And then there were seven! Yes, the race for Super 14 play-off places has officially been reduced to just seven teams.

Round 13 indeed provided us with Super Rugby’s version of musical chairs.

The Bulls went from third to first, through some Bryan Habana magic. They now need just one point – a point of any description – from their match against the Sharks to secure a top four spot. But to get home ground advantage in the play-offs they need to beat the Sharks … with a bonus point.

The Hurricanes went from first to third, as the Chiefs cemented their place in the top two by beating their compatriots in a rain-soaked Hamilton. It is going to get very interesting, as the Chiefs face the Brumbies in the final leg and the latter have a shot at the play-offs.

The Hurricanes travel to Brisbane to face the lowly Reds – you have to bank on the ‘Canes getting five points there.

The dark horse appears to be the defending champion Crusaders, who – after a very ordinary start to the season that included three defeats and a draw in their first five matches – now have some genuine momentum. They do need some results to go their way and face the Blues in Auckland in the last weekend, but they can still even still finish top of the standings with a big enough win.

The Brumbies (5th place) and Sharks (6th) have to overcome teams in the top four – the Brumbies up against the Chiefs and the Sharks meeting the Bulls.

The seventh-placed Waratahs face the Lions in their last league match and need a number of results to go their way, but could even finish second. However, they will need to show a willingness to discard their defensive-minded game and play for a four-try bonus point.

Those who fell out of the race in the penultimate round of league matches are the Blues and the Western Force – as they joined the Highlanders, Lions, Stormers, Reds and Cheetahs in the ‘playing for pride’ stakes.

Needless to say, in the final round several teams are going to knock each out of the race and – once again – it will go down to the wire.

In fact it will certainly come down to the very last league match of the season, when the Sharks host the Bulls in Durban on Saturday, May 16, to sort out the final places.

Courtesy of **Jan De Koning of Rugby 365**

1 week of round robin left and half the teams still have a shot…

Good return I would reckon.

Can someone take this to O’Neill and tell him this comp needs $#*&# all fixing?

Bulls:1stCurrent position:

Best possible finish:1stWorst possible finish:5thRemaining match:

May 16: v Sharks, DurbanChiefs:2ndCurrent position:

Best possible finish:1stWorst possible finish:7thRemaining match:

May 15: v Brumbies, HamiltonHurricanes:3rdCurrent position:

Best possible finish:1stWorst possible finish:7thRemaining match:

May 16: v Reds, BrisbaneCrusaders:4thCurrent position:

Best possible finish:1stWorst possible finish:7thRemaining match:

May 16: v Blues, AucklandBrumbies:5thCurrent position:

Best possible finish:1stWorst possible finish:7thRemaining match:

May 15: v Chiefs, HamiltonSharks:6thCurrent position:

Best possible finish:2ndWorst possible finish:9thRemaining match:

May 16: v Bulls, DurbanWaratahs:7thCurrent position:

Best possible finish:2ndWorst possible finish:9thRemaining match:

May 15: v Lions, JohannesburgWestern Force:8thCurrent position:

Best possible finish:6thWorst possible finish:9thRemaining match:

May 16: v Highlanders, PerthBlues:9thCurrent position:

Best possible finish:6thWorst possible finish:9thRemaining match:

May 16: v Crusaders, AucklandHighlanders:10thCurrent position:

Best possible finish:10Worst possible finish:12thRemaining match:

May 16: v Force, PerthLions:11thCurrent position:

Best possible finish:10thWorst possible finish:12thRemaining match:

May 15: v Waratahs, JohannesburgStormers:12thCurrent position:

Best possible finish:10thWorst possible finish:13thRemaining match:

May 16: v Cheetahs, BloemfonteinReds:13thCurrent position:

Best possible finish:12thWorst possible finish:13thRemaining match:

May 16: v Hurricanes, BrisbaneCheetahs:14Current position:

Best possible finish:14thWorst possible finish:14thRemaining match:

May 16: v Stormers, Bloemfontein@Morné (Comment 1) :

No O’Neill will argue that no other competition should think of expanding in these trying times but the S14 must.

Stormers playing for pride? To late for that, that hope went out the window at the end of round 5.

Ah…playing the IF game…such fun…

do we actually want to see the sharks play another game this season. spare us all the agony and knock them out.

had the pricks scored two more bp’s the situation would have been so different. it is hard to score when your fullback is giving the ball back to the opposition. well time adolf earnt his pay cheque and he recruits someone decent. this looks like the performance we got when he was bok coach.

5 of the 8 teams below us have scored more tries than us. that is embarrassing. that has always been the sharks strong point.

@try time (history forgets losers) (Comment 6) :

Really low on the confidence(arrogance) levels huh?

Can’t say I blame you – looking at how we are playing…it’s really hard to pick any team that we can beat.

Most of the top teams keep getting better every week…and we’re going the opposite way. Really unlike the Sharks to lose form like that as the competition progressed.

Well, I’m not gonna hold my breath…cross my fingers or worry myself with the different permutations for the whole week. We’ll see what happens during the weekend.

I still hope we can squeeze through though…SHARKS forever!

@blackshark (Comment 9) : what it does show is the sharks can’t carry a favourites title. 2 years in a row they have thrown top of the log out the window due to ineptness.

chokers is actually not far off what the sharks are.

So who will be the Last Man Standing?

Dylanators – Vodacom Cheetahs

flop – Vodacom Cheetahs

Hoolies – Vodacom Cheetahs

Predators – Vodacom Cheetahs

Rahulplett – Vodacom Cheetahs

Sharks 2009 – Vodacom Cheetahs

Whindy’s Winners – Vodacom Cheetahs

The Punters – HSBC Waratahs

we’ll know our fate saturday morning after the blues vs saders match, but plum and muller are the actual deciders of our fate or has been thus far