We’ve been doing some Super Rugby number-crunching here at The Rugby Blog HQ, courtesy of the SuperBru data, to analyse what the final table would have looked like under the Super 14 format.
The Crusaders can feel particularly aggrieved by the new format
To produce the table below, all of the Rebels’ matches have been removed, and only one of the ‘derbies’ has been included, with the venue based on the opposite of 2010, as it would have been.
The missed matches in 2011 under the new format have been added in the ‘Still to play’ column, and it gives us an indication of how different it would have been.
|Pos (2010 format)||Team||Pos (2011 format)||Still to play||Played||Points||Bonus (try)||Bonus (loss)||Total||Points diff|
|1||Crusaders||3 ↓ 2||Lions (A)||12||36||4||2||42||146|
|2||Stormers||2 →||Waratahs (A), Hurricanes (A)||11||32||3||2||37||79|
|3||Reds||1 ↑ 2||Sharks (H), Highlanders (A)||11||32||3||1||36||44|
|4||Blues||4 →||Bulls (A), Brumbies (A)||11||30||4||2||36||36|
|5||Sharks||6 ↓ 1||Highlanders (H), Reds (A)||11||28||5||1||34||58|
|6||Waratahs||5 ↑ 1||Stormers (H), Hurricanes (A)||11||24||3||2||29||26|
|7||Bulls||7 →||Blues (H), Brumbies (A)||11||24||2||2||28||0|
|8||Hurricanes||9 ↓ 1||Stormers (H), Waratahs (H)||11||18||4||4||26||-25|
|9||Cheetahs||11 ↓ 2||Force (A), Chiefs (H)||11||16||4||4||24||6|
|10||Highlanders||8 ↑ 2||Sharks, Reds||11||20||1||2||23||-66|
|11||Force||12 ↓ 1||Chiefs, Cheetahs||11||18||0||3||21||-56|
|12||Chiefs||10 ↑ 2||Force, Cheetahs||11||14||1||3||18||-41|
|13||Brumbies||13 →||Bulls, Blues||11||12||1||2||15||-97|
Even with the excluded games, it seems that the Crusaders, Stormers, Reds and Blues are the top four teams, albeit in a slightly different order. We’ve been through an additional five rounds of matches, and ended up in largely the same place, but the order of the top four this year is interesting and arguably unfair.
Under the previous format, we would probably have had the following semi-final line-up:
– Crusaders v Blues
– Stormers v Reds
Crusaders v Stormers would be the likely final, to be played in New Zealand.
Under the new schedule, this semi-final line-up is looking probable:
– Reds v Blues/Tahs
– Stormers v Crusaders
Make your own predictions about the finalists, but it’s likely to be played in Australia, benefiting the Reds.
When the new Super Rugby format was announced with the three-conference system, it was clear that Australia were the real winners as they enjoyed a reasonable substitute for a domestic rugby tournament.
These statistics show that the new system has particularly favoured the Reds, who were able to thrash the Rebels twice and do the double over the Force to finish at the top of the log.
The Crusaders, consoling themselves in the image on the right, can feel particularly hard done-by. Under the Super 14 format, they’d be preparing for a home semi-final and probably a home final. As it is, they have to play a home play-off, followed by an away semi-final and probably an away final.
What are your thoughts on the revised Super Rugby schedule now that the regular season has finished?
Photos: Patrick Khachfe/Onside Images