ANZAC Round proved to be a good one for the teams from New Zealand. Only one Australian side was able to spring an upset, and it was the one we called with the Brumbies overturning the Highlanders. Round 11 is up this weekend and with the season winding down the battle for playoff places is heating up.
Here is a look at some of the matches on tap this weekend.
Reds VS Chiefs – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
The sides fourth and fifth on the log clash in Brisbane in the first game of the weekend with the Reds on 30 points sitting two points better off than the Chiefs. The Chiefs have won five of their last seven against the Reds, but the Queensland side has made Suncorp a fortress, winning 17 of their last 19 at home. Reds flyer Suliasi Vunivalu is again missing from their backline, depriving the Queensland side of an important weapon. The spread here is 5.5 in the Chiefs’ favor, but I actually like the Reds to cover and wouldn’t be shocked if they snuck a win here at 2/1.
Western Force VS Blues – HBF Park, Perth
The log-topping Blues have been a force of nature in 2022. They have 36 points from their nine games and are in scintillating form. The Force, on the other hand, are fighting for their playoff lives. They are eighth in the table with 13 points and they are coming into this one still fighting off a Covid outbreak that caused the cancelation of their ANZAC round clash with Moana Pasifika last weekend.
The Blues make 11 changes from their runout against the Drua in Melbourne, with Caleb Clarke making his first starting three weeks through suspension and Akira Ioane in for the first time all season after a foot injury. At 1/33 they are about as heavy a favorite as you can get and they won’t lose here. They will also cover the 21-point spread at 9/10 with BetXchange.
Brumbies VS Hurricanes – GIO Stadium, Canberra
The most interesting match of the round sees the Hurricanes in Canberra facing the Brumbies. The Australian side is second in the table with 35 points and eight wins from nine games and they will have no fear of facing a counterpart from across the Tasman after taking down the Highlanders 28-17 last weekend. The ‘Canes have had an average season by their standards and are sixth on the log after five wins and four defeats. They beat a spirited Reds side 30-17 in Melbourne.
The Brumbies welcome back influential fullback Tom Banks after he suffered a facial injury in Round 6. That is the only change to a side brimming with confidence. ‘Canes head coach Jason Holland has tinkered with his side, rotating the likes of James O’Reilly at hooker and lock Justin Sangster into the starting XV. One big miss will be Reed Prinsep at blindside, with Te Kamaka Howden filling in as Prinsep returned to New Zealand following an injury in warmup last weekend.
The spread here is 1.5 points which tells you how close it will be. I like the Brumbies to continue their good form and win straight up at 11/10.