Super 15 Rugby Round 17 featured four local derby matches, including two upsets with the Blues thrashing of the Force and the Hurricanes home win over the Crusaders. The Blues have a mathematical chance of making the finals and have now helped out not only themselves, but also their New Zealand counterparts by demolishing the Force in Perth. Amazingly it was the Blues first away win in 2014. The Hurricanes had a more settled team and deserved to beat the Crusaders.
Both Friday night games split the tipsters. The Highlanders won at home against the Chiefs to lift them to fourth overall, equal on points with the Crusaders at the top of the New Zealand conference. The Reds beat the Rebels in Melbourne in a convincing display, even though there were without Will Genia and Quade Cooper.
The Waratahs thrashed the Brumbies in the other local derby to lift them to the top of the ladder overall and playing into the New Zealand teams’ hands with both the Brumbies and Force struggling to hang in the Top Six.
The Hurricanes, Brumbies and Force have their work cut out for them now with Brumbies and the Hurricanes only having one match level, while the Force are now tied with the Blues and Chiefs who will all have to rely on other results to get through to the Top Six.
The Hurricanes win over the Crusaders has condensed the New Zealand conference with only six points between the Crusaders and Highlanders, and the Blues and Chiefs. That is epic and it means that there could be three New Zealand teams in the playoffs.
What were your highlights of Super Rugby Round 17?
The Blues showed that they are not finished with yet and their first away win shows how dangerous they can be.
The Hurricanes and Highlanders won local derbies against more fancied opponents, showing that they are in contention still.
The Waratahs showed that they are a dominant force and there is a gap between them and the rest of the Australian conference.
Victories for the Reds, Blues and Waratahs were bigger than most people expected, but it shows that while there are always some close games, other matches can end in blowout results.
It also shows you which teams are in good form. Teams like the Reds, Blues, Hurricanes, Waratahs and Highlanders are in good form at the moment.
Who are you picking to make the Top Six?
My picks are Waratahs, Sharks, Crusaders, Highlanders, Brumbies and Chiefs.
Super Rugby Round 17 Results
Highlanders 29 – 25 Chiefs
Rebels 20 – 36 Reds
Hurricanes 16 – 9 Crusaders
Waratahs 39 – 8 Brumbies
Force 14 – 40 Blues
Super Rugby Standings
Pos. Team Played Bye Pts
1 Waratahs 14 2 48
2 Sharks 14 2 45
3 Crusaders 14 2 42
4 Highlanders 14 2 42
5 Hurricanes 15 1 41
6 Brumbies 15 1 40
7 Force 14 2 36
8 Blues 14 2 36
9 Chiefs 14 2 36
10 Bulls 14 2 33
11 Stormers 14 2 28
12 Reds 14 2 28
13 Lions 14 2 22
14 Rebels 14 2 21
15 Cheetahs 14 2 20
Watch Super Rugby Round 17 video highlights here