A South African sports scientist says that he believes the Crusaders will have a 10 point advantage over the Sharks in their Super Rugby Semi-final due to the travel and home advantage.
Dr Ross Tucker of the Sports Science Institute of South Africa has looked through past seasons of Super Rugby an calculated that home advantage is worth about five points and the travel is worth another five points.
"I've looked at all the previous seasons of Super Rugby before and I've tried to quantify how much home advantage and travel is worth," he told SARugbymag.
"That is to determine the difference between a team playing at home as opposed to that same team traveling to face the same opposition."
"Looking over the results, simple home-ground advantage is worth about five points, while travel is worth about another five points. "
"The consequence of that is if you are going to beat a team away from home after traveling, you need to be around 10 points better than them. It makes a big difference."
Tucker also said that the referee could be a factor that makes things more difficult for the team playing away from home.
"The reason it is so difficult to win overseas is because of the physiology of what it takes to travel. You lose sleep during an uncomfortable night on a plane and later because of jet lag. "
"Added to that, you're away from home, the other team is familiar with the stadium and the conditions, and the referee is subconsciously on their side."
The Sharks have already beaten the Crusaders in Christchurch this year but that could count against them as the hosts are itching to redress that loss.
Tucker did off the Sharks some hope though and said, "Remember this is all theoretical at the end of the day. This is sport and there are no certainties."