DHL Stormers play-off picture clearer

PUBLISHED: July 11, 2016

The DHL Stormers will host a quarterfinal at DHL Newlands, although their opponents will only be determined this weekend.

The DHL Stormers will host a quarterfinal at DHL Newlands, although their opponents will only be determined this weekend.

The DHL Stormers’ bonus-point victory against the Western Force in Perth saw them claim the honours in Africa Conference One, which means they qualify as one of the four conference winners to host a quarterfinal.

However, there are still plenty of permutations in terms of who they will be facing in that DHL Newlands quarterfinal, as the only other team to have won their conference to secure homeground advantage in the play-offs already, is the Emirates Lions.

In the New Zealand conference the Chiefs (51 points) are currently leading, with the Crusaders (50), Highlanders (48) and Hurricanes (48) all still in contention to win the conference, with two crucial derbies in the final round which will see the Crusaders and Hurricanes square off in Christchurch and the Highlanders face the Chiefs in Dunedin.

All four of these New Zealand teams are already assured of a play-off spot, but only one of them will play at home as New Zealand conference winners, whilst the team that finishes third out of the four, will travel to Cape Town to face the DHL Stormers at DHL Newlands.

In the Australian conference the Brumbies and the Waratahs are both currently on 39 points, with the Waratahs set to face the Blues in Auckland and the Brumbies hosting the Force in Canberra in the final round. Neither side can catch the DHL Stormers and whichever team finishes on top of the Australian conference will be fourth seed in the quarterfinals and the only Australian team in the last eight.

At the end of the regular season with the conclusion of Round 17 this coming Saturday, July 16, the four conference winners (Australian conference, New Zealand conference, Africa conference 1 and Africa conference 2) will be seeded according to log points and will each host a quarterfinal. If teams are tied on log points, the team with the most wins in the season will be seeded higher.

The four teams to play away from home in the quarterfinals, or wildcards, will be the next three teams in the combined Australasian group (Australian and New Zealand conferences combined) and one from the combined African group (Africa conference 1 and Africa conference 2 combined). These teams will then be seeded 5-8 according to log points and most wins if tied on log points.

After the quarterfinals, semifinals will be determined by the teams’ respective seeding, with the top two seeds hosting the semifinals.

As an example as the log currently stands today after 16 rounds, the DHL Stormers would be seeded third and would host the Highlanders, who are seeded sixth, at DHL Newlands. The other quarterfinals as it currently stands today after 16 rounds, would see the Emirates Lions host the Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg, the Chiefs face the Hurricanes in Hamilton and the Brumbies take on the Crusaders in Canberra.

Current seedings as the log currently stands today after 16 rounds:

SEED 1 Emirates Lions (52 points, Africa conference 2 winners)
SEED 2 Chiefs (51 points, New Zealand conference leaders)
SEED 3 DHL Stormers (46 points, Africa conference 1 winners)
SEED 4 Brumbies (39 points, Australian conference leaders)

SEED 5 Crusaders (50 points, Australasian wildcard 1)
SEED 6 Highlanders (48 points, Australsian wildcard 2)
SEED 7 Hurricanes (48 points, Australasian wildcard 3)
SEED 8 Cell C Sharks (39 points, African wildcard)

As an example: Play-offs as the log currently stands today after 16 rounds:

Emirates Lions v Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg
Chiefs v Hurricanes in Hamilton
DHL Stormers v Highlanders at DHL Newlands
Brumbies v Crusaders in Canberra

Tickets for the DHL Stormers’ final game of the regular season against the Southern Kings at DHL Newlands on Saturday, July 16 can be bought at wprugby.computicket.com.

There will also be two curtain-raisers to the match with DHL Western Province Under-19 up against Eastern Province U19 at 12h00, and DHL Western Province facing Border at 14h15, with gates open at 11h30.