Super Rugby returns tomorrow night following the international break. But which teams are good again? Cameron McMillan provides a Super Rugby refresher ahead of this week's upcoming fixtures.
Which sides are winning again?
The Crusaders lead the entire competition but have the Chiefs and Hurricanes hot on their heels in the New Zealand Conference. The Lions (Africa 2), Stormers (Africa 1) and the Brumbies (Australian Conference) lead the other three conferences with the tightest race in Australia where the Brumbies and Waratahs are locked on 34 points. Heading into round 15, four New Zealand sides, The Crusaders, Chiefs, Hurricanes and Highlanders, would make the playoffs.
And the Blues?
They are still a chance, sitting five points outside of the eighth playoff spot. They'd probably need to win their final three games against the Hurricanes, Brumbies and Waratahs to make it.
And at the other end of the table?
The 'Super Spoon' looks like it will be going to either the Southern Kings (currently bottom on eighth points) or the Sunwolves (just one point ahead).
How many games are left?
There are three rounds left in the regular season before the playoffs - quarter-finals, semifinals and final. Most of the games for New Zealand sides are either local derbies or against Australian teams. The Highlanders are the exception as they are currently in South Africa and Argentina for their next two games.
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Time to reintroduce you to Lionel Mapoe, Akihito Yamada, Sergeal Petersen and Reece Hodge who are battling it out for the top tryscorer title in the competition. Interesting to note the first five in the list of top points scorers are from New Zealand franchises with Richie Mo'unga of the Crusaders leading on 142.
The crucial match-up is Friday night in Suva when the Chiefs meet the Crusaders, which could decide the top ranking. The Hurricanes need the beat the Blues to keep in touch with the top two in the NZ Conference, and the same goes for the Highlanders in Port Elizabeth against the Kings. In the Australian Conference the Brumbies host the Reds and the Waratahs face a tricky encounter in Tokyo against the Sunwolves. The Lions will most probably secure top spot in Africa 2, and a home qualifier, with a win against the Sharks on Sunday while the Stormers could do the same in Africa 1 with a victory over the Rebels in Melbourne.