The season is finally over for Aussie teams. I’m not one who is normally happy about that, but this season has been horrendous to say the least. That’s not just for my Rebels but Australian Rugby on a whole.
Delving a little deeper into 2016 though, how did the Aussie conference as a whole match up within itself, and then against New Zealand and South Africa?
The results are in and to be fair they are not great looking.
So the Australian conference played out fairly interestingly – the Brumbies blossomed in the inter-conference derbies and did not drop a game against Australian opposition.
The Rebels came in second with the win over the Tahs in Sydney, although they did have the benefit of only playing the Waratahs and Brumbies once while securing doubles over the Force and Reds in 2016.
The Waratahs who drew the Brumbies twice, only managed to knock up a 50% record with wins over the Force and a double over the Reds.
The Force struck out only facing the struggling Reds once, who in turn did not manage a win in inter-conference games.
Now for the other conferences.
New Zealand Matches against Australian Teams
When you thought losing to England 3 nil was bad, the NZ conference just made things worse.
21.5 to 3.5 in favour of the kiwis, they really did dominate the season.
When you consider that the Crusaders finished 4th and the Blues 5th in the New Zealand conference had the best records against Australian teams, the Crusaders didn’t lose a game against Australian opposition. The Blues also didn’t drop a game but had a draw against the Reds.
The Reds did have the best result with a win and draw. While the Brumbies and Tahs each had one win, the Rebels and Force dropped all five games to New Zealand teams.
This needs to change in 2017 if Australia plan on getting two teams into the finals.
South African Matches against Australian Teams
Some light at the end of the tunnel, a winning record against the South African conference 12-8, but when you remove the Sunwolves it’s actually 8-7 to South Africa. All things considered I would not expect much to change next season when facing the other conference, the Argies may improve but South African rugby is on a downward spiral.
The Stormers finished with the best record from the South African sides only losing the one game to the Waratahs.
The Bulls came in second with a mixed bag losing to both the Tahs and Brumbies on the road.
The Cheetahs only managed the one win against the Force and we won’t talk about the struggling Sunwolves.
The end verdict is that New Zealand currently has got the upper hand on Australia and will take some catching in 2017. It really does not matter how the South African conference plays out anymore as we compete for 3 runners up positions and the Australian teams will need a improved performance in 2017.