The rebels’ mentality is a wild card, three teams locked in the battle for first place

We’re in the final week of the regular season and there’s a new leader on The Roar’s forecast panel. Timing his race perfectly, Nick took a two-point lead with five last week to Christy’s two.

This week you have the added challenge of competing for the finals. So far there is only one dead game – the Reds’ visit to Tahs – but that could change and affect the intensity of the performance as the games progress.

And how do you value the rebels? That could go either way after the events of the last few days.

Christian Doran

Crusaders, Reds, Drua, Hurricanes, Blues, Brumbies

Tipping shows how tight the margins are in sport and what it can do for a club or a coach.

Last week, the Crusaders, with a couple of their best players playing their second game of the year, came out and looked like the world champions they have always been by beating the table-leading Blues. But even the Waratah were able to defeat the Crusaders earlier this year not once but twice. That’s weird.

But the Hurricanes’ latest win over the Chiefs shows how tight the sport can be and was another lost point for me.

Anyway, I digress, the Crusaders will get a bonus point win over Moana Pasifika and if there was another week left in the regular competition, they would probably make the finals. There isn’t, and unless the soon-to-be eliminated rebels achieve a massive victory in Fiji, the seven-time consecutive champions will be eliminated.

The Reds often make mistakes when they seem to have the win, but they should be too good for the Waratah, who fell to a new low last week after being defeated by Moana.

After being told on Thursday they would not exist as a Super Rugby franchise, the Rebels have added motivation to finish the season on a high. But that line isn’t always easy to find, especially when playing in the wet and wild conditions found in Fiji. Still, the Drua should be too strong.

Frank Lomani of Drua during the round seven Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and Fijian Drua at AAMI Park, on April 5, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

The Hurricanes will want to ensure they finish at the top of the Super Rugby standings and play the game before the Blues, so they will come out firing. Sorry, hillbillies.

The Chiefs can’t get past fourth place and the Blues need to at least win to finish on top. They will be too good.

Can the Force repeat their surprise victory over the Brumbies like last year? No. The Brumbies will recognize the importance of gaining momentum, but they could also have an outside chance of finishing in the top two if one of the big two, the Hurricanes or the Blues, make a mistake.

Nick Wasiliev

Crusaders, Reds, Drua, Hurricanes, Blues, Brumbies

Since the stakes are so high, I think this might be the hardest round to tip. One team wins, the doors open or close for the other teams and that changes the dynamics of the entire classification. This is going to be fun!

Doran probably has To pick the Crusaders now after last week: They looked like a different team the moment Tamaiti Williams took the field. Now that he’s a starter, I think the Saders win big.

They still have to sweat over the results in Fiji and WA, but it will be a good mental game to play with everyone else, seeing them in eighth place after Friday night. From what all the Kiwi fans online are saying, they will be hoping for both Fiji and the Force to turn up to keep them out of the final.

Next up, the only match that has no impact on the standings except who takes home the Bob Templeton Cup for another year. The Reds appear to be peaking again in the second half of the season, and while they will have one eye on next week, that is already guaranteed and won’t change. What they can control is maintaining momentum.

They have the most cohesive side and the strongest front row, so I can see them ruining Darren Coleman’s last night at Sky Blue. Shout out to NSW Country Eagle Paddy Ryan on his return – has anyone seen where Benn Robinson Bell has come to?

If any of you have read my article from earlier this week, you will know that this is probably the most important match in the context of the final race. Drua wins and the Force, Crusaders and Moana’s season ends.

The rebels win and the cat is among the pigeons, and that’s before we even get to the fact that Frank Lomani is back and there was a lot of bad blood in this last meeting.

Drua at home, support them!

The Hurricanes have some names back and the Highlanders name some rookies, which says a lot about how both approach this game. The Hurricanes should do it and get a bonus point, which will probably put them at the top of the table.

Similar circumstances are also occurring in Eden Park; However, the Chiefs still have some pretty good names and decent firepower on their side. His final fate is decided, the Blues are not. I see the Auckland men heading home, but it will be closer than expected.

I would be angry if I were a Force player: when this game comes, they will know their fate: and it will be all in vain or they will have to play the game of their career. If they’re still alive, it’s anyone’s game. Perth are tough to beat most weeks, but a draw will benefit the Brumbies or be their worst nightmare.

Len Ikitau of the Brumbies celebrates a try during the Round 11 Super Rugby Pacific match between ACT Brumbies and Fijian Drua. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

The good thing is that they have named a pretty strong team, and if things go differently in New Zealand on Saturday, they could be playing at the top of the table. Brumbies will win in a thriller.

Hamish Bidwell

Crusaders, Reds, Drua, Hurricanes, Blues, Brumbies

It would be a fitting end to a forgettable Crusaders season to lose this one. Unfortunately, I don’t see Moana Pasifika being able to compete long enough to cause any surprises.

The Reds, obviously. I choose a margin of 25 points.

I’m not sure about this, but I always tip the Drua when they are in Lautoka.

Maybe I’ve lived in hurricane country too long, but I still expect them to hit en masse. As much as we admire the Highlanders, the table suggests there will only be one winner.

I’m tempted to go for a draw, although it’s impossible, since I don’t really want either team to win. Blues by a handful of points.

Another comfortable victory looms for the Brumbies.

Tony Harper

Crusaders, Waratahs, Rebels, Hurricanes, Blues, Strength

The Waratahs have their wooden spoon and I’m looking down the barrel of mine. There’s no point in following the other panelists down the same well-trodden path this week: is there any chance of surprise here for us pathetic stragglers?

I think some results could depend on the state of the game and the pressure with the finals on the line, so I have opted for three surprises. If everyone goes well, I’ll approach Christy (and punish myself for not taking a multi).

The Crusaders will have too many things for MP to do with the finals still live. I vowed to never pick the Tahs again earlier this season, but I have to. The Reds are locked in fifth place and in the fine-tuning phase. Surely some members of his team will be keeping an eye on next weekend and a meeting with the Chiefs?

Fiji will have the pressure to maintain its progress towards the finals. The rebels are locked in and this will go one of two ways: absolute, blind, bloody fury at Rugby Australia’s decision or demoralized acceptance of their fate.

Frank Lomani was suspended for six weeks for bloodying Josh Canham; is a perfect target for the Rebs to release some frustration in their comeback game.

The Hurricanes and Blues won’t lose, meaning the Brumbies will resign themselves to third place and take their foot off the gas. For this brave advice to work, it depends on the Force being active before that game. It’s unlikely, but what else can I expect? Desperate times and all that…

Round 15 christian Nick tony Hamish The crowd
In general 55 57 51 52 59
Last week 3 5 4 4 4
CRU vs. MOA c CRU CRU CRU ?
WAR AGAINST RED b RED WAR RED
IJF vs. REB W. IFJ REB IFJ ?
HUR vs. HIGH b HUR HUR HUR ?
BLU vs. CHI R blue blue blue ?
FOR V BRU h bru FOR bru ?

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