It’s the penultimate round of the Super Rugby regular season and we’ve got two finals spots still up for grabs.
The action kicks off on Friday with a massive clash between the Reds and Highlanders in Dunedin with the visitors able to lock up their playoff spot with a win.
Saturday’s quadruple header kicks off in Fiji with the Drua still a chance of sneaking into the finals picture while at the top of the table the Chiefs can officially clinch the minor premiership with a Crusaders loss or if the far more likely scenario unfolds where they record a win in Canberra.
Read on to see who we are backing in Super Rugby Round 14 with our previews and best bets below.
Friday 26 May, 5:05pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium
The equation facing the Reds is quite simple, win one of their last two games and they will be in the finals, but the task facing them this weekend is far from easy.
Even though the Highlanders are a shell of their former selves, they have the confidence of winning their last five against the Reds and last lost to them at home in March 2013.
Not to mention the Reds fell off in a big way in the second half against the Blues last week after a competitive first half.
What swings this tip though is the fact the Highlanders really are not a good team this season and this is a much more even battle than the market would suggest.
Plus the Reds have gone an impressive 6-1 against the line away from home in their last seven games and this is actually a much better opportunity to win than next week in Fiji.
Reds to Cover +4.5 @ $1.91
Friday 26 May, 7:35pm, AAMI Park
After last week’s impressive win over the rotated Brumbies pushed them up into eighth place, the Force will be out to make it three in a row for the first time since the Australian tournament in 2021.
Perhaps the biggest concern for the Force is the fact they have lost all six of their away games this season, although in their defence they have endured a pretty tough travel schedule.
Four of those defeats have come in New Zealand and their domestic defeats have come at the hands of the Reds and Waratahs.
On their day they have looked like a much better side than the Rebels, whose finals hopes are now firmly in the “very optimistic” category and their main motivator now is to play spoiler.
In a vacuum the Force should be favoured over a Rebels side that has failed to inspire this season and the Perth side have had the better of recent matchups.
The Force have won three of the last four including a pair of games in Melbourne and they look like a much better shot than their current quote.
Force to Win @ $2.88
Saturday 27 May, 12:05pm, Churchill Park
It’s a pretty simple equation for the early game on Saturday afternoon with the Drua desperate to keep their finals hopes alive.
Regardless of how Friday’s games play out, they have to pick up a win over the 0-12 Moana Pasifika and ideally add on a bonus point in the process.
Thankfully for them their last two games are at home and they go to a very different level when playing in front of their fans.
A 3-1 record at home is impressive for any team in just their second season of existence, but knocking off top five sides the Hurricanes and Crusaders shows just how strong that advantage is.
Add in the fact that Moana Pasifika have been nothing short of atrocious this season picking up just three losing bonus points and are coming off an awful performance in their 34 point loss to the Crusaders.
We will see just how far apart these two expansion sides are two years into their respective existences.
Drua to Cover -13.5 @ $1.83
Saturday 27 May, 2:35pm, Orangetheory Stadium
While the Waratahs can mathematically climb up the ladder into fifth or even fourth spot over the final fortnight, it seems incredibly unlikely that they will win both of their remaining games.
Working in their favour however is the fact they have taken advantage of a pretty soft run of fixtures to generate some momentum and win their last four games.
That run should come to a screeching halt this week though with the Crusaders are finally starting to find some form at the most important time of the year.
Currently riding a three game winning streak, with a couple of big wins over weaker opponents bookending a statement victory over the Blues, it has been a nice reminder about why the Crusaders are the specialists at this time of year.
While it would take the team bus breaking down and the Crusaders missing kickoff to give the Waratahs a faint hope of winning this game, the visitors are more than capable of playing this one close and avoiding getting blown out.
A 23.5 point line is massive, especially when you consider the Tahs have not lost by more than 18 points in Christchurch in the last 13 years and are averaging a 10.3 margin of defeat.
Waratahs to Cover +23.5 @ $1.91
Saturday 27 May, 5:05pm, Eden Park
When the Blues hit the accelerator, there are few teams in Super Rugby that can keep up with them.
On the back of a vintage Beauden Barrett display they ran away with a 19 point win in Brisbane last weekend to climb back into the top four and they will be desperate to hold onto that spot against the Hurricanes this weekend.
The Blues recorded a six point victory when they met in March and with the Canes coming to Eden Park on the back of three losses in their last five matches, this could end the top four race this weekend.
With the Hurricanes starting to stumble down the line, I’m happy to take them on and back the Blues to win and cover.
Blues to Cover -4.5 @ $1.83
Saturday 27 May, 7:35pm, GIO Stadium
Just when it was all shaping up nicely for the Brumbies, they sent a severely weakened squad to Perth last weekend and it backfired in the worst possible way.
Not only did they lose to a struggling opponent, but they cost themselves a potential home semi final by dropping down to third place ahead of this clash with the minor-premiers elect.
With the Chiefs now firmly in ramp-up mode ahead of the finals, expect them to hit the ground running in Canberra and ensure that they will have home ground advantage throughout the Super Rugby Finals.
Chiefs to Cover -3.5 @ $1.91