Super Rugby matches this weekend begin with the Blues hosting the Hurricanes in one of the biggest matches of Round 3.
The Sunwolves and Kings return to action after their week off for the bye, with the Sunwolves hosting their first home game at Singapore National Stadium. The round concludes with South African rivals the Stormers and Sharks battling in what could be a key fixture.
Blues v Hurricanes
Friday 11 March, 5:35pm, Eden Park
This will be the third straight Friday night fixture for the Blues following their meetings with the Highlanders and the Crusaders, with one win and one loss to open the season. The Hurricanes have won three of the past four games played between the two sides but have lost both of their opening games this year and look to be one of the weaker New Zealand franchises this year.
The Blues are 5/6 outright and 10/11 -1 on the handicap with William Hill.
Force v Brumbies
Friday 11 March, 10:05pm, nib Stadium
The Force have a very poor record against the Brumbies and have won just one of the past seven games played between the two sides. The Force have not beaten the Brumbies since 2013 and the Brumbies are now one of the favourites for the title following two convincing wins to start the season
The Brumbies are 2/7 outright and 10/11 -9 on the handicap with William Hill
Highlanders v Lions
Saturday 12 March, 5:35pm, Forsyth Barr Stadium
The home team has had the upper hand in the majority of recent meetings between the Highlanders and Lions. The Highlanders scored a narrow win over the Lions the last time the two sides played at Forsyth Barr Stadium, but the Lions beat the Highlanders by five points last year. So far this year the Highlanders have a narrow win and a anoarrow loss whilst the Lions have won both games, probably against weaker franchises in the context of the whole tournament.
The Highlanders are 2/7 at home and -9 on the Handicap. I like the Lions to cover at 10/11 William Hill.
Rebels v Reds
Saturday 12 March, 7:45pm, AAMI Park
Many rugby experts are expecting big improvement from the Rebels in 2016 and if they are to do so they need to beat teams like the Reds. The two teams split their two meetings in 2015, but the Reds have won four of their past five games at AAMI Park. The Reds have lost both games this season while the Rebels beat the weakest Australian team the Force first up before losing heaviliy to the Bulls in Round 2.
The Rebels are 2/5 favourites and -6 on the handicap. I expect them to cover the six points, again 10/11 William Hill.
Sunwolves v Cheetahs
Saturday 12 March, 9:55pm , Singapore National Stadium
This will be the first home game for the Sunwolves, new entrants to Super Rugby and they have opted to take it to the Singapore National Stadium. The Sunwolves were far from disgraced in their Super Rugby debut against the Lions and are sure to be competitive again in front of what should be a partisan crowd. The Cheetahs have lost both of their opening games but are 4/9 favourites here against the Japanese franchise.
The Sunwolves are 6 point home underdogs on the handicap 10/11 William Hill
Kings v Chiefs
Sunday 13 March, 12:05am, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
The Kings’ return to Super Rugby did not get off to a great start and they suffered a 35 point loss in their opening game of the season against the Sharks. The Chiefs have got off to a strong start this season and should prove far too good for their rivals.
The Chiefs are the biggest favourites of the weekend at 1/7 and -14 on the handicap with William Hill
Stormers v Sharks
Sunday 13 March, 2:15am, DHL Newlands
There has always been a strong rivalry between the Stormers and the Sharks in recent seasons and they have recorded three wins apiece from their previous six meetings. The Stormers scored a convincing win over the Sharks at DHL Newlands last season, but the Sharks won the return fixture at Growthpoint Kings Park.
Both teams have won 2 out of 2 this season and this should be very close with the Stormers edging it with home advantage.
The Stormers are 4/7 in outright markets and -4 on the handicap, William Hill.