Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Round 1 Tips & Preview

Following on from two action-packed and high-quality national competitions, Super Rugby kicks up a gear from this weekend as we enter the Trans-Tasman tournament!

Betting suggests that it will be a clean sweep for the five New Zealand franchises in Round 1 of the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman tournament, but as you’ll discover below, I don’t think that it’s nearly as clear cut as face value suggests.

There’s value to be found, and I’m confident that plenty of it lies within the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Round 1 tips below.

Highlanders vs Reds
Reds (+9.5)

The first cab off the rank is an intriguing match between an inconsistent Highlanders outfit and the newly crowned Super Rugby Australia champions, the Reds.

The Highlanders are everyone’s second side in New Zealand, and while they played with plenty of heart all campaign, they rarely looked like a finals-quality side.

The Reds meanwhile were the clear standout in Australia, and were unlucky not to complete an undefeated season.

I somewhat understand the enormous disparity in prices here – the Highlanders are at home, and a fresh having not played for a couple of weeks, and the Reds have more than likely partied for several days after winning Super Rugby Australia.

There is no denying that the Reds are the better side, but the sake of the hangover, I’m going to take the safer option at the line.

Waratahs vs Hurricanes
Hurricanes (-24.5)

Betting suggests that the most one-sided match of Round 1 will materialise between the Waratahs and Hurricanes on Friday night, and it’s really not hard to see why.

The Waratahs were utterly putrid during the Super Rugby Australia season, and they failed to win a single match.

The Hurricanes themselves were slow from the blocks, but the bottom line in New Zealand is clearly substantially higher than the bottom line in Australia, and the Wellington-based franchise did improve with a few games under the belt.

This looks to be a pretty open and shut case, I’m happy to take the Hurricanes to cover the big line.

Crusaders vs Brumbies
Brumbies (+18.5)

Just cannot wait for this one.

Easily the match of the round, assuming the Crusaders haven’t produced a similar week of celebrations to the Reds, but the key difference regardless of course being them remaining at home.

They’ve been the Super Rugby benchmark for almost its entire existence and fittingly, the Crusaders have won both editions of Super Rugby Aotearoa since COVID commenced.

A slight dip in form leading into the finals was worrying, but their sense of timing is always spot on, and they comfortably beat an in-form Chiefs to be crowned.

The face an impressive Brumbies outfit who dropped just three games in Australia this season, all to the champion Reds.

They’ll be hurting from last weekend’s last-gasp loss and I genuinely think that they are a winning chance in this match. In Round 1, I’m going to take the safer option wherever possible.

Rebels vs Blues
Rebels (+17.5)

Another match, another skewed heavily in favour of the New Zealand franchise, but I genuinely think that the Rebels are better than their $6.50 quote (at publish).

They were ultimately let down by the inconsistency in Super Rugby Australia, but the Rebels showed glimpses of a good Rugby side and competed well against the Reds a couple of times.

The Blues held second position in Super Rugby Aotearoa through the first half of the season as the Highlanders, Chiefs and Hurricanes struggled early, but they were usurped at the worst possible time and missed the decider.

Even though the visitors clearly deserve their favouritism, I am happy to roll the dice again on the outsider covering the line, particularly at home.

Western Force vs Chiefs
Force (+17.5)

We’re off to the nation’s west for the final match of the round and the Western Force will surely be quietly confident of a competitive effort against Super Rugby Aotearoa’s runners up, the Chiefs.

What a season it was for Australia’s minnows.

True, they recruited well with the luxury of knowing they’d be playing another season in 2021, but they still lacked the experience of every other side in Australia and well and truly fought above their weight.

It materialised in a shock win over the Reds in the final regular season round to win into the finals, and they were far from disgraced against the Brumbies in the Semi Final.

The Chiefs took a few matches to get going, but were arguably the formed side in New Zealand before losing the decider to the Crusaders.

They too will be hurting from that loss and will be eager for redemption, but this is an enormous trip away for them and once more, I’m going to take the outsiders to cover.