A month out from the Super Rugby finals, I reckon it’s time we start seeing some cream rise to the top as expected. Enough of this anyone-can-beat-anyone business!
And if I’m going to really narrow this down, I reckon it’s time we saw the seven specific teams I’ve picked to rise to the top. This week specifically.
I’d say ‘maybe that’s just me’ here, but I know I’m not alone in battling with tips this year. So come on, rugby gods: it’s time to cut the unpredictability.
Round 14: Nobes 3; Harry 2; Geoff, Digger, Brett, and The Crowd 1
Overall: Nobes 57; Digger 54; The Crowd 52; Harry 51; Geoff 49; Brett 45.
Perfect rounds: No-one. Not even close. Not many had the Jaguares beating the Hurricanes. Even fewer had the Bulls beating the Rebels.
No-one had a draw in Cape Town.
Tips: Chiefs, Brumbies, Rebels, Crusaders, Waratahs, Stormers, Lions
A very difficult weekend for the tippers and those who try to predict the results of the matches, who are more devalued than those that measure the polls of the politicians.
Things were going badly and on top of that the Crusaders, who are the easy bet, tied. But the good thing about all this is the great season of Super Rugby we’re having, in which nothing is defined, even with four rounds left, and nothing will be defined with three as well.
We will open the round with the Chiefs, who have had a very bad season, and the Reds, who do not finish defining what kind of team they want to be.
With this parity, I’ll play for the locals. The Brumbies and the Bulls are probably playing to maintain the lead in their respective conferences. Brumbies and their rolling maul on the Bulls.
Rebels cannot afford to leave points behind and have a match against the only team that has nothing to gain or lose, and that makes it very dangerous, but I am confident that visitors will move the party forward.
There are two very important derbies this round. In the first Blues that have to win to continue aspiring to a play-offs position and have to face a well-travelled Crusaders with certain extra-curricular things, but AMI Stadium seems an inexpugnable bastion.
The Waratahs will receive an exultant Jaguares who will rotate several players, but a Tahs team hit by off-court situations – but they have a lot of experience and will be dangerous given their need for points.
Jaguares will take a bonus point. The Highlanders will face the Stormers knowing the result of the Blues game, and that is a great advantage. Stormers are coming back. The second Derby finds the Sharks having to beat the Lions, and the only problem is that the locals have a very bad record at home. Lions.
Sure thing: No ref issues this weekend. They are all aware that all eyes are watching them.
Tips: Chiefs, Brumbies, Rebels, the Church choirboys, Jaguares, Stormers, Sharks
Huge move I made on Digger ‘Bedwetter’ Cane in Round 14. Get your scented tissues ready. Here I come.
The gravelly Chiefs versus the grafting Reds: tough offload versus rough pick-and-go. I’ll take the Hamiltonians, with niggle. The Bulls go to Canberra without their field general on the field. Will their headless infantry survive? No! They are too happy about Melbourne, and the Will Genia wicket nutmeg.
The Rebels will probably win in Tokyo, but it’ll be the worst match of the round, just ahead of the slaughter of the Blues way down south: a (George) bridge too far. Can a local research scientist study why McDonald’s always seems to rob All Blacks of couth and sense?
The Jaguares-Waratahs match is the one to watch. Real, proper, snapping punches will be thrown. And the Jags will win it all: the fights, the match and the lovely lasses on Row D.
The Stormers at home with a mean pack and drunk fans: easy.
The Lions and the Sharks, oh my! Nobody knows. The Sharks hate to play at home. The Lions pack has less gravity than Alan Jones. Hmm… Sharks by a Bosch nether hair.
Sure thing: Digger will call me his Big Daddy Dumpling after this round.
Tips: Chiefs, Brumbies, Rebels, Crusaders, Jaguares, Stormers, Sharks
It was great to avoid tipping the Sharks last week – it saved me from a perfect round of zero! Never thought I would say this, but thank goodness for the Blues!
So to start on Friday, I will back the Chiefs at home, and my guess is they will bounce back after a disappointing outing, as has been their tendency this season. I’ll also say the Brumbies at home, who I think are on a bit of a roll and have the forwards to combat the Bulls.
The Rebels may do it tough in Tokyo but should be good enough to get over a Sunwolves side that seems to be getting progressively worse as the season rolls on, while the Crusaders at home should account for the Blues and will be itching to get the last week behind them.
Jags are in some good form, and assuming that continues I cannot see the Waratahs competing well at the breakdown, so another win for the touring side in Sydney and the Stormers and Highlanders? I just don’t know. I want to pick the clan but I suspect they may struggle up front, so the mild cold front it is.
Which brings me to my nemesis, the Sharks, who I will pick because surely if you can thrash the Lions away, you will beat them at home, right? Am I right?
Sure thing: The overall penalty count from the republic must be a due a square up by now while DJs show the way for TMOs across all the grounds with disappointing decisions.
Brett’s note: Haha! They’ve picked the same teams! Ha!
Tips: Chiefs, Brumbies, Rebels, Crusaders, Jaguares, Highlanders, Lions
In what is already an excremental tipping year, last week was the Ganges, North Bondi and Yellow River all rolled into one. Yes, when the Blues are your one and only banker for the round you know it’s time to start tipping Lacrosse instead.
Nevertheless, boss-man Brett says that we must plough on, so plough on we will. Starting with the Chiefs, followed by the Brumbies who had Handre Pollard sent home this week.
It’s must-win time for the Rebels, so they will. And because the Crusaders seem to suffer from memory loss, someone will have to wake them up afterwards and tell them that they beat the Blues.
Even though the Waratahs keep hanging tough, I fancy the Jaguares again this week, which leaves two tricky games in the republic. The first will go to the Highlanders in a mild upset and the second to the Lions in, well, if the Sharks win or lose, it’s always an upset!
Sure things: Forced to sit things out on the field, Tolu Latu will put his hand up to drive the Tahs team bus to Parramatta. With the Test season looming, Ned will be the first to politely decline and order an Uber instead.
Tips: Chiefs, Brumbies, Rebels, Crusaders, Waratahs, Stormers, Sharks
As picked last week, and with no reason to change.
I do look forward to the Reds proving me wrong, but the Chefs will be smarting after last week and won’t lose to a primary colour two weeks in a row. Bulls without Handre Pollard equals a massive opportunity for a Brumbies statement win.
Rebels are a club in crisis on the field; Crusaders and Waratahs are clubs in crisis off the field. Don’t pick against a crisis.
The Stormers don’t lose at Newlands, see last week for proof. And the Sharks are now wanting to impress ahead of the preseason for the English Premiership clubs they’ve all signed for, so that should be enough to top the Lions.
Sure thing: These tips are not inexpugnable. See weeks one to three, and five to 14, inclusive.
Get your votes in now – The Crowd’s tips will be revealed Friday afternoon AEST.
Who have you got, Roarers? Who gets your tip this weekend?