The Super Rugby season resumed on Friday, picking up where it left off with two upsets and a one-sided hiding.

Rugby Power Index rankings update

The Lions’ eighty-seven point win over the Sunwolves is one of the largest margins in Super Rugby history. To prevent our Rugby Power Index (RPI) rankings from overreacting to this sort of result, we adjust the scores to account for the offensive and defensive strength of the teams.

Usually these changes are quite small. In this case, however, the result was adjusted from 94 – 7 to 50 – 9. Even with their points halved, the Lions received a good four-point bump to their RPI rating.

The Bulls also made a significant gain after they upset the Sharks in Durban. With their RPI rating up three points and the Sharks down three points, the gap is closing.

The second upset was perhaps a little less unexpected. The Southern Kings have improved more than any other team so far this season, climbing from fifteenth to thirteenth on the RPI table after their away win over the Jaguares.

The season’s nearly over but there’s still some things to sort out

The Kings might yet manage another upset this weekend. Our RPI model gives them a 29 percent chance to beat the Bulls, with the outcome of this match the least certain of the round.

Over in Australia the battle to remain in the competition takes to the field, with the Western Force given a good 76 percent chance against the Melbourne Rebels in Perth. The reason for our RPI model’s confidence? The Force have responded to their possible axing with improved performances while the Rebels have slumped.

With only two rounds left in the regular season, Super Rugby has again managed to keep things interesting right up to the end. And we haven’t even mentioned that home-field advantage is still up for grabs in the quarterfinals.

Photos: www.photosport.nz

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