The rankings stay pretty consistent this week with five of the top six teams winning their matches (with the other team having a bye, guaranteeing four points). Remember, the rankings basically show how many games the teams are likely to win from now on (Crusaders may lose one, Chiefs two etc. etc.)
1 Crusaders (=)
Besides letting the Waratahs in for a couple of easy tries, the Crusaders were particularly dominant this weekend. Robbie Mr T Freuan received man of the match for a strong performance, after setting up a try and scoring two of his own. It's hard to see this team losing more than one more game this season, which puts them in a strong position. With guys like Read and Dagg coming into form, this juggernaut will be hard to stop - home or away!
2 Chiefs (+1)
In a similar vain to the Crusaders, the Chiefs dominated the Hurricanes and were it not for the Canes conceding penalties whenever the Chiefs made it to within forty metres of the try line, the score line could've blown out a bit more. They have the chance to rest a few key players this weekend against the bottom placed Lions in a match played at Pukekohe. Notice that the Chiefs will have now played home games at each of their local bases after this coming weekend (Waikato, BoP, Counties), and contrast that with the Blues or Hurricanes.
3 Stormers (-1)
In a wet affair at nib Stadium the Stormers came out trumps, but were lucky to get a couple of crucial decisions go their way. They would've won either way, but it wouldn't have been quite as comfortable. When was the last time it rained in Perth? Dare I say it was when the Hurricanes were in town - I'm sensing a theme!*
4 Bulls (+1)
It's a good thing the Six Nations finished a while ago, of I would've had to toss a coin to decide who to watch this weekend. Scotland v England, or the Bulls having a bye? That's a tough one.
5 Sharks (-1)
The Sharks drop a place to the Bulls this week, after both having byes. Why? Because I accidentally swapped them last week, that's why.
6 Highlanders (=)
Narrowly beat the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, after being behind by over 20 points. I took a while for the Highlanders to click into action, and they conceded a number of dumb penalties. I don't want to say that the Highlanders have being lying all over the ruck all season, but I'm struggling to see the difference between what they did leading into this game, and what they did during this game. Even if they lose next week, 1/2 in South Africa isn't too bad.
7 Brumbies (+3)
Jake White has worked wonders with this Brumbies side that, prior to the start of the season had very few household names. Gone are the days of the Gregan, Larkham, Giteau, Mortlock backline, and yet somehow they aren't doing too badly. Just goes to show that you don't need the flashy players to win matches. Interestingly, Lealiifano was the most accurate goal kicker (excluding the one kick wonders) going into Round 10, yet he only made 1/4 this round.
8 Waratahs (-1)
Lost to one of the form sides of the competition, and managed to keep the game close, so they haven't lost much ground. It's a pity they lost Turner and Mitchell at the beginning of the season, as they're lacking a bit of depth and an injury or two more will kill them.
9 Reds (-1)
Managed to beat the Blues but didn't look too great themselves. Genia's done a bit of a face-heel-face turn by almost switching allegiances to the Force, then revealing he's now signed an extension with the Reds. For a second there he started to look like a mercenary. Is $400,000 p.a. not enough for you, Genia?
10 Hurricanes (-1)
Looking a bit like the 2011 Highlanders - starting well with a new team, but it looks like their best for the season is behind them. They just lack that depth.
11 Blues (+1)
Lost, and have still moved up a place due to the untimely fall of Goosen over at the Cheetahs. Why do players flourish outside of the Blues environment? Payne, Ali Williams, Lavea, Tuitupo, Evans, Rico Gear all played their best rugby for teams outside their home region. It's a mystery.
12 Cheetahs (-1)
With Goosen out for four months, the Cheetahs' season is now in tatters. They were never going to seriously challenge for a Top 6 placing, but they had the fire power to knock over some of the big guns. Goosen's biggest strength is perhaps his goal kicking, but look at how the Cheetahs' defence fell apart after he left the field.
13 Force (=)
Thought it was a sign that anything could happen after the rain started to fall in Perth. Unfortunately the Force winning does fit into the category of 'anything'.
14 Rebels (=)
Had a bye this week - it was probably the most exciting weekend of the season yet for any Rebel supporter.
15 Lions (=)
Oh look, Butch James got a yellow card and a four week suspension. You'd think by now they'd start reporting when James doesn't get carded.
* I may have fabricated this for interest purposes.