Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Power Rankings Round 4

New Zealand's unbeaten streak was halted at 13, with the Reds at last getting Australian rugby on the board in Super Rugby Trans-Tasman.

The fact that it took until the penultimate game of Round 3 however continues to set the news agenda, as Rugby Australia ponders which direction it wants to go with its competition structures for 2022.

The Blues and Hurricanes remain in the box seat for this year's final, having notched up their third straight bonus-point wins over the weekend.

But what does it mean for our Power Rankings?

Across the five weeks, ESPN will rank all 10 teams, from top to bottom, taking into account which teams are playing the best rugby, injuries, each team's recent opponents, and which teams are looking most like title contenders.

Previous Rankings: Round 3 Round 2 Round 1

1. Crusaders

2021 record: 3-0

Previous rank: 1

It wasn't as emphatic as their win over the Reds, but the Crusaders again showed their class in a 26-point hammering of the Waratahs. What continues to irk coach Scott Robertson however is the amount of points they are conceding, the Waratahs running in three tries of their own in Wollongong last weekend. But the Crusaders continue to expose the Australian teams' poor kicking and defence in the wider channels, and another big victory looms again on Friday.

This week's opponents: Force (Christchurch)


2. Blues

2021 record: 3-0

Previous rank: 3

The Blues rise back up to the No. 2 spot this week after demolishing the Brumbies with a dominant second-half showing in Auckland in Round 3. Locked at 10-all just before the break, scrum-half Finlay Christie's try set in motion a 28-point onslaught that killed off the Brumbies' stubborn resistance and crucially secured the bonus point. Can they repeat that second-half showing for 80 minutes in Brisbane? They might need to ...

This week's opposition: Reds (Brisbane)


3. Hurricanes

2021 record: 3-0

Previous rank: 5

It was all one-way traffic in Napier last Friday as the Canes treated the McLean Park crowd to plenty of running rugby. Winger Salesi Rayasi was the star, as the Canes ripped the Force apart in what was arguably their best showing of the season. But just like the Blues, things get tougher from hereon out. The Canes have won nine of their last 11 in Australia, but guess who those two losses came against?

This week's opposition: Brumbies (Napier)


4. Highlanders

2021 record: 3-0

Previous rank: 4

It was hardly the ideal build-up for the Highlanders last week when their match was switched from Queenstown to Sydney, but they didn't let the late change of venue affect them as they did the job on the Rebels at Leichhardt Oval. The match was closer than the scoreline suggests, though, with the Highlanders taking full advantage of Jordan Uelese's yellow card. But they did miss the bonus point. The Highlanders remain in the hunt for the final, but will be hoping for slip-ups from the Blues and Canes in Round 4.

This week's opposition: Waratahs (Dunedin)


5. Reds

2021 record: 1-2

Previous rank: 10

The Reds are our biggest jumpers yet this year, their 40-34 triumph over the Chiefs built on an explosive first-half and the yellow and red cards given to Chase Tiatia and Damian McKenzie respectively. But Brad Thorn's face said it all at fulltime after the Chiefs very nearly pulled off an unthinkable comeback win. Time to back up that win, and not suffer second-half fade, Queensland.

This week's opposition: Blues (Brisbane)


6. Chiefs

2021 record: 2-1

Previous rank: 2

Damian McKenzie has ridden the ups and downs of foul play infringements the last two weeks, after he was on the receiving end of Darcy Swain's high shot before getting everything wrong himself when his shoulder clattered into Tate McDermott's chin last Saturday. His night in Townsville was ended as a result and, with it, basically the Chiefs' hopes of victory. We say "basically" because the Chiefs probably only needed another minute on the clock and they would have run down the Reds. But you can't hide from the fact they are the only New Zealand team to lose to date, so down the ladder Power Rankings they fall.

This week's opposition: Rebels (TBA)


7. Brumbies

2021 record: 0-3

Previous rank: 7

The Brumbies have the look of a team pining for the comforts of home. Fortunately that's exactly where they'll be this week after a tough four month on the road [they now know what it was like to be a South African team in a bygone Super Rugby era]. The second-half was ugly in Auckland, but the Brumbies were right to scratch their heads over a couple of rulings. With their two final games at GIO Stadium, do rosier days lie ahead?

This week's opposition: Hurricanes (Canberra)


8. Waratahs

2021 record: 0-3

Previous rank: 8

Again the Waratahs conceded in excess of 40 points -- the sixth time they had done so this season -- but again they showed that they can score plenty of points themselves. It's a pity defence is such an important part of rugby really. After being walloped by the Crusaders, the reality is the Tahs have only two more games to break their season duck. Make a few more tackles and they might just do it; Angus Bell and Izaia Perese are certainly trying to lead the way.

This week's opposition: Highlanders (Dunedin)


9. Rebels

2021 record: 0-2

Previous rank: 9

The Rebels were one of the few beneficiaries of Melbourne's latest COVID outbreak as their match with the Highlanders was switched to Sydney once the New Zealand Government paused its travel bubble with Victoria. But they were unable to make the sudden change of venue -- and less travel -- work to their advantage, despite being right in the contest at halftime. With the Victorian lockdown extended it's likely they'll be back at Leichhardt Oval again this week; can they play for 80 minutes against a wounded Chiefs?

This week's opposition: Chiefs (TBA)


10. Western Force

2021 record: 0-3

Previous rank: 6

After putting up typically dogged efforts in the first two weeks, the Force found the going much tougher on the road in New Zealand where they barely fired a shot against the Hurricanes. It's the same old story for the Force, specifically where exactly their points are going to come from? You can't hope to beat Kiwi teams by grinding them down, particularly on the road, and the fear is that things will only get uglier for Tim Sampson's side in Round 4.

This week's opposition: Crusaders (Christchurch)