Super Rugby AU Catch up: How will the Force stack up?

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Super Rugby AU is kicking off this weekend, opening with a blockbuster Reds-Waratahs showdown at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

It's been more than three months since the last professional Aussie game was played and RUGBY.com.au is here to refresh your memories.

Today, let's look at the Rebels.

Waratahs preview here.

Reds preview here.

Where were we...?

Season snapshot

The Force have played just one game this year with Global Rapid Rugby shut down.

That clash was a dominant win over the Malaysia side in their Asia Pacific tournament.

Last outing

A 51 - 14 win over the Malaysia Valke.

What's changed?

Squad changes

The Force have brought in six new, and familiar, faces for the Super Rugby AU competition. Jono Lance, Kyle Godwin, Greg Holmes, Ollie Atkins, Kane Koteka and Jordan Luke have all been added to the group for the tournament.

Long-time flanker Chris Alcock announced his retirement before the competition kicked off, ending a professional career that has spanned a decade.

Staff changes

The Force have been unaffected financially by the coronavirus pandemic so all their staff remain in their usual roles.

Where to from here?

The key to success

 A strong start. If the Force want to sit at the top end of this competition, they need to jump out of the gates and set the tone for their campaign early.

If they can clinch some scalps in the opening rounds while they are away from home, they can also really use their scheduled run of home games to their advantage.

Most important player

Ian Prior will set the bar for his side in Super Rugby AU. Photo: Getty ImagesIan Prior. The Force captain will set the emotional bar for his team throughout this season and that will be pivotal, especially when they are aware from home in the first month.

Keep an eye on...

Byron Ralston. The centre was a star in the NRC as the Force went on to claim the title and he is highly rated by many on the east coast. From the same crop as players like Reds backrower Harry Wilson, who is in the midst of a stellar debut season.

Time to step up...

New recruits. The Force need to be competitive immediately in Super Rugby AU. They have been aggressive in their recruiting and their six new, and returning, faces will need to make an early impact for the side.

Prediction: 5th

The Force will be competitive and as Super Rugby Aotearoa has shown, it only takes one or two matches to make or break your chances of success in a short competition like this, but it will be difficult for them to match it with some of the top teams. Recruits coming in on the eve of the competition and a lack of trial matches to test the level of opponents mean it will be tough for the Force to jump straight into Super Rugby AU and be dominant.

Watch every Super Rugby AU match on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy a Kayo Subscription here.The