What you need to know about the Super Rugby AU finals series

Super Rugby - AU
by Christy Doran

... And with one swift strike of the ball Matt To'omua kicked the Melbourne Rebels into their maiden finals series and booted the Waratahs out.

Rebels coach Dave Wessels leapt from his seat in his coaching box and threw his arms in the air in triumph. His former second-rower Geoff Parling, a British and Irish Lion not least, smiled brightly and the Rebels breathed one sigh of relief after spending the best part of three months on the road.

The heartbreak and agony written, again, over the blue faces of the Force.

A dream of returning to the Super Rugby fold a new reality, but a much-sought after win will have to be put on ice after letting slip yet another victory from their grasp.

Meanwhile, up north, the Queensland Reds warmed up for the finals with yet another impressive performance by beating the minor-premiers, the Brumbies, 26-7.

Their defence under the unheralded Michael Todd - an analyst who was thrown in the deep end when COVID struck and the Reds had to let go assistant coach Peter Ryan because of financial stress - has become rock solid.

Like all good sides, too, they're learning the ability to pounce on their opponents mistakes and counter-attacking at will.

All the Waratahs could do was cross their fingers and hope for a miracle. It almost came. Almost.

So how will the inaugural finals series take place?

By finishing in top spot the Brumbies automatically progress to the final and will host the big dance in Canberra on September 19.

COVID restrictions will still be in place, but it's hoped more than 6,000 people will be able to attend the match at GIO Stadium.

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It will be the Brumbies' first home final since they crushed the Crusaders 47-38 and Mark Gerrard scored a hat-trick, Joe Roff a double and a little ol' halves paring by the names George Gregan and Stephen Larkham pulled the strings.

The Brumbies will take on the winner of the Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels, who will play in the preliminary final at Suncorp Stadium on September 12.

It's the first time the Reds have hosted a final since South Africa's Sharks ambushed Ewen McKenzie's side in the quarter-finals in 2012.

PAST RESULTS

The Rebels and Reds first met in the second round of Super Rugby AU. It was a game both sides would want to forget, with neither side handling the wet conditions well.

Not even Super Time could separate the two sides, with the match finishing 18-18.

More recently, the Reds produced one of their most gutsy wins in their history as they managed to hold on and win 19-3 in Brisbane despite being forced to make more than three times as many tackles as the Rebels.

FINALS SCHEDULE

PRELIMINARY FINAL

Queensland Reds v Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane. Kick-off: 7:15pm AEST, September 12 

GRAND FINAL

Brumbies v winner of preliminary final at GIO Stadium, GIO Stadium. Kick-off: 7:15pm AEST, September 19

HOW TO WATCH

Live on Foxtel, Foxtel Now or Kayo Sports