Darry Worthington takes a look at the two Round 2 Super Rugby AU games which are taking place on Friday the 10th of July and Saturday the 11th.
Image copyright – Steve Haag Sports
There are two Super Rugby AU fixtures coming up this weekend with Friday’s opener seeing the Rebels tackle the Reds and Saturday’s fixture seeing the Force make their return to Super Rugby against the Waratahs.
Rebels v Reds
Friday 10 July
New South Wales (*Venue TBC)
To Win (80 Mins)
The Rebels got their campaign underway with a gutsy 31-23 defeat to tournament favourites, the Brumbies. The men from Melbourne trailed their counterparts from Canberra 19-6 at the half-time break but came back into the game and ended up winning the second half 17-12. That solid second-half showing was not enough to overturn the deficit though and they would walk away from the game with nothing to show for their endeavours having missed out on a losing bonus as they went down 31-23.
The Reds enjoyed a far more positive start to their domestic Super Rugby campaign as they registered a 36-26 victory over the Waratahs. It wasn’t smooth sailing during their fixture, however, as they let a solid half-time lead slip and then had to fight their way back into the game. They will need to be far more clinical on defence this week if they are to beat a Rebels side that is loaded with attacking backline talent.
This should be a cracker of a game and I’m expecting a big scoreline. I think the Reds setpiece is slightly better than that of their opponents which is why I reckon they’ll edge this one.
Waratahs v Western Force
Saturday 11 July
To Win (80 Mins)
We’ve got a rather big game up next with the Western Force making their return to Super Rugby. The Perth-based franchise was left out in the wilderness back in 2017 when they were cut from Super Rugby. Since then they’ve been plying their trade-in the Global Rapid Rugby competition – the brainchild of their owner Andrew Forrest – and Australia’s domestic league the National Ruby Championship. The Force – and pardon the poor pun – have been the Force in Global Rapid Rugby winning last year’s edition of the tournament without losing a game. They have also given a decent account of themselves in the NRC winning last year’s tournament.
The Waratahs played their first game of the season last weekend going down 32-26 to the Reds. They actually gave a better account of themselves than I had expected and showed some great fighting spirit. The Force are also likely to be less potent on attack than the Reds.
Verdict: Waratahs (-)
The Force haven’t really had the opportunity to test themselves against Super Rugby quality opposition which is why I think they may struggle over the first two rounds. As such, I reckon the ‘Tahs may put a big score over them this weekend. Expect the Force to bounce back from the defeat the following week, however.