SA Super 14 teams get home advantage

Defending champions the Bulls and the Stormers both booked home semi-final ties in South Africa after finishing in the two spots in the Super 14 table over the weekend.

The Bulls will play seven-times winners the Crusaders in Soweto on Saturday while the Stormers will go head to head with the Waratahs at their Cape Town fortress.

In the final round-robin matches, in which three of the seven games influenced the play-offs, the results went according to form.

The Waratahs and Crusaders produced emphatic wins over the Hurricanes and Brumbies on Friday, which ensured the Stormers would qualify regardless of how they played against the Bulls on Saturday.

In the end the Stormers moved into second place with a 38-10 win over the Bulls, who opted to field a second-string side as they had already qualified at the top of the table.

Despite having to make the arduous trek back to South Africa, the Crusaders relished the opportunity to lock horns again with the Bulls, who beat them with a controversial try on fulltime two weeks ago.

The Crusaders “are keen to have another crack because they played so well against them last time,” said coach Todd Blackadder.

“It would be nice to go over there and do the business.”

However, the Waratahs, whose hopes of hosting a semi-final vanished when the Stormers won, questioned whether the Bulls’ decision to field a weakened side was in the spirit of the game.

The one-sided nature of pitting a full-strength Stormers against a virtual Bulls B was evident from the start when Bryan Habana crossed for the first of four Stormers tries after only four minutes.

With the Bulls forwards struggling and the Stormers playing like men inspired as they chased a first semi-final appearance since 1999, the home team were 28-3 ahead by half-time.

The second half of the mis-match was closer largely because the Stormers eased off the accelerator and could afford the luxury of replacing flanker and skipper Schalk Burger with 20 minutes left.

The Waratahs booked a prized berth in the semi-finals with an easy 32-16 win over the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes made a solid start and an early exchange of penalties had them ahead 6-3 before the tide turned.

The Waratahs scored four unanswered tries, all after deft chip kicks, and had the game in their pocket at 32-9 before the Hurricanes closed out the game with their sole try.

The Crusaders were too efficient at the set pieces for the Brumbies and showed flashes of brilliance in attack as they chalked up a 40-22 victory.

The New Zealand team took time to settle in the first half but seized control midway through the spell to go into the break 22-10 ahead before clinching the five-tries-to-three victory.

For the remaining teams there was nothing at stake but pride in the final round.

The Reds, who beat all semi-finalists bar the Waratahs, closed their year with a 38-36 win over the Highlanders to seal fifth place just two points behind the Crusaders.

The Blues signed off with a 30-20 victory over the Chiefs to end in seventh place, behind the Brumbies and ahead of the Hurricanes although all three teams finished on 37 points, two behind the Reds.

The Sharks paid the price for a string of losses at the start of the year as they finished ninth, beating the Western Force 27-22 in their final game to complete seven wins from their last eight games.

The Cheetahs secured 10th place from the Chiefs on points differential after they thrashed the Lions 59-10 to make the Lions the first Super 14 team to lose all 13 league matches in a season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.