Round 4 of Super Rugby AU is upon us and the matches this week see the Western Force hosting the Rebels in Perth and the Brumbies taking on the Reds in Canberra.
Here is a look at the two games in Round 3:
Western Force vs Rebels
Friday, March 12 – HBF Park, Perth
We called it here as the Western Force picked up their first Super Rugby win since 2017 last weekend when they downed the struggling Waratahs. While the Force will not get carried away with that single victory – they are looking to build something lasting in Perth – they will get to play at home this week against a Rebels side that is seemingly their next best chance for a win this season.
These two had a pair of classics last season – the Force lost both games with a 25-20 defeat in extra time and a 34-30 loss with a last-minute Cabous Eloff trey proving the difference-maker. Given the contentious circumstances that saw the Force axed – and the Rebels surviving – when Rugby AU had to remove a team in 2017, well there isn’t much love lost here.
The Rebels have lost by a combined five points to the two best teams in the comp and they will be looking for a change of fortune on the West Coast. This should be a cracking game with the fired-up Force looking to use all the momentum picked up last week for another scalp. I think the Rebels will have enough here, however, so take the visitors at 0.65 with BetXChange to pick up their first win of 2021.
ACT Brumbies vs. Reds
Saturday, March 13 – GIO Stadium, Canberra
This one already feels like a Finals preview as the Brumbies and Reds have asserted themselves as the class of the comp after three rounds of play – albeit with the Brumbies topping the log after one of the craziest penalty goals you will ever see after the siren had sounded last time out against the Rebels.
This will be an interesting matchup as the Reds – with their youthful and daring backline featuring stars like Tate McDermott and Filip Daugunu – should test the Canberrra franchise more than they have been all season. The biggest news for the Reds will be the starting debut of big-money signing – and rugby league convert – Suliasi Vunivalu on the right wing. He is in for Hamish Stewart, with Jordan Petaia and Hunter Paisami forming a deadly looking duo in mindfield.
THe Brumbies will be without skipper Allan Alaalatoa as he misses his first of three games through suspension. He will be replaced as the man making the decisions by flanker Tom Cusack as he enteres the starting XV ahead of Jahrome Brown. Tom Ross is the replacement for Alaalatoa and he will look to do a solid job filling in for the Wallaby international.
The Brumbies are the favorites here as the betting likes their pragmatic and well-disciplined approach against the Reds. This Queensland team, however, is a different beast and I feel like their attacking intent in the backline will be the difference in an upset win.