It’s finals time in the Super Rugby Aotearoa and AU competitions on Saturday, as the New Zealand and Australian champions are crowned.
Serial champions the Crusaders are favourites to seal yet another crown when they tackle the Chiefs at the Orangetheory Stadium.
Across the water it’s a battle between the Queensland Reds and the Brumbies for bragging rights Down Under.
There’s plenty more to come, too, as the teams from both tournaments come together for a trans-Tasman tussle later this month.
Super Rugby Aotearoa & AU 2021: Predictions for 8 May
Prediction methodology explained: The expected win percentage is based off publicly available odds. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.30, the expected chance of winning is 43%. If the odds are 1.62 the expected chance of winning is 62% and so on. These are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change. Where there is no value listed, the odds were not available at the time of writing. Score margins use the methodology developed by Rugby Vision or StatsChat.
Super Rugby Aotearoa: Crusaders vs Chiefs
Super Rugby Aotearoa reaches its final on Saturday and it’s no surprise who has home advantage as the Crusaders take on the Chiefs.
The serial winners tackle the men from Waikato at the Orangetheory Stadium having topped the New Zealand standings.
Scott Robertson’s side won six and lost two of their eight fixtures to finish on 28 points, eight clear of their visitors for the showpiece.
The Chiefs pipped the Blues on a countback of results, despite contriving to finish second in the table despite a hefty negative points difference.
There are All Blacks aplenty as Scott Barrett leads out the hosts alongside Sam Whitelock in the lock pairing.
Richie Mo’unga wears the ten jersey, while George Bridge, Sevu Reece and Will Jordan provide the zip as the outside back trio.
Visiting coach Clayton McMillan has plumped for Bryn Gatland at fly-half for the trip to Christchurch.
Damian McKenzie starts at full-back, while Alex Nankivell and Anton Lienert-Brown team up in the midfield.
Crusaders Starting XV: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Cullen Grace, 8 Cullen Grace, 7 Sione Havili Talitui, 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 George Bower.
Replacements: 16 Brodie McAlister, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Tom Sanders, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Dallas McLeod, 23 Braydon Ennor.
Chiefs Starting XV: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Jonah Lowe, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Pita Gus Sowakula, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tupou Vaa’i, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Bradley Slater, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Zane Kapeli, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Rameka Poihipi, 23 Chase Tiatia.
Super Rugby AU: Queensland Reds vs Brumbies
Super Rugby AU crowns its champion on Saturday when the Queensland Reds go up against the Brumbies at the Suncorp Stadium.
It’s a showdown between the two sides that have been undisputedly the best in the Australian competition.
The Brisbane team won seven from eight, with a shock loss to the Western Force thrown in, to top the standings with 33 points.
Their visitors finished just four points behind and 11 points clear of the Force in third, thanks to six victories from their eight fixtures.
Jock Campbell returns to the Reds wing in a boost for coach Brad Thorn, who also calls up Josh Flook at outside centre following the nasty facial injury to Hunter Paisami.
Thorne has also found room for Ryan Smith at lock, as Angus Scott-Young shifts out to the flank.
Injury to James Slipper means the Brumbies bring Scott Sio back into the front row, while hooker Lachlan Lonergan comes in for his debut on the big stage.
Coach Dan McKellar has Nic White at his disposal at scrum-half, with Tom Banks directing the traffic at full-back.
Queensland Reds Starting XV: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Jordan Petaia, 13 Josh Flook, 12 Hamish Stewart, 11 Jock Campbell, 10 James O’Connor (captain), 9 Tate McDermott, 8 Harry Wilson, 7 Fraser McReight, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 4 Ryan Smith, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Feao Fotuaika.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Dane Zander, 18 Zane Nonggorr, 19 Seru Uru, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Kalani Thomas, 22 Isaac Henry, 23 Filipo Daugunu.
Brumbies Starting XV: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Andy Muirhead, 13 Len Ikitau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Tom Wright, 10 Noah Lolesio, 9 Nic White, 8 Rob Valetini, 7 Rory Scott, 6 Nick Frost, 5 Cadeyrn Neville, 4 Darcy Swain, 3 Allan Alaalatoa (captain), 2 Lachlan Lonergan, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Folau Fainga’a, 17 Harry Lloyd, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Henry Stowers, 0 Luke Reimer, 21 Ryan Lonergan, 22 Reesjan Pasitoa, 23 Mack Hansen.