The Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels will go head to head in the Super Rugby AU play-off on Saturday the 12th of September.
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The inaugural Super Rugby AU season is fast approaching boiling point with this weekend seeing the Reds and Rebels squaring off to see who will advance to next weekend’s final against the Brumbies.
Brad Thorn’s Reds are installed as strong favourites with the bookmakers but will be wary of a Rebels side that is more than capable of causing an upset.
Queensland Reds v Melbourne Rebels
To Win (80 Mins)
The Reds will be desperate to win this one. It has been just shy of a decade since the Queensland franchise won their last piece of Super Rugby silverware; the 2011 Super Rugby title. A lot has changed since then for the Queenslanders who had become perennial Super Rugby whipping boys until Brad Thorn took the reigns of the side back in 2017.
While it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for the Reds since Thorn took over, the former All Black is finally starting to see fruits from his labour with his side playing some great rugby this term and finishing second on the regular season log with five wins and a draw from their eight games.
One of the aforementioned victories came last weekend where the Reds put in stellar showing beating the Brumbies – whom they’ll meet in the final should they beat the Rebels this weekend – 26-7.
While the Reds tore apart the Brumbies last weekend the Rebels just managed to sneak into the play-off with a narrow 34-30 victory over the Force. The Rebels, who needed to beat the Force by four points or more to advance to this weekend’s play-off, looked dead and buried with a couple minutes remaining but a late Cobus Eloff try and conversion from Matt Toomua ensured they’d live to fight another day.
The Rebels were rather hit and miss during the round-robin phase of the tournament only four of their eight fixtures. They managed to draw one of their games against the Reds before winning in extra time while they went down 19-3 in the other round-robin phase fixture.
Verdict: Reds (-)
The Reds are a far better side than the Rebels and I think they’re set up to dominate play-offs rugby. My money is on Brad Thorn’s men registering a solid victory and advancing to the final.