Predictably, the most competitive Rugby Championship in years has left various options on the table.
In fact, all four teams have a mathematical chance of winning the championship.
South Africa will win the title if they win and New Zealand loses or draws.
If New Zealand wins and South Africa loses or draws, New Zealand takes the championship.
However, given the expectation that the two great rivals will battle until the bitter end, it’s entirely possible that both sides will win against Australia and Argentina, respectively, creating a more complicated picture.
Here are some of the other notable possible outcomes.
If both New Zealand and South Africa win by a single point:
Both teams finish with 19 log points, so the difference in points will be the deciding factor.
If the Boks fail to make up the 13-point difference, New Zealand will win the title.
If both New Zealand and South Africa win without receiving a bonus point:
Both teams end up with 18 log points.
If the Boks’ points difference does not improve, the All Blacks will retain the title.
If New Zealand and South Africa finish level on log points and have the following point difference:
The winner is determined by the points difference between the teams during the season, according to Sanzaar rules.
More victories will not be a factor because both sides are equal in that regard.
South Africa will win the tournament because they defeated New Zealand by a combined score of 49-45 in their two matches (26-10 and 23-35)
If South Africa wins with bonus points and New Zealand does not:
South Africa will have 19 log points, while New Zealand will have 18 – the title will go to the Boks.
If New Zealand wins with a bonus point and South Africa does not:
New Zealand will have 19 log points, while South Africa will have 18 – the title will go to New Zealand.
To avoid unnecessary complications, here’s what Australia needs to do to win the title OUTRIGHT:
Win by a bonus point and prevent the All Blacks from claiming a bonus point by losing by seven points.
Argentina must also defeat the Boks in order to prevent them from claiming a losing bonus point.
The Wallabies have 15 log points, while the Boks and All Blacks have 14.
Argentina can only get to 14 points if they win by a single point.