The 2014 Super XV Championship is getting to the thick end of competition, and with just third of the regular season left to play, every game from here on in may prove to be crucial in determining who will make the playoff stages and the coveted home semifinal berths. This weekend sees a top of the table encounter as the table-topping Sharks continue their tour of Australasia against the second-placed Brumbies, and the chasing pack will be quick to ounce on whichever of those two sides drops points. Whilst the results of this weekend’s games will not determine the outcome of the season, it will prove as an important springboard from which to kick off the final stage of the regular season.
The Super XV Odds
The Australian conference, despite the many concerns and doubts at before the start of the season, has been very competitive, as is evidenced by the fact that three of the top five places on the overall log are occupied by Aussie teams. The Sharks encounter gives the Brumbies an opportunity to close the gap on the leaders and their former coach Jake White, who left the Canberra-based outfit at the end of last season. But the Brumbies are not the only team who will have an interest in the game, with the Waratahs and the Force ready to overtake them at the top of the Australian conference should they lose.
New Zealand Conference
After a slow and rather disappointing start to the season, the teams from New Zealand are slowly kicking into gear, arguably at the best time. The defending champions, the Chiefs, still lead the way in the conference, but they don’t look nearly as strong this year, and the Crusaders are hitting their straps. By far the most closely fought of the three conferences, with just five points dividing the five sides, this weekend further shake things up, with a derby fixture between the Chiefs and the unpredictable Blues, whilst the other three teams face beatable teams.
South African Conference
Runaway leaders of the South African conference the Sharks have a key fixture this weekend. Seeking their first title win, securing a home semifinal and potential home final for them is their main objective at the moment, and a win against the Brumbies will go a long way to achieving that. Even should the lose, however, they possess a strong enough lead in the conference to be able to maintain their calm in the event of defeat this Saturday. Also because the team nearest to the, the Bulls, will be entangled in a tough derby fixture against the Stormers this weekend. Though the Stormers have been poor this season, and a long list of injuries does not help their cause, the North-South Derbies are always grueling encounters and the Bulls players will know full well that they have been in a game by the end of the 80 minutes.
Check out the official Super XV website to keep up with the latest news and results.