Super Rugby Final: Where Varatas, Reds and Brumbis can end up on the ladder

With just one weekend to go before the finals of the Super Rugby Pacific competition, the top eight are almost set but the tussle for position is still intense.

This is the best and worst situation for each team for their final position and the quarter-final opponents predicted for the top eight.

How does the final work?

A straight forward for the Super Rugby Pacific Final has a three-week playoff structure.

In the first week, the top eight teams will play in the quarter finals based on the ladder position. The games are 1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6 and 4 v 5 with top team hosting.

In two weeks the top quarter final winner hosts the lowest ranked quarter final winner and the second highest ranked quarter final winner hosts the third highest ranked winner.

The top semifinal winner in three weeks hosts another semifinal winner.

TBC all the time depending on the organizing team.

A reminder of the point system

Competition points in all regular season matches are awarded on the following grounds:

Win: 4 points
Draw: 2 points (no draws in the competition so far).
Loss: 0 points for losses over 7 points.

Bonus: 1 point at a rate of 7 points or less.
Bonus: 1 point for 3 or more attempts by an opponent.

Does everyone have a game left?

No, Western Force will play Moana Pacifica in a make-up game postponed on Tuesday due to Covid so they both have a chance to play.

Scenarios of the finals of each team

Blues, 1st, 54 points.

Remaining game: AWAY vs NSW Waratahs, Saturday evening 7.45pm AEST.

Situation: Winning the Blues quarter-finals and semis will ensure a first and a home Super Rugby Pacific final. They are six points ahead of second-placed Crusaders and will be tempted to rest the star players while securing the top spot after a serious confrontation with Brumbis on Saturday night.

All-black winger Caleb Clarke is less likely to appear after hitting his hamstring against Brumbis, while Rico Ion has the same problem.

The Highlanders, currently eighth, are seen as potential opponents in the quarterfinals.

Prediction: The Blues will end up at the top and take on Tahas easily which could add some added drama to the playoffs.

Michael Hooper of Varatas charges the field during a Round 14 Super Rugby Pacific match between Highlander and NSW Varatah at the Forsyth Bar Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand on May 22, 2022.  (Photo by Joe Allison / Getty Images)

Michael Hooper of Wartas charges during a Round 14 Super Rugby Pacific match between Highlanders and NSW Wartas (Photo by Joe Allison / Getty Images)

Crusaders, 2nd, 48 points.

Remaining game: Home vs. Reds, AEST at 5.35pm on Friday.

Situation: The Crusaders will not be the first but will drop to third place if they lose by more than seven points (not a bonus point) and if the Brumbies can win by one bonus point against bottom-placed Moana Pasifika. The MP has lost 11 of their 12 games and the second scene looks like a decent bet considering they will be backed up after a match on Tuesday.

The Crusaders should be refreshed in the mainland by resting Pablo Matera, David Haveli, Will Jordan and Richie Munga to defeat Scott Robertson Fijian Drua.

The finish of the second place will fight the crusaders against the seventh place. It’s currently the Reds, but the pacing between 5-7 is so tight that it could be a quarter-final against the Hurricanes (fifth) or Waratahs (sixth).

Prediction: Injuries to the Crusaders will be too much for the devastated Reds and will secure second place and so will play the Queenslanders again in the first week of the final.

Brumbies, 3rd, 44 points.

Remaining game: Away vs. Moana Pacific, Saturday afternoon 5.05 minutes AEST.

Situation: As explained in the Crusaders section above, Brumbis could finish second, but they could also move to fourth if they lose to MP and Chifra beat Fijian Drua.

Although the Brumbies can’t finish less than a quarter, a home final is safe. In the third, they will face the sixth-ranked team – currently Waratah, although the Reds and Hurricanes could finish there as well.

Prediction: The Brumbies will easily manage Moana Pacifica but will remain third. The fifth mean between Brumbis and Varatah in Canberra is expected to be too much for the Hurricanes for two games this week to maintain a blockbuster quarter-final.

Chiefs, 4th, 41 points.

Remaining game: AWAY vs. Fijian Drua, Saturday noon 1pm AEST.

Situation: The chiefs could move to third place above the Brumbis if Drua is expected to be sidelined and the Brumbis are defeated by a push near the Moana Pacific. But with both the Hurricanes and Waratah winning their matches, the Chiefs could see an astonishing defeat among themselves as they slipped down from the sixth.

Prediction: The Drua chiefs are less likely to push the knockouts to deprive them of a home final, and the likely outcome is that they stay where they are in fourth place and face a hurricane in fifth place – although the Reds and Tahs could also finish in fifth place.

Hurricanes, 5th, 36 points.

Remaining game: AWAY VS FORCE, Saturday Night 10pm AEST.

Situation: Cannes could rise to fourth place with a win against the Force, if Chiffra is bothered by Fijian Druar. But and the collapse rate could drop them to seventh place if both the Tahs and the Reds win.

Prediction: Expect a win for both the Chiefs and Cannes by setting the quarter-finals between the pair in Hamilton.

Waratahs, 6th, 36 points.

Remaining game: Home vs. Blues, Saturday, 6.45pm AEST.

Situation: The Tahs won their eighth season in Dunedin on Sunday to continue their impressive run under Darren Coleman – their first success there since 2008. A win against the Blues, who may be tempted to rest the top players – could take Tahs to fourth place. To make this happen they will need a winning bonus point and both the Chief and Hurricane will lose, the Chiefs having more than seven.

A Tahs defeat against the Crusaders and a Reds win will see them slip to a spot seventh place.

Prediction: Protecting the blues at the summit and charging Tahs in front of a huge crowd at Leichhardt, it’s all making a mess. The Cannes and Chiefs, however, will both win, leaving Tahs in sixth place and facing the Bambis in the quarterfinals.

Reds, 8th, 35 points.

Remaining game: AWAY vs. Crusader, Friday afternoon 5.35pm AEST.

Situation: A Reds win could end them in fifth place, but it will hurt Hurricane and Waratah. Although they couldn’t finish any worse from the seventh, the Highlanders couldn’t catch them from the eighth.

Prediction: The Reds lost James O’Connor in a hamstring injury and Josh Fluke in a shoulder injury and now 10 regular squad members have been ruled out due to injuries. This will make the chances of victory in Christchurch unlikely and it looks like they will face the same opponent on the same field a week later.

Jock Campbell of the Reds during the Round 14 Super Rugby Pacific match between the Queensland Reds and Moana Pacific on May 20, 2022 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Bradley Canaris / Getty Images)

Jock Campbell of the Reds. (Photo by Bradley Canaris / Getty Images)

Highlanders, 8th, 22 points.

Remaining game: AWAY vs. Rebel, Sunday 2pm AEST.

Situation: The Highlanders can’t reach the Reds and are six points away from the ninth-placed Rebels, and yet aren’t sure of a place in the final against the Blues. Force has two games to play and if they both win and at least one winner gets bonus points, the Highlanders will finish eighth if they lose more than seven.

Prophecy: The Highlanders were weak against Tahs on Sunday and lost to Sam Gilbert on a dumb red card. But they should have enough to cross the line, especially with forces facing the Hurricanes over the weekend after Tuesday’s match against Moana Pacific.

Rebel, 9th, 16 points.

Remaining game: Home vs. Highlander, Sunday 2 p.m. AEST.

Situation: The rebels cannot capture the Highlanders but can be passed by force. They are only five points away from the 11th Fijian Drua but a higher point differential means Fijians cannot catch them.

Prediction: The Rebels will be in 10th place with a force win over Moana Pacifica on Tuesday and a loss to the Highlanders.

Force, 10th, 14 points.

Remaining game: Away vs. Moana Pacific, Tuesday afternoon 5.05 p.m. Home vs. Hurricane, Saturday at 10 p.m.

Situation: The chances of them entering the quarterfinals in Force VIII are slim but they need to expect the Highlanders to lose their final match and win both of them with at least one bonus point. But they also have a chance to finish – if they lose both matches, if Fijian Drua wins their last game and Moana Pacifica wins their other two matches.

Prediction: Moana forces to defeat Pacifica but is defeated by Hurricanes, helping them to move to ninth place over the rebels.

Drua, 11th, 11 points.

Remaining game: Home vs. Chiefs Saturday 1pm AEST.

Situation: Drua can improve in one place if they win and the force loses twice. They will finish if Moana Pacifica wins both their matches and Force wins their second game. If the MP wins one with a bonus point and Drua loses, it would be to send down the Fijians in a point differential.

Prediction: Another harm is incoming but they can work just enough to avoid wooden spoons.

Pacific Ocean, 12, 6 points.

Remaining game: Home vs. Force, Tuesday afternoon 5.05 min AEST. HOME vs Brumbies, Saturday afternoon 5.05pm AEST 7

Situation: With two wins the MPs can finish up to 10th – well, ninth if they score an absolute mountain of points on the way they can also finish with a wooden spoon. Their match against the Force shows their best bet for the second win of their campaign.

Prediction: They fought hard against the Reds but failed to get the job done. Force is an opportunity and we think they can scream for a win there but miss a bonus point and fall short of 11th.

Predicted quarter final match up.

Blues (1) vs. Highlanders (8).

Crusaders (2) vs. Reds (7).

Brumbis (3) vs Waratahs (6)

Chiefs (4) vs. Hurricanes (5).

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