The first home-and-away cycle wraps up in Round 5 of Super Rugby AU, headlined by the top-of-the-table clash between the Brumbies and Reds in Canberra.
Both teams are undefeated while the Reds have welcomed back a few key faces just in time for the biggest game of their season to date.
The Force host the Rebels at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney, Dave Wessels' side looking to back up last week's strong win over the Waratahs despite the loss of skipper Dane Haylett-Petty.
Read on for the team lists, odds and analysis of both this weekend's fixtures.
Friday, July 31
Force: Jack McGregor, Byron Ralston, Kyle Godwin, Richard Kahui, Marcel Brache, Jono Lance, Ian Prior; Brynard Stander, Tevin Ferris, Henry Stowers, Fergus Lee Warner, Jeremy Thrush, Kieran Longbottom, Feleti Kaitu'u, Chris Heiberg.
Replacements: Andrew Ready, Pekahou Cowan, Tom Sheminant, Johan Bardoul, Ollie Callan, Nick Frisby, Henry Taefu, Brad Lacey
Rebels: Reece Hodge, Tom Pincus, Andrew Kellaway, Billy Meakes, Marika Koroibete, Matt To'omua, Ryan Louwrens; Isi Naisarani, Richard Hardwick, Michael Wells, Trevor Hosea, Esei Haangana, Jermaine Ainlsey, Jordan Uelese, Cameron Orr.
Replacements: Efitusi Maafu, Cabous Eloff, Vaiilli Fa'amaluli, Matt Philip, Rob Leota, Brad Wilkin, Frank Lomani, Andrew Deegan.
Odds [tab.com.au]: Force $4.00 (+10.5 $1.90), Rebels $1.25 (-10.5 $1.90)
Verdict: The Force will certainly be hoping for a better performance than their first match at Leichhardt Oval last week. Beaten 23-0 by the Brumbies, the Force were unable to really trouble a dogged Brumbies defensive line after only a week earlier playing some fine attacking run in a narrow loss to the Reds. With the east-coast low having move away from Sydney, the ball should hopefully be a little easier to handle. They will certainly be strengthened by the Test-strength midfield pairing of Richard Kahui and Kyle Godwin, too. While the Rebels are without skipper Dane Haylett-Petty, they have a huge addition to the pack in the return of Isi Naisarani who was one of Super Rugby's most dominant ball-carriers before its suspension earlier in the year. If the Wallabies No. 8 hits the ground running, then the Rebels should be able to lay a fine platform for Matt To'omua to take control of this contest just as he did last week. Rebels by 12.
Saturday, August 1
Brumbies: Tom Banks, Solomone Kata, Tevita Kuridrani, Irae Simone, Tom Wright, Bayley Kuenzle, Joe Powell, Pete Samu, Will Miller, Rob Valetini, Nick Frost, Murray Douglas, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga'a, Scott Sio.
Replacements: Connal McInerney, James Slipper, Tom Ross, Tom Cusack, Lachlan McCaffrey, Isaak Fines, Mack Hansen, Andy Muirhead.
Reds: Jock Campbell, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daugunu, James O'Connor, Scott Malolua; Harry Wilson, Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Lukhan Salakai-Loto, Angus Blyth, Taniela Tupuo, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Dane Zander.
Replacements: Alex Mafi, Feao Fotuaika, Jack Straker, Ryan Smith, Fraser McReight, Tate McDermott, Bryce Hegarty, Jordan Petaia.
Odds [tab.com.au]: Brumbies $1.37 (-7.5 $1.90), Reds $3.15 (+7.5 $1.90)
Verdict: Super Rugby AU's first full round of home-and-away fixtures [albeit after several were rerouted to Sydney] has saved the best for last as the undefeated Brumbies and Reds meet in Canberra. It seems like a lifetime ago that these two Aussie teams played only Super Rugby's second game of the year on January 31 when the post-match discussions revolved around how stupid it was to be playing rugby in Australia at that time of year. Oh how times have changed. The temperature will be far cooler in Canberra on Saturday, but the match is no less significant with the bulk of these two sides favoured to make-up the majority of Dave Rennie's first Wallabies squad. Look for a huge front-row battle between Taniela Tupou and Scott Sio, the Reds prop having really developed as a scrummager this year while James O'Connor's claims as the Test fly-half will be examined by a Brumbies defence that shut out the Force last week. The Reds have also named Jordan Petaia as part of a stacked bench, which will set the game up for a thrilling final quarter. Brumbies by 3.