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DHL Super Rugby Pacific: Final Round Permutations

DHL Super Rugby Pacific: Final Round Permutations

All BlacksMay 29, 2024

As we approach the final round of DHL Super Rugby Pacific, the stakes could not be higher.

With the Waratahs the only team out of contention in 12th place, the remaining teams are either vying for the last spot in the top eight or a higher place on the ladder to improve their journey through the playoffs. 

The battle for the top spot is at boiling point, with the Hurricanes, Blues, and Brumbies all in contention. Let's dive into the permutations ahead of the thrilling final round weekend.

The Battle for the Top Spot

Blues, 51 points (First on ladder)

Currently leading the table by virtue of a healthy points differential over the Hurricanes, the Blues are in a prime position to secure the top spot. A bonus point win in their final match against the Chiefs guarantees they stay on top, ensuring home advantage throughout the playoffs. However, any slip-up could see them overtaken by the Hurricanes.

Hurricanes, 51 points (Second on ladder)

If the Hurricanes can secure a bonus point win over the Highlanders on Saturday afternoon in Wellington, then the pressure is on the Blues to do the same when they take on the Chiefs in Auckland later that night. If the Hurricanes and Blues end the regular season on the same competition points, the Blues will finish on top due to their positive points differential which sits 69 points ahead of the Hurricanes. 

ACT Brumbies, 48 points (Third on ladder)

Don’t sleep on the ACT Brumbies. No one seems to be talking about the Brumbies chances of finishing top of the ladder, but the team from the Australian capital cannot be discounted. The Brumbies are taking on the Western Force in Perth and a bonus point win would see them move to 53 points. If the Hurricanes and Blues both slip up in their final game, then the top place will belong to the Brumbies.

Four and Five locked in

Chiefs, 43 points (fourth on ladder)

The Chiefs have locked up fourth place and a home quarterfinal. However, after losing to the Hurricanes last week, the Chiefs will be looking to enter the playoffs with winning momentum on their side. Expect a big performance from Clayton McMillan’s men at Eden Park against the Blues on Saturday night.

Queensland Reds, 36 points (fifth on ladder)

Like the Chiefs, the Queensland Reds also cannot move from their spot on the ladder despite what happens in the final round. The Reds face the NSW Waratahs in another classic State vs State clash between the two old rivals.  

Battle for sixth spot

Highlanders, 28 points (sixth on ladder)

The Highlanders showcased all their attacking flair in downing the Fijian Drua 39-3 last weekend. If they can pull a surprise in Wellington on Saturday afternoon then they will lock up sixth place. If they lose, then the Rebels could leap frog them on the ladder if they win in Fiji.

FINALS BABY 🤩#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/3bCBPVSXgi

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 26, 2024

Melbourne Rebels, 26 points (seventh on ladder)

Currently at seventh place on the ladder, the Rebels could go as high as sixth or as low as eighth following the final round. A win against the Fijian Drua will see the Rebels overtake the Highlanders into sixth place (provided the Highlanders come unstuck against the Hurricanes). However, the worst result would see the Rebels drop to eighth spot if they come away from Fiji with no competition points and the Drua bag the maximum of 5 points.

Who will claim eighth?

Fijian Drua, 21 points (eighth on ladder)

The equation is simple for the Fijian Drua. Defeat the Melbourne Rebels at home on Saturday afternoon and a playoff spot is guaranteed. Currently five points adrift of the seventh place Rebels, the Drua could move as high as seventh if they claim a maximum five points and the Rebels are unable to pick up a competition point.

Western Force, 19 points (ninth on ladder)

The Western Force will know their fate by the time they take on the Brumbies in the final regular season game of the season. If the Fijian Drua are toppled by the Melbourne Rebels, then the Force will have a chance to sneak into eighth spot with a win over the ACT Brumbies. If the Force finish on the same competition points as the Crusaders and are in equal eighth spot, then the Force will claim the playoffs spot by virtue of more regular season wins.

Crusaders, 19 points (10th on ladder)

Once written off, the Crusaders have made a remarkable comeback and are now in the playoff mix. They need to win their final game against Moana Pasifika (preferably with a bonus point) and hope for favourable results elsewhere. If the Fijian Drua beat the Rebels then it is all elementary, the Crusaders chances will be dashed. 

Moana Pasifika, 18 points (11th on ladder)

Moana Pasifika have kept their playoff hopes alive against the odds. A win in their final match is crucial, but they also need a few results to go their way. If Moana Pasifika can upset the Crusaders in the opening game of round 15 on Friday night, they will have a nervous wait to see if the Fijian Drua and Western Force come unstuck to secure a historic playoffs spot.

Unlucky last

NSW Waratahs, 12 points (12th on ladder)

The NSW Waratahs are the only team out of contention. Twin victories over the Crusaders is all they have to show for their season so far. A win over traditional rivals the Queensland Reds will provide a level of redemption and give their fans something to cheer about.

A nail-biter! 😱

Who rounds out the last #SuperRugbyPacific finals spot in round 15? pic.twitter.com/JaRA80fAbY

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 27, 2024

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