DrivingMaul Rugby Predictions – 24 Apr 2021

Welcome to the new format for my rugby predictions. Instead of having separate posts for each competition I’m going to put all my predictions for the week in 1 post going forwards.

Womens 6 Nations Finals

We’ve quickly reached the pointy end of the competition where the sides from the 2 pools face off to decide the final rankings. We’ve had quite a few blowout scores in this competition but these matches look really competitive.

I don’t know if this first pick is heart over head or not. I’d like to see Italy going well as they take such a bashing in the mens game. They fully deserve to be in with a shot of 3rd place and best of the rest. Ireland shocked me with their dominant win over Wales so you have to take your hat off to them with how they have prepared in trying times.

The blockbuster game that normally decides the Womens 6 Nations is England v France. I’m going with home advantage to win this one.

Finally it’s Scotland against an under fire Wales team. Well to be more accurate the WRU is under fire for the lack of support the women get. With that situation Scotland come into this one was favourites.

Italy v Ireland Italy by 3 
England v France England by 3 
Scotland v Wales Scotland by 5

Record So Far

5 from 6 or 83%, in a tournament that’s lopsided like the Womens 6 Nations anything less would be a failure.

Super Rugby Aotearoa Round 9 & AU Round 10

Before I get into the picks, you can remind yourself what happened last weekend with our Super Rugby Review Show.

We start the weekend in Hamilton and I’ll be at the game up in the media box, follow our Facebook page for post match interviews. All the games over the last few weeks have been very close so I can’t see anyone predicting blowouts this round. However you have to go with the confidence that the Chiefs have built up over the last 4 rounds against a side that just can’t buy a win.

Join us Live straight after the final whistle for post-match reaction to the Chiefs v Hurricanes.

The Reds have already booked themselves a home final. As this is the last game of the regular season you might think that they’d rest a couple of players. However with a week off after this before the final I think that they’ll be looking to maintain their combinations and momentum. The Force on the other hand are looking to get into the preliminary final after everyone wrote them off pre-season. I think that they could do it but more because of other results rather than how they go here.

You can fuel New Zealand Sport Radio with a coffee over on the right of the page

There’s just the one game on Saturday with the Tahs taking on the Rebels and this is the final chance for the Tahs to pick up a win this season. Ever since Penny has been sacked the Tahs have been going much better having lost their last 2 games by just 2 and 1 point. I think that this could be their opportunity to get over that line and pick up that elusive win.

If the Chiefs pickup the win on Friday night all the pressure will be on the Blues come Sunday. They really need the win down in Christchurch but that a tall task. The Saders also really need the win to rebuild moral after 2 losses in the last 3 rounds. This is the Saders last game before the final in 2 weeks time and they’ll be wanting to prove that they can still do it even with their key injuries. Razer didn’t like my question at the post match press conference about the lack of centres but it has to be worrying the management team.

Chiefs v HurricanesChiefs by 3
Western Force v Reds Reds by 7 
Waratahs v Rebels Waratahs by 1
Crusaders v BluesCrusaders by 5

Record So Far

16 from 18 or 77%, I had a shocking weekend last weekend as Super Rugby Aotearoa decided to have a couple of upsets.

Check out how my picks are going v the Bookie.

Gallagher Premiership Round 17

The top 2 clash in the opening round this weekend and you have to go with the home side. Exeter are looking out of sorts and not the dominant force of last season. Which is strange when you think that there was hardly any offseason but it could be the hangover of having achieved something you’ve been striving for for so long. How do you motivate yourself the second time? That’s not a problem for the Bears who are looking very good.

Irish v Quins is an important game in terms of the playoffs. Amazing to think that Irish are in with a chance of making it. As both sides have lost their last 3 away games I’m going with the home side. Falcons are in free-fall having lost their last 5 games, how far away those heady days of winning their opening 3 games must seem. Again I have to go with the home side of Gloucester in this one.

The New Zealand Sport Radio podcast is available on SpotifyiTunesiHeartRadioAcast and many more podcatchers.

Tigers v Saints should be a cracking game, at home Tigers have found form and Saints are looking like a decent team again. I’m backing Saints to nick this one as they keep their playoffs hopes alive. The last 2 games are easy picks going with the away teams of Sharks and Bath. Worcester and Wasps are both just in a mess. Worcester haven’t won since the opening game of the season and Wasps are 8 losses from their last 10 games.

Bristol v Exeter Chiefs Bristol by 7 
London Irish v Harlequins London Irish by 3
Gloucester Rugby v Newcastle Falcons Gloucester Rugby by 5
Leicester Tigers v Northampton Saints Northampton Saints by 5
Worcester Warriors v Sale Sharks Sale Sharks by 7
Wasps v Bath Rugby Bath Rugby by 7

Record So Far

52 from 89 or 58%, I’m having a shocking season but I did get 6 from 6 in the last round……

Top 14 Round 22

Let’s keep it simple for the Top 14. I’ve gone for all home teams, that’s your default option in the Top14. They have so many games that they rest their top players for the away ones. Looking down the list there were a couple where I thought about the away team. Clermont visiting Lyon and La Rochelle visiting Brive. I just think that La Rochelle will be thinking about their European encounter with Leinster and so maybe take their eyes off this one.

Bordeaux Begles v Montpellier Bordeaux Begles by 3 
Lyon v ASM Clermont Auvergne Lyon by 3 
Stade Francais v Pau Stade Francais by 3 
Toulon v Agen Toulon by 25 
Bayonne v Castres Bayonne by 5 
Brive v La Rochelle Brive by 3 
Toulouse v Racing 92 Toulouse by 5

Record So Far

92 from 140 or 65%, not great but the SuperBru average is 62% so it’s not really that bad.

MLR Round 3

The MLR has been crazy difficult to pick this season. I’m in the top 11% on SuperBru but I’m only 48% successful with my picks!

The first one is a tough pick as NOLA haven’t played away yet this season. They have a good record at home with 2 wins and a draw with only 1 loss. Atlanta promised much with their opening rounds but have seemed to have got into the habit of losing games.

LA Giltinis are the only sure thing in this league. Their smallest victory has been by 13 points. The Legion aren’t the same side that was dominant in the shortened last season and so I can’t see them getting up here.

Utah are another side that promised good things early winning their opening 2 games. It’s been 3 losses on the bounce since then and the Sabercats are looking like an improving side so I’m backing them for what is probably an upset win on the road.

Toronto have actually picked up a couple of wins but having to play all their games on the road and not being able to go home to Canada really is making it tough on them. RUNY do have 3 wins from 4 games but I can’t shake the feeling that they are convincing yet.

The Free Jacks should get up over Old Glory, the only game they have lost control of was against LA and everyone loses control of that game.

It’s a sign of how far the Seawolves have fallen that I’m picking Austin over them. The side that’s had 3 names over the side that’s won the competition twice…. How things have changed and how they’ve changed very quickly.

Rugby ATL v New Orleans Gold New Orleans Gold by 3 
LA Giltinis v San Diego Legion LA Giltinis by 15 
Utah Warriors v Houston SaberCats Houston SaberCats by 3 
Rugby United New York v Toronto Arrows Rugby United New York by 5 
Old Glory DC v New England Free Jacks New England Free Jacks by 3 
Austin Gilgronis v Seattle Seawolves Austin Gilgronis by 10

Record So Far

13 from 27 or 48%, I seem to either get 1 right or nearly all of them, there’s no “average” picking weeks.

Rainbow Cup (or Pro12 again) Round 1

Does anyone want to see another Pro12 and the South African ex-Super Rugby sides playing each other again (4th tournament this season)?

Who knows how the teams will be taking this one, will they use it to experiment with youngsters or take it seriously as a full bloodied tournament???

With these unknowns I won’t be testing my picks against the bookie for this one but I do play to do it for the Pro14/Pro16 or whatever it’s called next season.

It’s derby games for the first 3 rounds at the moment. I think they’ll stick with that as there’s so little time to change things. I’m backing the sides that were going well in the Pro 14 that’s just finished as I don’t see any reason why form should have changed dramatically since then.

So it’s Ulster at home against Connacht and Leinster at home against Munster for Ireland. I think the Scottish sides should beat the Italian ones. Then there’s Wales. The Welsh sides caused me all sorts of issues last season. However the Ospreys were improved and at home should take it. The Dragons still have a long way to go and Scarlets were clicking occasionally last season.

Ulster Rugby v Connacht Rugby Ulster Rugby by 3 
Edinburgh v Zebre Rugby Club Edinburgh by 5 
Benetton Rugby v Glasgow Warriors Glasgow Warriors by 3 
Ospreys v Cardiff Blues Ospreys by 3 
Leinster Rugby v Munster Rugby Leinster Rugby by 7 
Dragons v Scarlets Scarlets by 3

Record So Far

It’s only Round 1 so there’s no “so far” yet.

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