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Super Rugby tipping panel Week 10: Return of the (tipping) Jedi

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20th April, 2022
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It feels like the tipping panel is becoming a weekly update of what Harry’s done differently to the rest us, but to trot out a well-worn phrase, it is what it is.

This week, he’s back up, and back with a share of the lead courtesy of his bold selection of the Blues breaking a 14-game losing streak in Christchurch.

But what pushed him in the direction of the Blues? Was it gut feel? Was it the teachings of a 700-year-old tipping master from a galaxy far, far away with unusual speech patterns?

Yes. Teachings, I think to prefer. Harry’s gut, I think not to wish.

Stan Sport’s Sean Maloney joins The Roar experts Brett McKay and Harry Jones for this week’s edition of The Roar Rugby Podcast. Stream it here or like and subscribe in your podcast app of choice.

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Regardless, that bold selection gave him a second perfect round in three weeks, which by any measure is pretty good going. It was the only difference between the four of us for the round, though there would have been some nervous viewing over the closing stages of a couple of other games.

This week will be interesting for any number of reasons.

So far, measurements of form on either side of the ditch have been contained to domestic opposition, and with only presumption driving likely outcomes once the Tasman Sea is breached in either direction.

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From this week, we start finding out how accurate and/or misguided those presumptions were and/or are.

Will a new travel element blunt some Kiwi attacks? Do injuries to the Reds mean the Brumbies are the only Australian team most likely, or are the Waratahs and Rebels ready to spring their own surprise?

Can the Hurricanes and Highlanders turn their middling form around? And will Moana Pasifika really start a run of four five wins over Australian and Fijian opposition?

And can the Force contain COVID within a week?

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Questions that all start being answered from tomorrow night in Melbourne.

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Last week

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Harry 5, the rest of us 4

Overall

Brett 38, Harry 38, The Crowd 38, Geoff 36, Digger 34

A note on this week’s tips
News of the postponement of the Moana Pasifika-Western Force game again came after Harry and Digger had both sent their tips through. Again, their words for the affected games have been removed, but the tips remain in the table for the sake of keeping record.

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Lotu Inisi of Moana Pasifika celebrates after scoring a try during the Super Rugby pre season trial match between Moana Pasifika and the Chiefs at Mt Smart Stadium on February 04, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Harry

Tips: Chiefs, (Moana Pasifika), Blues, Reds, Brumbies, Crusaders

By this point in the season, it becomes clear who the best and worst teams are in a long comp.

The Blues are the best. At every key metric. And just to the eye of the trained observer. They are a fine team, and should be the champs, if they stay healthy and on track.

The tricky part of this round is we have to do a currency exchange. I put it at $1 Kiwi buys $2 Aussie. So the only NZ teams at long-term risk are the Lowlanders and the unlucky Moana, who have played a match about every four days for the last 23 days against the world’s fastest clubs. But the Reds look rough.

The Waratahs are not good enough, yet, to defeat the Chiefs, even with the world’s current best ginger ten.

The Blues-Drua is a mismatch of epic proportions, but there will be no lack of heart.

The rowdy Reds will eke out a win, as they have all season, over the flaky Canes who are not being very law-abiding and smart at set piece.

The Clan will be stampeded, yet somehow be in the fight and almost win, but lose to a contentious call. Aaron Smith will use potty language.

The Rebels will catch a monumental hiding from the furious Crusaders.

Sure thing

The manufacturers of the official Super Rugby Pacific red card will triple their inventory. They use new, fresh ones for each player.

Caleb Clarke of the Blues (R) is sent off with a red card by referee James Doleman during the round seven Super Rugby Pacific match between the Blues and the Moana Pasifika at Eden Park on April 02, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Geoff

Tips: Chiefs, Blues, Reds, Brumbies, Crusaders

At the third attempt, following cancellation of Auckland’s inaugural event, and postponement of Melbourne’s originally scheduled hosting in Round 2, Super Round has finally arrived!

Well, most of it, that is. Sitting alongside the Force CEO yesterday when his phone started pinging off the table with news of player after player testing positive for COVID was part serendipitous, part ghoulish.

It is obviously disappointing for the Force, gutting for the event, but spare another thought for Moana Pasifika, who it seems can’t take a trick when it comes to COVID.

But the show must go on, and the opening act will see the Chiefs kick things off with a win against the Waratahs.

Some redemption might come on Saturday afternoon. As good as the Fijiana Drua have been (and they’ve been very good), the Waratahs women would have learned plenty from their recent loss, about how to impose structure on the match, and may well be ready to turn the tables. And yes, I know there’s no log point for that bonus tip.

The Blues are three classes above the Drua, but things get more interesting for the late match. I’m expecting it to be a ripper and give the edge (just) to the Reds.

A second Australian win will follow on Sunday. No surprise that I’m talking about the Brumbies over the Highlanders, not the Rebels over the Crusaders.

Sure thing

A brawl will break out in the media room over the weekend, when a Melbourne rugby writer, used to having the whole box to himself, takes umbrage at visiting journos muscling in on his sausage rolls and party pies.

Brett

Tips: Waratahs, Blues, Hurricanes, Brumbies, Crusaders

The surprise tip comes first: I’ve just had a feeling all week about the Waratahs, and I don’t really know how to explain it. They’re in a good place, they haven’t been hit by injuries as badly as some other teams, and in fact it’s been a steady trickle of returning players in recent weeks.

Izaia Perese of the Waratahs is tackled.

(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

There’s just something there. I wasn’t scientific on Tuesday and I’m not again today. Plus, Nick Bishop rates the Waratahs forwards. So does Dave Rennie, apparently. Just getting that loopy rant in first.

I’m pretty happy I didn’t have to pick the Moana Pasifika-Force game, because I still don’t know where I was leaning. But I’m firmly on the Blues. There’s just no way in their current table-topping form they’ll lose to the Drua, and I’ve always rated them as a team.

We try not to let team selections drive our tipping on the panel, but here’s a confession: I snuck a look at the Reds’ list. And I don’t know, I think most teams would struggle without their key playmaker. So, Hurricanes. Not by plenty. But I’m also prepared to sacrifice this tip if it’s enough to get the Reds home.

The Brumbies should be too strong for the Highlanders despite missing a few. It’s been funny to watch the stereotypical comments about the Brumbies re-emerge in recent weeks (five maul tries of 33 in total, for the record), when the Highlanders are currently playing exactly like the comments think the Brumbies still are (five maul tries in the last five games alone).

And as great a finish as it would be for the event in Melbourne, and as much as it would cap off a great weekend of rugby for the local rugby community, and as much fun as it would obviously be, and even as sneakily good as their record against the Crusaders has been over the years, I’m not sure the Rebels are getting over the Crusaders.

It would be good though. I’d happy to get that one wrong, too.

Sure thing

‘Why is this being played in Melbourne’ in 3, 2, 1…

Digger

Tips: Chiefs, (Moana Pasifika), Blues, Hurricanes, Brumbies, Crusaders

So, we reach the cross-over point and I for one am excited about it as this will be my opportunity to catch the field and it’s a fantastic initiative to have a full round in one location. Just a pity that uncertainty until recently around international travel has prevented wandering over.

As for the games themselves I am tending to favour the majority of the New Zealand sides as they have been playing a higher intensity of matches leading to this point, which will stand them in good stead.

The Blues should be too organised for the Drua, and I do not think the Waratahs have the defensive structure to hold the Chiefs. The same goes for the Rebels against the Crusaders.

Leicester Fainga'anuku of the Crusaders celebrates his try.

(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

What appear to be the two closest games will be between the Hurricanes and Reds and the Highlanders and Brumbies.

The Reds do make me nervous as a Canes fan, however the Hurricanes have traditionally fared well against the Queenslanders, and I will back them to do so again. The Reds’ set piece does make me nervous, particularly the scrum, where they can potentially really hurt the Hurricanes.

The Highlanders will certainly give a good account of themselves, but I suspect the Brumbies have the pack to get over the top of our most southern outfit, so I will back the Brumbies to take this out.

Sure thing

In the past two weeks we have had two senior and popular players in NZ voice their disapproval of the officiating and I can help but wonder whose turn will it be this week?

Maybe we will see an Aussie have a crack so in this week’s wheel of whinge, I will nominate Taniela Tupou to bring some fire to post-match proceedings.

Round 10HarryGeoffDiggerBrettThe Crowd
Overall3836343838
Last week54444
CHI v WARChiefsChiefsChiefsWaratahsChiefs
MOA v FORMoana PasifikaMoana Pasifika
BLU v DRUBluesBluesBluesBluesBlues
HUR v REDRedsRedsHurricanesHurricanesHurricanes
HIG v BRUBrumbiesBrumbiesBrumbiesBrumbiesHighlanders
CRU v REBCrusadersCrusadersCrusadersCrusadersCrusaders

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

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