I’ve had a bit of a sober look at the Super Rugby log as it stands at the moment and come up with a very sobering thought. The Chiefs, Brumbies and Waratahs, in terms of what they’ve achieved so far are probably a good few steps ahead of the Sharks, despite our team’s lofty log position. Let me elaborate.

Now, the Sharks have done an admirable job of capitalising on a good draw and winning the games in front of them, but as we’ve pointed out before, only one of their six games to date has been away from Kings Park – a game incidentally that also yielded their only loss. In fact, wins away from home by any SA team this year are like hen’s teeth – the Lions’ shock victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in round 1 is the only one we’ve seen so far, after eight rounds of action.

Home wins, in other words, are pretty much the expected norm and it’s been commonly said that a team simply has to win their home games to be in contention come trophy time. Turning that on its head, you can argue that it’s the away wins that ultimately define who is going to be near the top of the log, assuming that all the main contenders aren’t losing at home. I’ve decided to take this logic and apply it to the current log standings, to get a feeling for how the various teams are really positioned.

The formula is a simple one: deduct four log points for each home game a team has played. The thinking is that four points is the expected minimum haul from any home game, thus if we’re trying to assess what teams are doing that is beyond the ordinary, we need to take those “gimme” points out of the equation.

The results are rather interesting and show that, with the Chiefs (12), Brumbies (9) and Waratahs (8) towards the top of this new log, the Sharks, on just 3 points, have a huge way still to go.

To make things fair, though, we’re removing home games from the “played” total as well, just to make things a little more reflective of reality.

Here’s the current log…. what do you think?

1. Chiefs 12 from 4

2. Brumbies 9 from 4

3. Waratahs 8 from 3

4. Force 6 from 3

5. Hurricanes 4 from 4

6. Blues 4 from 4

7. Sharks 3 from 1

8. Bulls 2 from 4

9. Crusaders 1 from 3

10. Lions 0 from 3

11. Reds 0 from 4

12. Highlanders -1 from 2

13. Rebels -1 from 3

14. Stormers -2 from 5

15. Cheetahs -4 from 4

Rob, I like what you did there.

Its a reality check for everyone and to keep their feet on the ground.

Another very concerning point is that the Sharks are the top SA side on the log and we only sitting on no7.

@Uli Boelie (Comment 1) : SA sides have quite simply been appalling this year away from home.

You can argue that the Sharks’ results aren’t statistically significant yet.

@robdylan (Comment 2) : Yes, Sa sides have been really bad thus far. We have played 10 tour games and not won 1.

@robdylan (Comment 2) : Indeed that is the only conclusion that anyone can draw after only one away game so far! Should we lose to the Lions things start to go pear-shaped but the acid test will, of course, be the overseas tour. This ties in exactly with what JW has said about success/failure being defined over the course of the next 8 weeks/matches.

@Greg (Comment 4) : Very true, however, the bulls game the Bulls was playing out of their skin, and we really had bad luck with injuries that game.

That said, it actually showed that JW should look at a better rotating policy, Tim Swiel was out of his depth that game, even though he did not play terrible, you could see he was not ready to be on the field for that long. Mcleod was also found wanting, I dont think eitherof them expected to be on the field at all that game. I do miss BV rotation policy I must say and it did really work.

I agree Rob. I have a feeling that the next two games are going to define our season. If we can win the next two games, even if it is not very pretty, we will be setting ourselves up for a good tour. Then even if it was mostly home wins, 7 out of 8 is serious confidence.

Very interesting way to look at the log, Rob. It gives a much different perspective of where we are really at. 😯 This also proves the emphasis on winning not only your home games, but crucially at least most of your away games as well.

The Chiefs managed 6 points from their SA tour from the 2 draws. From a maximum possible 10 points they therefore managed a 60% return. To get the same result from the 4 overseas games the Sharks will need 12 points, doesn’t really matter how but obviously will have to include at least 2 wins.

Last year the Chiefs lost 4 times in achieving top spot on the log so that leaves some leeway in terms of games we can “afford to lose”. But remember we still have to play the Stormers twice (home and away) and they might wake up one of these days

@Greg (Comment 8) : OR by the time we get to play the Stormers, they will be completely out of contention and looking to rather focus on the currie cup or 2015. Thus we bag an “easy” 5 points both at Kingspark and Newlands!

Rob, does your log take the Brumbies and Highlanders results of today into consideration too?

Am I correct in saying a bonus point win at Ellis Park could elevate us to third on your away log (and within one point of the Brumbies)?

@vanmartin (Comment 10) : it does, yeah.

and yes, if we pick up 5 points tomorrow, we head right up into 3rd spot, 1 point behind the Brumbies with 2 away games in hand.

I think the sharks are gonna tour well, we normally win a couple games on tour and this years tour isn’t that bad rebels, brumbies, crusaders, blues. Plus we won’t have any humidity to deal with, we can unleash the backs a bit more. I reckon about 12 points would put us in prime position

@robdylan (Comment 2) : Its why I disliked the insulting of Aussie games last year. We are doing just as bad if not worse (South Africa), and the Sharks being similar to the Brumbies who lead the comp while the other Aussie teams all did badly.

Yes this is really ”keeping your feet on the ground stuff” I have a sincere hope that with JW pulling the strings and add to this the strength of our (now somewhat depleted) squad, we can win away from home …… starting with the Lions. Great look at what has happened so far.

1. Chiefs 12 from 4

2. Brumbies 9 from 4

3. Force 10 from 4

4. Waratahs 4 from 3

5. Hurricanes 4 from 4

6. Blues 4 from 4

7. Sharks 3 from 1

8. Bulls 2 from 4

9. Crusaders 1 from 3

10. Lions 0 from 3

11. Reds 0 from 4

12. Rebels 0 from 4

13. Highlanders -1 from 2

14. Stormers -2 from 5

15. Cheetahs -4 from 4

@robdylan (Comment 15) : looking better now Sharks got 7 from 2. Now they must just beat Cheetahs and Stormers away and they will be almost home in the SA conference. Problem is the Sharks got a tendency to lose against the bottom teams, but I’m sure they will change that this year.