Round 7 of Super Rugby AU is upon us and the matches this week see the Waratahs hosting the Brumbies in Sydney and the Rebels taking on the Reds in Melbourne.
Here is a look at the two games in Round 7:
Waratahs vs. Brumbies
Friday, April 2 – Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
To say that Waratahs have struggled in Super Rugby AU this season is something of an understatement. They were smashed 46-14 by the Queensland Reds last time out and that makes five defeats in a row for this usually proud franchise. The Brumbies have lost once this season – to the Reds – and they rebounded from that with a win over the Western Force last weekend.
The score was 61-10 in ROund 2 to the Brumbies and the Waratahs are trying to bounce back from this in the wake of the sacking of coach Rob Penney. Penney was given a tragic hand to deal with – the work of their board and penny pinching around the salary cap being two major issues – but at least skipper Jake Gorden will be back for the contest. Another change sees the swapping of centers, with Lalakai Roketi at 12 and Izaia Perese at 13.
The Brumbies will welcome the return of star winger Tom Wright who will be making his first Super Rugby AU appearance of the season. Tom Cusack also returns from a shoulder problem for a side that should have no issues covering the 20.5 point spread with BetXChange at 0.90. They simply have too much firepower for the ‘Tahs.
Rebels vs. Reds
Saturday, April 3 – AAMI Park, Melbourne
A much closer game should be expected between the Rebels and the Reds at AAMI Park. The Reds have won five from five and look like the best side in the comp, while the Rebels – with their two wins and two defeats – have shown enough to suggest that an upset of either the Reds or the Brumbies this season shouldn’t be counted out.
The Reds will be down one of their major weapons as winger Suliasi Vunivalu – a player that knows his way around AAMI Park after his NRL time there with the Storm – is set to miss this contest with a hamstring injury. Expect to see James O’Connor try to control the tempo of the game from 10 for the Reds, with the energetic Joe Powell – a player that has given the Rebels a focal point this season – doing the same at No. 9 for the hosts.
The physical battle will be as important as ever here. The Rebels are a big team and they like to play the game at an intensity similar to that of a Test match. The Reds will need to counter that power with a platform of their own if they are going to find a way to win on the road.
The Rebels thought they had done enough to win the reverse fixture before Matt To’omua missed a penalty with time expired that would have clinched the victory. I actually think that the Reds will be more impressive in victory this time around and I like them -3.5 points at 0.95 with BetXChange to once again beat the Rebels this season.