Super Rugby 2020/21 is finally here. After an off-season that seems like it has stretched on forever and ever, we have seven juicy fixtures to start Round One of with. Will the Crusaders back up last seasons title, or will someone else take the crown as the competitions best?
The Chiefs will look to have a strong start to their season against the Blues. Next up on the Friday night is the all Aussie clash between the Brumbies and Reds. Both sides performed below their expectations last season and as a result will look to start strong in their campaign opener.
On the Saturday, both the Sharks and the Sunwolves will look to overturn their horrible records against Bulls and Rebels respectively. While the 3rd Saturday game sees the Folau-less Tahs try to eliminate the memories of their 29-point choking against the Crusaders. They to are under a lot of pressure to perform well this season after their close to dismal showings last campaign.
And on Sunday we have the Stormers on a three game losing streak against the Hurricanes. And the Jaguares with a shoddy record against the Lions. Despite the discrepancy in both of those games. They should still prove to both be an absolute joy to watch.
Checkout our free Super Rugby tips below and the latest analysis for every game.
Watch Live: Kayo Sports
Super Rugby Tips – Friday, January 31
Blues v Chiefs
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland | Start: 5:05 PM
Key Player – B. Barrett. If one player can reverse the Blues form against the Chiefs, then he’ll sure as hell be one of the guys to do it. With three tries last season and eight try assists, he was like/ is like the Mesut Ozil of Rugby. Last campaign alone, he kicked 11/13 PG’s and 35/45 conversions. His ability to not only create, but also assist on points, will be absolutely critical to the Blues in this one. And if the game comes down to kicks, he may well win it for his side. You simply just never know.
History – The Chiefs have a commanding recent history against the Blues. Out of the past 15 encounters in which they have versed each-other in, the Chiefs have been victorious in 13 of those games. + One was a draw as well. However, on a different tone, the last game they played back in Round 14 of last season, the Blues actually won for once, 23-8. Inside Eden Park they scored four tries to one, with a massive 64% possession of the ball. They kept the Chiefs to just 36% of the ball. They made 435 m’s to their 278 and beat 14 defenders to their 11. That among other key stats. The three games prior to that, the Chiefs won by only the small margin of four, two and six points. The first of those being a 33-29 victory at FMG Stadium Waikato. Despite only having 37% possession, they managed to outscore the Blues, 5 tries to 4. Also despite missing 38 tackles and conceding eight penalties, they very impressively found a way to get it done. Not many teams could’ve pulled a win out of the bag like that, but the Chiefs found a way to somehow.
Head to Head: Chiefs
Win Margin: Chiefs by 10-15
Line: Chiefs -9
Total Points: 30-40
Brumbies v Reds
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra | Start: 7:15 PM
Key Player – Fainga’a. Affairs of recent history between these two sides have been high scoring and this is where he comes in. Ranked 3rd in Super Rugby last season in tries scored, he bagged 12. Good for just under 1 per game. He also made 125 runs. And he had 9 clean breaks as well. The Hooker is clearly a special player and as such he will have a lot of responsibility in this all-Australian clash. If the Brumbies want to start their season of on the right foot with a win, then you can expect him to be a pig part of it.
History – The Brumbies have won seven of their past 10 matches that they’ve played against the Reds. The latest of those was in Round 18 of last season, where they claimed a 13-point, 40-27 victory in Canberra. Scoring five tries and converting four of them, they just managed to outlast the Queensland based side in what was a truly entertaining clash. The Brumbies owned 46% of the ball and the Reds 54% of it. The Brumbies won 66 rucks vs their 88. They won 5 mauls vs their 3. They won 11 lineouts vs 14. And 5 scrums to their 3. Before that, up at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, it was the Reds who played victors, winning 36-14 in a crushing victory. They scored tries in the 13th, 47th, 50th, 74th and 80th minutes of the game in the 22-point win. Speight and Brown scored the Brumbies only tries that day. The Reds slightly edged the possession department at 55% vs 45%. They took 98 carries for 469 m’s. The Brumbies took 96 carries for 342 m’s. The signs point to an unpredictable affair in this one.
Head to Head: Brumbies
Win Margin: Brumbies by 15+
Line: Brumbies -8
Total Points: 50+
Sharks v Bulls
Venue: Jonsson Kings Park, Durban | Start: 4:10 AM
Key Player – Andrews. He made 125 tackles last season for the Sharks, at an average of 7.4 per game. He will be one of the major guys for them, leading the lines defensively. And with some of the ‘cricket-esque’ scores they’ve racked up lately against the Bulls, how he plays will be pretty critical to the games outcome. If he can set the tone on defence, that will allow the attack to open up more. He had a very good tackle success rate of 87%. He won’t be the be all end all for the Sharks, but he might prove to be damn close in this one.
History – The Bulls have won eight of their past nine games in which they’ve versed the Sharks in. The past four games show just how different they’ve been. 19-16 (3 points), 37-14 (23 points), 39-33 (six points) and 40-10 (30 points), are the past four score-lines played out between the two franchises. Which one will we get in this match? In the latest game, a red was given out to either side in the 57th minute, which only added to the hotness and competitiveness of the clash. They were to van der Merwe and Brits for their part in a scuffle that escalated way more then it should have. The Sharks owned 58% of the ball and the Bulls 42% of it. The Sharks scored 2 tries to one in the closely contested game. They made 10 clean breaks to four and completed 11 offloads to six. And in the end, it was a late 79th minute Pollard PG that gave the Bulls the three-point victory. The game before that, they won, courtesy of their three-tries-to-two. They also did massively well in the kicking department, going 2/3 conversions, 5/5 penalty goals and 1/1 drop goal. That contributed heavily to the 23-point winning margin.
Head to Head: Bulls
Win Margin: Bulls by 20+
Line: Bulls -10
Total Points: 35-45
Super Rugby Tips – Saturday, February 1
Sunwolves v Rebels
Venue: Level Five Stadium, Fukuoka | Start: 2:45 AM
Philip. He made 123 runs last campaign, good for 8.2 per match. With the Rebels overwhelming history against the Sunwolves in mind and what they do with the ball, he’ll be a key part in getting his Melbourne based side, closer and closer to the try-line. His carries and runs, should and will be a massive part of the Rebels game-plan in this affair. He also scored three tries and averaged 69 minutes per game, as he proved to be quite a durable player. The Lock also made 103 tackles out of 114, good for 90%. Look for him to do a bit of everything for Melbourne in this one.
Five out of the past five games they’ve played verses each other, the Rebels have beaten the Sunwolves in and they haven’t been particularly close either, at that! The margins have been, 45 points, 27 points, 27 points, 20 points and 26 points. YIKES! The last match they contested was back in Round 15 of last season, at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, was won a massive 52 points to 7 by Melbourne. Maddocks crossed the white-line twice for Melbourne in the humongous 45-point victory. They scored 8 tries to 1 as they absolutely, without a doubt, humiliated the Sunwolves. Melbourne won 63 rucks to their 43 and 13 mauls to their 2. They also won 22 lineouts to their 9 and 8 scrums to their 7. Before that, the Rebels were victorious 42-15 at AAMI Park. Suffice to say that the Sunwolves do not have a very happy history against the Rebels. That match saw Hodge score three times in the six tries to two victory. Melbourne owned 49% of the ball and the Sunwolves 51%. Funnily enough, the Rebels made 124 tackles to their 79. Will we see another thrashing this game? Or a more even match-up?
Head to Head: Rebels
Win Margin: Rebels by 30+
Line: Rebels -15
Total Points: 40-50
Crusaders v Waratahs
Venue: Trafalgar Park, Nelson | Start: 5:05 PM
Key Player – Maddocks. For the Tahs last season, he found the white-line 10 times, good for 0.7 times per game. There’s no more Folau anymore and there’s a tonne of pressure for them to feature in the Super Rugby finals after their disappointing showing last season. Simply put, Maddocks has no choice but to be a part of the huge revolution New South Wales are currently undergoing. The Fullback among other players will need to step up big time for the Tahs. And what better way to do that then in your opening game of the season against a New Zealand based team.
Past History– The Tahs have won three of their past six games in which they’ve played against the Crusaders. Given their recent struggles, this is actually quite a decent record for the NSW based side. The last match they played was all the way back in Round 6 of last season. There at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Waratahs grounded out a close 20-12 win. A late Jordan try wasn’t quite enough to bring it home for the Crusaders. While the now departed Folau bagged one for the home team. The Tahs scored three tries to two, but held only 42% of the ball throughout the match. The Crusaders had 58% possession. The Tahs beat 22 defenders and the Crusaders, 23. 166 Tackles were made by the winners and 101 by the losers. The Tahs had 36 kicks in play and the Crusaders, 25. Just a few different statistics from that close match. Before that, the Crusaders won by just two points, at Orangetheory Stadium. The Tahs led 29-0, before they remarkably choked away their HUGE lead. Ennor scored what proved to be the match winning try in the 56th minute of the match. The Crusaders had 59% possession and the NSW based side, 41% of it. In terms of craziness, this game was right up there with the best of them. No one, not even the best of the best, expected to see this kind of result come the full-time siren.
Head to Head: Crusaders
Win Margin: Crusaders by 1-10
Line: Crusaders -5
Total Points: 40-50
Stormers v Hurricanes
Venue: DHL Newlands, Cape Town | Start: 12:05 AM
Key Player – Prinsep. He ranked a very impressive 6th in tackles mast last campaign at a total of 173. That was good for an average of 10.2 per match. If you observe all the recent scores listed, their fairly high. Defensively Prinsep will be tasked with stopping that on the Hurricanes behalf and continuing that good momentum against the Stormers. If he can help set the tone early with a few ‘hard-hit’s, then the Hurricanes will be well on their way to winning this one. But if he can’t find his feet to well defensively, then it will be a whole different story.
Past History – These sides have split their last six games played between the two of them. The Hurricanes have won the latest three games, 34-28, 41-22 and 25-20. While the Stormers won the previous three before that. They won, 19-18, 18-16 and 39-26. Crazy eh. The Hurricanes latest win over them, was way back in Round 6 of last season at Sky Stadium. Late tries to Goosen (61st minute) and B. Barrett (69th minute), seemingly sealed the deal for them. Marais opened the affair by kicking two penalty goals within quick succession of each other (4-8 minute mark). The Hurricanes owned 60% of the ball and the Stormers just 40% of it. The Hurricanes scored 5 tries to 3 and ran for 431m’s vs 341m’s. Before that, the Hurricanes won by 19 points, also at Sky Stadium. J. Barrett crossed the line twice in that commanding win. The Hurricanes had 57% possession of the ball and the Stormers 43% of it. 7 tries to 1 was how it ended. They won 67 rucks to 51, but also only 2 mauls to 10. They won 16 lineouts to 17, but also 8 scrums to 4. Will the Hurricanes continue their streak? Or will the Stormers start a new one?
Head to Head: Hurricanes
Win Margin: Hurricanes by 10-15
Line: Hurricanes -9
Total Points: 40-50
Jaguares v Lions
Venue: José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires | Start: 8:40 AM
Key Player – Krmer. He made a grand total of 189 tackles last season. His average came out at a BIG 10.5 per game. The Jaguares have a blatantly crap recent record against the Lions. If he can rev his guys up on the harder side of things, he can be responsible in being the one who changed it. They have to suffocate them at every turn and angle, allowing them no real running or kicking space in the process. If he can spearhead that well enough to a certain degree then maybe who knows. Perhaps he’ll be singing a victory song come the full-time siren?
Past History – The Lions have beaten the Jaguares in five of the past six games in which they’ve played against them. The winning margins have been by 8, 9, 17, 20 and 3. Some real thrashings in there, as well as some close ones. What will we see this time around? The last match the Lions won 47-39 at Emirates Airline Park, back in Round 4 of last season. The Jaguares scored four late tries in a row, but it wasn’t quite good enough to mount the comeback win that they would’ve been hoping for. 7 tries (Lions) to 6 was the final tally. Quite an insane, high scoring affair! The Lions ran for 543m’s vs their 326m’s. They also had 125 carries of the ball to their 92. Both sides turned the ball over 14 times a-piece. 91 Tackles were made by the Lions and 119 by the opposition. Just some key stats to observe from that game. Before that, it was a 25-16 Lions victory. They scored 3 tries to 1 despite only having 39% possession. The Jaguares had 61% of the ball throughout the match. Only 266m’s were made by the Lions to the Jaguares 387m’s. Yet, they still found a way to claw out of the hole with the W!
Head to Head: Lions
Win Margin: Lions by 25+
Line: Lions -15
Total Points: 50+