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Super 12 Opening Round

Opening round not so surprising – according to new Massey Super 12 Ratings

The opening round results of the Super 12 were not really surprising, according to the inaugural Super 12 rugby ratings released today.

Contrary to what recently appeared in the media, week 1 Super12 results were hardly unexpected, judging by the Massey University Super 12 team ratings and home advantages.

``Really only the Crusaders v Waratahs game was an upset, all the others were fairly predictable according to 2003 form,’’ said Massey University Professor Hugh Morton, who produces the ratings. The Blues play the Crusaders at Christchurch this week and on rating the Blues are expected to win by two or three points (2.4 to be exact). The Crusaders have a rating of 31.8 – but they must take away their home advantage of -2.9. The Blues have a rating of 31.3.

On opening week, the Reds and Hurricanes were the only relative downwards movers (a small -0.9 and -1.2 points respectively). The Crusaders dropped seven points to hold a small home disadvantage for the first time in years. The Hurricanes on the other hand grabbed a 6 point boost in their home advantage, more than offsetting a small drop in rating.

The Brumbies, Highlanders and Cats remain the best three home performers, while the Waratahs join perennial bottom dwellers the Stormers as the worst home performers. ``On combination, the main upward movers were the Highlanders and the Brumbies (over 5 points net each) while the Crusaders were the worst affected (down more than 2 points net),’’ Prof Morton said. The Super12 matches will be analysed for the ratings each week using a simple computerised adjustive rating system, similar to the PriceWaterhouseCooper rankings for cricket.

Over the whole competition a lowly rating can be offset by a high home advantage.

Over the last four Super12 seasons the three highest average ratings have been Brumbies 28.6, Blues 26.7 and Crusaders 25.2, while the three lowest averages have been Cats 7.4, Bulls 8.6 and Sharks 13.4.

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