An exciting new dawn has arrived for rugby in Australia with Super Rugby AU kicking off on Stan Sport and Nine on Friday night.
The Queensland Reds will host the NSW Waratahs in the season opener before the Western Force entertains the Brumbies in Perth.
The Brumbies were the first AU Super Rugby champions in 2020, beat the Reds in an exciting final.
But what does the Australian pecking order look like in this new era?
We have ranked the five teams for you.
1. Brumbies: 2020 record 7-2 (champion)
Attack: 24.1 points per game (3rd)
Defense: 18.9 points per game (1st)
3 first rounds: Force (away), Waratahs (home), Rebels (away)
The defending AU Super Rugby champions are looking to advance the good times.
Coach Dan McKellar preaches stability, even sacrificing his own appeal to the Wallabies coaching staff last year and extending his Brumbies contract until the end of 2022, so that team can continue their recent success.
Speaking of calls from the Wallabies, 11 of this year’s squad played in the gold jersey last year, so there is some quality in the park, despite the losses of Lachlan McCaffrey, Joe Powell and Tevita Kuridrani.
The Brumbies will be focused on winning up front again, with the solid front pack capable of scoring a test truck – especially lineup practices – or at least, letting the full-backs work from a excellent platform.
Many are predicting the Brumbies will be finalists this year, although any team will have to go through the best defense in the competition.
And given that the Canberra men haven’t lost to any Australian opponents at home since 2019, it becomes clear how important the task will be.
Key player: Sail
Mr. underestimated: Andy muirhead
2. Queensland Reds: 2020 record 6-3-1 (finalist)
Attack: 26.3 points per game (1st)
Defense: 19.1 points per game (2nd)
3 first rounds: Waratahs (house), Rebels (house), Bye
With so much positivity floating around Reds HQ this year, the only question is, can they take the leap?
After pushing the Brumbies to the limit of the 2020 Grand Final, the Reds added more firepower.
Renowned league rookie Suliasi Vunivalu adds excitement to an already stacked backline, while the team’s existing talents have made great strides in the past year.
Filipo Daugunu, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Hunter Paisami and Harry Wilson had brilliant Super Rugby seasons, which earned them the selection of the Wallabies, which will help their development.
We also hope that full-back Jordan Petaia can shake off his miserable luck with injuries to enjoy a more substantial game series.
The injury virus has already bitten captain Liam Wright and he is expected to be out for 10 weeks.
However, there is significant loose front cover and James O’Connor has a wealth of experience as a backup skipper.
Overall, this team seems poised to go up and while Brad Thorn isn’t expected to break out breakdancing moves – like Crusaders coach Scott Robertson – you can expect some wild celebrations to come. they can become champions in 2021.
Key player: Taniela Tupou
Mr. underestimated: Jock campbell
3. Melbourne Rebels: 2020 record 4-4-1 (qualifying finalist / 3rd location)
Attack: 23.0 points per game (4th)
Defense: 22.6 points per game (3rd)
3 first rounds: Bye, Reds (outside), Brumbies (at home)
There is no place like home and in 2020 the rebels found themselves without one – forced to move to New South Wales for the home games.
This year, there are similar COVID issues with question marks over the possibility of hosting games in Melbourne.
While living in a suitcase led to their first appearance in the Super Rugby final, coach Dave Wessels looks to push further this year with new signings like league convert Young Tonumaipea, as well as the Australian seven-a-side stars. Jeral Skelton and Lewis Holland all looking to add more. attacking spark.
Returning talent in the form of Pone Fa’amausili, Jordan Uelese and much-vaunted Trevor Hosea are looking to build on their Wallabies involvement last year and deliver a good start, following the transfer of accessory Wallaby Jermaine Ainsley to the Highlanders.
Title-winning half-back Joe Powell is a good addition and his combination with Isi Naisarani at the back of the scrum and Matt To’omua at five eighths – will be crucial to trigger a backline with seasoned stars Marika Koroibete , Reece Hodge and Dane Haylett. -Small.
Captain Dane Haylett-Petty hopes to return from concussion issues soon, but so far there is no specific date for his return.
Key player: Isi Naisarani
Mr. underestimated: Joe powell
4. Waratahs: 2020 record 4-4 (4e location)
Attack: 25.5 points per game (2nd)
Defense: 23.6 points per game (4th)
3 first rounds: Reds (away), Brumbies (away), Force (home)
To kick off the 2020 Super Rugby season, the Waratahs were appalling, but by the end of Super Rugby AU they had made significant progress – narrowly missing the qualifying final on the points differential.
Second-year coach Rob Penney now has a huge challenge for the blues sky to move up.
Ned Hanigan, Rob Simmons, Tom Robertson, Jed Holloway, and Michael Hooper (among others) are all gone.
Hooper will return next year after a Japanese sabbatical and in his absence, half-back Jake Gordon has been named captain.
Playing away for Gordon is second-year star Will Harrison, who has previously assumed the role of Australia’s top kicker in the game.
He will seek to become the best pivot in the country over the next few years.
He’s handled the attack well in 2020, often under tough conditions, so that experience will serve him well as the new Waratahs look looks to push for the final.
Adding other young developing talents like Angus Bell, Lachie Swinton, James Ramm, Tom Horton and Joey Walton, it means there is hope that the ‘inexperienced’ label will not hold this team for long. .
Key player: Will harrison
Mr. underestimated: Carlo Tizzano
5. Western Force: 2020 record 0-8 (last place)
Attack: 14.4 points per game (5th)
Defense: 31.6 points per game (5th)
3 first rounds: Brumbies (home), Bye, Waratahs (absent)
The Western Forces have certainly been fun to watch this offseason.
Expelled from Super Rugby since 2017, simply taking the pitch in Super Rugby AU was a major victory.
As COVID spoiled the previous model of Super Rugby, the Force was welcomed back and despite having to move and losing all eight games, it pushed teams on occasion.
Now, they’ve added talent from all over the world to lead the charge this year.
Snaring Wallabies Tevita Kuridrani and Tom Robertson immediately gives more credibility to this camp.
But they didn’t stop there.
The sad demise of the Jaguares has seen the Force fall on Argentine internationals Santiago Medrano, Tomás Lezana and Tomás Cubelli, who will be crucial cogs in the Force machine.
They also called on Irish ‘Mr Reliable’ Rob Kearney to provide stability at the back, American center Marcel Brache, Australian seven-a-side player Tim Anstee, retained Kiwis Richard Kahui, Toni Pulu and Jeremy Thrush, as well as Fergus Lee. Warner, Jono Lance and the Byron Ralston excitement machine.
Coach Tim Sampson’s ability to incorporate that international talent and experience will be crucial to improving on last year’s worst attacks and defenses.
Key player: Avoid Kuridrani
Mr. underestimated: Domingo miotti