Opinionated Rugby Commentary - by Fans for Fans
Spill what you really think about events in the rugby world.
Super 15 Rugby Round 11 Preview and Guide 2 views
23 April 2015 by The Swede Eaters
Here is a fantasy rugby and virtual rugby guide to help managers and tipsters.
For Super Rugby fans, the competition is at the halfway stage with ten rounds giving tipsters an opportunity to get a gauge on the form horses for 2015.
Super 15 Rugby Round 1 2015 left a lot of people red faced with most tipsters picking between two and three winners out of seven games. Fast forward to Round 9 and 10 and just when you thought this competition was getting predictable, there were three upsets and one match which split tipsters fifty fifty.
The average winning margin in Super Rugby Round 10 was the lowest all season 6.9 points meaning that the overall average is now under 12 points, at 11.4 points, while 12 has been the most popular winning margin, happening six times. Seven is now the most popular margin, although 12 and 5 are also very common.
50 percent of games exactly have been won by the home team in 2015 with 33 home wins from 66 games. There was only one home win in Super Rugby Round 10. Will the 2014 overall statistic of 71 percent of home wins set in 2014? It is hard to know if it is simply because of the draw or if this trend looks set to continue. Although less home referees may also have something to do with this
To commemorate ANZAC Day on Saturday, there are three trans-Tasman derbies with the Chiefs vs Force, Brumbies vs Highlanders and the Reds vs Hurricanes. There are also some derby matches with the Crusaders vs Blues, Waratahs vs Rebels, Lions vs Cheetahs and the big South African derby between the Stormers vs Bulls.
To make things more challenging for tipsers, national selectors have demanded that international players get rested. This makes it difficult to know how teams will go and how that will affect the form of a team.
Super Rugby Round 10 gave us three upsets out of six games, making things difficult for Super Rugby tipsters. It was the one week that fortune favoured the brave, but is there a method to the madness of brave people who pick upsets?
Statistics from Super Rugby tipping competition SuperBru shows us that one third of all matches up until the end of Round 10 end in upset results, while half of all results end in either upsets or those matches that fifty fifty. This means that for tipsers, don't be afraid to pick at least one upset per round, probably two.
Admittedly Super Rugby Round 10 really broke the camel's back with three extreme upsets, but some of those results weren't completely out of the ordinary given the form and available players. The painful thing was that some of these results came down to missed last minute kicks which would have saved blushes not only for the teams who missed the kicks, but also for Super Rugby tipsters.
Round 7 was the only round in Super Rugby 2015 that was upset free, but it did include three fifty fifty results.
So, don't be so conservative when making your picks and if you have a hunch about an upset, pick it!
In SuperBru you get one point for picking the winner, half a point for getting within 5 points of the winning margin (assuming you picked the winner) and another point for being the closest. The other benefit of picking an upset is that there will be less competition for being the closest to the result. Even if you get the margin completely wrong, if you are the only person that picked a team then you will get the bonus point.
There is no point picking upsets in every game as the most upsets in any round was Round 1 with five upsets from seven games, but this is relatively rare.
If you get the wrong winner then chances are there will be lots of different people who pick up the margin and bonus point for being the closest that everyone else gets a little rather than one person getting a lot.
Let's use Super Rugby Round 10 as an example. If you picked every game to end in an upset then you would have had the opportunity to win 2.5 points x 7 games which is an amazing week, 17.5 points. If you picked the Chiefs to win over the Crusaders and the three other upsets then your maximum points would be 4 x 2.5 which is a good 10 points. If you picked the favourites to win you would have had a maximum of 3 x 2.5 = 7.5 points and you would have a lower chance of getting the bonus points as more others would have picked the winner.
This theory of picking the upsets in every game depends on who is playing. For example in one round there might be plenty of evenly matched teams and so there really is no upset as no one is surprised if either team wins.
But if there are rounds where one team is a clear favourite then it is worth sniffing out an upset.
The other assumption is that less others sniff an upset than pick the favourite. The more people who pick an upset, the less the chances are of you getting bonus points.
In summary, picking upsets in every game is probably not a good long-term solution but is a good move if there is a round with plenty of potential upsets or that you have a hunch.
Depending on the size of your pool and how many others pick upsets then if there are more than two upsets then it is probably profitable to pick every game as an upset. If there are two or less, then you probably lose more than you gain.
So are you an upsets tipster or do you play it safe in Super Rugby tipping?
For extra statistical information subscribe to our newsletters
In 2012, 69 out of 120 regular season games were won by the home team, this increased in 2013 with 77 out of 120 and in the year 2014, 85 out of 120 games were won by the home team (71 percent). It seems to be getting harder to win away, with 51 away wins in 2012, 40 away wins in 2013 and only 33 away wins in 2014.
The average winning margin has been increasing, from 10.89 points in 2012 to 12.85 points in 2014. The most common winning margin in 2014 was 3 points, in 2013 it was 7 points while in 2012 it was 5 and 6 points. Margins of 1, 7 and 8 points are also popular, while in 2014 a margin of 16 points was very popular, which shows why the average winning margin is increasing.
This is an excerpt from The Ultimate Rugby Tipping Guide 2015 ebook.
For Super Rugby Round 11 team lists click here
It is also worth checking the Super 15 Rugby Team of the Competition so far here
And the Super Rugby Statistical leaders here
Chiefs vs Force
The Chiefs are one of the leading teams in the Super Rugby competition this season and they are hosting the bottom team, the Western Force. Surely this should be the easiest game to pick of the round, although we have learnt the hard way in recent weeks that there are always upsets in Super Rugby.
It will be the start of the post-Cruden era with Marty McKenzie stepping into the hotseat ahead of his brother Damian who has been brilliant in limited opportunities this season. It is hard to know which McKenzie will play more minutes or if either are good fantasy rugby options.
The Force complained of too much travel and their lopsided early away draw, but that is probably just a smoke screen as they sit at the bottom of the table.
The Chiefs should win easily, although it is hard to pick a margin in this first ANZAC celebration game as while the Force have been rubbish this season, they have only been thrashed once.
Marty McKenzie could be worth a shot as a potential bargain. The Chiefs will miss Liam Messam through being rested.
For the Force, Dane Haylett-Petty, Steve Mafi and Ben McCalman have been fantasy studs despite their teams poor record this season. Big Pek Cowan plays his 100th game.
Players to watch :
Chiefs: Hika Elliott, Brodie Retallick, Marty McKenzie, Sonny Bill Williams, Michael Leitch, Sam Cane, James Lowe.
Force : Steve Mafi, Ben McCalman, Dane Haylett-Petty.
My pick: Chiefs
Brumbies vs Highlanders
The Highlanders go into their game against the Brumbies with better form following wins over the Stormers, Crusaders and Blues, but they haven’t left New Zealand yet in 2015. Their chances have taken a hit since they will have to soldier on without all three of their All Blacks, Ben Smith, Malakai Fekitoa and Aaron Smith. Surely it would have been better if they rotated one at a time, but maybe this wasn’t possible. The Brumbies welcome back Jesse Mogg and Tevita Kuridrani to really boost their team. They are the top team in the Australian conference and sit higher than the Highlanders on the table despite having less points.
The Highlanders probably go in as underdogs with the returning Richard Buckman and the injury ravaged forward pack being bolstered by having six replacement forwards on the bench. The Highlanders form is the opposite of the Brumbies with a three game winning streak vs the Brumbies two game losing streak.
Both teams have made some changes to their teams through a combination of injuries and resting players to keep them fresh.
It is form vs international players. Can the Highlanders depleted team play well no matter who is starting?
This is a potential upset with the Highlanders in great form.
Players to watch:
For the Brumbies, it will be interesting to see how the devastating Tevita Kuridrani, Jesse Mogg, Joe Tomane and Henry Speight go with Christian Lealiifano kicking goals also a good option, although he will be in the Number 10 jersey. Some other quality players are Stephen Moore and David Pocock who might be too classy for the Highlanders.
My pick: Brumbies
Crusaders vs Blues
Both of these teams desperately need a win after disappointing seasons in 2015. It looks like these two teams will struggle to make the Top Six, although a win for the Crusaders will keep their faint hopes alive.
It is like both the Crusaders and Blues are simply not gelling properly despite some good teams on paper, although the way the Blues finished against the Highlanders must be of slight concern to the Crusaders.
It must be difficult for the Crusaders who have lost their last two games at home against the Highlanders and the Chiefs, but they should be too strong for the Blues.
The Blues are mixing Jerome Kaino which is a huge blow, but he is being rested. This leaves Keven Mealamu as captain.
Players to watch: Crusaders: Sam Whitelock, Codie Taylor, Nemani Nadolo, Jordan Taufua, Kieran Read, Dan Carter.
Blues: Lolagi Visina, Keven Mealamu, Charles Piutau, George Moala, Melani Nanai and Frank Halai are dangerous.
My pick: Crusaders
Waratahs vs Rebels
The Waratahs and Rebels both scored wins last week against higher ranked teams in the Hurricanes and Brumbies, so it will be interesting to see how this match goes in the terrible rain in Sydney.
The Waratahs look to be hitting their straps, although the game against the Hurricanes was expansive which probably won’t be required in Sydney and could keep this game relatively close.
This match is must win for the Waratahs to have a shot at winning the Australian conference, while the Rebels will be trying to keep their faint Top Six hopes alive.
Neither team has been named, but don’t expect many changes for this derby match.
The Waratahs have home advantage and a far better record at home and so they should be too strong. The Rebels have claimed some big victims this year including the Crusaders and Brumbies, so they can’t be taken lightly, but the Waratahs haven’t lost to the Rebels in Sydney before.
Players to watch:
Waratahs (not named yet) Bernard Foley, Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale, Micheal Hooper, Will Skelton.
Rebels (not named yet) Scott Higginbotham, Pat Leafa, Luke Jones, Mitch Inman and Sean McMahon.
My pick : Waratahs
Lions vs Cheetahs
The Cheetahs ended their Australasian tour on a high with a win over the Force, but last week they lost to the Reds. The Cheetahs have conceded the most points in Super Rugby 2015, while the Lions have been strong recently with a great tour of Australasia and wins over the Bulls and Sharks on the bounce first game back.
The Cheetahs will be missing some heavy artillery in Coenie Oosthuizen, Willie Le Roux and Heinrich Brussouw all missing which is a real blow for the visitors. Joe Pietersen moves to fullback.
The Lions are yet to be named, but with their hardworking loose forward trio and Elton Jantjies in great form, they should be tough to beat. They don’t usually win by much, but they have managed to find an effective way to win that suits them.
Players to watch:
Cheetahs – Boom Prinsloo, Joe Pietersen
Lions (not named yet) – Warwick Tecklenburg, Warren Whiteley.
My pick: Lions
Stormers vs Bulls
The big boys of South African rugby clash with the Stormers hosting the Bulls. The Stormers finished their tour to Australasia well and will host a Bulls team who is on a two game winning streak and sit on top of the South African conference. This will be another titanic clash of the titans as these are the top two South African sides this season.
The Stormers have a good record against the Bulls and should get up for the victory, although it will be tight. The Stormers are returning home from tour so fatigue could also come into it.
The Stormers will want to take the Bully Boys apart up front where they traditionally have prided themselves.
Players to watch:
Stormers (yet to be named) Eben Etzebeth, Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allende.
Bulls (yet to be named) Pierre Spies, Adriaan Strauss, Handre Pollard, Francois Hougaard, Jesse Kriel.
My pick: Stormers
Reds vs Hurricanes
What a difference a week makes, the Reds are towards the bottom of the table, but are coming off a win, while the Hurricanes have the opposite problem!
That narrow win by the Reds over the Cheetahs and returning home must give the Reds more confidence and there is a potential upset on the cards here.
They are now starting to get some mileage out of the likes of James O’Connor finally.
The Hurricanes won’t have the electric Nehe Milner-Skudder or Cory Jane, but should still win, although given the amount of upsets happening at the moment, then this could be a potential one!
The Hurricanes have some class and the way they bounce back from their first defeat could shape their entire season.
Players to watch:
Reds – Adam Thomson, Liam Gill, James O’Connor, Lachlan Turner, Samu Kerevi.
Hurricanes – Brad Shields, Ardie Savea, Callum Gibbins, Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea.
My pick : Hurricanes
Who are you picking to win Super Rugby Round 11 matches?
Join the Super Rugby Tips tipping competition!