Super Rugby Finals Series scenarios

Date published: June 12 2015

The top six places in Super Rugby 2015 are sealed but the fixtures for the Finals Series are far from settled.

The Hurricanes are sure of a home semi-final spot but it's a three-way battle for second place in the overall standings, synonymous with a bye next week and home semi-final. 

Incredibly, the conference system means that if the Crusaders beat the Brumbies with a bonus point and the Stormers lose to the Sharks this weekend, the South African conference winners would still host a play-off despite finishing below the Kiwi side, who are already knocked out! 

In the event of two or more teams being equal on competition points in the standings, their final positions will be decided upon using the following steps until the tie is broken:
(a) Most wins from all matches;
(b) Highest aggregate points difference from all matches;
(c) Most tries from all matches;
(d) Highest aggregate difference of total tries for versus tries scored against from all matches;
(e) Coin toss.

Here's how the current situation breaks down: 

1. Hurricanes – 62 points
Last game: v Chiefs (away)
Best possible finish: 1st
Worst possible finish: 1st

The 'Canes are guaranteed top spot, so they will have next weekend off before hosting a semi-final in Wellington and potentially the final a week later.

2. Waratahs – 47 points
Last game: v Reds (home)
Best possible finish: 2nd
Worst possible finish: 6th

A bonus-point win for the defending champions would guarantee second spot and a home semi-final in a fortnight. The 'Tahs are level on points with the Brumbies but, crucially, have won one more game, meaning they only need to match Brumbies' result against the Crusaders to secure top spot in the Australian conference, which would also represent at least third place. If they lose with less than two bonus points and both Stormers and Brumbies win, then the Waratahs will travel next week.  

3. Stormers – 45 points
Last game: v Sharks (away)
Best possible finish: 2nd
Worst possible finish: 3rd

The South African conference is already in the bag so the Stormers' next game will be at Newlands. Whether that is a semi-final or a play-off depends more on results in Australia than it does on the outcome in Durban on Saturday. To finish second, both the Waratahs and Brumbies must lose before they beat the Sharks. If either Australian side wins, the result at Kings Park will be irrelevant. If both Aussie teams lose without a bonus point then a draw or two bonus points in defeat will be enough to qualify directly into the semis. 

4. Chiefs – 48 points
Last game: v Hurricanes (home)
Best possible finish: 4th
Worst possible finish: 6th

With the Kiwi Conference sewn up by the Hurricanes, the 2013 champions cannot hope for better than fourth spot. Level with the Highlanders, even a bonus-point win over the 'Canes may see the Chiefs drop to fifth if the Highlanders thrash the Blues. Defeat is likely to mean they finish sixth, depending on the Brumbies' result. 

5. Highlanders – 48 points
Last game: v Blues (away)
Best possible finish: 4th
Worst possible finish: 6th
The Highlanders are in a straight shoot-out with the Chiefs, with whom they are level on wins and bonus points and separated by just one point in the points-difference column. If they both win, the margin of victory is set to decide who gets a home play-off while a bonus could be telling if they both lose. Defeat could see the Highlanders finish sixth.

6. Brumbies – 47 points
Last game: v Crusaders (home)
Best possible finish: 2nd
Worst possible finish: 6th

The Brumbies will have to bank on other results going their way if they hope to play in Canberra again this year.  Even a bonus-point win could see them remain in sixth place with a likely trip to Cape Town next week. In essence, they must get one point more out of the weekend than the Waratahs to finish top of the Australian conference. If they can't catch the 'Tahs, they'll need both the Chiefs and Highlanders to lose to get a home qualifier.