Super Rugby tipping panel week 1: Brumbies to sweep Rebels, cliffhanger brewing between Tahs and Reds

It’s a fresh season and a new look tipping panel to pit your wits against as Super Rugby Pacific 2024 launches with a huge Friday night line up.

With the incumbent panelists all choosing to pack up their crystal balls and protect their self esteem by deciding not to return, this year the tipping reins are handed to The Roar Editors Christy Doran, Tony Harper and Nick Wasiliev along with our Kiwi columnist Hamish Bidwell.


Christy Doran

Chiefs, Brumbies, Hurricanes, Blues, Highlanders, Reds

It’s toss-of-the-coin stuff early on, with the Chiefs losing several first XV forwards. But the fact the Crusaders have a new playmaker and lost some key figures across the side has me leaning to the home side.

The Rebels have plenty of reasons to come out of the blocks firing. But the continuity of the Brumbies’ forward pack, and the new figures in the Rebels’ backline, has seen me swing late to Stephen Larkham’s side.

Should Izack Rodda be ruled out, it will be a hammer blow for the Force who are already without new skipper and second-row partner Jeremy Williams (concussion). Hurricanes, just.

The Blues should be too strong for a Drua side that struggles on the road. Ditto the Highlanders.

Lalakai Foketi’s injury is a disruption for the Waratahs, but I was already leaning towards the Reds. Angus Bell will have to have a whale of a match for the Tahs to win.

Hamish Bidwell

Chiefs, Brumbies, Force, Blues, Moana Pasifika, Reds

The Chiefs have to win the competition. There’s no excuse for them not to. That needs to starts with a 10 to 15-point victory over the Crusaders.

Are the Rebels still playing? Tough assignment for that team this year. Doubt this one will be a contest with a canter for the Brumbies.

Underwhelmed would be the word to describe my feelings about the Hurricanes. I suspect they’ll struggle all season, starting in Perth.

As much as I wish the Blues nothing but failure, I can’t see anything but a 20-point win against the Drua.

If we assume the Highlanders and Hurricanes are fighting it out to be the worst of New Zealand’s traditional franchises, then I’m going to pick the new boys. Come on Moana Pasifika.

The Reds vs Waratahs clash is match of the round. I can find compelling reasons for both teams to win at Suncorp, but I can only choose one.

Nick Wasiliev

Chiefs, Brumbies, Force, Blues, Highlanders, Reds

Blimey, that pre-season was getting to me! Finally glad to have it out of the way and finally talk some rugby.

Chiefs will be up for this match after the grand final last year, and given the amount of personnel now out of the Crusaders’ lineup due to injury, they should have enough to shut down the visitors’ threats by full-time.

Honestly, the Australian derbies might be contenders for matches of the round. The Rebels will be desperate to win and hoping for a good turnout. Brumbies have managed a good record over them and are the more settled side, so I expect the men from Canberra to get home by less than seven.

Atu Moli of the Chiefs passes during the round four Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Brumbies at FMG Stadium on February 22, 2020 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

The match-up in the west is a tough one! Both sides are sitting in similar positions, with a similar amount of international experience and a lot of promise to build on last year.

Going with the home-field advantage given the Force’s record at home, but won’t be surprised if this match goes down to the wire. 

Winning at Eden Park is difficult at the best of times, but especially at the start of a season. The Drua is a chance here and this would be a perfect place to fire a warning shot to the rest of the competition, but given their current record away from home, you have to back the Blues. 

Highlanders might be rebuilding, but they have good talent and options, so they should get the job done convincingly here. Don’t even know where to start with this Moana Pasifika side.

It would be naive to go off the previous form in the trials, both sides have come to play with very strong squads! Reds will back their attack to wear down the Tahs defence, but should Miles Amatosero, Fergus Lee-Warner and Charlie Gamble have a good game, I can see the Tahs sneaking this one. Sticking with home-field advantage for this round. 

Tony Harper

Chiefs, Brumbies, Force, Blues, Highlanders, Waratahs

This is my foray into Super Rugby tipping for a little over 20 years – when I managed to land $500 in my ex-wife’s work comp by slavishly typing out the betting favourites each week.

My strategy has been slightly refined – work out what Doran is going with and change one or two of the closest ones each week to either race away and enjoy considerable bragging rights – or more likely be burned down in flames by his superior rugby intellect.

Anyhow, it’s Chiefs to get us underway with a win on Freaky Friday – the loss of big names like Razor and Richie proving the difference from when they last met. Look for a big one from DMac at No.10 for the Chiefs – he had the second highest tally of carries in SRP last season behind the Reds’ Harry Wilson.

 (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

The Rebels must have the absolute maximum level of motivation it is possible to cram into a rugby team of 23 but the Brumbies enjoy this match up – they’ve won seven of their last eight against Melbourne including the last five. Carter Gordon and Noah Lolesio both want the Wallaby No.10 jersey this season and this is a rare and early chance for them to be judged head-to-head.

The Hurricanes have beaten the Force in 11 of their past 12 match ups but the only loss in that was their last meeting in Perth in 2022. The Canes don’t travel well and I’m expecting Nic White – who this week declared he wants to carry on through to the 2027 World Cup – and Ben Donaldson – who’d probably like to quieten the Carter and Noah chat – to hit the ground running.

The Blues have won 25 of their last 26 against non-Kiwi opposition – the only blemish was against the Brumbies last year – and I’m expecting that record to continue. Fiji will be a tougher opponent, forged by their World Cup endeavours – but I’m looking forward to seeing Mark Telea turn on the afterburners again this season.

The Highlanders have five debutants but should still have enough firepower for Moana Pasifika – who need to step up this season after two disappointing campaigns.

The final match looks close to lineball. Doran opted for the Reds – so I’ll flip the coin and come up with Tahs, with no great confidence – especially with the late withdrawal of Lalakai Foketi.

Round 1ChristyNickTonyHamishThe CrowdOverall–––––Last week–––––CHI v CRUChiefsChiefsChiefsChiefs?REB v BRUBrumbiesBrumbiesBrumbiesBrumbies?FOR v HURHurricanesForceForceForce?BLU v DRUBluesBluesBluesBlues?HIG v MOAHighlandersHighlandersHighlandersMoana Pasifika?RED v WARRedsRedsWaratahsReds?

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