CRAIG LEWIS selects an overall 18-team Super Rugby log based on performances and opposition faced after 11 rounds.
The confusing Super Rugby conference system makes it difficult to see just where teams stand in the competition, but SARugbymag.co.za's senior writer believes this is where they would rank in a 1-18 format.
1. Crusaders (10-0)
Last week’s ranking: 1
The Crusaders just keep on cruising, with the unbeaten Cantabrians having recorded a 10th successive win of the season as they thrashed the Bulls 62-24 on Saturday. The seven-time champs look like favourites to add another title to their tally.
2. Lions (9-1)
Last week’s ranking: 2
The Lions look to be building some handy momentum as they recorded seven tries in a bonus-point win over the Rebels on Saturday, which also served as their seventh win in a row.
The Chiefs may have trailed 12-7 at one point against the Reds on Saturday, but there was a sense of inevitably as they roared back to clinch a comfortable 46-17 bonus-point win. It’s a result that also keeps them in touch with the Crusaders at the top of the Kiwi conference.
4. Hurricanes (8-1)
Last week's ranking: 4
The scores might have been level late in the game between the Hurricanes and Stormers last Friday, but the defending champs were by far the better team, and scored seven tries to one.
5. Sharks (7-1-2)
Last week’s ranking: 6
The Sharks jump a spot after claiming a comfortable win over the Force on Saturday. Although the Durbanites would have been disappointed to not claim a bonus point, they were completely dominant.
6. Highlanders (7-3)
Last week’s ranking: 5
The Highlanders produced the comeback of the season as they scored three tries in the final five minutes to stun the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Friday night. As much as they deserve credit for that fightback, they would have been expected to secure a far more comfortable victory.
7. Blues (5-5)
Last week’s ranking: 8
The Blues led 26-0 against the Waratahs on Saturday, and although they had to hold on to clinch a hard-fought 40-33 win, it was an important result away from home.
8. Stormers (6-4)
Last week's ranking: 7
The Stormers will want to quickly forget their horror tour to New Zealand, where they conceded 24 tries and 155 points over three matches. The Cape-based side was at least more competitive against the Hurricanes on Friday, but ultimately slipped to a fourth successive defeat.
9. Jaguares (5-5)
Last week’s ranking: 9
The Jaguares finally broke a five-match losing streak this past weekend, but had to rely on a late surge to clinch a rather fortunate 46-39 win over the unheralded Sunwolves.
10. Brumbies (3-6)
Last week's ranking: 10
The Brumbies had a bye this past weekend, but remain top of the Australian conference as their local competitors continue to underperform.
11: Kings (3-6)
Last week's ranking: 11
The Kings enjoyed a well-earned bye week after securing back-to-back wins, and will be hoping for a competitive showing against the Sharks in Port Elizabeth this Saturday.
12. Waratahs (3-7)
Last week's ranking: 13
The Waratahs displayed impressive character to battle back against the Blues this past Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a seventh loss of the season.
13. Bulls (3-6)
Last week's ranking: 12
The Bulls were embarrassingly woeful as they slumped to their heaviest home defeat against the Crusaders on Saturday. Having said that, there is simply no stopping the unbeaten seven-time champs at the moment.
14. Reds (2-8)
Last week's ranking: 14
The Reds started well against the Chiefs this past weekend, but faded away as the game went on, and ultimately conceded an eighth defeat of the season.
15. Cheetahs (2-8)
Last week's ranking: 15
The Cheetahs will still be hurting after Friday night’s epic implosion that saw them surrender a 41-24 lead in the final 10 minutes against the Highlanders. It was also a seventh successive loss of the season.
16. Force (2-7)
Last week's ranking: 16
The Force did well to deny the Sharks a bonus point in Durban on Saturday, but never looked likely to seriously challenge for victory at Kings Park.
17. Rebels (1-1-7)
Last week's ranking: 17
The Rebels’ woes continue as they rather meekly succumbed to a seventh defeat of the season on Saturday, with the Lions comfortably claiming a bonus-point win, despite being far from their best.
18. Sunwolves (1-9)
Last week’s ranking: 18
The Sunwolves cannot be faulted for character, and again the Japanese side battled gallantly against the Jaguares this past weekend. However, despite leading late in the game, they couldn’t hold on for what would have been just a second win of the season.
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