The Super Rugby AU Grand Final is set to take place on Saturday as the Reds host the Brumbies in a battle of the two dominant teams in the 2021 version of Super Rugby AU.
Reds vs. Brumbies
Saturday, May 8 – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
This is a repeat of the Grand Final from last year, a match that the Brumbies won to be crowned the first winners of the Super Rugby AU tournament. This year, however, the Reds are the favorites coming in, especially as they swept the Brumbies in their two meetings during the regular season.
The Reds had the week off – and they are undefeated at Suncorp in two seasons of Super Rugby AU – so it is easy to see why they are the favorites here. The Brumbies dispatched the Western Force in pretty clean fashion – the final score was 21-9 to the home side in Canberra – a week ago, and they will be hoping that they are able to counter the fact that the Reds are rested by being more switched on by not missing a week of game time.
The biggest piece of team news for the Reds is that regular captain Liam Wright has been dropped to the bench with James O’Connor leading the side out in the Grand Final. Wright was injured for most of the campaign, but he made his return to the team two weeks ago against the Western Force and was expected to be full-go here. Wright, instead, will have to be content with coming on in a role as a difference-maker in the second half and he is part of a dynamic-looking bench that includes the likes of Seru Uru, Filipo Daugunu, and Alex Mafi. Suliasi Vunivalu misses out as he recovers from a hamstring problem.
The Brumbies will have to be more precise in the set-piece than they were against the Force last week. Some of the lack of sharpness can be put down to the dewy conditions, but the regularity with which lineout targets were missed in the first half has to be something of a concern. A couple of big injuries will hurt the Brumbies with Wallabies Pete Samu and James Slipper both missing out on the showpiece event. Lachlan Lonergan gets the nod at hooker ahead of Folau Fainga’a, while the team could give a debut to the recently signed Henry Stowers off of the bench after he was recently singed as injury cover in the back-row.
The is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated match in the brief history of Super Rugby AU. The Queensland population has completely bought into the significance of the contest and the Reds are expecting in excess of 40,000 fans to pack into Suncorp on Saturday to give them a massive edge with a roaring crowd behind them. It is hard to look past the Reds in this one – their bench depth is outstanding and in a 23 man game that is hugely important – and I like them to pull away late and cover the -5.5 spread at 0.90 with BetXChange.