The Reds and Waratahs are both aiming to back up last weekend’s commanding wins heading into their respective Super Rugby AU Round 8 assignments.
History: Played 17: Reds 8 V Force 8 (1 Draw)
Last meeting: July 17, 2020: Reds 31 d Force 24 at Suncorp Stadium
Final Thoughts: Western Force are still searching for their maiden Super Rugby AU win, going 0-5 so far. After getting out to an early lead against the in-form Waratahs last Friday, they were overwhelmed 28-8. As expected, attacking strike has been an Achilles heel – the Force have scored just eight tries in five games.
The second-placed Reds regrouped from a shocking 45-12 loss to the Waratahs in Round 6 by subduing the Rebels 19-3 in an upset. Hamish Stewart’s late try netted a valuable bonus point. Brad Thorn will be looking for similar defensive steel for the remainder of the campaign.
The Reds outlasted the Force 31-24 in Round 3, with James O’Connor’s boot proving the difference after the teams scored four tries apiece.
The Force are a gritty outfit but lack top-shelf class and have made a habit of fading out late. Be wary of the sizeable 80-minute line but expect the Reds to stride away in the second half.
19:15 (AEST), Sat 22nd Aug @ GIO Stadium, Canberra
History: Played 36: Waratahs 18 V Brumbies 18
Last meeting: July 18, 2020: Brumbies 24 d Waratahs 23 at ANZ Stadium
Final Thoughts: The Brumbies hold a two-point lead at the top of the Super Rugby AU ladder and have a game in hand. But a continuation of the third-placed Waratahs’ resurgence could shake up the semi-final picture.
The 3-3 Waratahs have swamped the Reds (45-12) and Force (28-8) in the past fortnight. Jake Gordon scored a hat-trick in both games, while Jack Maddocks and Alex Newsome dotted down in both wins.
The 4-1 Brumbies had the Round 7 bye to ponder their 30-12 defeat at the hands of the Rebels. The competition front-runners apparently failed to heed the warning signs from their last-gasp win over the Reds a week earlier.
The Brumbies got out of jail against the Waratahs in Round 3, with Issak Fines’ 77th-minute try snatching a 24-23 result. It was the Brumbies’ fifth straight win on the ’Tahs, having also racked up a 47-14 victory in Canberra in March.
Things are finally clicking for the Waratahs and there’s big value in the visitors here with a sizeable start.