If there are two words a tipster doesn’t want to hear, surely those two words are ‘upset’ and ‘draw’. Even worse when both words are heard in the same round. Just ruins a weekend.
And the Reds getting up at home, followed by the Sharks and Waratahs being unable to break the deadlock in Durban did indeed ruin the weekend that was Round 3. So did the Blues, and the bloody Jaguares, for what it’s worth, but maybe that was just me. You’ll get yours, Jaguares; don’t you worry. I’ll deal with you soon enough.
The new man in town, Mr Parkes esquire, leads off after taking 5/7 in what proved to be a difficult Round 3. And this is the one and only acknowledgement of The Crowd now leading outright. Nope, nothing to see here, let’s just move on…
TIPS: Highlanders, Rebels, Crusaders, Bulls, Sharks, Lions, Jaguares
The Highlanders will Rhule under the roof, before the Rebels repeat their home win of last year against the so far curiously underwhelming Brumbies.
I was surprised to find the Hurricanes favoured by the bookies – despite home ground advantage, the Crusaders appeal as the better organised early in the season. There’s also plenty to like about how the Bulls are approaching things under John Mitchell, and I think they’ll go well in Brisbane.
Sharks easily at home over the Moondogs, ditto the Lions over the Blues before a real toss-up on Sunday morning. The Jaguares lack a little bit of class but they are not a bad side and will fancy their chances against the gritty, un-pretty Waratahs. I’ll take a punt on Kurtley Beale not playing and tip the home side.
SURE THING – Davey Warner and Quinton de Kock will bury the hatchet, taking a winning Super Rugby multi-bet and celebrating by taking their families out for a nice meal.
TIPS: Highlanders, Rebels, Hurricanes, Bulls, Sharks, Lions, Jaguares
Robbie Fleck, alleged Stormers coach, is suffering from concussion. Thus, the continued selection of Raymond Rhule (four missed tackles against the Crusaders, leading to 21 early points). The rugby Jacobites by plenty.
The Rebels will steal more lineouts and miss fewer tackles than the Brumbies; the local paper will run a rugby article on page 6. entitled ‘Unbeaten Rebels all the way?’ The Hurricanes have a world class flyhalf. The Crusaders don’t, now. Canes by a wobbling, fluttering wounded duck BBBBB conversion, late.
The fit, handsome Bulls will run rampant in Brisbane; afterwards, drink Queensland Red. The Sunwolves will suffer in the Shark Tank. The Blues will almost upset the Lions; the TMO will decide it. The Waratahs will lose to the Jaguares at the death, in controversial fashion.
SURE THING: I will be leading the competition after Round 4, and Brett Laidlaw McKay will drink long and hard to my success.
TIPS: Highlanders, Rebels, Hurricanes, Reds, Sharks, Lions, Jaguares.
The Highlanders should have enough talent to overcome the homesick Stormers. Rebels at home against a somehow lost Brumbies team.
The Hurricanes did not look good neither in South Africa and Argentina but there is a big question mark on how Mitchell Hunt will perform replacing the injured Richie Mo’unga who has been crucial for the Crusaders. We all know that Mr Hunt can play ball, we have witness very good performances from him last year, but the safe bet is to go with my home tip rule in this one.
I think it is a waste to bring a ball on to the field for the Reds versus Bulls match, since I have the feeling that both teams will be more concerned with wrestling than rugby.
The home team with caution. If there was a powerplay I would use it for the Sharks over the Sunwolves. The Blues betrayed me last week, so I will go with the unbeaten Lions at home.
And finally, we arrive to a very intriguing game in Buenos Aires. Two of the worst scrums in the competition. Both teams have problems executing and in defence. I think the individualities could make the difference in this one but also Mario Ledesma has been with the ‘Tahs and Wallabies for enough length of time to know what to expect from the visitors.
The Jaguares might get their first win.
SURE THING: Expect a game or two to be decided with the boot.
TIPS: Highlanders, Rebels, Hurricanes, Reds, Sharks, Lions, Waratahs
Starting off in the far American south, I am backing the Waratahs to get in against a Jaguares side which has shown little to date, while in the African South I cannot see anything but comfortable Lions and Sharks victories at their respective home grounds.
Across the ditch, two intriguing match ups; I will back the Reds for the simple reason that the Bulls have yet to prove they can travel despite their obvious positive upturn in form, and I will get behind the Rebels this week in the game I found hardest to settle on. Despite the travel factor, they are playing with a little bit more cohesion than the Brumbies though the mob is more than capable.
At home, the Highlanders should be too good over 80 minutes for the mild Rhule cold front, while nothing makes me more nervous than a depleted Crusty side, especially combined with our own less than convincing form and travel. But, ya know, ‘Canes by plenty.
SURE THING: Scotland to beat Ireland, oh, sorry, wrong comp. But that’s what I have got, along with Sharks centre Lukhanyo Am scoring a hat trick. Him, or Candle Wyk.
TIPS: Highlanders, Brumbies, Hurricanes, Reds, Sharks, Lions, Waratahs
So last week didn’t go well at all, let’s just acknowledge that elephant in the room from the start. But, now that rock bottom is out of the way early, I look forward to tipping the heck out of the rest of the season.
Highlanders is easy; Hurricanes is easy at the Cake Tin with no Richie Mo’unga in the red and black; Sharks is easy (but heart remains forever with the mighty Moondogs), and Lions is also easy. Just chalk those four up as correct straight away.
Rebels-Brumbies isn’t so easy, and I’m going to revert to a bit of ‘dirty pool’ here. You see, my esteemed colleagues don’t have the benefit of seeing many teams named before sending their tips through, and when I saw four tips for the Rebels alongside news that Adam Coleman wasn’t playing, the inner C. Montgomery Burns surfaced.
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Is it right that I abuse such an obvious editorial advantage over the rest of the panel? No, probably not. But I’ll refer you to the acknowledgement of last week’s result, and I’ll sleep just fine, thanks!
Also, anyone who happened to hear me on the Green and Gold Rugby podcast this week, just ignore that little bit where I leaned toward the Bulls, please. 2016 was the last time the Bulls won a first game on tour, but that was against the Sunwolves in Singapore. Before that? March 10, 2013! And March 2003 was the last time they won an opening tour game in Australia! Weren’t they still Northern Transvaal then?! Reds at home, please.
And I wasn’t mad at the Jaguares losing last week, just disappointed. But they must pay for disappointing me, and thus they get yet another yellow card for the year. Waratahs.
SURE THING: Jaguares, now, obviously.
Get your votes in now – The Crowd’s tips will be revealed Friday afternoon AEDT.
Who gets your tip? Got a sure thing yourself? Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy your rugby this weekend…