The Stormers go for a walk in the park



  • I'm wondering quite who's going to make it from the South African conferences. Despite that they still have their Australian tour to go, I'm inclined to think that the Stormers might just sneak in - though they may just have to beat the Rebels in Melbourne (though they can likely afford to drop that game). 
     
    Bulls (at home) thumping win
    Cheetahs (away) win
    Sharks (at home) loss
    Brumbies (at home) good win
    Jaguares (away) win
    Sunwolves (home) win
    Lions (away) loss
    Reds (home) win
    Waratahs (home) loss
    Sunwolves (away) draw
    Bulls (away) loss
     
    Cheetahs (home)
    Rebels (away)
    Force (away)
    Kings (home)
     
    I'm picking they're going to top their conference with wins over: Bulls, Cheetahs, Brumbies, Jaguares, Sunwolves, Reds, Cheetahs, Force, Kings - and a draw with the Sunwolves.
     
    What's really disturbing is that there's probably a one in four chance that they'll get a quarterfinal against their conference cohorts the Bulls!



  • Regardless of how easy their run into the finals are, they will not win the thing. They have had a batter roster for a number of years now without achieving a thing, always going down at home in the semis.



  • Regardless of how easy their run into the finals are, they will not win the thing. They have had a batter roster for a number of years now without achieving a thing, always going down at home in the semis.

    Yeah - unless it somehow falls into their laps via major upsets and travel - it is highly unlikely.
     
    What's more likely is that the Waratahs and Sharks make the play-offs (and the Brumbies and Bulls don't) and the Stormers will get a home quarterfinal without having beaten any of the other seven quarter-finalists.
     
    Right now, it's quite possible that the Chiefs, Crusaders and Highlanders could end the regular season separated only by points for and against difference, or maybe the odd bonus point.
     
    One of them will likely be scuppered - not by the opposition - but, by having to travel to South Africa and back to play the mid-table quality Stormers.
     
    Play-offs could actually yield some almost farcical match-ups.



  • Chris, just in case you weren't aware the first differential is number of wins, then points diff.
    Your point still stands just wasn't sure if you knew.



  • Chris, just in case you weren't aware the first differential is number of wins, then points diff.
    Your point still stands just wasn't sure if you knew.

    Yep - I'm thinking in terms of Chiefs beat Crusaders, Highlanders beat Chiefs and everyone wins their other games. Any of the three could end up top by a tiny margin.



  • Highlanders for me are [slight] title faves, looking in ominous form in the last few weeks. A nice month off coming up for their forwards to recharge the batteries....only Elliott Dixon likely to be busy in June.
     
    If they don't finish #1 seed it becomes much more difficult.



  • Highlanders for me are [slight] title faves, looking in ominous form in the last few weeks. A nice month off coming up for their forwards to recharge the batteries....only Elliott Dixon likely to be busy in June.
     
    If they don't finish #1 seed it becomes much more difficult.

    It didn't bother them last year.
     
    The NZ derbies are so important as it's like getting double points.  I've no idea who will finish top of the NZ conference.  The Chiefs have a difficult game in Sydney this Friday.  A win there would be huge.



  • Highlanders for me are [slight] title faves, looking in ominous form in the last few weeks. A nice month off coming up for their forwards to recharge the batteries....only Elliott Dixon likely to be busy in June.
     
    If they don't finish #1 seed it becomes much more difficult.

    Right now they're looking like the best team - but, their slip ups vs all three of the Blues, Sharks and Reds are looking potentially very costly. They absolutely have to beat the Canes this weekend and then they've got a very difficult final round assignment vs the Chiefs on the back of a SA-Argentina trip.
     
    Deck can easily get re-shuffled with injuries to key players during the test window, as well. 
     
    Right now, I think the Crusaders have probably the easiest run home of the four leading NZ teams. We must not slip up vs Blues or Rebels and the huge game is vs the Chiefs in Fiji - if we win that then we can start worrying about the fucking Canes ruining things for us, but at least that game is at home. 🙂
     
    Edit: notably the Crusaders' easiest remaining fixture is probably vs the Rebels, which is probably the Stormers' most difficult remaining.



  • It didn't bother them last year.
     
    The NZ derbies are so important as it's like getting double points.  I've no idea who will finish top of the NZ conference.  The Chiefs have a difficult game in Sydney this Friday.  A win there would be huge.

    Last year the system was different.
     
    They got a home game, followed by a Sydney game, followed by an NZ game.
     
    This year there could easily be at least one away South African leg and unlikely to get a home leg.



  • Last year the system was different.
     
    They got a home game, followed by a Sydney game, followed by an NZ game.
     
    This year there could easily be at least one away South African leg and unlikely to get a home leg.

    It's still a bit far out to make predictions - especially given that the NZ teams could take one another out and allow the Lions to snatch top spot.
     
    But, barring some major upsets, I think the winner of the Australian conference will end up with the least points (and I think that will be the Brumbies). So the highest seeded wildcard would get their first play-off game vs the Brumbies.
     
    There's also a decent chance that the fourth NZ team will play the winner of the NZ conference. But there's also a fair chance that two NZ teams will have to go to SA for Quarterfinals and that will make it very difficult. I'm not sure anyone's ever managed to win a play-off game on the back of a trip to SA?



  • The Chiefs in 2012 (vs. the Sharks) and in 2013 (vs the Brumbies) won hosting the final against a team travelling back from Seth Efrika. Saders in 2011 lost the final to the Reds after winning in Cape Town. Yes, it's a very difficult thing to do. The answer is very likely no.



  • But there's also a fair chance that two NZ teams will have to go to SA for Quarterfinals and that will make it very difficult.

    As 2 of the QFs will be hosted by the SA conference winners there is a 50% chance that teams 5-8 (currently including 3 NZ sides) will have to travel.  Obviously an away QF in NZ or Aust would be preferrable for those teams.