With all that’s happening in New Zealand it may have escaped some people’s notice that Super Rugby returned at the weekend.
Of the two teams likely to be dropped from the tournament and in line to join the Pro12 – the Kings won, beating the Jaguares in Argentina 30-31 – the Cheetahs were less fortunate going down to the Stormers 34-40.
The team that no one has even mentioned being vulnerable – the Sunwolves – notched up a record loss, going down by 94-7 to the Lions (not those ones!).
The Sunwolves are playing the Stormers on Saturday and in line for another pasting.
In 2016 the Sunwolves won 1, drew 1 and lost 13. So far in 2017 their record is won 1 and lost 12.
Obviously they are bottom of their Conference.
The teams threatened with being chucked out of the SA conferences are the Kings ((won 5 from 13), the Cheetahs (3 from 14). So it makes a lot of sense to keep the Sunwolves in doesn’t it? Except of course that Sanzaar are obsessed with expansion and Japan has been one of their target regions.
Ignore the fact that they can’t compete just keep looking to get more TV and fan revenue.
The eight quarter-finalists have been decided – the four Conference winners (Crusaders, Lions, Stormers, Brumbies) and the four wild card teams (Hurricanes, Chiefs, Highlanders and Sharks). However, the final positions and the quarter-final seedings that determine who plays who are yet to be finalised. This will come down to the wire and the final Round of Super Rugby. Round 17 will see all 18 teams in action.
As it stands these will be the quarter finals –
The nonsense of the format means that the Brumbies (31 points) get a home fixture whereas the 4 away teams all have all fared better – Sharks (42), Highlanders (46), Chiefs (53) and the Hurricanes (54). The same goes for the Stormers getting a home quarter with only 34 points.
The NZ franchises must be really chuffed with the current structure!
Even the Crusaders have a right to be a bit miffed – they could lose out to the Lions in the right to hold the final two rounds in Christchurch.
This despite the fact that the Lions have yet to play a NZ side and could reach the final without facing any of the strongest franchises – and end up playing the final at home!
By contrast the Crusaders will have had to play all 4 of the other NZ teams.
And still Super Rugby hasn’t sorted itself out!
The farce continues.