All the Super Rugby Pacific play-off permutations ahead of the final round

Dylan Coetzee
Super Rugby Pacific permutations

The 2023 Super Rugby Pacific campaign is soon to shut its doors on the regular season, with only one round to play this weekend.

Eight of the twelve teams make it through to the play-offs beginning with the quarter-finals and ending with southern hemisphere glory. Planet Rugby takes a closer look at the permutations in the final round.

Top four

The Chiefs have had a great season including a club-record 10-game win streak that has powered them to the top of the pile. Their 54 points and seven-point lead at the summit is enough to have already secured the number one spot in Super Rugby Pacific.

Last year’s champions, the Crusaders only need one point to secure second as they travel to the Hurricanes this weekend.

The Blues cannot fall out of the top four regardless of their result this weekend and would need the defending champions to lose and a massive win to grab an unlikely second.

The Brumbies are at risk of falling out of the top four should they lose to the Rebels and the ‘Canes beat the Blues.

It is important to remember that the top four is crucial as it guarantees a home quarter-final and semi-final should the team make it that far.

Mid-table security

The Hurricanes do have the chance to sneak into the top four at the expense of the Brumbies but at the very least the Wellington-based side has secured fifth.

Similarly, the Waratahs will finish in sixth place regardless of their result. The main focus from the Sydney men will be to finish as strongly as possible in the final fixture against Moana Pasifika and look to take momentum into the play-offs.

The fight for the last two spots

This is where the final round will be very important. There are a total of five teams vying for these final two spots with a lot of possibilities.

Before we dive into the intricacies of the five-way battle it is vital to note how teams are separated if they have the same number of points.

a) Most wins from all matches
b) Greatest points-difference
c) Most tries from all matches
d) Greatest tries-difference
e) Coin toss

The Reds are next on the table with 24 points and the equation is simple, beat the Fijian Drua. However, that is difficult considering the clash will be in Suva and that the Drua are one of the teams pushing for the play-off spots. A loss could seal their fate unless the Highlanders, Western Force and Melbourne Rebels all lose.

Just below the Queenslanders are the Highlanders who are on 23 points and have a trip to face the Blues at Eden Park this weekend. A win secures them a play-off spot but a loss puts them at huge risk unless the Western Force, the Drua and Rebels lose.

The Force are on 22 points, only one behind the Highlanders, and face the Chiefs this weekend. The Perth-based side needs to beat the leaders and either have the Reds or the Highlanders lose to move into the play-off spots. A huge bonus is that the Chiefs have no pressure on the last round and may rest some front-line stars.

The Drua are on 21 points and have a simple work out of beating the Reds at home, which will take them into the play-offs for the first time. Losses for the other teams in the race would help but are not necessary for a play-off spot.

Finally, the Rebels are also on 21 points but have fewer wins than the teams above them, meaning they will need to beat the Brumbies and have the Highlanders, Force and Drua all lose to reach the play-offs.

How the quarter-finals currently stand

(1) Chiefs v Highlanders (8)
(2) Crusaders v Reds (7)
(3) Blues v Waratahs (6)
(4) Brumbies v Hurricanes (5)

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