More Rugby! Super Rugby Australia Kicks Off With Reds vs Waratahs

Waratahs

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Much to the delight of many rugby fans all around the world, Super Rugby began a New Zealand-only competition three weeks ago, giving spectators something great to feast their eyes on after a long rugby layoff since the start of the pandemic. Well, starting this weekend the rugby universe will be treated to another great competition, as Super Rugby now begins its Australian-only league. 

This Friday, the Queensland Reds welcome the NSW Waratahs to Brisbane, while the Melbourne Rebels head to Canberra to take on the ACT Brumbies. Here is your quick rundown of this weekend's opening round fixture between the Reds and the Waratahs:

Reds vs Waratahs | 7/3 | 5:05 am (ET)

The Reds, led by head coach and former All Black Brad Thorn, didn't get off to the most flying of starts to the Super Rugby campaign in 2020, but have a chance for a fresh start on Friday. After seven games of Super Rugby this season, the men from Queensland sat at 2-5, but don't let their record fool you, they put in some good shifts. A three point loss to the Brumbies, a seven point loss to the Lions, and a four point loss to the Crusaders indicated that the Reds are a young team waiting to take the next step. Thorn aims to lead the boys back to the days of old when the Reds were year-in, year-out contenders. 

Reds Lineup
1. Harry Hoopert
2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa
3. Taniela Tupou
4. Angus Blyth
5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto
6. Liam Wright
7. Fraser McReight
8. Harry Wilson
9. Tate McDermott
10. James O'Connor
11. Filipo Daugunu
12. Hamish Stewart
13. Hunter Paisami
14. Jock Campbell
15. Bryce Hegarty
16. Alex Mafi
17. Jean-Pierre Smith
18. Joshua Nasser
19. Tuaina Tualima
20. Angus Scott-Young
21. Scott Malolua
22. Chris Feauai-Sautia
23. Joshua Flook

The Waratahs had an even rougher start to the 2020 season than did the Reds, but they'll be excited to start from scratch on Friday evening. At 1-5 through their first six games, the Tahs showed no signs of being a contender this season, but with some time off perhaps they'll be geared up for a better showing against the Reds. The Waratahs have amazingly not lost to the Reds since 2013, spanning 11 games. If there's ever been a good shot for the Reds to end that streak it's this week. 

Waratahs Lineup
1. Gus Bell
2. Robbie Abel
3. Harry Johnson-Holmes
4. Ned Hanigan
5. Rob Simmons
6. Lachlan Swinton
7. Michael Hooper
8. William Harris
9. Mitch Short
10. Will Harrison
11. Mark Nawaqanitawase
12. Joey Walton
13. Alex Newsome
14. James Ramm
15. Jack Maddocks
16. Tom Horton
17. Tetera Faulkner
18. Tiaan Tauakipulu
19. Tom Staniforth
20. Jack Dempsey
21. Michael McDonald
22. Ben Donaldson
23. Tepai Moeroa

Players to Watch

Queensland No. 8 Harry Wilson is an extremely exciting young prospect to look out for tomorrow. The 20 year old is 6'5 and 240 lbs, and is fresh after sustaining an injury during the pre-lockdown season. 

The always exciting Globetrotter James O'Connor is one to watch for the Reds at the fly-half position. Since bursting onto the international scene as a teenager, O'Connor has found himself playing professionally for six different teams in three different countries, but now he's back home in Australia. 

For the Waratahs, second row Ned Hanigan is coin toss on whether he'll have a barnstorming game or an absolute howler. They're hoping for the former, as the young Wallaby has shown flashes of star potential, but needs to tighten the screws on his consistency. 

Waratahs flanker Michael Hooper is always class, and gives up the captains armband for the new season. 

Alex Newsome was having a solid start to the season despite his team's poor run of form before the lockdown. NSW fans will be hoping the outside center can spark some life into their season opener at Suncorp stadium. 

Prediction: Reds 26-27 Waratahs

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