Thu, Feb 1, 11:09am by Staff Writer
The Brisbane Global Rugby 10s returns for its second appearance in the pre-season preparations for the best in southern hemisphere rugby with a few international guests. All of the Australian and New Zealand Super Rugby sides will be represented at the tournament alongside a Fiji Rugby side, French Top 14 club Pau and the Japanese Panasonic Wild Knights.
Whilst for the first time there will be a women’s competition with teams submitted from all of the Australian franchises. A new format will see a day-night tournament across two days as sides vie to kick start their 2018 season with a trophy.
With the Kiwi sides dominance over the Australians in recent years it is no surprise the three favourites to win the tournament are the Chiefs, Crusaders and Hurricanes. All of whom are priced at $5.50.
Last years inaugural Champions, the Chiefs are back to defend their title. They will once again be led from the front by talismanic flanker Liam Messam. The All Black was in inspirational form in 2017 and will be looking for a repeat performance. He headlines a squad with a blend of Super Rugby experience and players looking to make a mark ahead of the new season.
The Crusaders will undoubtedly be one of the teams to watch at the Brisbane 10s. The reigning Super Rugby Champions have announced a squad filled with talent from last season’s title winning team. Wingers Seta Tamanivalu and George Bridge showed their try scoring exploits in 15s and will relish the space afforded them.
Despite missing several their star All Blacks due to mandatory rest periods, the Hurricanes have named a squad brimming with speed and power. Indeed, their squad arguably looks the strongest with Nehe Milner-Skudder, Cory Jane, Ngani Laumape and rising star Jordie Barrett.
A lack of household names in the Fiji Rugby side will make no difference to the threat they pose at the 10s. Priced at $6.50 they will look to challenge the more established franchises and will provide a few shocks over the weekend.
The Blues and Highlanders both endured tough seasons in 2017 and will be aiming to kickstart this season in Brisbane. They stand at $8 and as with the other Kiwi sides will be without numerous first choice players. Crowd favourite Rene Ranger will be one to watch for the Blues, whilst the Highlanders will be looking to Liam Coltman to lay a marker down upfront.
French side Pau will have many fans searching for who exactly they are. Yet they will bring a squad to Brisbane littered with international caps. Included are several former All Blacks, a former Wallabies captain, an England and Fijian international. Centre Conrad Smith will lead the side looking to overturn a price of $14.
The best priced Australian sides are the Brumbies and Waratahs at $14.
As the Brumbies look to start the year on the front foot, they have named a strong squad headlined by flyers Tevita Kuridrani and Henry Speight. The Waratahs will find it tough to reach the final stages of the competition as they have been placed in the ‘Pool of Death’ alongside the Chiefs, Pau and Highlanders.
Brisbane 10’s Winner
Panasonic Wild Knights $41
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