Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd has highlighted the injustices of a Super Rugby competition structure that is set to see his side face the Chiefs in a challenging quarter-final.
As part of the farcical system that guarantees each of the conference winners a place in the top three, the Canes currently occupy fourth place on the overall standings despite having more log points (50) than both the Waratahs (44) and Lions (41).
It means that instead of possibly hosting a quarter-final against one of the lower-placed qualifiers, the Hurricanes are now likely to take on the dangerous Chiefs, a team that ironically also has more points (45) than the SA and Australian conference leaders.
Boyd, who is set to leave his current coaching role to take up a three-year contract with English club Northampton after this Super Rugby season, said it was ‘interesting’ how the current format worked out.
‘The Crusaders are entrenched at No 1 and the Lions are going to finish top of their conference, the Waratahs are going to finish top of their conference, and then the Chiefs and Hurricanes are going to finish fourth and fifth, or fifth and fourth.
‘The vagaries of the competition structure, given the pools, means that potentially both the Hurricanes and the Chiefs will finish higher, or thereabouts, than the Waratahs and Lions but don’t enjoy the privilege of getting the home playoff, so that’s an interesting feature of the competition,’ Boyd added.
It’s likely that there will be changes to the competition format when a new broadcast deal comes into effect from 2020, and Boyd suggested most would be in favour of seeing the conference format done away with.
‘At the end of the day, I think most pundits would enjoy a straight round robin and best-man standing gets the job. What that will end up being in time, with Sanzaar, will depend on windows and all sorts of things that are way past my pay scale.’
Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix