The Roar’s Super Rugby expert tips and predictions, QFs: Home comforts to come up trumps


It’s time for the quarterfinals with three Aussie teams pitted against four sides from Kiwiland and one from Fiji.

Our panel is in agreement this week and it’s hard to imagine The Crowd tipping an upset, with the four home sides set to rule.

Christy Doran

Chiefs, Hurricanes, Blues, Brumbies

I want to pick the Reds, I really do. But I can’t. If they win, Joe Schmidt should look closer than ever before at Ryan Smith and Liam Wright.

The duo need big games to get firmly into the Wallabies selection picture. Otherwise they’ll just be considered competent Super Rugby forwards. Smith is a worker but is he physical enough? Wright’s a seven playing six. He’s a Chris Robshaw six-and-a-half, as Eddie Jones – the sane Eddie Jones – accurately described the former England captain.

Ryan Smith. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Why can’t I pick them? Right across the park from 1-15 I think the Chiefs are better. Fraser McReight would make the Chiefs XV. Seru Uru perhaps, too. Hunter Paisami? Well, Quinn Tupaea is still coming off the bench. 

The Hurricanes will blow away the Rebels. The question is by how many? If the Rebels fight for their lives and show some polish in attack and slow the Canes’ ball down, they’re a chance of pushing the home side. But I can see the table-topping Hurricanes winning by 30.

Ditto the Blues. They won’t be troubled.

As for the Brumbies, they’re expected to win against the Highlanders. I think they will but I’d target the Brumbies’ scrum. They’ve been going backward most of the year and Ethan de Groot and Jermaine Ainsley cab turn the screws on them. A fast start is vital for the Brumbies. I think they’ll get up by 10.

Nick Wasiliev

Chiefs, Hurricanes, Blues, Brumbies

Well, it’s finally knockout footy time. Now time to see if all that growth we’ve seen in Aussie rugby this year pays off with Australian sides advancing deeper into the comp.

I anticipate a lot of my fellow tippers will go with the favourites for these games, but if there is one match that has the most likely chance of an upset, it is the Reds and Chiefs.

Game of the weekend, I reckon. I love this developing rivalry, how the Reds have really challenged the Chiefs both mentally and physically.

If this match was at Suncorp, I’d be backing the Reds, but for me home ground advantage makes a big difference here. Chiefs scrape through in a thriller.

I have to say it, as sad as it makes me: this weekend will be the last time we see the Melbourne Rebels play (at least for a long, long time). They haven’t beaten the Canes since 2011, have never beaten them in NZ, and have lost their last six matches coming into this game.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MAY 03: Rob Leota of the Rebels reacts after he after the Rebels loss during the round 11 Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and Blues at AAMI Park, on May 03, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Canes finished first and have a quality run home to a home grand final. Plus, Asafo Aumua is playing. That boy is scary! 

Fijian Drua should also have a similarly tough assignment – they have never beaten the Blues, and they have never played at Eden Park before. Maybe they might come in and finally break that losing streak away from home.

However, considering how physical and intimidating this Blues pack is, I doubt it. Home side should win big. 

Yep, as much as it might be predictable, the Brumbies will likely be the last non-Kiwi side standing at the end of this weekend. I expect a high scoring, entertaining clash in Canberra – these two sides have been good value for money when they play and it’s boosted by the fact the Highlanders are night and day compared to last season. It’s been a great of growth for them. However, I don’t think they have enough to beat the Brumbies in the capital. 

Hamish Bidwell

Chiefs, Hurricanes, Blues, Brumbies

A clean sweep coming up for the home teams. The Chiefs have faltered of late, but should prevail by 10 to 15.

I’m thinking the Hurricanes by 20 points. Sorry Rebels fans.

The Drua are going to cop a 30-point hiding.

The last game is the closest of the contests, but the Brumbies will be too clinical for the Highlanders.

Tony Harper

Chiefs, Hurricanes, Blues, Brumbies

Last week was one for a hail Mary – this time it’s about damage control. I agree with the others – it’s a sweep for the home sides this week.

It’s the end of the road for the top eight with the Rebels set to bow out barring a miracle the likes we’ve never seen in Super Rugby (literally, an Aussie team hasn’t won a final on NZ soil). Next year’s format is up in the air.

Like Christy and Nick I’d love to see the Reds make history of their own but I expect we’ll get a lesson in the gap between DMac and Tom Lynagh.

At the least weekend should end with a smile for Aussie fans, although a trip to Eden Park beckons if the Brumbies can continue the Highlanders horrible form in Australia.

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