The Reds host the Sunwolves in Round 4 of Super Rugby in Brisbane on Saturday, a first home game of the season for the Queensland side who have lost all three of their matches so far.
Reds v Sunwolves, Saturday 22nd February, Brisbane, KO 10:15 (South African time)
Referee: Nic Berry
Assistant Refs: Jordan Way , Aaron Pook
TMO: James Leckie
Weather Forecast – Brisbane
The Reds will no doubt be delighted to be back in Brisbane after 3 defeats on the road. In Round 3 they left Buenos Aires empty handed after going down 43-27 to Jaguares, a game of 10 tries, 4 of which were scored by the Reds who came up short of staying within a 12.5 point handicap start.
The Reds were beaten 27-24 by the Brumbies in Canberra in Round 1 and 27-20 by the Lions in Johannesburg a week later. The Queenslanders had led the Brumbies 17-7 at half time in that opening match and given they were down to 13 men at one stage in Johannesburg against the Lions you could argue they could have taken more than a losing bonus point from both those matches.
After Round 3 the Reds were fourth in the Australian Conference, 7 points behind the Brumbies who top that division and 2 behind the Rebels and the Sunwolves.
The Sunwolves came off a Round 2 bye to host the Chiefs in Tokyo last week, they were given 20 points start by the bookmakers and went down 43-17. In Round 1 the Sunwolves pulled off a surprise win over Australian opposition. They were 16.5 point underdogs for a home game against the Rebels and they made a mockery of those handicap quotes, winning the game 36-27.
Last season the Sunwolves ran the Reds close in both matches, losing by 3 points in Tokyo and 6 in Brisbane.
Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Hunter Paisami, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Henry Speight, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Liam Wright (c), 6 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 5 Angus Blyth, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Alex Mafi, 1 JP Smith
Replacements: 16 Ed Craig, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Josh Nasser, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Fraser McReight, 21 Scott Malolua, 22 Isaac Lucas, 23 Bryce Hegarty
Sunwolves: 15 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 14 Siosaia Fifita, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Garth April, 9 Naoto Saito, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Mitch Jacobson, 6 Kyo Yoshida, 5 Michael Stolberg, 4 Corey Thomas, 3 Conrad van Vuuren, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Chris Eves
Replacements: 16 Efi Ma’afu, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Kotaro Yatabe, 20 Tevita Tupou, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Keisuke Moriya, 23 Shogo Nakano
Recent Head to Head (any venue)
2019 Brisbane Reds 32–26 Sunwolves (Tries 4-2 )
2019 Tokyo Sunwolves 31–34 Reds (Tries 4-5)
2018 Brisbane Reds 48–27 Sunwolves (Tries 7-3 )
2018 Tokyo Sunwolves 63–28 Reds (Tries 6-4)
2016 Brisbane Reds 35–25 Sunwolves (Tries 4-3 )
Reds -14.5 generally available
Sunwolves +15,5 at Sunbet
Note: Odds quoted are subject to change
I set this handicap at Reds -19.5 during my weekly Sunday handicapping exercise and so it should be no surprise I am going for the home team here. They have had a tough start to the tournament with 3 away matches and plenty of travel and while they are yet to win a game they have at stages looked set to win all 3.
The Sunwolves play entertaining rugby and are always good to watch but I expect the Reds scrum to get on top and the hosts to pull clear to win well.
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