AUCKLAND, NZ – OK, so two weeks to go in the regular season and the playoff situation in Super Rugby is as wide open as it’s ever been. Guess it was a really good move by SANZAR to go to the conference system which guarantees one NZ, SA and Aussie team in the finals but leaves a massive scrap for the remaining spots. Let’s have a look at what the situation is for each team:
Home and hosed:
The Sharks and Waratahs. These two consistent sides have locked up their conferences but shouldn’t relax just yet as they can both pip each other for top spot. I would say the Sharks are still favourites to end up first on the table.
Pretty much there:
The Crusaders and Highlanders. Despite a worrying dip in form last week, the red and blacks have got enough points in the bank to know they’ll be playing finals footy. Meanwhile the Highlanders keep getting better and better.
Need big wins:
The Hurricanes, Force, Blues and Chiefs: Even though the Canes are one point behind the Crusaders and Highlanders, this will be their last game of the regular season due to a bye in the last round. 46 points might just be enough, so they need a bonus point. The makes their match against the Chiefs essentially a knock-out. The Blues need a bonus point win against the Crusaders then probably another next weekend, whereas the Force are in the same boat.
Need a miracle:
The Bulls. Last week’s results did nothing to help the Bulls, who need 5 points out of each of their next games and all the teams ahead of them to lose.
Need to start thinking about what they’ll be doing in three weeks time:
Everyone else because they won’t be making the playoffs, but the Cheetahs, Rebels, Stormers and Lions have known this for quite a while.
So here’s a quick run-down of this weekend’s action, with the boys from South Africa are back after their extended break.
Friday night sees the Chiefs vs. Hurricanes #CHIvHUR. Most important match of the round. Will decide which one of these two will be playing in the finals, both needing a bonus points win. The next morning is the Lions and Rebels #LIOvREB in a nothing match that won’t have any bearing on anything.
Saturday night is a huge game for the Blues, who need a bonus point win over the Crusaders in Christchurch #CRUvBLU. That’s followed by the Force and Reds in Perth #FORvRED, in which the Force need an identical result. The next morning sees another must-win-with-a-bonus-point scenario for the Bulls, who play the Stormers in Cape Town #STOvBUL. That’s followed by the Sharks taking on the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein #CHEvSHA, a big win for the Sharks here will see them reclaim the top spot.
The last game is in Sydney on Sunday evening between the Waratahs and the Highlanders #WARvHIG and has the best chance of being the shootout of the round. Both teams are running hot right now and this one should see plenty of points.
Apologies for the brevity of this week’s column! I promise to make it up to you all with a bumper review after this weekend’s games, should be a kick-ass round. Have fun wherever you’re watching it and let us know what you think might happen.
That’s it for now. Feel free to comment below, please look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter@:RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Jamie Wall, Jaime Loyd, DJ Eberle, Cody Kuxmann, Karen Ritter, Jake Frechette and Declan Yeats, respectively.