So Round 13 really was lucky for some of us, but I kind of fear the worst for Round 14 in much the same way Saturday the 14th wasn’t exactly the greatest horror-comedy-parody film to follow Friday the 13th.
Because once you bring perfect rounds into the equation – as Nobes and you lot did last week – there’s only way you can go, isn’t there?
That is of course unless you never managed a perfect round in the first place! Mwahaha! My cunning plan reveals itself!
No, I’m fine, thanks for asking. This is all just part of accepting another season of tips going south. Let’s just found out what really does follow a good – or good-ish – round.
Round 13: Nobes and The Crowd 7; Geoff, Digger, Harry 6; Brett 5.
Overall: Nobes 54; Digger 53; The Crowd 51; Harry 49; Geoff 48; Brett 44.
Perfect rounds: Well played to Nobes, obviously, and well played to you all as part of The Crowd’s perfect round too. But here’s how close it was to being six from seven: of the 358 votes received, 180 picked the Chiefs and 178 picked the Sharks.
A shout out to Roarer ‘WithTheDawn’, who jagged seven too – and there may well have been more of you, but make it easy for me, gang: list your tips after all your explanations! Apologies to anyone I have missed.
Jaguares, Rebels, Blues, Waratahs, Highlanders, Crusaders
I did not expect the perfect Round 13 since I had doubts in several of the results, but it happened and I love it. I also want to congratulate The Crowd that shared my predictions. I do not know if for good or bad, but now I feel maybe too much confidence for Round 14, and as we have seen, that does not seem to be working this year.
For the first game I’m going to give myself the luxury of going for an upset. Jaguares have all the players available and the Hurricanes, I assume, are going to rest some of their All Blacks. I think those from Buenos Aires have a chance to win the match in those conditions.
Enough risk. Now I’ll go for the safest bet where I find the Rebels in a good position to beat the Bulls even though QQ will not be available.
In the New Zealand derby I think the Blues are going to recover and beat the Chiefs. It’s do or die for the Waratahs in Brisbane, and they will take the game by experience against a young team like the Reds.
The Lions won a tight one last weekend but showed a game that clearly favours the Highlanders. Finally, I do not see how these Stormers can match the Crusaders despite playing at home.
There you have it – I gave myself the pleasure of arriving in a position to be able to put some points to my Jags despite the likely incredibility of the majority.
Sure thing: Officials will be under high scrutiny not to favour the local teams.
Hurricanes, Rebels, Blues, Reds, Highlanders, Crusaders
Finally, the Sharks have a bye and there is some respite from my tipping nemesis.
First up, Canes by plenty.
The Bulls look unconvincing at home so I cannot tip them away – they are not the Sharks after all – while (gulp) let’s back the Blues at home to finally get over their ridiculous losing streak to the Chiefs. If they play with the same level of intensity as last week, I doubt the Chiefs defence will match them
Reds and Waratahs, I am not sure here as I think the Waratahs may be playing the better rugby but after the road trip I dunno. Let’s back the Reds physical style at home to get one over their traditional rival.
The Lions bother me. They can play a lot better than they have been showing but the Highlanders do seem to have hit a good patch of form lately and my bias has taken a hold of me, so Highlanders it is. And I cannot see the Crusaders losing in their ‘second’ home.
Sure things: More repetitive waste of advantages within the 22 with dinky low percentage waste of time kicks guaranteed to let defences off the hook and reset and have me shaking my head while wondering why every ground in the world continues to play ‘Sweet Caroline’ during these annoying breaks in play.
Hurricanes, Rebels, Blues, Reds, Highlanders, Crusaders
It’s certainly not beyond the Jaguares to jag an upset in Wellington, but the safe tip remains the home side. The home side are also no sure thing in Melbourne, with Adam Coleman, Luke Jones and Isi Naisarani all injured and the Bulls eyeing up a pack-dominated arm-wrestle. Quade Cooper is fit to play, and it will be up to him Will Genia and Dane Haylett-Petty to kick long and wide to space to keep the Bulls big men running in circles in the middle of the park.
The Blues are due a win, and perhaps the release of the pressure of finals expectations will help them see off the Chiefs. The Waratahs didn’t play badly in South Africa and are on a streak of ten straight against the Reds. Good credentials, but it’s about time that run was broken.
Will the Lions kick it out of their 22 this week or continue to try to play champagne rugby on a beer budget? If the same type of shootout happens, I back the Highlanders to punish them.
To finish the round, the Stormers will not be as loose as the Bulls were last week, but that still won’t be enough to stop the red and black juggernaut.
Sure thing: With SANZAAR keen to show fans that biased or hometown refereeing is not a thing, watch for Rasta Rasivhenge to cane the Lions 15-1 in the penalty count against the Highlanders.
Hurricanes, Bulls, Chiefs, Waratahs, Highlanders, Crusaders
This is it. This is the one. That ineffable moment – a bright, shining light of genius. Read these tips and weep, Nobes, you surfing gaucho. Behold your tipping master, Digger, you diving scallop-swallower. Wrap this, Geoff. And g’day, Brett.
The cocky Canes will absolutely annihilate the cocky Jaguares. A bloodbath. The big Bulls will enjoy a 16-3 penalty advantage over the miscreant Rebels. Handre Pollard will score six of those. RG Snyman will smile.
The hard Chiefs will lord it over the soft Blues. The Waratahs will maintain their State of Origin advantage. Kurtley Beale will do something to almost lose and also to win the match.
The Lions will exit the roofed stadium on foot without a point. The Cape Crusaders have a home game at Newlands. Annoying. Narrow win.
Sure thing: Ten cards this week. There’s a feeling: of biff and banter.
Hurricanes, Rebels, Chiefs, Reds, Lions, Crusaders
So in knocking up that run home piece for Tuesday, I obviously had to plot wins and losses for the remaining five rounds, and I must admit that having opened as a big a gap on the rest of the field as I have, I see no reason not to stick with those predictions to the letter.
And just remember this in three weeks. When these guys are again going on about having to tip tight games before teams have been named, just remind them I made my selections three weeks ago.
So here we go. Hurricanes at home over Los Jags, Rebels over Los Toros in Melbourne. So far so good.
Then I said the Chiefs to do the job in Auckland and the Reds will get over the Waratahs in Brisbane. Yep, happy with those too.
And the Lions at Ellis Park over the deep southerners, and Crusaders in Cape Town. See? How easy!
Sure thing: Picture the scene: the 59th minute at the Cake Tin and Digger is talking among family and friends during a break in play during the Jaguares game. A familiar tune comes over the PA – he’s not really paying attention to it, but it’s so ingrained in him that he just starts tapping his feet and humming away to himself.
Hands… touching hands…
And he knows what’s about to happen, though bizarrely he claims to hate it, so the feeling is actually one he looks forward to every weekend as he watches rugby from all the corners of the Super Rugby universe.
Reaching out… touching me…
And suddenly he stops talking. The grin widens below that healthy beard as he stands on his seat, readying himself for the moment he’s slaved through his whole working week for.
His family and friends are powerless. His grin has drawn them all in. They all want to be part of his moment. They rise, standing on their seats as arms whip around shoulders, finding their voice in unison just in time for Digger to have the moment he loves so much every week…
Sweeeet Caaarrro-lliiiiiiiinne… barp-barp-baaaarmpp!
Sing it with him this weekend, Roarers. Let him enjoy his moment.
Get your votes in now – The Crowd’s tips will be revealed Friday afternoon AEST.