Blues vs Force
The Blues after years in the doldrums finally have chance of reaching a major final. They have been the best team in the competition putting in great performances every week. They looked a different side in this competition and a far cry from the team that struggled in SR Aotearoa. The Blues always had the quality players but their biggest issue was playing as individuals and not as a team. They often lacked direction and the player that has played a large part in steering this team is Finlay Christie. His positive influence has rubbed off on Otere Black who is so much more confident now. The Force will be buoyed by their showing last week where they denied the Crusaders a bonus point. It was again Jordan Olowofela that scored the try after the hooter. The Force has two of the form wingers in the competition in Olowofela and Toni Pulu. Pulu was the star against the Crusaders scoring a great solo try and breaking tackles at will until he got injured. It seemed strange that Olowofela started on the bench and he surely must start this week. The Force can’t have their best attacking weapons sitting on the bench. The Blues are the most physical side in the competition and they have literally steam rolled opposition teams into submission. They are not flashy like the other NZ sides but what they do is very effective. The power in their forwards wears teams down then in the second half the backs do the scoring. The Blues will need a bonus point victory to ensure they get a home final at Eden Park. This will be more than enough motivation to brush the Force side away.
TIP: The Force has shown all season that they are the one side that never goes away. They have that never say die attitude regardless of what the scoreline reads. Their problem is that they leave too much to do in the second half of matches and against the Blues they will need a much better start. The Blues have the best bench in the competition having the luxury of calling on All Black replacements. Their biggest weapon has been their scrum and they win a lot of penalties at scrum. I think the home side have found a gem of a new player in young Zarn Sullivan who looks very assured at full back. He looks like he has loads of time and this is always a good sign. He attacks well and has a huge boot to clear any danger. The bookies have the Blues as heavy favourites and I agree with this. The best odds on the Blues victory are as follows: Worldsportsbetting 1.05, Playabets 1.01 and Sunbet 1.04
HEAD TO HEAD STATS
Blues vs Force
- The Blues have never lost to the Force.
- The best result the Force had against the Blues was a draw in 2011.
- The Blues have beaten the Force at home by an average victory margin of twenty one points.
Latest results for both teams
The Blues won their last match against the Reds 31-24 while the Force lost their last match against the Crusaders 29-21.
This Blues team seems to have all the bases covered as they have an exceptional scrum and forward pack along with deadly backs. The form of Bryce Heem has been sensational and not many thought he would even get a starting spot. His pace and power have allowed others around him like Rieko Ioane to benefit. Ioane is another player that has risen through the tournament and so has his brother, Akira. There were never any doubts about their talent but they seem to be finally delivering on that potential. There only way for the Force to remain competitive in this match is for their forwards to match the Blues up front. No team has managed to do this and I don’t see the Force stopping the Blues juggernaut. A home final is on the line and I’m sure we will see the Blues secure that with a convincing victory by more than 30 points
- Probable Starting XVs
15 Zarn Sullivan, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Mark Telea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Tom Robinson, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu (captain), 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 Kurt Eklund, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
15 Jake Strachan, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin (captain), 11 Richard Kahui, 10 Domingo Miotti, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Ollie Callan, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Sitaleki Timani, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Feleti Kaitu’u, 1 Tom Robertson.
Odds for this bet
The best odds on the Blues victory are as follows:
The complete odds on the Blues handicap:
Odds comparison on the Blues handicap:
Worldsportsbetting (-25.5) 1.90
Sunbet (-25.5) 1.94
Playabets (-25.5) 1.88
Predictions and Odds in details
The Blues have their inspirational captain Patrick Tuipulotu back and in the last game he was a towering presence. He was strong all over the park and looked to be back to his best after a long injury break. He was ably supported by Dalton Papalii and Tom Robinson who are great at winning turnover ball. In the past the Blues wasted turnover ball but with their halfback pairing firing they have used this ball to score many tries. It is very difficult for opposition teams to match the Blues in the second half as they have players like Hoskins Sotutu coming off the bench. The replacements have come on and taken the game away and I expect the same in this match. The bookies have the Blues as heavy favourites and there isn’t any money to be made on the Blues outright victory. The value bet is the Blues on the handicap. The best odds on the Blues handicap is as follows: Worldsportsbetting (-25.5) 1.90, Sunbet (-25.5) 1.94 and Playabets (-25.5) 1.88
Sports crazy fan that follows all major sport but the game with the oval ball is my real passion. Was an age level rugby coach and a huge supporter of the Springboks and diehard Liverpool man. I’m an experienced punter and sports writer whose predictions/tips are sure to stir up the emotions. I love the occasional wager on the underdog.