SUPER RUGBY AU – Round Four Preview

Round Three was the best weekend of Australian Super Rugby in quite some time. Two quite exciting matches and we can only hope that the weeks we have following up will be just as good. To kick off round four the Waratahs return home to take on the Rebels and the Force host the Brumbies. The Reds will be sitting this round out on the bye. Lets see how the action will unfold….

WARATAHS vs REBELS – Sydney Cricket Ground

The longer Super Rugby AU goes on, the tougher this sort of match is becoming to pick. While the Rebels have been enjoying the bye last weekend, the Waratahs were out playing arguable their best match on the last few seasons

The Brumbies were expected to make short work of the Waratahs but they put in a performance that should give them plenty of confidence, but my big question is, can they do that two weeks in a row?!

The Waratahs are a side that struggle for consistency over eighty minutes, let alone week to week and if round four sees them back into the shell against the Rebels, this becomes easier to pick.

Weather conditions will be key and despite his lack of experience, if its wet, Will Harrison should have the game over Toomua. Its always been a question of not who is playing for the Waratahs, but if they will perform, nothing has changed there.

The Rebels had the week off but they couldn’t go home. Another week away and another week on the never ending road trip.

The last time we saw the Rebels was the abysmal draw against the Reds, the sooner we forget about that, the better. It was the best round of Super Rugby AU last weekend and the Rebels weren’t involved, coincidence? I think not.

The Rebels won’t want to see rain because they can’t play in it. They will be getting tired of hotels too. They have enough game breakers to cut the game open but they need a better guide at ten. To’omua is not the right option and this is the season to find new talent.

The Rebels will need a massive showing by the backrow. Josh Kemeny has been a great new name for them. If the Rebels are starved of possession, it could be a long night for them. Also watch tighthead prop Pone Fa’amasusili, hes been smashing defenders every week now and looks like another solid player.

RESULT: Waratahs by 3

FORCE vs BRUMBIES – Leichhardt Oval

This should be the ultimate test for the Western Force. They have pushed sides in their two games so far but haven’t shown the ability to close a game out. Maybe that chance will appear in the coming weeks.

For this round its gonna be tough, even if the Brumbies have been far from their best. The Force just need to play their own game above all else.

Play that territory kicking game and try force errors in the right areas. They have good finishers when the opportunity arises. They dearly missed Ian Prior last week and will be without him again for round four but instead have a fit and ready Nick Frisby to take control. A worthy replacement.

In another boost for the Force, Richard Kahui will enter the 23 for the first time since his recent signing and will wear the number 22. A real unknown as to what he will offer and has the possibility to make a difference in this backline.

The mid five if I can call them that will be key for the Force. The back row and the halves. Jono Lance has guided the team well and Brynard Stander has been the stand out.

Where do you start with the Brumbies?! So underwhelming yet they just keep winning. Great to get results but surely they are running out of get of jail free cards at this rate.

In a big blow, Noah Lolesio has been ruled out for the season after suffering an injury last weekend. The young depth will be tested.

If we see an on song Brumbies this could be a bit of a thumping but I don’t think they are there yet. The outside back have picked up though and like others have, should have some fun against the Force defence.

I don’t think he’s key, but the man ill be watch is Tavita Kurindrani. He has had an invisible season so far and needs a step up display. Whoever gets the nod at ten will be important for the Brumbies.

RESULT: Brumbies by 9

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!


SUPER RUGBY AU – Round Three Review

Going into the third round of Super Rugby AU, early predictions looked like this round should be plain sailing for rugby pickers but that was far from what we saw this weekend. The Western Force continued to show they will be competitive this season by pushing the Reds all the way home on our Friday night opener. Following that, on Saturday night, what looked like the easy pick of the round turned out to almost be the biggest upset as the Brumbies had to pulled out all the lucky charms to get past an impressive Waratahs side. Lets take a look at how the games went.

REDS 31 vs 24 FORCE

The conditions were much better this weekend for the Reds who were looking to bounce back from the disaster of Super Time last weekend. Up against them, the Force will be trying to find a complete eighty minutes after two contrasting halves last weekend. Early on it was all the Western Force who dominated the early game before things just exploded with points. After the Force turned down some early points off the tee, they were the first to cash in with Jono Lance having the backline on song setting up Jack McGregor in the left corner for his first Super Rugby try. It was only minutes later when the Force struck again, under advantage Jono Lance puts up a little chip which impressive midfielder Marcel Brache pounced on and with numbers out wide, put Byron Ralston in for his second Super Rugby AU try. The Reds jumped in on the attacking fun with a run of penalties getting them into a good position and grabbing their first try to hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa. Want another try? The Reds delivered, Jock Campbell this time from fullback finished off a scrum play from inside their own half. From 14-0 down, the Reds had tied it up, but the game just did not settle down. A cracking 50-22 from James O’Connor (he loves them!) put the Reds within the danger zone yet again and as the last fifteen minutes had shown, tries are easy. The forwards decided this one was theirs and when that’s the case one mans name comes to mind, Taniela Tupou. Huge traffic but a huge man and no one was stopping him for the Reds third try and fifth in the game inside half an hour! The Force haven’t seen the ball let alone any territory since their last try and have been completely shut out of the game. The Reds continue to dominate the remainder of the opening half but right at the end try happy winger Byron Ralston grabs his second with a full field run away intercept try off a O’Connor pass, showing just how much pace he has got. Just as we were expecting a 21-21 half time score, the conversion was charged down from right in front. There was so much action in that half, its hard to describe how the match flowed without writing a novel, but pure entertainment and fully committed by both sides. The Force defence has been very average at times but the ability to attack has been exciting from both sides. The joy of no rain has changed the game in Australia this Friday night, lets hope it stays that way.

The Reds extended their lead early in the second forty with some slick backline passing and a hot left foot step from Filipo Daugunu put it out to an nine point difference as the Force struggle to get back into the match. The Force got themselves a good run of penalties at times but have really struggled to contain the Reds power game which has got stronger as the minutes kept ticking by. The Reds became quite wasteful as the game wore on, throwing away plenty of chances to put this game to bed. The Force kept hanging into the game, their loss of Ian Prior at the end of the first half proved to be a critical moment as the Force just did not seem anywhere near as dangerous or accurate with ball in hand. With just ten minutes remaining, the game took a twist in the favour of the Force when Hunter Paisami was sent to the bin for a tip tackle. A quick kick to touch and a powerful lineout drive put the Force back in the game, with the conversion off the upright the lead was cut to just four points. The Force put plenty of pressure on the Reds in the final ten minutes but couldn’t crack that final play. The Reds had a simple plan to push that lead out at all costs and it was O’Connor once again to stand up and deliver a late drop goal that put the lead out to seven and enough for the Reds to hold on to full time.

The Reds stand out performers were led from Taniela Tupou and Harry Wilson who made some big yards along with their mobile pack yet again. Chris Feauai-Sautia was the destroyer in the backs making numerous breaks throughout the game. For the visitors they found out just how important Ian Prior was to their game plan, attack and defence fell apart with him off the field. Marcel Brache was outstanding on attack, created a lot of line breaks but was often found lacking on defence. The Force pack also stood up very well for itself. Another pleasing competing performance.


It did not take the Brumbies long to hit their stride as the Waratahs gifted them early territory through consecutive penalties. A cross field kick from Noah Lolesio was spilt in the corner from the Waratahs defence and good following up from Tom Cusack left him alone for an easy dot down on the right edge. The Waratahs were happy to let their sharpshooter do the damage off the tee, Will Harrison bringing them back in the match with a run of penalties, one even coming from a scrum, which was a shock. A huge number of offside penalties started to mount up on the Brumbies and referee Angus Gardner had Andy Muirhead sent to the bin and very nearly another followed him a few phases after for the same thing. The Waratahs made the numbers pay, driving their maul close to the line for the spark of hooker Tom Horton to snipe over off the back and extend that Waratahs lead. The Brumbies game was becoming very scrappy, fighting for every phase, struggling to hold the little ball they were getting in hand. The yellow card was becoming costly for the Brumbies now, conceding a scrum penalty yet again and not even paying attention thinking the Waratahs would take a shot at three, Harrison thumped the penalty across field for a blistering Jack Ramm chasing down the left wing before the Brumbies could react and the ‘Tahs were in once more. The lead very quickly rocketing out to a fifteen points. Things go from bad to worse for the Brumbies, young fly half Noah Lolesio injuring himself trying to step his way out of trouble, 22 year old Bayley Kuenzle took his place. When the chips are down, the Brumbies go back to what they know, the lineout maul. Launching that typical nudge into the corner and setting up the try scoring number two Folau Fainga’a to cut the lead to ten. The momentum was starting to shift after that try, penalties easing the side quickly up the field and with it breeding confidence and opportunities. The Brumbies don’t often say no to those opportunities, a tidy half break from Kuenzle got them going forward and Tom Wright found plenty more ground down the left wing before a big crash off a long run up by Rob Valetini and all of a sudden the Waratahs lead is only three.

The second half started off as a bit of a stalemate as the two side crashed between 22 meter lines. After ten minutes of the second half the Waratahs dropped another three points, doubling their lead to a mighty six points. The Brumbies have struggled badly with the offside line all night long and its cost them a huge number of penalties, that needs to be a number one priority to tidy up. There was little to trouble the scorers through the majority of the second half, the Waratahs were attacking hard but getting beaten at the breakdowns and the Brumbies could not win a lineout the save their careers in the second forty, neither side was able to string together any phases. Its amazing what happens once the Brumbies do actually win a lineout! Chance after chance they threw away over the last twenty minutes from lost lineout’s but with one in the hand the Brumbies get the field territory required to strike. Replacement scrum half Issak Fines running sideways skipping past defenders, picks his spot and splits the defence in half to score a cracking try for the Brumbies and with the conversion take a tiny one point lead. Straight off the kickoff with just two minutes remaining, the Brumbies go straight into turtle mode and pick and drop phase after phase for the final minutes to hold on by a whisker!

Karmichael Hunt made a huge difference to the Waratahs backline effectiveness, taking the pressure off Harrison who himself benefited from it. Hooker Tom Horton was a standout in his first Super Rugby start. Boy the Brumbies should be out buying lotto tickets after this one, their lineout and offside discipline was terrible but somehow they still got the result. With the Lolesio injury, Bayley Kuenzle showed some good touches and of course Fines giving huge impact of the bench. Rob Valetini was a powerful runner all night for the Brumbies and the return of Tom Banks is sure to put a smile on those Brumbies fans who like seeing some exciting backline rugby. Not for the first time this season, the Brumbies will head home disappointed with the performance but still happy to be winner, while the Waratahs will be wondering how they didn’t win the match again.

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Round Three Preview

All five sides have now taken part in at least one match in Super Rugby AU and much has been learnt of the first two weeks. Into round three we have another two, hopefully, exciting matches to come. Opening up the round on Friday night will be the Reds who are looking to get back on track against the feisty Force. On Saturday night the Waratahs are back at home and the Brumbies are fresh off the bye for a visit. The Rebels will sit the round out on the bye.

REDS vs FORCE – Suncorp Stadium

The Reds are back home for round three facing up against the travelling Force, who will have to wait another week before being able to go home. The Reds have been the biggest improver in Super Rugby over the recent time and these early few weeks have continued to prove that. Look back to last week and the abysmal game that they have against the Rebels, a draw isn’t the worst result for them. Considering how far behind they were heading into the last ten minutes, one thing they don’t lack is heart and determination. To storm back into the game and force the Super Time periods was a fantastic come back. If you want to be cynical about it, the Reds were pretty average in the hour of the match before that and will not want a repeat showing against the Force. James O’Connor is directing this side strongly so far and has grown into the position each week, if anything his crafty creativity is sometimes a bit too much for his team mates. While on the playmaker topic, Hamish Stewart has been a standout for me in this Reds side and I am enjoying the freedom of his play in the twelve jumper. I say it every week, but the Reds need that pack to perform yet again. They had a bit of an off night last week but this young pack will only get more consistent as it gains experience.

Right, so the Western Force, how impressive was that opening half against the Waratahs in round two?! It was brilliant to watch and I can only hope they will deliver that again this week, for eighty minutes, and every round on. I talked about how important that spine in their side would be and it was amazing to see it stand up. Brynard Stander was spectacular at the back of the pack and his supporting back row followed his lead. The experienced duo of Ian Prior and Jono Lance directed the side and showed how valuable that partnership can be. Even youngster Jack McGregor showed his worth in a solid outing at fullback for the Force. They had a good game plan that work well in the first half against the Waratahs, kicking well for territory and defending strongly to “force” their opponents into errors. They can run together good long periods on possession and really shut sides out of the game. Frustrate the Reds and big rewards can be taken, discipline is not the Reds best attribute. The big down side they had in their opener was the lack of a plan B when the Waratahs changed their game and maybe struggled to last the full eighty minutes, like many sides do at the pace its played. They will want to run this big Reds back around repeat that golden first forty from last week once again. The Force also just signed Richard Kahui during the week, will be intriguing to see his role in this team.

RESULT: Reds by 8


The Waratahs have struggled their way through the opening two rounds of Super Rugby AU and are still to face their biggest test of the competition, the Brumbies. The best we have seen from the Waratahs is when they were under massive threat of losing to the returning Force, that somehow lit a fire of passion under them and transformed their game. The Waratahs don’t lack the players or the gameplan, but often the execution to properly play it out. Too many errors, too many individual players taking all the responsibility. Will Harrison is the best performing ten in the competition right now, so just play off the young man who is tearing things up. The pack will be majorly tested and I will be keen to see how promising props Harry Johnson-Holmes and Angus Bell match up to this experienced Brumbies front row. They will be hoping to have Karmichael Hunt back in the starting lineup this week, his impact off the bench was very strong and complimented the young Harrison very well. Its been a long time problem for the Waratahs to perform as a full unit and not individuals but it looked like when the chips were down last weekend, they can show their true ability. But the Force were the unknown, the Brumbies on the other hand, are something very completely known…..

Added on to coming off the bye this week after just one game, they will be despite to get back out there and into the action. The Brumbies are an evolved team now. Not just relying on the lineout maul and typical forward play, they have started to mix it up and in round one, kept the Rebels on their toes over how each set piece was going to go about. Whats the most exciting about this game for Rugby Australia is the battle at ten. I have talked about Harrison quite a bit in recent weeks but there is a Brumbies youngster who is just as exciting in Noah Lolesio. Its an area of constant problems for the Wallabies but these two kids could turn into something special, which is why I am excited to see how they will go head to head in this match up. Either way you look at it, those two tens probably wont be the ones to decide it, but instead the old cliche of the pack will. The Brumbies will look to that as its dominating outlet once more and I question how much of a fight the Waratahs pack will put up. For the sake of enjoyable rugby I hope the Waratahs have learnt a thing or two from the game against the Force but I fear it may be back to the usual again and the Brumbies to trot home.

RESULT: Brumbies by 11

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Round Two Review

Super Rugby AU moved into round two in the weekend with the Western Force finally returning to Australian Super Rugby! It was the Rebels who hosted the Reds in the opening match of the weekend before the Waratahs had the task of being the first side to take on the returning Force. The weekend promised a lot, but sadly failed to deliver.


Showery conditions made for some mostly terrible rugby from the two sides over what turned out to be over ninety minutes. Lets not get too ahead of ourselves, we have a first half of errors, kicks, poor decisions, kicks, wayward set pieces and more kicks to go through first. It wont take long and all the points went to Matt To’omua and the Rebels with a penalty goal at each end of the first half. With the amount of penalties being gifted each way its a surprise neither side added more than that to the score board but they looked extremely incapable of even looking like scoring a try and often opted for the corner instead of accumulating points off the tee. A very poor showing from the opening half of a new weekend, but luckily it wasn’t following a match from the southern neighbours!

The scored half started and went on much better than the first ever looked like being. It was only a few minutes in and Filipo Daugunu got the Reds swiftly back into the match up and with a James O’Connor conversion, into to lead. That sparked the game into some kind of life, at least with the finishing. The Rebels in particular kicked smarter, attacking lines and got good territorial reward from it. The errors will still many and for the next fifteen minutes the Rebels took full control, grabbing two tries of their own. One of which assisted by O’Connor, yes the Reds fly half, to the intercept of Billy Meakes. That looked like the nail in the Reds coffin as the Rebels rocketed out to a ten point lead with less than ten on the clock and the way the Reds had been playing, that should have been expected to be how it ended. Not for big bad Brad Thorns boys however. O’Connor knocked over a penalty with five remaining to cut the lead to just seven. All that remained was the hail mary last minute scorching try from in their own half. Oh and you better believe that’s exactly what we got. For a match that had been so poor for the majority of the game, the Reds still found a way to throw in some excitement. Sparked from O’Connor again this time covering at fullback, launching a counter attack with Chris Feauai-Sautia in support who then flicked up an outrageous offload to hooker Alex Mafi to gallop twenty metres to score and unlikely try next to the uprights for O’Connor to convert and send the two teams to SUPER TIME. Oh yes, Super Time by name but Scary Time by nature. After the promise of this eliminating the likelihood of a draw, most are looking for a refund on that statement.

There’s not a huge amount to add for the disaster that was Super Time. Both sides too scared to try anything for the risk of giving the other side a chance for a shot at goal. The Reds did get one opportunity mid way through to finish the deal but the attempted penalty from Bryce Hegerty, who had not kicked all night, went away to the right. Both sides kicked and kicked for the whole ten minutes and keep out of their halves and played extremely conservative rugby. The Reds lineout was a disaster throughout and could have won them the game, but from six penalty kicks to the corner on attack, they lost all six lineouts. Well at least they have something to work on for next time. A bizarre game, a messy game and a game we’d rather forget especially for the Super Time flop.


So with not much to live up to in terms of the AU standard so far this weekend, the Waratahs did their best to keep it as low as possible, for the first half at least. Yes, it was a glorious day because the Western Force are back in Super Rugby and boy they did themselves proud in the opening forty minutes of their return. They grabbed first points, first try and the first half as a whole. Winger Bryon Ralston getting that page in history as the first every try scorer for the Force in Super Rugby AU and also their return. Ian Prior added three penalties around Ralston’s try to put the Force in a very strong 14-0 position late in the half. The Force were kicking an excellent territory game, led by the smart boot of Jono Lance, keeping the Waratahs pinned back and struggling to get out of their own half. The powerful running of the Force backrow was also a standout with Brynard Stander (later named MOTM), Henry Stowers and Tevin Ferris all having outstanding matches getting their side on the front foot. It was a good time to be a Force fan, I would imagine the west were enjoying the half so far. Things did come a little unstuck late on in the half with a run of Waratahs penalties putting in a rare attacking position with just a minute to play. Young prop Angus Bell needed no second invite to power over in the last seconds to breath some life into the Waratahs game. With the conversion it took a chunk out of the Force lead and confidence as the teams headed into the sheds at a 14-7 Force lead. It was far from perfect from the Force, but to see them competing and even leading at the break was a welcome sight.

Things changed in the second half. The Waratahs adjusted their game plan and had a clear and obvious idea on how to completely shut the Force out of the game. They slowed the tempo, dragged everything into the forward pack and attempted to play a ten man game. With the try just before half time, the Waratahs were happy to just take the threes when the chances came up and made their way within just one point. The kicks were flying constantly each way, an image we saw far too much of over this weekend of Super Rugby AU. With the additions of the new laws, including the 50/22 and 22/50, the game can change drastically in an instant and we saw a great example of that on the hour mark of the match. The Waratahs delivering a successful 50/22 to give them a fantastic chance to take the lead for the first time. They delivered on it too, like they had done all half, using their mobile pack to push the force around the park they eventually managed to stumble their way over the line thanks for Tom Staniforth right under the sticks. The Force hardly seen another chance in the match during the second half and had to be content with a scoreless forty, much to their displeasure. The Waratahs bench was very impactful in the second half, but none more so than Karmichael Hunt who’s kicking game was a complete game changer. As much as I would like to leave him out of the conversation, the second half show from Michael Hooper was a leading hand of how the Waratahs got back in the game. Easily the best half of rugby he has had in years, getting around the park with intent and presence which had a big impact.

It was far from a spectacle but was very pleasing to see the Force back in Super Rugby and also being able to compete with a side like the Waratahs for most of the match. Pleasing also for the home side will be their ability to adapt their style of game in a way that completely shut out their opponents who had been all over them in the first half. A big shout out must go to the coaching staff for that as it was clear the plan had been drilled into the players heads at the half time break. This game followed the Crusaders vs Blues, which was a bit of a drop but hopefully we see Super Rugby bigger and better each weekend from here on.

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Round Two Preview

It was a shaky opening round of Super Rugby AU last weekend with some real ups and downs showing off the best and worse of Australian rugby in the shell of a weekend. Moving on into the second round of the competition, the big performers from round one, the Brumbies will earn a rest in round two on the bye. Opening up, the Rebels will be at home, but not at home when they take on the Reds. Then for the Saturday night fixture the Waratahs get their first home game up against the Force who are finally back in Australian Super Rugby.

REBELS vs REDS – Brookvale Oval

So the Rebels are at “home” for round two, but due to the state of Melbourne they wont be returning home any time soon and are having their matches moved in preparation for each week. This week they will be in Manly at Brookvale Oval. Most importantly it is the losing side from round one, taking on a victor. Despite the loss, the Rebels should be pretty happy with how they performed against the Brumbies. Its not often the losing side comes away with the bigger grin. They actually got some forward dominance and grabbed that rolling maul try which was the most surprising. It will be no easier for them in round two either going up against another side who loves to use their powerful pack. If the Rebels can play that style again they could possibly match up to the Reds but it still seems tough to see them maintaining that for another eighty minutes. The Rebels will be expecting a better display from their midfield and backs, Billy Meakes was fairly ineffective and Reece Hodge needs to use his big punt to more advantage than just at the late stages. Matt To’omua at ten? I’m still unconvinced. He doesn’t get the best from his backline and seem unconvincing going about his jobs. What could be a full season on the road for the Rebels will be the toughest thing to overcome as this season progresses week after week.

The Reds looked good for the majority of their opening fixture and held tough at the end to come away with a tough victory. That will be a big boost for the players to have that confidence to finish the job against a side they had not beaten for seven years. There was a number of areas this team stood up in but discipline was not one of them. Silly penalties was one thing, but even stupid yellow cards is a game changing problem. They need to clean both of those things up as soon as possible. In what will be a battle of the tens who are not tens, James O’Connor looks a much better fit in the fly half jumper. He was creative and ambitious against the Waratahs last weekend and I do hope he continues he quest of kicking a 50/22 or 22/50 this weekend too. Tate McDermott was a constant problem for defenders and looks to be one of the leading scrum halves in Australia now. Its the power and mobility of the pack that is once again going to be their key, they need to get that over what will be a much tougher Rebels pack. The players who didn’t have that expectation surrounding them were the most impressive, Angus Blyth, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson completed the Reds pack performance with good balance. Liam Wright looks like a real leader for this side but need to make sure they keep their emotions in check if and when things get tight during the eighty minutes. The three playmakers in the backline option I feel worked quite well, Hamish Stewart really took on a lot of freedom with ball in hand and looked like he enjoyed not having the pressure of making the decisions at ten. I was impressed with how the Reds went about their work over round one and feel they could be the side to do the job again against the Rebels.

RESULT – Reds by 4

WARATAHS vs FORCE – Sydney Cricket Ground

THE FORCE ARE BACK! Oh its been quite some time without them in Super Rugby and if there’s ever a chance for some redemption to prove what they are all about, this is it. The Waratahs get that home advantage which they will be very grateful for considering it is against the Force. Obviously they will have to face them on the road sooner or later and that is going to be an event like every Force game at home. The ‘Tahs season opener was anything short of impressive, going down to the Reds and being outplayed for large passages on the match. Being the close has to lead to some positive’s to look at and plenty of room to improve from their first outing. Biggest player of note that will put plenty of smiles of Wallabies coach Dave Rennie for now and the future is Will Harrison at fly half. That number ten jumper has the prospect to be a huge problem if guys like Harrison don’t stand up. He looks composed on the ball and has started taking on the line more and more each week with reward and dragged his team back into it against the Reds. Hes a pivotal player in this side and will only improve. The pack struggled to get anything over the big Reds forwards and need to step up against what is going to be the unknown in the Force.

OK so how do you preview the Force for their first game of the season? They played one match in the Global Rapid Rugby 2020 season against the Malaysia Valke which resulted in a expected thumping to the score of 51-14. Not much can be learnt from that fixture so this Force side is going in after the bye as a complete unknown which is an advantage they will need to use against the aimless Waratahs. The Force have a number of key players they will lean on during the season. In the pack they have a quality looking spine, Kieran Longbottom, Jeremy Thrush, Henry Stowers and Brynard Stander have the experience to drive the Force pack. Coming up against this Waratahs pack they will be liking their chances of getting the better of with their own style of play. Into the backline and there is plenty of key names that have rejoined the Force for Super Rugby AU. They have two steady hands in the halves with Ian Prior and Jono Lance in the halves. One of the best and most consistent Force performers during Global Rapid Rugby, Marcel Brache will boost the side in the centres. The quality off the bench is surprisingly strong for the Force as well, Andrew Ready, Chris Heiberg, Greg Holmes and Johan Bardoul all suit up with plenty of Super Rugby and domestic rugby experience under their cap. The other returning Force boy, Kyle Godwin will also suit up on the bench this weekend. Lets not make any mistakes about this Force side, it is not a bunch of misfits dragged together for the start of Super Rugby AU. This is a core of the side constructed over the seasons of Global Rapid Rugby and will have plenty of continuity between the players. Add in those higher quality names who could spark quite a difference for the Force. The Waratahs have just as many fresh faces in their side as the Force and I expect this could be quite a contest. As much as I would love to give the Force a cracker start to Super Rugby AU with a victory, especially against the Waratahs, I just cant quite see it coming to happen.

RESULT – Waratahs by 5

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Round One Review

The long awaited opening weekend of Super Rugby AU has completed and with it came a host of twists and turns and plenty of typical Australian rugby. The Reds kicked off the competition by picking up a landmark victory over the Waratahs. Then in game two, the Brumbies and Rebels see-saw’ed their way through eighty minutes before the Brumbies finally decided they would like to win. Rugby highs and lows definitely alive in Super Rugby AU!

REDS 32 vs 26 Waratahs

It had been eleven meetings and seven long years since the Queensland Reds had picked up a win against their major rivals, the New South Wales Waratahs and it was unsurprising to see prior to kick off, predictions were right against them. But us hardy few had confidence in what this Reds team was about to do. It would be no shock to anyone that the Reds scrum and forward pack would be the focal point of their attack and that is exactly how the opening half went about. The Reds captain Liam Wright got his side off to the best start with a try in the first five minutes but it was the Waratahs forwards outside of the set piece that were impressing, young prop Harry Johnson-Holmes hitting back just minutes later. The TMO will be the first name crossed off the Reds Christmas card list after a number of early try opportunities were scrubbed off by the man upstairs. The Waratahs struggled to adapt to the game and were getting hammered with penalties, especially at the scrum, which ended up resulting in the first yellow card in Super Rugby AU. Angus Bell sent to the sidelines for just being dominated. That ten minutes proved profitable for the Reds with Tate McDermott jumping on some sleepy Waratahs defence from a quick tap. James O’Connor seemed determined to hit a 50/22 or 22/50 kick and was giving them a crack at any opportunity, but ultimately failed all night long. Will Harrison looked composed for the Waratahs at ten, an area Australian rugby needs to find a gem, but his backline was largely ineffective in the opening forty as the Reds led 19-13 at the break.

With some expected hard words spoken at half time ringing in the Waratahs ears, they sparked out of the sheds with points flowing. The Reds lost the favour of the ref and were feeling whats it like to be on the wrong side of the penalty count. Constantly over running their ball carrier and then entering rucks in the side was becoming a theme and the Waratahs took the invite with a smile. Two penalties and and converted try brought them into the lead for the first time in the fixture. Jack Maddocks the scorer and by far the most effective player in the backline. The Reds battled into the lead again, with a Harry Wilson try that swung the momentum back on their side. As we reach the critical time in the match with time running down, the Reds started to fall apart again. Taniela Tupou received the second yellow of the match for wiping out a kicker twice in quick succession and allowed Will Harrison to tie it all up from the tee. Hamish Stewart was surprisingly strong with ball in hand, but was coming unstuck late off the tee, missing two penalties that could have put the Reds back in the lead. Step up James O’Connor, who had given up on his cute 50/22 kicks since McDermott kicked one first pop, then took over the tee duties and calmly slotted two vital shots at goal in the final five minutes. The Reds straightened up their structure and looked like a side wanting to win and closed the last few minutes out in fine style. The Queensland – New South Wales rivalry is alive once more!

The Reds controlled the majority of the match but often let the Waratahs back in with lapses of concentration. A six point win will give them confidence but they will know there is much better in the tank. Tate McDermott, Liam Wright and Hamish Stewart impressed for the Reds. The Waratahs have the ability to never be completely out of the fight, they showed that again this weekend. Will Harrison and Jack Maddocks were their standouts.


Much like with Reds, we knew what to expect from the Brumbies from the start and expected it to dominated a Rebels side light on the big boys up front to compete with it. For the good of rugby’s sake, its nice to say how wrong was I. It all looked like plain sailing early on as the Brumbies hit the lead in a couple of minutes from a clinical lineout move with the profits going to Andy Muirhead. Not quite the rolling maul, but some clever backs play was a refreshing sight. The Rebels had some surprises up their sleeves however and the Brumbies fell into the hole of making plenty of errors. The Rebels starting getting scrum penalties and eyebrows were raised and Brumbies confidence clearly took a hit. They stayed calm and looked to the experience of Matt To’omua to put points on the board. There was long periods in this half where both sides struggled to put phases together and the rustiness of the first game back was in plain sight as the match sat stagnant between 22’s for the core of the half. As the half wore on the Brumbies finally decided to go to what they know, yes that’s right, the rolling maul. What a money maker that thing is and two late tries in the first half proved what a vital weapon it is. Joe Powell and the try scoring hooker, Folau Fainga’a, both touched down before the break to put the Brumbies in full control at 19-6 as the two sides headed to the sheds.

Down by 13 points the Rebels looked out of ideas, out of leaders and like lost boy scouts in a massive forest. The home side took more points as Noah Lolesio cut through some average defence and set Tom Wright free and boosted the lead out to 24-6. What was to happen for the twenty minutes would be sure to wake even the sleepiest of Australian rugby followers. The changes started impacting off the bench and the Rebels pack mauled over for a try of their own. Something that has not been done against the Brumbies in at least 12 to 18 months of Super Rugby. The wooping and yahooing was back in the visitors voices. That changed the game and confidence was back. The Brumbies started to panic and give away penalty after penalty again, just like in the first half and the Rebels duly obliged. Threatening again with the forwards, the Brumbies over-committed and it left an easy run in out wide for captain Dane Haylett-Petty that was all created from more penalty pressure and easy field territory. Reece Hodge was a little late to the impact party but with his thunderous punt he starting causing issues for the Brumbies who were trying desperately to hang on to their now slender lead. Confusion caused by the new laws of touching the ball down in your own in goal after a kick forced the Brumbies into goal line drop outs and the good territory allowed Matt To’omua to put the Rebel within ONE point off the tee as the game headed into the final ten minutes. Who would of seen this coming when the scoreline was at one point 24-6! While the Rebels tried to keep momentum on their side, the lineout started to fail them when it was most needed and with the Brumbies going back into their shell and keeping everything as tight and compact as they could, the chance finally came. Of course this would not be a Brumbies fairy tale if it didn’t end with a lineout maul, so lets call it just that. The life lifted back into the home side as Will Miller made his presence felt off the bench, scoring in the 76th minute to seal the game for the Brumbies. Yep, off a lineout maul.

Its not often winning sides should be disappointed and the losing side somewhat pleased, but that’s what we got tonight. The Brumbies should be pleased with the performances of Noah Lolesio, Joe Powell and the typical performance from the pack, although no huge standouts from it. It was also an impressive debut from Mackenzie Hansen at fullback. For the Rebels, Pone Fa’amausili put in a good display in the front row, Matt Philip had another standout and the fresh looking Marika Koroibete toiled hard in his work tonight. An uplifting comeback from the Rebels should give them plenty of confidence, but ultimately not good enough over eighty to beat the Brumbies.

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!

SUPER RUGBY AU – Round One Preview

This weekend Australia get into the action of Super Rugby with the kick off of Super Rugby AU! If you are new to what Super Rugby AU is, you can find out all about it right here! Running along side will be Super Rugby Aotearoa, which you can find all the latest preview here. Opening up the competition will be the clash between the Reds and Waratahs on Friday night. Then on Saturday night will have the Brumbies and Rebels clash. It would have been nice to see the Western Force this weekend, but they are sitting out on the bye and we will see them next weekend.

REDS vs WARATAHS – Suncorp Stadium

Friday night rugby returns in Super Rugby AU and gives us a nice spread of matches over the full weekend. Its the old school Queensland vs New South Wales clash to open up the new competition. Brad Thorn and his forward heavy team of thunderous carriers look to continue their progress with their young squad. It would take much surprise to know how this side is going to play, with guys like Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and captain Liam Wright leading the spine of a pack that will look to assert itself against an inexperienced Waratahs pack. The question mark I’ll raise about this Reds side is the overflow of playmaking options and what may be a lack of finishers and grafters in the backs, but maybe with their style of play they wont need it with all the power of the pack. James O’Connor will run at ten, Hamish Stewart will run out in twelve and Bryce Hegarty at fullback. Expect those three players to chop and change their positions and rotate their roles to keep their attack varied.

The Waratahs have a lot of new look players lining up this season and on direct comparison should cause reason for them to be concerned. The tight five has a lot to prove and while they have some experience in the area, they lack the power and aggression the Reds will bring. The backline may be the Waratahs best bet to attack. Mark Nawaqanitawase took Australian Super Rugby by storm earlier in the year and his return from injury will be greeted with joy by the ‘Tahs. If Jack Maddocks can find his game quickly from fullback and link with the speed of Alex Newsome in midfield, it could create a good deal of danger. The problem may be getting the ball to those outside backs. In the halves Mitch Short and Will Harrison will have a lot of pressure from Tate McDermott and O’Connor to shut down those channels. It should be a great game to kick off Super Rugby AU where I’m going to back the home side to get it done

RESULT – Reds by 2


Now while that opening game of the season looks like a close battle, game two makes it look like a kids game and now the adults are coming to play on Saturday night. Boy this Brumbies team looks like the real deal this season. Take a look at their starting line up, think about how they played over the start of this season the season before and there’s good reason to be excited about this team. Look at that front row, James Slipper, Folau Faingaa and Allan Alaalatoa will start and then to allow no rest, Scott Sio will jump on off the bench, that’s crazy depth. The rest of the pack is solid, especially the back row with Rob Valetini, Tom Cusack and of course Pete Samu and number eight, this side is next level for an Australian side. Maybe they are weak in the backline? Um, nope. Joe Powell and impressive youngster Noah Lolesio will run the halves and its excitement outside if they Brumbies even want to use them. Tom Wright, Tevita Kuridrani, Irae Simone and Any Muirhead will run outside with only one unknown in Mackenzie Hansen at fullback but he has strong support with Wright and Muirhead who are more than adequate at the back themselves. Special.

You’ve got to feel sorry for the Rebels, what a way to start their campaign. The Rebels are a side who are a better team with confidence, I struggle to see how they are going to get much from this match. They have quite a bit of inexperience throughout their team but now is the time to do it, tough love Rebels, time to learn. You know when you’re against the Brumbies you are going to be in for a battle in the forwards and the Rebels look considerably underdone. Matt Phillip has been strong for the Rebels and he will need to drag his tight five with him. Defence will be extremely important for the Rebels but if they want to score points they have to unlock the Brumbies backline. Matt Toomua, I don’t rate much as a ten, but he has the experience but needs to back himself as the leading playmaker and not the second creator like he plays best at twelve. None will be as important as fullback Dane Haylett-Petty for the Rebels season, but I don’t feel like this is a match he can influence the result of as much as he may like. I expect it to be a hard old toil for the Rebels this weekend.

RESULT – Brumbies by 11

Previews and reviews are right here Behind The Posts for each and every round of Super Rugby AU! Rugby is back in Australia! Let me know your thoughts on the action this weekend in the comments and thanks for stopping by Behind The Posts. If you would like to have your say here, get in touch on the contact page today!