Its being pumped up as Super Saturday this weekend as the Final round of Super Rugby AU takes place all on the same night! It is the game of the round which kicks off the weekend when the third place decider takes place between the Rebels and the Force. The North vs South game is squeezed in the middle with a potential grand final match up takes place between the Reds and the Brumbies. Lets check out the action….
REBELS vs FORCE – McDonald Jones Stadium
The situation is simple here for the Rebels, win the game by at least four points and they in rocking their way into the playoffs against the Reds. If the unthinkable happens and the Force pick up their first win of the season, the Rebels are out and the Waratahs will take on the Reds next weekend.
The stats put this game into an interesting light on this clash with the Rebels being the biggest kicking side from hand in the competition, up against the Force who are the team who spends the most time defending. How these two sides play will be a big factor, if the Rebels allow lots of ball to the Force they could make something of the opportunities.
Building on that stat, its clear the Rebels play a good territory game with the tandem kicking options and building pressure down in attacking areas is sure to allow them to cash in on the errors the Force seem to consistently dish out. Their backline should be good enough to finish the chances but it all comes down to which Force will show up and can they start with the early season bang they were delivering?
There is a lot counting against the Force again this week, like every other. If rugby was a fifty or sixty minute game, the Force may have a win or two under their belt. They are good enough to win games but fail to play a full eighty minutes, commit too many errors and need more commitment from the big names they have to lead this team forward.
This should be down to who wants it more and it should be simple to say the Rebels. They held on enough to give themselves a much more obvious chance to make the top three and couldn’t have asked for an easier way to finish their season, but they still need to be clinical. Be desperate and make a statement.
RESULT – Rebels by 11
REDS vs BRUMBIES – Suncorp Stadium
This one doesn’t matter so much but I am still quite interested in how these two sides go about naming their teams. The Reds know they will have to play next weekend, but dont need anything from this game to get to that point. On the other hand, the Brumbies know they have the weekend off before the big final.
Injuries are a huge point on this game. Is it worth either side risking key players in this game, or can they afford to mess up the team continuity that they have built up over the season?!
I’m expecting the Brumbies to make a number of changes, mainly because they can with the depth in their squad. They do not need to though, with that extra weekends break they will be fresh and ready for a final. They cant afford to be without a guy like Bayley Kuenzle while they wait on Noah Lolosio to return, but they may have both for the final. That’s one of the rare spots that are shallow for the Brumbies.
What they do need to discover this weekend that may prove beneficial is finding someone to really nail does that thirteen jumper. Firstly Tevita Kuridrani held it unopposed for week on week before they mixed things up and put Solomone Kata in there, to much the same effect. When a player like Kuridrani, or anyone in that position, is on form it evolves that backline and they need to find that lacking power again. Do they Brumbies really need it to with Super Rugby AU? Not really, but in a competition they have been daylight ahead of for most of, there has been few holes to find.
The Reds have had a fantastic season this year. They don’t need to win this weekend, but with the mental side of the game being so important, a heavy loss with large rotation could be very detrimental to the side.
Against that point however, having the best side running out again this weekend before going into a finals series could see major injuries and players fitness being tested for the games that really matter. The Reds dont have the depth of sides like the Brumbies but I feel they need to make sure they have their strongest side fit and ready for the playoff next weekend. If it means learning a lesson against the Brumbies, maybe so be it.
This game all pivots of squad selections and who is rested and risked before the knockout stages begin. With nothing at stake, will the coaches take the risk?
RESULT – Brumbies by 2
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