With just two games standing in the way of being crowned the 2011 Super Rugby Champion, this weekend’s Super Rugby Semi-Finals are set to be huge.
While New Zealand are the only side to still have two teams in the hunt for the title, both have to travel away from home and face teams, who in 2011 have set the benchmark for the competition. On Saturday evening the Queensland Reds will step out in front of what is expected to be a full house at Suncorp Stadium to take on the Auckland Blues who last week accounted for a gallant NSW.
The Reds welcome back a trio of big names Digby Ioane, Beau Robinson and Anthony Faingaa for their first Super Rugby Semi-Final appearance in a decade. Having enjoyed a week off the Reds will be out to repeat their efforts of Round 13 when they beat the blues 37-31 at Suncorp Stadium and enter their first ever Super Rugby Final.
The Blues on the other hand will enter the game with a wealth of finals experience having played in five finals series since 1996, four of which resulted in Super Rugby Final appearances and wins. After defeating the Waratahs in Auckland last week the Blues will be out to dispatch the second and last Australian team left in the Finals race, but the Reds will have different ideas and with a huge home crowd expected will be a tough opponent to conquer.
The winner’s opponent in the Super Rugby Final will be determined in the early hours of Sunday morning Australian time when the Stormers host the Crusaders at Newlands Stadium in Cape Town. The Crusaders will enter the game full of confidence after last week defeating the Sharks in Nelson and will be further buoyed by the result they secured when they travelled to Newlands Stadium in Round 12 defeating the Stormers 20-14.