Believe it or not we are already halfway through the 2011 Super Rugby competition. It doesn't seem long since we were eagerly anticipating the start of the new competition and interested to see how the new conference concept would play out.
After eight rounds, we've seen the competition begin to sort itself out with a definite favourite, a group of five or six contenders, and then another group who are really just making up the numbers. Sure every team has shown that they are capable of playing good rugby, but few have done it on a consistent basis which separates the top teams from the bottom teams.
The New Zealand Conference has been billed as the strongest of the three conferences throughout the campaign. Whether this is true or not comes largely down to opinion. There have been both over-achievers and under-achievers in this conference so far and with the exception of the Crusaders, none have stood out above anything the other two conferences has to offer. On reflection, it seems that the top teams from each conference will be the ones to beat.
So let's have a look at how the New Zealand teams have fared so far in the 2011 competition. Although there is still a long way to go, this early season form can give us a good indication of what to expect as the competition progresses, as well as who to expect to see come finals time.