Both Super Rugby AU matches last week featured shock blowout wins by underdogs. Can the Waratahs and Rebels maintain their winning momentum in Round 7?
History: Played 17: Waratahs 11 V Force 6
Last meeting: July 11, 2020: Waratahs 23 d Force 14 at Sydney Cricket Ground
Final Thoughts: A season of demoralising lows hit a rousing high point for the Waratahs in Round 6. Caned 29-10 by the Rebels prior to their bye, the underdog ’Tahs thrashed the Reds 45-12 at the SCG. Jake Gordon bagged a first-half hat-trick as the hosts powered to a 45-0 lead after 52 minutes.
The Force are still searching for their first Super Rugby AU, spending last weekend’s bye lamenting their golden point to the Rebels. The nomadic Force have showed ample spirit in their four games but are lacking that extra polish and X-factor.
The Waratahs came from 14 points down to grind out a 23-14 victory over the Force – who were making their first appearance – in Round 2. Eleven of the 17 Waratahs-Force encounters have been decided by 1-12 margins.
It finally clicked for the Waratahs last week and they should now be eyeing off a spot in the final. Three of the Force’s losses have been by nine points or less but they may find the going tough on the Gold Coast.
19:15 (AEST), Fri 15th Aug @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
History: Played 18: Reds 10 V Rebels 7 (1 Draw)
Last meeting: July 10, 2020: Reds 18 drew with Rebels 18 at Brookvale Oval
Final Thoughts: The Reds had lost just one of their four games heading into Round 6 – an after-the-siren defeat to the ladder-leading Brumbies a week earlier. But they are still dusting themselves off from a dismal 45-12 loss to the Waratahs in which they were held scoreless until midway through the second half.
The 3-1-1 Rebels, meanwhile, have surged into second after three straight wins. Life on the road seems to be agreeing with the Melbourne outfit, who bookended their golden point victory over the Force with emphatic wins over the Waratahs (29-10) and previously unbeaten Brumbies (30-12). Reece Hodge notched two first-half tries to set the Rebels on course for their Round 6 upset.
The Rebels are unbeaten in their last three against the Reds, having won both 2019 clashes – including an emphatic 32-13 result in Brisbane. The teams drew 18-all in Round 2 of Super Rugby AU, with Alex Mafi’s 79th-minute try snatching a share of the spoils for the Reds.
But the Rebels have impressive momentum at present and are mouth-watering value as underdogs given the Reds’ shabby showing last weekend.