Australia’s domestic incarnation of Super Rugby – called Super Rugby AU – will kick off on Friday with a crunch clash between the Reds and the Waratahs.
The Tahs hold the upper hand in previous meetings between the two teams, so it’s no surprise that the overall Super Rugby AU predictions for Round 1 has them tipped as strong favourites
The Reds and Waratahs didn’t cross paths in the now cancelled 2020 Super Rugby campaign, but Queensland did get one over their southern rivals in a preseason trial in Dalby.
Reds captain Liam Wright reckons the match will come down to kicking on Friday.
NSW, meanwhile, will field one of their most inexperienced backlines in recent memory, a trend that’s been building since the start of the 2019 season. Israel Folau was sacked mid-season, while fellow Test players Bernard Foley, Nick Phipps, Curtis Rona and Adam Ashley-Cooper all left at the end of the season.
Reds vs Waratahs: Teams
Queensland Reds: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Jock Campbell, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Harry Hoopert.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Josh Nasser, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Angus Scott Young, 21 Scott Malolua, 22 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 23 Josh Flook.
Waratahs: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 James Ramm, 13 Alex Newsome, 12 Joey Walton, 11 Mark Nawaqanitawase, 10 Will Harrison, 9 Mitch Short, 8 Will Harris, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Angus Bell.
Replacements: 16 Tom Horton, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Tiaan Tauakipulu, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Michael McDonald, 22 Ben Donaldson, 23 Tepai Moeroa.
Super Rugby AU Round 1 Predictions: Reds vs Waratahs: H2h
Here’s a look at how the teams compared head-to-head in Super Rugby meetings.
Out of the 32 meetings overall, the Tahs have won 18 and lost 13. The teams have drawn just once – way back in 1998.
In a straight shootout for points, the Tahs have out-scored their rivals by over 130 points, but the average difference between the two teams overall is 12 points per match. The average points each team scores per game, though, gives a slightly different picture. While the Tahs are still favourites, the gap narrows to just four points.