Queensland Reds

Can the Queensland Reds make the finals?

Can the Queensland Reds make the finals?

As the 2012 Super Rugby season enters endgame, defending champions the Queensland Reds are making their run for a finals berth. It might too late for them to book a Top 3 spot: if the Brumbies win their remaining matches, even without gaining any bonus-point victories, they will finish on 61 competition points — far enough ahead of the Reds (who can finish on  59 points, max) to take the top place in the Aussie conference. But the wildcards are yet to be dealt, and the Reds are in the right place to contend for one.

Current standings

There are a few ways the Reds can make the finals — but could they muscle their way through the pack and claim a wildcard entry without relying on results going their way? Or is their fate in the hands of the rugby Gods?

The answer is ‘yes, they could’, but it could get complicated. Even if the Sharks and Hurricanes win all their remaining matches and get every bonus point available to them (and assuming none of the higher-ranked teams bombs out), the Reds are still able to assure themselves entry to the finals — but it could be a tough road. Grab a Bundy, and your spectacles.

If the Reds finish the season with 3 from 3, all with 4-try bonus points, they’ll definitely make the finals, as they’d finish above the Highlanders (55 – assuming they collect two bonus points in a loss to the Reds in week 20), and could tie the Sharks and/or Hurricanes for competition points (both on 59). In the event of a tie on competition points, the team with more wins goes through, so the Reds (11) would scrape through ahead of both the Sharks (10) and ‘Canes (10) who both have a bye in the remaining rounds (despite yielding 4 competition points, byes don’t count as ‘wins’). So three bonus-point wins from the Reds would put them through to the finals no matter what happens in other fixtures.

If the Reds fail to get 3 bonus-point wins in the remaining rounds, their finals prospects will depend on other results. If they finish with three wins but only two bonus-points, they will need to hope that the Sharks and ‘Canes also fail to get maximum available points from the remaining rounds. The ‘Canes have a horror run (Crusaders/bye/Chiefs). The Sharks also have a tough home stretch but it wouldn’t be impossible for them to get maximum points (bye/Bulls/Cheetahs), so the Reds need to keep on their game.

Final word
The most likely outcome is that the Brumbies top the Australian conference and the Reds shoot for three bonus-point wins in the last three rounds which will guarantee them a place in the finals. If they miss any bonus-points, they’ll need to hope both the Sharks and Hurricanes also fail to collect maximum points from their remaining games.

If the Reds lose a game it is still mathematically possible for them to make the finals, although it would be significantly less likely. The same holds if they start missing multiple bonus-points.

Self-determination aside, if any of the Chiefs, Stormers, Bulls or Crusaders bomb out and lose their place in the finals, it would improve the Reds’ prospects considerably.

Game on!

Queensland Reds

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