Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Tracker: Updating Australia's target win rate from Round 2

Well that wasn't the start Australia was after.

While the opening week of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman was always going to be a tough proposition for Australia's five sides, there was genuine hope one of the Reds, Waratahs, Brumbies, Rebels or Force would find a way to win. But it didn't happen, and the Reds, Waratahs and Rebels were all soundly beaten along the way.

We predicted a lacklustre opening weekend return for the Australian teams, but the 0-5 return has certainly put the Trans-Tasman success tracker firmly in the spotlight.

As ESPN's New Zealand columnist Liam Napier again alluded to during this week's ESPN Scrum Reset podcast, it is imperative the Australian teams get moving in Round 2 as negotiations around the 10- or 12-team fully unified competition for 2022 continue.

Read on as our rugby experts Sam Bruce and Brittany Mitchell update their collective Australian Trans-Tasman targets.

Sam Bruce:R1: 9/25 [36%]

Revised target: 6/25 [24%]

Given on what we saw over the weekend, it's hard to see how either the Rebels or Waratahs will scratch out a win over the next four weeks. Sure, NSW enjoyed some success on attack but you simply can't afford to concede 63 points, to anyone, and think you're legitimately going to be in the contest. And some of those Hurricanes tries were incredibly soft.

On the other side of the ledger is the Brumbies, who proved they are worthy combatants for any New Zealand opposition by running the Crusaders extremely close in Christchurch. Dan McKellar's side match-up best against the Kiwis of any Australian outfit, and I can honestly see a situation where they win all four of their remaining games, starting with this week's trip to Hamilton to face the Chiefs; an assignment made easier by the fact they have remained in New Zealand following that loss to the Crusaders.

There was enough in the Force's performance against the Chiefs to suggest they might manage one win - this Friday against the Highlanders perhaps their best chance - but I am suddenly not so confident in the Reds' fortunes.

Saturday night's game against the Crusaders, when the Reds are at home, should tell us a lot and answer questions like whether Queensland invested everything emotionally into Super Rugby AU and simply have nothing left in the tank - as it looked in Dunedin last Friday.

But they are back to near full strength for their round 2 encounter, with Hunter Paisami a huge addition in midfield.

Brittany Mitchell Rd1: 11/25 [44%]

Revised target: 9/25 [36%]

Are we really surprised all five New Zealand sides came away from Round 1 with a victory? While I was optimistic heading into the opening round that one of Australia's five sides might be able to knock off one of their trans-Tasman rivals, I wasn't too shocked to see them all fall short.

In fact, after seeing two of Australia's sides come within a conversion of victory or draw it raised my hopes that in Round 2 we'd see some fist pumping in the land of Oz; whether we see much through the rest of the season is yet to be seen.

Last week I was confident the Reds would be the front-runners for Australia in the Trans-Tasman competition, such were their emphatic displays in Super Rugby AU. But following round one's sluggish performance, it has me questioning if they have enough fuel in the tank to back up AU. Three straight games at home should give them plenty of pep, but this week's clash with the Crusaders will give us a great idea exactly where they stand.

The Brumbies meanwhile have me thinking it could be the Ponies that fly the flag for Australia. A three-week road trip will play against them, but they have more than enough talent to win their first game in Waikato, they'll be tested in Auckland but are surely unbeatable at home. I'm backing them to come home with a wet sail and keep the run going.

As I said last week, the Force's only hopes for a victory come at home and they came oh so close last week against the Chiefs. If they're to win, Friday's clash with the Highlanders has got to be their only hope. Meanwhile for the Rebels and Waratahs, it looks like it's going to be a winless season for both. Before last week I thought both sides would get lucky at home with at least one win, but after they both shipped over a half-century of points I think they'll be lucky to earn a losing bonus point at this stage.

This round will be a trust test for the Australian franchises. If Australia fail to earn at least one victory in Round 2 it can only be viewed as a failure.