The 2021 Super Rugby AU Finals kick off this weekend with an interesting clash between the Brumbies and Western Force in the qualifying final. A spot in the Grand Final against the Reds is on the line and as usual, Jim Tucker has you covered with a full preview and betting tips for the clash below.
Sat, May 1, GIO Stadium, Canberra 7:45pm (AEST)
A home final on a chilly night in Canberra...you’d back the Brumbies every time. You never know how different finals footy is until you’ve been there and the Brumbies have that composure as Super Rugby AU’s defending champions. It’s hard to argue with the clearcut $1.14 quote for a Brumbies’ win.
The Brumbies have the bases covered. Centres Irae Simone and Len Ikitau have developed as a premier pairing, finisher Tom Wright is a beauty and fullback Tom Banks is relishing this chance as a Test audition as well. With James Slipper, Allan Alaalatoa and sub Scott Sio as quality Test props, the Brumbies well cover what pressure the Western Force will hope to apply at scrum time.
The Brumbies have the superior scorepower, not even allowing for hooker Folau Faingaa rumbling to the tryline off a lineout drive. You have to fancy the $1.80 for Faingaa as an “Anytime Tryscorer” against the Force because finals are so often tighter affairs.
The Force are on a three-game winning roll and that confidence counts for plenty. None of it was generated against the Brumbies because they lost the two regular season games 42-14 and 27-11.
They were 28-0 down and in full retreat before they woke up on their last visit to Canberra in March.
Even with their experienced core, the Force will be more nervy than the Brumbies and little flaws in discipline around penalties and pushing passes will bite them big time. The Force have to play a near-perfect game to pull a huge upset or get close. The pack is settled and abrasive and that’s where any momentum has to start. A stroke of Tim Anstee magic for a try would help big time.
Force flyhalf Domingo Miotti is solid enough but he poses no attacking threat. The Brumbies have more weapons and flyhalf Noah Lolesio has the knack to punch a hole himself.
The only obvious weak link to either side is the back three of the Force, who can be a little flighty. That’s enough to give the Brumbies a target for contestable kicking and bullying up the park.
It’s a tough betting game but a $3.60 “Anytime Tryscorer Multi” linking Faingaa and Wright is one tip. As a Pete Samu fan on nights like this, the $3.60 for him to score a try any time in the match is appealing.
It's hard to touch the margin bet of 15.5 points. The Brumbies may run away with it if the Force have no shot in the final 20 minutes. Equally, if the win is secured the Force may score some cheap points at the death. Winning by a point is all that matters. A terrific qualifying final would embed the Force as the feel-good story of the season.
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