Super Rugby Round 9 was tricky because of the fifty fifty nature of some results, rather than any outrageous upsets, the away teams winning three out of six games, will Super Rugby Round 9 be any easier?  Super Rugby Round 10 features two New Zealand derbies, two South African derbies, one Australian derby and the Waratahs host the Bulls. This is something to enjoy while you are eating your Easter eggs.  Given how there is usually one to two upsets each round it is going to be another difficult round, some these matches won’t be as easy as most people think, with local derbies often tripping people up.

Super Rugby

Managers playing need to be weary.  The next two rounds of Super Rugby feature three teams having the bye, so this week players from the Highlanders, Brumbies and Reds have the bye, while next week the Crusaders, Lions and Rebels have the bye.  This means that some teams will already have had both of their byes.  With so many teams having byes, it is worth looking long term and selecting players you can get several weeks of games out of.

It is also important to be careful of players who are injured, suspended or being rotated and check the team lists.  Popular players like Israel Folau have caught managers out, especially after his injury and compulsory stand down by the Australian Rugby Union, but could still play making them tough purchases to make in .  Not all teams have been named yet, but some teams are making plenty of changes as they rotate their team. Plenty depends on how many trades you have up your sleeve.


For Super Rugby Round 10 Team Lists go to

Hurricanes vs Blues

Super Rugby Round 10 starts in Wellington where the Hurricanes host the Blues at a wet Westpac Stadium.  The bad weather sweeping New Zealand will keep this game close.  Both teams are sitting at the bottom of the New Zealand conference and so a win on Friday night will not only earn the winning team a great advantage, but will also leave the losing team at the bottom of the New Zealand conference.

Both teams had a bye last week, but have contrasting team selections.

The Blues have made several changes, with the bye allowing time for some of their players to recover from injury.  They welcome back some experienced players including Chris Noakes, Keven Mealamu, Francis Saili and Tom Donnelly.  Luke Braid starts in a rejigged loose forward trio, while Lolagi Visinia starts on the wing.

The Hurricanes have lost Ben Franks to injury and so Reggie Goodes will have his work cut out against the All Blacks laden Blues forward pack.

This game shapes as a close match between these two teams between these teams who both love to spin the ball wide.  It will be interesting to see how conditions shape things.  Both of these teams have scored 193 points this season.

The Hurricanes should be too strong at home, especially given the Blues terrible away record in local derbies recently.

My pick – Hurricanes


Players to buy – The Hurricanes have some high scoring players for those managers.  Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles, Jeremy Thrush and Julian Savea are quality points scoring players.  Alapati Leiua starts in the midfield, while Victor Vito is at Number Eight, both of these players could be worth a shot.

Blues – The Blues loose forwards are good points scoring players.  It will be interesting to see how the All Blacks midfield of Ma’a Nonu and Francis Saili go in the Blues midfield, while Charles Piutau and Keven Mealamu are usually good points producers.

Tipping advice – This game shapes as a cracking game between two rivals.  The Blues have won just one of their last ten away games against New Zealand teams, but that was against the Hurricanes. There is an interesting pattern in results between these two teams with the Blues winning the last two games between these teams, while the Hurricanes won the two before that, the Blues won the two previous games with the Hurricanes winning the two games before that.  The pattern suggests the Hurricanes should win both games between these teams this season.   Both of these teams have scored 193 points this season.

Expect this game to have a close margin as these teams are quite evenly matched and the weather will keep the scores close.  The Hurricanes will win at home.

Hurricanes by 3 points

Rebels vs Force

This Australian derby has an interesting look to it.  The Rebels are placed bottom of the Australian conference and now host the Force who were written off before the season began and lost their first two games, but are now on a five match winning streak.

The Force thumped the Rebels in Round 4 by 32-7 and that was the catalyst for this five game winning streak, but can they win away from home?

The Force have a remarkably strong team culture and this should be enough to get them up against the Rebels.  Their winning streak has included away wins over the Highlanders and Reds.

The Rebels pushed the Chiefs last week and can’t be written off at home, but the Force should win, but it will be close.

My pick – Force

Players to watch:  These teams haven’t been named yet, but the Rebels have their stars like Scott Higginbotham, Jason Woodward and Luke Jones.

For the Force, the Honey Badger Nick Cummins has been playing well, while Nathan Charles and Ben McCalman have been good point producers.

Tipping advice – The Force have won five on the trot which is massive given how difficult Super Rugby is.  Four of their five wins have been by 12 points or less and so this match should be no exception.  Six of the seven matches between these two teams have finished with a bonus point for the losing team finishing within seven points, while three have been one point margins.  The Rebels lead the head to head between these teams by five wins to two, but given the form of this Force side, the Rebels will struggle to win at home.

My pick Force by 1 point.

Chiefs vs Crusaders

This is the clash between the two traditional heavyweights of New Zealand rugby.  Both of these teams won in Super Rugby Round 9, although these results were contrasting with the Chiefs winning an ugly battle over the Rebels, while the Crusaders put the Cheetahs to the sword.

It will be difficult for the Crusaders to win after travelling back from South Africa and given that they are playing away from home.  The Crusaders have looked good in the last two weeks, but their two wins were against the Lions and Cheetahs and so they will notice an intensity in defence this week.

Gareth Anscombe will have benefitted from his run at first five eighth last week after replacing Aaron Cruden.  It will be interesting to see if the Crusaders can bring their attacking flair from the last two weeks, against the Chiefs this week.

The Chiefs have developed a knack of winning the close games and that included the last two times they beat the Crusaders in their opening game this season and in the semi-final in Super Rugby 2013.

My pick: Chiefs

Players to watch – Neither team has been named so check the team lists before making any selections in – For the Chiefs watch for Gareth Anscombe, Liam Messam and the Chiefs outside backs like Tim Nanai Williams.

The Crusaders have the bye next week, so don’t buy any Crusaders.  Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock, Ryan Crotty, Colin Slade and Nemani Nadolo scored well last week, but that was against the Cheetahs.

Tipping advice:  The Chiefs usually beat the Crusaders in Hamilton with the Crusaders last winning there in 2012.  The Chiefs last two wins over the Crusaders were close and expect nothing less in this match.  The Chiefs have won four of the last five games between these teams which were all by 12 or less points.  The Crusaders did win in Christchurch in 2013 by 28 points.

The Chiefs have developed the ability to win the tight matches with their aggressive defence.  This game will be a cracker!

My pick – Chiefs by 3 points.


Waratahs vs Bulls

The Waratahs will be hurting after losing to the Force as they return home to face the Bulls.  The Waratahs will welcome back Israel Folau for this match (assuming the ARU allow it).

The Bulls were humbled by the Highlanders in Dunedin last week, but showed that they can physically dominate their opponents despite not being able to beat them on the scoreboard.

The Waratahs will do it tough in this match against the big Bulls pack with Wycliff Palu still out injured along with Peter Betham and Alofa Alofa.

The Bulls will rely heavily on their pack and the kicking of Jacques-Louis Potgieter and their experienced locking duo with Victor Matfield playing a lot for a guy who wasn’t going to play at all on tour!

My pick – Waratahs

Players to watch in  – For the Waratahs Israel Folau is back (touch wood), while assuming Kurtley Beale kicks goals, he is also a great option. Tatafu Polota-Nau is a reliable player to watch.

The Bulls players Victor Matfield and Jacques-Louis Potgieter are two of the better point scorers for the Bulls.

Tipping advice – The Bulls have won the last eight matches between these teams.  This is an alarming statistic for the Sydneysiders.  The Bulls have won 10 out of 17 matches between these two teams, although this Bulls team isn’t as strong as previous seasons.  In 2014 the Bulls have lost by within seven points to the Hurricanes and Highlanders and a similar margin looks like the order of the day again.  The smart money is on the Waratahs, but this is a potential upset given the history of these teams, although the Bulls lack of finishing against the Highlanders will have to improve.  We are still picking the Waratahs to win given that they have more finishing power with Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau both playing than they have previously.

Waratahs by 7 points

Sharks vs Cheetahs

The Sharks have another home game which they must win if they are to build enough of a buffer before hitting the road.  The Cheetahs haven’t had any problems scoring points, but have struggled in defence.  The Sharks are hot favourites to win this match, especially since Johan Goosen isn’t playing for the Cheetahs, although Heinrich Brussouw is back for the Cheetahs.

The Sharks should dominate up front with Bismarck du Plessis leading the forward pack, although it will be interesting to see who wears the Number 10 jersey in Patrick Lambie’s absence.  The Cheetahs have terrible defence and this means that there could be plenty of tries in this one, despite what history between these two teams suggests.

My pick: Sharks

Players to watch – – The Sharks haven’t been named but look for Bismarck du Plessis, Lwazi Mvovo, Franc Steyn, Jean Deysel and Marcell Coetzee.  Lock Stephan Lewies could be a cheap option if he is named to start.

For the Cheetahs watch for Jean Cook and Boom Prinsloo who are bargain priced loose forwards while Adriaan Strauss and Willie Le Roux are good value.  Heinrich Brussouw returns from injury.

Tipping advice – The Sharks have been impressive in 2014 and shouldn’t have any problems with the Cheetahs.  The Cheetahs defence has been the worst in the competition conceding 303 points, while the Sharks have the best defence 113 points.  This match logically points to an easy win for the Sharks with plenty of tries given their form, but in 2013 the Cheetahs stunned the Sharks 12-6 in a dour match.  Don’t expect a repeat of this given that the Sharks seem to be far more complete with coach Jake White and captain Bismarck du Plessis at the helm.  The Cheetahs also aren’t the team they were in 2013.

The Sharks are unbeaten at home in 2014, while the Cheetahs haven’t won away from home in 2014.  The Sharks lead overall head to head 7 – 4 against the Cheetahs.  The Sharks should win, but the margin is difficult to pick given the defensive qualities of both teams.

My pick – Sharks by 14 points.

Stormers vs Lions

Who would have thought that the Lions would be sitting above the Stormers in Super Rugby 2014?  These two teams have struggled to pick up wins on the road in 2014, but have still been gallant in defeat.  The Lions gave the Sharks a minor fright last week before going down, while the Stormers lost only their second home game of the season to the Waratahs.

The Lions have hit a lean trot after a promising start in 2014 and will rely heavily on the boot of Marnitz Boshoff, while the big Stormers team has gone for two kickers with Peter Grant starting at fullback.

We are going for the Stormers to win thanks to their home ground.  It should be a relatively close and low scoring game.

It is a funny Super Rugby draw when the Stormers are only playing their third home game while the Sharks have played every game in South Africa including five home games.

My pick- Stormers

Players to watch: Neither team usually sets the world on fire, but the Stormers have some bargains. Damian de Allende, Siya Kolisi and Nizaam Carr are bargains for the Stormers while Deon Fourie and Duane Vermeulen are consistent scorers.

Marnitz Boshoff is the man for the Lions, while their loose forwards like Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel are usually good performers, but check that they are playing as the Lions haven’t been named yet.


Tipping advice – Conditions will probably make this into a relatively close match between two teams desperate for a win to get their campaign back on track.  The Lions won when these teams met earlier this year 34-10, but the Lions have lost two out of three away games and faded a bit in recent times.  The Stormers haven’t hosted any South African teams in 2014.  Despite losing the last time these two teams met, the Stormers have won 13 of the last 14 matches between these two teams.

My pick – Stormers by 6 points.

Super Rugby Margin Analysis

In Super Rugby 2014 there have been 55 matches in nine rounds.  After nine rounds of Super Rugby 2014 the home team has won 39 out of 55 matches (71 percent).  For a change, the home teams won half of the games in a round in Super Rugby Round 9.  The most common winning margin is now three points (seven times) just ahead of eight points (five times) while the average winning margin is dropping and is now 10.63 points.  Round 9 saw three bonus points for finishing within seven points.  It is difficult to know whether to expect the home teams to continue to dominate in Super Rugby Round 10 while there will be some close games.

Upset Analysis

There have been 18 obvious picks in Super Rugby 2014 so far, the interesting thing is that there have been 11 extreme upsets and 13 50/50 results this season, which makes you feel better about yourself in some regards.  Super Rugby Round 9 featured no upsets.  Given the relative nature of SuperBru, extreme upsets aren’t all that bad because nobody gets the points.  There have been 13 50/50 results which is when 40% to 60% of tipsters pick a result.  These can kill you as a tipster because half of the people get the points, while the other half don’t.  There were two of these 50/50 games in Super Rugby Round 9, so be careful, these games can make or break you!

So how do you pick upsets?  The teams who have caused the most upsets in Super Rugby 2014 are the Lions, Force and Rebels.  The key to upsets is when teams with big reputations get tipped to win.  The Crusaders have been tipped over a few times this season and most people didn’t pick it!  The Stormers and Cheetahs who are both at the bottom of the table also have conceded upsets.  Tipping must be on current factors like form, coaching staff, players, venue of game and conditions among other things, rather than reputation.  It was a very different Crusaders team and management that won all of those Super Rugby titles.

Who are you picking to win Super 15 Rugby Round 10 matches?