The Canterbury Crusaders blitzed the Queensland Reds 38-9 to progress to the Super Rugby semi-finals. The Crusaders are now the 7/4 favourites to win the Super Rugby Grand Final.
The match saw All Black Dan Carter face off against Wallaby Quade Cooper in the fly-half position, and it was the Kiwi who came out emphatically on top.
A helpless Cooper was smothered by the Crusaders’ suffocating defence, while Carter was able to dictate play with intelligent running and clinical distribution. He scored a try and kicked 15 points as the Crusaders outscored the Reds by four tries to none.
The New Zealnders’ play was exquisite at times, and the way they dismissed the Reds’ defensive line and dominated the breakdown, where they created seven turnovers, will incite grave consternation amongst their fellow remaining sides.
Canterbury will also have been buoyed by the return of All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, and they enter the semi-finals having secured five straight victories.
The Crusaders are Super Rugby’s most successful franchise by a distance, having won seven of the competition’s 17 previous seasons, and will face the Brumbies – who only narrowly came through the Cheetahs – in the semi-final. They beat the Australian outfit 23-30 in Canberra in May, and will be much fancied to reach a staggering 11th final appearance.
Waikato Chiefs, the reigning champions and regular season winners, are 2/1 to retain their title. They take on the Blue Bulls in the other semi, in what should be a tight affair. However, the Chiefs should be confident of overcoming the South African side’s challenge having won 28-22 in Waikato this term.
New Zealand have the two leading contenders for the title, and Ladbrokes are offering 4/9 on the winning side coming from that nation, which should garner much attention.
The Bulls are 5/2 to win a fourth Super Rugby title, and the ACT Brumbies 13/2 to provide a win for Australia.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing