Author: Ryan D
March 2 - Welcome to Round 2 of the 2012 Super rugby tournament. Teams were
for the most part feeling each other out in Round 1 and the refs pretty much
took centre stage with a penalty fest. The directive is obviously there from
SANZAR to clamp down on infringement at the breakdown by the defending team and
we can only hope that the players will adapt and the refs will tone it down.
It was a reasonable start to the tournament for the South African teams. The
Bulls showed that there is life in Pretoria but the big disappointment for me
was the Sharks who look to have brought all their regular failings into 2012.
Here is our take on Round 2, including match predictions and betting tips.
Ryan's tipping success ratio this season: 43% (3/7)
Friday 2 March: Chiefs (1.8) v Blues (.5) - Hamilton
The Blues start as a 5.5 point favourite away from home. The Chiefs looked
good in the first half last week but they have lost a load of players to injury
and struggled to cope when the Highlanders turned up the pace. The Blues will
play an up-tempo game which will be hard for the Chiefs to keep up with.
Despite their loss to the Crusaders in round 1, I still think the Blues can
go all the way. They just need to grow a little bit more brain. His name is Piri
Weepu and he sits on the bench because he has eaten too many pies in the off
Margin Tip: Blues by 11-15 at 5/1
Prediction: Blues to take it comfortably.
Friday, 2 March: Rebels (2.5) v Waratahs (.36),
Melbourne fans are understandably excited about their Rebels team with the
acquisition of Beale and O'Connor and with good reason. These are tow of the
most exciting backs in the world. Problem is, someone needs to get them the ball
and if the pre-season is anything to go by, the Rebels pack will again struggle.
The bookies have the Tahs as a 7 point favourite which is kind to the Rebels.
The Sydney team will be filthy after losing to the Reds in the last move of the
game (just rewards for subbing off their South African scrumhalf who was the
best player on the park).
The Waratah forward will hand the Rebels a hiding of note.
Margin Tip: Waratahs by 11-15 at 9/2
Prediction: Waratahs to belt them by more than 10
Friday, 2 March: Lions (.65) v Hurricanes (1.4),
The Lions will be more relieved than anything else after starting their
season on a winning note. Elton Jantjes started where he left off in 2011,
kicking a record nine penalty goals. The Hurricanes lost to the Stormers because
of ill discipline and any indiscretions within 55m will cost them, which is
exactly why we tip the Lions. The Jozi team will look to keep things tight again
and we don't expect any of the helter skelter they played in the Currie Cup last
year and the Canes will possibly score more tries but it won't matter.
Margin Tip: Lions by 1-5 at 3/1
Prediction: Lions by less than a try
Saturday, 3 March: Highlanders (+6) v Crusaders (-6),
The Highlanders looked like the early season team of 2011 in their away win
against the Chiefs.
Here I think the bookies are getting it way wrong. They are a team that shows
composure under pressure and with a reasonably fit squad they will cause the
upset of the weekend.
Margin Tip: Highlanders by 1-5 at 5/1
Prediction: Highlanders by a whisker
Saturday, 3 March: Reds (.16) v Force (5),
Not much to discuss. Reigning champions against a team still trying to find
its feet after five years in the comp. The Force had nothing against the
Brumbies. They are in for a belting.
Margin Tip: Reds by 11-15 at 4/1
Prediction: Reds by 10 or more
Saturday, 3 March: Cheetahs (1.3) v Bulls (.72), Bloemfontein
The Bulls had a comfortable familiarity about them in their relatively easy
win over the Sharks. Neutrals will criticise them for not scoring tries but the
Bulls fans don't care. The key matchup will be between Morne Steyn and Johan
Goosen, who people are already calling the next Bok flyhalf. Steyn will rain on
that parade with the Bulls pack laying the foundation for a close fought win.
Margin Tip: Bulls by 1-5 at 3/1
Prediction: Bulls by one score
Saturday, 3 March: Stormers (.55) v Sharks (1.77), Cape Town
The bookies are only giving the Sharks for points and the Stormers will
easily cover that. Whilst I don't buy Stormers hype after last weekend's
seemingly easy win, they will not be tested by the Sharks who field what looks
like their weakest pack on paper in years. Injuries have been unkind to the
Durban team already, but of more concern is the fact that they look as
disorganised as they have over the last number of years. I'll say it again. How
Plumtree keeps his job is beyond me.
Look our for young Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth. A mountain of a man. It might
be too early but eh looks like Bakkies with a brain!
Margin Tip: Stormers by 6-10 at 6/1
Prediction: Stormers by 9
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