The Super Rugby season is starting to heat up and Round 8 offers two fantastic games across Friday and Saturday night. The action gets underway with the Melbourne Rebels taking on the Western Force on Friday night before the Queensland Reds take on the ACT Brumbies on Saturday. As usual, our Super Rugby expert Jim Tucker has his best bets for the action below.
Super Rugby Round 8 Betting Tips
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force
Fri, April 9 AAMI Park, Melbourne 7:45pm (AEST)
The Rebels shot themselves in the foot with those two intercepts that led to tries against the Reds last weekend. They just have to win this one to lock in a spot in the qualifying final. Promoting Rob Leota to starting lock is a good move to add more anger, hustle and dynamism. The Rebels will get some more ball-playing and variety to their attack now sevens distributor Lewis Holland is at inside centre. Reece Hodge is happier at fullback anyway. The Rebels got huge value deploying quick-stepping winger Frank Lomani at first receiver when he punched several holes in the Reds’ defence. The Rebels seem to have more weapons and that includes Marika Koroibete. This is the sort of match where Koroibete might just explode off a loose Force kick or against some disorganised defence.
The Force are playing their third five-eighth in six games with Domingo Miotti at No.10. That’s an all-Argentinian halves pairing with Tomas Cubelli. With four Argentinians in the starting side, they’ll know what they are doing in Spanish. Three different No.10s is still no formula for consistency which is what the Force crave. Can again see the Force winning enough ball to win through their diligent pack but lacking a bit of execution to turn it into points gold. Winger Byron Ralston has been starved of chances so he’ll relish any ball that reaches him. There's more chance with Kyle Godwin returning at inside centre because he's a clever player.
The Rebels won 25-20 and 34-30 in two tight clashes between the clubs last year and 10-7 in Perth last month. Sense this one may not be as close.
Queensland Reds vs ACT Brumbies
Sat, April 10, Suncorp Stadium 7:45pm (AEST)
The Reds-Brumbies rivalry has amped up over the past two seasons because the teams keep running into each other and both see it as the benchmark game in Australia. This will be the sixth meeting of these teams in 14 months. They are incredibly close. Five points has been the biggest margin between the teams in matches that matter because we’re ruling out the 26-7 win by the Reds at Suncorp Stadium last September when it was the last match before the finals. It had no bearing on ladder positions which explained the milder Brumbies that night.
The 40-38 epic between the sides in Canberra last month swung on the Reds’ huge scrum dominance over the final 30 minutes when the Brumbies’ top four props were sidelined. The Brumbies have taken care of that with the return of Wallaby prop Allan Alaalatoa from suspension to scrum with James Slipper. It’s the Reds’ front-row which looks a little wobbly in this one if they have to go to their rookie bench props too early.
The Reds have huge motivation...a win locks in hosting rights for the final. They’ve won nine straight at “Fortress Suncorp” so that’s a big pointer here too. More pointedly, at Suncorp Stadium, the Reds are 4-0 in this clash on the Brumbies' most recent visits to Queensland. Paisami v Ikitau at outside centre is a great match-up. The Reds really need Jordan Petaia to chime in for more work off his wing like he did in Canberra with that match-winning try grounding. James O’Connor is in rich form and expect that to continue. For the Brumbies, Nic White loves these games and he can be a real pest against the Reds.