Fantasy Super Rugby: Don't bank on Canes for more rich returns

By Dr Stats

At-home Tahs may prevent repeat of Wellington side's big performance.

Red playmaker Quade Cooper will be fired up against the Blues today, earning his 100th cap. Photo / Getty Images
Red playmaker Quade Cooper will be fired up against the Blues today, earning his 100th cap. Photo / Getty Images

Hurricanes players featured heavily in last weekend's round of Dream Team Fantasy Super Rugby but don't get your hopes up for a repeat performance tomorrow.

Cory Jane, Andre Taylor and TJ Perenara all posted big games against the Reds but all indicators show that against the Waratahs, expectations may need to be tempered.

While the Hurricanes are averaging the most fantasy points per game as a team, equal with the Highlanders, they are much less of a stand-out side away from home while the Waratahs tend to shut down fantasy points when they play in Sydney.

While I wouldn't necessarily transfer consistent performers such as Perenara, Taylor and Beauden Barrett out of your squad, I wouldn't bank on any as your captain this round. Fringe performers such as Jeremy Thrush, Alapati Leiua and Julian Savea may warrant a bench spot this weekend.

Instead of banking on continued form from the Canes, look to their opponents for strong plays. I'm expecting big games from Michael Hooper ($6.28 million), Bernard Foley ($8.32 million) and Israel Folau ($9.39 million) who all have great match-ups against their opposites.

Other players to target this week include:

• James Slipper, Reds, $3.88 million - he faces a Blues side today that's conceding the equal-most amount of 15+ point games against opposing frontrowers.

• Scott Fardy, Brumbies, $4.76 million - Fardy matches up with the Crusaders on Saturday, a side that's generous to opposing second rowers;

• Boom Prinsloo, Cheetahs, $3.8 million - his production has been down in recent weeks but I'm expecting a bounce-back performance against the Bulls;

• Francois Hougaard, Bulls, $8.22 million - he's been in great form of late and the Cheetahs consistently concede points to opposing halfbacks;

• Quade Cooper, Reds, $7.63 million - Cooper earns his 100th cap against the Blues today and will surely be fired up to win the battle of the colours;

• Jesse Mogg, Brumbies, $9.66 million - He threw up a stinker last week but Mogg has been otherwise reliable. The Herald Rugby Stats Centre lists him as third in tries, seventh in carries, ninth in clean breaks and seventh in metres gained. He'll bounce back.

In selection and injury news, there are some big names missing this weekend.

Influential back rowers Kieran Read and Luke Braid will not suit up for their sides, while All Blacks captain Richie McCaw will start at blindside for the Crusaders.

Many may be tempted to plug McCaw back into their sides but I would take a wait-and-see approach at this point.

In the backs, the Blues have lost Francis Saili to an ankle sprain while the Highlanders have sent flying winger Patrick Osbourne home from their South African leg.

There are also a number of big fantasy names that will start from the bench this weekend. Stormers utility Deon Fourie, Bulls five-eighths Jacques-Louis Potgeiter, Lions five-eighths Marnitz Boshoff and Bulls back JJ Engelbrecht are all likely to play reduced minutes.

- NZ Herald

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