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What it will take for your team to make the Investec Super Rugby Finals

allblacks.com     11 Jul 2014    

Here’s how the permutations and scenarios would work out for each team in order to secure a place in the Final Series:

If you’re a Blues fan...

Current place: 9th overall, 36 points
Up against: the Chiefs at Eden Park.

• They need to win by more than 38 points over the Chiefs at home, earning a bonus point in the process (this will take you past the Hurricanes) and denying them a bonus point.
• The Blues need either the Brumbies or Force (both on 40 points) to win outright (ie, no draw) tomorrow night, and for the loser to not earn a bonus point. A draw will push the Blues off the board.
• The Blues can’t do better than sixth, so in a playoff they would face the third-place team. Currently, that’s the Sharks meaning a trip to South Africa next week so you may want the New Zealand Conference leader to finish in third place.

Cheer for: your team, either the Brumbies or the Force (depending on personal preference), the Highlanders and the Sharks

If you are a Chiefs fan…

Current place: 8th, 40 points
Up against: the Blues at Eden Park.

• The Chiefs need to win to make the playoffs.
• The New Zealand Conference trophy and a top-three finish is out of reach but a fourth-place finish will see the Chiefs hosting the fifth-place team at home – and the opponent is likely to be the winner of the Brumbies v Force game.
• To get that fourth place, the Chiefs need to win with a bonus point and for the Highlanders to lose.
• Whoever wins the Brumbies v Force game needs to do so without a bonus point. If tied with the Brumbies or Force, the Chiefs will fall behind them because the Australians will have more wins in hand.
• If the Chiefs earn two competition points, a tie with the Highlanders on 42 points will see the Highlanders go ahead because they will have one more win.
• If the Chiefs get one bonus point, a tie with the Hurricanes on 41 points will see the Hurricanes go ahead because they will have one more win.

Cheer for: your team, whoever you’d rather play out of the Brumbies or Force, and the Crusaders

If you are a Hurricanes fan…

Current place: 5th, 41 points
Not playing this weekend

• You need the Blues to beat the Chiefs and for neither side to earn a bonus point, thereby keeping both teams behind the Hurricanes.
• You want a one-sided match in Canberra - if the loser of the Brumbies v Force ties with the ‘Canes on 41 competition points, then the Australian side will go ahead because they have an extra win to their credit.
• Like the Blues, your team can’t do better than sixth, so the Crusaders and Sharks’ results could have a bearing on how far your boys have to travel and what time you’re watching the match.

Cheer for: the Blues, either the Brumbies or the Force (depending on personal preference) and the Crusaders

If you are a Crusaders fan…

Current place: 2nd, 46 points
Up against: the Highlanders in Christchurch on Saturday night

• The Crusaders are in the playoffs and will host their next match in Christchurch but there are some rocks under the couch cushions for Crusaders fans.
• The Sharks earning at least one more competition point than the Crusaders this weekend will see the red and blacks slip from second place and miss out on having the week off.
• If the Crusaders and Highlanders are tied on competition points, the Crusaders will go ahead because they will still have won more matches.
• A loss could have a silver lining: the last time the Crusaders lost in the final round, they went on to win the 2008 competition – and it was the Highlanders that beat them.

Cheer for: your team and the Stormers

If you are a Highlanders fan…

Current place: 4th, 42 points
Up against: the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night

• A comprehensive win over the Crusaders could secure the New Zealand Conference trophy and a home playoff match; the Highlanders need to earn five competition points and deny the Crusaders any points.
• If the Crusaders and Highlanders are tied on points on the leaderboard, the Crusaders will go ahead because they will still have won more matches.
• Highlanders fans will want the Blues to beat the Chiefs, because a beaten Chiefs side won’t be able to leap the ‘Landers. A tie with the Chiefs on 42 points will see the Highlanders move ahead because they will have one more win.
• If the Chiefs win tomorrow, then you’ll have to hope for a one-sided match in Canberra because if the Brumbies v Force loser earns two competition points then they’ll tie with the Highlanders on 42 points and either would go ahead based on wins. Earning no competition points on Saturday in these circumstances would see the Highlanders drop out of the top six.
• For the Highlanders to have the week off, they will need the five competition points and for the Stormers to stop the Sharks from earning any. A tie with the Sharks would see the South African side go ahead because they’ve won more games.

Cheer for: your team, either the Brumbies or the Force (depending on personal preference), the Blues and the Stormers

And while we’re at it…

No team has played playoffs in New Zealand and South Africa (or vice versa) on successive weekends and gone on to win the competition. In 1999, the Highlanders played a semifinal in Cape Town and then were beaten in the party at Tony Brown’s place; in 2009 the Chiefs were beaten by the Bulls in Pretoria after withstanding the Hurricanes the week before; in 2011 the Crusaders went from Timaru to Cape Town and on to face the Reds in Brisbane (having spent the whole season on the road due to the Canterbury earthquakes); in 2012 the Sharks went from Brisbane to Cape Town to Hamilton before being beaten by the Chiefs, and last year the Brumbies beat the Cheetahs in Canberra and the Bulls in Pretoria before losing to the Chiefs in Hamilton.

Super Rugby has been won by the team finishing in first place on 12 occasions. When the Crusaders won their first three titles (1998-2000) they did so without topping the table, while the Blues (1996), Bulls (2007) and Chiefs (2012) also went on to be crowned champions having finished below pole position.