THE MONEY MAN expects the Hurricanes and Highlanders to win their Vodacom Super Rugby semi-finals on Saturday.
Hurricanes (-6.5) vs Brumbies (+6.5)
Weather: Windy, but no rain
I doubt you need much guidance here, but I’ll give it anyway. There are five reasons why this should be your banker this weekend:
1. The Hurricanes have played the most consistent brand of rugby this year, and at 14-2 they topped the standings, which is quite an achievement considering they play in the toughest conference.
2. The Brumbies play in the weakest conference and their 9-7 record is flattering when you consider two of those victories were against the Reds. They are 1-3 against New Zealand teams and that win was against the Highlanders who rested their All Blacks!
3. In the past month the Brumbies have travelled to South Africa twice; a journey of 10,763km one way, which means they have travelled over 21,500km, excluding the 2,307km to Wellington this week. For those who have not made that trip, consider yourselves lucky, it's a killer. So added to the fact the Hurricanes are the better side, with better players who are well rested, I doubt it's physically possible for the Brumbies to have much left in the tank.
4. The Hurricanes are 3-1 against Australian opponents this year and average over 34 points per game. I see that average being bested on Saturday.
5. The Hurricanes are at home and Wellington is not an easy place to play. Believe me, the Brumbies have already bought into the reality of patting themselves on the back for beating a poor Stormers side last Saturday. There is not one Brumbies player who would pass a lie detector if he was asked, 'Do you believe you will win this Saturday?'
This one will get ugly and the Hurricanes will run away with it. I am taking the Hurricanes to win by seven or more points for R3,000.
Waratahs (-4.5) vs Highlanders (+4.5)
Weather: Clear skies
This should be a cracker of a game and as such it could go either way. Both teams are 11-5, both teams lost to the Lions in Joburg by five points, both teams put 45-plus points against the Cheetahs in Bloem and won by over 20.
That said, the Highlanders had the tougher schedule and therefore their 11-5 is a legitimate record. The Highlanders hammered the Force by 20, while the Waratahs got turned over twice by them.
Kurtley Beale is a big loss for the Tahs and as we saw last week one player can make a huge difference.
The thing I like most is the 17/10 on offer for the Highlanders who, it must be said, did beat the Waratahs earlier in the year. The Tahs have flattered to deceive this year and at that price I’d be crazy not to take 17/10 for a R1,000 bet considering the value it offers.
It should be an all-New Zealand final, but good luck to all teams and all punters.
Photo: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images