2017 Super Rugby Semifinals

Monday, July 24, 2017 5:20 PM UTC

Monday, Jul. 24, 2017 5:20 PM UTC

Both semifinals in the 2017 Super Rugby competition are previewed here: The four leading teams on the overall standings are through, having tallied just seven losses between them all season.

<p><em>Both games are Saturday and prices from Bet365.</em></p><h2>Crusaders Vs. Chiefs</h2><p>The seven-time champion Crusaders lost the No. 1 seed, and potentially a home tie in the final, when they lost their final conference game against the Hurricanes. Hosting the Highlanders in last week’s knockout round in filthy weather they won 17-0 in a game they controlled with a dominant display from their forward pack.</p><p>The Chiefs, meanwhile, beat the Stormers in Cape Town 17-11 in a hard-fought tussle. A creditable away win, but they will need to improve substantially to trouble the Crusaders in Canterbury.</p><p>The two teams met this season, the Crusaders winning 31-24 away. The Chiefs aren’t daunted by Christchurch, where they have won on their last three visits. The Crusaders are 4/11 favourites outright and -7 at 10/11 on the handicap. The Chiefs can be backed at 11/5. Weather conditions might play a part here. I expect the Crusaders to win but expecting them to win by more than seven might be a stretch.</p><h2 style="text-align:center">Free Rugby Pick: Chiefs +7</h2><h2 style="text-align:center">Best Lines Offered: <a href="http://www.sportsbookreview.com/Sportsbook/?v=4581&amp;book=Bet365" rel="nofollow">Bet365</a></h2><p> </p><h2>Lions Vs. Hurricanes</h2><p>The Lions barely justified their No. 1 seeding, needing a long-range penalty in the final minute from Ruan Combrinck to see off the unfancied Sharks 23-21 having been 14-3 behind at halftime.</p><p>The defending champion Hurricanes may be heartened by the South African powerhouse’s apparent struggles and will hope to close them down, as they did in last year’s final in Wellington. Still to face a Kiwi team this year, the Lions could also find the extra pace of the game an issue. However, 12 months ago the Lions dispatched both the Crusaders and Highlanders in fast-paced home playoff matches, running up 42 points on both occasions.</p><p>The Hurricanes travel from Sydney, where they beat the Brumbies 38-16 by scoring 24 unanswered second-half points and really stepped through the gears after a sluggish first half.</p><p>This is expected to be an extremely close game. The Lions are one point underdogs and can be backed at even money, the Hurricanes 5/6 favorites. Whilst the Lions should  improve, I expect the Hurricanes to win this match and will be backing them.</p><h2 style="text-align:center">Free Rugby Pick: Hurricanes At 5/6</h2>
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