Super 15 Playoff Predictions

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With only one round of regular fixtures left in this year’s Super 15 – outside possibilities aside – the six playoff births are all but sealed. That said, we thought we’d cast our eyes ahead and look at who will likely be playing who in the playoffs.

Before we do that though, a quick reminder of how the business end of the competition works:

The top two teams (#1 and #2 on the log) go straight through to a home semi final and enjoy a week off. While they sit with their feet up, the quarterfinals take place. In this round, the side that ended #3 plays #6 (with #3 hosting) and #4 plays #5 (with #4 hosting).

The winners then go on to compete against regular log winners in the semi with the two winners in that round competing for the title in the final.

Lesson’s over. Back to our permutations.

The final round fixtures are as follows: (home team first)

Blues vs Highlanders
Rebels vs Force
Brumbies vs Crusaders
Chiefs vs Hurricanes
Waratahs vs Reds
Bulls vs Cheetahs
Sharks vs Stormers

While the final round doesn’t feature too many banana skins, the three nation conference system ensures that one team from each of the hosts will end in the 1 – 3 position, and while the possibility that there will be a change in the top two is slim, there is still a chance and hence we have two possible playoff scenarios to consider.

Let’s take a closer look at those.

Scenario A

Scenario A is the most likely scenario and will more than likely play out like this:

Hurricanes W
Waratahs W
Brumbies W
Highlanders W
Stormers W

Meaning the log will look as follows:
(Disclaimer: this is assuming that each team just secures the four points for a victory – understandably there are other variables too like winning and losing bonus points and point differences, but those shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the log.)

Hurricanes 66
Waratahs 51
Stormers 49
Highlanders 52
Chiefs 48
Brumbies 51

This would then mean the quarter finals looks as follows:

Stormers vs Brumbies
Highlanders vs Chiefs

And semi finals as follows:

Hurricanes vs Stormers
Waratahs vs Highlanders

And the final:

Hurricanes vs Waratahs

Scenario B

Scenario B is the more favourable from a South African point of view but for this scenario to play out, the Stormers need a few other results to go their way.

For example:

Hurricanes W
Waratahs L
Brumbies L
Highlanders W
Stormers W

Meaning the log would look like this:

Hurricanes 66
Stormers 49
Waratahs 48
Highlanders 52
Chiefs 48
Brumbies 48

Leading to the following quarters:

Waratahs vs Brumbies
Highlanders vs Chiefs

The following semis:

Stormers vs Highlanders
Hurricanes vs Waratahs

And this final:

Hurricanes vs Stormers

There is also a scenario C, which entails the Brumbies winning, the Waratahs losing and the Tahs then travelling to Cape Town to play the Stormers in the playoffs. This relies on the Brumbies beating the Crusaders though, and since the Waratahs are playing the Reds – I think you’d agree that this appears unlikely.

Either way, I think the Hurricanes are going to take it this year and (as much as I’d never admit it on game day) the Stormers aren’t. The ‘Canes have just been too good this year, but as we like to say here in Cape Town: “There’s always next year!”

So that’s my prediction for how the rest of this competition is going to play out. Am I right? What are your thoughts, sports fans?

As always, we’d love to hear from you so slap us with a comment or uppercut us with a tweet @leftbacks on Twitter.

Over and out!

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