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30 April 2015 by The Swede Eaters

Who are you picking in Super Rugby Round 12?

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, luckily for everyone’s sanity Round 11 was more predictable.
The average winning margin in Super Rugby Round 11 was a low 8.6 points meaning that the overall average is now under 12 points, at 11.1 points, while five and seven have been the most popular winning margins now ahead of 1,2 and 12 points.
Over 50 percent of games have been won by the home team in 2015 with 39 home wins from 73 games. In contrast to Super Rugby Round 10, there were six out of seven games won by the home team in Super Rugby Round 11. Will the overall statistic of 71 percent of home wins set in 2014 be matched? 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 make things more challenging for tipsters, 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. The Highlanders for example, rested all of their All Blacks at once and paid the price, hardly firing a shot against the Brumbies.
Super Rugby Round 11 gave us no upsets which hasn’t happened since Round 7, but this time only the Brumbies vs Highlanders split the tipsters much.

Statistics from Super Rugby tipping competition SuperBru shows us that one third of all matches up until the end of Round 10 ended in upset results, while half of all results end in either upsets or those matches that fifty fifty. This means that for tipsters, 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.

So, don't be so conservative when making your picks and if you have a hunch about an upset, pick it!

It is hard to pick the game of the round, with the Hurricanes vs Crusaders and Brumbies vs Waratahs the top contenders.

So are you an upsets tipster or do you play it safe in Super Rugby tipping?

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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 those playing fantasy rugby game www.testrugby.com, we are also naming players to watch. You can also join the Super Rugby Tips conference at SuperBru. It is difficult to afford a team if playing salary cap fantasy rugby, so you may have to buy bargains, but there are enough new players in Super Rugby 2015 to give you some options. 2015 seems tough to fill a squad without going over budget. The key is to sell players who have the bye straight away and buy them back early.
In fantasy rugby game www.testrugby.com there are some problems. You will be relieved to finally have some trades again. The other problem is that some stars are getting rested, which is not only difficult for their teams, but also for fantasy rugby managers.
Managers have to look long-term with some teams like the Highlanders having had the bye twice.
There are plenty of injuries too, so it is important to check the Super Rugby team lists.
If you run out of trades then you have to minimise the damage with locks probably the lowest scoring position to have a non player in. Also if you are keeping players who have the bye or are injured, make sure you keep the cheapest players as their values will drop less and they won’t take up as much of the salary cap. In some games like www.testrugby.com you can buy trades if you are desperate.
The Reds have a bye this round, but managers need to be wary as there are two – three team bye rounds in Round 13 and 14.
For Super Rugby Round 12 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

Highlanders vs Sharks
The Highlanders go into their game against the Sharks with a better record with six wins from nine matches, but the Sharks won’t be easy beats as they look to recover from a below par start to the season which sees them sitting in 10th position, four spots below the Highlanders.
The Highlanders had their worst 40 minutes of the season as all three of their All Blacks, Ben Smith, Malakai Fekitoa and Aaron Smith sat out against the Brumbies and the first half was a nightmare. Surely it would have been better if they rotated one at a time, but maybe this wasn’t possible.
The Highlanders pack will miss Joe Wheeler who was a hardworking part of their team, but this game will be a game of cat and mouse in some ways as the Highlanders are used to living off scraps of possession and getting home thanks to their game changers in the backline.
They will be sweating on the fitness of winger Waisake Naholo who has been bracketed for this game.
The Sharks welcome back former skipper Bismarck du Plessis who will not be captain for this game. He returns and Marco Wentzel will remain as captain to allow du Plessis to focus on his game. There is still no Patrick Lambie and Franc Steyn to guide them around the park.
On paper, the Sharks have a stronger forward pack and the travel overseas has been just what the doctor ordered for other teams this season like the Lions, but we think the Highlanders will be able to win this match by a handful of points thanks to some brilliance from their All Blacks trio.
South African teams have won only 29 percent of games against New Zealand teams this season, so it doesn’t bode well for the Sharks.
Players to watch:
For the Highlanders – it could be safer to sell Waisake Naholo, but there are some good fantasy options like Patrick Osborne, Lima Sopoaga, Malakai Fekitoa and Ben Smith. Nasi Manu is probably their best forward.
Sharks – Bismarck du Plessis, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee and Lwazi Mvovo.
Tipping advice:
My pick: Highlanders
Brumbies vs Waratahs
The Brumbies and Waratahs both scored wins last week to establish themselves at the top of the Australian conference. The Waratahs look to be hitting their straps despite only just beating the Rebels last week, with three good with two wins on the trot, although they don’t seem to be winning by large margins like they did last year.
The Brumbies had a strange win against the Highlanders, it will be interesting to see how the referee rules on their rolling maul which was their main attacking weapon against the Highlanders. If they are not allowed the same leeway, then the Waratahs could well have a good chance to win this match.
There is plenty at stake in this game with the second place team in the Australian conference not even looking assurred of a Top Six spot, so finishing top is paramount.
There are some great head to head fixtures in this game, with the clash between Pocock and Hooper very tantalising.
The Brumbies home advantage could be crucial in this game as the Waratahs have a patchy record in Canberra.
Can the Brumbies cope without Matt Toomua and Nick White who are still out with injury and seem to have left a big hole in their team?
There will be plenty of feeling in this match after their earlier match this season.
Players to watch:
Waratahs: Bernard Foley, Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale, Micheal Hooper, Will Skelton, Peter Betham.
Brumbies: David Pocock, Tevita Kuridrani, Stephen Moore, Scott Fardy, Henry Speight.
My pick : Waratahs

Blues vs Force
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, but the result of this game could help decide which team will take the wooden spoon as both of these teams sit at the bottom of the table with only one win each.
Both of these teams lost last week, but did put up a fight. It shows what a tough competition it is when the 14 man Force team did very well against the Chiefs, losing by eight points, but getting a bonus point for scoring four tries.
Matt Hodgson means a lot to this Force team, but the Blues have an impeccable record at Eden Park and will welcome back Jerome Kaino for this one.
The Force have only won one game and have become the masters of the narrow loss, look for this to continue.
Players to watch:
Blues: Lolagi Visina, Keven Mealamu, Charles Piutau, George Moala, Melani Nanai and Frank Halai are dangerous.
Force (not named yet) : Ben McCalman, Matt Hodgson, Dane Haylett-Petty, Steve Mafi.
My pick: Blues
Hurricanes vs Crusaders
Both of these teams play this game after recording comfortable wins in Round 11. This is a crucial game for the Crusaders who need to keep chasing a spot in the Top Six, while the Hurricanes will want to cement their place at the top of the table ahead of the Chiefs.
The Hurricanes are like the Saved By The Bell new class. They seem to be upstaging the Crusaders this season. New talent like Ardie Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder has revitalised this team and their coach Chris Boyd has the tight forwards firing which has often been the achilles for this team.
The Crusaders will be without Lord Richie McCaw and Israel Dagg for this clash, while Dane Coles, Milner-Skudder and Jane return to bolster the home team.
There are some great matchups in this game Colin Slade vs Beauden Barrett is probably the pick of them.
The Hurricanes have far more threats across the park and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Hurricanes won. The margin is tough to pick in this one.
Players to watch:
Hurricanes – Brad Shields, Ardie Savea, Callum Gibbins, Beauden Barrett, Julian Savea, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Ma’a Nonu.
Crusaders – Sam Whitelock , Codie Taylor, Nemani Nadolo, Kieran Read, Dan Carter.
My pick: Hurricanes

Rebels vs Chiefs
The Chiefs are one of the leading teams in the Super Rugby competition this season and they travel to Melbourne to tackle the Rebels who have been a tough team to beat in 2015, although they are sitting in 11th place with a 25 percent winning record at home.
The Chiefs have shown a lack of trust in Marty McKenzie and are instead starting utility Andrew Horrell in the Number 10 jersey, with Marty’s brother Damian on the bench.
The Chiefs have made several other changes including the return of Liam Messam and James Lowe, although these are offset by the loss of Brodie Retallick for four to six weeks.
The Rebels are yet to be named, but they have been a tough side to beat, with the exception of a heavy loss to the Hurricanes.
For fantasy rugby managers, stay clear of buying a Chiefs goalkicker. They don’t seem to know who will be Cruden’s long term replacement.
Don’t buy Chiefs in fantasy rugby as they have the bye next week.
We think the Rebels can potentially smell an upset here, but they have a poor record against the Chiefs, and the Chiefs should have too many threats across the park to win. As the Waratahs found out last week, the Rebels are difficult to beat.
Players to watch :
Chiefs: Hika Elliott, Brodie Retallick, Sonny Bill Williams, Michael Leitch, Sam Cane, James Lowe, Tim Nanai-Williams, Tom Marshall.
Rebels (yet to be named) : Sean McMahon, Scott Higginbotham, Luke Jones (if playing), Pat Leafa, Mitch Inman. It could be time to sell Mike Harris.
My pick: Chiefs

Cheetahs vs Stormers
The top South African team plays the bottom South African team in this game which should be entertaining.
The Bloemfontein will hopefully provide the Stormers with conditions that give them an opportunity to play some expansive rugby that they don’t usually get at home.
The Cheetahs have made changes mainly in the backline to the team that just lost to the Lions. The Cheetahs will struggle against the Stormers who look to be judging their run well and look set to finish top of the South African conference.
The Stormers are yet to be named, but they have some quality players like Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allende and Eben Etzebeth.
Players to watch:
Cheetahs – Boom Prinsloo, Joe Pietersen
Stormers (yet to be named) – Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allende, Ruan Botha.
My pick: Stormers

Bulls vs Lions
The Bulls return home for this high veldt clash and despite not having the form that the Lions have, they should be too strong. The Lions have been hardworking and ground out five straight narrow victories and six from seven, however, they have a bad record in Pretoria which is surprising given it is right on their back door step.
The home team will go on tour soon and so they must win this match to build up some valuable points.
They should be boosted by the return of Victor Matfield and Jan Serfontein for this clash.
The Lions won’t roll over and have shown just what can be achieved.
We think the Lions luck will run out and the Bulls will win at home.
Warren Whiteley is one of the best tacklers in the competition and worth buying in any fantasy rugby game.
Players to watch:
Bulls (yet to be named) Pierre Spies, Adriaan Strauss, Handre Pollard, Francois Hougaard, Jesse Kriel, Grant Hattingh.
Lions : (yet to be named) Warren Whiteley, Elton Jantjies, Warwick Tecklenburg, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert.

Who are you picking to win Super Rugby Round 12 matches?
Join the Super Rugby Tips tipping competition!


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