CRAIG LEWIS selects an overall 18-team Super Rugby log, based on performances and opposition faced after 16 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 (14-0)
Last ranking: 1
The undefeated Crusaders return to action this Saturday and will be determined to clinch a win over the Hurricanes to finish first in the overall standings, and earn the right to potentially host a final.
2. Lions (13-1)
Last ranking: 2
The Lions enjoyed a bye this past weekend, and will now be hoping the Hurricanes do them a favour by beating the Crusaders on Saturday. That would provide them with the opportunity to surpass the Saders in terms of overall points should they then beat the Sharks later on Saturday.
3. Hurricanes (11-3)
Last ranking: 3
The Hurricanes are just one log point ahead of the Chiefs as it stands, and should the defending champs suffer a defeat against the Saders, it could relegate them to a trip to face the Stormers in Cape Town if the Chiefs beat the Brumbies in their final regular-season game.
4. Chiefs (11-1-2)
Last ranking: 5
The Chiefs should be expected to overcome the Brumbies in Hamilton this Saturday – a team that they could end up facing again in a quarter-final clash.
5. Highlanders (10-4)
Last ranking: 4
The Highlanders will be favourites to beat the Reds in Dunedin this Friday, but they cannot catch the Hurricanes and Chiefs from here, with a quarter-final clash against the Lions currently on the cards.
Last ranking: 6
7. Stormers (9-5)
Last ranking: 8
The playoff-bound Stormers leapfrog the Blues after clinching a comfortable 52-15 win over the Sunwolves this past weekend. However, they will be determined to produce a more clinical all-round performance against the battling Bulls on Saturday night.
8. Blues (7-1-6)
Last ranking: 7
The Blues will end their season against the Sunwolves, and should be expected to comfortably claim an eighth win of the season, but one that won't prevent them from still finishing bottom of the Kiwi conference.
9 Jaguares (6-8)
Last ranking: 10
The Jaguares claimed an impressive 40-27 win over the Waratahs this past weekend, and while they are out of the running for a playoff place, the Argentinian side will want to end their season with another victory against the Rebels.
10: Kings (6-8)
Last ranking: 11
The Kings clinched an unforgettable win over the Bulls this past weekend, which was their sixth triumph of the season. They should now be favourites to beat the Cheetahs in Port Elizabeth to memorably bring the curtain down on an impressive season.
11: Brumbies (6-8)
Last ranking: 9
The Brumbies slip two places after suffering a shock loss to the Reds last Friday. Of course, they can't be caught in the Australian conference, but it was an eighth defeat during a largely indifferent campaign.
12. Waratahs (4-10)
Last ranking: 12
The Waratahs slumped to a 10th loss of the season this past weekend, but a win over the Force in their final regular-season game could well still see them climb back up to second place in the Australian conference.
13. Force (5-9)
Last ranking: 13
The Force completed a solid win over the Rebels in the penultimate round of regular-season action, and now have their sights set on an unexpected second-place finish in the Aussie conference.
14. Bulls (4-10)
Last ranking: 13
The Bulls fall one place after suffering a shock loss to the Kings at Loftus. It's been a season to forget for the former three-time champs, but if they could secure a win over the Stormers this weekend, it would at least serve as some consolation.
15. Reds (4-10)
Last ranking: 15
The Reds completed a surprise comeback win over the Brumbies in round 15, but are likely to suffer an 11th defeat of the season as they head to Dunedin to face the Highlanders this Friday.
Last ranking: 16
17. Rebels (1-1-12)
Last ranking: 17
The Rebels have already been condemned to a wooden-spoon finish in the Australian conference, while they continue to face Super Rugby relegation after a horror season that has yielded just a solitary win.
18. Sunwolves (1-13)
Last ranking: 18
The Sunwolves competed gallantly in the first half against the Stormers last Saturday, but ultimately slumped to another one-sided defeat. Unfortunately, they are likely to suffer a 14th defeat of the season when they end their campaign against the Blues this weekend.
Photo: Anne Laing/HM Images