Worst year for Australian Super Rugby

Justin Chadwick Roar Guru

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    The pain will finally end this weekend as Australia brings a close to its most unsuccessful Super Rugby regular season in the country’s history.

    Never before have Australian teams combined for such few wins since expanding to five franchises.

    With one round to go, the Rebels, Force, Reds, Waratahs, and Brumbies have combined for just 20 wins.

    If results go to form this weekend, Australian teams will finish with just 21 wins – giving them a win-loss record of 21-49.

    The previous lowest win total under Australia’s five-franchise format was last season (30 wins).

    The best way to illustrate how horrible this campaign has been is to look back at the years when Australia fielded just four franchises.

    From 2006-2010 – when the seasons consisted of just 13 rounds and the Rebels didn’t exist – Australian teams combined for an average of 24.6 wins each year – significantly better than what has been achieved this season.

    The sole season where the tally dipped lower than 22 was in 2007, when only the Brumbies recorded a positive win-loss record in a campaign that yielded just 20 wins for Australian franchises.

    Of course, the pain won’t completely end for Australia after this weekend – the Brumbies still have a finals campaign to contest.

    Assuming the Brumbies lose to the Chiefs in Waikato on Saturday, the Canberra-based outfit will finish ninth on the overall table with a 6-9 win-loss record.

    But because they topped the Australian conference, they’ll be among the eight teams in the playoffs – and even get to host a quarter-final.

    Despite ‘earning’ hosting rights, the Brumbies have been rated an $81 chance to win the title – highlighting just how far off the pace Australian teams have been this season.

    The Reds (21 points), Force (21), and Waratahs (19) are in a three-way battle for second spot in the Australian conference.

    The Force will farewell favourite son Matt Hodgson in Saturday night’s clash with the Waratahs in Perth, while retiring lock Dean Mumm will be playing his last game for NSW.

    No Australian side has been able to beat a NZ franchise this season.

    The Reds face an uphill battle to end that losing run when they travel to Dunedin to take on the Highlanders on Friday night.

    The Rebels sit just one point above the wooden spoon zone after posting one win from 14 games.

    They are also in the midst of a bitter fight for survival because of the ARU’s plans to axe either the Force or the Rebels.

    It means Friday night’s home clash with the Jaguares could be the Rebels’ final ever match.

    Looking elsewhere, the Crusaders will end the regular season with a perfect 15-0 record if they beat the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

    The Lions (13-1) loom as one of their main challengers for the title.

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