Super Rugby: Australian Conference Preview

Super Rugby: Australian Conference Preview

The 2019 Super Rugby Australian Conference is could be an interesting one as many teams have lost old faces, but have also gained a number of new ones.  Here are our predictions for each team.


 

 

 

Brumbies:

Predicted Conference Finish: 3rd

 

 

Fixtures:

Rebels (H), Chiefs (H), Hurricanes (A), Rebels (A), Waratahs (H), Reds (A), BYE, Crusaders (A), Lions (H), Stormers (A), Jaguares (A), Blues (H), Sunwolves (H), Bulls (H), Sunwolves (A), Waratahs (A), Reds (H).

 

 

Player to Watch: David Pocock

If he can keep injury free this season, Pocock is expected to be the main force in the Brumbies side and its often that if the flanker is on his game the team ends up doing well.

 

 

Youngster To Watch: Rob Valetini

 

A strong powerful blindside flanker, Valetini has already been tipped for a test career and backed by many to climb on the Wallabies' plane to Japan later this year.

 

 

 

 

Rebels

 

Predicted Conference Finish: 2nd

 

Fixtures:

 

Brumbies (A), BYE, Highlanders (H), Brumbies (H), Lions (A), Sharks (A), Reds (A), Sunwolves (H), Stormers (H), Waratahs (A), Hurricanes (A), Reds (H), Bulls (H), Sunwolves (A), Waratahs (), Crusaders (A), Chiefs (H).

 

 

 

Player to Watch: Quade Cooper

Cooper is coming off a year playing club rugby in Brisbane after being shunned by Queensland coach Brad Thorn. The veteran playmaker has not featured at the top level since 2017 and there is plenty expected from him on his return.

 

 

Youngster To Watch: Jack Maddocks

 

Into his third season of Super Rugby and a fully capped Wallaby now, the best of Jack Maddocks is set to come. The extremely versatile back features mostly on the wing but could make an impact all over the pitch for a Rebels side that will be looking to claim a playoff spot. 

 

 

 

 

Reds

Predicted Conference Finish: 4th

 

 

Fixtures:

BYE, Highlanders (A), Crusaders (H), Waratahs (A), Sunwolves (A), Brumbies (H), Rebels (H), Stormers (H), Bulls (A), Sharks (A), Sunwolves (H), Rebels (A), Waratahs (H), Chiefs (A), Jaguares (H), Blues (H), Brumbies (A).

 

 

 

Player to Watch: Samu Kerevi

Kerevi has been named the Reds captain this season and takes over from Scott Higginbottom. Kerevi has played for Queensland since 2014 and is seen as his sides main threat since the departure of Quade Cooper.

 

 

 

Sunwolves

Predicted Conference Finish: 5th

 

 

Fixtures:

Sharks (H), Waratahs (H), Chiefs (A), Blues (A), Reds (H), Lions (H), Waratahs (A), Rebels (A), BYE, Hurricanes (H), Highlanders (H), Reds (A), Brumbies (A), Rebels (H), Brumbies (H), Stormers (A), Jaguares (A).

 

 

 

Player to Watch: Michael Little

 

The Kiwi centre was outstanding for the Sunwolves last year and will look to continue that form in 2019. With a lot of the Japanese Internationals being rested in the opening rounds Little will be a key player for the Sunwolves once again with his pace, power and offloading ability. 

 

 

 

Waratahs

Expected Conference Finish: 1st

 

 

Fixtures:

Hurricanes (H), Sunwolves (A), Reds (H), Brumbies (A), Crusaders (H), Sunwolves (H), Blues (A), Rebels (H), BYE, Sharks (H), Bulls (A), Lions (A), Reds (A), Jaguares (H), Rebels (A), Brumbies (H), Highlanders (A).

 

 

 

Players to Watch:

It is really tough to pick just one out this squad but Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale and Israel Falou are all high profile players and will be all trying have a big season as it’s World Cup year. 

 

 

Youngster To Watch: Harry Johnson-Holmes

 

Johnson-Holmes was a regular in the Waratahs front row during the 2018 season and will look to make the most of his opportunities this year. A former Australian u20, the loosehead prop has all the skills to become a regular Super Rugby and potential test international. Elsewhere, Israel Folau's 24-year-old brother will look to make the most of his debut Super Rugby season after making his switch from rugby league.

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