (-2.5) v Wellington Hurricanes; GIO
Stadium, Canberra, Australia; 7.40pm
27/2: Free State Cheetahs (+4.5) v Argentina Jaguares; Free
State Stadium, Bloemfontein, South Africa; 4am
27/2: Japan Sunwolves (+10.5) v Johannesburg Lions; Prince
Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo, Japan; 3.15pm
27/2: Canterbury Crusaders (-2.5) v Waikato Chiefs; AMI
Stadium, Christchurch, NZ; 5.35pm
27/2: NSW Waratahs (-12.5) v Queensland Reds; Allianz Stadium, Sydney, NSW; 7.40pm
27/2: Western Force (-1.5) v Melbourne Rebels; nib Stadium, Perth; 9.50pm
28/2: Southern Kings (+11.5) v Durban Sharks; Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, 12am
28/2: Cape Town Stormers (-5.5) v Pretoria Bulls; Newlands, Cape Town, 2.05am

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT); prices with thanks to Pinnaclebet (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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