Well, he promised to return to tipping glory, did our esteemed South African correspondent, and return to glory he did.
“Only two home teams will win,” Harry told us last week, as the rest of scrambled for near-exclusive home teams to kick off the Super Rugby tipping season. The joke is on him, of course, because only the Bulls got up at home.
Round 2, Harry claims, will be “easy”. Methinks our resident Capetonian is still floating in the successful clouds of Round 1. If the rest of us learned anything from loading up on home teams, it’s that Super Rugby remains a fickle beast to predict.
Or at least that’s what you say when you’re already playing catch-up.
Last week: Geoff, Harry, and The Crowd 4; Nobes 3; Digger and Brett 2.
HIGHLANDERS, WARATAHS, CRUSADERS, BRUMBIES, SHARKS, LIONS, BULLS
One round might be a small sample, but at least some exposed form to work with is better than none. And surely the home teams will do better this week?
I’ve got a sneaky vibe about the Reds delivering a surprise first-up, but after getting caught out underestimating the Highlanders last week, I won’t fall for that again.
No issues for the ‘Tahs in Japan, and while the Crusaders and Hurricanes both look a bit underdone, you have to like the home side, now that their ‘supercoach’ is locked in for another three years.
The Brumbies weren’t as bad as what some people were quick to point out, and I like them at home against the Chiefs. Both the Sharks and the Blues had to travel to Durban, this one’s a coin-toss the Sharks’ way. The try-less Stormers will struggle again, while to finish the round off, the Jaguares are a good chance to drop a second successive home match, against a strong looking Bulls.
SURE THING – Julian Savea agrees to being DNA tested, only on the condition that all rugby players are subjected to the same testing. Results reveal that Scottish captain Greig Laidlaw and Brett McKay are indeed one and the same person, while Peter O’Mahoney and Kyle Sinckler are twins who were separated at birth.
HIGHLANDERS, WARATAHS, CRUSADERS, CHIEFS, SHARKS, LIONS, BULLS.
In Super Rugby 2019, home teams are struggling to defend their fortresses, and really punish visitors, except for the Bulls and Crusaders, so far.
Well, that’s using a sample of one week. In week two, I project this unusual trend to continue, tipping only three home sides: two Kiwi sides and one Saffa.
Part of this is due to the fact that ‘home’ teams may travel around the globe to return home, further than their visitors.
This week, I’ll back the lucky high-viz Highlanders to squeeze out a win over the Maroons. The big Waratahs will stumble past the wee Wolves.
The competent Crusaders will overcome the somnambulant Hurricanes, causing significant television damage in the Hutt Valley.
The roundabout Chiefs will break Canberran hearts with a randomly selected Hamiltonian at 10. The Sharks will bring the Blues down to earth with warthog hookers. The Stormers will lose by 10 or so at home, as will the Jaguares.
SURE THING: red-faced Matt Todd won’t miss any tackles this week.
HIGHLANDERS, WARATAHS, CRUSADERS, CHIEFS, SHARKS, STORMERS, JAGUARES.
Hard to remember when it was the last time, if there was one, when all the matches were won by the visitors except one in a particular round. Very much in spite of my bad tips I find consolation in which the matches where I was not successful were defined by a tight score.
All situations conspiring against the tipsters: Highlanders winning visitors before the Chiefs despite being short a man in the last minutes and down in the score. The ‘Iceman’ missing a routine penalty to give the win to the Waratahs.
Jaguares doing the impossible to lose their game and with just one try acting at home. In short, all the nightmares of an authentic tipster together.
Round Two presents new unknowns but there are some things we have already seen of most of the franchises that might help a little.
Even not knowing what the Reds have, I think the Highlanders at their home should win. The Waratahs should continue with the Sunwolves sangria in Tokyo. Crusaders and Hurricanes is a classic game to bet for the home team.
I did not like the Brumbies and neither the Chiefs, but I’m going for the visiting New Zealand team. They have to prove that what happened last weekend was just a slip.
The Sharks will receive the Blues and both being well-travelled I lean towards the house with caution. The Stormers have to have something more than what they showed over the past weekend, and at home they should win against the Lions that come from a long trip and a big effort
Finally the Jaguares on a wet floor should be able to engineer a win against a heavier team like the impressive Bulls.
Sure Thing: I will regret some of my tips.
HIGHLANDERS, WARATAHS, CRUSADERS, CHIEFS, SHARKS, LIONS, BULLS
Well that was a below average start to the tipping year and I had my own little ‘Boudjellal’ moment at home where my TV was seriously under threat. I also threatened to have my ‘rugby tipping cat’ DNA tested as she is usually far more accurate than that. Might be time to send her to Japan.
Anyway, onwards and upwards and into this week they again look fairly straightforward, which concerns me more than any potential player top ups or dirty boot snatch and grabs, then release.
Highlanders look good returning home against the unknown quantity in the Reds while the Waratahs should get their season back on track in Japan.
Crusaders at home are always the smart bet, (and man-o-man didn’t I hate saying that, yes boy, boomfaaaa) while in Canberra, tough for me to decide but I will back the neighbours to get up after such a disappointing loss last week in Hamilton.
Sharks at home because the Blues have yet to be trusted that they can perform week in, week out, while the Lions are a no brainer after last week’s respective efforts. And it could be a trap as the Bulls also have yet to show consistency but their play looks too hot for the Jaguares at present.
SURE THING: George Bridge to score a hat trick and I will be TV shopping on Sunday morning.
HIGHLANDERS, WARATAHS, CRUSADERS, BRUMBIES, SHARKS, STORMERS, BULLS
Well, last week straight out sucked. Five home teams from seven really shouldn’t be losing on opening weekend, but here we are. Playing catchup. And worse, Harry might be right.
Because Round 2 does look easy. Which makes me nervous. Which means I need a tip that makes no sense; a tip that will have me regretting it right up until full-time when it’s suddenly right and I’m a tipping genius.
I’m not uncomfortable about the Highlanders though, and I even think the Waratahs shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a way through the Sunwolves in Japan. The Crusaders-Hurricanes should be a belter, but a belter I’m going to have to watch on replay, nonetheless.
The Brumbies, all things considered, played about as well as any team can when they lose the premier openside in the game and both wingers inside 45 minutes. So they get the benefit of the doubt being at home against a Chiefs side that looked surprisingly flat at times.
I saw the Sharks were at $2.35 earlier in the week, and laughed out loud. In Durban. Against the Blues. Madness. Somehow the Blues are still seen as favourites. Not by me. And the Bull confirmed that gut feel I mentioned last week I had about them. They look really sharp. Handre Pollard looks really sharp. The Jaguares look as sharp as a house brick, and only marginally more mobile.
Which means I’m going to pick the Stormers and be nervous about them until early Sunday morning. There’s no reason to be confident them, none. Only that the Lions are returning from South America. But one result will make no sense this weekend; you mark my words.
SURE THING: All results will make perfect sense this weekend.
Get your votes in now – The Crowd’s tips will be revealed Friday afternoon AEDT.
Who have you got, Roarers? Who gets your tip for the first round of the season?