Super Rugby Round 7 has emphasised how many upsets there are in Super Rugby and how difficult it is to pick them.  Less than four percent of SuperBru tipsters picked either the Hurricanes to beat the Crusaders or the Rebels to beat the Brumbies, while only 553 people out of nearly 160,000 SuperBru tipsters picked both victors. These are two of the biggest upsets in Super Rugby 2014.  But how did these results go undetected on most people’s radars?  What goes into results?

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There are many factors that go into determining the result of matches.  The home advantage, the history of matches between the two teams, the form of the players, injuries, which players take the field, the coach, refereeing decisions, ground and weather conditions and luck.  Another factor which is often overlooked, but can play an important part is team confidence.  Sometimes teams lose but finish strongly and then go into their next game with confidence and win.  Coaching also plays a massive part in how teams go.


It is in many ways surprising that the Crusaders were such hot favourites to beat the Hurricanes, given that the Crusaders have been far from convincing this season and only sat one position above the Hurricanes going into this game.  History between these teams also suggested this game was going to be close.  The Crusaders weren’t helped by the injury to legendary Number Eight Kieran Read.  Are the Crusaders past it as this result really leaves them having to play catch up.

What makes things difficult is when a team like the Brumbies who are the top of the Australian conference lose to the bottom Australian conference team, the Rebels.  While it is great in hindsight to justify this result, but it can easily happen that a lower ranked team gets inspired against a top side and rises to the challenge to win at home.  There is also psychology involved as the Brumbies were such hot favourites to win, but sometimes it can be difficult going into a game people expect you to win.  It is easier being the underdog.

Good things to come out of these upset results
There is some consolation about upset results.  Firstly, hardly anyone picking such major upsets doesn’t hurt you relative to people in your conference. SuperBru is more based around how you go relative to others in your conference, you only lose ground in the overall standings rather than relative to your conference team mates.  This makes it more important to accurately pick the winner of the 50:50 results.


Upset results are usually good for most other teams in the competition.  They can level the playing field leaving more teams in contention for the finals.  Did your team benefit from these results?  My team the Highlanders definitely benefitted.

Super Rugby Tips has crunched the numbers to figure out how common upsets are, how to spot a potential banana skin and which result type are most common, these will be available in the Super Rugby Round 8 newsletter, so sign up before Thursday NZ time for further analysis.

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