SUPER RUGBY AU – ROUND FIVE PREVIEW

A new weekend of Super Rugby AU is set the build on the amazing rugby from seven days ago. The upset Brumbies get another week the cry over their first loss in a long time but the action will be opened up at the home of the Rebels for the first time in over a year, when they host the winless Waratahs on Friday night. On Saturday evening fairy tale Reds season continues on as they host the Force to close up the fifth round. Shane was again a champion to come on and have his say again this season and you can catch that stream below and be sure to turn into the channel on Youtube on a Thursday afternoon to catch the stream each and every week! If you want a quick overview, check out below the video!

Join Shane and myself each Thursday afternoon at around 5pm NZT for your preview LIVE!

REBELS vs WARATAHS – Rebels +6

The Rebels have shown an amazing ability to defend at an extremely high level this season and this week have the struggling Waratahs visiting their home ground for their first home match in well over a year! The home support inside the home stadium should be a fantastic boost to the Rebels who should easily put this game in their favour following their start to the season. I think the Waratahs attack will struggle to break down the Rebels defence, even with the attacking weapons they possess, The Rebels are a good side at taking any points on offer and I expect will quickly frustrate the Waratahs side. Scoreboard pressure and solid defence will lead the Rebels to victory.

REDS vs FORCE – Reds +11

I feel like I’ve got a little bit too nice to the Force on this one, heading on the road to Queensland to face the hottest team in Super Rugby AU so far this season… A team on a massive high after their brilliant come from behind victory against the Brumbies last weekend. Its hard to see an area where the Force can get an advantage over this Reds team unless they have a blinder and the Reds stay inside the sheds for 75 minutes of the game. The Reds have a superior forward pack, a dangerous attacking backline and a well structured game plan looks to have the Reds streaks ahead of the Force for this fixture. If you want to hope for a Force upset, expect a slow grind out performance that will require a huge defensive effort and an attempt to shut the Reds out of the game with control of possession over the 80 minutes.. which would be exceptional. Reds all the way for me.

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 FOUR PREVIEW

Super Rugby AU rolls into our lives on a Friday night this weekend with out opening game between the winning streak Force who are back at home against the winless Rebels who should be 2-0! Following that on Saturday, the top powerhouses of Australian rugby finally do battle as the Brumbies host the Reds in a rematch of last years grand final. The weekend is improved knowing the Waratahs are on the bye. Shane was again a champion to come on and have his say again this season and you can catch that stream below and be sure to turn into the channel on Youtube on a Thursday afternoon to catch the stream each and every week! If you want a quick overview, check out below the video!

FORCE vs REBELS – Rebels +3

The Force finally have a win under their belts, albeit a grind down result against the terrible Waratahs, and what greets them the very next weekend is an interesting match up. The Rebels have not won a game yet this season but pushed the two best sides, the Brumbies and Reds, to the very limit, missing a goal to win in their opener against the Reds and then conceding one to lose against the Brumbies… Rough start.

The recipe to the Rebels success if you would call it that, is their ability to keep that scoreboard turning over. Yes, they haven’t looked like scoring tries over 160 minutes but they have still managed to accumulate plenty of points and we all know the power of scoreboard pressure. The Force will want to score in more than threes as usual and I expect the Rebels may kick things off a little more adventurous than usual but will clam up very quickly if things start to go wrong.

The pack battle and territory will be key for this match as anyone giving away penalties in the wrong half will be punished by the Rebels and do that a few times too often and your quickly 12 or 15 points behind. The Force will struggle to deal with that pressure but their passion should keep this an exciting encounter.

BRUMBIES vs REDS – Reds +2

Well…. flip a coin on this one! Its going to be the best we see of Australian rugby between these two sides. Two teams who have very strong forward packs and plenty of dominant runners but use them in very different ways. Both sides will try to control the set piece which will go a very long way to determining a winner but for me it will depend who deals best defensivly.

The Brumbies will go for the maul as we always know, with Folau Faingaa back in the line up he will be keen to grab some more tries. The Reds however will want to use that talented backline. The midfield everyone has been calling for is finally together, Hunter Paisami at 12 and Jordan Petaia outside him at 13. Suliasi Vunivalu gets his first start out on the right wing also. James O’Connor has had fun against the less experienced fly halves this season so I’d expect a challenge for the young Noah Lolesio in that battle.

This will be decided by moments of brilliance and a standout display by one or two particular players, big game players. Reds will want to defuse the mauls and the Brumbies will want to cut off the backline which leaves us with an intriguing battle on Saturday evening and a preview into what will surely be our grand final yet again this year.

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

Clear leaders are starting to immerge in Super Rugby AU as the Brumbies brush yet another team aside and the Reds somehow found a way to win. In round three we see the strugglers battle, the Waratahs and the Force will scrap for their first win of the season and the Rebels will try find the recipe to beat the Brumbies. The colours are sitting on the bye so the Reds sit out. Shane was again a champion to come on and have his say again this season and you can catch that stream below and be sure to turn into the channel on Youtube on a Thursday afternoon to catch the stream each and every week! If you want a quick overview, check out below the video!

WARATAHS vs FORCE – Force +3

Want a wooden spoon? Well its up for grabs this weekend and its a tough job to not jump aboard the Force train this week. After shipping well over 100 points over the last two weeks its a tough ask to put any faith on this Waratahs team who are struggling for any sort of form or ability. The Force have only played one match which was a tough battle with the Brumbies in round one, a decent showing considering all the newcomers to the side. The Waratahs need to sharpen up that defence, the Force will want to play that is a guarantee and I expect to see more from guys like Bernard Stander and Tevita Kuridrani this round. I’m perplexed with the changes in the Waratahs, switching Jack Maddocks and Mark Nawaqanitawase doesn’t look to make them any stronger. Moving Maddocks to see more ball just to leave the natural winger sitting at fullback. Both sides are not the best yet so it will be close enough but hopefully the passion gets the Force home.

REBELS vs BRUMBIES – Brumbies +11

Can anyone defend the Brumbies lineout maul? The Force did a strong job of it in round one, but the pack confidence must be sky high again in the Brumbies camp after round two. The Rebels need the defensive effort from last weekend and some more on top of it but its hard to see them winning this in threes again so the Rebels will need some intent on attack and that is where they will struggle. The Brumbies will give penalties however so we go full circle back to how well the Rebels can defend the set piece. The Rebels pack matched if not bettered the Reds in patches so has the ability to do the same again but I feel it comes down to guys like Reece Hodge and Marika Koroibete getting the attack running this week to boost the Rebels chances. For the Brumbies, its life as usual. Like the coaching staff have been saying at half time in their games, no need to change things, they are working well. The Brumbies are the standard, its up to the other sides to catch up and the Rebels will be the toughest test for them so far IF they can stay consistent.

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

With points already on the board, we welcome round two of Australian Super Rugby! We say hello to the Rebels into action for the first time in Super Rugby AU, they travel away to face the Reds at Suncorp on Friday night. Following that on Saturday the Brumbies continue their title defence as they host the Waratahs who have plenty to improve heading into round two. Lets check out how it went down….

REDS 23 – 21 REBELS

If your looking for a game of highlights, maybe you should just stick to south of the ditch because there was very few highlights from the two sides in the opening half of this game.

Penalties were the order of the day despite conditions being fairly dry, albeit a little dewy in hand. The Rebels were the better side of the match for the first half and were happy to take the threes when they could, taking two shots at goal to lead 6-0 midway through the half.

The Reds decided they would join the scoreboard with a penalty of their own and then allowed the Rebels to reinstate the six point lead soon after.

Points scoring wasn’t what you should be looking for if you turn into this match at a later date, instead look out for the defence. Hunter Paisami and Pone Fa’amausili were of particular interest to watch as they put some serious hurt on the ball carriers through the game.

The half drew towards to painful end both sides added another penalty each to make it 12-6, but the Reds were looking frustrated at their inability to break down the Rebels defence and their attack not working as well as it did last week. They looked quite disjointed in attacked and needed the half time break, unlike their opponents who were quite happy with the situation.

The Reds had a clear plan to run the Rebels around the field and tired them out with the lack of game time last week, but at half time the Rebels looked OK with a 12-6 lead.

The gameplan has not changed for the visitors as they continue to plug the threes at any chances but it takes almost twenty minutes of the second half until we finally see the Reds break through. Gifted field position with a lineout from a penalty and the forwards go to work. Driving from ten out and even getting the support of the backline in the maul for the last meter or two. Alex Mafi credited with his second of the season

The Reds chances took a turn for the worst just before the hour mark, despite being hard on attack, turning down threes and going to corner for more points, Feao Fotuaika gets a straight red cards for an illegal clean out with no arms and at the head. You would think that may change the game, but if anything the Reds step it up more, quickly after the card the seven man Reds pack destroys an eight man Rebels scrum! Its far from over.

Its a game of three points only as both sides continue to revert back to the posts at any chance. Suliasi Vunivalu added some spark off the bench in his first Rugby Union appearance, but its the errors that are costing the Reds from finishing this game off into the final ten minutes.

Alex Mafi almost produces the magic moment of the match after Paisami regathers a pin point James O’Connor chip over the defence and fires it to a clean running Mafi who goes right to the corner to only spill the ball crashing over the line after a despite tackle from Hodge. Rebels survive again.

It finally breaks! The Reds finally take the lead with just TWO minutes remaining! Its spectacular to see a team with a red carded player turn down a shot at goal to kick to the corner. They set up the maul and decoy the wrap with Mafi again who splits the defence with support all around him and charges over, making no mistake this time and the conversion give the Reds the lead for the first time.

If you thought the Reds could survive the last two minutes without another twist, think again! Paisami puts in a high shot with the clock ticking over the 80th minute to allow Matt To’omua a chance to turn that two point deficit into a lead and a victory with the final kick of the game. With just one miss in the night and a forty meter shot, To’omua painfully strikes it slightly wide to give the Reds what seemed a very unlikely victory after how the Rebels played on the night. Only question, how did he miss!? Been so strong off the tee all night, that pressure…..

The Reds were hot favourites to clean this match up with ease but the Rebels put in an incredible display and should have taken home the spoils in this one. It was similar standouts to last week for the Reds, Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Angus Blyth and Seru Uru top my list of performers. For the Rebels, first game up and as a squad defensively they were amazing. Indevidually however, Matt To’omua despite the final shot at goal, Richard Hardwick and Cabous Eloff were the top shelf players.

BRUMBIES 61 – 10 WARATAHS

There was a lot of talk in the build up to this game that the Waratahs couldn’t possibly be as bad as they were against the Reds for two weeks in a row. Well, to save you all a lot of reading about how each try was scored, lets just recap this match as simply as possible. Things were worse….

The Brumbies scored four first half tries and the scariest part about all these tries they scored was the varied the styles were. Its not the Brumbies just maul every try over, oh no, they actually produced some backline magic and as usual dominated in the pack. The score line looked worse for the Waratahs but in actual fact they seemed to play a bit better than in their opener, if anything it was the defence that was consistently optional. On attack they looked a little more committed, but overall, the Force will be the ones licking their lips for next weekend when they meet the Waratahs.

Out of the opening four tries, only the forth was as you would expect, a driving maul from the lineout scored by the hooker Connal McInerney. The opener was an open play Brumbies try, the forwards just pounding away until Rob Valentini was the lucky one to nudge over.

The second try was like a rare gem for the Brumbies, with their decoy forwards running constant phase after phase tight lines with playmakers behind the completely bewilder the defence. After a few phases making tidy meters, the ball made it was out to the wing where Mack Hansen was all alone unmarked to stroll over for his first try.

If you thought that was weird for the Brumbies, how about a lineout maul try scored by the fly half?! Yep, that happened too. Noah Lolesio grabbed try number three sitting at the back of the maul. What goes on at these Brumbies training sessions that a fly half knows what to do in that situation!?

In between all the Waratahs doom and gloom, there was a single bright light. That was the try to Harry Johnson-Holmes. It required a long build up of possession and getting into the right part of the field was half the battle for the visitors. Once they were in the twenty two, the young pack took over and raging Harry blasted into the points.

Brumbies led 26-10 at the break, the home side just demanding more of the same in the second, whereas the Waratahs really just wanted to get outta there….

Second half got much…. much much worse. Five unanswered tries to the home team and the visitors had clearly lost their will the try and stem the flow.

The fifth try went to scrum half Nic White who had the honour of receiving some of the worst defence seen in Super Rugby AU. Picking up off the back of a scrum, he did a twirl or two and left hands grasping at thin air.

Try six just went to prove the Waratahs were not learning from their mistakes. Mack Hansen scoring almost a replay of his first try. Good running options in positions early and a wide open Mack with try number two to his name.

Lochlan Lonergan came into the field as the hooker replacement and it seemed only fair as a Brumbies hooker he got a try too. Lineout. Maul. Try. Simple.

Now the Brumbies were comfortable with this gargantuan lead, they felt maybe the backs deserved to show some flair. Len Ikitau has been one very impressive player so far and his creativity to this try was class. Demanding attention from the defence he was able to guide a delecate little grubber through the line for that man, Mack Hansen again who went in for his third try and I think was yet to be touched in scoring any of them. Remarkable night for Hansen.

Some may forgive you for thinking eight tries was enough, but we haven’t mentioned Tom Banks yet… A usual try scorer for the Brumbies. Well he did get the ninth and final try of the night just a couple of minutes from the end and it was the ultimate final kick in the guts for the Waratahs. Thinking they may be in for the final say, the Brumbies intercept the ball just out from their own line and break down the right. Recycling the ball almost instantly or offloading off the floor, the movement never seemed to end. For the Waratahs, the defence never got back to the ball. Tom Banks finished it all off to the relief of the Waratahs who were thankful it was still only double figures…..

Final score was huge, 61-10, a 51 point victory, that hurts the points differential. Its hard to pick a Brumbies standout, they whole side was amazing. Again Cayden Neville impressed me and I’m enjoying the work of Len Ikitau in midfield. For the Waratahs, ah boy…. its tough isnt it? Carlo Tizzano again was superb, putting in a huge defensive shift, sadly other have to tackle too but he was amazing again and Lachlan Swinton has been standing out for the Waratahs as well but just not enough as a unit.

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

The Reds and the Brumbies set Australian rugby into action last weekend in a cracking opening round of fixtures, making short work of the Waratahs and Force on the season opening Friday night. This weekend the Reds host the Rebels and the Brumbies welcome the Waratahs with the Force sitting out round two on the bye. Shane was again a champion to come on and have his say again this season and you can catch that stream below and be sure to turn into the channel on Youtube on a Thursday afternoon to catch the stream each and every week! If you want a quick overview, check out below the video!

REDS vs REBELS – Reds +11

The Reds open the round up again this weekend against the Rebels who are having their first run out of the season. The Reds were nothing short of fantastic in their opening match, destroying the woeful Waratahs. Their performance will fill them with plenty of confidence and with only one change to the starting side, adding Taniela Tupou to the front row. Expect to see much more from the Reds in round two and a similar score line as well.

After the bye in the first round, the Rebels need to smash the ground running in their opening encounter. The Rebels would have been watching the opening round with high hopes of establishing a game plan against the Reds but would only be left with with fears of how they will contain their opponents. Naming a side the resembles something similar to a patchwork quilt, with areas of strength matched next to sever lacks of experience and talent. Joe Powell and Matt To’omua will be a a critical piece of the Rebels puzzle.

BRUMBIES vs WARATAHS – Brumbies +13

If you thought the opening round was a bit of a mismatch blow out round, then we may be seeing some more of that in round two as well. The Brumbies know how to play, how to win and how to execute their game plan. They are well structured and play well to their strengths. Its a near international level pack that will easily control the set piece and breakdown and keep the side on the front foot and even their midfield with Ikitau made an impact in round one. The side is settled and will see very little change to their line up this week.

Can the Waratahs play any worse than last week!? Its hard to imagine Rob Penny will allow that to happen two weeks in a row. As you would expect, the axe has hung over the squad. Angus Bell returns with Harry Johnson-Holmes pair up for a formidable front row which will be tested. The ‘tahs back row plays well enough with the young Tizzano paired up with some experience of Swinton and Dempsey. The big loss will be Jake Gordon who is out for some time which is a huge loss and leaves a massive hole, Jake Grant grabs the nine shirt. Tepai Moeroa and Mark Nawaqanitawase move into the backline which will add some firepower to the backline, especially Nawaqanitawase. While its a positive step for the Waratahs, it wont change the result for the visitors…..

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

Rugby in the Southern Hemisphere is finally back in action, albeit with just the two Friday night matches from Australia this weekend. The Reds hosted the Waratahs with plenty of talking points and was followed by the Force who finally got to play at home and welcomed the Brumbies to town in Perth. Lets take a look at the games.

REDS 41 vs 7 WARATAHS

The Reds came into this game as firm favourites against the Waratahs but it was the visitors who broke the deadlock first and it took just a few minutes for new captain Jake Gordon to open the account in the left corner. It was smart play by the scrumhalf who followed the play across the field and found himself in space from Jack Maddocks half break and an on the ground offload. That was to be the last moment of joy for the Waratahs however as the Reds firmly took over the game after that.

While Jordan Petaia was caught short defensively in the opening try, he certainly made up for it soon after. The first Reds points came off the boot of James O’Connor and quickly after Petaia sparked a play from their own half, keeping the ball alive through hands and finding the pace of Jock Campbell to finish for the Reds and put them into the lead for the first time.

The Reds continued the dominate the gain line following the try and made easy meters up the field and into the Waratahs twenty-two in a flash. Less than five minutes after their first try, the Reds were in again, Alex Mafi tipping the cap to his 50th cap by charging over off a short pass to extend the lead.

We were less than twenty minutes into the game and the Reds struck for a third time and signalled troubling times for the Waratahs. That combination of Petaia and Daugunu at it again from deep. TMO had been busy during the first half, with both Campbell’s and Daugunu’s tries being looked at for possible forward passes but were decided OK from upstairs.

With half time calling, things went even worse for the Waratahs. Midfielder Izaia Perese picking up Hunter Paisami and dumping him on his head to give a clear call for the referee to dish out the first card of the season and it was red for Perese. Of course with the new laws in Super Rugby AU, after twenty minutes Perese would be allowed to be replaced.

The game dragged its way into the break with the Reds in control at 27-7.

The match changed in the second half as the Reds knew they had complete control of the fixture. A man advantage for almost half of the second forty and a strong twenty point lead, they slowed the game down and forced the Waratahs to bring the game to them and make something happen.

That remained the case until the final ten minutes when a set piece chance proved too tasty for the Reds to ignore. Off the back of the scrum Moses Sorovi scampered away to the right and dropped the ball on the superb inside line from Daugunu, completely missed from the Waratahs defence and let a clean run for the sparkling winger to grab his second try of the match and to put this far beyond doubt.

The cherry on top was added by debutant Ilaisa Droasese who flew over on the right edge after his side just let things fly at the end of the match. A first appearance and a try to go with it, things couldn’t have got much better for the Reds. The score line was never close once the Reds got things going.

An early fright from the Waratahs was the only highlight for the visitors and the Reds controlled the game as many expected. A bonus point win and a cracking first up display that O’Connor thought left plenty to improve on…. that’s a scary thought.

The Reds pack deserves most of my credit. Seru Uru, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson were all fantastic for the Reds.

For the Waratahs it was Jake Gordon who led from the front and was sorely missed when he went off injured. New comer Carlo Tizzano was also impressive tonight.

The biggest win ever for the Reds over the Waratahs and the perfect start to the Reds season. Now how is their consistency?…. We find out next week, But a bonus point win is the ultimate way to kick off a season.

FORCE 11 vs 27 BRUMBIES

Its been such a long time between drinks at home for the Force but the day has finally come! The crowd were buzzing and the expectation was intriguing! The defending champion Brumbies will always be a tough side to match up with regardless of venue, but this is a great opportunity for the Force, both sides starting off with tidy committed play. A late change saw Richard Kahui into the starting line up in place of Kyle Godwin.

The Force are first onto the scoreboard after just five minutes, grabbing the penalty from the boot of Ian Prior. The more encouraging factor however was the clean carries from key new players in the Force lineup, Medrano, Lezana and Kearney all having time with ball in hand.

Both sides blew chances to add points soon after. The Brumbies set about their typical rolling maul five meters out but someone’s changed that channel as the Force manage to halt it and force the Brumbies to use the backs. The created chance finds Hansen clear out wide but the pass was called forward on the field by the ref, something we didn’t see in the opening match.

The Force ruck ball was lightning quick and caused the Brumbies defence all sorts of trouble, catching them offside and out of position. That gave the chance to double their score line but Prior’s attempt struck back off the upright and the Brumbies escaped, got a free ride of penalties up the field and Noah Lolesio was gifted his first shot at goal which he easily put home for 3-3.

The Brumbies finally struck over the line midway through the half, Nic White dancing on the twenty two, zig zagging in and out of defenders and slipping a short flat pass to an extraordinary line from Noah Lolesio who went in unopposed. The Force has perhaps been the better side but they have started losing their shape and pace in the game, which will cause much concern at half time.

The Force pick up a huge second wind just after the thirty minute mark and completely regain control of the game. The quick ball is back, the penalties are flowing and the Force are going only to the corners. They drive continually at the line and eventually crash over but the referee disallows the try for a double movement. The dream of half time oranges is driving the Force back into the attacking zone again, but sensibly this time take the three points to bring them within four.

After all the hard work from the Force, they let the Brumbies right back in with a penalty right on the stroke of half time.

A run of errors by the home team in the last few minutes will leave a sour taste for the half time break with the score at 13-6.

Its the start of dreams for the Brumbies in the second half. Len Ikitau carves the defensive line with precision and finds the cut inside from his midfield partner Irae Simone to slide in for the try. The Force defence has looked in control so far but was caught out with the acceleration of Ikitau to give the Brumbies a controlling lead for the first time.

Despite the score line, the Force have been right in this match up and may have finally got a chance to turn some more chances into points as James Slipper is sent to the bin after his side has received many “final warnings” from the referee. The crowd is full of energy but the Force struggle to make the finishing plays, even a man up.

Rugby is a game of fine margins and the Force’s lack of ability to finish off their chances and domination of possession and territory throughout the second half will be a massive disappointment to the side. The Brumbies on the other hand, lack none of those issues. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa showing some silky skills and the major difference between the two sides, finishing. From the scrum, Tom Banks line and speed scorches past a labouring Kahui and creates the overlap. 27-6 and game done in the final ten minutes.

But that is not excuse for the Force who never lack for determination and giving it a crack regardless of score or game situation. Tomas Cubelli gets the credit for the try, but it was all created by the forwards who won the ball off their own kick off and quickly set about working in the red zone. This time keeping it tight and working close to the line, it was Cubelli’s sharp work around the fringe that creates the first try for the Force.

The Force battled to the very end, controlling even more key passages of the game but just cant find the lollies at the end. Even after the final buzzer, the forwards battled close to the Brumbies line but failed to keep the ball in hand. A lot of promise, but the Brumbies just too clinical with the chances created.

Standout performer from the home Force side was Fergus Lee-Warner who carried hard all night long, constantly meeting the gain line and defended with power. The Force didn’t have too many standout and played better as a squad as it went on but also plenty to work on. Rob Kearney was a clear talent at this level and a big improvement for the Force at the back with some classy touches.

For the Brumbies Cayden Neville was a thorn in the Force side all night long. Disrupting ruck ball, defusing mauls and being a general nuisance throughout the game. One of those guys who isn’t flashy but the impact he had on the match was massive. So many Force errors were made because of his impact.

Not what the Force would have wanted as a result and exactly what we expected from the Brumbies in round one. The Force will get better and I feel will trouble the Waratahs and Rebels at this stage. Its a two horse race at the top already, Brumbies and Reds are the teams to beat!

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 IS BACK! ROUND ONE PREVIEW

Its here and its back! This weekend kicks off the opening round of Super Rugby AU and we had a look at the two matches this weekend on a stream earlier in the week, Shane was again a champion to come on and have his say again this season and you can catch that stream below and be sure to turn into the channel on Youtube to catch the stream each and every week! If you want a quick overview, check out below the video!

REDS vs WARATAHS – REDS +8

Its the old fashion Queensland vs New South Wales derby clash to kick off the season, the same opener as in 2020 Super Rugby AU. It was a huge year for the Reds last season who really stepped up over the season to make it all the way to the final and really push the eventual winning Brumbies. Their pack should dominate the fixture and their backs are by far the superior in the match up but the Waratahs know how to keep in a match.

Missing a pile of experience this year, the Waratahs need to open up the depth on their talent. Its quite and unknown just how good that will be. Plenty of names who have starred off the bench recently will now be called on the lead from the start. The lack of experience need to be controlled by the future star at ten, in Will Harrison.

I’m expecting this to be a close match for the opening 40-50 minutes but the Reds should have the talent and power off the bench to put this one in their favour.

FORCE vs BRUMBIES – BRUMBIES +5

What have they been drinking in Perth!? The names they have picked up for this team is extraordinary! A number of Jaguares have been added to the mix which will definitely add some grunt in key areas. The cool head of Rob Kearney at fullback will be another key addition but the only issue is how well will they gel and will they last those eighty minutes once again….

The Brumbies, like much of the Australian teams, have lost a wealth of talent but more importantly have keep a huge core of their side. Expect that to be what they rely on once again and most of that will be in the pack with that patient set piece and forward based play. Expect to see Folau Fainga’a up the try scoring leader board again.

If the Force are to stand any hope, they need to score early, score quickly and then keep the Brumbies at bay as they will expectantly surge home late regardless of score line. Its a matchup of who gets along better and you would expect the Brumbies should tick that box.

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 Ten Review

The Rebels season lay in balance at the beginning of the weekend, needing a win by four points to make it to the finals for the first every time with the ultimate banana skin, the Force were waiting to strike. The final round of Super Rugby AU almost had it all. The top two sides clashed to end the regular season in a match the had nothing but bragging rights for sides already finals bound. It was an unexpected round of Super Rugby AU, lets take a look….

REBELS 34 – 30 FORCE

It was a typical scrappy start for the Rebels and the intent from the Force was clear from the outset. The kicking game of Jono Lance took center stage and penalties gifted territory. Eventually the opening point came from the boot of Lance inside the opening ten minutes.

There was a long period of pressure the Force had to withstand following the opening points, the Rebels camped themselves down in the Force twenty two. After a few missed chances and the Force only hanging on by a thread, the first try of the day came from a tricky scrum set play that allowed Tom Pincus to sweep under the posts untouched to put the Rebels in front.

The kickoffs have been a constant issue for most sides in Super Rugby AU and just like the Rebels first try, the Force hit back much in the same light. Getting the ball back from the restart and setting some good lines in motion. A half break from Lance set the Force forward, then fullback Jack McGregor stood up the defence and perfectly played a short ball to Henry Teafu to go through cleanly and put the Force back in front of the battle.

Some superb kick chase defence allowed Matt To’omua the chance to extend the lead, which was successful from the tee. The wind at the back of the Rebels proving vital in the kicking battle.

Ian Priors charged down kick inside his twenty two was the last thing the Force needed after half an hour of the game. Loosehead prop Cameron Orr picked up the unlikely regather and threw and even more unlikely floating wide pass the Reece Hodge way out on the left side. With plenty of work still to do and a number of defenders hanging on, Hodge still managed to reach out to put it on the line.

In the shadows of the half time break the Force took a leaf out of the Brumbies set piece play book. From the lineout just ten meters from the Rebels like, Andrew Ready sat at the back of his sides destructive maul that smashed its way to the line for a crucial late try in the half.

The Force doing enough to stay in the game and just wont let the Rebels get away. 20-13 at the break lead for the Rebels but the Force playing one of the best half so far this season.

The second half kicked off just as the first ended, the Force uninterested in kicking points now and kept forcing the game into the corner. Another maul just five out this time, the Force attempted the same job as before the break. It wasnt as pretty, but it was just as effective. Ready with his second try in five minutes off the maul and the Force were right back in the contest, levelling the scores at 20-20.

The TMO was kept busy throughout the game, the Rebels being denied a few tries from the man upstairs.

The nerves were starting to set in for the Rebels now as the Force took the lead back again through the boot of Prior.

Straight off the restart things took a turn for the worst for the Rebels Tom Pincus was sent to the bin for intentional knock on with the Force hot on attack.

The Force made the number pay soon after, Brynard Stander getting the reward for some hard pack work with a series of pick and goes from the Force close to the line. Stander has been in incredible form this season and has put him side in a commanding position with an ten point lead.

The game is kicking off at this point. Just one minute later, the Rebels hit right back. Three men set about a kick return with two touches each to score the try. Dane Haylett-Petty launched the counter attack, finding Marika Koroibete and Reece Hodge on the right edge. Hodge cut back inside, hitting the speedy Koroibete and with good reward to following the play, Haylett-Petty backed up for the overlap to grab a fantastic try out of nothing.

Momentum, swings and changes. That last try effected the change. The restart again, Matt Philip went up and Bryon Ralston went straight in to whip him out. There was no hesitation for Gardner who sent hims straight to the bin to give us some fourteen on fourteen rugby.

Time was against the Rebels who no matter how hard they tried, just couldnt breach that Force defence again as the clock ticked on. Both sides getting to nervous of the result to make any effect.

The Rebels spent nearly the whole last ten minutes inside the Force half and mostly inside the twenty two. The TMO denied them another couple of times as the clock continued to tick on. Fergus Lee-Warner was the third man sent to the bin tonight, costing the Force a man for the final five minutes.

The Force hung on until there was just seventy seconds remaining. Another good lesson was learnt the Rebels were denied another try but replacement prop Cabous Eloff continues on and places it simply as you like while everyone else stares at the referee for the first attempt. More TMO time and this time reward for the Rebels and the lead goes to two points and the kick to come. Remember, the Rebels needing to win by four to get into the finals.

To’omua does not disappoint from right in front and puts the Rebels into the finals for their first time in history. How they managed it is still largely a mystery, the Force were fantastic throughout but the Rebels just had the final one minute of play. It was everything we hoped this game would be, the fairy tale not quite coming true, but a great way to kick off a day of rugby!

One man is key for this Rebels team and that is Matt To’omua. Goal kicking was eventually the difference with Prior missing two conversions and To’omua not missing any. His command of the team was a highlight this week again. Matt Philip is becoming a critical player for the Rebels pack. A few weeks ago he was a top performer, now hes a team leader and that was clear to see once again.

The Force were so good, there best eighty minutes this season without a doubt. Even a fair Rebels fan would say they deserved to win this one. Take away the yellow card, Fergus Lee-Warner was fantastic yet again. Versatile as well for the second or back row in the team, strong carrier and defensive and break down presence. Two tries for a hooker that’s not in the Brumbies deserves a mention, Andrew Ready back in the Force team with a statement.

REDS 26 – 7 BRUMBIES

There was nothing on the line tonight between these two sides, with the Brumbies already confirmed top place finishers and the Reds in behind at second regardless of results, but the two sides still named full strength lineups for the final clash of the regular season.

Jock Campbell was an early difference between to two sides and a couple of good breaks set the Reds up on a good attack. It was the third consecutive Campbell break that finally resulted in the Reds getting over the line, captain Liam Wright in support this time to finish the job and the Reds strike first.

Tevita Kuridrani was finally entrusted back into the starting lineup this week but butchered a fantastic try by being so lacklustre on his put down and some desperate defence from Tate McDermott did enough for the ball to be lost in the chase. Really was an amazing break from the Brumbies with offloads all over the place and perfection support play, a real shame it went unrewarded.

James O’Connor and the Reds continued to add scoreboard pressure through the tee, with a couple more penalties as the half wore on.

The Brumbies were especially wasteful in the first forty, basic knock on’s, backline depth concerns and just a lack of basic skill sets.

The set piece and the Reds worked well again, exploiting the Brumbies defence angling in on the backline with some quick passing and Jock Campbell again broke the outside channel and freed away Chris Feauai-Sautia to score on his return and put the Reds in a commanding lead. 18-0 just before half time.

The half time buzzer had rung but the Brumbies finally stuck something together and it all resulted with Pete Samu rampaging on the left wing yet again. His change of direction and support keeping the defence honest allowed Samu to burn his way through to give the Brumbies something to work on from the first half.

Its not often the Brumbies get within five meters of the try line and don’t turn it into some kind of points. Its been a really off game tonight by this whole Brumbies team as they have messed up many close chances losing a number of possessions in the Reds twenty two. Their attack has been flat and easy to read by the Brumbies.

Ticking over the scoreboard is the objective for the Reds, O’Connor the man again to add three more and puts the lead in a position that would require the Brumbies to score three times to take the lead.

While we can talk about how poor the Brumbies have been with ball in hand, most of the credit needs to go to that Reds defence inside its own danger zone. To be able to shut down the Brumbies pack just a few meters out multiple times during the second half was been nothing short of sensational.

The Reds seal the deal following up some terrible high ball defence from the Brumbies. Bryce Hegarty went high and youngster Bayley Kuenzle made a complete hash of it, allowing it past and to bounce up perfectly for the chasing McDermott to grab yet another try for his season.

Its been some display by the Reds but quite some shocker by the Brumbies, 26-7 final score is a fairly fair scoreline too. The Reds defence was sensational and they made points from a good number of chances they were gifted. Was good to see Chris Feauai-Sautia return with a try, Filipo Daugunu was outstanding in open play as well but it was the pack they stood up to the show and put in the display to lead the side. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Liam Wright, Harry Wilson and the front row were all fantastic.

Rob Valetini and Pete Samu kept the Brumbies standard high but they were far too lonely in the task. They have massive issues in midfield with no one standing up in that thirteen jumper, Tevita Kuridrani was again poor tonight. The lack of depth at ten was also found out with Kuenzle having a poor game, unable to get the backline in motion.

We will see the Brumbies in the grand final in two weeks time and the Reds will face the Rebels next weekend for a place to meet them there. I can guarantee if these two sides meet again in the final, it will be a much much different game.

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 Ten Preview

Its being pumped up as Super Saturday this weekend as the Final round of Super Rugby AU takes place all on the same night! It is the game of the round which kicks off the weekend when the third place decider takes place between the Rebels and the Force. The North vs South game is squeezed in the middle with a potential grand final match up takes place between the Reds and the Brumbies. Lets check out the action….

REBELS vs FORCE – McDonald Jones Stadium

The situation is simple here for the Rebels, win the game by at least four points and they in rocking their way into the playoffs against the Reds. If the unthinkable happens and the Force pick up their first win of the season, the Rebels are out and the Waratahs will take on the Reds next weekend.

The stats put this game into an interesting light on this clash with the Rebels being the biggest kicking side from hand in the competition, up against the Force who are the team who spends the most time defending. How these two sides play will be a big factor, if the Rebels allow lots of ball to the Force they could make something of the opportunities.

Building on that stat, its clear the Rebels play a good territory game with the tandem kicking options and building pressure down in attacking areas is sure to allow them to cash in on the errors the Force seem to consistently dish out. Their backline should be good enough to finish the chances but it all comes down to which Force will show up and can they start with the early season bang they were delivering?

There is a lot counting against the Force again this week, like every other. If rugby was a fifty or sixty minute game, the Force may have a win or two under their belt. They are good enough to win games but fail to play a full eighty minutes, commit too many errors and need more commitment from the big names they have to lead this team forward.

This should be down to who wants it more and it should be simple to say the Rebels. They held on enough to give themselves a much more obvious chance to make the top three and couldn’t have asked for an easier way to finish their season, but they still need to be clinical. Be desperate and make a statement.

RESULT – Rebels by 11

REDS vs BRUMBIES – Suncorp Stadium

This one doesn’t matter so much but I am still quite interested in how these two sides go about naming their teams. The Reds know they will have to play next weekend, but dont need anything from this game to get to that point. On the other hand, the Brumbies know they have the weekend off before the big final.

Injuries are a huge point on this game. Is it worth either side risking key players in this game, or can they afford to mess up the team continuity that they have built up over the season?!

I’m expecting the Brumbies to make a number of changes, mainly because they can with the depth in their squad. They do not need to though, with that extra weekends break they will be fresh and ready for a final. They cant afford to be without a guy like Bayley Kuenzle while they wait on Noah Lolosio to return, but they may have both for the final. That’s one of the rare spots that are shallow for the Brumbies.

What they do need to discover this weekend that may prove beneficial is finding someone to really nail does that thirteen jumper. Firstly Tevita Kuridrani held it unopposed for week on week before they mixed things up and put Solomone Kata in there, to much the same effect. When a player like Kuridrani, or anyone in that position, is on form it evolves that backline and they need to find that lacking power again. Do they Brumbies really need it to with Super Rugby AU? Not really, but in a competition they have been daylight ahead of for most of, there has been few holes to find.

The Reds have had a fantastic season this year. They don’t need to win this weekend, but with the mental side of the game being so important, a heavy loss with large rotation could be very detrimental to the side.

Against that point however, having the best side running out again this weekend before going into a finals series could see major injuries and players fitness being tested for the games that really matter. The Reds dont have the depth of sides like the Brumbies but I feel they need to make sure they have their strongest side fit and ready for the playoff next weekend. If it means learning a lesson against the Brumbies, maybe so be it.

This game all pivots of squad selections and who is rested and risked before the knockout stages begin. With nothing at stake, will the coaches take the risk?

RESULT – Brumbies by 2

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 Nine Review

It was a huge weekend of Super Rugby in Australia, where with just a couple of rounds remaining, the teams were starting to fall in place. The Brumbies had a chance to secure top spot in the conference against the Force on Friday night. The big game was on Saturday however, when the Rebels faced the Waratahs with the two sides fighting over the third place. The Waratahs needing a win to keep their season alive while they spend the last round on the bye. Lets take a look at the fixtures…..

BRUMBIES 31 vs FORCE 14

It was the Brumbies night to seal top spot in the competition with a round still remaining if they topple the winless Force in the opening game of the weekend and they started off with their usual control, even getting a penalty to the corner in the opening few minutes that sent ominous early signs…..

But the Force held very strong early on and after some early pressure managed to fight their way back with a run of penalties from the set piece and breakdown. Set with a chance inside the Brumbies twenty two, it was a simple game plan for the Force, keep it short, keep it in hand. Fergus Lee-Warner manages to stretch through the tackle and plant it down for the opening try and a 7-0 surprise lead.

The Brumbies battle their way back into the game and spend a good period on attack and even cross the line twice but were denied both times by the TMO for a knock on and an obstruction.

The Brumbies kept pounding away on attack and did eventually break through the Force defence, from range thing time, launching an attack from their own half. Some flashing offloading and a big bust from Will Miller created the overlap for Tom Wright to score on the left edge, but the conversion was away, quite some way away too.

With the half running to its end, the Brumbies completely dominate the match up. Constantly with ball in hand and on the attack putting pressure on the Force inside their own half. Half time could not come soon enough for the visitors, but not before the Brumbies put their second try on the board. The defence was starting to get broken and the speed on Tom Banks was too much after he spots half a gap. Hes rockets home to give the Brumbies a slender lead at the break, despite another missed conversion.

Breaking into the second half, the Brumbies continued to pile on the pressure using their pack. Much like the first half ended, it was the Brumbies who added another try to their total thanks for Will Miller on the left wing. The flanker having a clean five meter run on the outside edge untouched. The perfect times to score, just before and just after half time.

The Force struck back quickly, taking a quite tap from a lineout penalty they smashed their way into the Brumbies danger zone and within just a few phases, Jono Lance slipped through some lazy defence to bring the Force right back into the game. Again, kicking critical as Prior added the extras.

When it almost looked like the Force could fight their way back into the game, the Brumbies completely shut the gate in the final twenty minutes. Two more tries went the way of the home side with Len Ikitau and Andy Muirhead touching down in the final stanza to put it far beyond doubt with a scoreline that almost flattered the hosts.

The Brumbies just know how to win and how to pace their game, something the Force are yet to understand. Irae Simone was a playmaking standout for the Brumbies and the way he partnered with Tom Wright was some class Brumbies back play we don’t see enough.

The Force lacked the commitment once again but showed that early season ability to score tries that had left them for the last few weeks. Key for them was the territorial kicking by Jono Lance that made a massive difference. The front row along with Ollie Atkins in the second is starting to become a strong unit, they just need to keep at the first forty minute level all game long.

Final thoughts on this match, it was great to see Amy Perrett become to first female to referee a Super Rugby match and she did a fine job in control on the game, put the players in their place and was solid in her calls. Promising signs from a ref who we should see more of and only get better. Well play Amy.

REBELS 32 vs WARATAHS 38

This is it for the Waratahs, everything is on the line. Fail to win this game and their Super Rugby AU season is over, but even if they do win, it still may not be enough. It was the cracker of a match we had hope this competition may deliver.

It was the Rebels who got off the mark quicker, a couple of penalties against the Waratahs once again gifted their opponent an easy start. Matt To’omua happy as every to slot over an early three point from the tee.

The Rebel obviously felt guilty for the early gift and swiftly gave one or two right back to the Waratahs, who with a set piece a few meters out from the Rebels line, set their forwards to work. A couple of smashes forward until Jake Gordon spotted the sloppy defence around the fringe and snipped over right beside the posts.

It took some time to get enough structure and phases for any chances for points, but the penalties soon mounted up against the Rebels, particularly offsides. Quick ruck recycling from the Waratahs forwards in very similar style to the first try, resulted in the second. That forward play too strong for the Rebels at this stage and Jack Dempsey planted down for the second Waratahs try.

The match took a massive swing in momentum towards the Rebels just minutes before half time when, after a number of phases and advantages five meters from the Waratahs line, Ned Hanigan was sent to the bin for a likely offside. The Rebels instantly obliged to the kind offer with Matt To’omua bashing his way over off a big run in from the boundary. He converted his own try to bring the Rebels within four.

It was surprising there was enough time for this, but the Waratahs managed to nab a quick penalty after the kick off which Will Harrison knocked over to put that lead back out to seven points for the Waratahs at the break, 17-10.

It took just five minutes of the second half for the Rebels to strike again and it was just as Hanigan returned to the field. A leaf taken from the Brumbies handbook on tries, a lineout maul worked enough to set up the tireless Isi Naisarani to spin off the back of the maul and over the line. The Rebel tie things up with the conversion.

Just as quickly as it took to kick a conversion, the Waratahs had struck straight back! Another penalty giving an easy ride into the twenty two and gave the Waratahs the chance to set about from the set piece again. Keeping it tight in the forwards again and Harry Johnson-Holmes burrowed over right under the crossbar, a clinical response!

A nail is slammed into the Rebels hopes of securing playoffs this weekend as the Waratahs strike again. Will Harrison is running the Waratahs backline sweetly and his switching passes slips Michael Hooper into a huge hole who strikes the overlap with Joey Walton to have a clean run to the line for his first every Super Rugby AU try!

Lady luck is shining down on the Rebels in their next try opportunity. Walton is taken out off the ball and allows To’omua to glide through a massive hole, teeing up on the outside with Marika Koroibete who races to the left hand corner, hits into the defenders, stays in the field of play and slides just to the line to get a blade of grass or two on the ball. Game alive again as To’omua converts.

All the hard work may come undone for the Rebels over the next ten minutes. Matt Philip was dished out a yellow card swiftly after the restart for tackling a player in the lineout. Harsh call for something that would normally be a penalty, but can only imagine its for the team warning for penalties in their own half, but not mentioned by the referee.

A man down has lifted the Rebels against all odds! How amazing is it to see these sides lift when the pressure comes against them. The Rebels get lucky after weathering a long storm in their own half and quickly turn it into attack and when the forwards start to rumble they become hard to stop, Naisarani again the man who is just too difficult to tackle that close to the line. The conversion is away to the right and the Waratahs keep the lead by two points.

If a man has every deserved to be a hero for the Waratahs, its Will Harrison! Hooper makes a fantastic charged down of Andrew Deegans clearing kick which sits up perfectly for Harrison who is miles away from any Rebels player and grabs his first and hugely important try.

Back to fifteen men again, the Rebels swiftly get back into the Waratahs half and opt for a shot at three to bring them within six points of the lead.

The Rebels cant get themselves another chance to snatch that lead away and the Waratahs try their best to shut it down. Reece Hodge plays the smart hand inside his own in goal and ends the game with his side behind by six, enough for a bonus point to keep both sides seasons alive. It all comes down to next weekend…..

The Rebels never got on top of this match, were always chasing and kept letting the Waratahs right back in as soon as they scored themselves. Poor focus and silly errors cost the Rebels. Their gameplan was focused around Isi Naisarani and Marika Koroibete on attack and as good a job as they did with all that ball, it was almost to predictable. Brad Wilkin was again fantastic in the breakdown.

The Waratahs play their best rugby with their backs against the wall and we saw that this round. With his first start in Super Rugby, Tepai Moeroa looked to bring things to the game other similar power running midfielders had struggled with all season. He was strong with ball in hand and recycled very quickly. On a night of firsts, it was also great to see the amazing Will Harrison and Joey Walton pick up with first Super Rugby tries. Crucial ones they were too.

So its all down to next weekend, the Western Force have a pile of new fans and the chance to dictate who will make that top three. As always, I will see you for the preview in a couple of days!

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!