Sigh. With only one round to go that Super Rugby table doesn’t look any less borked. But at least we now have an idea of who will play who when it comes to the play-off matches, and it’s a case of being careful of what you wish for.
Four New Zealand sides have made the Top Eight, and note that the Blues could end up getting more points than Wild Card Sharks but still miss out.
|Brumbies (AC 1)||4||85||39|
Observant readers will note that there are six teams worse than the Rebels.
Anyway, as it stands at the moment the Quarter finals look like this:
- Lions to spank the Sharks
- Chiefs hosting the Hurricanes. That’ll be fun given what happened last time around.
- Stormers to host the Highlanders. The defending champs will fancy their chances here, but they’ve just done that trip.
- Brumbies to host the Crusaders in what on face value seems to be the best of the fixtures for New Zealand teams.
These standings could all change given the four New Zealand qualifiers get to play each other next weekend, and as it stands at the moment all of those sides have a chance of finishing anywhere between second and seventh on the table.
There has already been talk that a bit of strategic calculations could be in the mix. An all New Zealand match-up will hardly be any team’s dream fixture, but at least it takes out the travel factor when it comes to the semi-finals. And while a trip to Canberra seems like the dream fixture (which seems odd for a side finishing fifth) it is likely to lead to a trip to Johannesburg the following week.
While a weekend of teams strategically throwing matches might seem a fitting tribute to the competition format, it should be considered with caution.