Super Rugby 2019: Hurricanes vs Blue Bulls
Venue: Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington
Date: Saturday, 22nd June 2019
Super Rugby Draw
The Blue Bulls couldn’t have asked for a tougher draw after finishing 2nd in the South African Conference and they know they will have to be at their best as they travel to Wellington to take on the Hurricanes. Both sides finished well off the pace in their respective conferences but in knockout rugby, anything can happen.
Historically, matches between domestic sides from New Zealand and South Africa tend to be fiery affairs and this should be no different at the Wellington Regional Stadium. The Hurricanes finished 5 points behind Crusaders in the New Zealand conference whilst the Blue Bulls ended up 10 points behind Jaguares in the South African division.
The Hurricanes have won 8 of their last 10 games and look to be one of the in-form sides heading into the play-offs. Despite their 5 point gap to the Crusaders during the Conference season, they have key men returning from injury at the right time and are the second favourites at 4.50 with BetXChange to go all the way and be Super Rugby champions this year.
Putting points on the board has been the key characteristic of their success this season and they have scored 20 points or more in their last 9 Super Rugby fixtures and they will be going all guns blazing once more against the Bulls.
Betting Tip: Race to 10 points – Hurricanes – 0.35
Ominously for the Blue Bulls, the Hurricanes have been performing at this high level without All-Black Beauden Barrett and he has been named in John Plumtree’s experienced side for this clash in Wellington. He along with TJ Perenara have become the most prolific halves pairing in the history of Super Rugby and they will be playing their 100th game together in the competition. In addition to Perenara and Barrett, the Hurricanes rested many key men in last week’s win over the Blues and they should have a fit and firing squad on display here.
The Blue Bulls have had one eye on the play-offs for over a month which has been reflected in their results (1 win from their last 4 games). They wrapped up second place in the South African conference comfortably but will be bemoaning the difficulty of this draw against the Hurricanes. Such is their underdog status for this game that they are one of the rank outsiders at 40.00 with BetXChange to win the Super Rugby championship.
The Blue Bulls will be able to call upon the expertise of centre Jesse Kriel who has been passed fit for the game, in what will be his first appearance since April. The enormity of the task facing the Bulls is not lost on any of the squad or their coach Pote Human who has been speaking this week of the need to stay focused for 80 minutes to have any chance of getting a result.
Despite the seeming gulf in quality between the two sides, the Blue Bulls are a resolute outfit who won’t be conceding ground easily in their forward line. Jason Jenkins has also returned from injury to make the starting line-up and his influence at lock alongside RG Snyman is sure to be a difficult proposition for the Hurricanes to deal with. Whilst the Hurricanes should prevail if they play anywhere near their best, it could be a very tight encounter in Wellington.
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