23 Apr 2007

The spots for the final four still in contention in rugby Super 14

10:25 am on 23 April 2007

Eight teams remain in contention for the Super 14 rugby play-offs with just two rounds remaining, the Blues' second straight loss has seen their home semi-final aspirations come under pressure -- and the picture might not be that much clearer after this weekend's matches.

The South African side the Sharks are in third and appear to have the easier run home against the Lions and the Stormers.

But the second-placed Blues need to stop the rot -- they meet the fourth-placed Bulls in a tough assignment in Pretoria -- then the Western Force in Perth. The Blues probably need more than one win to net a home semi final by finishing at least second.

However the Crusaders aren't guaranteed top spot yet, with an away game against the Brumbies then a home meeting with the Chiefs -- who are tied for fourth with the Bulls.

Points for and against could well determine the final qualifying spot, so the Chiefs will want plenty as well as the win over the Waratahs in Sydney on Friday -- especially as the Bulls face the Queensland Reds in their final round robin game at home.

The Brumbies, the Force and the Highlanders are also all still in contention.