Crusaders shorter than Winx to beat Tahs
THE Crusaders are shorter-odds to beat the Waratahs on Saturday than Winx has ever been in her unbeaten career.
And it's only a two-horse race in Christchurch.
Most understand the sheer enormity of the task NSW face to take down the reigning Super Rugby champions on home soil at AMI Stadium, but the bookies have delivered a brutal rating of the Tahs' chances of victory as next to zero.
The Waratahs are at a record $8.50 with Ladbrokes to beat the Crusaders; which is among the highest odds the betting agency has attached to the Waratahs in Super Rugby betting.
The Crusaders are paying unbackable odds of $1.07, which is shorter than any price Winx has started in her 25 consecutive wins.
The mighty mare paid $1.24 in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes last month and Winx has never been shorter than $1.09.
History, current form and the oppressive weight of the 38-game Kiwi hoodoo will all be against the Waratahs in Christchurch.
The Crusaders have only lost two games at home in two and a half years, and they've only dropped three games anywhere since the start of last season.
In contrast, the Waratahs haven't beaten a Kiwi team anywhere since May 27, 2016. They last beat the Crusaders in the 2014 Super Rugby final.
Players aren't allowed to bet but the record-high odds could still make for gloomy reading.
Not so, said Waratahs forward Ned Hanigan.
Hanigan was in the written-off Wallabies team that started at $11 in Dunedin last year in Bledisloe II - and almost won.
"It's motivation in itself. We're probably going over there with short odds (sic), so knowing we're coming into an arena that no one thinks you're going to win is almost working to our advantage," Hanigan said.
"We're making sure we get our roles right and then going over there and whatever's happening over there's got nothing to do with us. We're there to put a very good performance together, which I think we'll do."
Hanigan conceded the Crusaders will be a formidable foe, particularly in the forwards.
"I haven't seen too much of their games but they're the defending champions, so we know as a pack going over there, it's going to be a tough, physical game," Hanigan said.
"They're a very structured team, their lineout statistics are good so as you can imagine they're going to be a good side. We're looking forward to the challenge."
The Waratahs' frustrating loss to the Blues at Brookvale Oval last weekend provided plenty of lessons about how to take the correct options under pressure.
"It's very disadvantaged that you come off a loss but making sure you learn from your mistakes and going over there to Christchurch and making them one better, is pretty important," he said.