Super Rugby tipping panel round 2: Brumbies’ title aspirations get early test, Penney to pile pressure on old club


We’re off to Melbourne this week for Super Round and, like the teams involved, some tipsters are looking to shore up their week one advantage while others are quickly trying to make up for lost ground.

There are some interesting match ups with the best game coming on Sunday afternoon when the Brumbies go head-to-head with the Chiefs. If an Australian team is to make it to the last game of the season, then that might just be a repeat of this one.

Last week our Rugby Editor Christy Doran was among those who tipped the round, He has to falter at some stage.

Christy Doran

Blues, Rebels, Drua, Crusaders, Brumbies, Hurricanes

Two clear of Harps, so that’s all that matters. But it’s early doors.

The Blues might have rested a couple of All Blacks but they should still have too much muscle up front and potency out wide for the Highlanders. 

As dreadful as the Rebels were last week, they created plenty of opportunities against the Brumbies. That bodes well against the Force, who won’t be as dogged in defence. Look for Taniela Tupou to go after the Force’s scrum.

Moana Pasifka put up a good fight against the Highlanders in an entertaining match up. They’ll be in it against the Drua but the Fijians will respond.

The Crusaders have lost Tamaiti Williams but they’ve brought in Fletcher Newell. That’s a handy replacement. The Crusaders should have too much class for the Waratahs and finish them off in the final 20.

Sunday’s the most exciting day of action. The Chiefs’ combination of Damian McKenzie, Anton Lienert Brown and Shaun Stevenson is scary, but the Brumbies’ forward pack shaves last year’s runners-up. Brumbies, just.

I wouldn’t rule out the Reds given the Hurricanes have lost a couple in the back-row, but the Hurricanes still have plenty of explosiveness in the front-row and in the back line.

Nick Wasiliev

Blues, Rebels, Drua, Crusaders, Chiefs, Reds

Ahh well, the sheen sure came off quickly in round one! While the Force and Rebels let the side down with off-the-pace performances on Friday, there were still victories to be had: a Brumbies side who could land a bonus point even when they weren’t playing well, and a Reds side that oozed creative flair in attack.

And with that, it brings us to Super Round: The return of Ethan de Groot and Jermaine Ainsley is a godsend for the Highlanders, and Rhys Patchell also gave them a lot more composure in the backline, but the Blues on paper have the superior squad in nearly every other position.

Ethan de Groot. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The men from Auckland should get home, despite the omissions of Caleb Clarke and Rieko Ioane. Force, Rebels… I’m not angry, just disappointed. You two sides OWE us a good, entertaining match of rugby!

Aside from the welcome return of Jeremy Williams, the Force have their work cut out up front and in set piece. With the Tongan Thor and Alex Mafi brought into the starting side and experienced campaigner Matt Proctor starting in the centres, the Rebels should have superior firepower.

 I’m going Drua, but not by much. There are few things I love more than a coach and team proving me wrong, and if last week is anything to go by, Tana Umaga’s time as an assistant coach has done him the world of good. Moana Pasifika should put up a good fight.

 It was interesting to note that when it comes to away-from-home form, the Waratahs have proven a handful for the Crusaders, winning in 2022 and 2019. However, given their omissions of Lalakai Foketi, Izaia Perese and potentially Marky Mark from the backline, plus the quality across the Canterbury squad, you’re a brave person to pick them!

(Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Chiefs-Brumbies is the match of the round, and I’ve honestly gone back and forth between them. Honestly, the key difference is a certain DMac’s inclusion. If Josh Ioane was starting, I’d likely be backing the men from Canberra. Expect a close thriller. 

Sunday is the best day, not just because of quality clashes but it also serves as a real measuring stick for Australia’s two most promising sides. This is the Reds moment to send a statement: their attack looks very strong, and if the front pack matches up to the Hurricanes in terms of physicality, they should bring this one home.  

Hamish Bidwell

Blues, Rebels, Moana Pasifika, Crusaders, Chiefs, Hurricanes

The Blues just boast that bit of quality that the Highlanders, for all their effort, won’t be able to cope with. I’d say this one should be a comfortable 10 to 15 points.

Who’s worse? The Rebels or the Force? I tend to think Rebels, but I’ve tipped them nonetheless. Neither showed much aptitude last week.

Moana Pasifika will try hard this year and, while their bodies aren’t too knocked around, they might earn a win or two. This needs to be one of them.

(Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

I sincerely hope to see the Crusaders win by 25 to 30 points. I was pleasantly surprised by how close they got to the Chiefs in round one.

I admire the Brumbies, but this is a big step up in class from last week. I’m not sure they’ve got as many points in them as the Chiefs do.

The Reds were quite impressive against the Waratahs and boast some good athletes. We’ll see if the Hurricanes have too much rugby smarts for them.

Tony Harper

Blues, Rebels, Drua, Crusaders, Chiefs, Reds

The strategy of looking at Doran’s tips and finding a point of difference didn’t work last week but unlike Eddie Jones after a Bledisloe Cup match, it’s not quite time to throw a plan out the window and think about my tipping in four years from now.

So my point of difference games are the last two, where I’ve got the Chiefs to carry on their impressive opening round form by beating the Brumbies, and the finale of Super Round, where I’m all in on red.

There’s nothing I like more than a passionate Kiss and we’ve seen some insight this week into the Reds boss. Whereas his previous dealings have been low key – there was plenty to enjoy in the f-bombs he unleashed to to rally the troops before and during the impressive win over the Waratahs.

The Rebels vs Force will give us another look at two young men who hope to wear the No.10 jersey for the Wallabies this season. I think Carter Gordon had a stinker last week, but only marginally less of one than Ben Donaldson. He should bounce back, and so should the Rebels at home.

It’s going to be sweet revenge for Rob Penney over the Waratahs – but don’t expect him to gloat over the fate of Darren Coleman – he knows exactly how this feels.

Moana Pasifika have never beaten the Drua and that trend will continue – they’ve got spirit, just not enough quality.

Round 2ChristyNickTonyHamishThe CrowdOverall65445Last week65445HIG v BLUBluesBluesBluesBlues?REB v FORRebelsRebelsRebelsRebels?MOA v FIJDruaDruaDrua Moana?CRU v WARCrusadersCrusaders CrusadersCrusaders?CHI v BRUBrumbies ChiefsChiefsChiefs?HUR v REDHurricanesRedsRedsHurricanes

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