Another reason the Super Rugby structure needs to be changed?

If the season ended today the one-win Blues would be in the playoffs. Yes, that is correct.

Despite winning just one of their opening four games and lying fourth in the New Zealand Conference with six points, the Blues currently sit in the eighth playoff spot and final wildcard position.

Under the Super Rugby rules the four conference winners automatically qualify for the quarter-finals. Then one of the four wildcard spots go to the best placed runner-up from either Africa 1 or Africa 2, with the other three wildcards handed to the next ranked teams in the New Zealand and Australia Conferences.


The Blues currently edge out the Reds for the fourth-best team out of the New Zealand and Australian Conferences based on points difference.

Which means if the season ended today the playoffs would look like this:
QF1 - Chiefs v Blues
QF2 - Jaguares v Lions
QF3 - Stormers v Hurricanes
QF4 - Brumbies v Crusaders

The fact New Zealand and Australia get three of the four wildcard spots mean the Sharks (13 points) and the Cheetahs (9 points) sit outside of the playoffs despite a superior win-loss record to the Blues.

It's an interesting quirk four rounds into the competition but no doubt things will change as the season goes on. But for now we can cut Tana Umaga some slack because the Blues are in the running to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011.

The bad news for the Blues, the season is not ending today. The good news however is that they play the one-win Bulls on Saturday before playing the one-win Force the week after.