It’s an all Aussie weekend, as the franchises from Down Under get their games out of the way before facing the British and Irish Lions who arrived on their shores this week. Here’s a look ahead at the only two fixtures this weekend.
Brumbies v Rebels
The team with the best points difference in the league against that with the second worst should be a bit of a no-brainer, but the absence of all those in the Wallaby squad does make things a little trickier to predict – certainly in terms of margin. The Brumbies are still sitting pretty at the top of the Aussie log and do not look like being toppled after getting back to winning ways in their last two games. The Rebels continue to perform pretty well, and before going down the Reds last weekend they had won their last two matches. They are suffering somewhat of an injury crisis at scrum-half, where new signing Luke Burgess may have to be rushed into action as early as this weekend.
The Brumbies should win fairly comfortably at home, although the absence of their Wallaby stars should see the margin cut a bit.
Prediction: Brumbies by 14
Force v Waratahs
The Force have shown a sign of where their priorities lie by resting the majority of their usual starters for their midweek game against the Lions, meaning they will mostly be fit and fresh to take on the Waratahs on Sunday. The Waratahs will be desperate for a win to keep them in touch with the Reds and the Brumbies and in the hunt for a play-off place, but with a fair few men away with the Australian training squad how will their replacements fare?
It is a tricky one – some of the Force may be tired from midweek duties, and they have very little to play for, but the Waratahs will be hugely understrength due to all their internationals being absent. The Waratahs might just sneak it by virtue of wanting it a bit more.
Prediction: Waratahs by 4