Two things I have never been accused of being: short and sweet. This week, as I get ready for my super long weekend I am going to attempt to be both. Strap yourself in, this weeks gold will be coming thick and fast – well, fast at least.
There was no change at the top of the GaGR Tipping League last week. The Rhumdoggs maintaining their spot at the top of the log but Denis O appears to have closed the gap to one. The big mover of the round though is Tassie Lad who nailed a perfect round and leapt up the ladder to outright 3rd and 2 points shy of the leader.
With the exception of the Tahs vs Bulls game on Saturday night, its Derby week in the Super Rugby, which when I looked at where all the tips are going, surprised me no end. Derbies are famous for their relative unpredictability but the tipping appears to be mainly going one way. All but two games have a minimum of 80% of you backing one side over the other. The two exceptions are the Force vs the Rebels and the Stormers vs the Lions. That’s where the (relative) fence sitters are, so that’s where I’ll focus my attention this week.
I wouldn’t have believed you if at the start of the season you told me that I would be looking forward to a match between the Force and the Rebels, but I am. Big time! The Force are shit hot at the moment and the Rebels will be gagging for a win back at the stockade after two “could’ve been” games in New Zealand. The Rebels were looking good this season until they got a tad complacent with their match against the Force and paid a hefty price. The Force belted them and haven’t lost since.
The Rebels won’t make the same mistake twice but you can be sure that the Force will be keen to maintain their ascendency and their momentum in the comp. The Rebels have history on their side winning 5 from 7 against the Force, but the men from Perth have the form. With the exception of the 25 point shellacking earlier in the season every other game has been decided by less than 7 points and the average points difference is only 1.6 points. Expect the Rebels to come out firing but expect the Force to shut them down all night. This game could be many things and it may be worth having a punt on a draw?
The last game of the round is the Stormers vs the Lions. This game is being played at Capetown and it’s a battle that is similar in many respects to the Force and Rebels game. History says that the Stormers will win this one every day of the week and twice on Sundays. Out of the 19 games between the two sides, the Stormers have only lost 5 times. One of those losses though were earlier this year when the Lions belted the Stormers 34-10. After exploding out of the blocks, the Lions have faded a bit and are sitting sort of middle of the table. Their last two wins being clouded in controversy.
The Stormers however, are sitting on the bottom of the log with only the one win to their name. The Stormers season has not been helped by having the draw from hell but they are back at Newlands now and will be eyeing off this game as one to get back into some winning form. Has the bubble burst for the Lions? I’m not sure it has but if you’re looking for a roughie, the Stormers could be worth a go.
There are two good options this week. The most obvious is a derby game and if you’re like me, it probably would make you just a little nervous locking your joker in on it. But with only 1% of you tipping the Cheetahs you can probably throw caution to the wind and bang your joker down on the Sharks. After all, it’s the competition leaders playing second last.
If you’re sitting there reading the last paragraph though and you’re not that keen, then you’re next best bet is probably the Waratahs to beat the Bulls at home. The Tahs are back home and Izzy has been cleared to play (allegedly) by the ARU. Things are peachy in Sydney. The Bulls are on their third game of their Australasian tour and have only managed two losses so far. The Tahs looked great last week against the Force and it took a super human effort to beat them. If the Bulls bring their A game, it could be close but not close enough. If they don’t then it could get ugly for the men from Pretoria.
That’s it, short and sweet. There’s a first time for everything.