Super Rugby: How the Table might have looked

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.

Dan CarterThe 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)TeamPos (2011 format)Still to playPlayedPointsBonus (try)Bonus (loss)TotalPoints diff
1Crusaders3 ↓ 2Lions (A)12364242146
2Stormers2 →Waratahs (A), Hurricanes (A)1132323779
3Reds1 ↑ 2Sharks (H), Highlanders (A)1132313644
4Blues4 →Bulls (A), Brumbies (A)1130423636
5Sharks6 ↓ 1Highlanders (H), Reds (A)1128513458
6Waratahs5 ↑ 1Stormers (H), Hurricanes (A)1124322926
7Bulls7 →Blues (H), Brumbies (A)112422280
8Hurricanes9 ↓ 1Stormers (H), Waratahs (H)11184426-25
9Cheetahs11 ↓ 2Force (A), Chiefs (H)111644246
10Highlanders8 ↑ 2Sharks, Reds11201223-66
11Force12 ↓ 1Chiefs, Cheetahs11180321-56
12Chiefs10 ↑ 2Force, Cheetahs11141318-41
13Brumbies13 →Bulls, Blues11121215-97
14Lions14 →Crusaders1282414-110

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.

CrusadersThese 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

8 thoughts on “Super Rugby: How the Table might have looked

  1. Bottom line the best team in the tournament should be able to win home or away no matter what! The new format is the new format and that’s the one everyone is playing too. You also cannot make the argument that the Reds benefitted because the Rebels have been poor. The Lions were as poor so the SA sides benefitted. You could also argue that all of the top 4 could win their last 1 or 2 games which would again chagbe the table and bring it down to points difference. It’s all theoretical and somewhat pointless really!

    1. It’s not theoretical Phil, its based on the actual outcomes of the games played this year! And to say that the SA teams were the same as the Aus ones because the lions were weak is also not true. Aus had the Rebels, the Brumbies AND the Force all as very poor sides this year, guaranteed 6 wins for the Reds!!! SA only had the Lions and NZ had NO weak teams, so no guaranteed wins. We need ALL teams to play ALL other teams once only. Its the only fair way.

  2. Very interesting – thanks for the effort in compiling… :) Yeah – the SA and NZ conferences are no doubt tougher than the Aussie one (at the moment) – making it a relatively easier ride for the top 2 teams in the Aussie conf – ie the Reds and the Waratahs… This format is unwieldy – and, quite frankly, too long. Go back to all 15 teams playing each other once…

    Home derbies are the Heart and Soul of the Currie Cup here in SA. Super Rugby – with all its made-for-TV hype and razz-matazz (and yes it is great TV rugby) – will never take the place of the Currie Cup – in the hearts and minds of SA players and fans alike (young and old). The Currie Cup has 120 years of history and tradition – of passion and sporting aspiration – an infinite number of stories of legend, victory and heartbreak – interwoven into the fabric of our history. Like with Wimbledon in tennis; The Ashes in cricket; The Masters and The Open in golf; Monaco in F1 etc – tournaments steeped in history and tradition – true values of the heart – like them, the Currie Cup will live forever – the passion, love, and aspiration there-for guaranteed by its very history and tradition… :)

    Super Rugby must stop trying to emulate the Currie Cup (a CC with an international flavour) and the former NPC in NZ – and go back to what it was – the top 15 teams in the 3 countries playing each other – once – 7 games home, 7 games away.

  3. Agree with Nick. The top team in the weakest conference, whether that conference changes, will always get an advantage. Since it is very unlikely that all 3 conferences will be equally strong every year one team will always get an advantage. The competition should endeavour to make the playing field as level as possible. Throw in the fact that you don’t even play all teams the potential for huge imbalances are unacceptable. All teams should play each other once like before. In any case, I find all the derbies irksome. I want to see our countries franchises play foreign franchises more often.

  4. I think it is a bit premature to be writing off the new format just yet. The Rebels were always going to struggle in ther first season in Super Rugby because you cannot manufacture a team out of thin air and to do it while carrying Ciprani’s ego is even more of a challenge. It will also take time for sufficient Australian players to come through the system to fill up the squads. Just think how much more imbalanced the table would be if the Southern Kings had been given the slot in the Australian Conference!!!
    I think the local derbies have added to the spectacle this season and considering the amount of travelling involved it makes perfect sense to use this format. It is all well and good to say you want a return to the old system when you only have to go from your bed to the tv but you would think differently if you had to cross several time zones and then aclimatise fast before playing a tough match.

  5. This is the biggest load of hogwash I have read on the Super Rugby debate! Its pie in the sky, there is no scientific basis whatsoever, hell, your final table even has some teams playing less matches than others! The fact that the top four were the same but in a different order proves there is nothing wrong with the new format. Remember too that the Reds beat the Stormers, Crusaders and Blues and they played the Waratahs twice, winning one and losing one. This is clutching at straws sadly to say. Time to get with the programme and acknowledge that there is a new format.

    1. It is most definitely not pie-in-the-sky, Anthony. Whether it is Aus, NZ or SA that is the weakest, some one has to be the weakest and in that year the top team in that “weak” conference will get a leg up. Not to mention that you sometimes don’t play the weakest teams at all!

      The system is inherently imbalanced. Not even to mention that NZ and SA do not want to see all these derbies.

  6. I see the Aussies get a little bent out of shape trying to defend the Reds position, but there’s a lot of validity to the article. Australia doesn’t have a provincial/state-level rugby tournament, like SA and NZ do, which this new format has miraculously provided. And Australian teams have undoubtedly been the weakest of the tournament. I’d far rather play twice against Rebels, Force and Brumbies than Lions, Cheetahs and Bulls or Chiefs, Highlanders and Hurricanes. Australian rugby and the Reds have benefitted from the new format – that can’t be denied – ubt the blame for that lies with the SA and NZ administrators for allowing themselves to be pushed around.

Comments are closed.