I wasn’t sure there would be much difference between our tips this week – maybe one game might split us, I thought – because it just felt like one of those weeks where tips seemed fairly obvious.
But in the end, four of the seven games are carrying differences, which is really surprising. And to be fair, most of those differences are in Harry’s column, but he’s desperate and I can empathise with the big fella. Most years in recent memory, actually.
So maybe this round isn’t as obvious as I thought?
LAST WEEK: Brett 6; Digger, Nobes, Geoff and The Crowd 5; Harry 4.
OVERALL: Nobes 62; Geoff 61; The Crowd 58; Digger and Brett 56; Harry 54.
TIPS: Hurricanes, Rebels, Jaguares, Waratahs, Highlanders, Bulls, Lions
Hard to know what I was most proud about last week, there was just so much: obviously the Sunwolves getting up, my moral victory in suggesting “a Waratahs win would not surprise me one bit”, or gapping Harry. How can I choose just one?
This week. Well, you all know my tips for this week – and next, for that matter – because I laid this out on Tuesday.
The Crusaders without a couple of naughty All Black props would’ve been up against it, but take Tim Perry, Sam Whitelock and Ryan Crotty out of the equation as well, and it’s all that much harder again. ‘Canes by less than plenty, but by enough.
Rebels will be too good for the Mighty Moondogs, ditto the Jaguares for the Sharks. And the Bulls. And the Lions. Lions by plenty, actually.
The relief around the Waratahs is very evident now, but a build-up without talk of ‘The Streak’ – may it Rest in Peace – cannot be underestimated. But I suspect the Australian ‘hoodoo’ over New Zealand sides will end at two, with the Highlanders not wanting to become the first Kiwi side in years to lose two on the bounce to Australian sides.
SURE THING: Harry to remain on his ‘Pat Malone’, for reasons that will become apparent in just a moment…
TIPS: Hurricanes, Rebels, Jaguares, Waratahs, Highlanders, Bulls, Lions
A week on and I’m still angry at myself for not tipping the Tahs – it’s actually all Ned Hanigan’s fault!
The Crusaders seem a bit light on for personnel this week, so it’s the Canes to win the top of the table clash. Three wins on the trot is surely beyond the Sunwolves and this is a match the Rebels simply must win. On the other hand, I see no reason why the Jaguares can’t continue their winning streak.
The Chiefs will be better for being back at home, but the Waratahs are a confidence side and their self-belief will be through the roof right now. Make that two New Zealand scalps in succession. Will the Reds join the Aussie resurrection party? Quite possibly, but they aren’t as good as the Tahs and the Highlanders, without Bruce Lee this week, will be better. This one goes to the tradies.
The Brumbies showed well overdue improvement last week, but it has to be the Bulls at home. And despite the Stormers being at home, the Lions know more about how to win more often.
SURE THING: Australia’s leading rugby coaches are meeting to design the perfect ‘player of the future’, a back with the body-height and strength of a forward at clean-out, combined with a forward with the evasion, speed and skill of a back.
Meanwhile, Matt Dunning announces he is coming out of retirement. Surely no coincidence.
TIPS: Hurricanes, Rebels, Jaguares, Chiefs, Reds, Bulls, Lions.
Another week and another quiz, some difficult calls to be made, for some teams is do or die and a few irrelevant games that are hard to tip.
The game that most of us have been waiting between the number one and two rated teams has some circumstances that calls for unconventional tipping behaviour. Who would dare to tip against the Crusaders at home? But due to sanctions and injuries they have been depleted of their front row, and on the other hand, the Hurricanes are suffering injuries in back line. I am going to go with the visitors in this one for what they have done on the field throughout the season.
Rebels at home should have taken care of business. Jaguares will continue to show that they are for real, and probably will win this one against the off-loads leaders of Super Rugby.
Chiefs will be back in almost full gear and will test the Waratahs in must win situation that they will only accomplish if they manage to keep fifteen men on the turf.
One of the most difficult calls this week is the Reds and the Highlanders game, I think it is the time for another team from Australia to beat a kiwi team. Reds.
Bulls will redeem in front of their fans and will remind us all that they still in contention. They say that Stormers are unbeatable in Newlands, but the Lions have what it takes to challenge that myth. They are at full force for his Head Coach to choose what to place on the field. Not many teams have that luxury by Round 15.
SURE THING: It will be drama and I hope it falls my way.
TIPS: Hurricanes, Rebels, Jaguares, Chiefs, Highlanders, Bulls, Lions
‘Canes by plenty.
Rebels should canter in at home to get their season back on track, while I will back the Jaguares at home to continue their good form and break their duck against the Sharks.
The Bulls in Pretoria seem the likely bet against the Brumbies on their second match on tour and the Lions should have too much for their local rivals, even at Newlands.
The two games I am finding hardest to settle on are the trans-Tasman encounters and in the end, I will back the Kiwi sides. The Chiefs should be reinforced with quality personal and will be wide awake to the threat the Waratahs pose, while I am picking the Highlanders as they tend to bounce back well, and the Reds have shown themselves to be inconsistent at times this year.
SURE THING: BLAM (say that loudly in your head) will break the season try scoring record this weekend, while this round should also be kung fu-free. Though plenty more cards are likely.
TIPS: Hurricanes, Rebels, Sharks, Chiefs, Highlanders, Bulls, Stormers.
In the thrilling race to avoid eating pudding with a wooden spoon, between B-Mac and me, this is do-or-die time. Laidlaw has been relying on a Moondawg strategy. The Sunwolves come to Melbourne this round, in an intriguing test of their new resurgence. I think McKay will stick with the Dogs.
Brett’s note: HA!
With that premise, here I go:
– Hurricanes over the Crusaders because TJP and Jordie Barrett will control the proceedings.
– Rebels by plenty over the Sunwolves; the result of the Australian conference still has some doubt.
– The Sharks have a golden opportunity to put themselves in the quarter-finals in BA up against the form team in the competition; I say they shock us all.
– The Chiefs will chuck gravel at the pretty Waratahs; there will be cards and controversy. Chiefs by a few.
– The Highlanders will squeak by the Reds in Brisbane because of superior tactical kicking and catching.
– The jetlagged Bulls will out-maul the Brumbies, but it won’t be easy. Naas Botha will probably have an opinion, which he may or may not share.
– Nobody will pick the Stormers except me, but ok, I will. Stormers by three Dillyn Leyds’ miracle tries.
SURE THING: Leyds has raised his hand for Bok selection, with superb cover defence, miraculous tries created out of nothing, and nobody has pulled his hair this season. If you ever miss a match live, just watch the Leyds highlights for a real show.
Get your votes in now – The Crowd’s tips will be revealed Friday afternoon AEST.
Who have you got, Roarers? Who gets your tip? Got a sure thing yourself? Let us know in the comments below, and enjoy your rugby this weekend…