So, Flake has had a few issues, so you are stuck with me for this week’s Super Rugby AU preview! As we head into the second half of the competition, the table-topping Brumbies hit the bye, leaving the door open for the Rebels to move into top spot this Saturday when they travel to Queensland to play Brad Thorn’s Reds. The Friday night game, says the winless Force ‘host’ the Waratahs. Let’s crack into the games!
FORCE vs WARATAHS – Cbus Super Stadium
In rather peculiar, yet not unusual circumstances, the Western Force will be hosting the NSW Waratahs in Queensland this weekend. The Tahs’ sit third on the table and had struggled until they burst into life with a 45-12 thumping over the Reds. The Force, sit 0-4, although they will feel they have deserved better than that.
Last time these two sides met, the Force stormed out a 14-0 lead before surrendering 23-14.
The Force will have felt they should have one that, and the fast start continued, repeated itself the following week before they tasted defeat against the Reds. The Waratahs have improved since then and you sense the Force have a rather large mountain to climb this weekend.
The game itself should be an exciting one, as both look to pedal to the medal. Some dodgy weather around kickoff, however, might mean a kicking battle is on show, which could well suit the experience of Ian Prior and Jono Lance. If the Waratahs start fast then the Force could be in for a long evening.
The Waratahs head into this one on the back of their surprising win over the Reds last week. While some predicted the result, it was the scoreline that shocked most people as they raced out to a 45-0 lead thanks to a Jake Gordon hattrick. The Waratahs worked well as a unit, showing what they were capable of. Young Will Harrison looks like a talent and a half…
As for the Force, they might be targeting this one as winnable. Coming into the competition, nothing was expected of them, many thought they were there to merely make up the numbers. They have been better than that. They really could of and should of beat one of if not both the Waratahs and the Reds, while they managed to take the Rebels to SUPER TIME. They are worth a win, and with the experience in the backline, including Richard Kahui this week, they might well be able to beat out the inexperience of the Waratahs.
If the rain comes, the chances of the Force increase. Can they cause, what would be an upset? Jono Lance could easily kick them to victory, but after last week, the Waratahs confidence will be sky-high.
RESULT- Waratahs by 6
REDS vs Rebels – Suncorp Stadium
In what should be the game of the round, the Reds will be looking to pick themselves up after they were resoundingly thumped by the Waratahs, while the Rebels will look to power to the top of the table after they dispatched of the Brumbies 30-12. Can the Reds bounce back or will the Rebels roll on?
When these sides met back in round two, we saw the first-ever Super Time as the sides were locked at 18 all. Unfortunately, Super Time was not so super, as we treated to kick every 30 seconds, as both sides feared giving away a penalty. Barring a 50m penalty attempt from Bryce Hegarty, neither side got close to breaking the deadlock.
With thunderstorms forecast for Saturday, all be it clearing by kick-off, we could be in for an interesting affair. If the field is wet, then the Rebels will likely look to control the game, something they are likely to be able to do better than the inexperienced Reds. Reece Hodge will be licking his lips.
The Rebels go into this one as strong favourites for me, as the Reds may well require a week to pick themselves up after that defeat last week. With the finish line not a million miles away, the lure of top spot and a direct route to the final will surely be enough motivation for them.
The Queenslanders are a young side and they will be in shell shock. Can big Brad Thorn wield some magic, or will this be another car crash on the coast? Unfortunately for them, I am feeling the latter.
RESULT- Rebels by 16
Hopefully, this was informative enough for you! As we head back into the unknown in New Zealand, stay safe, while the same goes for everyone worldwide.
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