The Super Rugby run home: top 8 all but sorted

run homeFollowing on from the Report Card last week on The Roar, it seems as good a time as any to map out the run home for the teams definitely and theoretically still in contention for the Super Rugby playoffs.

The short of it is that I think we’ll see minimal change to the current top eight from here on. By my loose predictions, seven of the current top eight will hold on, and five of those are in the positions I think they’ll finish.

My run home predictions for the current top twelve teams. I'm expecting minimal change from here on..

My run home predictions for the current top twelve teams. I’m expecting minimal change from here on..

Five curly questions for #SuperRugby Round 4

The Melbourne Rebels have travelled the best part of thirty thousand kilometres, and spent upwards of forty hours in transit in just the first four weeks of the competition. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Melbourne Rebels have travelled the best part of thirty thousand kilometres, and spent upwards of forty hours in transit in just the first four weeks of the competition. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: We’re a month in already, a coach has been sacked, and already, some teams have racked up frequent flyer miles in the tens of thousands.

Super Rugby Round 4 provides us with a full bracket of nine games, among them the first sighting of an Australian side in Tokyo, as well as the first sighting of an Argentinean side in Buenos Aires.

But it also presents as good a time as any to start passing judgements and ask a few tricky questions heading into what will be a weekend chock-full of rugby, namely:

  1. Can Peter Grant really carry on with the Western Force’s expansive desires?
  2. Surely the Highlanders couldn’t play the same card twice?
  3. Tokyo: will limited fitness or an already heavy travel schedule win out?
  4. Rebuild Rumble: stability of the Reds or variation of the Blues? and..
  5. Do the Brumbies just need to procreate in Cape Town?

Super Saturday: I survived six games and 13 straight hours. Just…

The sight of the Sunwolves’ Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo absolutely packed to its 25,000 capacity was a great way of starting the marathon. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: In all, the opening round of Super Rugby was a cracker. Almost six tries per game across the nine matches, and five bonus point wins under the new requirement of needing to win by three tries more than the opposition meant that there really was no shortage of entertainment over the weekend.

Rebels' fullback Reece Hodge enjoyed a dream debut, against the Western Force in Perth. Image: ABC Grandstand

Rebels’ fullback Reece Hodge enjoyed a dream debut, against the Western Force in Perth. Image: ABC Grandstand

(For what it’s worth, there were only three four-try bonus points earned and a touch over four tries per game scored on opening weekend last season.)

The big ticket item was Saturday: six straight games kicking off mid-afternoon with the Sunwolves’ historic Super Rugby debut in Tokyo, before heading to Christchurch, Sydney, Perth, the Southern Kings’ return to this level in Port Elizabeth, and finishing in Cape Town. Thirteen glorious hours of rugby.

And it was a challenge I was prepared to accept. There’s a sofa bed in McSport HQ for this very reason…

#Scrum5 podcast: Two Qualifying Finals that had it all

ESPNscrumESPNscrum.com: The Super Rugby playoffs are underway, and two cracking Qualifying Finals saw the Highlanders and Brumbies winning through to the Semis this weekend coming.

Sam Bruce and I review the action from the weekend, as well as casting an eye forward to the Semis in Wellington and Sydney, as well as news on the All Blacks’ 41-man squad, and interesting news from the Reds on Quade Cooper..