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Super Rugby: Resurgent Highlanders Kick Blues from Latest Power Rankings



Aaron Smith, the Highlanders' midfielder, has been offloading during his team game for the Sunwolves in Tokyo last weekend.

MATT ROBERTS / GETTY IMAGES

Aaron Smith, the Highlanders' midfielder, has been offloading during his team game for the Sunwolves in Tokyo last weekend.

OPINION: Each week of the Super Rugby campaign, Thing will leave aside the official classification and rank the eight best teams in the competition after the results of the last round.

Week 11 was more of the same for the Crusaders, while hurricanes and mountaineers finally clicked after weeks of underperformance.

The Highlanders, one of three teams included after failing to appear in the rankings last week, are back for the first time since the fifth round at the expense of the Blues.

1. CRUISERS (8-1-1) PREVIOUS CLASSIFICATION: 1

Now there are four bonus point wins – and counting – since the Crusaders were warned by the Waratahs in Sydney last month. Power wing Sevu Reece, who made two outrageous attempts against the Lions on Friday night, is a big reason. The good news for Crusaders fans is that the passenger should sign more beyond this season.

The Crusaders' wing, Sevu Reece, made two brilliant attempts against the Lions over the weekend.

MARTIN HUNTER / PHOTOSPORT

The Crusaders' wing, Sevu Reece, made two brilliant attempts against the Lions over the weekend.

CONSULT MORE INFORMATION
* Crusaders & # 39; over trend
* Dark days for bosses
* Parker's eyes return to NZ
* Sevu Reece an AB mess?

2. HURRICANES (7-1-2) PREVIOUS CLASSIFICATION: 2

It took until week 11, but finally the hurricanes delivered the kind of performance we expect from a team full of x factor players. Despite all the rumors about the Crusaders being a blockade to win the New Zealand conference, hurricanes only proved more of a defeat than the Reds and Blacks.

Hurricane defender Jordie Barrett burned the bosses with two attempts in the space of a few minutes last weekend.

IMAGES OF HAGEN HOPKINS / GETTY

Hurricane defender Jordie Barrett burned the bosses with two attempts in the space of a few minutes last weekend.

3. JAGUARES (5-4) PREVIOUS RANK: 6

Having survived a shocking Bruiser test in Buenos Aires on Sunday morning (NZT), the Jaguars have already won three straight wins, making them one of the hottest sides in the competition. Let's see if they can continue to climb the unpredictable South African conference when they will host the Stormers next weekend.

4. BULLS (5-4) PREVIOUS RANK: 3

Of all the unpredictability at the South African conference, it may be the Bulls who are at the top of the cake. Pumped by the Stormers in the 11th round, the good news for the Bulls is the signaling Waratahs coming to town this weekend. They also have a game in hand on the main conference sharks.

5. SHARKS (5-5) PREVIOUS CLASSIFICATION: N / A

Ending a 19-year drought in Sydney by defeating the Waratahs was the perfect way for the sharks to start touring Australasia. Now second in the ladder of competition, they go to Christchurch to play the champion of the Crusaders. They met for the last time in the quarterfinals last year: Crusaders 40. Sharks 10.

Quade Cooper and the Rebels face a severe test against the hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday afternoon.

GETTY IMAGES

Quade Cooper and the Rebels face a severe test against the hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday afternoon.

6. REBELS (5-4) PREVIOUS RANK: 5

After a week bye, the rebels must now cross the ditch to play the hurricanes in Wellington. They could well have lost their place at the top of the Australian Conference standings until the end of the 12th round.

7. STORMERS (5-5) PREVIOUS CLASSIFICATION: NOT RANKED

Hitting the Bulls 24-23 in Cape Town must have been terribly satisfying for the Stormers. After all, they were toned down 40-3 when the sides met in Pretoria in the first round. That said, no one should be surprised by the results of the crazy South African conference this season.

Highlanders pivot Josh Ioane cruises to one of the Highlanders' eight attempts against the Sunwolves last Friday night.

MATT ROBERTS / GETTY IMAGES

Highlanders pivot Josh Ioane cruises to one of the Highlanders' eight attempts against the Sunwolves last Friday night.

8. HIGHLANDERS (4-1-5) PREVIOUS CLASSIFICATION: NON RANKED

They are back. Having been the last to appear in the fifth round power ranking, Aaron Mauger's men rejuvenated their season with straight wins against the Blues and Sunwolves. Now in eighth place in the standings, they take their chances when the elite chiefs roll into Dunedin this weekend. The news is that Southerners can cause Waisake Naholo and Flanque Liam Squire to also suffer injuries in the next two weeks. Keep an eye on the 2015 champions.


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