This weekend Australia get into the action of Super Rugby with the kick off of Super Rugby AU! If you are new to what Super Rugby AU is, you can find out all about it right here! Running along side will be Super Rugby Aotearoa, which you can find all the latest preview here. Opening up the competition will be the clash between the Reds and Waratahs on Friday night. Then on Saturday night will have the Brumbies and Rebels clash. It would have been nice to see the Western Force this weekend, but they are sitting out on the bye and we will see them next weekend.
REDS vs WARATAHS – Suncorp Stadium
Friday night rugby returns in Super Rugby AU and gives us a nice spread of matches over the full weekend. Its the old school Queensland vs New South Wales clash to open up the new competition. Brad Thorn and his forward heavy team of thunderous carriers look to continue their progress with their young squad. It would take much surprise to know how this side is going to play, with guys like Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and captain Liam Wright leading the spine of a pack that will look to assert itself against an inexperienced Waratahs pack. The question mark I’ll raise about this Reds side is the overflow of playmaking options and what may be a lack of finishers and grafters in the backs, but maybe with their style of play they wont need it with all the power of the pack. James O’Connor will run at ten, Hamish Stewart will run out in twelve and Bryce Hegarty at fullback. Expect those three players to chop and change their positions and rotate their roles to keep their attack varied.
The Waratahs have a lot of new look players lining up this season and on direct comparison should cause reason for them to be concerned. The tight five has a lot to prove and while they have some experience in the area, they lack the power and aggression the Reds will bring. The backline may be the Waratahs best bet to attack. Mark Nawaqanitawase took Australian Super Rugby by storm earlier in the year and his return from injury will be greeted with joy by the ‘Tahs. If Jack Maddocks can find his game quickly from fullback and link with the speed of Alex Newsome in midfield, it could create a good deal of danger. The problem may be getting the ball to those outside backs. In the halves Mitch Short and Will Harrison will have a lot of pressure from Tate McDermott and O’Connor to shut down those channels. It should be a great game to kick off Super Rugby AU where I’m going to back the home side to get it done
RESULT – Reds by 2
BRUMBIES vs REBELS – GIO Stadium
Now while that opening game of the season looks like a close battle, game two makes it look like a kids game and now the adults are coming to play on Saturday night. Boy this Brumbies team looks like the real deal this season. Take a look at their starting line up, think about how they played over the start of this season the season before and there’s good reason to be excited about this team. Look at that front row, James Slipper, Folau Faingaa and Allan Alaalatoa will start and then to allow no rest, Scott Sio will jump on off the bench, that’s crazy depth. The rest of the pack is solid, especially the back row with Rob Valetini, Tom Cusack and of course Pete Samu and number eight, this side is next level for an Australian side. Maybe they are weak in the backline? Um, nope. Joe Powell and impressive youngster Noah Lolesio will run the halves and its excitement outside if they Brumbies even want to use them. Tom Wright, Tevita Kuridrani, Irae Simone and Any Muirhead will run outside with only one unknown in Mackenzie Hansen at fullback but he has strong support with Wright and Muirhead who are more than adequate at the back themselves. Special.
You’ve got to feel sorry for the Rebels, what a way to start their campaign. The Rebels are a side who are a better team with confidence, I struggle to see how they are going to get much from this match. They have quite a bit of inexperience throughout their team but now is the time to do it, tough love Rebels, time to learn. You know when you’re against the Brumbies you are going to be in for a battle in the forwards and the Rebels look considerably underdone. Matt Phillip has been strong for the Rebels and he will need to drag his tight five with him. Defence will be extremely important for the Rebels but if they want to score points they have to unlock the Brumbies backline. Matt Toomua, I don’t rate much as a ten, but he has the experience but needs to back himself as the leading playmaker and not the second creator like he plays best at twelve. None will be as important as fullback Dane Haylett-Petty for the Rebels season, but I don’t feel like this is a match he can influence the result of as much as he may like. I expect it to be a hard old toil for the Rebels this weekend.
RESULT – Brumbies by 11
Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!