After the Force v Rebels Week 4 moves on to the Game of the Round. Which is the moment we have been waiting for. And also everyone can see it via Free to Air on 9Gem. It is the Grand Final rematch from last year. Brumbies v Queensland Reds.
Brumbies did win two games to one v Reds last year. It was the first meeting at home in Canberra. Where the home side just edged the Reds by two points, 22-20 in Round 5. In the 2nd fixture Brumbies chose to focused heavily on the final.
After the Brumbies ended up on top that guaranteed a Grand Final berth. So they fielded a weakened side. And lost to the Reds in Brisbane 26-7. But faced each other for the third time. When the Reds won v Rebels in the Playoff final at home 25-13. Before the Brumbies bounced back in the final at home 28-23 that cliched the title. As they are the reigning champions.
One of them will have to lose this Saturday night. While the winning side will still get to keep top spot. And try to hold it until the end of the round 10. When the 1st place team will straight go to the final.
Tom Ross replaces the suspended Allan Alaalatoa at tighthead prop. Where he joins Scott Sio on the other dial. As Folau Faingaa retains as hooker/main throw-in.
Darcy Swain & Caderyn Neville retains in the second row. So does Rob Valentini at blindside flanker. But Valentini is joined by Tom Cusack who will be captain in this game. With Jahrome Brown demoted to the bench. As Pete Samu rounds off the Brumbies forward line at Number 8.
Nic White starts at fly-half alongside Noah Lolesio in No.10. Mack Hansen & Andy Muirhead on the wings. Irae Simone & Len Ikitau in the centres. And Tom Banks completes their starting XV.
Lachlan Longeran behind Faingaa as the reserve hooker. Harry Lloyd & Archer Holz in the props. Nick Frost as backup for Swain & Neville. Jahrome Brown in the loose forward role. Ryan Longeran as half-back. Reejan Pasitoa in 2nd fly-half behind Noah Lolesio. And Issak Fines as utility back to cap off the Brumbies bench.
Dane Zander & Taniela Tupou starts in their loosehead & tighthead props. With Alex Mafi retained as the starting hooker.
Angus Blyth will be welcomed back by the return of Lukhan Salakaia-Loto. Where both of them will support his own front three at lock. Angus Scott-Young & Fraser McWright at blindside & openside flanker respectively. And Harry Wilson completes the Reds forward unit at Number Eight.
Tate McDermott starts at half-back with James O’Connor in 1st five-eighth. Filipo Daugunu on the left wing joined by Suliasi Vunivalu in his other flank. Hunter Paisami & Jordan Petaia playing centrally. As Jock Campbell rounds off the Reds starting XV.
Brandon Paenga-Amosa just returned from injury. But with Alex Mafi in-form during Week 2 v Melbourne Rebels at home. He will have to wait until at least 20-30 mins in the 2nd 40. Plenty of competition at the hooker department.
Harry Hoopert & Zane Nonggorr as the props. Ryan Smith at lock. Seru Uru who started at lock in the first two games. Now he returns to the bench as flanker. Moses Sorovi in the reserve half-back role. Bryce Hegarty at 1st five-eighth. And Josh Flook waiting in the wings as utility back.
This is a must see game for best of the best Australian Super Rugby sides. With the Brumbies & Reds so far undefeated.
Brumbies have a great attacking setup who can finish so destructively. Whenever they get the chance like in Round 2 v the Waratahs. Not so much last week despite some lost penalties. Which almost saw them lose to the Rebels. But Ryan Longeran saved them with the long-range penalty goal. If they can cut the ill-discipline then the Brumbies will flourish on all areas. Left, right and centre.
While the Reds also possess the same strengths as the Brumbies. They too also knocked down the Tahs so easily at home in Week 1. But again they will need to cut the discipline. If they are to defend well & support their backline. Where they made plenty of mistakes for the majority. That almost saw a big upset also by the Rebels. But Matt Toomua missed a penalty goal on the far left. And the Reds was lucky to finish that game unscathed.
Again very difficult but exciting to see what both sides have to offer. In terms of defense and attacking football. But I will have to go with the Brumbies. And they will beat the Reds at home by four points.