The Roar’s Super Rugby expert tips and predictions, Round 7: Four one-horse races – or can someone spring an upset?


Four teams get to put their feet up this week and relax. But that’s not an option for us, is it hopelessly addicted Super Rugby tipping slaves?

No, we must plough on, putting our faith, hopes and dreams in the fatigued legs of those young warriors who haven’t yet earned their (checks calendar) early season mini-break.

Last week our headline noted that all of our panellists tipped the Waratahs, but wondered if anyone actually had any faith in Darren Coleman’s team to get the job done.

They answered that one fairly emphatically – and there’s no surprise that they are unloved by the panel this time around.

Just four games means a good chance to pick the round and three of our tipsters have gone with the same four tips for the betting favourites.

Christy Doran

Blues, Rebels, Chiefs, Brumbies

Vern Cotter has brought home with him a desire to play through the middle and it’s working, with the Blues going through sides before they run rings around them.

It’s one of the reasons why the Blues shouldn’t be impacted as much as others might without their regular halves Finlay Christie and Stephen Perofeta.

Against a Force side that struggles up front in the tight-five, the Blues will double down on their desire to bash the West Australians up front. Cracks will appear. It’s a matter of how many for the Blues.

The second clash in Melbourne is an intriguing encounter.

Both sides have plenty to play for and can consolidate their place in the top six with victory.

The Rebels are without two of their most important back five forwards in Josh Kemeny and Rob Leota, who tweaked his calf earlier in the week. That’s a big blow.

Rob Leota of the Rebels reacts after the Rebels loss to the Brumbies during the round one Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and ACT Brumbies at AAMI Park, on February 23, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

The Drua will sense this is the chance to snap their struggles on the road, but Taniela Tupou could prove the difference. Rebels, just.

The Chiefs have welcomed back Damian McKenzie for their clash against Moana Pasifika. That’ll help, and they’ll win comfortably.

Down in Canberra is the match of the round. The Brumbies are the odds on favourites. That’s no surprise given the Waratahs are winless from their past four and were dreadful against the Rebels.

I’ll tip the Brumbies but I wouldn’t be surprised if this one goes down to the wire. 

Nick Wasiliev

Blues, Rebels, Chiefs, Brumbies

Time flies when you’re having fun, it honestly feels like the opening round was last week.

Granted, this is probably the most interesting period, despite the reduced rounds. Teams can gain a well-earned reset or lose momentum.

Byes are strange entities, and with the fixtures the way they are, should be especially interesting to watch this season.

The Blues going a near full-strength squad is a pretty clear indication that they want to win with a bonus point on Friday. Weirdly enough, I don’t think they will. Force do have some talent in the ranks and last year a few weeks on the road saw them play their most competitive rugby, even though the wins didn’t come. Harry Potter is a big loss, but Marley Pearce’s return is a big gain. Don’t see them winning at Eden Park though.

The second game will be the one that splits the tippers methinks. Drua have the talent, broken play style and backline to tie the Rebels in knots – but they haven’t won on the road since Round 1, 2023 (against Moana Pasifika).

Add to that, if they are to unleash that backline they need forward dominance. The Rebels should have more than enough set piece fire power to nullify that, and get the win. 

Chiefs may be resting players, but there are a lot of good names still in there, especially the return of DMac. Should get home by a few. 

Last up, my favourite fixture of the year! It’s Tah week! For Brumbies fans, this is everything, and I’m only going one way. Angus Bell is a welcome return for NSW but Stephen Larkham’s decision to stick with experience is a good one, and the bench is increasingly impressing me. Back on a chilly Saturday evening in the capital, where else do you want to be? Proud to be Australian with a Brumby on our chest! 

Angus Bell. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Hamish Bidwell

Blues, Rebels, Chiefs, Brumbies

Looks like a round of one-horse races, starting with the first one.

I’d love the Drua to go to AAMI Park and be as good away as they are at home, but I can’t see it.

An upset by Moana Pasifika here would be a huge thrill for the neutrals among us, but presume the Chiefs will win by 30.

I’m thinking a 20-point winning margin for the Brumbies in Canberra. I quite enjoy the Waratahs losing. 

Tony Harper

Blues, Drua, Chiefs, Brumbies

See that? That’s the mock being put on poor old Frank Lomani. William H Macy is a fine actor but even he is no match as a “cooler” for your hapless The Roar editor. Two weeks ago I tipped the Tahs against the Drua and they lost on Golden Point as Tane Edmed muffed a field goal attempt.

Last week I went all in on the Reds to beat the Brumbies – and they would have had they not forgotten how to kick for goal.

Anyway, go Drua, and to you Frank, you have my apologies.

The Waratahs, of course, are dead to me, and they should be to you too. The Blues and the Chiefs are at very skinny odds to win their games. Bookie market setters aren’t stupid. That’s why they’re doing their job, and I’m doing mine.

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