Super Rugby Round 12: Where’s the upset?

Brett McKay Columnist

By Brett McKay, 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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    The Crowd Says (132)

    • May 11th 2017 @ 4:32am
      DavSA said | May 11th 2017 @ 4:32am | ! Report

      Cheetahs will provide that upset. They have threatened plenty this year , this time ?? …. But the Hurricanes vs Crusaders… What a match up. Careful Canes the Saders don’t mind travelling.

      • May 11th 2017 @ 5:35am
        P2R2 said | May 11th 2017 @ 5:35am | ! Report

        Dont think so, Blues will be too composed and too FIT….Cheetahs will be out on their feet midway through 2nd half….

      • May 11th 2017 @ 5:38am
        Faith said | May 11th 2017 @ 5:38am | ! Report

        Cheetahs might have a chancein Bloem now in Eden park – they’ll be crushed … Landers will struggle but they’ll come through …

    • Roar Guru

      May 11th 2017 @ 5:05am
      Nobrain said | May 11th 2017 @ 5:05am | ! Report

      It would be a tough call if we had a powerplay in this round.

      • Roar Guru

        May 12th 2017 @ 1:07am
        Shop said | May 12th 2017 @ 1:07am | ! Report

        Hola NB, did you see the Wallabies are playing in Mendoza again this year? 7th of October, I hope you can make your way over here. In fact, I would have thought the Roar would shout you a ticket across from BA and to the game…how about it Brett??

        • Roar Guru

          May 12th 2017 @ 5:20am
          Nobrain said | May 12th 2017 @ 5:20am | ! Report

          I defenitly try to go. I have to take care of some family issues on that date. But I really want to go.

          Haahahaha, I do not think that the roar will do something like that.

    • May 11th 2017 @ 6:10am
      Chinmay Hejmadi said | May 11th 2017 @ 6:10am | ! Report

      Three matches – Brumbies v Lions, ‘Saders vs’ Canes, and Rebels vs Reds are where our tips might backfire. No point hoping anything from the Bulls. Cheetahs are entertaining but let’s be honest there’s no way they’re going to win their first game of the tour, even if it’s against the weakest Kiwi team. The Sharks should beat the Kings, despite all of the Kings’ improvement. And the home advantage should get the Jags through.
      I’d say the Brumbies have the best chance of getting the upset.

      • May 11th 2017 @ 11:47am
        Akari said | May 11th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

        I think you’re on to something there, Chinmay, as the Brumbies are yet to lose to the Lions at home.

        • Roar Guru

          May 11th 2017 @ 11:49pm
          Rob na Champassak said | May 11th 2017 @ 11:49pm | ! Report

          Not true, Akari, the Lions won in Canberra in 2011. What an awful season that one was.

    • May 11th 2017 @ 6:54am
      moaman said | May 11th 2017 @ 6:54am | ! Report

      Expecting the ‘Canes to come unstuck against the more cohesive Crusaders.Happy (for Digger) to be proved wrong though.
      The rest look fairly straight-forward.

      • Roar Guru

        May 11th 2017 @ 6:56am
        Diggercane said | May 11th 2017 @ 6:56am | ! Report

        That’s pretty reasonable I think Moa to be fair, the Crusaders are certainly playing better as a team.

        • May 11th 2017 @ 9:04am
          Old Bugger said | May 11th 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report


          My heart is on the Canes but, me top 2″, is on the Saders. Sorry bro’ – but, just do me Chiefs a big favour and soften the buggers up, before they have to fly to paradise, to meet my side.

          • Roar Guru

            May 11th 2017 @ 1:10pm
            Diggercane said | May 11th 2017 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

            Its ok OB, we all make mistakes 😉

            Will do our best 🙂

        • May 11th 2017 @ 12:09pm
          Muzzo said | May 11th 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          Hi Digger, it looks like being a great game, between the Saders & the Canes, but being a true blue Mainlander, & seeing how well the Saders are going at the mo, it’s the Saders for me. Cheers.

          • Roar Guru

            May 11th 2017 @ 1:12pm
            Diggercane said | May 11th 2017 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

            Now now muzzo, don’t need to support em just because you are on the same island 😉

            It should be a great match, quite excited now. Havent seen the Sader side named yet?

            • May 11th 2017 @ 2:41pm
              Muzzo said | May 11th 2017 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

              Well Digger, I really am looking forward to the game, as it will definitely be the game of the weekend, down there at Addington. It should, hopefully, be a classic, especially, with so many AB’s playing. Could possibly, call it an All Black trial, from back in the day. It would be so nice to see, the NZRU, re introduce the good old North v South games. Good Luck mate, as I’m still sticking with the Saders.. Cheers.

    • Roar Guru

      May 11th 2017 @ 7:03am
      Kia Kaha said | May 11th 2017 @ 7:03am | ! Report

      Crusaders to win. Up front they’re going to cause the Hurricanes strife. The Stormers showed the way. Like Corporal Jones said: “they don’t like it up ’em.”

      • Roar Guru

        May 11th 2017 @ 7:11am
        Diggercane said | May 11th 2017 @ 7:11am | ! Report

        Probably, but then they will have abandoned their successful style of attacking play to simply keep it tight. Will it actually work? Cant wait.

        • May 11th 2017 @ 1:53pm
          CUW said | May 11th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          the reason why Crusaders have stayed unbeaten is becoz they have adapted as they went along.

          when it suits they will play the forwards game and then wait to pounce on any opportunity with the backs.

          with teams who are less structured like Cheetahs they played a backs game running them off their feet.

          The only worry for Crusaders is missing 2 of their best forwards. W hile SW is easily replaced there is no real 8 in crusaders squad ; thus the loss of Whetu Douglas will be felt much.

    • May 11th 2017 @ 7:40am
      Rugby Tragic said | May 11th 2017 @ 7:40am | ! Report

      The game of the round ….. has to be ………… Blues v Cheetahs! …. and the mighty BLUES hitting their straps for 3 in a row! Too big, too fast, too strong, too good!.. 🙂

      Lions even with the changes to their forward pack to prevail over Brumbies.

      Then there is this ‘little match’ to be played in Christchurch, ‘probably won’t be that exciting’ between the Crusaders and the Hurricanes … but given the weather in NZ is rather crap at the moment, firstly consecutive Cyclones Cook, then Cyclone Debbie and now Cyclone Donna, by Saturday, Cyclone Barrett to blow over the ‘Saders who will need to baton down the hatches without a couple of key players … the chickens are coming home to roost.

      Rebels I think at home might get over the Reds if Karmichael Hunt is not playing (I think he is that good). Highlander, (unfortunately) will get over the stuttering Bulls (do Bulls stutter?) … Sharks, away, to win against the Kings in a closer than anticipated scrap and the Jaguares to finish of the round with a victory over the gallant Force.

      GO BLUES!!! – 3 in a row! … the streak begins … 🙂

      • Roar Guru

        May 11th 2017 @ 7:57am
        Machooka said | May 11th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

        GO BLUES!!!

        It’s on!!!

        3 in a row!

        Let the streaking begin… 🙂

        • May 11th 2017 @ 8:23am
          Rugby Tragic said | May 11th 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

          It’s on!!! ….

          … meanwhile … do Bulls Stutter?

      • Columnist

        May 11th 2017 @ 10:30am
        Brett McKay said | May 11th 2017 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        When was the last time the Blues won three on the trot, RT?

        • May 11th 2017 @ 3:52pm
          Akari said | May 11th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

          It must be a very, very, very, very long time ago, Brett, as RT is still digging up thru his files to get to the answer.

          • May 11th 2017 @ 5:54pm
            taylorman said | May 11th 2017 @ 5:54pm | ! Report

            Yes I believe it was not long after the battle of Hastings.?

            • Columnist

              May 11th 2017 @ 6:04pm
              Brett McKay said | May 11th 2017 @ 6:04pm | ! Report


              Turns out it’s not as long ago as we thought – technically it was Rd1 this season, after they won the last two of 2016.

              For three wins on the trot in a single year, we have to go all the way back to………………..

              …this time last year

              The Blues beat the Kings in PE in in Round 11, the Rebels in Rd10, had the bye in Rd9, and beat the Sharks in Rd8.

              Before that, in a single season, it was around this time in 2011, when they ended a run of seven straight wins..

              • May 11th 2017 @ 9:22pm
                Rugby Tragic said | May 11th 2017 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

                There you go Brett, you answered your own question … actually, it not the 3 in the row that excites me, its the, its the “7 in a row” ….(can see Brett sniggering now).

                But to get through the rest of the season undefeated, all we need to do is travel to Capetown and get over the Stormer’s in a couple of weeks … before returning and gaining revenge against the Chiefs … piece of cake. The Reds and Sunwolves game have already been banked..

                Possible? …. bloody oath! …. probable … Ummm

                GO TANA,, GO BLUES!! …. 🙂

              • May 11th 2017 @ 9:25pm
                taylorman said | May 11th 2017 @ 9:25pm | ! Report

                I prefer my answer somehow Brett…

      • May 11th 2017 @ 2:33pm
        CUW said | May 11th 2017 @ 2:33pm | ! Report

        i say the Brumbies will make it – by a nose !!!

        i would have tipped Force but realized they are away.

        Crusaders will have too much class in the pack , even without Read and Whitelock.

      • Roar Guru

        May 11th 2017 @ 3:48pm
        Cadfael said | May 11th 2017 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

        The way our teamsd have been going, picking the Lions is quite a reasonable pick. It wou;d have been nice to see how the Lions go against a kiwi side.

      • Roar Guru

        May 12th 2017 @ 2:37pm
        ThugbyFan said | May 12th 2017 @ 2:37pm | ! Report

        G’day RT and fingers crossed for TBM, now that they got the win over the Inept Blues of NSW, even if it was those bleedin 1st half penalties that got them over the line. Its a nice way to finish the season, win all your games once the Semis are out of reach. If I recall, the Blues finished the 2016 season on a high also, unless you call beating the Brumbles and Tahs not much of a high. LoL.

        I hope the Tahs can finish on a similar high and win 4 of their last 5 matches, though they need to play more like the team from the 2nd half in their matches against Crusaders, Hurrycanes and Blues. The Tahs last 5 are against Rebels (H), Highlanders (A), Chiefs (A), Jaguares (H) and Force (A). Last year the Tahs walloped the Chiefs in Sydney. This year the game is on 3rd June and I expect some of the Chiefs’ AB will be in cotton wool, so a Tahs victory is quite possible. In 2 weeks time it looks like you will be cheering the Tahs to do a job on them penguin Highlanders in Frigid Dunedin. How is the run home for Tana’s Blue Mob?

        This week’s match against the Cheetahs should be an entertaining game. The Cheetahs have taken up the baton of fast running rugby, similar to their SA counterparts Lions and Kings. I would expect them to score a couple of really nice tries but TBM far too rugby-smart and have plenty of fast talent also and likely to score 6 tries themselves.

        Early daze yet, but does anyone know when the AB squad for the Lions matches is announced?

        • May 12th 2017 @ 2:59pm
          Rugby Tragic said | May 12th 2017 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

          Ha! Thugby…. Our run home … this week Cheetahs ((H), week after Stormers (A) .. *winnable gulp* ..Chiefs (H) after short turnaround and travel, a toughie … but you never know…. then finish with Reds on neutral ground (Apia) and Sunwolves (A)

          • Roar Guru

            May 12th 2017 @ 3:38pm
            ThugbyFan said | May 12th 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

            5 wins is possible there. The Lions’ Tour is a problem as some players on the AB radar and with niggles will be hiding instead of going all out, so hard to predict and a boilover (Blues vs Chiefs) is a possibility.

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