Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: Super Rugby AU: Round 1 Preview

Super Rugby AU: Round 1 Preview

The Super Rugby AU season will get underway this coming weekend. Darry Worthington previews the two Round 1 fixtures, below.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports 

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

Australia's Super Rugby tournament will get underway with two rather intriguing matches as last year's tournament runners-up, the Queensland Reds, play host to a Waratahs side that will be eager to improve on last season's rather lackluster showing, while the second serving of the weekend sees a heavily strengthened Western Force side tackle reigning champions, the Brumbies. 

Reds v Waratahs
Friday 19 February
Suncorp Stadium

To Win (80 Mins)
Reds -  3/10
Draw - 25/1
Waratahs - 22/10

Reds (-8.5) 9/10
Waratahs (+8.5) 9/10

We're in for a cracker first up with the Queensland Reds taking on the New South Wales The Reds were the far superior team in 2020 finishing the round-robin phase and the tournament as runners-up while the Tahs were knocked out in the round-robin phase as they could only muster a fourth-place finish.  

Last season's two meetings between the sides went the way of whichever teams were hosting the fixture with the Reds winning 32-26 at the Suncorp and the Waratahs avenging that defeat by beating their opponents 45-12 in New South Wales. 

The two sides have already met this year playing a warm-up fixture on the 5th of February. The game went the way of the 'Tahs who ran out 45-33 victors. 

In terms of team news, the Reds will be without their big-name signing Suliasi Vunivalu, who has been suspended due to an incident at a bar. The Reds will also be without captain Liam Wright after he suffered an ankle injury during the aforementioned pre-season game. 

The Waratahs seem to have no fresh injury news but will be without long-standing skipper and talisman, Michael Hooper, who is plying his trade in Japan. 

Verdict: Reds
The Reds really impressed me last year and I reckon they'll be even better this time around. My money is on them getting the job done and clearing the 'cap against a 'Tahs side that is just starting a massive rebuild. 

Western Force v Brumbies
Friday 19 February
HBF Park

To Win (80 Mins)
Force - 17/10
Draw - 22/1
Brumbies - 9/20

Force (+ 5.5) 9/10
Brumbies (-5.5) 9/10

We close out the opening round with what is seemingly a 'David versus Golliath' affair between last season's cellar-dwellers and tournament victors. 

The Force failed to win a game during their first season back in Super Rugby and finished the inaugural Super Rugby AU season with only three points to their names. They did manage to give a good account of themselves on a couple of occasions, however, losing by just seven points to the Reds and four points to the Rebels in one of the two-legged ties they played against the aforementioned sides. 

The Brumbies had a much better time of it last term winning six of their eight round-robin fixtures before beating the Reds 28-23 in the Grand Final. 

In terms of off-season recruitment, the Force have made some stellar signings bring in former star and USA international, Marcel Brachie, as well as a number of Argentine internationals including diminutive half-back Tomas Cubeli. 

The Brumbies. on the other hand, have promoted from within moving a handful of youth players into the senior squad. 

These two sides also played each other in a warm-up fixture this past weekend with the Brumbies edging the game 28-26 courtesy of a late penalty. 

Verdict: Force (+)
I reckon the Force will be a real threat this year and they have strengthened their squad significantly. I can see them giving the Brumbies a real run for their money here and while my main play will be on the Force staying within the handicap, I will also be having a cheeky punt on them bagging a win. 

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

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