Round 10 of Super Rugby AU is upon us and the matches this week see the Western Force hosting the Reds in Perth and the Waratahs taking on the Rebels in Sydney.
Here is a look at the two games in Round 10:
Western Force vs. Reds
Friday, April 23 – HBF Park, Perth
The Western Force know that their fate is in their own hands as they face the high-flying Reds in Perth on Friday night. A win would secure a finals berth for a team not even expected to be in the chase, while a defeat would leave the Force needing the Waratahs to upset the Rebels on Saturday to sneak into the third Finals spot by the backdoor.
The Force are hoping that international fullback Rob Kearney will be back for this one having not played since the reverse fixture with the Reds on March 20. The Ireland great injured his groin in that match and his experience would be a huge boost here. His impact would be even more important if former All Blacks lock Jeremy Thrush is unable to be cleared after rolling his ankle in the win against the ‘Tahs.
The Reds realistically have nothing to play for here – they have already locked up top spot on the log and a home Grand Final – but the undefeated Queenslanders will be looking to keep their momentum going with another win. The Reds have named a strong side – the likes of Hunter Paisami and Filipo Daugunu are in the starting lineup – but the most interesting inclusion will be skipper Liam Wright playing his first game of the season after recovering from injury.
Waratahs vs. Rebels
Saturday, April 24 – Bankwest Stadium, Parramatta
This could be a must-win for the Rebels depending on the result from Friday night, but the ‘Tahs are approaching this as a must-win of their own to avoid a slew of unwanted records. That task will be made harder – even with their recent improvement – as skipper Dane Haylett-Petty will yet again be missing because of his long-standing concussion issues. The ‘Tahs almost pipped the Force last weekend and they will take plenty of positives from that clash into this one.
The Rebels have the talent to have wrapped up a finals spot already, but they are a team far too guilty of making big errors at the most inopportune times. That occurred again last time out as they slipped to a six-point defeat at the hands of a Brumbies squad way down on troops. Matt To’omua and company will have to perform at a higher level here if they are to finish this season with a date in the Finals.
I don’t know if I can back the ‘Tahs to upset the Rebels and win – though it actually wouldn’t be too much of a shock at this point – but I do like them to cover the +6.5 spread at 0.90 with BetXChange.