Super Rugby AU Match Preview: Force v Reds - Green and Gold Rugby
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Super Rugby AU Match Preview: Force v Reds

Super Rugby AU Match Preview: Force v Reds

After a mammoth defensive display against the Rebels, it really looks like Brad Thorn’s young Queensland side are coming of age. With Tate McDermott back at 9, Fraser McReight Hooper-like pilfering and the Tongan Thor’s 130kg of man machine can the Force get their first win against the men in red. The Force on the other had seem to be stumbling and losing confidence. That one-point loss to the Rebels has squashed their spirits and the men from the West need to find the resilience and mental strength to get that first win and sort the lineout.

So my 4-point analysis


  1. The battle of the half backs and a new starting centre pairing for both teams
  2. Western Force Defence and Lineouts, yes again
  3. Maybe the Force should use a kicking game this week
  4. Still Can the Force get that first win?

The battle of the half backs.

Tate McDermott has been the standout number 9 of the tournament, in my opinion. I don’t know why Thorn started Malolua ahead of him. Tate has energy and composure, youth and agility and skill. He is connecting well with James O’Connor, former Force player of 38 games.

Ian Prior is returned last game after a niggling pectoral muscle injury and with Jono Lance at 10 they had a good game against the Waratahs

Kyle Godwin runs the ball

Kyle Godwin runs the ball

Centre Pairing

Kyle Godwin and Richard Kahui had a good game against the Tahs This is where the Force could have the advantage over the Reds. Kahui and Godwin are strong and with Kahui’s line breaks and off loads that’s all the Force need. Stander connections again would be crucial. They will just have to watch Jordan Petaia out on the wing. He is awesome.

Kicking game.

Last week when doing my research for this article. I had plenty of conversations with a good friend and rugby pundit, friend Conor Brennan. Conor and I fundamentally disagreed with his answer to winning the game was a controlled kicking game. Now Conor might have a point. The Force need to do something different and is that a kicking game? The problem with the force kicking to touch is their line outs.

Western Force Forwards and Lineout

Tim Sampson is making the changes in the lineout with Andrew Ready starting for the first time in Super rugby AU against his old side. But Sampson has also brought Sea of Blue favourite back onto the bench. Tessmann is a Force stalwart and a great lineout thrower. But are the Force going to shake things up in the lineout with various options like not throwing the Thrush. The reds are coming off that 170 tackles in the second half game so for the force hopefully they are all tackled out.

As the Super Rugby AU continues, Australian Rugby has been the winner here. Our 5 teams playing each other week in week out. For the rugby fan we are beginning to get to know our players again from all sides. The fun rivalries continue but to me the Brumbies are still looking like the team to beat

I am going to leave it there today

Can the Force get that elusive Super Rugby Au win against the Reds?

Yes we can.

In Summary for the Force to win:

Win the lineouts

Strong scrums

No stupid mistakes

Get the ball to Ralston

Don’t kick the ball away and

Score more than the Reds Woohooooooooo

Jordy Petaia looks for support Reds v Rebels 2020 Super Rugby (CREDIT: Brendan Hertel/QRU)

Jordy Petaia looking more and more comfortable (CREDIT: Brendan Hertel/QRU)

Match Details:

Western Force: 15 Jack Strachan, 14 Byron Ralston, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Richard Kahui, 11 Brad Lacey, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior (c), 8 Brynard Stander, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Fergus Lee-Warner, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Kieran Longbottom, 2 Andrew Ready 1 Pek Cowan
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Tom Sheminant, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Ollie Callan, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Jack McGregor, 23 Henry Taefu

Reds: 15 Jock Campbell, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Filipo Daugunu, 10 James O’Connor, 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Liam Wright (c), 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Angus Blyth, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Jack Straker
Replacements: 16 Josh Nasser, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Tuaina Taii Tualima, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Jack Hardy

Venue:  CBUS Stadium, Gold Coast
Date Friday 21 August
Kick-off 19:05 local
Referee Jordan Way
AR1 Nic Berry
AR2 Damon Murphy
TMO Brett Cronan

  • JJ

    Love your write-ups and enthusiasm Karen.

    • Karen Hennessy

      Thank JJ

  • Moz

    Thanks Karen, once again a beautifully balanced write-up! We need more of that.
    And yes, rugby has been the big winner in this tournament, just loving watching two games each weekend, and having our Force back just makes it sweeter!

    • Karen Hennessy

      Thanks Moz, I was looking forward to maybe doing the Rebels but Scott has got in there lol. I don’t think that one would of been balanced lol. I try my best but I don’t know the reds players as well but getting to know them. Impressive they are going to be the team to beat in years to come.

      • Moz

        Its hard to say. So much great talent coming up in all the teams. And if we stick with 5 teams next season, hopefully we will be bringing back some of the guys overseas as well.

  • Perth girl

    Can’t believe Stowers isn’t in the team he’s been a standout IMO

    • Moz

      Not even on the bench. I wonder if he is injured, or if this is a rotation policy?

      • Karen Hennessy

        I say on the Force newsletter it said he is being rested. Big miss.

  • Funk

    Does anyone know what has happened to JP Smith? Is he injured/out of Thorn’s favor/stuck in Yarpie Land? I can’t recall him playing since that first Reds draw with the Rebs?

  • Bernie Chan

    Now if BT would keep Campbell at fullback then he has a pretty good back three ball runners. Campbell also appears to have a decent game vision…the audacious cross field grubber to Petaia was reminiscent of QC’s across the goal line chip kick to Diggers…heart in mouth stuff for the coaches but great to see such verve in a young player.

  • Crescent

    Thanks Karen – love seeing your passion and enthusiasm! I would like the Force to get up this weekend – they have been desperately close to cracking the win, and have missed out somewhat frustratingly. Given they have been locked out of home, came into the comp with an unsettled line up – they have fought hard and should be proud of their efforts. The icing on the cake would be for them to get a “W”!

    I honestly don’t know whether the Reds will pay a price for last week’s effort against the Rebels that will be enough for the Force to get over them. I am certainly hoping to see the Force take the win.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Karen, I think the Force will need a big one to pull this off. I’m not sure they have the depth for those late periods of the game when replacements come on and need to make a difference.
    In saying this I’m loving watching them play and hope they do well

    • Karen Hennessy

      I think I agree but we are hoping that drive is there and they play cohesively. Its so great they are back.

  • Ads

    “JOC, former force player of 38 games” – lol

    • incorrect?

      • Ads

        I’m sure it is correct. It would be a very long article if all the force players who’d played for other teams/states listed their history – particularly when playing the reds!

        • S’pose so, prob the same for the reds.
          I don’t mind being reminded of players histories when its in context to the game.

Queensland Reds

Physical Education teacher, fan engagement enthusiast, Western Force and Leinster Rugby fan and also an advocate for women in sport.

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