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07 May 2015 by The Swede Eaters

Who are you picking in Super Rugby Round 13?

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.  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 12 was 10 points meaning that the overall average is now 11 points, while the most popular margins are 1,2, 5, 7 and 12.
Last round four out of seven teams that lost matches did so by seven points or less, meaning that in nearly half of games (39 out of 80)  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 45 home wins from 80 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 and 12.  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 12 gave us three upsets which hasn’t happened since Round 7 to keep everyone from getting a Grand Slam bonus point.  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.  

The game of Super Rugby Round 13 is probably the Stormers vs Brumbies, with both teams on the verge of potentially winning their conferences, a win is vital.  There could be a hint of some upsets with the Lions and Rebels tough to beat at home, while Sharks fans will hope their team improves this week.

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.  
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 13 with the Chiefs, Bulls and Cheetahs having the bye.  Watch out, because the Crusaders, Stormers and Force are out next week, so it really is a battle of who can ration those trades given how many players from these six teams will not be playing Super Rugby over the next two weeks.
Some bargain priced players worth purchasing to avoid losing players to the bye are
Waisake Naholo (Highlanders) – This Highlanders winger is the top points scorer in www.testrugby.com  Super Rugby 2015 and the top try scorer with eight tries.
Akira Ioane (Blues) – What a last month this Blues loose forward has had.  He was the top points’ scorer in Super Rugby Round 12.
Jaco Kriel (Lions) – He is one of the unsung heroes of Super Rugby, much like his Lions team, but Kriel was one of the best players in Super Rugby Round 12.
Samu Kerevi (Reds) – Despite playing for the lowly Reds, Samu Kerevi has the ability to get plenty of go-forwards with nine against the Hurricanes in his last game and two tries.
Nehe Milner-Skudder (Hurricanes) – The hot stepping Milner-Skudder is an excitement machine and should really enjoy playing the Sharks this week.
James Marshall (Hurricanes) – You will get about a month out of James Marshall who will start for the Hurricanes and kick goals.  He seems to fit into Beauden Barrett’s shoes so easily.
Franco Mostert (Lions) – Franco Mostert is another one of the Lions unsung heroes, but the big lock made the www.testrugby.com Team of Round 12.

For Super Rugby Round 13 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
Crusaders vs Reds
Both of these teams play this game after losing their last game.  This is a crucial game for the Crusaders who need to keep chasing a spot in the Top Six, while the Reds need a win to avoid the wooden spoon.
The two finalists from 2011 will meet in Christchurch putting the team that has scored the most points in 2015 (Crusaders) up against the team with the worst attack (Reds).  Expect the Crusaders to win this game comfortably, before having a well earned break next week.
This Crusaders team will be hurting as they lost to the Hurricanes last week and sit in fourth spot in the New Zealand conference.  This would be a good game to go for that random high margin to get the closest pick in SuperBru.
If you can afford a trade, Colin Slade should be a gem in this match, along with Codie Taylor, Sam Whitelock, Kieran Read, Nemani Nadolo and even Dan Carter could be worth a shot.  
The Reds have had their injury problems, but the Reds welcome back Jake Shatz and their team looks as good as it has all season, on paper, with loose forward Adam Thomson and Liam Gill hardworking, while Samu Kerevi seems to have knack of getting go-forwards for fantasy rugby managers.
The history between these teams suggests and easy win for the Crusaders.
Players to watch: 
Crusaders – Sam Whitelock , Codie Taylor, Nemani Nadolo, Kieran Read, Dan Carter, Colin Slade.
Reds – Samu Kerevi, Liam Gill, Jake Shatz, James Hanson.
My pick: Crusaders
Rebels vs Blues
The Rebels have been difficult to beat in 2015, they haven’t set the world on fire, but have surpassed expectations to sit comfortably in third spot in the Australian conference after winning three of their last four games and they face the Blues without their two best players Jerome Kaino and Charles Piutau.
Before you start getting carried away, the Blues have this knack of firing late in the season when there is less pressure on them and still feature plenty of talented players for their clash against the Rebels.
There are some great young players to watch with George Moala and Akiro Ioane two exciting young prospects with the ability to score massive fantasy rugby points.
The Rebels have their own fantasy studes in Sean McMahon, Luke Jones, Pat Leafa and Mitch Inman if they are playing.  

Players to watch: 
Rebels – Scott Higginbotham, Sean McMahon (in doubt), Pat Leafa, Luke Jones, Mitch Inman.  
Blues: Lolagi Visina, Keven Mealamu, George Moala, Melani Nanai and Frank Halai, Akiro Ioane are dangerous.

My pick: Rebels 
Hurricanes vs Sharks
The Hurricanes are the top dogs in Super Rugby 2015 after beating the Crusaders last week, while the Sharks were soundly beaten by the Highlanders in Dunedin, to compound their poor 2015 season.
The Hurricanes welcome back Chris Eves and Victor Vito, but they will be missing All Blacks Julian Savea and TJ Perenara (rested) and Beauden Barrett (injured).
This game is an intriguing proposition as the Sharks have to improve this week after being humiliated last week, does this make the Hurricanes vulnerable?
The Sharks will be missing Cobus Reinach for the rest of their tour, but still boast an impressive pack.  
Plenty will rely on Hurricanes first five eighth James Marshall who will be in the hotseat.  The experienced campaigner has deputised gracially in his previous appearances.
Will the Sharks bounce back to bite the Hurricanes?  Could this be a blowout?
We think this Hurricanes team unlike the past have a good forward pack that can withstand the Sharks, but it will be another cat and mouse contest as the Hurricanes will have a more dangerous backline.  Even without Julian Savea, the Hurricanes should be too strong, although the Sharks have won recently in Hurricanes territory.
The Sharks look rudderless without Patrick Lambie and their drought will continue unless Francois Steyn returning from suspension can get the cohesion back that Fred Zeilinga couldn’t. 
South African teams have won less than 29 percent of games against New Zealand teams this season, so it doesn’t bode well for the Sharks.
Players to watch: 
For the Hurricanes – Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Blade Thomson, Ma’a Nonu, Nehe Milner-Skudder (bargain), James Marshall (bargain).
Sharks – Bismarck du Plessis, Willem Alberts, Marcell Coetzee and Lwazi Mvovo.
My pick: Hurricanes 
Force vs Waratahs
The second top in the Australian conference Waratahs plays the bottom team of the competition in Perth.  
The Waratahs on paper should win this game, but the Force are overdue for another win and did beat the Waratahs in Round 1 for their only win of the season.
It will probably be a case of once bitten, twice shy and the Waratahs will not be caught off guard again and look to be hitting some form courtesy of three straight wins over some good teams including the competition leaders and the Australian conference leaders.
The Force will be gutsy, but ultimately don’t have the class or quality finishing to win these types of games.  
It is hard to know when the Force will throw the towel in since they have only won one game and have no chance of making the finals.  Sometimes teams with limited depth struggle in the home straight, will this be the case?  The Force impressed me against the Chiefs, by not throwing the towel in, but they will struggle in Super Rugby Round 13 against the Waratahs.
If you are playing fantasy rugby, there are some potential studs here in this game with Dane Haylett-Penny an unlikely regular in the team of the round, while Micheal Hooper, Peter Betham and Israel Folau are quality players.

Players to watch: 
Force (to be named) Ben McCalman, Matt Hodgson, Steve Mafi, Dane Haylett-Penny.
Waratahs: Bernard Foley, Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale, Micheal Hooper, Will Skelton, Peter Betham. 

My pick : Waratahs 

Lions vs Highlanders 
The Lions have improved after a sloppy start to sit within reaching distance of the Top Six, but can they contain the Highlanders who pose a dangerous threat?
The Highlanders spanked the Sharks in Dunedin and face a Lions team which has won by suffocating opponents with their stubborn defence lead by top tacklers like Jaco Kriel and Warren Whiteley.  
The Highlanders pose their most threatening backline since the late 1990s and have a strong chance of winning in JBurg, despite their poor record there.
It will be a game of contrasting styles, and the Highlanders will be hoping they don’t run out of air at altitude in this game of cat and mouse.
The Lions surprisingly hold a dominant record over the Highlanders, while the visitors have won only one out of their last six games in South Africa, including losing to the Kings.
If the Highlanders want to be counted as semi-final contenders then they need to break the Lions’ shackles which have seen the Lions win five of their last six games, although their list of victims are hardly the high flyers of the competition.
Players to watch:  
Lions : (yet to be named) Warren Whiteley, Elton Jantjies, Warwick Tecklenburg, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert.
Highlanders: (yet to be named) Ben Smith, Lima Sopoaga, Malakai Fekitoa, Waisake Naholo, Patrick Osborne, Nasi Manu.
Our pick: Highlanders 

Stormers vs Brumbies
Both teams suffered heart-breaking defeats last week and must win this week if they are to have any chance of returning to the top of their conference.  The Stormers are yet to be named, but they have some quality players like Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allende and Eben Etzebeth, but they will potentially be without Juan de Jongh and Ruan Botha who will leave a gap in their team.  
Both of these teams are good, but don’t quite have the class to be the very top in the competition.  The Brumbies have struggled without Matt Toomua and Nick White, while the Stormers need to kick their goals if they are to win.
The Stormers rely heavily on Duane Vermeulen and Damian de Allende.
Plenty will depend on the refereeing of the rolling maul which is a tactic that both teams will try to employ in this match.
Upset alert with the Brumbies having a good shot at taking this. 
Players to watch: 
Stormers (yet to be named) – Duane Vermeulen, Damian de Allende, Dillian Leyds.
Brumbies (yet to be named) – Christian Lealiifano, Henry Speight, David Pocock, Stephen Moore.
My pick: Stormers

Who are you picking to win Super Rugby Round 13 matches?  
Join the Super Rugby Tips tipping competition!


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