Continuing our look at the early pace-setters in Super Rugby 2016, we come to the Australian and New Zealand conferences.

In Australia, the Brumbies lead the way having won four of five, while the Chiefs and the Highlanders have recorded the same number of wins in a New Zealand Conference that is already looking like this year’s tightest.

Australia

The Brumbies’ convincing opening round win against the Hurricanes, followed by a win over 2014 champions the Waratahs, set the tone for the Canberra side this season. With a loss to the Stormers the only blemish on their record thus far, Stephen Larkham’s men are the team to beat in Australia.

As with any sport, the most important part of the game is putting points on the board, and that is exactly what the Brumbies have done well this season. They have scored more tries than any other team in their conference while only the Chiefs and Crusaders can better their tally overall.

They’ve been incredibly reliable from the boot this season too – only the Force, thanks to a lethal Jonno Lance, have bettered the Brumbies in their conference – but their 83% is still well above the average and better than all but two teams in 2016.

The Brumbies have also been excellent at winning the ball this season and keeping hold of it when they do win possession. With David Pocock in their ranks, it’s probably no surprise that the Brumbies are the top turnover winners this season (level with the Sharks). The ACT side has also conceded just 14.2 turnovers per game as well, ranking them as one of the three best teams in that facet of the game, and as a result they have opened up a four point gap at the top of the Australian Conference.

New Zealand

New Zealand sides over the years have often been the pick of the bunch, and this year’s Chiefs side are showing early signs that they could be the team to beat this season as they sit at the top of the overall competition on 19 points.

They have topped the charts for points and tries so far this season, eclipsing all other teams in those two categories. They’ve also gained the most metres so far this season, averaging 555 per game – only three teams have averaged over 500 thus far. The Waikato side also ranks in the top four for clean breaks, defenders beaten and offloads, showing how much of a handful they are for anyone who comes up against them.

The Chiefs have also had a solid platform from which to attack from. Their scrum success sits at a solid 90% while their lineout has been better than any other team in Super rugby this year and this has given their exciting back line the perfect platform off which to break the opposition line.

It is already shaping up to be an exciting Super Rugby season, with all four conferences boasting candidates for the eventual Super Rugby winners, each with contrasting styles of play. Early form won’t win any side the title but it goes a long way to ensuring that your side is at the business end of the ladder come July.