Super Rugby Australia returns to action on Friday and we’ll be treated to two exciting matches in Round 1.
With just ten rounds slated before another short finals series, every match and result is vital, and every club will be eager to begin the new campaign on the right foot.
We’ve taken all of the heavy lifting out of it for you, and you can find our 2021 Super Rugby Round 1 Tips below.
Perhaps fittingly, the Super Rugby Australia season will launch with the renewing of one of Australian rugby’s better rivalries; the Reds hosting the Waratahs at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
The Reds were, for the most part, one of the better sides in Super Rugby Australia last season, culminating in a Grand Final berth.
Their young and versatile squad has been bolstered by a few key additions, namely former NRL player Suliasi Vunivalu, but most importantly the majority of the Reds’ squad have now played together for five seasons or more, and they won’t need to spend much time re-establishing combinations.
The Waratahs meanwhile have been perennial underperformers for several seasons now and failed to make the finals in this five-team competition in 2020. They showed glimpses of a quality side, but rarely fired when the pressure went on.
They too will field a young side with plenty of potential in season 2021, but there is a distinct different in the experience they have in direct comparison with that of a team like the Reds, and it’s likely to be telling.
I’m confident that the Reds will win and with just 9.5 points separating the sides at the line, I’m confident they’ll cover as well.
The second match in Round 1 will see last season’s cellar-dwelling Western Force take on champions the Brumbies, but betting suggests that this will be the tighter contest.
Given they hadn’t played in a topflight competition for a couple of years and were also granted all of about four weeks to throw together a squad, I thought that there was a lot to like about the Force in 2020.
There’s little doubt they’ll improve for that campaign, while they’ve also been Super Rugby Australia’s most prominent side on the market this year, adding some genuine star quality to their roster including Irish fullback Rob Kearney and four Argentinians, including flanker Tomas Lezana.
The Brumbies carry a very similar squad into the 2021 season to that which won last year’s decider, rich with international stalwarts and serious talent.
They are fitting favourites to win the whole thing again in 2021 and I’m confident that they will pick up where they left off with a comfortable win in Round 1.