Super Rugby – Conclusions from the final round robin stage
July 16, 2012 in Uncategorized
And so the longest Super Rugby season ever is almost at an end and it took the full 18 rounds to decide who the top six is and we had a lead change in the penultimate match of the weekend. If that doesn’t excite you, going to Vegas will be a waste of time and money.
Congrats to the Stormers for finishing on top of the overall log, but more on that later.
My conclusions for this week…
1.) The Stormers’ fate is now securely in their own hands. The only permutations now left for them to ponder is winning whoever comes to Newlands to play them after next week. No trying to get onus points. No having to look at other results. Their biggest vulnerability was the fact that they didn’t score bonus point tries, but that won’t be a factor anymore. Their biggest strength is their ability to keep the opposition from scoring. If they can keep this up, they ruin my season and win this damned thing.
2.) For the third time in history, the Bulls will be heading off to Christchurch for playoff match. For umpteenth time in history, a South African team try achieve something that is yet to happen in this competition, namely the ‘Saders being beaten by a SA side in their own backyard. Not very likely.
The Bulls will definitely have my support and my Superbru pick on Saturday, but if they lose, they can look back at their home losses to the Blues and Stormers as the reason for them having to play in Christchurch on Saturday instead of sitting at home watching the Stormers do it. They had still have their fate in their own hands, but a better showing in twenty forgettable minutes out of more than 1280 could have dealt them better odds.
3.) Rules are rules, I know, but the team with the sixth most points being gifted a home playoff is just wrong! At least justice will be served when the Reds beat the Sharks and will have to go all the way to Newlands for the semi instead of hopping over to Hamilton because, if I understand the system correct, after the first knockout round the standings will be based purely on log points and not this conference crap. (With the exception of the top two conference leaders off course.)
Update: I must have mistaken the rules for what they should be and not what they currently are. The Reds have received the number ranking and they’ll keep it for as long as they stay in the competition. This means that, should the Bulls go through, their semi final destination will be decided by whoever wins in Brisbane. If the Reds win, we go to Cape Town. If the Sharks win, we go to Hamilton.
4.) We may have three teams in the playoffs, including the log leaders, but a head to head comparison will state that the overall quality of the NZ teams is much better than that of the SA sides and it was because most of of SA’s talent is playing for the top three rather than all five franchises as is the case currently in New Zealand. Another prove in point is the fact that the Blues, NZ worst side, finished on top of two Aussie sides and one SA side. All three countries, though, have enough talent to put together a decent test side and the Rugby Championship is not lost or won by any of the three Southern giants yet.
That’s it for my conclusions for this week. Saturday has the potential to be thrilling encounters, but they can just as well be one sided affairs won by the home sides. But, never the less, I am looking forward to it!