How the Super Rugby quarterfinals are shaping up

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Only two more rounds of Super Rugby round robin fixtures remain before the knockout stages, and teams are jostling for quarterfinal spots.

With four more rounds of fixtures to go, the competition is well in its business end, with a tight race for the last eight.

How the conferences are looking

New Zealand

As things stand, the Crusaders are the closest to securing a spot in the last eight, and their chances have been boosted by the defeat suffered by their closest rivals for top spot in both the overall log and the New Zealand conference, the Hurricanes.

The defending champions sit seven-points clear in both tables, and a win against the Stormers on Saturday will place a spot in knockout rounds within touching distance, and a home quarterfinal might just be on the cards.

Despite now having a tougher path towards finishing as conference leaders, the ‘Canes are almost a sure bet for a home quarterfinal by virtue of being the best placed wildcard team.

South Africa

The two other conferences are a lot tighter than the one from the Land of the Long White Cloud, and the Jaguares’ win over the Hurricanes has seen them top the South African table with 32 points. The Sharks – who have a bye in week 14 – are second with 29 points, with the Bulls and the Lions third and fourth with 28 and 26 points respectively.

The bottom club in the conference, the Stormers, are almost out of the running for a home quarterfinal, and might just have to travel should they qualify for the last eight.

Australia

The Australian conference is almost as tight, with one team now on the brink of only playing for pride.

The Sunwolves have only managed 12 points in as many matches, and can only get up to 32 should they manage bonus-point wins in their remaining fixtures, but a spot in the knockout round will rest on things going completely awry for their conference mates.

At the time of publishing, the Brumbies had a narrow one-point lead over the second-placed Rebels, who have a game in hand, with a similar gap between the third-placed Reds and the Waratahs, who face each other on Saturday.

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