With the first weekend of Super Rugby in the books, you’re left with the one lingering question, what was real and what was a false dawn?
There’s plenty to overreact to, like the Rebels getting upset by the Sunwolves, the Crusaders, Jaguares and Stormers all looking really strong and the Aussie teams… well they all went out there and did their best, except for the Rebels, they were awful.
Now it’s time to see what holds up on second viewing with 13 teams back in action this week alongside the Highlanders making their entry into the 2020 competition after a first up bye.
Read on for our Super Rugby Tips for Round 2.
After a first up bye, the Highlanders get their Super Rugby season underway hosting the Sharks who picked up a win over the Bulls. On their tour to Australia and New Zealand last year they were able to pick up a win, draw and loss from their three games and would have to like their chances of beating the Highlanders here. It’s going to be a rough season in Dunedin so I’ll take the value on the Sharks for an upset here.
In terms of a worst case scenario for the Rebels, that’s pretty much what unfolded in Japan on the weekend. A slow start cost them in the 36-27 loss and it won’t get any easier against the Brumbies this week. The only reason this game might be close in any way shape or form is because the Brumbies don’t have the firepower to score quickly. While the Rebels have won four straight in this fixture this side just looks bereft of ideas and direction so I’ll take the Brumbies to put together a statement win here and win by at least two converted tries.
About those slow start concerns for the Crusaders… yeah never mind. It was never in doubt against the Waratahs last week and they should be able to take care of business against the Chiefs in Hamilton. Last June the Chiefs were able to pull off a 40-27 win at home but this rivalry has been dominated by the Crusaders over the last few years and I’ll back that run to continue.
You can only take so much from the Waratahs performance last week considering it was against the Crusaders. As for the Blues, they looked good for a while but faded in the second half and gave up four tries to the Chiefs after the break, going down by eight. The Blues are not a good travel team though, with eight straight away losses and the Waratahs will want to get their home schedule off to a strong start here.
It was another one of those hollow, honourable losses for the Reds in Canberra last weekend as they ran out of steam in sweltering conditions. Things should be a bit more pleasant weather wise as they take on the Lions in the first of a two game tour. If they are to be serious finals contenders this is the sort of game they need to win, if not win convincingly. The Reds look a bit over the odds here and the Lions looked pretty poor in their 30 point loss to the Jaguares last weekend as well. If you want to stay away from this game it’s not the worst move but I’ll take the value on offer for the visitors.
Let’s keep this simple, last weekend the Stormers had a big win in a battle between two teams that should be really good this year and the Bulls lost a game between two teams expected to struggle. There’s no need to overthink this play, the Stormers should win this game by quite a lot. If you want to wait until later in the week it might be worth keeping an eye on how the line moves but 10.5 points is plenty for me.
I was all ready to go slow on the Jaguares to start the season, it was a big year for them in 2019 but it sure looks like they’ll be a top team from the outset this year. Dating back to last year they have won seven straight at home, covering in six straight games, they should have no trouble getting by the Hurricanes here.