Welcome to Super Rugby AU Week 5. We have the 3rd placed Waratahs playing the 4th placed Rebels on Friday night, at the SCG.
Then we have the spirited Western Force, up against the best in the business, the Brumbies, playing at Leichardt Oval on Saturday night.
Issak Fines broke the Tahs hearts last weekend in Homebush, as he scored a late 77th minute match-winning try to put the opposition over the line, 24-23. With both the Reds and the Brumbies ahead of them on the table, this was a tough pill to swallow for the young side. Although they looked great throughout. As for Melbourne, they’re backing it up from an exciting 18-18 draw from two rounds ago. They and the Reds pushed eachother all the way, in an affair that showed that maybe Rugby in Australia isn’t in such dire straights after all. Away from their home base, the Rebels gave it their all.
The Force have lost both their games since returning to Super Rugby. But you sure as hell can’t question their commitment or effort. They went down 23-14 to NSW first up and then 31-24 to the Reds last round. But the tries were at 4-all, as they weren’t going to go down without a fight. And the Brumbies are just a point of the top of the ladder on 9. They continued their hot streak over the Tahs with a late, heroic 1-point win. At ANZ Stadium they turned it on, as they scored 4 tries to 2, with 58% of the ball.
Strap yourselves in, we’re in for another awesome round of Aussie Rugby!
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Super Rugby Tips AU – Friday July 24
Waratahs v Rebels
Venue: SCG | Start: 7:05 PM AEST
NSW Waratahs – As things currently stand, they are just 1/3 so far on the new season and have a PD of just +2. On a more bright note, however, they are just 4 points of the top of the ladder. And last week they missed a great chance to rise even higher, as the Brumbies toppeled them yet again, to the tune of a 24 points to 23 score-line. Fines crossed the line in the 77th minute and Kuenzle made the ensuing conversion to continue their recent dominant history against their rivals. It was a massive blow for the young, yet spirited Tahs team. NSW scored 2 of the first tries in the game via Horton (24th min) and Ramm (28th min), but eventually, the opposition worked their way back into the match. The Tahs only had 42% possession of the ball and got outscored 4 tries to 2. They beat 15 defenders and had 5 clean breaks. They also turned the ball over just 8 times, in comparison to the Brumbies 16. However, their 27 missed tackles did hurt them. Suffice to say the Tahs need to get the W here! And badly at that!
Melbourne Rebels – The Rebels have just 2 competition points so far, as they have 0 wins and 2 defeats next to their name. They also have a relatively poor PD of -8. They were given a bye last round, so their last match-up was their exciting extra-time 18-18 draw with the Reds. Both sides had fair chances to win it, but neither could quite deliver the fatal blow on a cold Friday night at Brookvale Oval (or Lottoland for sponsorship purposes). The Rebels got first points via a Toomua PG and from there it was a back and forth affair. Melbourne got their 1st try of the match in the 54th minute from Hodge. Melbourne only owned 43% of the ball, but the tries were even at 2 a piece. They did run for a strong 447m’s however, beat 15 defenders and have 10 clean breaks. And they turned the ball over only 15 times, better in comparison to QLD’s 21. This was a strong performance from a side that is currently unable to play in their home base of Victoria due to COVID related reasons. And with the performances, they’re putting on as of late, fair play to them. Fair play indeed!
NSW have beaten Melbourne in 13 of their overall 16 meetings against each other. That is a pretty one-sided record! However, the tides are turning and the Tahs are no longer the force that they once were. That’s in comparison to the Rebels, who are playing a strong, uplifting brand of Rugby. And the last time they met back in RD3 of this year at AAMI Park, the Rebels came through with the goods, thrashing them 24 points to 10. Koroibete scored the game’s opening try and from there the romp started, as they outscored the Tahs 3 tries to 1. They also had to make only 92 tackles, in comparison to NSW’s 114. Both sides are at a similar level at the moment. But I’ll pick the Rebels to have the slight edge, in what should be both a close and entertaining affair.
Head to Head: Melbourne Rebels
Win Margin: Melbourne by 4-8 points
Line: Melbourne -1
Total Points: 40-44
Super Rugby Tips AU – Saturday July 25
Western Force v Brumbies
Venue: Leichardt Oval | Start: 7:15 PM AEST
Western Force – Welcome back to comp Rugby the Western Force. In their first game back, the Tahs pipped them 23 points to 14. That was in a game in which they opened it up big time with a 14-0 lead. They held NSW to just 2 tries in that encounter. And the Force themselves won 8 turnovers, in comparison to the Tahs 4. Then last weekend at Suncorp Stadium, they and the Reds put on a real show, as they eventually went down 31-24. Their tries were produced via McGregor in the 11th minute, Ralston in the 14th minute, Ralston again in the 38th minute and Ready in the 70th minute. The tries were locked at 4-4, as the Force had 45% of the ball. They also beat 17 defenders and had 14 clean breaks. They won 7 turnovers and also had 21 kicks in play. And additionally, they won 99 rucks, 3 mauls, 10 lineouts and 5 scrums. They are 5th on the ladder, with only a point, but that’s to be expected. They’re fighting the other sides to the death and are doing the whole of Rugby AU proud.
Brumbies – Mr Issak Fines take a bow. With the Brumbies about to suffer a shock loss to the Tahs, he skipped through their defence to score the late winner, much to the dismay of the home crowd. But he didn’t care, neither did his teammates, they had completed the victory and order was restored over their long-time rivals. The 24-23 win was huge for them! Cusack also scored the game’s opening try for them in just the 5th minute. They dominated possession, owning 58% of the ball. They scored 4 tries to 2 and ran for a BIG 454m’s. They beat 27 of the Tahs defenders and also had 15 clean breaks. They did however worryingly turn the ball over 16 times. The Tahs had only 8. And they missed 15 tackles as well. Something that they’ll want to have fixed for this match. The one-point win, however, has left them in 2nd spot on the ladder. They have 9 points and a PD of also +9. Things are going swimmingly for them at the moment.
What Should Happen – The Brumbies have won the past 7 affairs between these two sides. From most recent to oldest, the scores have been 25-17, 24-10, 31-14, 33-20, 27-15, 47-25 and 27-14. And they have also won 10 of the past 11 games overall. All signs point to a relatively easy victory for the Brumbies here. And that is exactly how it should go. At the end of the day, they’ll have just to much class for the Force to handle. Faing’a has 5 tries this season. As does Kata. Wright has 4. This fearsome attacking trio is part of the previously-mentioned class and could do some serious damage to this Force side. The Force should put in a forceful effort (no pun intended), but at the end of the day, expect the Brumbies to take it out rather easily.
Head to Head: Brumbies
Win Margin: Brumbies by 18-22 points
Line: Brumbies -3
Total Points: 50-54