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After going almost four months without, rugby has finally returned to Australia and it’s one of the oldest clashes in the game that will kick things off on Friday night.
Both the Reds and the Waratahs have enjoyed long unbeaten streaks in the age-old rivalry.
Super Rugby kicked off in 1996 but it wasn’t until 2004 that the New South Wales Waratahs recorded their first win over the Queensland Reds. It was a further seven years until the Reds managed to get back on top of their neighbours and they then recorded five victories on the trot.
In 2014, however, the tide suddenly turned. While the Queenslanders had suffered just the seven losses against the Waratahs leading up to that point, they’ve now gone a further 11 games without recording a win.
2020 has been a tragic year for the Waratahs, however, with the 2014 champions managing just a single victory. The long break must have given the once formidable side the opportunity to regroup and refocus and they’ll with the pre-COVID rugby all but forgotten, Super Rugby AU presents a massive opportunity to start afresh.
The Reds’ season faired slightly better, with two victories from their seven matches – but their young team has been on the improve and you get the feeling that they’re on the cusp of something good.
The pandemic-enforced break wasn’t necessarily kind to either side’s rosters, however, with Kurtley Beale calling time on his decorated Waratahs career and the Reds trio of Izack Rodda, Isaac Lucas and Harry Hockings having their contracts terminated.
Still, the off-season, pre-Coronavirus losses will be wiped from the ledger, as far as most people are concerned, if the Super Rugby AU competition is a success – and it all starts tonight in Brisbane.
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