Super Rugby

Super Rugby race for play off home advantage is on



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The race for home advantage in the Super Rugby play offs is well and truly on and from a New Zealand point of view it almost could not be better.

Four out of five New Zealand teams (Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes) have qualified for the play offs and they will play each other in the final round.

Every New Zealand team can finish first or last but one in the final eight.

The draw in the final round of Super Rugby’s regular season will have fans waiting until the final match to find out where the play off will be played.

Four New Zealand teams have qualified, as well as two from South Africa (Lions and Stormers), one from Australia – either the Brumbies or the Waratahs and then either the Sharks or the Bulls will make up the final eight.

While 6 places have already been confirmed four teams – the Waratahs, Brumbies, Sharks and Bulls – are still in the running for the final two places.

The other six teams will be battling it out for home advantage and the results over the weekend could determine their fate.

Home advantage will be crucial given how tight the standings are and it should not be forgotten that no Super Rugby team has ever managed to win three away play off matches.

The Lions lead the overall standings but they have a tricky trip to Argentina ahead where they will face the Jaguares.

The Chiefs are second but they also face a tricky trip to Dunedin to face Super Rugby champions the Highlanders (in 6th place) who have earned bonus point wins in their last two matches.

The Stormers in third have arguably the easiest task as they face the Southern Kings who are 17th in the standings.

In fourth place the Brumbies are at home in Canberra and they have a match against the lowest ranked Australian side the Western Force. This means that the Waratahs who are outside of the top eight will have to beat the Blues in Auckland with a bonus point and hope that the Brumbies slip up at home.

The Waratahs will be hoping that the Brumbies either lose or fail to earn the bonus point – but that will only matter if they do manage to upset a resurgent Blues side.

The Crusaders (in 5th place) are in a tricky position as well as they host the Hurricanes (in sixth place) in Christchurch.

The Sharks occupy the 8th and final play off place and they are at home in Durban where they will play the Sunwolves who are in 18th place.

Match timings will be crucial

In 2007 the Bulls beat the Reds 92-7 in the final round as they played the last match in the final round of the regular season. The Bulls ran in 13 tries in that match as they had been able to calculate exactly how many points they needed to get home advantage over the Crusaders in the Semi-final.

The Bulls tactics clearly worked as they beat the Crusaders 27-12 in their Semi-final and went on to win the title.

This year the draw will no doubt be key in where teams finish.

– By the time the Brumbies kick off the Brumbies will know what they have to do to stay ahead of the Waratahs.

– The Highlanders and Chiefs will also know what they have to do to get ahead of the Crusaders and Hurricanes.

– The Bulls will know if they can still make the play offs when there match kicks off against the Cheetahs.

– And lastly the Lions play in the last match of the round. If one of the teams has overtaken them they will know exactly what will be needed to reclaim the top spot.

Round 17 Fixtures

Blues v Waratahs
Reds v Rebels
Sharks v Sunwolves
Crusaders v Hurricanes
Highlanders v Chiefs
Brumbies v Force
Stormers v Kings
Cheetahs v Bulls
Jaguares v Lions

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  1. BK

    11th July 2016 at 4:43 am

    This is what I believe will happen in the final round robin:

    1) The Blues will beat the Waratahs and finish off any hopes of the New South Welshmen’s chance of winning the Aussie conference and thus making the play-offs.
    As a result, the Brumbies will automatically be crowned the Aussie conference winners even before their match against Western Force on Saturday.

    2) Queensland Reds will finish their disappointing season on a high by beating the Rebels.
    But who cares as far as the quarter finals is concerned since both teams are out of the running?

    3) The Sharks will crush the Sunwolves and confirm their wild card play-off spot (No.8 position to be more exact)

    4) The Crusaders will edge the Hurricanes in a thriller to move ahead of the Chiefs for the NZ conference winners position (54 points for them while the ‘Canes will get a losing bonus point to move up to 49)

    5) The Highlanders will edge the Chiefs in another thriller.
    That will mean that the Crusaders will be crowned the NZ conference winners ahead of the Chiefs (who will stay at 51 or 52 depending on the losing bonus point).
    The Highlanders will move up to 52 points with a win but with a losing bonus point to the Chiefs which will also give the Waikao-men 52 points, the Chiefs will be ahead of the Highlanders on points differential.

    6) The Brumbies will beat the Force to eventually claim the Australian conference winners spot and the one and only play-off spot for the Australian teams.
    However, it is very likely that the men from ACT would have already confirmed that prize since the Waratahs are expected to lose to the Blues on Friday night.

    7) The Stormers will smash Southern Kings but who cares?
    The Stormers are already confirmed as Africa 1 conference winners and also the No.3 spot in overall standings even before this match kicks off.
    And of course, the Kings are already out of the running.

    8) The Bulls will beat the Cheetahs but it is very likely to become a dead rubber.
    After all, the Bulls have to rely on the Sunwolves upsetting the Sharks on Friday to any hope of the place in the quarter finals for Pretoria-men… but it’s almost certain that the Sharks will massacre the Tokyo-men and erase the Bulls from contention.

    9) The Lions will beat the Jaguares in a tough match to eventually grind out a No.1 spot in overall standings ahead of all the Kiwi contenders who have run so hot throughout the season.

    So this is how the final overall standings will look like:

    1. Lions (RSA) 56 pts
    2. Crusaders (NZL) 54 pts
    3. Stormers (RSA) 51 pts
    4. Brumbies (AUS) 43 pts
    5. Chiefs (NZL) 52 pts
    6. Highlanders (NZL) 52 pts
    7. Hurricanes (NZL) 49 pts
    8. Sharks (RSA) 44 pts

    Quarter Fianals:

    Lions (No.1) vs Sharks (No.8) @ Johannesburg
    Crusaders (No.2) vs Hurricanes (No.7) @ Christchurch
    Stormers (No.3) vs Highlanders (No.6) @ Cape Town
    Brumbies (No.4) vs Chiefs (No.5) @ Canberra

  2. Markus

    12th July 2016 at 10:11 am

    And that means, 1 SA and 3 NZ Teams in the semis.
    What really shows the strength of the NZ-teams this year.

  3. Michael Thomas

    13th July 2016 at 12:14 am

    The Brumbies will save the day. Making 1 AUS 1 SA and 2 NZ teams in the semis

    • Josh

      13th July 2016 at 11:20 am

      You really think the Brumbies will beat the Chiefs??? okay…

  4. Milz

    15th July 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Lions wil b champs ths yr ,i garanted

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