Lions to throw Sharks game?

By the time the Lions square up against the Sharks at King’s Park on Saturday, they may be in a position to decide who they host in next week’s Super Rugby quarter-finals.

As things stand, the Crusaders, Lions, Stormers and Brumbies are the four conference winners who will host a quarter-final, while the Hurricanes, Chiefs, Highlanders and Sharks have booked wildcard berths.

The Lions are second on the overall standings with 61 log points, two behind the Crusaders.

Assuming the status quo remains after the final round of league matches, the Highlanders (7th, 46 points) would travel to Johannesburg next week, while the Sharks (8th, 42) would head off to Christchurch.

The remaining quarter-finals would be contested by the Stormers (3rd, 39) and Chiefs (6th, 53) in Cape Town, and the Brumbies (4th, 34) and Hurricanes (5th, 54) in Canberra.

However, the Lions are in Durban on Saturday afternoon to battle a Sharks team that shares a common objective – booking a quarter-final rematch.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders (who host the Reds) would probably also prefer not to have to fly across the Indean Ocean to face the Lions when they could instead head 360kms north to face the Crusaders in Christchurch.

For Dunedin’s heroes, a win against the Reds will lock them into seventh spot and a match against whoever finishes second overall. They may well decide to rest a few key players, lose to the Reds and leave their fate in the Lions’ hands.

If the Highlanders do lose, the Lions will be in a position to set up a quarter-final rematch against the Sharks by losing in Durban – that would keep the Joburg team in second place (regardless of the Crusaders result) and boost the Sharks into seventh.

Of the four teams involved in the permutations, this would be seen as a great result, excluding the Crusaders who would prefer to see the Sharks fly in next week, rather than the Highlanders.

And the final twist? Should the Hurricanes get over the Crusaders in Wellington on Saturday morning, the Lions would have a shot at topping the log, and thus hosting a final should they get there.

Should they book an easier quarter-final opponent, or aim for top spot on the log?

Current quarter-final draw:
Crusaders (1) v Sharks (8)
Lions (2) v Highlanders (7)
Stormers (3) v Chiefs (6)
Brumbies (4) v Hurricanes (5)

Semi-final Draw (highest ranked team to host):
SF1: Winner QF1 v Winner QF4
SF2: Winner QF2 v Winner QF3

Final Draw (highest ranked team to host):
Final: Winner SF1 v Winner SF2

- All Out Rugby Staff Writer

Let's chat

  • Albert Hoffman

    Whoever wrote this doesnt know or understand the Lions at all, the teams culture, beliefs and standards would never allow them to lose to a team on purpose, thats low and lacks integrity! It makes no difference who they play in the QF’s, whether its the Landers or the team from Dirtbin. The Lions will beat whoever is put in front of them! Nice try at trying to stir up drama nameless “journalist”.

    • Barry Smith

      What a ridiculous structure, Sharks will have more points than both Stormers (home play off) and Brumbies, but get the worst play off slot. It is no wonder we have such poor track record in SR. The competition will in the fullness of time fail, because the administrator’s are more focused on filling their pockets than producing a powerful best of the best type competition!

    • Sharky

      Lions vs Jaguares in Argentina 2016… nuff said!

      • Derik

        Lions went to win that game, they merely rotated players to rest them for the quarter final, sparing them the arduous trip to Argentina and back. And for a whole first half the Lions were on track to win that game. They did the same this year, with the aim to win and it backfired again.

        This time round I think the Lions will play a full strength team – they had a bye the week before, and the June international break so they will be looking at building continuity into the play-offs. They will likely have the prospect of securing top spot if they win, and even if they don’t the confidence of going into play-offs with a win under their belt will be all the motivation they need.

        I also think that playing the Highlanders in the quarters, albeit a banana peel match, will be the best prep if we were to go all the way. No use only playing a NZ team in the semi or final and then losing anyway because you weren’t prepared.

      • Amien

        Ouch now that is a way to shut the goodie 2 shoes

  • Lions Fan '82

    If the ‘saders lose, and the LIONS win, Lions go 1st and the Sharks stay 8th, so the Lions will host the Sharks anyway if it pans out like this.

  • Lions Fan '82

    No matter what happens this weekend, we’re looking at a Crusaders Lions final (1 and 2 either way). That’s probably what everyone’s hoping and thinking. Although I won’t be surprised if the Hurricanes throw a spanner in the works. Home team to win the final, whoever it is.

    • Derik

      Agreed – but I believe a NZ team is going to have to travel to Jhb for the final, save the Lions also go all the way of course.

      If the Crusaders end first, it looks like a Crusaders Hurricanes semi, and I can’t see the Crusaders beating them twice in a row. If they do, they truly deserve home final honors. And if the Crusaders end second, then they will have to travel to Jhb in any case.

  • Godfrey van Wyk

    The Lions would NEVER throw any game…they only play to win and to improve as a team…having said that, there is no chance whatsoever that the Sharks will come close to beating the Lions, let alone getting a bonus point. Look at what the bookies are saying, it seems to be very likely that the Lions will be playing all the play-off games at home…what a fitting way to say goodbye to the best South African coach ever…!!

  • Blues Supporter

    Interesting , agree with one of the comments , the format was design to create revenue for SA Rugby and not for good footy. Still cant understand how the sharks can be in a position to be in a play off. Not too mention the stormers won a conference throphy. SANZAAR is making a mockery out of the system.

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