SRP Captain’s Survey reflection: Hurricanes surprise everyone as Blues, Brumbies true home graveyards

Mon, Jun 17, 2024, 2:15 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

The Super Rugby Pacific Final is locked in as the Blues are set to face the Chiefs at Eden Park.

Almost four months ago, the season was launched just down the road overlooking the Auckland harbour as the 12 team captains dreamed of lifting the title.

Catch every game of Super Rugby Pacific LIVE, ad-free and on demand on Stan Sport.

At this event, rugby.com.au asked each club six key questions to predict what would happen in the season. 

SEE ALL THE ORIGINAL VOTES BELOW

Hindsight is wonderful, but looking back at their answers, some fascinating patterns emerge.

Only four out of the 12 captains believed that either the Blues or the Chiefs would make the Final (to face their own club), with the two sides splitting the votes equally.

The biggest story from the season was the downfall of the Crusaders as seven out of the 12 captains picked them to make the Final, reflecting the expectations on Rob Penney's side.

The defending champions were also voted the team captains liked to beat the most, with the top two vote-getters (Crusaders and Waratahs) missing the finals.

However, the most interesting revelation from the survey with hindsight was the rise of the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes had a brilliant season, losing just twice on their way to the minor premiership before going down to the Chiefs in the semi-finals.

Not one captain picked the Wellington-based side to reach the Final and only one captain picked the Hurricanes as the side that would surprise their fans in 2024.

When asked for the team most likely to shock fans, the majority of the votes were for the Fijian Drua, who recorded an identical season to last year with the same wins (six) and points (26).

Moana Pasifika was the next best vote-getter and although they rose just one position from last year, their club-high four wins proved they’re a team to watch heading into 2025.

The Drua and the Crusaders had honours of the toughest away trip (three votes each) heading into the season but it’s those just below them that proved to be the true graveyards of Super Rugby.

Both the Blues and ACT Brumbies (two votes) went unbeaten at home in 2024, with the Blues out to cement Eden Park as one of the toughest places to win with a victory on Saturday.

Damian McKenzie will be out to have a say in this, with the Chiefs playmaker backing up his nomination as most likely to win MVP with another brilliant season in 2024.

Super Rugby Pacific 2024 Captain's Survey

1) Which other team outside of your own is most likely to reach the Grand Final?

7 (votes): Crusaders (Ninth)

2: Chiefs, Blues (Both Finals)

1 vote: Brumbies (Semi-finals)

2) Which other team outside of your own will surprise fans in 2024?

6 (votes): Fijian Drua

2: Moana Pasifika

1: Rebels, Brumbies, Force, Hurricanes

3) Which team do you love to beat the most?

4 (votes): Crusaders

3: Waratahs

2: No answers

1: Reds, Rebels, Chiefs

4) What is the toughest away trip in Super Rugby?

3 (votes): Fijian Drua, Crusaders

2: Brumbies, Blues

1: Waratahs, Highlanders

5) Which other player from another club is most likely to win SRP MVP?

2 (votes): Damian McKenzie

1: Len Ikitau, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Luke Jacobson, Jake Gordon, Mark Telea, Rob Leota, Rob Valetini, Scott Barrett, Tate McDermott, Taniela Tele’a

6) Who is the most annoying player to face?

2 (votes): Jake Gordon, Naitoa Ah Kuoi

1: Angus Bell, Tate McDermott, Fraser McReight, Ethan de Groot, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Kurt Eklund, Du’Plessis Kirifi, Samisoni Taukei'aho

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