The only thing that is clear it that anyone still has a mathematical chance to miss out on a play-off spot. And likewise, anyone can still finish top of the log. Some miracles may be required, but possible, nonetheless.
Current Log Position: 1st on 42 Pts
Best Possible finish: 1st on 57 Pts
Worst Possible finish: 5th on 42 Pts
Remaining Matches: Valke (A), Lions (A), Griquas (H).
Current Log Position: 2nd on 40 Pts
Best Possible finish: 1st on 55 Pts
Worst Possible finish: 5th on 40 Pts
Remaining Matches: Cheetahs (A), Griquas (A), Valke (H).
Current Log Position: 3rd on 36 Pts
Best Possible finish: 1st on 51 Pts
Worst Possible finish: 5th on 36 Pts
Remaining Matches: Boland (A), Sharks (H), WP (A)
Current Log Position: 4th on 32 Pts
Best Possible finish: 1st on 47 Pts
Worst Possible finish: 6th on 32 Pts
Remaining Matches: Blue Bulls (H), Valke (A), Boland (H)
Current Log Position: 5th on 27 Pts
Best Possible finish: 1st on 42 Pts
Worst Possible finish: 8th on 27 Pts
Remaining Matches: Griquas (H), Boland (A), Lions (H)
As I said in the introduction, some of these Best or Worst possible finishing positions may need the inclusion of a miracle or two to actually happen so let us just look at what is probably going to happen based on current form.
1. Sharks 56 Pts
For the Sharks to realistically finish top of the table without outside help they will need to take all three wins available to them and ensure that they get bonus points in two of those matches. I think that is actually exactly what will happen. The Sharks should take 5 points from the Valke and Griquas and 4 from the Lions, leaving them on 56pts which should be the minimum required.
2. Blue Bulls 55 Pts
Let’s face it the Blue Bulls are NOT going to lose one of their remaining three matches and will end the season on 55pts having taken max points off their last three opponents. They already have a points difference of 77 better than the Sharks. In two of their last three matches they will amass massive scores and I would not be surprised if they end with a PD in excess of 300. So the Sharks have no hope of ending above them if they finish level on points.
3. Lions 42 Pts
The Lions have the hardest run in to the finals and I only expect them to pick up 6 points in their last three games. 5 Against Boland, 1 against the Sharks and 0 against WP. They could easily upset the apple cart and take a victory against the Sharks but that will still see them finish 3rd. Victory against WP is not on the cards I am afraid.
4. Western Province 41/42 Pts
Western Province will take 5 points each off Griquas and Boland and 4 MAYBE 5 from The Lions match. 5 from the Lions match will put them level on 42 with the Lions but I think if this should happen the Lions will have a superior PD in light of them already being 57 ahead on PD. Looking at yesterdays performance it seems to me as if WP are aware of the PD deficit.
5. Cheetahs 41 Pts
They are going to be the victims of a Blue Bull stampede next week as we see the Bulls try and rack up as big a PD as possible and I don’t see them taking any points out of that match. If they take 10 points from their match ups against the Valke and Boland they will also end on 42 points. WP will have a far superior PD though and still see the Cheetahs end 5th. I don’t think they WILL take max points from the last two games and expect them to only take 9 points [Valke (5), Boland (4)] leaving them on 41Pts and missing out on the play-offs.
The big spanner in the works could be the odd upset here or there, if they could even BE called upsets. I don’t think I am being overly presumptuous in believing that the Big 5 will win all their games against the minnows in the coming weeks. That then leaves the Currie Cup with only ONE match that could go either way. I am sorry, but I just don’t see the WP / Lions match as one that could go either way, it will be a WP victory.
The decider will be played next weekend at Coca-Cola park in Johannesburg. Should everything go according to plan (The Sharks plan) then they will walk away as victors and have all but secured top spot. Should everything go according to the other plan (The Lions’ Plan) then the Sharks will find themselves ending the season in 2nd place waiting for a Semi-final visit from these same Lions who will then be comfortably 3rd at the end of the season.Tweet