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Opinion

Super Rugby Round 3: Nothing to see here

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Expert
5 days ago
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The really concerning part about Round 3 is that it looks a genuinely tough round. Maybe only one game that looks relatively easy to pick.

Equally concerning is that the panel appears to be reasonably united across the seven games. This does not augur well for our scoring and almost certainly won’t end well either.

But that does make for an intriguing weekend of rugby.

Upsets and tough picks aren’t great for tipping panels, but they are great to watch for rugby fans. So on that front I’m very much looking forward to seeing how it plays out. I just won’t be looking forward to updating the scores.

Last week: Geoff 5; Digger, Harry and the Crowd 4; Nobes 3; Brett 2.

Overall: Geoff 11, The Crowd 10, Digger and Harry 9, Brett and Nobes 8.

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Geoff

Tips: Crusaders, Rebels, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Brumbies, Stormers, Jaguares

The Blues woke up against the woke Waratahs but will be put back to sleep by the reawakened Crusaders – who really should start on minus ten as punishment for the pastel blue sleeve trim on their already drab grey uniform.

The Rebels held their season launch this week, which means that after two preseason false starts they are finally ready to go against the Waratahs.

The Chiefs are the real deal this year, while the toughest match of the round to select goes the Hurricanes, but not by plenty. The Brumbies enjoy their third match at home, and even if their fans don’t care enough to get along to it, they’ll notch their third win.

Unlike the Reds, the Stormers will actually compete against the Lions lineout maul, so with that scoring avenue shut down the Lions will become kittens at home. And to finish the round, the kittens will once again become Jaguares, although I expect the Reds scrum to give them a tough time of it.

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Sure thing
Tryless after three rounds of Super Rugby, the Bulls will announce that they have fulfilled all of the necessary prerequisites for immediate transfer to the northern hemisphere competitions.

Mitchell Drummond runs the ball

(AAP Image/Chris Symes)

Digger

Tips: Crusaders, Rebels, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Brumbies, Stormers, Jaguares

Once again SANZAAR has failed with a Mickey Mouse schedule, placing this week’s big game in the middle of the round. Next we will be playing the World Cup final before the third-place play-off. Unbelievable.

Anyway, to the main event and a match which inspired a B-grade movie dynasty. This latest chapter of Sharknado will unfortunately not feature Tara Reid, but there will be plenty of bite and chaos to be felt as the Hurricanes prepare a feast of canned tuna to be sold to make up for the lost revenue from a lack of away jersey sales. Canes by plenty.

To the ‘also playing this week’ category, the rebranded Revels don’t lose twice in a row very often while the Blue Circus don’t win twice in a row very often. The Rebels and Waratahs? My head hurts, so let’s say the home side. Mooloos should be sweet in Nippon, Ponies look the goods at home, Stormers are getting all stormy and look set for a spin-off movie Lionado, and the Jaguares will be very motivated to correct their wonky last ten minutes from the previous weekend.

Sure thing
After this weekend several teams will explore the opportunity to send their head coaches away on ‘pre-planned’ annual leave in an attempt to mimic the Black Caps and their stunning form reversal.

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Tom Banks of the Brumbies

(AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Harry

Tips: Crusaders, Waratahs, Chiefs, Sharks, Brumbies, Stormers, Jaguares

The dour north-south derby was attended by 27,000 people last weekend. The Bulls failed to score a point at old Newlands. It was the last time this grudge match will be played in rugby’s second-oldest stadium.

There is life and interest and a summer crowd when it’s a true rivalry despite the northern migration.

This week is tricky. Home sour home for the first three hosts, as the angry and unwoke and unabashed Crusaders will sack lofty Eden Park’s socially just warrior defences; the woke as hell Waratahs will signal the new virtues which used to be vices, while the Victorian Rebels won’t fix set pieces in one week; and the Sunkissed Wolf Cubs will score fewer than seven points against a rugged Chief defence and find themselves baying at the moon as the Hamiltonians score at will.

Jordie Barrett will continue to morph into Frans Steyn, even adding 20 kilograms and a mop on his head. But his nine points from the wrong side of the Cake Tin won’t be enough to derail the Shark Express, chugging along like a bullet train on steroids.

The Brumbies are too structured at the moment for the Landers to trick. The Stormers will not try to play uptempo in the big smoke but Damian Willemse will smoke Elton Jantjies. And the sexy Jags will return to the winners circle.

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Sure thing
Aaron Cruden will start to make the incumbent tens nervous.

Nobes

Tips: Crusaders, Waratahs, Chiefs, Sharks, Brumbies, Stormers, Jaguares

The second round of Super Rugby is very peculiar to me. My first in Australian lands and quite strange – to start I could not watch any game on television, and not for lack of one; they simply did not show them.

Likewise, because I have a broad mind and appetite for learning sports that I had never seen, I spent the time watching cricket – I still don’t understand the rules – rugby league and its legendary games, and Australian Rules football for women. Apparently all are more important than rugby union, or at least their respective unions have decided to encourage the sport when they signed their respective television contracts.

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I do not know how the issue works. Maybe those who manage rugby have decided rugby union was already too popular and it was not necessary to continue promoting it after having won two World Cup titles, although I find it incredible they do not even transmit the match where two of their own conference faced each other. In Argentina, where everything is about soccer, they televise at least three Super Rugby matches per round as well as two from the Premier League, two from the Six Nations et cetera.

I should thank those who write the live coverage on The Roar, who were the only way I could keep up with what was happening.

I went to sleep on Sunday under a curtain of water that kept falling from the sky – it seems it will never stop – and had nightmares of meeting FF Coppola in his best version of Apocalypse Now whispering in my ear, “This is the horror … the horror”. It was something that ended up being true in the morning, with the Jags losing against the Canes in the last ten minutes of the game to transform my already bad round of tipping into a catastrophe.

In the form of a protest for not being able to watch rugby I will do my tips without explanation. They do not help me much anyway.

Sure thing
I must do some catch up in this round.

Agustin Creevy of the Jaguares

(Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

Brett

Tips: Crusaders, Rebels, Chiefs, Sharks, Brumbies, Stormers, Jaguares

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Crusaders in Auckland is easy enough, but the sightings of a certain All Blacks flyhalf at training in the City of Sails has brought me to a very uneasy realisation: I soon may have to pick the Blues on merit!

Rebels-Tahs is a coin flip that comes down on the home side. Moondogs-Chefs sees the same coin come down for the visitors. And it’s gut feel and no major travel this week that tips the Sharks ahead of the Hurricanes.

Brumbies look too strong and too slick for the Highlanders. The Brumbies set piece has been their strength in recent years, but they’re scoring tries well away from it. And the set piece tries they have scored haven’t been traditional lineout drives. That’s evolution.

And it’s mixed news for cat lovers: it’s a no from me on the Lions but a yes on the Jaguares.

Sure thing
I’m predicting a high-scoring try-fest in Japan as the Sunwolves and Chiefs go mad and find new ways to make something out of nothing. Eleven or 12 tries for the game, something like 39-35.

Week 3 Geoff Nobes Digger Brett Harry Crowd
BLU vs CRU CRU CRU CRU CRU CRU CRU
REB vs WAR REB WAR REB REB WAR REB
SUN vs CHI CHI CHI CHI CHI CHI CHI
HUR vs SHA HUR SHA HUR SHA SHA HUR
BRU vs HIG BRU BRU BRU BRU BRU BRU
LIO vs STO STO STO STO STO STO STO
JAG vs RED JAG JAG JAG JAG JAG JAG
Last week 5 3 4 2 4 4
Overall 11 8 9 8 9 10

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

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