CRAIG LEWIS rates the 15 Super Rugby teams based on performances after 11 rounds.
The Super Rugby conference system makes for confusing reading regarding the respective teams’ standings in the tournament. SARugbymag.co.za’s senior writer believes that this is where they should rank on current form.
1. Hurricanes (7-1)
Last week’s ranking: 3
The Hurricanes jump back to top spot following their comfortable 43-15 win over the Sunwolves. Although the Canes remain one log point behind the Crusaders, they have played a game less than their Kiwi rivals.
2. Crusaders (7-2)
Last week’s ranking: 2
The Crusaders scrapped their way to a 21-8 win over the Brumbies in round 11. Although it was far from the Saders’ best performance of the season, the defending champs remain handily placed at this stage of their campaign.
3. Lions (6-4)
Last week’s ranking: 1
The Lions drop to third spot after their disappointing defeat to the Reds in Brisbane. The Johannesburg-based side is still in control in the South African conference, but will know they let a serious opportunity slip against the largely unheralded Reds.
4. Highlanders (6-2)
Last week’s ranking: 5
The Highlanders rise a place after their gutsy last-gasp win over the Bulls in Pretoria. It was a crucial result in the context of the ever-competitive New Zealand conference.
5. Chiefs (6-2)
Last week’s ranking: 4
The Chiefs slip down a spot after a bye this past weekend, while also falling to fourth in the New Zealand conference. They will now be targeting an important win over the Jaguares this Friday.
6. Waratahs (5-1-2)
Last week’s ranking: 6
The Waratahs had a bye in round 11, but still remain top of the Australian conference. The Tahs host the Blues this weekend and should be expected to claim a victory.
7. Bulls (4-5)
Last week’s ranking: 8
Despite the fact that the Bulls suffered an agonising loss to the Highlanders on Saturday, there were still a number of positives to take from a game that they largely dominated. However, they will know that Saturday’s clash against the Stormers is a must-win to keep their playoff plans on track.
8. Rebels (4-5)
Last week’s ranking: 7
The Rebels slip down to eighth after suffering a third successive defeat this past weekend as the Stormers came away as comfortable 34-18 victors.
9. Jaguares (5-5)
Last week’s ranking: 10
The Jaguares continue to rise, with last Saturday’s historic win over the Blues coming as their third victory in a row. However, more will be learned about the true quality of this side when they face the Chiefs this Friday.
10. Sharks (3-1-5)
Last week’s ranking: 9
The Sharks had a bye this past weekend and fell to the bottom of the South African conference while out of action.
11. Stormers (4-6)
Last week’s ranking: 12
The Stormers move up a place after their much-needed win over the Rebels, although they failed to claim a try-scoring bonus point. They remain just below the Sharks, who recently recorded a win over the Cape-based side.
12. Reds (4-5)
Last week’s ranking: 13
The Reds deserve plenty of plaudits for the manner in which they downed the Lions 27-22 on Saturday. It was the ideal result as they now head into a bye.
13. Brumbies (3-6)
Last week’s ranking: 11
The Brumbies battled gallantly against the Crusaders on Saturday, but a sixth defeat of the season saw them drop to second-last place in the Australian group.
14. Blues (2-7)
Last week’s ranking: 14
The Blues’ woes this season continue unabated, with last Saturday’s loss to the Jaguares heaping further pressure on an under-fire coaching staff.
15. Sunwolves (0-9)
Last week’s ranking: 15
The Sunwolves are still searching for their first win in the competition this season. The team from Japan was ultimately no match for the Hurricanes in round 11, and now head into a bye rooted to the bottom of the standings.
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