Super Rugby 2018: Reds v Brumbies Preview

The Reds will be looking to bounce back from their opening day defeat to the Rebels when they take on the Brumbies on Friday the 2nd of March. 

The sole Aussie derby of the weekend looks set to be a goodie, with the Reds and Brumbies both vying to achieve some early season bragging rights over one another. The hosts come off the back of a hiding at the hands of the Rebels and will look to set the record straight against a side that were far from convincing themselves in their win over the Sunwolves.

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Reds v Brumbies
Friday 2 March
Suncorp Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Reds 16/10
Draw 25/1
Brumbies 9/20

Reds (+6.5) 9/10
Brumbies (-6.5) 9/10

Despite the score-line, the biggest talking point that came out of the Reds’ 45-19 season-opening loss to the Rebels was their ill-discipline. The Queensland-based side lost captain Scott Higginbotham inside the opening 10-minutes when the loose-forward’s reckless shoulder charge on Matt Philip earned him a straight red card - as well as a subsequent three-week suspension.

As if that wasn’t enough, second-rower Lukhan Tui then saw yellow 12-minutes later after proceeding to recklessly dump Will Genia on his head; this in spite of his side managing to take the lead in the 19th-minute.

Such behaviour is commonly referred to in sporting circles as 'coach killer', and indeed new coach Brad Thorn would have wondered just what exactly went through the minds of his players in that opening half. Funnily enough, Thorn’s charges ended up conceding one-less handling error (seven) than their Aussie counterparts - admittedly, the ones that were given away did have the bigger bearing on the result.

The Brumbies were less indifferent against the Sunwolves and the 2011 champions will rightly feel they have a shot at one-upping last year’s Aussie Conference winners. The Reds will look to the scrum – an area the Brumbies struggled in last week – as a platform upon which to get the better of the men from Canberra, and earn their first win of 2018.

The Brumbies may have gotten the win in the end, but there wasn’t too much else to shout about in their meagre 32-25 win in Japan. Them not earning a bonus-point against a team that finished 17th in the competition last year would not exactly sit well with Dan McKellar and his coaching staff, and an improved showing against the Reds will be of paramount importance if they are to build momentum ahead of their vital clashes with the Rebels and Sharks.

A front-row of Ben Alexander, Josh Mann-Rea and Allan Alaalatoa, Wallabies all, struggled against a much lighter Sunwolves pack; earning just a 75% success rate. They will need to be in much better shape this time round, with the Reds heavymen sure to offer an even greater test of their credentials.

The Brumbies will need to be alert with ball-in-hand, with the Queenslanders’ defensive organization last week having been a serious liability. In Kyle Godwin and Henry Speight, however, they have the perfect players to make them pay.

Verdict: Reds (+6.5) 9/10
Despite their indifferent performance against the Sunwolves, the Brumbies’ superior organization will see them to a win at the Suncorp. However, the Reds will bring out the best in them, after their underestimation of a week ago which is why the plus line on the Reds is a solid shout at 9/10

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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