Craig Lewis

Super Rugby Power Rankings (Round 4)

Blues No 8 Akira Ioane was in fine form against the Lions Blues No 8 Akira Ioane was in fine form against the Lions

CRAIG LEWIS rates the 15 Super Rugby teams based on performances after four rounds.

The Super Rugby conference system makes for confusing reading regarding the respective teams' standings in the tournament.'s senior writer believes that this is where they should rank on current form.

1. Lions (3-1)
The Lions cling onto top spot in spite of their narrow defeat to the Blues on Saturday. Although it was a first loss of the season for the Lions, they picked up a losing bonus point and remain well placed in the standings.

2. Rebels (3-0)
The Rebels have been the surprise package this season, and were at it again this past weekend as they secured an impressive 33-10 win over the Brumbies that sees them having collected a maximum 15 log points from three games. The only reason they don't rise to top place in these standings is that they have faced particularly weak opposition up to this point.

3. Crusaders (2-1)
The Crusaders drop a spot after their defeat to the Hurricanes this past weekend. It was a performance that exposed certain vulnerabilities that weren't evident last year when the Saders went on to win the title.

4. Highlanders (2-0)
As expected, the Highlanders were far too good for the Stormers last Friday, and remain handily placed with a game in hand.

5. Hurricanes (2-1)
The Hurricanes shoot up to fifth spot after their impressive win over the reigning champion Crusaders. From start to finish, the Canes looked to be in complete control, and underlined their title credentials this season.

6. Chiefs (1-1)
The Chiefs had a bye this past weekend and are pushed down a place as a result, although they will be favourites at home against the Bulls this Friday.

7. Reds (2-1)
The Reds rise to seventh spot after claiming an important win over the Bulls this past weekend. It's hard to know exactly just what to make of this Reds side, though, particularly when one factors in a heavy loss to the Rebels in the opening round.

8. Blues (1-2)
The Blues rise to eighth after their gutsy win over the Lions at Ellis Park. Although the visitors looked dead and buried midway through the second half, they fought back to claim a result that proves they should not be written off.

9. Waratahs (1-1-1)
After claiming encouraging results against the Stormers and Sharks, the Waratahs let themselves down as they succumbed to a meek 38-28 defeat to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires for their first loss of the season.

10. Bulls (1-2)
The Bulls drop three spots after their loss to the Reds this past weekend. Despite impressing in the first half, the Bulls then lost their way and ultimately succumbed to a disappointing defeat.

11. Sharks (1-1-1)
The Sharks finally hit their straps in round four as they thrashed the Sunwolves 50-22 and delivered some eye-catching passages of play that should build their confidence as they now head overseas. However, they remain just below the Bulls based on the quality of the opposition.

12. Brumbies (1-2)
The Brumbies slipped to a second defeat of the season as they fell short against the Rebels last Friday. One has to wonder just what has happened to the former two-time champions.

13. Stormers (1-3)
The Stormers will just be grateful that their horror tour is over. The Highlanders inflicted another heavy defeat on the Stormers in New Zealand, and ensured the Cape-based side will now return home with their tail between their legs. 

14. Jaguares (1-3)
The Jaguares claimed a much-needed win as they downed the Waratahs in Buenos Aires, and proved again that they are a side that can't be underestimated at home.

15 Sunwolves (0-3)
The Sunwolves appear destined for another joyless season. On Saturday they were simply no match for the Sharks, which again gave rise to critics suggesting that the struggling team from Japan should be axed from the competition sooner rather than later.

Photo: Gavin Barker/EPA

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