The hosts head into this one as heavy favourites with the books but will need to be wary of a Western Force side looking to cap off a fairytale season by making it to May 8th's Grand Final.
Brumbies v Western Force
Saturday 1 May
To Win (80 Mins)
Western Force 5/1
As noted above, the hosts and reigning champions come into this one as hot favourites with the bookmakers and while they have been nowhere near as dominant as they were in the inaugural Super Rugby AU season, they are still a very good side.
The Brumbies only two defeats during eth round-robin phase of this season’s tournament have come at the hands of the Queensland Reds. They had no issues beating the Force, however, racking up a 42-14 win in March and an 11-27 victory in February.
They have been slightly hit and miss in recent weeks scraping past tournament whipping boys the Waratahs by just two points three weeks ago and then following that up with a 24-22 defeat at the hands of the Reds. They were also rather uninspiring in their last fixture as they limped to a six-point victory over the Rebels.
In terms of team news, the Brumbies welcome back Wallabies James Slipper and Nic White to the run-on side. Pete Samu, Irae Simone and Luke Reimer also make the matchday squad at the expense of Will Miller, James Tucker and Bayley Kuenzle.
Regardless of this weekend’s result, the Force will be pretty pleased with their efforts this season having made the play-offs having only returned from the rugby wilderness last year.
The visitors for this weekend haven’t exactly shot the lights out this season and have only managed to register four wins from their eight games. The most impressive of these victories came this past weekend where they edged the log-leading Queensland Reds 30-27 in Perth.
They have actually been on a decent enough run prior to last weekend beating both the Waratahs and the Rebels by one point in two gruelling affairs. They’ll take a lot of confidence from the manner in which they held onto small leads during the final salvos of these recent fixtures.
Team news-wise, Tevita Kuridrani’s three-week suspension has necessitated a shuffle in the Force’s backline. Jake Strachan starts at 15 with Rob Kearney still out with injury. His inclusion sees Jack McGregor drop to the bench with Richard Kahui filling the spot left by Kuridrani. Fergus Lee-Warner and Santiago Medrano are back in the starting XV with Tim Antsee and Greg Holmes on the bench.
Verdict: Brumbies (-)
I really hope the Force make a game of I but I do feel they will struggle against this solid Brumbies side. My money is on the hosts winning it at a canter.