Super Rugby Trans-Tasman Power Rankings Round 3

Two rounds in and it's been one-way traffic so far with New Zealand franchises recording a 10-0 start to Super Rugby Trans-Tasman over their Australian counterparts.

Last week there was a flicker of hope that Australia's franchises could put up a good fight, but some apathetic performances and one truly embarrassing loss has all but snuffed out any light at the end of the tunnel.

Starting the season second on the Rankings, the Reds have managed to crash all the way to the bottom after they were so easily dismantled by the Crusaders, while the Brumbies have hardly fared better sliding all the way to seventh. In fact, the only Australian franchise not to move the last two weeks is the Western Force.

It's a different story across the Tasman, with all but the Crusaders and Blues moving up the table.

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 2 Round 1

1. Crusaders

2021 record: 2-0

Previous rank: 1

Well, wasn't that an emphatic bounce back! In Round 1 the Crusaders came within millimetres of a draw, but there was no such worry last weekend. It was as though they'd taken offence that anyone could even think the Reds were in their league, as they nine tries and easily embarrassed their Trans-Tasman foes. Richie Mo'unga alone scored more points than the entire Reds team! So much for that gap closing between the Crusaders and the rest...

This week's opponents: Waratahs (Wollongong)

2. Chiefs

2021 record: 2-0

Previous rank: 5

Wow, talk about response! Despite the travel back from Perth, the Chiefs didn't show any signs of lethargy when they put on a show in dismantling the Brumbies. They outmuscled, out-played and out-enthused their opponents. Hitting the road again, perhaps a busy travel schedule might finally take its toll?

This week's opposition: Reds (Brisbane)

3. Blues

2021 record: 2-0

Previous rank: 2

The Blues have slipped just slightly down the ladder despite coming off a strong win. Easily the better of the two sides, the Blues should have ended the competition early in the first half, instead they never truly put the sword to the throat of the Tahs. They've looked strong against NSW and the Rebels, but it'll be interesting to see how they come up against the Brumbies, Reds and Force.

This week's opposition: Brumbies (Eden Park)

4. Highlanders

2021 record: 2-0

Previous rank: 7

What a well-rounded performance. After struggling to put together back-to-back performances in SR Aoteoroa, the Highlanders have finally done so with a strong win over the Force. Taking a healthy lead early, the Highlanders made the Force pay for their mistakes and kept their calm late in the match despite several raids on their line.

This week's opposition: Rebels (Queenstown)

5. Hurricanes

2021 record: 2-0

Previous rank: 8

It wasn't pretty, but in this competition it doesn't need to be. Like the Blues, they could have, and should have, made easy work of the Rebels early in the match, but it wasn't until the closing minutes that they put their opponents away. They face stronger opposition in the coming weeks, but two bonus-point victories keep them well in the finals hunt.

This week's opposition: Western Force (Napier)

6. Western Force

2021 record: 0-2

Previous rank: 6

The only Australian side not to slide across the two weeks, the Force have been the consistent performers for Australia. They were unlucky to fall short to the Chiefs in week one, and know they should have held the Highlanders back on Friday. Their poor discipline was costly and they'll be devastated they let two winning chances slip by. Being competitive on the road in New Zealand is their next challenge.

This week's opposition: Hurricanes (Napier)

7. Brumbies

2021 record: 0-2

Previous rank: 3

The Brumbies will be pretty upset with their showing against the Chiefs. Expectations were high that they could be the team to put away a Kiwi opponent, instead they were bullied up front and were made to pay for some poor ball carries. It won't get any easier this week either when they head to Auckland. Perhaps the knowledge of the final game on tour will spur on a better performance?

This week's opposition: Blues (Auckland)

8. Waratahs

2021 record: 0-2

Previous rank: 9

The result really should have been a bit more flattering to the Waratahs than it was in the end. Despite some poor decision making, they were in their match with the Blues for much of the contest, but their poor second half really let them down. The positive is that you can see some cohesion in the side and a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. But cooler heads need to prevail; there's no need to be flash. A simple game plan can get them over the line eventually. But probably not this week against a rampaging Crusaders.

This week's opposition: Crusaders (Wollongong)

9. Rebels

2021 record: 0-2

Previous rank: 10

It's been all one-way traffic so far for the Rebels this TT season. Sorely missing Reece Hodge (knee) and Dane Haylett-Petty (concussion), they've looked clueless with the ball and Matt To'omua is clearly feeling the pressure.

This week's opposition: Highlanders (Queenstown)

10. Reds

2021 record: 0-2

Previous rank: 4

What a disaster. It truly was boys against men on Saturday night and as Brad Thorn said it was like "getting punched in the face". There were only a few positives out of that terrible performance, namely Harry Wilson and his exciting try-scoring effort, otherwise it was a horror show. They'll need to bounce back strongly this week to bring some respectability back to their season.

This week's opposition: Chiefs (Brisbane)