CRAIG LEWIS rates the 15 Super Rugby teams based on performances after 13 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 (9-1)
Last week’s ranking: 1
The Hurricanes underlined their class as they surged to an impressive 36-15 win over the Blues last Friday. Although the Crusaders remain top of the overall standings, they have played one extra game.
2. Crusaders (9-2)
Last week’s ranking: 2
The Crusaders remain in second place, although they faced an almighty scare against the Waratahs on Saturday. The defending champs claimed a historic win after overturning a record 29-point deficit to claim a remarkable comeback victory, and for that they deserve plenty of credit.
3. Highlanders (7-3)
Last week’s ranking: 3
The Highlanders bounced back from a disappointing defeat against the Sharks by outclassing the Lions in a 39-27 win on Saturday.
4. Chiefs (7-3)
Last week’s ranking: 5
For the third year in a row, the Chiefs proved to be too good for the Stormers on their Newlands home ground. Saturday’s important 15-9 win is enough to see them rise a place in these rankings.
5. Lions (6-6)
Last week’s ranking: 4
The Lions drop another place after slipping to a third successive loss overseas. The disappointing defeat to the Highlanders in Dunedin has turned this Saturday’s clash against the Brumbies at Ellis Park into a must-win match.
6. Waratahs (5-1-4)
Last week’s ranking: 6
The Waratahs deserve plenty of plaudits for the manner in which they raced into a 29-0 lead in Christchurch on Saturday. It was a remarkable start to the contest, but they ultimately failed to display the necessary composure to close out the win.
7. Jaguares (6-5)
Last week’s ranking: 7
The Jaguares had a bye this past weekend, but remain in seventh place in these rankings, while they still occupy second spot in the SA conference. They will also be favourites when they host the Bulls in Buenos Aires this Saturday.
8. Bulls (5-6)
Last week’s ranking: 11
The Bulls shoot up to eighth place after their impressive 39-33 win over the Sharks on Saturday. That victory saw the Pretoria-based side leapfrog both the Sharks and Stormers in the SA conference, as they do in these rankings.
9. Rebels (5-6)
Last week’s ranking: 10
The Rebels rise one place after returning to winning ways as they battled back to beat the Brumbies 27-24 on Saturday. It was a result that leaves them just a solitary log point adrift of the Waratahs in the Australian conference.
10. Sharks (4-1-6)
Last week’s ranking: 8
Who knows what to make of this Sharks side? Just a week after powering to a stunning win over the Highlanders, they failed to front up in a similar manner against the Bulls. Despite a competitive effort in Pretoria, they ultimately slipped to another defeat that sees them drop two places in the power rankings.
11. Stormers (5-7)
Last week’s ranking: 9
The Stormers’ undefeated home record came to an end on Saturday as they slipped to a 15-9 loss against the Chiefs. It’s a result that leaves them bottom of the South African conference and once again facing plenty of questions about their consistency.
12. Reds (4-6)
Last week’s ranking: 12
The Reds only just cling on to 12th place in these rankings after capitulating to a 63-29 defeat to the Sunwolves on Saturday. It was a remarkable result when one considers that the Reds recently proved too strong for the Lions.
13. Blues (3-8)
Last week’s ranking: 13
The Blues held their own for a fair portion of Friday’s clash against the Hurricanes, but inevitably slumped to a heavy defeat in the end.
14. Brumbies (3-7)
Last week’s ranking: 14
The Brumbies will know that they let an opportunity slip against the Rebels on Saturday, but there is little that can gloss over a seventh defeat of a forgettable season.
15. Sunwolves (1-9)
Last week’s ranking: 15
Kudos to the Sunwolves. The team from Japan finally has their first win of the season, and they did it in some style as they thrashed the Reds 63-28. After suffering nine successive defeats before that encounter, it was a result to remember.
Photo: Renee McKay/Getty Images