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Super Rugby Round 16: We’re catching Nobes!

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Expert
29th May, 2019
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4135 Reads

If it’s true that the only way to reel in big leads is to do it in small steps, then Nobes battling away last week and compiling a lowly five from seven is exactly the sort of chance the rest of us have been waiting for!

Of course, and you can consider this an early sure thing, he’ll come out and jag seven now, while we’ll be once again left to kick cans and blame someone. Probably the Blues.

ROUND 15: Harry, Digger, and The Crowd 7; Brett 6; Geoff and Nobes 5

OVERALL: Nobes 62, Digger 61, The Crowd 59; Harry 58; Geoff 54; Brett 51.

PERFECT ROUNDS: Digger and the Hairy Man. And The bloody Crowd, too. Congrats also to Roarers Riccardo, and ThugbyFan, who’s back for his second perfect set for 2019, with the Chiefs, Brumbies, Rebels, Crusaders, Jaguares, Stormers, and Sharks.

I actually thought there would be more, but it seems the Waratahs and/or Highlanders tripped most people up. Oh, except for a couple of you who only got the Blues wrong. You know who you are.

I mean, wow, imagine that. Missing a perfect round because of the Blues!

Harry
TIPS: BLUES, REBELS, BRUMBIES, CRUSADERS, JAGUARES, SHARKS, STORMERS

The Bulls, having sent Handre Pollard home with a ‘calf strain’ after walloping the Rebels, are just playing for fun. But with RG and Thor, it’ll still be interesting. Blues by a few. The nasty niggly Rebels-Tahs derby will degenerate into a lovely spat, I think. Rebs by 1.

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The Sunwolves will open their kimonos. The Brumbies will put them to the sword. The Crusaders won’t like playing in Fiji. The Chiefs will. But, Mo’unga. Saders by 5. The Reds will host the unfairly vilified Jags. No contest. The Jags are cooking! Jags by 20. Or so.

Scott Sio

How good are the Brumbies really? (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

The Canes go to steamy, wet, banana-infested bunny chow Durban. Hmmmmm. No idea. Probably Bosch. Sharks. Yes. The home team shocks the world. Plenty of cards.

Lions v Stormers: I’ll go with the form team. STO by 15.

Sure Thing: the largest crowd will be in Fiji.

Digger
TIPS: BLUES, REBELS, BRUMBIES, CRUSADERS, JAGUARES, HURRICANES, LIONS

Am pretty confident in picking the Blues at home on Friday, I suspect they have too much firepower for the Bulls to deal with, while the Rebels and Waratahs is a head scratcher. I am unconvinced the Rebels can win when they need too and I would assume the Waratahs are desperate.

I will plump for the Rebels, but with about as much confidence as Harry Jones dining in a Sushi bar somewhere in Peru.

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Angus Cottrell of the Rebels passes the ball

Angus Cottrell for the Rebels. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Brumbies will have their cake and eat it too in Tokyo, while picking against the Crusaders would be as worthwhile as taking stock of political opinion polls while I see no reason yet to hop off the Jaguares wagon just yet.

The Stormers are all stormy at home but tend to dissipate into a few showers away from home plus I am backing the Lions’ known experience at this time of the year to see them home.

I will pick the Canes, despite everything telling me otherwise, the Sharks pack look a cut above and Durban is flat out a place we just do not seem to be able to perform in but I have faith (however misguided) plus I know Plumtree was very disappointed with the effort from the last visit to his former stomping ground so I am picking (or hoping) that we will be up for this one.

SURE THING: In thick South African accent – “Peereenaaraaah to Saaa-v-aaaah, he is through the line, links with Barrett, he kicks across to his wingman, Ben Lam, he takes on the bounce, through the Bosch tackle and OVVEERRR in the corner!

What a wonderful try from the Hurricanes! Hang on Joel, the referee is consulting his touch judge and they are going upstairs to TMO Rasta Van Rensburg Du Plessis Bismarck the third Second Berry of House Du Preez within Clan Natal……………………….”

Brett
TIPS: BLUES, REBELS, BRUMBIES, CRUSADERS, JAGUARES, SHARKS, LIONS

Remember, as picked three weeks ago! Still no reason to change, and after getting six last week, confidence is unjustifiably high.

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I’m picking the Blues this week. But in expectation that I will get burnt by sticking with this prediction, here’s a spoiler: I’m not picking them again this season. You’re welcome, RT and Taylorman…

Rebels might just give the Waratahs a touch-up, and the Brumbies will do just that in Tokyo. But I don’t think both sides get bonus points.

Chiefs, I’ve just reminded myself while compiling this, are hosting the Crusaders in Fiji, but it won’t make any difference. And I suspect the Queenslander will be left muttering – not for the first time – something about Phil Kearns by full-time on Saturday night.

First games on tour are always tough, and that’s enough to remove any ‘by plenty’ thinking. Or any ‘Canes’ thinking. And if teams from outside the Republic can’t beat the Lions at Ellis Park, then the Stormers won’t either.

SURE THING: The Stormers and Highlanders – currently on 30 and 29 points respectively – won’t take any points this weekend, and in doing so, I think that will lock the top eight down that much further. Once both teams start having “mathematical chance” attached to them, I think we all know what that means.

Nobes
TIPS: BLUES, REBELS, BRUMBIES, CRUSADERS, JAGUARES, HURRICANES, STORMERS.

With a couple of their stars already back home, the Bulls will face their final game of the extensive tour to the Blues which have practically no chances but wanting to prove their public that they can still win.

After the poor performance the Waratahs having to visit the Rebels at home is not going to be easy since the fellows from Melbourne still alive and eager to make it to the finals. A nice duel between several players that point to the ownership in the Wallabies and will want to prove their superiority.

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In Tokyo the Brumbies will look for the win and bonus point that will serve them to snap the Australian conference. The Chiefs will look for a victory against the Crusaders to try to forget a year definitely bad for them, but the result will depend purely on what the Crusaders want to do. Any result will not change the fate of both teams.

The difficult Reds will face a rising team like the Jaguares who are making a lot of noise that maybe it is convenient that they lose some matches, so that some Australian figures do not keep asking to take them out of Super Rugby. But of course, when a jaguar sees the colour of the blood it is difficult to stop.

Brad Thorn

Reds coach Brad Thorn smiles (we think) (AAP Image/Darren England)

The Sharks will be under a lot of pressure when they face the Hurricanes to maintain the chances of winning the conference while the visitors cannot be neglected because there are teams that could take them out of the second best position and relegate them to the possibility of playing at home for the quarter-finals.

This seems to be a very interesting match to watch, maybe the most interesting of the day and very difficult to predict an outcome.

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At the end of the day, the South African derby will be the perfect match between the Lions and the Stormers, where both teams must win, since the one that loses is going to be very difficult to top the conference.

It is clear that in Elis Park it is difficult to win as a visitor and the Stormers have some of their main soldiers in intensive care, but these Lions are not the same as in the last year’s.

Sure Thing: Five of the eight playoff spots will be defined in this round.

Geoff
TIPS: BULLS, REBELS, BRUMBIES, CRUSADERS, JAGUARES, HURRICANES, STORMERS

The Bulls at home is just the kind of game the Blues need to be winning to establish credibility. They’re good enough, but the Bulls are locked in a SA conference dogfight, and must go home with another tour win.

Crunch time, too, for the Rebels. They’ve had a lean run against the Tahs over the years, but that will change this week. Which won’t be enough to catch the Brumbies, who will rack up an easy five points against the Sunwolves.

Fiji usually delivers a thrilling contest, hopefully this will be no exception, even if we know the winner already. As is their custom in 2019, the Reds will hang in throughout, but the Jags are well organised, disciplined, and have the sniff of a home final in their nostrils.

As usual, the hardest games to tip are in the republic. The Sharks are too sharky for my liking, so it’s the Hurricanes by a couple. And the Stormers look to be in better shape than the Lions, which either means Fleckie can relax at the pub while starting to make plans for the finals, or the Lions are a sure bet.

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SURE THING: Worried about declining crowds, a SANZAAR delegation will this week climb Mt Everest, to try to unlock the secret to creating demand for a product and getting people to queue for it.

Get your votes in now – The Crowd’s tips will be revealed Friday afternoon AEDT.

Who have you got, Roarers? Who gets your tip this weekend?