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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The key remaining games in the 2010 Super 14

The Super 14 has now passed the halfway point with seven weeks remaining before the finals series. The points table presents a somewhat confusing picture, with some teams having played seven games and the others, having had a bye, only six. The situation becomes somewhat clearer if team totals are adjusted by allowing four points for the bye. With this correction the current table becomes:

Bulls 32
Stormers 27
Crusaders 27
Waratahs 23
Reds 23
Brumbies 21
Chiefs 21
Blues 20
Hurricanes 16
Cheetahs 13
Sharks 12
Highlanders 10
Force 5
Lions 3

It would appear that there are nine teams still with some prospect of making the semi finals; the Cheetahs, Sharks, Highlanders, Force and Lions having dropped out of contention. Although the bottom five may still cause the odd upset, the key matches are going to be those between the top nine.

Bonus points may still be important, although thus far there is a very limited spread of these extra points between the top nine. The Stormers, Crusaders, Waratahs, Reds and Hurricanes each have three; the Bulls and Blues have four; while the outliers are the Brumbies and Chiefs on one and five respectively.

Looking at the key matches for each of the nine in the run home:

The Bulls on 32 play away against the Blues, Chiefs and Reds, before finishing with home games against the Crusaders and Stormers.

The Stormers on 27 play away against the Blues, Chiefs and Reds, then a home game against the Crusaders, before finishing with an away game against the Bulls.

The Crusaders on 27 play away against the Hurricanes, then are home to the Waratahs, away to the Stormers and Bulls, before finishing at home to the Brumbies.

The Waratahs on 23 play away to the Crusaders, home to the Brumbies, away to the Chiefs, then home to the Hurricanes.

The Reds on 23 are at home to the Bulls and Stormers, then away to the Brumbies and Hurricanes.

The Brumbies on 21 are at home to the Hurricanes, away to the Waratahs, home to the Reds, then away to the Crusaders.

The Chiefs on 21 are at home to the Bulls and Stormers, away to the Hurricanes, home to the Waratahs, then away to the Blues.

The Blues on 20 are at home to the Bulls, Stormers and Chiefs.

Finally, the Hurricanes on 16 are at home to the Crusaders, away to the Brumbies, home to the Chiefs, and finally away to the Waratahs.

The key matches this weekend are Blues vs. Bulls and Hurricanes vs. Crusaders. If these go according to script the Blues and Hurricanes might basically drop out of contention. Unless one or more of the top three begin to drop a number of games, there is likely to be a fierce contest for the fourth semi spot between the three Australian contenders and the Chiefs. Matches between those four over the last three weeks: Waratahs - Brumbies, Brumbies - Reds, and Chiefs - Waratahs may well be the discriminator.

Of course, upset wins by the bottom five teams or an accumulation of bonus points may upset this logic.

1 comment:

Rugby Blog said...

Really facinating Super 14 season this year. Could be no NZ teams in the final 4 at all judging by the Crusaders loss last night