Queensland Reds travel to Perth ahead of their meeting this Friday. Where they will face Western Force at HBF Park. This side so far remains undefeated. Having cemented 1st on the 2021 ladder. As well as hosting rights of the upcoming Final.
While Western Force came off a close win v Waratahs last week. They may have almost lost the game. But a throw-in during the 80th minute gave them a reprieve. Before the penalty goal was enough to keep their Finals hopes alive.
Reds have won the previous meeting back in Week 5 at home. And the last three games against them. But their last game in Perth was a loss though. That was during Week 2 on Thursday March 2 2017.
Greg Holmes replaces Santiago Medrano at tighthead prop. Where he joins Tom Robertson in the loosehead role. Feleti Kaitu’u remains at hooker. So does Jeremy Thrush & Sitaleki Timani behind them. Tim Anstee & Kane Kotecka both on the respective blindside & openside. Before Brynard Stander rounds off at Number 8.
Tomas Cubelli & Domingo Miotti make up at 9 & 10 for the Argentine duo. Jordan Olowofela & Toni Pulu on the wings. Kyle Godwin & Tevita Kuridrani slots in the midfield. Before Rob Kearney returns from injury and regains his spot at full-back.
Andrew Ready behind Kaitu’u at reserve hooker. Angus Wagner & Santiago Medrano in the props. Ryan McCauley for Thrush/Timani. Fergus Lee-Warner as backup loose forward. Same goes to Ian Prior at half-back. As Richard Kahui & Jack McGregor caps off the utility backs.
Feao Fotuaika & Taniela Tupou in the props. Brandon Paenga-Amosa as the main throw-in at hooker. Angus Scott-Young replaces Ryan Smith in the second row. Where he joins Lukhan Salakaia-Loto on his other dial. Liam Wright replaces Scott-Young in the blindside. As Fraser McWright stays on the openside. And Harry Wilson retains at Number Eight.
Tate McDermott at half-back. While James O’Connor may not have the skipper armband. Thanks to the return of Wright. But remains at fly-half. Filipo Daugunu & Jordan Petaia both on the wings. Hamish Stewart & Hunter Paisami in the midfield. And Bryce Hegarty at 15.
Alex Mafi as backup hooker behind Paenga-Amosa. Richie Asiata & Zane Nongorr in the props. Ryan Smith back on the bench at lock. Seru Uru as loose forward. Kalani Thomas behind McDermott. With Josh Flook & IIaisa Droasese make up the reserve backline.
Western Force wants to win this match up v Reds. It will not be an easy task. Having just overcome the Waratahs last week by a single point. They know how to get the ball rolling. Especially when they held the top spot during the first 40. But needs to watch their discipline. As well as the attacking setup where it went lopsided at times. These are the ingredients if Force are to beat the Reds. And guarantee a Playoff Final spot v Brumbies next week.
Reds are in a comfortable headspace at the minute. They have secured 1st in the 2021 Super Rugby AU ladder. As well as the hosting rights of the Grand Final in Brisbane. One thing Reds has to work on is the slow starts. They were 9 points behind in the first 40. But can make up lost time later on. And it is something they can address ahead of the big game on May 8. If they can win comfortably tomorrow v Force. Then Reds should know which way now to try and win that trophy.
I am tipping the Reds to win v Force by 21 points.