Investec Super Rugby Cheer Guide: Round 17

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Sunday, June 24, 2018    Jack Sergent-Shadbolt    Getty Images

Teams below are jostling for positions near the top, with some crucial match-ups taking place this weekend. Here’s who to cheer for:

Current Placings
1. Crusaders - (54 competition points)
2. Lions - 40
3. Waratahs - 35
4. Hurricanes - 45
5. Highlanders - 40
6. Chiefs - 37
7. Jaguares - 34
8. Rebels - 34 

*The Jaguares are above the Rebels because they have won more games. 


Quarterfinal predictions
Here’s what would happen based on the current placings:
• The Crusaders would host the Rebels in Christchurch
• The Highlanders would fly up to Wellington to take on the Hurricanes
• The Lions would meet the Jaguares in Johannesburg
• The Waratahs would battle the Chiefs in Sydney

But what could happen is …
• The Crusaders could host either the Rebels or the Jaguares in Christchurch.
• The Highlanders may host the Hurricanes instead of the other way round.
• The Jaguares could leapfrog the Lions and host the seventh placed team (either the Chiefs or Rebels), in Buenos Aries. This is a longshot, but still possible.
• If the Rebels beat the Waratahs this weekend, they may run away with the Australian conference and host a playoff for the first time in Melbourne. Their opponents might be the Chiefs, Hurricanes or Highlanders if this were to happen.

Semifinals will be hosted by the two top-ranked teams who win their quarterfinals, so final competition placings will be relevant even after the end of the regular season.

If teams are tied on competition points, here’s how it’s decided:

a) Most wins from all matches
b) Greatest points-difference
c) Most tries from all matches
d) Greatest tries-difference
e) Coin toss

So, what do I need to know?
• The Crusaders are way out in front, but do have a bye this weekend. So technically the Hurricanes can still win the New Zealand Conference. To do that they will have to score the maximum points (15) from their last 3 games and hope the Crusaders don’t pick up more than five competition points in their last two games
• The conference leaders are far from confirmed in both the Australian and South African conferences. The Waratahs are clinging to top spot by one point, and the Rebels could knock them off this weekend and go on to top the conference.
• The Chiefs, Hurricanes, and Highlanders are all in with a chance of hosting a quarterfinal. The top finisher of these three teams will host, and the other two will likely either travel to Wellington or Sydney/Melbourne.
• Just three points separates the Jaguares, Chiefs, Waratahs and Rebels on the table with three games to play. This could present several possibilities for who hosts and who travels where.
• The Chiefs and The Highlanders can still finish fourth but would need the Hurricanes to have a poor finish and finish strongly themselves. 

So, who do I support this weekend?
First up, a big thanks to the match officials who have had a long season as well. Without them we couldn’t have a game. Many of them were in action during the international window making the big calls, so well done to them!

Blues supporters:
Although they are out of playoff contention, the Blues have the chance to nab their first home win of the season when they take on the Reds this Friday, so cheer hard for that! 

Chiefs supporters: If you want to nab that home quarterfinal, you need to beat the Highlanders in Suva this weekend. Maybe the slightly warmer weather in Waikato will have prepared you for the tropics better than your southern rivals? Regardless, you need to win and win well, so get behind your boys! Home games to end the season should see you in with a strong chance. You’ll also be hoping that the Waratahs beat the Rebels to get them off your back.

Crusaders supporters:
Your team has one extra week to put their feet up which will be good for your All Blacks! In the meantime you’ll be hoping the Hurricanes slip up against the Brumbies so that you’re absolutely guaranteed the top spot. Your final two games are home derbies against the Highlanders and Blues who still have plenty to play for, you’ll be hoping they get through with big wins and no injuries!

Highlanders supporters:
Get ready to bring the heat in Suva this weekend when you take on the Chiefs. Win there and you could solidify a strong playoff position. You’ll be hoping that the Hurricanes come unstuck too, and that the Rebels and Jaguares lose. Spare a thought for your men as they acclimatise to the Suva sun! Surely this will be the game of the round.

Hurricanes supporters: You’ll be hoping that the backline is firing on all cylinders after a tough Test series against France. It would be a delight if the Chiefs and Highlanders fought out a draw in Fiji because that’d see you get one step closer to a home quarterfinal. Anyone who plays the Crusaders for the rest of the season is also your friend…