Three Aussie teams could make Super finals

The Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels and NSW Waratahs could give Australia three teams in the Super Rugby finals for the first time as the playoffs race heats up.

dan mckellar head coach of the brumbies looks on ahead of the super rugby match between the highlanders and the brumbies at forsyth barr stadium in dunedin new zealand
DAN MCKELLAR, head coach of the Brumbies, looks on ahead of the Super Rugby match between the Highlanders and the Brumbies at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand. Picture: Dianne Manson/Getty Images

The NSW Waratahs' never-day-die win over the Melbourne Rebels has raised the possibility of three Australian teams featuring in the Super Rugby finals for the first time.

The Brumbies' 42-19 thumping of the Sunwolves in Tokyo has all but secured Dan McKellar's men a playoff spot with two rounds remaining.

The Australian conference leaders are sitting third and challenging the Jaguares for an all-important top-two finish behind the defending champion Crusaders, who had already clinched the minor premiership before being run down 40-27 by the Chiefs in Suva.

The Brumbies trail the Jaguares by two competition points knowing a top-two spot would give them a home quarter-final, then a semi in Canberra should they progress that far.

The Waratahs, though, have other ideas after retaining their own hopes of scraping into the finals with a 20-15 victory over the Rebels in Melbourne.

The Tahs host the Brumbies on Saturday night in Sydney and must win to have any chance of making the top eight when they travel to Invercargill for a final-round showdown with the Highlanders.

Currently 10th and just one point behind the Chiefs - who have a bye this week - and three behind the Sharks, the Waratahs could benefit from the Crusaders' domination of the New Zealand conference if they win their last two regular season games.

But Waratahs captain Michael Hooper is focused only on the Brumbies, knowing full well his side has only managed to string two wins together once all season.

"We haven't been able to go back to back on our games really well," Hooper said.

"So that's a real focus for us."

Despite falling to the Waratahs for a fifth consecutive time, the Rebels remain sixth heading to Christchurch to play the Crusaders on Saturday before rounding out their campaign against the Chiefs at home.

"We need to win one of the next two," said Rebels captain Dane Haylett-Petty.

"It's still an exciting position to be in."

Rebels coach Dave Wessels can also smell an historic first finals berth for the Victorian franchise.

"I have a real feeling that despite not winning, that bonus point's going to be very important at the back end of this comp," he said after Friday night's defeat.

"It's been such a funny year with so many team still in it. There's still a lot of rugby to be played.

"We're still well in the fight, which is a nice place for us to be."

WHO THE CONTENDERS PLAY IN THE RUN TO THE SUPER RUGBY FINALS:

1.CRUSADERS (53 points) v Rebels (home), bye

2. JAGUARES (41) v Sharks (home), Sunwolves (home)

3. BRUMBIES (39) v Waratahs (away), Reds (home)

4. HURRICANES (44) v Lions (away), Blues (home)

5. LIONS (35) v Hurricanes (home), Bulls (away)

6. MELBOURNE REBELS (34) v Crusaders (away), Chiefs (home)

7. BULLS (34) v Highlanders (away), Lions (home)

8. SHARKS (33) v Jaguares (away), Stormers (away)

9. CHIEFS (31) bye, v Rebels (away)

10. NSW WARATAHS (30) v Brumbies (home), Highlanders (away)

11. STORMERS (30) v Sunwolves (home), Sharks (home)

12. HIGHLANDERS (29) v Bulls (home), Waratahs (home)


AAP