New York, NY- After our trips around the Southern Hemisphere, we are back in NYC. Now that we have predicted how the conferences will finish, let’s go and figure out who will be ranked where in the playoffs. We will also put our neck on the chopping block and pick the one team that will rise above all.
To recap we predicted that the conferences would finish as follows:
1. ACT Brumbies
2. Queensland Reds
3. NSW Waratahs
4. Melbourne Rebels
5. Western Force
Now remember in this new format, the conference champions make the playoffs with the top two getting 1st round byes. The conference champ that doesn’t get a bye will host a match against the 1 of the 3 wildcard teams with the worst record of the 3. DJ Eberle is probably thinking that things sounds familiar, NFL familiar.
So here is how we see things going forward. The Brumbies and Stormers will get byes, benefiting from weaker conferences. The Highlanders will take the home 1st round match-up. The 3 playoff wildcard sides will be the Reds, Sharks and Bulls. I feel sorry for the Crusaders and Chiefs but the New Zealand conference will be a slugfest and as such they won’t be able to notch the amount of wins and points to make the playoffs.
So the seeding will finish:
2. ACT Brumbies
4. Queensland Reds
This will set-up 1st round match-ups of:
Highlanders v Bulls
Queensland Reds v Sharks
The Highlanders will take on and take down the Bulls. The Bulls will not be ready for the expansive attack of the boys from Dunedin, and once they have to play from behind the Bulls will be in trouble. The Sharks will face the Reds in Queensland in a re-match of last years 1st round match-up. Unfortunately for the Reds, like last year, The Sharks will leave with a hard fought victory. This will create the following match-ups for the Semi-final or Minor Finals as the Aussies have called it from time to time.
Semi-Final (Minor Final)
Stormers v Sharks
Brumbies v Highlanders
It is easy to see the Highlanders upsetting the Brumbies. The ‘Landers have loads of veterans who are well exposed to the rigors of winning on the road. The Stormers stop the Sharks run cold. It will be a rematch of last year’s clash. One year wiser and better, the Stormers extract their revenge. So the final will be
Championship Final (Major Final)
Stormers v Highlanders
Like the run made by the Baltimore Ravens in the NFL, the Highlanders win it all. They have spent good money on recruiting talent. They have good support players and role players. They have more than adequate coaching. They have all the makings of a championship side and they will become a championship side.
Well that is it for me for now. Feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats, @Mathew Drew Turner and @Ebstide52, respectively. And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs.