Super Rugby AU - Predictions and Teams, Round Six
VENGEANCE: Waratahs scrumhalf Jake Gordon says NSW wants vengeance for their round one loss to the Reds.
Waratahs and Reds face each other on Saturday at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
NSW’s stranglehold over the Reds ended at a run of 11 games when they conceded a 26-32 loss to Queensland in Brisbane in their opening Super Rugby AU match.
That matchup was a fiery one, a tone that was set early by Waratahs backrower Lachie Swinton, and something that the then-injured Gordon felt even as a spectator.
Swinton has been arming up for this game, practising his tackles on pillowcases at home according to Gordon.
“It’s not a great relationship between the Waratahs and the Reds and this week we’ve really ramped up the contact,” Gordon told Rugbycomau.
“I definitely think after that first game, the fire’s in the belly,” he said.
“We’ve seen at training this week the boys are really ready to go and excited to put on a really good performance.
“There was a lot of feeling in that game. They’d lost 10 in a row so I guess it was time they got their win under the belt but for us we probably, after reviewing that game, was probably a little bit of heat in that game and we’re looking to bring in this match definitely this time we play them.”
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The other Super Rugby AU encounter sees Melbourne Rebels clash with teh Brymbeis at Leichhardt Oval on Friday.
The Brumbies have made two changes to their starting side, with flanker Tom Cusack and winger Andy Muirhead coming in for Will Miller and Tom Wright.
Coach Dan McKellar said they’d opted to rotate some players in the 23 following their after-the-siren win over Queensland.
“It’s great to be able to call on the experience of Tom and Andy and have them slot back into the starting side this week,” McKellar said.
“We’ve got depth and plenty of confidence across the whole squad and to be able to rotate a few bodies after a really physical game against the Reds last week is a positive for us. ”
Currently third, the Rebels are looking to inflict the Brumbies’ first loss of the season and start to lock down a finals berth.
“We want to start building some momentum as we did at the start of the year when we had a bit of a slow start and started to build into it,” Dave Wessels said.
“This game is important for that – the Brumbies are a team we like playing against and we’ve had a fair amount of success against – so this is an opportunity to try to start to play with some intensity.”
This week’s predictions
Friday, August 7
Melbourne Rebels v Brumbies
(Leichhardt Oval, Sydney – Kick-off: 19.05; 09.05 GMT)
The Brumbies have won their last two Super Rugby games against the Rebels, including a 31-23 win in the opening round of Super Rugby AU; the last and only time they won more successive games against the Rebels was a five-game streak from 2011 to 2013.
The Rebels have won four of their last six Super Rugby games (D1, L1), including their last two on the bounce; the last time they won more in succession was a three-game run to open the 2019 campaign.
The Brumbies have won their last seven Super Rugby games on the bounce; the last time they won more was an eight-game stretch across the 2004 and 2005 campaigns and they’ve never won more than nine in succession in the competition.
The Brumbies have scored 13 tries on possession begun with a lineout win, the most of any team in the competition and more than twice as many as any other outfit via this
method (5–NSW Waratahs, Rebels, Reds).
Mackenzie Hansen (Brumbies) has beaten 17 defenders throughout Super Rugby AU – three more than any other player – including a career-high nine defenders beaten in his only previous game against the Rebels (Rd 1, Super Rugby AU).
@rugby365com: Rebels by five points
Rebels: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Campbell Magnay, 12 Matt Toomua (captain), 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Andrew Deegan, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Brad Wilkin, 6 Josh Kemeny, 5 Trevor Hosea, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Jordan Uelese, 1 Cameron Orr.
Replacements: 16 Efitusi Ma’afu, 17 Cabous Eloff, 18 Pone Fa’amaluli, 19 Michael Stolberg, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Rob Leota, 22 James Tuttle, 23 Billy Meakes.
Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Andy Muirhead, 10 Bayley Kuenzle, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Pete Samu, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Nick Frost, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Will Miller, 20 Ben Hyne, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Mack Hansen, 23 Len Ikitau.
Referee: Graham Cooper
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner & Reuben Keane
TMO: George Ayoub
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Saturday, August 8
Waratahs v Reds
(Syndey Cricket Ground, Sydney – Kick-off: 19.15; 09.15 GMT)
The Reds picked up a 32-26 win against the NSW Waratahs when they met in the opening round of Super Rugby AU, snapping an 11-game losing streak against them in the process.
Three of the NSW Waratahs’ last four home games in Super Rugby have been won by the team trailing at half-time on the day, with the Waratahs surrendering two half-time leads in this stretch.
The Reds are winless in their last nine Super Rugby away games (D1, L8); their last away win against an Australian
opponent came against the Rebels in Round 12, 2017.
The Reds have outscored their opponents by 20 points in the second halves of their games thus far in Super Rugby AU, more than any other team in the competition.
Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs) has attended 58 defensive rucks so far in Super Rugby AU, 15 more than any other player in the competition; although, Reds’ duo Fraser McReight (43) and Liam Wright (40) are ranked second and third respectively.
@rugby365com: Reds by 7 points
Waratahs: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 James Ramm, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jack Dempsey, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Lachie Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Tom Horton, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tuala, 17 Angus Bell, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Tom Staniforth/Jed Holloway, 20 Hugh Sinclair, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Joey Walton, 23 Ben Donaldson
Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Scott Malolua, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Dane Zander.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Jack Straker, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Josh Flook
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant Referees: Amy Perrett & Jordan Way
TMO: George Ayoub
Additional sources: AAP & Rugbycomau