Mathematical scenarios which will dictate the final make-up of the Super Rugby finals can do your head in.
So here it is in a nutshell:
If the Brumbies beat the Blues tomorrow night, they will play finals football in 2012. Done. Easy as you like. Lock it in Eddie.
If they lose, they can still pick up a bonus point for:
- scoring four or more tries, or
- losing by seven points of less.
If that happens, they make the play-offs as the highest-ranked team in the Australian conference.
If they lose without a bonus point, the Queensland Reds can overtake the Brumbies as the Number 1 Aussie team.
But for this to happen, the Reds must get a bonus point win against the NSW Waratahs.
The Brumbies would then be relying on the Gods – or more specifically, a number of underdogs beating favourites by lots of points which would keep the Brumbies in the top six overall teams. It’s highly unlikely.
So assuming the Brumbies do take a point from the Blues clash – they’ve done so in every home and away match of the season – they’ll play finals.
And from there we have an easy and straight-forward way for the Brumbies to win a championship at home.
By Sunday, the top four will read:
1st – Cape Town Stormers, 2nd – Waikato Chiefs, 3rd – ACT Brumbies, 4th – Canterbury Crusaders.
The two remaining spots in the finals will be filled by the Pretoria Bulls and the Durban Sharks.
With this scenario, the Stormers and Chiefs will enjoy the first week off. The Brumbies beat the Sharks at Canberra Stadium, and the Crusaders knock off the Bulls in Christchurch.
From there, the Brumbies head to Hamilton to play the Chiefs. They’ll win.
The Crusaders take the daunting trip to Cape Town to play the Stormers. Remarkably, they too win.
Which means we have our two finalists. The Brumbies host the Crusaders at Canberra Stadium in the championship decider.
And we all know what happened the last time these two sides played off for the title in 2004. We all cheered long and hard. The Brumbies won.
It can happen again.