ACT Brumbies skipper Christian Lealiifano and Queensland Reds captain Samu Kerevi at the Super Rugby season launch last week.
ACT Brumbies skipper Christian Lealiifano and Queensland Reds captain Samu Kerevi at the Super Rugby season launch last week.

Horan: How the four Aussie Super Rugby teams are shaping up

WITH the Super Rugby season fast approaching, Wallabies legend Tim Horan looks at the prospects of the four Australian teams in 2019.

 

 

 

ACT BRUMBIES

Coach: Dan McKellar

Captain: Christian Leali'ifano

Last season: 10th, 7 wins, 9 losses

Key man: Tevita Kuridrani. When Kuridrani is scoring tries or breaking the defensive line, it allows the whole team to play a quick, attacking style of rugby.

Final word: the Brumbies are the dark horse among the Aussie sides. Their off-season has been strong and pre-season form outstanding. With Tevita Kurindrani returning after a lot of injuries last year, the Brumbies are going to surprise a lot of people and go close to winning the Australian conference.

 

Tevita Kuridrani is key to the Brumbies' quick, attacking style of rugby. Picture: Getty Images
Tevita Kuridrani is key to the Brumbies' quick, attacking style of rugby. Picture: Getty Images
 

 

NSW WARATAHS

Coach: Daryl Gibson

Captain: Michael Hooper

Last season: 3rd, 9 wins, 6 losses, 1 draw

Key man: Kurtley Beale. He is going to be under a little bit of pressure to hold on to his No.12 jersey for the Wallabies, but Beale has always had the X-factor. The Waratahs need him fit if they are to go deep into the season.

Final word: there is always so much expectation when it comes to the Waratahs. They should finish on top of the Australian conference but it will depend on how big-name players such as Israel Folau, Beale and Bernard Foley stand up. A lot is on their shoulders to deliver. They were brilliant at the back end of last year and the Tahs went close to beating the Lions in Johannesburg in the playoff to make the final.

Kurtley Beale looked good early.  Picture: AAP
Kurtley Beale looked good early. Picture: AAP

 

 

QUEENSLAND REDS

Coach: Brad Thorn

Captain: Samu Kerevi

Last season: 13th, 6 wins, 10 losses

Key man: Jordan Petaia. Great as an 18-year-old last year, Petaia will probably start on the wing this time around and is certainly one to watch.

Final word: attack coach Jim McKay is a big inclusion for the coaching structure. Someone who worked a lot with Ewan McKenzie, McKay was part of the Reds' title-winning 2011 campaign. There are not too many standout changes in personnel, but there is more talent in the squad - and a few more youngsters who have got a taste for the competition and will have a bit more experience this time around. Kerevi and Thorn will say they want to win the competition, but I feel if they win more games than they lose it will be a really good season for them. I always thought this would be a three-year process for Thorn. This is his second year.

Teenager Jordan Petaia was extremely impressive last season. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP
Teenager Jordan Petaia was extremely impressive last season. Picture: Dave Hunt/AAP

 

 

MELBOURNE REBELS

Coach: David Wessels

Captain: Dane Haylett-Petty

Last season: 9th, 7 wins, 9 losses

Key man: Will Genia. He will drive the team and demand excellence. If Genia's fit, the Rebels will have a reasonably successful season.

Final word: I think it's going to be another tough year for the Rebels but they will play some exciting rugby. The announcement of Haylett-Petty as captain will be good for him. The Rebels have never settled on a No.10 since coming into Super Rugby and because Cooper is likely to be there for only a year or so - and they have a good, solid forward pack - this season is when they have to pull the trigger. We don't know how the combinations are going to work, but in Wessels I believe the Rebels have the best coach among the Australian teams.

Will Genia will demand excellence from his Melbourne Rebel teammates. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/AAP
Will Genia will demand excellence from his Melbourne Rebel teammates. Picture: Tracey Nearmy/AAP
   
News Corp Australia


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