Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
Reds v Waratahs | Sunday 27 March | Suncorp Stadium | 07:05
The Queensland Reds and New South Wales Waratahs will close out round five at the Suncorp Stadium this Sunday. Both sides will be desperate for a result here as neither has gotten their season off to a respectable start.
So will the Reds be able to build on the momentum gained from their draw against the Blues last week or will the 'Tahs find some form?
To Win (80 Mins)
Reds 2/1 | Draw 20/1 | Waratahs 4/10
Reds (+6.5) 9/10 | Waratahs (-6.5) 9/10
As I mentioned in the introduction, the Reds are coming off the of a morale-boosting draw with the Auckland Blues. The Queenslanders really upped their game last week against a Blues side who have impressed this term. The most pleasing aspect of the game for all those associated with the Australian franchise would have been the three tries that were run in. Critics have had the daggers out due to the Reds inability to attack with any real conviction. Which is a fair assessment as the Reds have looked about as threatening as a kitten with ball in hand. That all changed last weekend however with the Queenslanders penetrating the Blues defensive line throughout the 80 minutes. They will need to repeat the trick this weekend as they are coming up against a Waratahs side that has a much more solid defensive system than that of the Blues.
The ‘Tahs are coming into this one off the back of one of those strange Super Rugby games that frustrate coaching staff to no end. Having been put to the sword by the Highlanders in the first stanza – the half time score was 0-22 in favour of the visitors – the 'Tahs then responded with an onslaught of their own. Daryl Gibson’s men scored 26 points in the second half and looked like they were set for one of the greatest comebacks in the history of the competition. It was not to be however as the Highlanders held out for a narrow victory.
In terms of team news for this clash, the Reds will welcome back two of their stalwarts in the form of flanker Liam Gill and veteran prop James Slipper. While Gill goes straight back into the starting XV, Slipper will play off the bench. The Waratahs will also welcome back a talismanic force in the form of Bernard Foley. The Wallaby ten comes straight back into the starting line-up. His inclusion means that Kurtley Beale will shift to 12.
Verdict: Waratahs 4/10
I’ve been toying with the idea of taking the 'Tahs on the handicap but I think it may be a rather large risk as the Reds are capable of turning this game into a narrow run thing – they are also capable of getting hammered, though. I’m going to err on the side of caution here and recommend the 'Tahs on the straight win.
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