The past couple of weeks have seen a fairly dramatic turnaround in the Super 14 competition. Teams that looked to be cruising have stumbled and the middle of the pack teams have lifted their performances to the point where there is now only 5 points separating the top eight teams on the ladder.
Early on two of the hot team to watch were the Waratahs and the Sharks, with the latter being especially dominant and looking for all intents like they would clearly finish ahead of the pack.
Fast forward to the present and how the mighty have fallen. The Waratahs have slipped from second on the ladder to sixth faster than the dogs at Dapto, and with a tough three game stretch in South Africa to close out their campaign are actually eighth in the betting to win the tournament this year.
The Sharks have slipped to second on the table with all the signs indicating that this downwards move may be just the beginning. They have some tough games ahead including the Bulls and the Waratahs and will be looking over their shoulder for the rest of the season as they desperately attempt to cling on to their top four spot.
So Who Are The Teams To Watch
After losing their first three games of the season, the Chiefs have surged to the top of the table, and while they are experiencing some injury concerns at the moment they should have enough in the tank to get them into the finals.
Currently sitting in eighth place, the Crusaders should be the strongest finishing team in the competition. Three of their last four games are against teams ranked currently outside the top ten so they should be on a roll by the time the finals roll around – they may even score themselves a home final if they rack up enough bonus points against these weak teams.
If any team finishes as strong as the Crusaders it will be the Hurricanes. Much like their rivals from across the Cook Straight they have been gifted with a run of soft games at the end of the season which will almost guarantee they finish in the top four.
The Pretoria based outfit is currently lying third on the ladder and should be able to maintain that position in the run home. Their last game of the season is at home against the Sharks and it is possible that results over the next couple of weeks will lead to that game being a playoff for a finals position.
Sharks – $4
Chiefs – $5
Bulls – $5.50
Hurricanes – $6.50
Crusaders – $8
Blues – $8
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