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Opinion

Super Rugby Round 5: Reality bites

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Expert
26th February, 2020
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Well, I laid out the possibility of a Blues win in my sure thing last week, and sure enough, the smurf-looking sods from Auckland got me good.

And they got the Crowd too, so I know you’ll all be in full agreement with me about this!

But Round 4 provided a healthy dose of reality to tipping enthusiasts in a competition that this year especially feels like any team can win any game on any day. Tips are going to be hit hard.

So while this week feels a bit straight forward, how confident can we really be? Not very, I’d suggest.

LAST WEEK: Nobes, Digger and Harry 5, Geoff and The Crowd 4, Brett 3.

OVERALL: Geoff 21, Digger and The Crowd 20, Harry 19, Nobes 17, Brett 16.

Digger
Tips: Highlanders, Waratahs, Hurricanes, Sharks, Stormers, Jaguares

What makes shipping half a century of points worse for the Sunwolves? Having to play the Canes away next, but at least they get to go to the Hawkes Bay, which is nice. Canes by a century, or so.

And the rest, well, I want to say the Highlanders at home so I will. Wara… Lio… Warataleo… dunno, home side must win sometime surely, I will run with that sound theory.

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I really like this Sharks side: tough and fast and a romp over the soon-to-be-extinct is no way for the Reds to prepare for them.

Stormers over the Circus, and then it’s the Jaguares’ turn to pick a nice steak from the butchers.

SURE THING: Plenty of buzz and rumours will continue as the backroom shenanigans increase between the Hurricanes and Knights to work out how they can manage a straight swap of Ardie Savea and Kalyn Ponga in a few seasons without anyone noticing.

K Ponga watches on

(AAP Image/Darren Pateman)

Harry
Tips: Highlanders, Waratahs, Hurricanes, Sharks, Stormers, Jaguares

The Bulls are bad. Not bad as in Tyson Fury is the baddest man on the planet. Not bad like LeRoy Brown.

I mean, bad like sitting down in a toilet stall at a petrol garage on a long run, realising too late there’s no paper, using the bandage on your knee instead, and then realising a few seconds late that you put a ton of fiery tiger balm inside said wrap. Jags over Morne Steyn’s Bulls by 20.

The good teams (Stormers, Hurricanes, Sharks) will also win. They’ll win because they aren’t bad.

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What about the battles between the bad (but not as bad as the Bulls) teams?

Tahs over Lions by a disputed try.

Highlanders in the battle of the Jacobites, because the Rebels really are almost as bad as the Bulls.

SURE THING: A man named Tom will score a try.

Nobes
Tips: Highlanders, Waratahs, Hurricanes, Sharks, Stormers, Jaguares

First of all, I would like to thank the people of Australia for their hospitality during my stay, and tell all of you that you have a great country so please take good care of it.

Round 5 presents some challenges since it will bring together teams that have not been playing so well and are in need of a good result. Also, with three strong bye teams in the Crusaders, Chiefs and Brumbies, we are left with very few safe bets.

The Highlanders for playing at home and for the little that the Rebels showed so far, should get a positive result. Two teams that have been very loose from the start will face off in Sydney, and if there is a game for the Waratahs to start showing something positive in their game, they have the opportunity against a wandering Lions. The Tahs at home cannot miss this opportunity. The Hurricanes should not have problems against the Sunwolves and take the game with bonus points.

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Reds and Sharks is the game of the weekend. The home team – finally in their land – will have the opportunity to show their good game, but in front of these Sharks that have been showing that they are a team to fear and full of confidence, it will not be easy. If the Sharks win, they will be serious candidates to take the conference. I go with the Durban boys for what has been shown so far from both teams.

Lukhanyo Am of The Sharks scores a try

(Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Can the Stormers continue as the only undefeated team in the tournament? I think so. They have been very favoured with how the fixture occurred. Although they are showing symptoms of some wear and tear, but that should not be serious enough for the Blues to beat them.

Finally, we arrived at the Jags visiting the Bulls, who are in need of a win. The Jaguares with their rotation policy will surely make no less than eight changes from the last game and will aim to neutralise Morne Steyn. If they succeed, they can take the first triumph of the difficult tour in South African lands.

SURE THING: If the teams from Australia go 0-3 this weekend, the press is going to get very heavy.

Geoff
Tips: Rebels, Waratahs, Hurricanes, Reds, Stormers, Jaguares

This looks like a very tricky round. The Highlanders were very good for long patches last week, but no way the Rebels should be $5 outsiders. Neck on the line here for an upset.

The Tahs promising a return to running rugby worries me – I’d much rather they got more out of their pack right now. I have no feel for the Lions, which worries me too. Tahs, but with no confidence.

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Kurtley Beale of the Waratahs runs the ball

(Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The other toss-up is the Reds versus Sharks. The Durban side travel well but this has been a very long tour. I just realised that I’m tipping three Australian sides, none of whom are the Brumbies…

Canes by two times plenty. Stormers and Jaguares look like the easy tips.

SURE THING: Bank on there being no repeat of the Rebels’ last visit south, where one player vigorously massaged the face of a teammate before giving him a tour of Dunedin’s streets in the boot of a car.

Brett
Tips: Highlanders, Waratahs, Hurricanes, Reds, Stormers, Jaguares

The week of Australian rugby commentary has been a timely reminder of the old adage that things are never as bad as they seem, in the same way they’re quite as great as they seem.

The previous week’s doom and gloom and Henny Penny carry-on (not the Waratahs coach, for the record) about the zero-and-six record was only as comical as the rush this week to place impressive wins from the Brumbies and Reds on the highest pedestals possible. The sky is falling, they said, except that now it’s not. Anyway…

When in doubt, pick the home side, and the fact of the matter is that there’s just way more doubt about the Rebels at the moment than of the Highlanders, who certainly aren’t the poor team they’re being portrayed as in some circles on either side of the ditch. And only similarly less doubt about the Waratahs rather than the Lions decides this one as well.

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The only doubt about the Hurricanes is whether they’ll win by more or less than 50. And the Stormers will carry on at home, where they’ve now lost just four of their past 19 games since the start of 2018. And the Jaguares get the nod because after failing at their one job – beating the Blues – I may not pick the Bulls again this season.

That leaves me with the Reds-Sharks, and this is why I’m going with the Queenslanders: as impressive and confidence-building the Reds’ thumping of the Mighty Moondogs was, the Sharks will be a much bigger test. But the Sharks have often battled with the last game on tour over the last few seasons, and this being their fourth game on tour well and truly falls into that tricky basket. The Reds’ midfield defence will still need to shut down supply to the speed men out wide, but this isn’t an insurmountable task this weekend.

SURE THING: The ultimate, ironic double sting – both the Bulls and Blues getting up purely out of spite.

Week 5 Geoff Nobes Digger Brett Harry Crowd
HIG vs REB REB HIG HIG HIG HIG HIG
WAR vs LIO WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR WAR
HUR vs SUN HUR HUR HUR HUR HUR HUR
RED vs SHA RED SHA SHA RED SHA RED
STO vs BLU STO STO STO STO STO STO
BUL vs JAG JAG JAG JAG JAG JAG JAG
Last week 4 5 5 3 5 4
Overall 21 17 20 16 19 20

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

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