JON CARDINELLI selects an overall 18-team Super Rugby log based on performances and opposition faced after 10 rounds.
The confusing Super Rugby conference system makes it difficult to see just where teams stand in the competition, but SARugbymag.co.za's chief writer believes this is where they would rank in a 1-18 format.
1. Crusaders (9-0)
Last week’s ranking: 1
Can anyone stop the Crusaders? The Cantabrians scored seven tries in their 48-21 thrashing of the Cheetahs. The result marks their ninth consecutive win, and boosts their overall log points tally to 41 (out of a possible 45).
2. Lions (8-1)
Last week’s ranking: 4
While the Lions left it late, they did enough to bank a bonus-point win in Perth. Johan Ackermann’s side is sitting pretty at the top of the South African group.
3. Chiefs (8-1)
Last week's ranking: 3
The Chiefs failed to impress in their 27-20 win over the Sunwolves in Hamilton. Yet their win record remains one of the best in the tournament, and they are placed well when one considers their regular-season travels are a thing of the past.
4. Hurricanes (7-1)
Last week's ranking: 2
The Hurricanes enjoyed a bye in round 10, and have been overtaken by the Lions and Chiefs as a result. Don’t be surprised if they make up some ground when they host the Stormers in round 11, though.
5. Highlanders (6-3)
Last week’s ranking: 7
The Highlanders produced one of their best performances of the season against the Stormers in Dunedin. One should expect them to oblige with a similar display, and to obtain another emphatic result, when they travel to Bloemfontein.
6. Sharks (6-1-2)
Last week's ranking: 6
The Sharks beat the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, despite the unavailability of several key players. They should be favourites to down the Force at Kings Park in round 11.
7. Stormers (6-3)
Last week's ranking: 5
The Highlanders dominated the Stormers in Dunedin and romped to a record 57-14 victory. While it may surprise some to see the Stormers riding relatively high in these rankings, one needs to remember that the Cape side won their first six games and still enjoy a commanding lead at the top of the Africa 1 conference.
8. Blues (4-5)
Last week’s ranking: 9
The Blues outscored the Brumbies three tries to zero in Canberra on Sunday. While they may battle to finish in the top three of the Kiwi conference, they should continue to enjoy success against non-New Zealand sides.
9. Jaguares (4-5)
Last week’s ranking: 8
The Jaguares have lost five on the bounce. They blew a big opportunity to beat the Sharks in Buenos Aires recently, considering the Sharks were missing a number of players due to suspension and injuries.
10. Brumbies (3-6)
Last week's ranking: 10
The Brumbies would rank 10th on an overall tournament table if log points and points difference determined log position. Its a sad indictment of Australian rugby, considering the Brumbies are at the top of the Australian conference.
11: Kings (3-6)
Last week's ranking: 12
The Kings scored six fantastic tries against the Rebels to record their third win of the season. Deon Davids’ side needs one more victory to break the franchise record.
12. Bulls (3-5)
Last week's ranking: 11
The Bulls have dropped a place in these rankings and on the South African group log. The Pretoria-based side had a bye in round 10, and have been overtaken by the Kings following the Eastern Cape team’s resounding win against the Rebels.
13. Waratahs (3-6)
Last week's ranking: 16
The Waratahs move up three places following a hard-earned win against the Reds. Whether they can beat the Blues in round 11 and claim their first win against New Zealand opposition in 2017 is another story.
14. Reds (2-7)
Last week's ranking: 14
The Reds went into the recent derby against the Waratahs as favourites due to home-ground advantage. However, their limitations were made obvious in the dying stages when they failed to control territory and close out the match.
15. Cheetahs (2-7)
Last week's ranking: 13
The Cheetahs are in complete disarray. It won’t get any easier when they front the Highlanders, who put 57 points past the Stormers.
16. Force (2-6)
Last week's ranking: 15
The Force’s steady slide continues. They were competitive at times against the Lions, but were eventually outscored by three tries to zero.
17. Rebels (1-1-6)
Last week's ranking: 17
After fighting hard to secure a draw against the Sharks in round nine, the Rebels leaked 44 points against the Kings in round 10. They will be hard pressed to beat the Lions in round 11 and improve on their situation.
18. Sunwolves (1-8)
Last week’s ranking: 18
The Sunwolves defended heroically in Hamilton to secure a losing bonus point, and to deny the Chiefs a much-needed try at the death. That said, they remain rooted to the bottom of the South African group and still trail the worst team in Australasia, namely the Rebels, by a log point.
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