Round 1 showcased plenty of young talent that whet the appetite of Australian rugby fans. Round 2 will give long suffering Western Force supporters a chance to witness their side back in the Super Rugby fold.
It's been two years since the Force last took on their Australian rugby foes, ironically against the Waratahs, who are their opposition this weekend.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria has forced the Rebels to move their home game to Sydney's northern beaches where they will host the Reds.
Read on for the team lists as they come to hand, odds and analysis of both this weekend's fixtures.
Friday, July 10
Rebels: Dane Haylett-Petty, Andrew Kellaway, Campbell Magnay, Billy Meakes, Marika Koroibete, Matt To'omua, Ryan Louwrens; Michael Wells, Richard Hardwick, Josh Kemeny, Michael Stolberg, Matt Philip, Vaiilli Fa'amausili, Jordan Uelese, Matt Gibbon.
Replacements: Efitusi Ma'afu, Cameron Orr, Jermain Ainsley, Trevor Hosea, Esei Haangana, Frank Lomani, Rob Leota, Reece Hodge.
Reds: Bryce Hegarty, Jock Campbell, Hunter Paisami, Hamish Stewart, Filipo Daugunu, James O'Connor, Tate McDermott; Harry Wilson, Fraser McReight, Liam Wright, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Blyth, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Harry Hoopert.
Replacements: Alex Mafi, JP Smith, Josh Nasser, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Angus Scott-Young, Scott Malolua, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Josh Flook
Odds [tab.com.au]: Rebels 1.95, Reds $1.85; Rebels +1.5 $1.85, Reds -1.5 $1.95
Verdict: Brookvale Oval is the unlikely venue for this clash after the Rebels were forced out of Victoria by the COVID-19 spike. And they will need to improve significantly on last week's effort if they're to worry the Reds, who made a solid start against the Waratahs. The biggest worry for the Rebels is the injury absence of Isi Naisarani; the Wallabies No. 8 has been the Rebels' most consistent performer in recent years and his go-forward through the middle was badly missed in Canberra last week. Some errant lineout throwing, too, also cost them dearly, putting the spotlight firmly on Jordan Uelese. The Reds, meanwhile, really should have beaten the Waratahs are little easier than they, goal-kicking again proving to be a problem. But they are otherwise played some great rugby and with an unchanged line-up, should have too much class for the Rebels. Reds by 7.
Saturday, July 11
Waratahs: Jack Maddocks, James Ramm, Alex Newsome, Joey Walton, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Will Harrison, Mitch Short; Will Harris, Michael Hooper, Lachie Swinton, Rob Simmons, Ned Hanigan, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Robbie Abel, Angus Bell.
Replacements: Tom Horton, Tetera Faulkner, Tiaan Tauakipulu, Tom Staniforth, Jack Dempsey, Michael McDonald, Ben Donaldson/Tepai Moeroa, Karmichael Hunt.
Force: Jack McGregor, Byron Ralston, Marcel Brache, Nick Jooste, Brad Lacey, Jono Lance, Ian Prior; Brynard Stander, Tevin Ferris, Henry Stowers, Fergus Lee-Warner, Jeremy Thrush, Kieran Longbottom, Feleti Kaitu'u, Angus Wagner.
Replacements: Andrew Ready, Chris Heiberg, Greg Holmes, Johan Bardoul, Ollie Callan, Jacob Abel, Henry Taefu, Kyle Godwin.
Odds [tab.com.au]: Waratahs 1.20, Force $4.50; Waratahs -12.5 $1.95, Force +12.5 1.85.
Verdict: Welcome back, Western Force. After three years out of the national rugby spotlight, the Perth-based outfit make their return against the same team whom they thrashed in their final Super Rugby match in 2017. From the moment their return was confirmed, the Force have made it clear they want to make a "statement" and prove the rugby footprint in Western Australia deserves better. Given they played just one match in Global Rapid Rugby earlier in the year, it may take a few weeks for them to settle into Super Rugby AU. The Waratahs played some good rugby last week but were well beaten at scrum time, and there are also ongoing concerns around their defensive setup. This game will be closer than you might think. Waratahs by five.