Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Super Rugby AU: Tournament Preview

Super Rugby AU: Tournament Preview

Darry Worthington runs the rule of Super Rugby AU which will kick-off on Friday the 3rd of July.

Photo Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

Super Rugby will resume in Australia in just a few days and fans are gearing up for the all-Australian tournament: Super Rugby AU. We take a look at the tournament format and who looks likely to challenge for the title, below.

Two women looking excitedly at cellphoneTeams
Brumbies 12/10
Rebels 5/2
Reds 9/2
Waratahs 7/1
Western Force 9/1

Tournament Format
The tournament format will feature 10-weeks of round-robin games with each side playing each other home and away. Each round will comprise of two fixtures with one of the five sides enjoying a bye week. Each team will get two bye weeks.

Once the round-robin phase comes to a conclusion, the top four teams playing each other in the semi-finals and the two winners of those fixtures advancing to the final, which is set to be played on Saturday the 19th of September.

Rule Changes
There are a number of new rules that will be trialled during this tournament. Some are rather complicated, while others are simpler in nature.

Held-Up Over the Tryline: when an attacking player is held up over the line it will result in a goal-line drop (drop-kick from the defending teams own try line). This will also occur when a kick into in-goal is charged down by the defending team and the ball goes dead.

Red Cards: If a player is red-carded he will be able to be replaced after twenty minutes.

50/22 Kicks: A kick which is taken from within the defending team’s 50m area that travels into touch within the opposition’s 22m area having first bounced in the field of play will result in a lineout throw to the team who kicked the ball into touch.

22/50 Kicks: A kick taken from within the kicking team’s 22m area that travels into touch within the opposition’s 50m area having first bounced in the field of play results in a lineout throw to the kicking team;

Draws: A 'Super Time' point tiebreaker will now be introduced when the scores are level after 80-minutes. This will result in extra-time being called with the first team to score points then declared the winner.

The Brumbies head into this one as rather short favourites to claim the inaugural Super Rugby AU title and are installed at 12/10 to lift the cup. And rightly so considering the start the men from Canberra made to the start of the 2020 Super Rugby season.

Dan Mckellar's side one five of their opening six Super Rugby - proper - fixtures with their only defeat coming at the hands of the Highlanders who they went down to 23-22 courtesy of a try in the final minute of the game.

They looked primed for a good assault on the inaugural Super Rugby AU season with some of their youngsters stepping up to the mark, including fly-half Noah Lolesio who was in sensational touch during the opening salvos of the Super Rugby season.

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The Reds, while only installed as third-favourites, are the team I suspect will give the Brumbies a real challenge. Brad Thorn has been slowly crafting the Queensland side it to something resembling his image - a hard, never say die bastard.

They may not be the most star-studded of sides - they lost a load of experienced talent in the off-season - they are a decent enough side and truly represent the old adage of the "the whole is more than the sum of its parts."

While the Reds struggled for wins during the Super Rugby season, they did register some eye-catching ones hammering the Bulls 41-17 and the Sunwolves 64-5. They also suffered narrow defeats to the Lions (27-20) and the Crusaders (24-20).

Dark Horse
The Western Force will return from the Super Rugby wilderness and they'll be out to prove a point to Rugby Australia.

The Force have been participating in Global Rapid Rugby since they were booted from Super Rugby at the close of the 2017 season. The Global Rapid Rugby tournament features teams from China, Samoa, Hong Kong, Fiji and Malaysia. In terms of quality, the tournament is a far cry from Super Rugby but it has given the Force a decent opportunity to build a cohesive squad.

Speaking of the Force's squad, they have some decent veteran players in the form of Andrew Reddy, Kieran Longbottom, Heath Tessman, Ian Pryor and the mercurial Jonah Placid.

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My also-rans for this tournament are the Waratahs and the Rebels. The former have been in disarray ever since the Israel Folau saga started in 2019, while the latter have lack a bit of consistency for my liking and have lost their two playmaking big guns with Quade Cooper and Will Genia leaving at the close of last year.

The 'Tahs were in horrendous form during the 2020 Super Rugby season losing five of their opening six games with their sole victory being a 29-17 win over the Lions who were having a nightmare tour of Australasia.

The Rebels fared far better than their counterparts winning three of their six games. They were in pretty good nick before the tournament ended and had registered wins over the Highlanders and Lions in the two weeks prior to the close of the season.

Verdict: Brumbies
I think the men from Canberra are a cut above this year. The Reds will give them a run and the Force may well be surprise contenders but my money is firmly in the Brumbies camp.

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