Super Rugby Round 12: Where’s the upset?

Brett McKay Columnist

By , Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    It really looks like another predictable weekend of Super Rugby, with only one game really sticking out as being tough to call, I suspect we’re not going to see a lot of difference among the tips.

    The unbeaten Crusaders, returning home from South Africa, to face the red-hot Barrettcanes; it’s a genuinely mouth-watering contest, maybe even the match of the year so far. But it’s hardly going to be an upset either way, is it?

    This is where I reckon this week gets difficult; trying to find the upset.

    And there will be an upset, somewhere. It’s too easy a round otherwise, and that’s what makes it dangerous.

    Last week: Digger, Harry, and The Crowd 8; Nobes 7, Brett 6


    “’Canes by plenty.

    “Blues at home over what looks to be an entertaining clash with the Cheetahs, while the Lions look too organised and fast for the Brumbies.

    “These derbies are funny old things, but the Reds over the Rebels, surely. The Highlanders, too; the Bulls have shown little to make me want to tip them.

    “The Sharks are looking better and should win but I am unconvinced that it will be straight forward against the Kings, and to round it off I will back the Jaguares, nervously, only because it is in Argentina.”

    Tips: Blues, Lions, Hurricanes, Reds, Highlanders, Sharks, Jaguares

    Harry Jones
    “At this point in the season, teams are what they are and the better teams will win. Sports clichés are what they are, too.

    “No upsets this round.

    “The Blues are a lot better than the Cheetahs. The Lions are a lot better than the Brumbies.

    “The Crusaders are a little better than the Hurricanes. Every team is better than the Rebels.

    “The Bulls are almost as bad as the Rebels. The Sharks and the Kings might be the best match-up; but the Sharks have the better pack.

    “The Jaguares are better than the Force.”

    TIPS: Blues, Lions, Crusaders, Reds, Highlanders, Sharks, Jaguares.

    Crusaders Israel Dagg runs after the ball

    (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

    “Well, the Waratahs did not show the pride I expected and lost one more time. The rest of Round 11 went as I planned. I am going to give Harry another chance and I will go with Barrett brothers against the Crusaders.

    “The Blues will have too much fire power against the Cheetahs. Lions are too hot for the Brumbies. Reds supposed to beat the Rebels. The magic of the Highlanders will not be needed against the Bulls.

    “Mmmm, Sharks will have to work hard against the Kings, and Jaguares will make my stents blow out of my arteries against the Force.”

    Tips: Blues, Lions, Hurricanes, Reds, Highlanders, Sharks, Jaguares

    So, there’s going to be an upset somewhere; the challenge is getting it right.

    But it won’t be the Cheetahs, so let’s not even bother there. I do give the Brumbies a good chance, given the Lions have benched or rested their starting front row, but I’m going to get strategic here: I obviously want the Brumbies to win this, but I’m actually better off picking the Lions and at least getting the same result as these guys.

    The Hurricanes are certainly capable of ending the Crusaders’ unbeaten run, and I think coming back from the Republic might be when it happens. Will be a cracking game. Looks like we’ve all flipped the same coin for the Rebels-Reds game, and I can’t really argue that.


    (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

    Highlanders look too good, so do the Sharks, so do the Jaguares – though I give the Force a good chance here, too.

    So where’s the upset?

    Well, here’s a little something. Going all the way back to 2009, the Highlanders have always lost the second game on tour in South Africa. They sometimes won the first game, but they lost the second game every time. Whether it’s a second week away, or the altitude; hard to know. But it’s a consistent pattern.

    And I think this is where the upset comes. The Bulls have been mostly hopeless this season, and the Highlanders were incredibly lucky to get away with the win last week in Bloemfontein. Can the Bulls be that bad again? Can the Highlanders be that lucky again? Don’t know either way, but somehow I see a Bulls win here.

    Tips: Blues, Lions, Hurricanes, Reds, Bulls, Sharks, Jaguares

    Get your tips in now – The Crowd’s tips will be revealed before kick-off in the first game of the weekend.

    The Sure Thing

    The one thing we’re all absolutely certain will happen over the course of this weekend. Well, pretty certain…

    “There will be a host of Barrett confusion in Christchurch on Saturday night and the Crusaders will miss Whitelock.”

    “Auckland fans will see ten tries or more; Pretoria fans will want to avert their eyes.”

    “Jaguares need a head coach from NZ.”

    I’m tipping an unexpected – and stunningly high quality – Australian win. And I’m a genuine one-in-four chance of picking who it will be…

    Got a sure thing yourself? Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy your rugby this weekend…

    Brett McKay
    Brett McKay

    Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, has commentated on the Australian Under-20s Championships and National Rugby Championship live stream coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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