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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Could the Stormers miss the Super 14 semis?

With only one round remaining in the 2010 Super 14 there is still considerable uncertainty about three of the semi-final positions. The Bulls are certain to finish on top but there are five teams vying for the remaining three positions. Intriguingly each of these teams has to play another finals contender. The three relevant games are: Crusaders vs. Brumbies at Christchurch; Waratahs vs. Hurricanes at Sydney; and Stormers vs. Bulls at Cape Town.

The current competition points tally and points for-and-against difference for the five teams are:

Stormers 39 166
Waratahs 38 81
Brumbies 37 85
Hurricanes 37 51
Crusaders 36 75

The Reds are virtually no possibility of making the four. Mathematically there is only one way they could make it. They would have to win with a bonus point and the Stormers lose without any bonus points, plus they would have to make up the 90 points difference advantage that the Stormers hold over them.

The most likely semi-finalists are the Bulls, Stormers and the winners of the Waratahs-Hurricanes and Brumbies-Crusaders games. However both the Stormers if they lose and Crusaders even if they win are still vulnerable to a losing Waratahs sneaking past them. Not a likely scenario but it is still in their interests for the Waratahs to win.

If the Waratahs lose to the Hurricanes but earn two bonus points they will finish on 40 points. If the Stormers lose without earning a bonus point they will finish on 39 and thus miss out on the semis given that the Hurricanes and the winners of Brumbies-Crusaders will each finish on at least 40 points.

If the Waratahs lose to the Hurricanes but earn two bonus points and the Crusaders win without a bonus point they will both finish on 40. At present the Waratahs hold a six-point advantage over the Crusaders in terms of points difference, so if both the Waratahs-Hurricanes and Brumbies-Crusaders games had very tight finishes, the Waratahs could just nudge out the Crusaders.

In the semi-finals the Bulls will have a home game against the fourth finishing team, while the second finishing team will have a home game against the third finishing team.

The Stormers just need to beat the Bulls to lock in second place, but they should be hoping the Waratahs win or lose without earning the double bonus points in case they themselves lose.

The Waratahs need to win to secure their place, but will be hoping that both the Stormers and Brumbies lose so that they are assured of second place and a home semi.

The Brumbies are out unless they win, but could reach second spot if they have a bonus point win and the Stormers lose so long as the Waratahs don't have a bonus point win.

The Hurricanes are in if they win but out if they lose.

The Crusaders are out if they lose but at some risk of missing out even if they win. They should be hoping the Waratahs win or lose without earning the double bonus points.


Nursedude said...

The schedule makers were clairvoyant. It's too bad about the Reds not being able to make the final 4, because they are clearly the most improved team in the Super 14. I actually think the Stormers will win that last game against the Bulls-who won in controversial fashion against the Crusaders. Oh, I have now moved my blog to www.propnurse.blogspot.com-Nursedude

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