S14: Road to the play-offs

With just two rounds remaining we still have 10 teams in the running for places in the 2007 Super 14 play-offs. However, some of those teams’ prospects are so remote and mathematical, you will need a scientific calculator to work pout the formulas.

However, closer scrutiny will reveal that only about six teams are in with realistic chances – six teams that have their destiny in their own hands and are not relying on a freakish sequence of events to get them into the top four.

The Super six are the defending champion Crusaders, Blues, Sharks, Bulls, Chiefs and Brumbies.

Just 10 points separate those six and it means even the Brumbies can still finish first on the standings, although they will need to do something drastic about their points differential – points for and points against.

What makes it even more interesting is that a number of these teams are playing each other in the next fortnight.

The Crusaders face the Brumbies and Chiefs, while the Blues face the Bulls and dark horses Western Force (both in away matches).

It is going to make for an interesting final two rounds and it will almost certainly go down to the wire – with bonus points and points differentials likely to decide who is still standing come May 5.

Of those who are hovering in the hopeful bracket the Force have the best shot, while one of the Highlanders or Hurricanes are going to eliminated when they meet on Friday.

The Stormers are the team that will require and extraordinary series of results if they hope to qualify and in the process they could end up eliminating the Sharks.

The Lions and Cheetahs have lost the plot and could both occupy the last two places on the standings if they continue the dramatic slide of the last few weeks.

That will open the door for a late Australian rally (Waratahs and Reds) and leave plenty of egg on South African faces.

Here’s each team’s prospects at a glance!

Crusaders:
Current position: 1st
Best possible finish: 1st
Worst possible finish: 6th
Remaining matches:
28 Apr: v Brumbies, away
4 May: v Chiefs, Christchurch

Blues:
Current position: 2nd
Best possible finish: 1st
Worst possible finish: 8th
Remaining matches:
27 Apr: v Bulls, away
5 May: v Force, away

Sharks:
Current position: 3rd
Best possible finish: 1st
Worst possible finish: 9th
Remaining matches:
28 Apr: v Lions, home
5 May: v Stormers, away

Bulls:
Current position: 4th
Best possible finish: 1st
Worst possible finish: 11th
Remaining matches:
27 Apr: v Blues, home
5 May: v Reds, home

Chiefs:
Current position: 5th
Best possible finish: 1st
Worst possible finish: 11th
Remaining matches:
27 Apr: v Waratahs, away
4 May: v Crusaders, away

Brumbies:
Current position: 6th
Best possible finish: 1st
Worst possible finish: 12th
Remaining matches:
28 Apr: v Crusaders, home
5 May: v Highlanders, away

Force:
Current position: 7th
Best possible finish: 2nd
Worst possible finish: 13th
Remaining matches:
27 Apr: v Cheetahs, home
4 May: v Blues, home

Highlanders:
Current position: 8th
Best possible finish: 3rd
Worst possible finish: 13th
Remaining matches:
27 Apr: v Hurricanes, away
5 May: v Brumbies, home

Hurricanes:
Current position: 9th
Best possible finish: 4th
Worst possible finish: 13th
Remaining matches:
27 Apr: v Highlanders, home
5 May: v Waratahs, home

Stormers:

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