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Opinion

Super Rugby round on hold: Tipper’s remorse

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18th March, 2020
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You all thought we wouldn’t be around this week, didn’t you? But not even the small matter of there being no games was going to stop the panel coming together!

And, while ever the competition remains on hold, we’re going to try and keep the conversation going on a Thursday – while ever we can keep coming up with a topic!

And that’s how it’s going to work. The idea is to come up with something each week, and we’ll all dive in accordingly.

This week it’s regretful tips. The one over the first seven rounds that we’d really like to have back. There’s no do-overs, for what it’s worth, but while we’re in this reflective mood of the season so far, it’s certainly a chance to share our pain.

And we’d love to hear from you as well – which tips do you really regret this season? Which one really did some damage to your weekend?

The tipping portion of the competition is on hold, but banter and chat doesn’t stop!

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LAST WEEK: Harry 4, the rest of us 5.

OVERALL: Geoff 35, The Crowd 34, Harry and Digger 33, Nobes 31, Brett 29.

Nobes
On top of that I am already in a terrible mood, with this situation that we are experiencing, doing this does not help.

I do not understand how it occurs to us to increase the bad mood remembering the bad tips of the season which, by the way, are many in my case.

Why we did not go to remember that tip that we only saw and got it right?

Brett’s note: writing that down for next week.

The worst bet and that should have been correct is that of the Jaguares against the Sharks. The sensation team of the season receiving some Jags that only won games against the teams that are below them in the table.

It was one of those cases where the heart was stronger and the outcome hurt a lot. Not only because of the score but much more because of the way the game went.

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The Jags placed three fullbacks in the back positions and received two tries in the first ten minutes via kicks to the box that were not well received by air. Amazing, so much for a strategy.

My other great karma this season are the Waratahs, from whom I expected more and then I bet on a recovery that never came. Practically the same as I suffered with the Blues in previous seasons and that I could never see.

SURE THING: Jordie Barrett has won two games for the Hurricanes. The one in Buenos Aires over the Jags and the latter against the Chiefs.

Scott Jordie Beauden Barrett New Zealand Rugby Union All Blacks 2017

AP Photo/Mark Baker

Geoff
With Super Rugby grinding to a halt, leaving me alone at the top of the tipping ladder, being asked by Brett to highlight my deficiencies feels a bit like Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight, demanding that Scarlett Johansson admit her flaws.

There have been a couple of annoying slip-ups; underestimating the Sharks the major one, costing me three points.

But perhaps it is more interesting to focus on the tips that went against the grain and paid off.

The Blues over the Tahs? Less a matter of jumping on the Blues bandwagon, but more recognising early that NSW were thin. Ditto the Highlanders, who I correctly tipped to lose at home against the Sharks and Rebels. Their win in Canberra was an anomaly, they are a shadow of previous versions.

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Conversely, the Rebels were never as bad as what the mob insisted. Odds of over $5 to win in Dunedin were ridiculous – that always looked like a 60-40 game.

As for picking the Chiefs over the Crusaders? That one was just a lucky stab. A hunch.

Brett’s note: Points off for not adhering to the brief. I think seven is the appropriate number.

SURE THING: There are three players grateful for the shutdown – Allan Alaalatoa (he’ll be fixed by the time things get started again), Taniela Tupou (deserves a rest) and Beauden Barrett (his year has been one of nobbing it in a corporate box at the tennis and teeing it up at the New Zealand Golf Open. All while his new team is winning. Why bother strapping the boots on?)

Allan Alaalatoa

Allan Alaalatoa (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Brett
Argh, where to start? How about at the start.

Round 1: “Sunwolves players don’t seem to have played any games together and the Rebels will score points,” I said. And it’s true, the Rebels did score points. But not until the last 14 minutes when the Moondogs led 36-13 in front of a screaming wolfpack in Fukuoka. That’s one.

Round 2: “It’s all guesswork about form at home for teams that travelled last week, and about the Highlanders in general,” I said, of the Highlanders coming off a bye, playing at home against the Sharks who had beaten the Bulls comfortably the week before. As if the argument of guesswork over facts needed strengthening.

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Round 3: “It’s gut feel and no major travel this week that tips the Sharks ahead of the Hurricanes,” I said. Hurricanes 38 Sharks 22; the Canes scoring four converted tries in 38 minutes either side of halftime to lead 38-17 going into the last 15 minutes. It was only just mid-February, I was already four points off the pace, and teams are letting me down like this. No matter, I won’t get the Sharks wrong next week.

Round 4: “The Rebels are about an hour and a half up the highway in Ballarat, and … it might be enough to throw the Sharks off, especially on the back end of a tour.” Rebels 24 Sharks 36.

And for the record, I have no regrets over the Bulls-Blues result, which of course I got wrong. But frankly, there was no way I was getting that one right, either way.

Round 5: “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.” Reds 23 Sharks 33. Note for 2021: The Sharks quite like touring.

So much for this being cathartic. And why doesn’t anyone else have as many as me?

SURE THING: Building up a collection of highlights to watch this weekend, but on this form – already – I’m still not confident of a happy weekend of tipping.

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Digger
Upon careful analysis of my blunders, it was revealed to me that my tipping nemesis happens to be the majority of the New Zealand conference, excluding the Crusaders.

Pick the Blues over the Chiefs, they lose. Pick the Canes over the Blues, they lose. Pick the Chiefs over the Canes, they lose. Not to mention, they were all away matches!

No excuse for picking the Highlanders, though when I didn’t, they win! Away. In Canberra. Ridiculous. Then lose to the Rebels. At home. More ridiculous, after picking them, again.

Naturally, there is remorse for tipping against the Canes against the Chiefs, my treacherous ways pointed out to me by a couple of Roarers but there are two tips that stand out the most and it was not so much that I got them wrong, but that I got them terribly wrong and that was tipping the Waratahs over the Blues and the Highlanders over the Bulls.

What happened there? How could one be so wrong? I lost sleep over those ones, puzzling over my obvious stupidity that frankly, I cannot work out. I guess the New Zealand conference is just going to remain a mystery to me, serious tipping remorse.

SURE THING: As it slowly dawned upon me that my weekends of sport have now come to a rather abrupt end, I turned to discover a woman sitting within my lounge whom, after enquiry, turned out to be my wife (who seems nice). She had also come to the realisation that now I would have plenty of spare weekend time.

So come this Saturday, as I settle in to mull over options on Netflix, I expect to be presented with a revised season schedule (otherwise known as ‘chores’) to be completed before the resumption of the sporting season, which I can assure you, won’t come soon enough.

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At least with isolation protocols there will not be any needless socialising though apparently ‘panic’ buying does not include a new skill saw or BBQ. Who knew?

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Harry
Every time I tipped the Bulls or the Waratahs in the ill-fated 2020 season, I suffered defeat. Maybe it is the sky blue strip. Maybe old warriors Morne Steyn and his nemesis Kurtley Beale lured me in with nostalgia.

I just thought the Bulls and Tahs had good players. Yes, they have new coaches, but the pedigree, the foundation, the facilities, the history; these are proud unions with vast rugby IQ.

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Both teams ended up being poor. Why? Neither could get over the gain line nor stop opponents from getting over their gain line. Both were only ahead of the Sunwolves on this issue.

They would have the ball for ages and simply not crack a defensive line. I just thought sooner or later, a spark would ignite. So, then, in the last round it did.

The Bulls were up 17-0 against the Reds. Rosko Speckman had the ball with a metre to go. Surely, he would stop and juke and dart over or just run backward to run forward like a good sevens finisher, find the space and it would be 24-0 and I would defeat the panel.

But no. Liam Wright found his inner Jerome Kaino, picked up the Spec and twirled him.

Microcosm of my season. Reds went on to score 41 unanswered points.

The Tahs were just lame. They played like Machooka’s worst friend’s mum’s nephew with the mumps.

SURE THING: This is the end, beautiful friends. This is the end, my only rugby friends. The end of our elaborate plans. The end of everything that stands. No safety or surprise. I’ll never look into your eyes. Again.

Which tips do you already regret? Which tip did The Crowd go against your vote and get wrong?

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