Consolation wins for Aussies in Trans Tasman?

Consolation wins for Aussies in Trans Tasman?

The Australian Super Rugby teams head into the final round of the competition knowing that they have no chance of making the final. 

The Brumbies and Reds are the only teams from Down Under to pick up wins in the four rounds so far. 

Both sides are nine points off the lowest-ranked New Zealand side, the Chiefs, meaning that all the Aussie teams will be playing for pride this weekend. 

The Australians can rock the boat and ultimately decide who will make the final of the competition. The Australians have won just two of the 20 games so far in Super Rugby Trans Tasman but a win or two could well be on the cards in the final round.

The Hurricanes host the Reds in the final round-robin stages and despite being without James O'Connor for the side, the Queenslanders could cause an upset.

"The Hurricanes are playing for a finals spot and we're expecting a tough battle against them. We want to finish the season well and put in a good performance for our Queensland fans back home." Reds head coach Brad Thorn said earlier in the week. 

Ngani Laumape could be playing his final game for the Hurricanes before taking up a lucrative contract with Stade Francais. Thorn will be rearing his charges up for a final hit out in 2021 and with Wallaby places still up for grabs, don't write a Reds' win off completely. 

The Brumbies, meanwhile, will be looking to end their season on a high as well after a narrow loss to the Crusaders, a nail-biting win over the Hurricanes and two disappointing losses to the Chiefs and Blues respectively. Dan McKellar side has the strength to match the Highlanders upfront and could wrestle away a final spot from the Landers. 

"We were really happy with the response from the team last weekend but we also have an expectation to finish the season on a positive note on Friday night," Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said in the build-up to the game. 

Again there are a number of players featuring for the men from Canberra that will want to stamp a late marker down for inclusion in the Wallabies squad. 

The Melbourne Rebels chances of claiming an upset against the Crusaders seem remote. The Crusaders, under Scott Robertson, seem to save some of their best rugby for knockout games and while their encounter with the Rebels is not a playoff game, Robertson will be gearing his charges up as if it were one. There is little chance for the Rebels in this one, particularly with Matt Toomua missing the game through injury. The lowly Waratahs have struggled this season and face a Chiefs side with an outside chance of making the final. The last game of Super Rugby Trans Tasman seems to be the least likely to end in an upset.

The Western Force could rock the boat completely with their clash against the top-ranked Blues. Force head coach Tim Sampson is without the services of Tomas Cubelli, Tony Pulu and Tim Anstee but having fallen within touching distance of New Zealand opposition on three occasions this campaign. A moral boosting end to the game against the Crusaders will give the side from Perth plenty of confidence. 

The Blues have been superb throughout the competition but a slip at the final hurdle wouldn't be completely out of character for the Auckland-based franchise. 

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