After a pair of Super Rugby AU blowouts last weekend, Round 4 promises to serve up some much tighter encounters. The Rebels are looking for back-to-back wins as they take on the Force, while the Brumbies and Reds and both defending unbeaten records.
History: Played 12: Rebels 8 V Force 4
Last meeting: July 7, 2017: Force 31 d Rebels 22 at nib Stadium
Final Thoughts: Western Force are still searching for their first Super Rugby AU win. After plucky losses to the Waratahs (23-14) and Reds (31-24), the Force were put to the sword by the Brumbies in a 24-0 loss last Saturday.
Melbourne Rebels’ Super Rugby AU form has been an improvement on their sluggish early-2020 showings. They were competitive in a 31-23 defeat to the Brumbies in Round 1, drew 18-all with the Reds in Brisbane a week later and came out of the bye with a resounding 29-10 victory over the Waratahs in Round 4. Matt To’omua’s 19-point haul with the boot proved decisive in the two-tries-to-one result.
The Rebels boast a strong 8-4 record against the Force, but the Perth outfit won their last encounter late in their 2017 farewell campaign.
Despite the scoreline, the Force were gallant against the Brumbies. They are 2-1 against the line since coming back into the Super Rugby fold and are the value option with a big start.
19:15 (AEST), Sat 1st Aug @ GIO Stadium, Canberra
History: Played 34: Brumbies 25 V Reds 8 (1 Draw)
Last meeting: January 31, 2020: Brumbies 27 d Reds 24 at GIO Stadium
Final Thoughts: Following a nervy 24-23 eclipse of the Waratahs in Round 3, the unbeaten Brumbies reaffirmed their status as Australia’s dominant franchise with a 24-0 shutout of the Force last weekend. Winger Tom Wright was the star for the Super Rugby AU favourites, scoring a try and featuring in the next two.
The improving Reds are also yet to taste defeat in Super Rugby AU. They bookended a Round 2 draw against the Rebels with wins over the Waratahs (32-26) and Force (31-24) before enjoying the bye last week. But this will be the true gauge of where Brad Thorn’s young line-up is at.
The Brumbies are 14-3 at home against the Reds since 1996. The Reds fell just short 27-24 in Canberra in Round 1 of the 2020 Super Rugby competition. The Brumbies carved out a 40-27 final-round win at home last year to avenge a 22-point earlier in the season at Suncorp Stadium.
The Brumbies have won 11 of their last 12 at GIO Stadium and should grind the Reds out of the contest if they can replicate last week’s defensive effort.