Controversy over the Lions spot at the pinnacle of Super Rugby has pelted in this week but it hasn't stopped ONE News Now's Power Rankings. With only two weeks to go of the regular season, who's moved where?
1. Lions (3)
The most tenuous of grips on the top spot. Have been blowing most of their opposition away except for the not so insignificant caveat that they play in the easier conference. Big win over their nearest rivals.
2. Crusaders (1)
Lost the top spot on the ladder so I guess we have to follow suit. Have the Rebels next up to get back on the horse. Odds on to bounce back quickly. Fiji was too warm.
3. Chiefs (7)
Threw themselves back into contention big time. Huge physical presence, defence close to immaculate and regained some of their counter attacking mojo back. Deserve the leap up the chart.
4. Hurricanes (4)
Showed considerable mental skills to keep themselves in the game then close it out against the Blues who showed their best for the year. With trips to Sydney then Christchurch to come, the next two weeks are the real litmus test.
5. Waratahs (5)
As expected, dealt to the Sunwolves over in Asia with several of the tries coming via the backline. Have enjoyed a great run that is going to be seriously examined in the next few weeks.
6. Highlanders (2)
It was a bit of rotation, a throwback to the 'dirty dirties' of touring days, a chance for the squad to get them game time….Whatever, it was basically telling the Kings they aren’t up to standard and they eventually ran away with it.
7. Blues (9)
For 40 minutes the Blues were experiencing the rarefied air that their Kiwi counterparts breathe and it turned out it was a bit too high up. Hugely positive signs from the team that lots of people are strangely rooting for as an underdog.
8. Brumbies (6)
If the powers that be ruled out the rolling maul, the Brumbies would be stuffed. The Grandma’s undies team of the comp who encapsulate what is wrong with Aussie rugby at the moment. Three tries from mauls? Come on! Hopefully the Blues spoil their playoff dreams.
9. Stormers (13)
Wow. Spread the ball around and looked genuinely positive and effective. Fifty-seven points says as much and the Rebels had no answer in the last 20 minutes. Worthy replacements of the Sharks.
10. Rebels (10)
Contributed to the 88 point thriller against the Stormers with some expansive rugby of their own. Looks like they are trying to find their own identity and it is encouraging.
11. Sharks (8)
Absolutely belted by the Lions in the first half and only managed to get parity in the second. The mighty Sharks have not been themselves in 2016 and there’s no hint of any magic resurgence around the corner.
12. Jaguares (14)
Albeit in the comfort of Buenos Aires, beating the Bulls is a good result for the Jaguares. Two more chances to finish the season on a high starting with the Highlanders who will be coming at full strength.
13. Reds (11)
Were drawn into the Brumbies’ web of boredom and got ground down. Would Aussie rugby be more exciting if the drones of Phil Kearns. Rod Kafer and Greg Clark were tweaked in the audio department?
14. Bulls (12)
Inconsistency away from home has been their downfall. Can sneak into the playoffs with two big wins over the Sunwolves and Cheetahs.
15. Cheetahs (16)
More and more looking like one of the ‘one too many teams from South Africa’ teams. Beat the Force by one point at home who are one of the ‘one too many teams from Australia’ teams.
16. Sunwolves (17)
Got pumped by the Tahs but the Sunwolves will be given some leeway for a few more years yet. Andy Marinos said it best when he called the franchise ‘rushed’ so you know they’ll be better for next year. Didn’t gain PR points but the Force lost too many.
17. Force (15)
Ditto the Cheetahs but change a few words around.
18. Kings (18)
When you only get 12 people to the stadium to watch your team play the defending champs (albeit watered down) it’s time for you to leave the competition.