Sunday Times - - Sport | Rugby -

● If Su­per Rugby didn't have a con­vo­luted con­fer­ence play-off sys­tem last sea­son, Aus­tralia's best side (Brumbies) wouldn't have made the quar­ter­fi­nals. The Blues, who were New Zealand's worst Su­per Rugby out­fit, col­lected more points than the Brumbies (37 to 34). That said ev­ery­thing about the quag­mire Aus­tralian rugby found it­self in last sea­son. The bot­tom four sides (Rebels, Waratahs, Reds and the Force) won a com­bined 15 matches. Oddly, it was the Force, who won six to the Rebels' one, who were ejected from the tour­na­ment to en­sure it was stream­lined. The union strongholds of Queens­land and New South Wales have to de­liver for the Aus­tralian group and not just leave it to the Brumbies. Stephen Larkham's side was bor­ing, but it got them to the play-off stages. The same could have been said of the rest of the Aus­tralian teams as only Fox Sport’s over­board com­men­tary teams pro­vided the nec­es­sary en­ter­tain­ment. The Waratahs and the Reds have the per­son­nel to make a bet­ter fist of things in 2018 but whether their re­spec­tive coaches in Daryl Gib­son and Brad Thorn are up to the mark re­mains to be seen. As for the Rebels, they can only wish and hope for the best if they con­tinue to be their rab­ble selves of 2017.

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