Super Rugby Power Rankings: Round two

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Welcome to's new and improved Super Rugby power rankings.

This year, the rankings are based on the brilliant work of, who have compiled their own unique ratings for each club based on four elementary factors.

Using the results of each club over the past couple of years as a base, the ratings slide up or down every week based on each team's winning or losing margin, opposition strength, home field advantage and travel factors.

For clarity, the difference between each club's ratings points aims to predict the scoring margin should the teams square off at a neutral venue.

Most home grounds are worth 3.5 ratings points.

So, without further ado, here are how the rankings stand heading into round three, with each club having played at least one game so far this season.

1. Crusaders - 109.99 points

Scott Robertson's Crusaders are off to a flyer. Photo: Getty ImagesThe reigning champions are perennial title contenders so it is no surprise to see them claiming top billing after a strong win against the Chiefs to open their season.

The 45-23 win was a touch flattering as they kicked away with three late tries in the final 10 minutes but they still have all the ingredients required to defend their Super Rugby's crown.

2. Lions - 107.90 points

The 2017 finalists have played some flamboyant rugby in their first two matches, uncovering a star in Aphiwe Dyantyi.

Elton Jantjies has the attack raring from the get go and they look red hot chances of pushing for another final berth.

3. Hurricanes - 107.50 points

Bear in mind that these rankings are based on results from recent seasons before shouting about their loss to the Bulls in round two.

They were without Beauden Barrett for the large majority of that match and the Bulls were mighty impressive, too.

4. Highlanders - 105.19 points

Winners of arguably the match of the weekend - Friday night's thriller against the Blues - they will, once again, be finals contenders.

Aaron Smith and Lima Sopoaga are one of the competition's premier halves pairings, Liam Squire is as intimidating a player as there is in world rugby and Ben Smith is back better than ever after a sabbatical at the back end of last year.

5. Chiefs - 104.10 points

Damian McKenzie and the Chiefs are an interesting test case in 2018. Photo: Getty ImagesTheir losing margin against the Crusaders would have hurt their ranking and on the eye test, they were every bit as good as their round two opponents.

Solomon Alaimalo is a beast on the left wing but their fate will lie in the hands of Damian McKenzie, who has been shifted to flyhalf with Aaron Cruden now plying his trade for Montpellier.

McKenzie is such a gifted player with ball in hand and he is a stellar playmaker to boot, though whether he is being unleashed at full capacity from flyhalf remains to be seen.

Another blockbuster clash with the Blues awaits on Friday evening.

6. Sharks - 101.02 points

A bit of a gap in the class gap between the two sides has emerged here, as the five aforementioned teams seem to be on a level of their own.

The Sharks took it to the Lions in round one but still remain the hunters, not the hunted, in the South African Conference.

7. Brumbies - 100.14 points

Australia's top ranked side are smack bang in the middle of the rankings, which is a very fair assessment of where they stand.

On their day at GIO Stadium they are as good as maybe all bar the top two sides on this ladder and that is without the presence of David Pocock, who could be back as early as round five.

8. Stormers - 99.62 points

Raymond Rhule and the Stormers blew a brilliant chance to claim an away win in Sydney. Photo: Getty ImagesThey threw the game against the Waratahs away and will be kicking themselves for that, as wins for South African sides abroad are worth their weight in gold.

Played some quality rugby in both their starts this season but should be two for two and that's what has them in the middle of the pack.

9. Blues - 99.26 points

Tana Umaga's side face the toughest task in Super Rugby with arguably the weakest roster in New Zealand Conference, though that's not to say their roster is at all short of talent.

Their round two loss to the Highlanders was reminiscent of several tight losses to Kiwi foes in 2017 but to the eye, they appear to be closing the gap.

Beating the Chiefs on their home patch would put the proof in the pudding.

10. Bulls - 97.49 points

Handre Pollard and the Bulls were impressive against the Hurricanes. Photo: Getty ImagesBig movers in these rankings.

After a lacklustre 2017 they kicked the season off with an outstanding win against the Hurricanes.

Look to be refreshed under new coach John Mitchell and some of the passing and ball handling from their forward pack, in particular, was eye popping.

Ones to watch this year but they will be tested by the Lions on Sunday morning (AEDT).

11. Jaguares - 96.51 points

Two tight losses to elite South African foes in the first two rounds will do little to boost morale, as they remain stuck in a spot where they are so close yet so far to cracking the code.

New coach Mario Ledesma will have his fingerprints all over their game plan as they work out the kinks in coming weeks and they get their first home game, against the Hurricanes, on Sunday morning (AEDT).

12. Waratahs - 96.27 points

Michael Hooper and the Waratahs are on the up. Photo: WalmsleyThe Waratahs are probably the side hurt most by their performances in 2017, when it comes to this ranking.

They look to be genuine Australian Conference contenders with Kurtley Beale back in the mix and Israel Folau hitting his straps from their opening match.

They scraped past the Stormers but a win in Durban against the Sharks on Saturday night (AEDT) will be a true test of their mettle.

13. Rebels - 93.01 points

Another side hurt by performances in recent years, the Rebels will inevitably slide up this ladder if they continue to perform as they did against the Reds.

Yes, they faced 14 men for 70 minutes but most pundits expected them to take far longer to gel.

A testing tussle against an improved Sunwolves outfit awaits.

14. Reds - 92.61 points

Australia's lowest ranked side and given they have won 16 of their past 63 starts, that is of little surprise.

The bad news - they face the Brumbies on Friday night.

The good news - they aren't too far off climbing back up these rankings should they roll the Australian Conference favourites.

15. Sunwolves - 89.39 points

No surprises here, given they have been perennial cellar dwellers since entering the competition.

If their performance against the Brumbies is anything to go by, they may not be on the bottom much longer.