The final regular season round of Super Rugby focuses on Rebels exit and playoff seeding

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The Rebels leave Playoff seating will focus on the last round of the Super Rugby Pacific regular season.

The final standings will be confirmed over the weekend with a particular focus on the first and eighth place matches.

Auckland-based Blues and Wellington-based Hurricanes share the top spot with 51 points.

First place will be decided after Saturday’s inter-matches Hurricanes and the sixth-placed Highlanders and Blues against the fourth-placed Chiefs.

Those match-ups favor the Hurricanes, who beat the Blues in the regular season.

Fijian Drua are eighth in their home game against the Melbourne-based Rebels, who will not return in 2025 despite clinching a playoff spot.

Western Force, Christchurch-based Crusaders and Mona Pacifica are all within three points of the last playoff spot.

Trua are unbeaten all season in Ladoga, where another win will clinch a quarter-final spot. The Rebels traveled to Fiji within hours of confirming their franchise would not be awarded a Super Rugby license for 2025.

The Force host the Canberra-based Brumbies, who could finish third. Crusaders and Mona Pacifica meet in Christchurch.

The Blues are coming into the last round 29-27 loss to the Crusaders. They have lost just once in 12 matches this year and the Crusaders won just twice when they met in Christchurch last weekend.

Prop Angus Davao, who was part of the stricken forward pack, said the Blues suffered a poor review of the performance.

„Obviously, our set pieces, our scrum didn’t go well and the scrums weren’t as consistent as we wanted them to be,” Davao said. “The frustrating thing is that we expect nothing less from them.

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„We didn’t back down from that. The lads put in a blast – it was deserved. The beauty of it is we get the chance to bounce back at home this week against a Chiefs side who are going to bring similar challenges.

The Blues tried to lure All Blacks playmaker Bouton Barrettback from Japan in time for the playoffs, but he was ruled ineligible after not playing in the regular season.

The Hurricanes suffered another setback in Hooker, losing Raymond Dupudu to a three-match suspension following a red card against the Chiefs last week. Former All Black Asafo Amua returned to a starting role after recovering from injury.

The Hurricanes have won nine of their last 10 games against the Highlanders, who have named several youngsters in their starting 15 as they look towards the playoffs.

Truwa will be looking to clinch a playoff spot for the second year in a row at Churchill Park in Lautoka, a formidable venue for visiting teams.

Fans fill the seats and cling to the trees and other places outside the ground, creating an atmosphere that is simultaneously exhilarating and threatening to the spectators.

Influential scrumhalf Frank Lomani will return to the Trua line-up after serving a six-match suspension for elbowing a Rebels player in the last meeting between the teams in round seven.

Each match from now on could be the last in charge for head coach Mick Byrne, who will step down as coach of the Fiji national team at the end of the season. Brian’s assistant, Glenn Jackson, will take over at Troyes next season.

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The Crusaders reignited their playoff hopes last weekend when they upset the Blues. They need to beat Mona Pacifica on Friday to stay in the race, then wait and hope other results go their way.

„We’ve got a chance to put a little stamp on it before we sit back over the weekend and see what happens,” head coach Rob Penny said.


AP Rugby:

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