Steve’s Selections and Taps’ Tips

Steve’s Selections and Taps’ Tips

Before I get started – I must apologise for these being posted up late over the past few weeks. I get Taps’ tips by twitter (say that fast 4 times!) and the time difference means I am getting them at very strange times.


After my 6 from 7 the week before, last week I decided to do a bit more research before deciding who to tip, I consulted with experts, I carefully evaluated their viewpoints, and weighed their reasoning against my own before making my decision. I tipped 3 from 6. I actually tipped the Force over the Tahs first, and then changed my mind, and I’d also tipped the Sharks before my heart overruled my head. So lesson learned – no more listening to the advice of others for me!

All the same, I thought the first 15min of the Reds game was easily the best rugby they played all year, and other teams will be looking at that passage of play to see what they are capable of. Injuries in quick succession to Harris and Lucas saw the bench stocks massively depleted, and then the Digby-incident just saw the Reds run out of manpower. Still, they only went down by a try in the end.

So I’m on 18/27.

Blues v Hurricanes

I thought the way the Blues were coming back into the game against the Stormers in particular was very promising, especially after a horror defensive lapse by their winger. They’ll be better at home this week. The Hurricanes were beaten by the Highlanders in what turned out to be a close affair on the scoreboard, but watching the game I thought the Highlanders looked more dangerous overall. I’m tipping the Blues because they look like they can score more tries than the Hurricanes can right now, and the return of Woodcock will help enormously with their set piece.


Rebels v Force

It was great to see the Force get up last week and see their game plan finally rewarded. But I’m tipping the Rebels this week. Last week I talked about the Force forwards staying in the close channels, which worked against the injury-decimated Tahs backline, who also lacked some experience. This week they are coming up against a backline who have the ability to spread the ball wider, and get through the gaps. I think the Rebels forwards will match it with the Force, but their backline will find spaces and scoring opportunities. Rebels for me.


Waratahs v Sharks

I’m backing the Waratahs to bounce back from their disappointing performance against the Force. They’ve copped  a lot of criticism during the week, and they will be desperate to ensure it doesn’t happen two weeks running. The Sharks were good enough against a depleted Reds side, but I don’t think they capitalised all that well on what should have been a huge advantage for them.


Crusaders v Cheetahs

I’m taking the Crusaders here – the return of Carter off the bench, Dagg back to fullback where he’s just so dangerous, and a starting team now with added Whitelocks. Tom Taylor’s family will want a copy of the program this week with Dan Carter on the bench behind their boy who is starting! The Cheetahs got out of jail against the Rebels, but I don’t think they’ll be within reach at full-time this week.


Brumbies v Highlanders

This one’s going to be closer than many might think. The Brumbies have shown that they have the game to disrupt many of the fancied sides, and they’re second in the Australian conference for a reason. I really like the way Lealiafano has been guiding the team from 10. All the same, I’m backing the Highlanders. As I said above, I thought they played better than that scoreline reflected, and I still haven’t seen a reason to stop backing them.


Bulls v Reds

I desperately want to back the Reds, but given their injuries I have to go with the Bulls. Having said that, if I get 6 from 7 this week and miss this game by tipping the Bulls, I’ll be the happiest man around. I think the Bulls have the edge, especially given the Reds have a full backline back in Brisbane in the rehab squad. The loss of Lucas is particularly hard for them to work with because he gives McKenzie so much flexibility. That being said, this game is the sort of game that could set the Reds up well for later in the season – it was the Chiefs (?) game last where Caleb Ralph and a relative unknown in Jono Lance were called in to cover injuries. Soon after Lance was playing in a winning Super XV final. Still, over in South Africa, I can’t go past the Bulls.


Lions v Stormers

The Stormers have shown why they are sitting clear at the top of the South African conference. The Lions have had some good wins this year, but I think they lack the fluency of the Stormers. The Lions are facing an injury crisis far worse than any of the Australian or New Zealand teams, and I think the Stormers will get them.


Taps’ Tips 

Taps picked 3 from 6 last week also, which keeps him at 17 from 27 for the season. This week he’s tipped:







And of course the Reds.


With 6 Wallaby caps to his name, and stints in the Super Rugby, Top 14, Premiership and Heineken Cup competitions, Kef's the personification of Rugby Journeyman. Now back in Brisbane, Steve could pull on the boots tomorrow, is involved with player management and is also coaching Premier grade at Souths.

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