What an explosive week it’s been. It would appear that certain members of the tipping panel have been engaging in underhanded tactics and dodgy background deals with property developers and universities – strange, for an internet-based forum – to oust other tipsters from the panel.
The result was Paddy and I being told on Monday that we’d been stood down, effective immediately.
Fortunately, Paddy and I won a court injunction against our wrongful dismissal on Tuesday afternoon and returned to the panel with our heads held high on Wednesday.
We don’t want to wage half a war with one hand tied behind our back, but if we have to defend ourselves against the faceless tipsters of the panel, we won’t be afraid to do so.
Of course, the problem would go away if the faceless tipsters of the panel stopped bowing to external pressures and manned up. Or some such.
Yet one of that will be a distraction for the tips. Or at least not until the results start coming through…
Harry holds – but doesn’t control – the honour again this week, and Paddy has posed this week’s Big Super Rugby Question.
Last Week: Harry, Digger, and The Crowd five, Paddy and Brett four.
Note: no points for the draws last week – we’re here to tip correctly; no half points for participation!
Harry Jones: “The secret to my early tipping ‘success’ has been to pick before any team sheets are published. The identity of the players adds too much data.
“This week is fairly simple. Two home teams, six away.
“The Kings lose, that’s what they do. The Chiefs will run riot. Flip a coin in Melbourne. The Bulls are too fast and heavy for the Sunwolves. The Cheetahs will lose 42-51, and the Brumbies will add to their card collection because apparently they take great offence to Afrikaans chit-chat.
“The Sharks’ luck will run out. The Jaguares will start their comeback after this round. The Reds will almost beat the Tahs.”
Tips: Hurricanes, Chiefs, Highlanders, Bulls, Brumbies, Crusaders, Stormers, Waratahs.
Diggercane: “Canes by plenty.
“Chiefs should still have too much in the tank for the Force despite the travel, while the Highlanders should put the Rebellion down.
“Bulls will overcome the Sunwolves in the second half, while I expect the Brumbies to hit back hard against the Cheetahs after last week’s disappointment. I will back the Sharks over the Crusaders at home because the Sharks have had a run of tougher assignments of late, and perhaps are more battle-hardened than the Crusaders who have not been particularly pushed very hard in the last few weeks.
“I think the Stormers pack will get the job done over the Jaguares as they are more controlled, although if the Jags stop dropping the ball it could easily be reversed. The Tahs should be too much for the Reds, even in Brisbane.”
Tips: Hurricanes, Chiefs, Highlanders, Bulls, Brumbies, Sharks, Stormers, Waratahs.
Paddy Effeney: “This week, my reasoning is all in haiku.
Brett’s note: Um, OK…
“Faith in teams from South,
The Land of the Long White Cloud,
Restored, get my tips.
“Canes, Chiefs, Highlanders.
Benefit from confidence.
Crusaders do not.
“‘B’ is a new theme.
Bull and Brumbies to conquer
Stormers to crumble.
“My beloved Reds.
Winless, in last position.
Tips: Hurricanes, Chiefs, Highlanders, Bulls, Brumbies, Sharks, Jaguares, Waratahs.
Brett McKay: Simple message to the teams I tip each week: kindly stop losing! You have one job, seriously!
Hurricanes, Chiefs, Brumbies and Waratahs all seem obvious this week, and for that reason I’m nervous about them.
I’ve tipped Highlanders, but wouldn’t mind getting it wrong; big chance to see just where the Rebels really are in 2016. The Bulls just aren’t convincing me and this is the week it all clicks for the Moondogs. If the Crusaders were playing the Sharks in the second game of their tour, I’d tip them. But they’re not, so I’m not. Not an endorsement of the Sharks, either.
And the Jaguares to win Breakfast Rugby 2. They probably should’ve won last week, and the Stormers’ bench isn’t as good as the Chiefs’.
Tips: Hurricanes, Chiefs, Highlanders, Sunwolves, Brumbies, Sharks, Jaguares, Waratahs.
The Big Super Rugby Question: After a couple of rounds of topsy-turvy results, has the Super Rugby hierarchy established itself? Or is the picture that’s started to be painted going to be a mere undercoat? (From Paddy.)
Harry: “Hierarchy is not set in stone yet, but the bottom five will not rise higher than 12th. In the middle of the pack, the Lions, Crusaders, Hurricanes, and Jaguares can still make some noise, or at least spoil someone’s season.
“In the top five, we see strong contenders. I am not convinced by the Rebels. So, I think maybe we have a second coat.”
Digger: “The base work is certainly there, but the prep work is not quite complete.
“Outside the current top eight, the Hurricanes, Waratahs and Jaguares can force their way in, while I have reservations around whether the Rebels can maintain their current position.
“The side that maybe plastering over the cracks is the Sharks. Stand to have egg all over my face but I am unsure whether they can maintain their current form for the length of the season and remain top of the pops, particularly with a New Zealand tour to complete. We are still in the sanding stage.”
“For the big question.
There is much rugby to play.
Wait just a few weeks.”
Brett: I reckon we’ve got the hierarchy sorted atop two of the four conferences, yeah. The Stormers are already two wins clear in Africa 1, maybe even only two more wins should lock them down. And the Brumbies still look top dog in Australia, despite last week’s result, and despite the Rebels being on equal points.
I agree with Harry’s point about the bottom five teams, but I think we knew they would be there anyway. Teams eight to 13 are within one win of each other, but they’re all at least three points off seventh, and that’s going to take some catching. I mean, Blues-Waratahs-Bulls-Jaguares, even if they win, they’re not really going to make up any ground; they’ll still be mid-table.
So I think we’re beyond undercoat. We’re probably on the second or third layer of undercoat, all the while thinking ahead of what the finished product will look like. Over the next two rounds, we’ll establish the right colour tint, and then the hierarchy will take shape properly.
The Crowd’s tips are in…
More than 380 responses received, and it was pretty well one-way traffic in the end, with no tips changing hands over the two days.
99.7% Hurricanes (one solitary Kings vote)