Super Rugby Trans Tasman Grand Final
In a surprise to absolutely nobody, even the most optimistic of Australian rugby fans, the 2021 Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Grand Final will be contested by a pair of New Zealand based sides.
What is a massive shock however is that one of those sides will not be the dynastic Crusaders, who will not win a title for the first time since the 2017 Super Rugby season.
Instead, the Blues and Highlanders will face off at the historic venue of Eden Park for the first Super Rugby Trans-Tasman title.
Saturday 19 June, 5:00pm, Eden Park
While many expected the Crusaders to make and most likely host the Super Rugby Grand Final, few would begrudge the Blues and Highlanders their place in the decider.
They both recorded perfect 5-0 records against their Australian opponents and registered three bonus points apiece with the Blues earning home ground advantage thanks to the best points differential in the competition.
After just missing the Super Rugby Aotearoa Grand Final on the total wins tiebreaker against the Chiefs, the Blues came out of the blocks flying, recording a 50-3 win over the Melbourne Rebels.
Up next game a pair of comfortable wins at home over the Waratahs and Brumbies at Eden Park having them on the maximum 15 points through three rounds.
They were made to work in the final two rounds however, holding off the Reds in Brisbane 31-24 before finishing up their campaign with a 31-21 win over the Force to secure a home Grand Final.
It was a difficult Super Rugby Aotearoa season for the Highlanders, finishing well off the pace in fourth place.
When the Trans-Tasman competition got underway it was a very different story however with the Highlanders lighting up the scoreboard, scoring 40 points in all three games where they were the home team.
The Reds were no match for them in Round 1, going down 40-19 before a tough trip to Perth produced another much needed victory.
Round 2 saw them survive a gallant Western Force outfit in Perth before hosting the Rebels in a relocated match in Sydney .
Needing to be perfect in their final two fixtures to keep their hopes of making the Grand Final alive, they thumped the Waratahs 59-23 before recording a bonus point win in Canberra to leapfrog the Crusaders and secure second spot.
Aside from a couple of slip ups either side of the Easter weekend, the Blues have been arguably the second most impressive team in the competition since rugby resumed post Covid.
With an impressive record of 14 wins and just six defeats (and one no-result), the Blues are no longer the Kiwi easy beats from two years ago.
Of the four meetings in Super Rugby Aotearoa, three have gone the way of the Blues with the margin of victory growing each time, however their most recent match finished 35-29 to the Highlanders.
In a match like this, there is a legitimate case to be made for both teams and there is a real argument to be made for the Highlanders to spring an upset.
The visitors have performed admirably this season despite missing a number of key players including Liam Squire and with Jona Nareki and Pari Pari Parkinson both unlikely to play after leaving the Round 5 match with injuries, you wonder what the breaking point will be for them.
Injury concerns are not limited to the Highlanders however with the Blues facing a nervous wait after flyhalf Otere Black went down at training.
Momentum is also a huge factor heading into this fixture with the Blues producing a pair of tough fought wins that should serve them well.
I can’t see this match being a blowout and I do give the edge to the hometown Blues so I will dip into the winning margin market for one last Super Rugby Trans-Tasman bet.
Back the Blues by 1-12 @ $2.90
*SUPER RUGBY FINALS CANCELLED DUE TO COVID-19*
Saturday 6 July, 5:35pm, AMI Stadium
Well after 20 weeks we have our Super Rugby Finalists and yet again it’s the Crusaders with a chance to be crowned champions.
It seemed largely inevitable for most of the season that the Crusaders would make the decider, after all they been on top of the competition ladder for most, if not all of the season.
Not to mention that this will be their 14th appearance in this game so certainly have the big game experience.
As for the Jaguares this is easily their most successful season having improved every year culminating with the South African Conference title this year and easily the best side they have fielded.
What they lack in big game experience they certainly make up for in guile and genuine talent, they have shown over the course of the season they have the ability to win low and high scoring contests and bring a seven game winning streak into the final.
They won 11 of their 16 games this season with their last defeat coming on May 11 when they played the Highlanders in Dunedin.
In fact, they have won 11 of their last 12 since the start of April and will be full of confidence.
The Crusaders on the other hand have had an up and down season by their lofty standards, also winning 11 games, drawing twice and losing twice with their game away to the Highlanders also declared a draw after the Christchurch shooting in March.
It can’t be overstated how important it is to the Crusaders playing this game at home is, they have not lost at AMI Stadium since Round 17, 2016 which says it all about how tough a venue it is for opponents to come there.
The only side to pick up anything of value in that time was the Sharks who held them to a draw in May.
They will be without Ryan Crotty and Scott Barrett, both of whom have been ruled out with hand injuries however the Jaguares do have a long haul flight to overcome which, as we have seen in this Super Rugby format, is a big ask.
Despite occasional appearances to the contrary, this Crusaders side is definitely not the invincible force they have been in the past, it won’t be a procession to the trophy.
As the week has gone on and the more you give it some thought, you could really make a case that the Jaguares will ride their momentum and cause an upset, but I’m not ready to buy the Crusaders losing their first ever home final here.
I’m happy to back the Jaguares to give them everything they can handle, and I would not be at all surprised if this winds up being a tense game that goes down to the wire.
Back the Crusaders by 1-12 @ $3.40
The 2018 Super Rugby Grand Final is a rematch of last years clash between the Crusaders and the Lions and this is set to be an intriguing fixture.
The Crusaders have been the team to beat in Super Rugby all season long and it is no surprise that they are clear favourites in 2018 Super Rugby Grand Final betting, but they will not have things their own way against a high-scoring Lions outfit.
Can the Crusaders claim an historic ninth Super Rugby title or can the Lions record one of the biggest upsets in Super Rugby Grand Final history?
We have analysed both teams and our 2018 Super Rugby Grand Final tips can be found below.
Saturday 4 August, 5:35pm, AMI Stadium
Crusaders 37 – Lions 18
Make room in that trophy cabinet, the Crusaders might just be pinching another one.
Scott Robertson’s squad were so dominant last week, and in case you need further proof that this is the team to beat, their resounding 30-12 victory over the Hurricanes has already pushed the Crusaders into $1.10 to win the Final on Saturday.
Full credit to the Hurricanes, they gave the defending champs a run for their money.
The Crusaders opened the scoring behind Richie Mo’unga in the 15th minute, but the Hurricanes answered back minutes later with a try of their own.
Unfortunately, that’s about as good as it got for the Wellington based club, as the Crusaders put up three unanswered tries.
Not to be outdone, the Lions crushed a few souls of their own.
The South African squad is one of the most prolific try-scoring clubs in recent memory, and although the likes of Ned Hanigan and Israel Folau got the Waratahs off to a fast start, there was no stopping the Lions’ comeback from the 21st minute onward.
It’s safe to assume the scoreboard will receive a good workout on Saturday, but as we all know, the Crusaders are near unbeatable in Christchurch.
The home team holds a crazy 11-0 record as the head-to-head favourite at AMI Stadium, and when the crowd gets behind them, the Crusaders are impossible to beat.
If there is one team that can upset the hosts however, it might be the Lions.
These two last met back in April, a game the Crusaders won 14-8.
That particular match was scrappy and rather low-scoring, but coach John Ackermann has to remember what cost his the win.
In a nutshell, missed tackling and a lack of the ball, especially in their own half, hurt the Lions dearly.
On a positive note though, the Lions forced the Crusaders into 11 handling errors and 12 penalties, so if they can force that kind of pressure again this weekend, there’s every chance of an upset.
As has been the case for much of these finals, the battle will be won in the scrum.
The Lions held strong against the Crusaders in that department last time out, but despite the win, they were dominated in the scrums against the Waratahs last week.
If this game was played on a neutral ground, you’d give the Lions a big chance, but away in New Zealand, a country the Lions haven’t won in all season, it’s tough to see it happening.
Tip: Back the Crusaders To Beat The Line (-18.5 Points) @ $1.91
Same Game Multi: Crusaders 13+, Ryan Crotty Anytime Try Scorer
The 2017 Super Rugby Grand Final will be held on Saturday night and will be played between two sides that have lost just one game apiece all season.
The Lions recorded a stunning come from behind win against the Hurricanes last weekend to secure a home Grand Final against a Crusaders team that has been incredibly consistent throughout the season.
There has been a question mark over the Lions all season long as they had not played any teams from New Zealand, but their win over the Hurricanes showed that they can mix it with the very best in the competition.
Can they beat the Crusaders to claim a maiden Super Rugby title? We have analysed both sides to come up with our 2017 Super Rugby Grand Final tips.
Saturday 5 August, 11:55pm, Emirates Airline Park
There is very little between these two sides in betting and it is currently the Crusaders that are narrow favourites in 2017 Super Rugby Grand Final betting.
The Crusaders have only lost one game this season – when they took an under-strength side into final regular season clash against the Hurricanes – and they have proven to be incredibly consistent all season long.
The way that they have comfortably accounted for both the Highlanders and the Chiefs in recent week has been most impressive and historically they have an excellent record against the Lions.
They have won their past six games as home favourites and their record against the line in this scenario is a most impressive 4-2.
All of the criticism that have come the way of the Lions this season due to their easy draw looked correct when they struggled out of the gates against the Hurricanes, but the way that they came back in the second half could not have been more impressive.
They have now won their past nine games as favourites and they are 6-3 against the line in front of their home fans.
Their overall record against the Crusaders is extremely poor, but they will take plenty of confidence from the fact that they beat the Crusaders last season.
There is plenty to like and admire about both these teams, but the professional way that the Crusaders have played in the business end of the season can’t be underestimated and they do represent genuine value to record another Super Rugby title.
Back The Crusaders To Win @ $1.83
We have finally reached the final weekend of what has been an extremely interesting Super Rugby season and we are set for a highly intriguing Grand Final this weekend.
The Hurricanes and Lions have been the two best sides throughout the entire Super Rugby season and it is fitting that they will do battle in the decider – with one team certain to win their first ever Super Rugby title.
The Hurricanes have the home ground advantage and will go into the 2016 Super Rugby Grand Final as clear favourites, but the Lions have defied expectations all season long and have a genuine chance to record the biggest victory in franchise history.
Will the Hurricanes bury the demons of last year’s Grand Final loss or will they suffer another surprised defeat? I have studied the make-up of both sides and come up with the 2016 Super Rugby Grand Final best bets!
Saturday 6 August, 5:35pm, Westpac Stadium
The Hurricanes secured their place in the Super Rugby Grand Final with a comfortable victory over the Chiefs last weekend and they will head into this clash on the back of seven straight victories.
It is no surprise that the Hurricanes will go into this clash as favourites, but the fact that they are as short as their current quote of $1.36 is somewhat of a surprise considering their poor record in title deciders.
In saying that, the Wellington-based outfit has proven to be a very reliable side as home favourites this season and they have won seven out of their eight games these season in that scenario.
Their record against the line is not as positive and they have covered the spread in only four of their eight games in this situation.
There has been no better betting team in Super Rugby than the Lions this season and they are currently available at the juicy odds of $3.20 to deliver South Africa their first Super Rugby title since the Bulls were successful in 2010.
The Lions have won three of their five away as away underdogs this season for a sizeable profit and their record against the line is a very impressive 4-1.
The Hurricanes are deserving favourites, but I expect this clash to be a great deal closer than the current odds suggest and I am more than happy to back the Lions against the line with a start of 8.5 points, while they are not without a chance of getting the job done at $3.20.
Recommended Bet: Back The Lions To Beat The Line (+8.5 Points)