The mouth-watering all-Kiwi clash between the Chiefs and Crusaders headlines Round 13 of Super Rugby. Check out all the team news, odds, team lists and tips here.
Friday, May 19
Chiefs ($2.25) v Crusaders ($1.65), ANZ National Stadium, Suva, Suva 5:30pm (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The Chiefs have won their last four games against the Crusaders by an average margin of 14 points and have not lost the first meeting between these teams in a season since 2011.
Chiefs: Damian McKenzie, Tim Nanai-Williams, Sam McNicol, Anton Lienert-Brown, James Lowe, Aaron Cruden (c), Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Michael Leitch, Sam Cane (c), Mitchell Brown, Brodie Retallick, Dominic Bird, Nepo Laulala, Nathan Harris, Kane Hames. Reserves: Hika Elliot, Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, Atu Moli, Taleni Seu, Liam Messam, Jonathan Taumateine, Stephen Donald, Shaun Stevenson.
Crusaders: David Havili, Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, Ryan Crotty (vc), George Bridge, Richie Mo'unga, Bryn Hall, Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd (vc), Pete Samu, Sam Whitelock (c), Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody, Reserves: Ben Funnell, Wyatt Crockett, Michael Alaalatoa, Quinten Strange, Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Mitchell Drummond, Mitchell Hunt, Manasa Mataele.
Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has made five changes to the team which defeated the Reds last week. Nathan Harris makes his first start of the season at hooker, captain Aaron Cruden returns at five-eighth, Anton Lienert-Brown moves to inside centre, Sam McNicol starts at outside centre and Tim Nanai-Williams returns from injury on the wing.
Crusaders coach Coach Scott Robertson has made just two changes to last week's team, with captain Sam Whitelock returning at lock and halfback Bryn Hall rotating into the starting side.
UBET verdict: The second time a game of Super Rugby will be played in the Pacific Islands (Suva). The Crusaders are still unbeaten, and fav's to win the title, but the Chiefs have beaten the Crusaders in 6 of the last 7 clashes. The last 7 games between these 2 sides has seen an average of 39 points scored, so look out for a low scoring affair.
Tips: Greg Growden - Chiefs, Sam Bruce - Chiefs
Saturday May 20
Stormers ($1.90) v Blues ($1.90), DHL Newlands, Cape Town, 3:00am (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The Stormers have won four of their last five games against the Blues, with a one-point loss in Round 12, 2013 the only blemish on that record.
Stormers: SP Marais, Cheslin Kolbe, EW Viljoen, Shaun Treeby, Seabelo Senatla, Dillyn Leyds, Dewaldt Duvenage, Nizaam Carr, Siya Kolisi (c), Kobus van Dyk, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Oli Kebble. Replacements: Ramone Samuels, Ali Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, Jan de Klerk, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Jano Vermaak, Brandon Thomson, Damian de Allende.
Blues: Melani Nanai, Matt Duffie, George Moala, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane, Piers Francis, Augustine Pulu; Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson, Steven Luatua, Scott Scrafton, Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, Charlie Faumuina, James Parsons, Ofa Tu'ungafasi. Replacements: Hame Faiva, Alex Hodgman, Sione Mafileo, Patrick Tuipulotu, Kara Pryor, Sam Nock, Bryn Gatland, Michael Collins
The Stormers have made a raft of changes, no more significant than Dillyn Lleyds' move to fly-half from the wing. Seabelo Senatla returns on the wing while Springboks centre Damian de Allende will make his return via the bench. Up front, there are a couple of big inclusions in the form of Test players Eben Etzebeth and Frans Malherbe.
The Blues have welcomed back Sonny Bill Williams from concussion to form an all-Test midfield alongside George Moala. There are two changes up front with lock Gerard Cowley-Tuioti and prop Ofa Tu'ungafasi earning starts in the tight five.
UBET verdict: The Blues have a fair record away from home this season (3 wins from 6) , and the Stormers have won 4 of 5 at home, so there are some decent formlines there. Both sides are still some hope of playing finals, so there is plenty to play for here, and there is very separating the 2 sides in betting.
Tips: Greg Growden - Stormers, Sam Bruce - Blues
Hurricanes ($1.03) v Cheetahs ($12), Westpac Stadium, Wellington at 5.35PM (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The last four iterations of this fixture have seen an average aggregate points tally of 86pts; despite this, all but one of those four games have been decided by a margin of nine points or fewer.
Hurricanes: Beauden Barrett, Wes Goosen, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Otere Black, TJ Perenara (c), Brad Shields, Ardie Savea, Reed Prinsep, Vaea Fifita, Sam Lousi, Jeff To'omaga-Allen, Ricky Riccitelli, Ben May. Replacements: Leni Apisai, Mike Kainga, Loni Uhila, Mark Abbott, Callum Gibbins, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, Jordie Barrett, Ben Lam.
Cheetahs: Ox Nche, Elandre Huggett, Johan Coetzee, Armandt Koster, Carl Wenger, Uzair Cassiem, Oupa Mohoje, Henco Venter, Shaun Venter, Fred Zeilinga, Raymond Rhule, Clinton Swart, Francois Venter (c), Sergeal Petersen, Clayton Blommetjies. Replacements: Torsten van Jaarsveld, Charles Marais, Tom Botha, Francois Uys, Neill Jordaan, Tian Meyer, Niel Marais, Ruan van Rensburg.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has made the shock call to shift Beauden Barrett to fullback, affording youngster Otere Black a rare start at fly-half. That sees younger brother, Jordie, drop to the bench while Wes Goosen replaces Cory Jane on the right wing. Up front, former Waratahs lock Sam Lousi earns his first start of the year while Ben May returns at loosehead.
A whopping six changes to the starting lineup with Ox Noche, Elandre Huggett, Johan Coetzee, Armandt Koster, Uzair Cassiem, Shaun Venter all moving into starting roles. Clinton Swart will start as inside centre replacing William Small-Smith.
UBET verdict: The Hurricanes are the best attacking sides in the comp (average 42 points), so you would expect plenty of points here given there line is -26.5 points. The last 4 matches between these two have seen an average of 85 points, so the 'overs' total might be the safe way to play.
Tips: Greg Growden - Hurricanes Sam Bruce - Hurricanes
Western Force ($5.00) v Highlanders ($1.17), nib Stadium, Perth at 7:40PM (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The Highlanders have won on six of their last seven visits to Australia after having won just one of their previous 15 excursions there.
Force: Pek Cowan, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jermaine Ainsley, Richie Arnold, Adam Coleman, Ross Haylett-Petty, Brynard Stander, Richard Hardwick, Ian Prior, Peter Grant, Alex Newsome, Bill Meakes (C), Curtis Rona, Semisi Masirewa, Luke Morahan, Replacements: Anaru Rangi, Francois van Wyk, Tetera Faulkner, Matt Philip, Lewis Carmichael, Isireli Naisarani, Michael Ruru, James Verity-Amm.
Highlanders: Matt Faddes, Patrick Osborne, Malakai Fekitoa, Richard Buckman, Tevita Li, Marty Banks, Kayne Hammington, Elliot Dixon (co-capt), Dillon Hunt, Gareth Evans, Tom Franklin, Alex Ainley, Siate Tokolahi, Liam Coltman, Daniel Lienert-Brown. Replacements: Ash Dixon (co-capt), Aki Seiuli, Guy Millar, Joe Wheeler, Jackson Hemopo, Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Rob Thompson.
A host of players return for the Force as they welcome in the Highlanders. Tatafu Polota-Nau returns in the starting hooker position while Jermaine Ainsley and Luke Morahan return from injury with Brynard Stander and Peter Grant move into starting roles. Inside centre Bill Meakes will captain the side for the first time, becoming the 12th man to do so.
Highlanders pivot Lima Sopoaga will make his long-awaited return from injury from the bench while All Blacks ace Aaron Smith also starts the match from the pine. The suspended Waisake Naholo is replaced by Tevita Li while Kayne Hammington starts for Smith. Up front, Liam Coltman is the run-on hooker in a front-row that also features Siate Tokolahi and Daniel Lienert-Brown while Elliot Dixon captains the side from No.8.
UBET verdict: The Highlanders have won the last 2 away games against the Force, but the Force had won the previous 5. While the Force had a terrific win in Argentina last week, they have to line up again after one of the longest travel schedules in world sport. Add to that the fact that the Highlanders are right in the mix for finals footy, and it all points towards a win to the Kiwis.
Tips: Greg Growden - Highlanders, Sam Bruce - Highlanders
Sunwolves ($5.00) v Sharks ($1.17), Singapore National Stadium, Singapore at 9:55PM (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The Sharks have won their last two games outside South Africa, never before have they won three such fixtures in succession within a single campaign.
Sunwolves: Keita Inagaki, Shota Horie, Yasuo Yamaji, Sam Wykes, Naohiro Kotaki, Yoshitaka Tokunaga, Shuhei Matsuhashi, Willem Britz, Fumiaki Tanaka, Yu Tamura, Kenki Fukuoka, Harumichi Tatekawa, Ryohei Yamanaka, Shota Emi, Kotaro Matsushima, Reserves: Takeshi Hino, Masataka Mikami, Takuma Asahara, Hitoshi Ono, Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, Keisuke Uchida, Jumpei Ogura, Yasutaka Sasakura
Sharks: Lwazi Mvovo, Kobus van Wyk, Lukhanyo Am, Johan Deysel, S'busiso Nkosi, Garth April, Cobus Reinach, Daniel du Preez, Jean-Luc du Preez, Philip van der Walt (c), Stephan Lewies, Ruan Botha, Lourens Adriaanse, Chilibov Ralepelle, Thomas du Toit. Replacements: Franco Marais, Tendai Mtawarira, John-Hubert Meter, Etienne Oosthuizen, Tera Mtembu, Rowan Gouws, Benhard Janse van Rensburg, S'bura Sithole.
The Sharks see Thomas du Toit for Beast Mtawarira, Chiliboy Ralepelle and Franco Marais swap jerseys and Lourens Adriaanse replaces Coenie Oosthuizen, who has been rested. Stephan Lewies comes in for Etienne Oosthuizen in the second row, with the loose-forward trio of captain Philip van der Walt and the du Preez twins, Jean-Luc and Daniel remaining intact for this match. Michael Claassens has picked up a hamstring injury and Rowan Gouws has flown to Singapore to take his place on the bench. Cobus Reinach will decide matters as the link between forwards and backs. Fullback Rhyno Smith, centre Jeremy Ward and Pat Lambie have all been replaced. Garth April comes in at 10, Johan Deysel takes over at inside centre for Ward and Lwazi Mvovo has be moved from wing to fullback to accommodate the loss of Smith. Sbu Nkosi to starts his second match for the Sharks. A starting debut is also in order for centre Johan Deysel.
UBET verdict: The last 2 home matches for the Sunwolves have seen them in front at half time, and there form has definitely improved as the season has progressed. This match will be played in Singapore, but it is still home to them, and the Sharks have struggled away from home recently. There might not be much in this one, and punters agree as there has been some interest in the Sunwolves at +12.5 start.
Tip: Greg Growden - Sunwolves Sam Bruce - Sharks
Sunday May 21
Lions ($1.13) v Bulls ($6.00), Emirates Airlines Park, Johannesburg 1:15AM (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The Lions have won three of their last four games against the Bulls after going winless in all of their previous 11 games against them (D1, L10).
Lions: Jacques van Rooyen, Malcolm Marx, Ruan Dreyer, Andries Ferreira, Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Ruan Ackermann, Warren Whiteley (c), Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Courtnall Skosan, Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Sylvian Mahuza, Andres Coetzee. Replacements: Akker van der Merwe, Corne Fourie, Johannes Jonker, Lourens Erasmus, Cyle Brink, Faf de Klerk, Jacques Nel, Anthony Volmink.
Bulls: Jesse Kriel, Jade Stighling, Jan Serfontein, Burger Odendaal, Sibahle Maxwane, Francois Brummer, Rudy Paige, Hanro Liebenberg (c), Jannes Kirsten, Ruan Steenkamp, Lood de Jager, Jason Jenkins, Trevor Nyakane, Jaco Visagie, Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Pierre Schoeman, Conraad van Vuuren, Abongile Nonkontwana, Nic de Jager, Ivan van Zyl, Tony Jantjies, Warrick Gelant.
Despite being the first South African team to win all three of their matches on tour, the Lions have made three changes for the Bulls encounter with a new front row consisting of Jacques van Rooyen, Malcolm Marx and Ruan Dreyer.
21-year old Sibahle Maxwane has been named on the wing to make his team and tournament debut while Jan Serfontein and Francois Brummer also earn starts with Jesse Kriel to play fullback.
UBET verdict: The Lions are on a 10 game home winning streak over the last 12 months, and the Bulls have lost their last 5 away games. There has been plenty of points in this matchup the last 2 times they have played (72), but on recent form, the Lions should win, and win easily.
Tips: Greg Growden - Lions, Sam Bruce - Lions
Southern Kings ($2.45) v Brumbies ($1.55), Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth at 3:30AM (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The Kings have scored 65 more points in the second half (176) than they have in the first (111), the largest disparity of any team in the competition.
Kings: Chrysander Botha, Alshaun Bock, Berton Klaasen, Luzuko Vulindlu, Makazole Mapimpi, Lionel Cronje (c), Louis Schreuder, Andisa Ntsila, Tyler Paul, Stefan Willemse, Lubabalo Mtyanda, Irne Herbst, Ross Geldenhuys, Martin Bezuidenhout, Schalk van der Merwe Substitutes: Kurt Haupt, Chris Heiberg, Dayan van der Westhuizen, Mzwanele Zito, Thembelani Bholi, Johan Steyn, Pieter-Steyn de Wet, Stokkies Hanekom
Brumbies: Ben Alexander, Josh Mann-Rea, Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Sam Carter (c), Scott Fardy, Chris Alcock, Jordan Smiler, Joe Powell, Wharenui Hawera, Aidan Toua, Kyle Godwin, Tevita Kuridrani, Henry Speight, Tom Banks, Replacements: Robbie Abel, Nic Mayhew, Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, Blake Enever, Jarrad Butler, De Wet Roos, Andrew Muirhead, Andrew Smith
Casualties on the Kings' injury list included instrumental loose-forward Chris Cloete and fullback Masixole Banda. Lock Wilhelm van der Sluys is withdrawn from action with a groin injury. Stefan Willemse will wear the No 6 jersey as a replacement for Cloete, while Chrysander Botha will start at fullback in Banda's place. Lubabalo Mtyanda will don the No 5 jersey as a replacement for Van der Sluys. Mzwanele Zito will slot in on the bench as lock cover, while Thembelani Bholi makes a return to the team as loose-forward cover.
Chris Alcock and Tom Banks come back into the side as the Brumbies make two changes for the clash against the Kings. Banks will come into the team at full-back, meaning Aidan Toua reverts to the left wing in place of James Dargaville. Alcock meanwhile is recalled for Jarrad Butler who takes a place amongst the replacements. Sam Carter forms a formidable second-row partnership with Rory Arnold, with the onus on the big ball-carrying back row of Alcock, Scott Fardy and Jordan Smiler. Joe Powell and Wharenui Hawera pull the strings in the playmaking positions, with Kyle Godwin and Tevita Kuridrani at centre. Henry Speight completes the back-line. Andrew Muirhead sits on the bench in Super Rugby for the first time.
UBET verdict: Hard to believe it, but the Kings are going for 4 wins on the trot, and on from can make that happen here. The Brumbies have lost their last 4 games, but can top the Aussie conference, so need to win this one. The early money however has been with the Kings.
Tips: Greg Growden - Kings, Sam Bruce - Brumbies
Waratahs ($1.17) v Rebels ($5.00), Allianz Stadium, Sydney at 4:05PM (AEST)
Key stat (Opta Stats)
The Waratahs have lost their last four games on home turf, never before in their Super Rugby history have they lost more home fixtures in succession.
Waratahs: Israel Folau, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Rob Horne, David Horwitz, Cam Clark, Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Michael Wells, Michael Hooper (capt), Ned Hanigan Will Skelton, Dean Mumm, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu. Tom Robertson. Reserves: Damien Fitzpatrick, Paddy Ryan, Angus Taavao, David McDuling, Jed Holloway, Jake Gordon, Bryce Hegarty, Irae Simone.
Rebels: Toby Smith, James Hanson, Tyrel Lomax, Culum Retallick, Steve Cummins, Lopeti Timani, Sean McMahon, Amanaki Mafi, Ben Meehan, Jackson Garden-Bachop, Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge (c), Mitch Inman, Jack Maddocks, Ben Volavola Reserves: Siliva Siliva, Fereti Sa'aga, Laurie Weeks, Esei Haangana, Colby Fainga'a, Harrison Goddard, Sione Tuipulotu, Jonah Placid
Winger Taqele Naiyaravoro returns from injury in one of four changes to the NSW Waratahs. Halfback Nick Phipps, No.8 Michael Wells and lock Will Skelton are also back in the run-on XV as the Waratahs bid to keep their finals hopes flickering.
For the Rebels, Lopeti Timani returns and Sean McMahon will make his first start of the season. The Wallabies pair partners Amanaki Mafi in the backrow while prop Tyrel Lomax and lock Culum Retallick have been recalled to the starting line-up after Dominic Day failed to overcome an injury. Injuries to Sefa Naivalu and Tom English has forced a reshuffle of the backline with Marika Koroibete the only player to retain his position. Jackson Garden-Bachop will partner Ben Meehan in the halves, stand-in captain Reece Hodge and Mitch Inman will combine in the centres, Jack Maddocks is named on the wing and Ben Volavola will start at fullback. Also included is lock Esei Haangana. Colby Fainga'a has overcome a quad injury while Sione Tuipulotu returns to provide injury cover and Jonah Placid is set to make his first appearance since round one off the bench.
UBET verdict: The Waratahs have lost their lost 4 games at home, and while they have had a disappointing season, they should be able to get the job done against the Rebels, and the price says that should happen ($1.17). Apart from their form, the Rebels have only score 2 try's in AWAY games this year, and have only averaged 7.5 points in those away games, hardly a flattering record.
Tips: Greg Growden - Waratahs, Sam Bruce - Waratahs