The Roar’s Super Rugby expert tips and predictions, grand final: Chiefs ‘deserve’ a title but Stern Vern couldn’t care less

We’re down to the last match of the Super Rugby season with Auckland Blues hosting the Chiefs in the Grand Final at 5.05pm Saturday AEST.

Thanks to everyone who has tipped along this season. Feel warm in the knowledge that every single one of you beat our editor, Tony.

Christy Doran

Blues by 8

Too big, too strong, too direct. Stern Vern hit the right spots on returning to Super Rugby. He brought the best of the north back to the south.

In big games, taking the direct route through the middle works best. Fortunately for Vern Cotter, the Blues have the size to break through. Oh, and the Chiefs don’t have Samisoni Taukei’aho. Good luck.

Nick Wasiliev

Blues by 5

Well, here we are, one match to go. And honestly, I have no idea how this is going to go.

The Chiefs have been, in a word, phenomenal this finals campaign. They’ve stunned the Reds and the Hurricanes with two blitz performances in the first half, followed by choking the teams in the second half.

Honestly, probably more than any other side, Clayton McMillan’s Chiefs deserve a title. Any coach that has a near 75% winning record and made it to three grand finals clearly has shown they are good enough.

But, with the possible exception of Razor’s Crusaders, they’ve got to win the title on the hardest difficulty setting here. The Blues will be expecting a blitz, and while the Chiefs have choked out some of the strongest sides, they are now coming up against the best attacking and defending side in the competition.

(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Not just that, the Blues are one of the most direct, physical sides. The hosts also have the rub of the green in the head-to-head, having won seven of the last ten matches between the two sides – and in that the last time the Chiefs beat the Blues in Auckland was back in 2020. Lastly, the reality is that the Chiefs left Wellington with a lot of scars, particularly at hooker. 

There is one major factor that falls in the visitor’s favour, however – it is fitting that the result hinges on the player we placed at the top of our Top 50, way back at the start of the season. Will the Blues fall into the traps of Damian McKenzie? At the start of the year, I tipped the Chiefs would win the competition. I may come to regret this, but after the season we’ve had… I think the Blues will take home the egg basket in 2024.

Hamish Bidwell

Chiefs by 8

If the Chiefs lose, it’ll be down to individual errors. It’s a big night for Damian McKenzie in that regard. 

Tony Harper

Chiefs by 3

I’ll try keep it as brief as the great Hamish Bidwell. Golden point win for the Chiefs with DMac grinning at the posts before slotting it from 48m in extra time. There, I failed. And not just in this article.

See you all next season.


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