Super Rugby Round 11 tips and predictions: Getting the Blues

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, Brett McKay is a Roar Expert

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    Well, we saw the table movement that I suspected and, sadly for Harry and me, it wasn’t in a good way.

    This week doesn’t look great in terms of making up ground, although maybe there are a couple of games in the fixture that are a bit curlier than they first look – at least that’s what I’ll be telling you soon.

    The Waratahs-Blues game appears to be the game causing the most problems, which seems about right. Two teams who on paper boast incredible talent, who should be playing better rugby than they are, and who are just as likely to dazzle as they are to underwhelm.

    Good luck with that.

    Last week: Nobes and The Crowd 6, Digger and Brett 5, Harry 4

    “Well, finally I know the feeling of being the rabbit that everybody wants to catch.

    “I would like to give my apologies to The Crowd that followed my tips in Round 10 for the two misfires. The Waratahs were a difficult call, and they seemed to be playing with 16 men some of the time, but the Jaguares was a big disappointment for me; I thought they had more rugby than they showed.

    “Next round presents some clear results and a few blurry ones.

    “The Hurricanes will give the Stormers their third loss, but hopefully not another 50 points. Highlanders will take care of the Cheetahs if they do not give the ball to those three speedsters at the back. The Lions will be better this week to take the Rebels. The Chiefs will have to improve if they want to beat the Reds.

    “Whoa, ‘Tahs against the Blues. I want to think that Waratahs will win at home. But it is going to be a close one. With the Jaguares out of the picture, the Sharks will play better rugby and beat the Force. Crusaders will cruise against the Bulls.

    “And I am not so sure that Jaguares will easily take the team from Japan.”

    Tips: Hurricanes, Highlanders, Lions, Chiefs, Waratahs, Sharks, Crusaders, Jaguares.

    “’Canes by plenty.

    “Highlanders should eventually outrun the Cheetahs, while the Lions are a no brainer against the Rebels and the Chiefs too should win comfortably in New Plymouth, despite their recent form slump.

    “The Sharks at home, back to having fish for me, while the Crusaders are playing too well despite the missing big names, even in Pretoria. And the Jaguares should bounce back hard this week against what must be a travel weary Sunwolves.

    “Waratahs and Blues? Difficult choice, Blues should take it, but do I trust them to win twice on the road? The ‘Tahs will be highly motivated, I would have assumed, and still have the playoffs as a realistic option. Nah, stuff it; Blues it is, and poor old Machooka to lose his bet for the second year running with Rugby Tragic.”

    Tips: Hurricanes, Highlanders, Lions, Chiefs, Blues, Sharks, Crusaders, Jaguares

    So a couple of, ahem, astute selections came off last week, but there were another couple that are best left forgotten forever. Thanks a bloody lot, Rebels.

    This week the Hurricanes should continue the Stormers tour of hell, and I think the Lions will make the Rebels homecoming about as comfortable as an old pair of boots with the studs coming through.

    In between those two, I’m not so sure the Highlanders will outrun the Cheetahs, Nobes. I don’t know the Cheetahs were quite as bad last week as the scoreline against the Crusaders, and the first game on tour is always a bit rough – as the Rebels proved last week! Anyway, call me irrational if you must, but only if you call me a tipping genius next week when I get this one right.

    I think the Reds will have a tough time of it in Barrettville, I think the Sharks should be too good for the Force (but look forward to being wrong), and the Jaguares surely couldn’t lose to the Moondogs and the Kings in the same season.

    (What’s that? They already did that last season? Well, surely, surely they couldn’t do it in consecutive seasons…)


    Can the Blues win twice on the road? In a word, no. Historically, the last time the Blues won two away games in a row was split over the end of the 2012 season and the start of 2013; two away games seven months apart. Before that it was 2011 when they actually managed three away wins in a row. Can they overcome history? Nope, not this consistently inconsistent bluesiest of Blues sides.

    And to finish, I genuinely think the Crusaders a due a loss, but not as much as I genuinely think the Bulls are hopeless.

    Tips: Hurricanes, Cheetahs, Lions, Chiefs, Waratahs, Sharks, Crusaders, Jaguares

    Harry Jones
    “The last round was a disaster. The Stormers looked like they needed mum’s shoulder to cry on. The Reds-Tahs game was not officiated properly, in my opinion.

    “But this next round is the easiest one thus far. And the leader has given me a gift by disrespecting the Blues.

    “The Hurricanes will blow through the fragile defensive scheme of the Capetonians, who have lost their surest tackler, Eben Etzebeth. The Highlanders and the Cheetahs will probably score heaps and loads and buckets of points, but it will end in no joy for the home side.

    “The Lions will bite the weary, dispirited Rebels to the bone. The Chiefs will boil the Reds alive. The mighty Blues will run away from the Waratahs; they’ll even notch a bonus point.

    “The Sharks will take care of the Force. The Crusaders will run with the Bulls and the Bulls will not. The Jaguares will get another home win.”

    Tips: Hurricanes, Highlanders, Lions, Chiefs, Blues, Sharks, Crusaders, 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…

    “With the current doubt around the availability of the All Blacks loose forwards for a certain series coming up, expect a big game from Brad Shields who will put his hand up nice and high for a potential opportunity.”

    “Steve Hansen will not have a light-hearted stress-free look at his loose forwards’ tackles and carries.”

    “The Waratahs versus Blues is the game of the week.”

    We got some upsets last week, but this will be the week the Lions remember that making a big statement away from home is more important than keeping blokes fresh. With the Rebels losing so many players they’re now picking players from the establishment, this could get ugly.

    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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    The Crowd Says (125)

    • May 4th 2017 @ 3:35am
      Faith said | May 4th 2017 @ 3:35am | ! Report

      I thinks Chiefs with a lot of returning players will finally come right. Tahs really have to get up for this one or they will have a torrid 90 mins – these Blues are no longer that inconsistent – there are few games other than against the Saders where they’ve gone belly up. And again this is potentially the one game till the end of the season that Aussie sides have a chance of beating an NZ side. This game and Landers returning home passing through Forceland.

    • Roar Guru

      May 4th 2017 @ 5:17am
      Diggercane said | May 4th 2017 @ 5:17am | ! Report

      GO CANES!!

      Stormers, more like a passing shower after Harry wrapped all his good players in cotton wool 😉

      • May 4th 2017 @ 1:02pm
        Highlander said | May 4th 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

        Was looking forward to seeing Etzebeth up against your guys DC, he has been immense this year, disappointing

        • May 4th 2017 @ 2:53pm
          Rugby Tragic said | May 4th 2017 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

          H’lander … Diggers toes were curling waiting to see EE in Singapore a few weeks back.. then at the cake tin after he didn’t travel to Asia. He’s a bit grumpy now that EE went and got himself injured and has gone home

          • Roar Guru

            May 5th 2017 @ 6:51am
            Diggercane said | May 5th 2017 @ 6:51am | ! Report

            Him and PSDT, I wanted to see that second row go around.

    • May 4th 2017 @ 5:41am
      Brizvegas said | May 4th 2017 @ 5:41am | ! Report

      Defining game for both the Blues and Tahs i go with the Blues. Upset of the round Force to upset the Sharks .

      • May 4th 2017 @ 10:41am
        Jibba Jabba said | May 4th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

        The Force on Game One of their 34000 plus km epic journey – would seriously consider tipping them if a home game but not on the road unfortunately and they have more injuries..

        • Roar Rookie

          May 4th 2017 @ 10:47am
          piru said | May 4th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

          Rebels held them to 9

          We’ll have them

          • May 4th 2017 @ 10:53am
            Jibba Jabba said | May 4th 2017 @ 10:53am | ! Report

            Here’s hoping … 🙂

          • May 4th 2017 @ 9:06pm
            andrewM said | May 4th 2017 @ 9:06pm | ! Report

            Hopefully with Coleman back we’ll have a bit more ooommph up front

      • May 4th 2017 @ 4:36pm
        Akari said | May 4th 2017 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

        I was thinking the same re both games until JJ’s tip below about injuries to the Force. Damn as the Force will have been pretty settled before the Shorks get back home.

    • May 4th 2017 @ 6:30am
      Cynical Play said | May 4th 2017 @ 6:30am | ! Report

      I feel for the Rebels having to play a “home” game against the Lions when they have just flown around the world, and the Lions only have to travel domestically in the week. I cannot see the Rebels team posted anywhere for this clash so my tip for them to pull one out of the bag this weekend has a caveat. But it wouldn’t surprise me given the talent and the pride. Go Rebels.

      The Tahs and the Blues should be close, but I fear defence out wide on Robinson’s wing might be telling. If the forwards bring this week what the brought last week, it’s anyone’s game. Can Hooper do what he did two weeks in a row? I sure hope so. I hope Gordon starts. GO TAHS.

      Otherwise, Chiefs too strong at home, and Force too injured, but they’ll fight for sure.

      • May 4th 2017 @ 9:12am
        Ben said | May 4th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        Every team has to do that……

    • May 4th 2017 @ 6:40am
      Baylion said | May 4th 2017 @ 6:40am | ! Report

      Will the Lions stick to their test rugby style tactical game plan of the last 4-5 weeks or go back to all out attack against the Rebels? The latter I think, with the rebels having no attack of their own to test the Lions.

      The Stormers picked a distinctly second string side for the weekend and it will get ugly.

      The Tahs v the Blues is probably the only game with some uncertainty, barring total upsets elsewhere

    • Roar Guru

      May 4th 2017 @ 7:49am
      Machooka said | May 4th 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      C’arn da Tahs… it’s on!!!!

      • May 4th 2017 @ 8:37am
        jameswm said | May 4th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        Agreed. Though having thought about the team lately, I don’t know that I agree with Brett’s comment “Two teams who on paper boast incredible talent”. Where is the Tahs’ incredible talent?

        Kepu maybe, not at lock, only Hooper in the back row, Folau in the backs. No one else strikes me as having incredible talent. And Hooper’s really carrying the team at present. We need older guys like Mumm, Skelton, Foley and Horne to step up (and not that likely other than Foley), otherwise rookies like Hanigan, Clark and Gordon are our best hope.

        • Roar Guru

          May 4th 2017 @ 8:46am
          Machooka said | May 4th 2017 @ 8:46am | ! Report

          jameswm… the good news is the weather for this game should be perfect for some entertaining, expansive running rugby.

          The bad news is this probably more suited to the Blues!?!

          Regardless, it should be a gripping encounter and further let’s see who really turns up for it 😉

          • May 4th 2017 @ 10:43am
            Jibba Jabba said | May 4th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

            Good luck Chook but I’m going the blues (who have been known to falter away from home…. )

            • Roar Guru

              May 4th 2017 @ 10:51am
              Machooka said | May 4th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

              Wouldn’t expect anything less Jibba 🙂

              • May 4th 2017 @ 11:24am
                Rugby Tragic said | May 4th 2017 @ 11:24am | ! Report

                Wot? … “Wouldn’t expect anything less Jibba… ”

                You wouldn’t expect anything less… meaning Jibba to ‘go for the Blues’

                or ..

                You wouldn’t expect anything less… meaning …. “the blues have been known to falter away from home” …

              • Roar Guru

                May 4th 2017 @ 11:59am
                Machooka said | May 4th 2017 @ 11:59am | ! Report

                OK… from you old man I wouldn’t expect anything more or less.

        • May 4th 2017 @ 9:13am
          Ben said | May 4th 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

          Kepu maybe???
          Incredible talent??

          • May 4th 2017 @ 9:58am
            Faith said | May 4th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

            Kepu thugby practitioner

            • May 4th 2017 @ 10:56am
              Jibba Jabba said | May 4th 2017 @ 10:56am | ! Report

              Agreed Faith but to be fair only post world cup final,
              I do not have a recollection of Kepu being renowned for thuggery pre world cup and pre-cheika, what was his reputation prior to then ?

              • May 4th 2017 @ 11:38am
                jameswm said | May 4th 2017 @ 11:38am | ! Report

                In the last couple of games Kepu has been seen pulling pl ayers apart and calming things down, more than once against the Reds.

                He’s a very good player though. Good scrummager and very good ball runner. He’d leave a massive hole if he wasn’t available.

              • May 4th 2017 @ 11:44am
                Fionn said | May 4th 2017 @ 11:44am | ! Report

                I’m not sure if he’s better than Ala’alatoa. I think that they are actually of pretty similar standard and by far the two best props in Australia.

                If Sio is starting then I would prefer Ala’alatoa to start for reasons of combinations, but they’re both great and we need to hope both are available for the internationals.

              • May 4th 2017 @ 1:34pm
                jameswm said | May 4th 2017 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

                I agree Fionn, we have TH well covered. Ala is going great. But we only have one LH (Sio) at international level right now. I meant Kepu leaving a hole because we only have two good THs, and we can’t afford to lose one. Hopefully Tupou develops, and quickly.

                On the loose head side there is a huge hole after Sio.

              • Roar Guru

                May 4th 2017 @ 5:55pm
                Timbo (L) said | May 4th 2017 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

                Full credit to Sio’s work around the field but I haven’t seen him hold up a scrum yet. WP Nell broke his arm using scrum mechanics at the world cup and it looks like every TH opposition has worked him over the same way since.
                Where else can we look? Pek Cowan?

              • May 4th 2017 @ 7:48pm
                Faith said | May 4th 2017 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

                Jibba, like James says Kepu’s a really good player – very mobile for a prop. Offers good balance to Sio. He’ll bring a lot to this game against Charlie. Also, Kepu’s experienced. But history will always remember him for the RWC ’15 final which is sad.

        • Roar Guru

          May 4th 2017 @ 11:41am
          Lano said | May 4th 2017 @ 11:41am | ! Report

          Skelton’s only 24 and he’ll never grow to be an “older Tah” unless he gets some mongrel, some spine and some speed.

        • May 4th 2017 @ 4:40pm
          Akari said | May 4th 2017 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

          Hooper certainly has been carrying the Tahs all season. Mumm and Skelton will need to lift their work rate if the Tahs are to trouble the Blues.

        • May 4th 2017 @ 5:32pm
          Jock Cornet said | May 4th 2017 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

          Agree Hooper is carrying the side

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