Opinionated Rugby Commentary - by Fans for Fans
Spill what you really think about events in the rugby world.
Super 15 Rugby Round 14 Preview and Fantasy Rugby 24 views
14 May 2015 by The Swede Eaters
Super Rugby Round 14, who are you picking?
For Super Rugby fans, the competition is at the three quarter stage with 13 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. Things have got more predictable since then with Round 11 featuring no upsets at all, but Round 12 showed us with three upsets out of seven matches, that you must be prepared for at least one upset per round.
The average winning margin in Super Rugby Round 13 was 13.7 points meaning that the overall average is now 11.2 points, while the most popular margins are 1,2,5, 7 and 12.
Last round three out of six teams that lost matches did so by seven points or less, meaning that in nearly half of games (42 out of 86) 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 51 home wins from 86 games, the last three rounds have seen 18 out of 20 games won by the home team. 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 13 gave us one upset, with there usually being at least one upset per round. So if you smell an upset, it is well worth tipping it!
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 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 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?
Super Rugby Round 14 is harder to pick than a broken nose with the potential for plenty of unexpected results, which strategy are you going to use? The last three rounds of Super Rugby have seen 18 home teams winning out of 20 games. It will be interesting to see if some of the underdogs like the Cheetahs, Lions, Blues and Reds can win at home this round.
There are so many difficult to pick games, but the match of the round has to be the New Zealand derby between the Hurricanes and Chiefs. Both of these teams are missing their best first five eighth and a win here is crucial so that the other team doesn’t get the points.
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 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.
Firstly, with limited trades you have to allow for international players being rested.
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.
There are two three team bye rounds happening in Round 14 with the Crusaders, Stormers and Force having the bye, so it really is a battle of who can ration those trades.
For Super Rugby Round 14 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 Bulls
The Blues have an unheralded team without Charles Piutau and Jerome Kaino, but have an amazing record at Eden Park with and are unbeaten there in 2015 so far.
On the other hand, the visitors will have to cope at sea level in Auckland, but have brought with them a strong squad. Pierre Spies starts as captain and their squad includes internationals like Handre Pollard, Adriaan Strauss and Francois Hougaard.
Can the Eden Park factor which has helped the Blues in recent years be more effective than the experienced Springboks in the Bulls squad?
Players to watch:
Blues: Lolagi Visina, James Parsons, George Moala, Melani Nanai and Akiro Ioane are dangerous.
Bulls: This Bulls team has experience and will put up a good fight Handre Pollard, Adriaan Strauss, Jesse Kriel, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies.
My pick: Blues
Reds vs Rebels
These teams have had contrasting build ups to this match with the Rebels accounting for the Blues comfortably, while the Reds were smashed by the Crusaders in Christchurch.
The Rebels have been a revelation this season and sit in 10th spot with a definite chance of making the Top Six and breathing down the necks of the Brumbies and Waratahs. They are genuinely tough to beat in 2015.
The Reds have had their injury problems, but they look to be close to full strength with the possible exception of new first five eighth Jake McIntyre. It is hard to know whether to blame the players or the coaching staff, but player confidence must be low as they sit at the bottom of the table.
Reds welcome back Jake Shatz and their team looks as good as it has all season, on paper, with loose forwards Adam Thomson and Liam Gill hardworking, while Samu Kerevi seems to have knack of getting go-forwards for fantasy rugby managers. It will be interesting to see James O’Connor at fullback and Karmichael Hunt in the midfield.
The Rebels have some great value fantasy rugby players in Luke Jones, Pat Leafa, Sean McMahon (if playing), Scott Higginbotham, Mike Harris and Mitch Inman.
The history between these teams suggests the Reds should win, but they are far from a form horse here sitting in last place and having won only 20 percent of their home games. Mind you, the thrashing at the hands of the Crusaders could be just the medicine they needed to up their game.
Players to watch:
Reds – Samu Kerevi, Liam Gill, Jake Shatz, James Hanson, James O’Connor
Rebels (not named yet) Mike Harris, Mitch Inman, Scott Higginbotham, Luke Jones and Pat Leafa, Sean McMahon (if playing).
My pick: Rebels
Hurricanes vs Chiefs
The Hurricanes are the top dogs in Super Rugby 2015 after beating the Sharks last week, while the Chiefs are returning from the bye.
Both of these teams started the season with a real snap, crackle and pop, and although they are two of the top dogs, their margins of victories appear to be diminishing without their All Blacks first five eighths.
It shows you what a pivotal position it is and how good Beauden Barrett and Aaron Cruden are.
The Chiefs are probably worse off in the injury stakes, especially without the impressive Brodie Retallick.
The Hurricanes look to be better balanced in 2015 with their tight five really coming to the party and with the home advantage they should be too strong.
Neither of these teams have been named, but there will be plenty of intriguing contests as this game will be a great chance to see how the SBW and Ngatai combination go against the tried and true Nonu and Smith combination. It will be a chance for young players like Milner-Skudder and Ardie Savea for the Hurricanes and Brad Weber and James Lowe to go against more experienced players in a close to test match like game.
I am perplexed as to why Andrew Horrell is starting in the Number 10 jersey ahead of the McKenzie brothers.
These two teams have yet to meet in 2015, but will meet again at least once this season.
Players to watch:
For the Hurricanes – Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Blade Thomson, Ma’a Nonu, Nehe Milner-Skudder (bargain), James Marshall (bargain), Reg Goodes.
Chiefs – Sam Cane, Andrew Horrell, SBW, Ngatai, James Lowe, Tim Nanai-Williams, Tom Marshall, Hika Elliot.
My pick: Hurricanes
Waratahs vs Sharks
These two teams tasted defeat away from home last game. The Waratahs still have plenty to play for in 2015, while the Sharks are only playing for pride now.
The Sharks bit back after being given a whitewash by the Highlanders, do flex their muscles and they were effective at times against the Hurricanes before going down. Their driving maul try being disallowed was one of the talking points of Super Rugby Round 13.
Bismarck du Plessis and Marcell Coetzee are in great form, but the rest of the team has been lacking some cohesion, although they are slowly improving.
It is hard to know what has happened to the Waratahs in 2015. Everytime you think they are back to their 2014 best, they are upset. They lost to the Force last week and not that long ago they lost to the Stormers who suffered a similar fate in New Zealand, going down to the Highlanders and Hurricanes before playing the Waratahs. Does history repeat?
This game could potentially be the most one sided of the weekend, but plenty will depend on if the Waratahs and/or the referee can stop the Sharks rolling maul.
Players to watch:
Waratahs (not named yet) Bernard Foley, Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale, Micheal Hooper, Will Skelton.
Sharks (not named yet) Bismarck du Plessis, Marcell Coetzee, Franc Steyn
My pick : Waratahs
Lions vs Brumbies
The Lions have improved after a sloppy start to sit within reaching distance of the Top Six, but can they contain the Brumbies who pose a dangerous threat?
Players to watch:
The Lions are fast finishing and have been on a long winning streak at home thanks to their ability to play at altitude and some inspired substitutions by big coach Johan Ackerman. Elton Jantjies, Franco Mostert, Jaco Kriel and Warren Whiteley must be getting close to Springboks selection.
The Brumbies are a quality opponent, but it is hard to beat the Lions at home, especially if they have a sniff of the playoffs.
The battle between Jaco Kriel and David Pocock will be interesting, while the Brumbies are getting players back from injury, they will do well to win this one. The Lions have made a habit of escaping with late narrow victories.
Can the Brumbies right the wrong from last weekend and rectify their mid season slump? We think that while they are playing well, they are struggling to get across the line and win the close games and that should continue this week.
Lions : (yet to be named) Warren Whiteley, Elton Jantjies, Warwick Tecklenburg, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert.
Brumbies (yet to be named) Christian Lealiifano, Stephen Moore, Tevita Kuridrani, David Pocock, Scott Fardy.
Our pick: Lions
Cheetahs vs Highlanders
The Highlanders will be hurting after blowing a 17 point lead against the Lions to literally run out of steam at altitude. This week watch for them to seek revenge against the Cheetahs.
The Cheetahs defence is the worst in the competition, while the Highlanders have scored the third highest amount of tries in Super Rugby 2015, so expect them to continue this trend.
This game should be high scoring as both teams enjoy giving the ball some air. The Cheetahs have nothing to play for in 2015, while the Highlanders are precariously perched on the edge of the Top Six with a large bunch chasing, so a high scoring win would be what the doctor ordered.
It will be interesting to see if the Highlanders give any of their All Blacks a rest for this game.
Players to watch: Cheetahs Torsten van Jaarsveld, Boom Prinsloo, Francois Venter.
Highlanders (yet to be named) – if not rested Ben Smith, Malakai Fekitoa, Patrick Osborne, Waisake Naholo, Lima Sopoaga, Nasi Manu.
My pick: Highlanders
Who are you picking to win Super Rugby Round 14 matches?
Join the Super Rugby Tips tipping competition!