Darry Worthington goes over the five biggest talking points to come out of Round 8 of Super Rugby AU 2020.
Photo Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Super Rugby AU is fast reaching its close with just two more rounds left until we move into the play-offs. Both the Brumbies and Reds secured spots in the next phase of the competition with big wins this past weekend. This leaves the Rebels and Waratahs to duke it out for the final
Waratahs Falter Against Brumbies
The Waratahs once again failed to live up to expectations this past weekend as they were hammered 38-11 by the Brumbies.
At the half-time break, the’ Tahs trailed their opponents by just a solitary point (11-12) and looked like they’d push their arch-rivals. It was not to be, however, as the Waratahs put in an atrocious second-half display that saw them offer nothing with ball-in-hand and slip a number of tackles.
The result has seen them drop to third spot on the log and they will need the Rebels to slip up in their final two games if they are to secure a play-off berth.
Brumbies Still the Team to Beat
The Brumbies big victory over the Waratahs was just the tonic the Canberra franchise who had gone down 30-12 to the Rebels in their previous outing.
While the Cantabs did struggle in the first half – they held a slender one-point lead over the Waratahs when the sides went into the sheds – they were a different force altogether in the second-half as they ran the Waratahs ragged.
Reds Bounce Back in Style
The Reds needed to make a big statement having gone down to the Waratahs two rounds ago and then having put in an apt but disappointing display against the Force a week ago. They responded from those two games in emphatic fashion as they ran in eight tries against a hapless Force outfit.
The results has seen them move six points clear of the third-placed Waratahs, who are unable to overtake them. And while the Reds could still end up in third-place on the log should the Rebels win their remaining two games and the Reds lose their final fixture to the Brumbies, the Queenslanders have already secured a knock-out berth.
O’Connor Continues to Shine
While I am seriously running the risk of turning this into something of a James O’Connor tribute column, I can’t help but highlight the Reds’ pivots performance again.
O’Connor played an absolute blinder for his side this past weekend and had a hand in the majority of the eight tries the Reds scored.
While the Wallaby will be delighted with his side’s performance, he will also be rather happy with a personal record he set as he became the first Super Rugby player to score 100 points or more for three different franchises.
One Play-Off Spot Remains
As touched upon earlier, there is going to be a mammoth battle to secure the final Super Rugby AU play-off berth.
The Brumbies and Reds are already guaranteed slots with the former likely to have secured top position on the ladder after their game with the Force this weekend. The Rebels and Waratahs are essentially duking it out for third-place, although the Rebels could usurp the Reds into second should they win their remaining two games against the Waratahs and Force. In fact, the Rebels could knock the Waratahs out of the ‘comp when the two sides meet this Saturday.
Make sure you get those bets on early and tune in to what is going to be a decisive week in the Super Rugby AU run to the play-offs.