Super Rugby Pacific Round 14 Tips & Preview

It’s the penultimate week of the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific regular season and we’ve got a pretty good idea of the finals picture as it stands.

Avoiding defeat against the second placed Brumbies on Saturday evening would lock up the minor premiership for the Blues with the home side now in a battle for second spot with the Crusaders, who are near unbackable favourites over the Fijian Drua.

At the bottom end of the eight, a win for the suddenly hot Highlanders would also make them the last team to confirm their playoff participation.

Then to top it all off there’s a catch up game on Tuesday that will hopefully provide some entertainment as Moana Pasifika hosts the Force at Mt Smart Stadium.

Read on for our Super Rugby tips and previews for every Round 14 game.

Crusaders v Fijian Drua
Crusaders to Cover -30.5 @ $1.90

Let’s not say “they’re back” for the Crusaders just yet, although that win in Canberra went a long way towards cementing that case.

While there are still a couple of lingering questions about their makeup, they are rounding into something resembling top form and they should easily handle a Drua side that is going to be overmatched.

Even though they did win last weekend, it was against their fellow newbies Moana Pasifika and needs to be considered in a vacuum separate to the rest of their results in the last month.

Their lone trip to New Zealand resulted in a 67-5 hammering at the hands of the Hurricanes and the Drua could be facing a similar outcome here.

It just comes down to how ruthless the Crusaders want to be on the night.

Reds v Moana Pasifika
Moana Pasifika to Cover +17.5 @ $1.90

This might be the Reds last chance at recording a win in 2022, with their undermanned squad still full of fight, but on the wrong end of the talent scale most weeks.

Add in some frustrating errors brought on by a side that has seen multiple enforced changes, really limiting their cohesion and giving opponents opportunities to punish them on the counter, just like the Blues did putting up 53 on them in Auckland on Saturday.

On the bright side for the Reds, they did welcome back James O’Connor who provided a bit of spark and direction in attack, which is what they will need against Moana Pasifika this weekend.

As long as they can limit their mistakes and keep their opponents on the back foot they should find a way to win, however I can’t back them with any double digit line at the moment.

Chiefs v Western Force
Chiefs to Cover -24.5 @ $1.90

In all honesty, there’s not a whole lot that can be done to upsell this game as a contest.

Even though the Chiefs have battled through the last three weeks, scraping by the Reds and Rebels in Australia either side of a home loss to the Brumbies, the Force won’t offer much resistance here.

After all this is a side that has lost its last two games by a combined margin of 114-25 and could be keeping something in the tank for Tuesday’s catch up game against Moana Pasifika.

If the Chiefs find their stride early, they could have this line covered by halftime.

Hurricanes v Rebels
Hurricanes to Cover -18.5 @ $1.90

This trip cannot go any worse for the Rebels than their last expedition across the Tasman right?

A fortnight ago they gave up 71 points to the rampant Blues and this Hurricanes team is more than capable of putting up a big score if they are given the chance.

You get the feeling that the Rebels emptied the tank against the Chiefs last Sunday, losing in heartbreaking fashion and now they are left to play out the final few games with nothing on the line.

With a defence that has given up the most points in the competition outside of the Drua and Moana Pasifika, the Hurricanes will relish the opportunities to pick up a bonus point with a big win.

Brumbies v Blues
Brumbies to Cover +7.5 @ $1.90

If the Blues want to clinch the minor premiership this week and book home ground advantage throughout the finals, they’ll have to earn it with a trip to Canberra.

With the competition’s best attack, they will look to stretch the Brumbies from sideline to sideline and run at them from any position.

However the Brumbies can match teams try for try and showed they can compete with the New Zealand opposition winning three of four games so far.

At home, you have to give the Brumbies a chance, even if they need to score in the 30’s to keep it close.

Highlanders v Waratahs
Waratahs to Cover +9.5 @ $1.90

If the Brumbies-Blues game turns out to be a fizzer, this could salvage the weekend with both sides capable of a good showing on their day.

Admittedly there has to be a bit of weight given to the manner in which the Highlanders belted the Force last week, but the Waratahs have shown an innate stubbornness in the last couple of games too.

That produced a win over the Crusaders and a close loss to the Hurricanes, plus they will know that a win is a must if they want a home quarter final.

These teams are closer than an almost double digit handicap and I’ll back the Tahs to keep it close.

Moana Pasifika v Western Force

PREVIEW TO COME MONDAY