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11 June 2015 by The Swede Eaters

Who are you picking?

For Super Rugby fans, it is make or break time with only one regular season rounds left. Now is the time to make a move in that tipping conference and that is where we can help.
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. Things have got more predictable since then with Round 11 and 15 featuring no upsets, just when some people desperate to make up points got sick of losing out when picking the favourites and went for the upsets!
The average winning margin in Super Rugby Round 17 was approximately 17 points, meaning that the overall average is now 12.2 points. Expect margins to keep increasing in Round 18, as the depth of some teams is tested.
Last round only one out of six teams that lost matches did so by seven points or less, meaning that in under half of games (49 out of 113) the winning margin has been between 1 and 7 points.
Over 50 percent of games have been won by the home team in 2015 with 66 home wins from 113 games. 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 twice, hardly firing a shot against the Brumbies and Hurricanes. This week there might be some of this with likes of Sam Cane likely to be rested, while international stars like Duane Vermeulen and Malakai Fekitoa are both injured. There will also be other teams out of the running, giving their players to their National Under 20 side, so watch for the cleanout from sides like the Bues.
Super Rugby Round 17 gave only one upset, with the draw between the Stormers and Lions, while the Rebels win over the Bulls really split the tipsters.

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.

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

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. The problem is that towards the end of the competition, people who are towards the bottom of the conference will go for the upsets and steal some potential points off you!

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

Super Rugby Round 17 looks to be relatively predictable, although there are two great matches on Saturday night with the Chiefs hosting the Hurricanes and the Brumbies hosting the Crusaders. South Africa’s most interesting game is the Sharks vs Stormers, although the way the Sharks have been going in 2015, it isn’t as big as it might have been. The key feature of this round is the fact that 12 teams are involved in local derby matches, with the Brumbies vs Crusaders, the only international match. Already knowing the Top Six teams is a little boring, but good if you are one of those six teams.

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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.
For managers playing fantasy rugby game www.testrugby.com there are some problems.
Firstly, with limited trades you have to allow for international players being rested.
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 good news is that the two team bye rounds are over, but managers need to start conserving trades for the finals. Annoyingly because of the format, the top two teams have the bye in the first round of the finals, so sometimes picking players from the Hurricanes may not be great long term strategies! It is probably best to pick players from the Stormers, Highlanders, Chiefs or Brumbies this week as they should be playing next week. Remember that Malakai Fekitoa and Duane Vermeulen won’t be playing this week.
Finally, there will be plenty of emotion, with so many players leaving their current teams at the end of Super Rugby 2015. Because of the Rugby World Cup there will be players going overseas, retiring or changing teams before the 2016 season.

For Super Rugby Round 18 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
Blues vs Highlanders
The Blues host the Highlanders in the first match of Super Rugby Round 18. There are so many ironies in this game that it makes this match a potentially interesting game.
While the Blues sit in 14th place overall, the Highlanders need a win to get a home game next week.
The Highlanders face a locking crisis, yet both Blues locks actually toiled for seasons in the middle row for the Highlanders. Highlanders star Malakai Fekitoa is out injured, which means he doesn’t face his old team. There are plenty of players in this game who have played for both teams like Jimmy Cowan, Waisake Naholo and the two afforementioned locks.
This game is Keven Mealamu’s final game of Super Rugby for the Blues and he starts ahead of last week’s captain James Parsons. All Blacks fullback Charles Piutau returns to face Highlanders fullback Ben Smith.
The Blues are missing some promising talent from the Under 20s, but could be encouraged by Mealamu’s last game. The Blues do have an excellent record at Eden Park, but the team does seem a little aimless, despite plenty of exciting young talent.
It will be interesting to see if the experienced Blues locks make it tough for whoever fills in at lock for the Highlanders and their absence of Malakai Fekitoa is a big loss. But the Highlanders are a dangerous team and with the motivation of a home playoff game, they should be strong enough to claim a rare win at Eden Park.
The Highlanders have made 10 changes for this one including the return of All Blacks Aaron and Ben Smith and winger Patrick Osborne. They also have two fit starting locks, which is good compared with what could have been the case, with Alex Ainley joining Joe Latta in the middle row.
Players to watch:
For the Blues : Keven Mealamu, George Moala, Charles Piutau.
Highlanders: Waisake Naholo, Ben Smith, Elliot Dixon, Richard Buckman, Lima Sopoaga.
My pick: Highlanders

Rebels vs Force
The Rebels have been brave in 2015, but they are now officially out of the running, while the Force are the bottom team in the competition. This points to what should be a win for the Rebels, but it is hard to get a gauge on the margin, given that matches between these two teams are traditionally close.
The Rebels should win thanks to home advantage and more finishing power compared with the Force, but that wouldn’t be hard.
The Rebels do have some bargain priced fantasy rugby studs, but remember they won’t be playing next week.
Players to watch:
Rebels (not named yet): Sean McMahon, Scott Higginbotham, Pat Leafa, Luke Jones.
Force (not named yet): Ben McCalman, Matt Hodgson, Zac Holmes.
Our pick: Rebels

Brumbies vs Crusaders
This game was supposed to be a classic between two of the best teams in the competition, but someone forgot to tell the Crusaders who will be playing for nothing but pride in this game. Ironically, since they have been out of contention, they have actually been playing really well and could threaten the Brumbies in Canberra. There are plenty of stars in this game with the likely return of Kieran Read and Matt Toomua.
The Brumbies can still win the Australian conference, but they must win this game and rely on the Waratahs not demolishing the Reds.
We are picking this game to be close, but we are just tipping the home team to get across the line by a narrow margin.
These two teams have met in Canberra in twice.
Players to watch:
Brumbies (yet to be named) : David Pocock, Christian Lealiifano, Ita Vaea, Stephen Moore.
Crusaders: Nemani Nadolo, Dan Carter, Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock, Codie Taylor.
My pick: Brumbies
Chiefs vs Hurricanes
This game is such an important one for the Chiefs who are precariously purched in 4th spot and on the verge of hosting a playoff game next week, but they need to do better than the Highlanders this week.
There is a slight hurdle for the two time champions and that is that while they play the top team in the Hurricanes, their rivals, the Highlanders play the bottom New Zealand team, the Blues.
It is no coincidence that the Chiefs return to their winning way in Brisbane last week coincided with the return of stars like Liam Messam and Brodie Retallick. The problem for them is that impressive loose forward Sam Cane has to be rested for this game. Cane’s loss is offset by the return of Sonny Bill Williams for a titanic midfield clash. While they are guaranteed a place in the Top Six, anything but a win won’t be enough to be playing at home next week.
In another ironic twist for these New Zealand derby, New Plymouth, where this game is being played, used to be in the Hurricanes franchise region, and Hurricanes first five eighth Beauden Barrett is actually playing on his home ground. It will be interesting to see who the locals support?
It is hard to predict the winner of this game since the Hurricanes are yet to be named and given the calibre of the two teams. The Chiefs have more to play for and a good home record against the Hurricanes, but we think they will miss Sam Cane too much and that their win over the Reds was exaggerated because the Reds are not actually that good.
There could also still be some feelings after the Jerry Collins passing that could keep inspring the Hurricanes.
Players to watch
Chiefs: Marty McKenzie, Brodie Retallick, Charlie Ngatai, Sam Cane, Michael Leitch, Tom Marshall, SBW, Liam Messam.
Hurricanes (yet to be named) : Dane Coles, Ma’a Nonu, Nehe Milner-Skudder, James Marshall, Ardie Savea, Victor Vito, James Broadhurst.
My pick: Hurricanes

Waratahs vs Reds
The Waratahs are red hot favourites to beat the Reds this weekend. They need a bonus point win to seal the top spot in the Australian conference and given the poor form of the Reds, then they should win well at home.
The Reds do have the ability to be tricky, but they seem to be their own worst enemy this season.
Before you get carried away by the prospect of buying lots of Waratahs for your fantasy rugby team, remember that they will probably have the bye next weekend.
The only potential problem is the jetlag following the Waratahs’ trip to South Africa.
Players to watch :
Waratahs: Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Micheal Hooper, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Taqele Naivaravora, Matt Carraro.
Reds: Liam Gill, James Hanson, Samu Kerevi, Quade Cooper.
Our pick: Waratahs
Bulls vs Cheetahs
Both of these teams finishing disappointing campaigns in Pretoria. Given the recent run of defeats for the Cheetahs (do they have a defence coach?) leaves them easily the bottom team in the South African conference. The Bulls have nothing to lose in this game and if you have spare trades in fantasy rugby, it could be worth buying Handre Pollard for a big Bulls win.
Players to watch
Bulls (not yet named) : Handre Pollard, Jan Serfontein, Jesse Kriel, Victor Matfield.
Cheetahs: Willie Le Roux, Boom Prinsloo, Francois Venter.
Our pick: Bulls
Sharks vs Stormers
While the Stormers have wrapped up the South African conference with one week to spare, they were far from convincing against the Lions last week and may actually find themselves on the wrong end of the scoreline in Durban this week. The Sharks have been disappointing in 2015 but the farewell of some of their best players could inspire them to victory. The Stormers without Duane Vermeulen are only a shadow of themselves and so watch for an upset win to the Sharks this week.
Players to watch:
Sharks (not yet named) Bismarck du Plessis, Marcell Coetzee, Lwazi Mvovo.
Stormers (not named yet): Damian de Allende, Dillyn Leyds.
My pick: Sharks

Who are you picking to win Super Rugby Round 18 games?


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