Round 5 of Super Rugby AU is upon us and the matches this week see the Rebels hosting the Waratahs in Melbourne and the Reds taking on the Western Force in Brisbane.
Here is a look at the two games in Round 5:
Rebels vs. Waratahs
Friday, March 19 – AAMI Park, Melbourne
The boost that the Rebels will get from playing their first game in the friendly confines of AAMI Park in over a year is something that has to be taken seriously here. That they will be running out against a ‘Tahs team that has been a disaster in the competition so far means that the fans in Melbourne will be expecting a win.
The Rebels beat the Western Force – barely – last time out and they have made minimal changes to that side. Ross Haylett-Petty will have to sit out through suspension, but there is some meat added to the bench in the form of Rob Leota, Matt Gibbon, and Jordan Uelese, all of whom return from injury here.
The young Waratahs are coming off of a much-needed bye where they will have hopefully managed to work on the issues that have blighted their season thus far. They make even fewer changes than the Rebels in the run-on XV, with props Tetera Faulkner and Harry Johnson-Holmes switching places as the only difference on the teamsheet from their Round 3 defeat. ‘Tahs fans will be excited to see Sam Wykes on the bench awaiting his debut after recovering from injury.
The Rebels will win this game as the Waratahs just don’t have the ability to compete at this level right now. The 12.5 points is a big number though, so look for the ‘Tahs to cover at 0.90 with BetXChange.
Reds vs. Western Force
Saturday, March 20 – Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
The Reds are the form team in the competition and they showed that in their outstanding come from behind win against the Brumbie in Canberra last time out to improve to three wins from three this season. The Western Force had enough about them to beat the Rebels last weekend, but they fell to one win and two defeats on the season when the full time siren went.
The impressive Filipo Daugunu will miss this one for personal reasons and he will be replaced on the wing by exciting youngster Ilaisa Droasese. There is also likely to be a debut for young scrum-half Kalani Thomas after he has been named on the bench here.
There are three changes to the Force’s starting lineup as Greg Holes, Henry Taefu, and Sitaleki Timani are all named in the starting XV for the match in Brisbane. Tim Ainslee returns to the bench while Toni Pulu misses out thanks to a knock he took last time out.
The Force have been playing well but this Reds side can score points on a level they will not be able to match. The line is set at 14.5 – and it is a big number – but the Reds will find a way to cover it with a couple of late scores adding gloss to the result.