The Super Rugby AU season is fast approaching its business end with only one round of round-robin phase action left until the playoffs.
Two of the three playoff berths have already been confirmed with the Reds securing top spot on the log and an automatic place in the final, while the Brumbies have claimed second place and will face either the Western Force of the Melbourne Rebels who are currently duking it out for third place and the final play-off position.
Force v Reds
Friday 23 April
To Win (80 Mins)
Force (+8.5) 9/10
Reds (-8.5) 9/10
The Force will be looking to cause a major upset this Friday by toppling the log-leaders in Perth. The hosts currently sit in third place and are two points clear of the Rebels, who are their only rivals for that final play-off berth.
The Reds don’t have much to play for here as they have already claimed first place on the log standings. Despite already making the final, they’re set to field a strong side as they’ll enjoy a bye next weekend when the play-offs take place.
In terms of recent results, the Force scraped to a rather shoddy win over the tournament whipping boys, the Waratahs, last weekend. They edged the game 31-30 with a late Diego Miotti penalty after the hooter securing a vital win.
While the Force were snatching a late victory, the Reds had the weekend off to recover from their brutal 24-22 Round 7 win over the Brumbies.
Verdict: Force (+8.5) 9/10
I reckon it’ll be a tight game but one the Reds will win. I expect the Force to need a favour from the Waratahs on Saturday if they are to make the play-off.
Waratahs v Rebels
Saturday 24 April
To Win (80 Mins)
Waratahs (+8.5) 9/10
Rebels (-8.5) 9/10
The Waratahs and Rebels will bring down the curtain on the Super Rugby AU round-robin phase. This game could turn out to be an absolute nail-biter with the Waratahs desperate to end their season with a win and the Rebels looking to book a play-off spot.
The hosts were a whisker away from breaking their duck last weekend as they went down by just one point to the Force. They have actually given a slightly better account of themselves in the latter parts of the tournament and went down by only two points to the Brumbies a fortnight ago.
The Rebels have endured a tougher time of it of late going down 15-16 to the Force and 20-26 to the Brumbies over the past two weeks.
When these two sides met back in Round 5, the Waratahs were absolutely smashed as the Rebels ran out 33-14 victors in Melbourne.
Verdict: Waratahs (+8.5) 9/10
I have a sneaky suspicion the Waratahs may actually win this one but I’ll be taking them on the plus as the extra points offer a bit of security.