Last weekend was crunch time for a few of the South African teams in the Super 14 and many of them did not let us down. In fact, the whole weekend was full of brilliantly exciting rugby with plenty of surprises that blew open the last few positions for semi-finals.
The first upset was the Highlanders beating the Waratahs 26-10, in a very wet match which was mostly played amongst the forwards. The Waratahs look set to almost confirm their semi-final position but have now left themselves in fifth with no less than six teams fighting it out for the last two positions.
The match later that day opened up the log even more with the Stormers thrashing the Crusaders 42-14. This put the Stormers in a really strong position for not only a semi-final but a home semi-final. The Stormers are not assured a spot, however, and still need five more points.
The next morning saw the Hurricanes taking on fellow New Zealanders, the Chiefs. It was a very exciting game which saw the Hurricanes win in the last 10 minutes after an amazing try by Ma’a Nonu giving them a 33-27 victory. This also gave “The Canes” a great chance to still qualify for the semis.
Of course, so far every match has benefited the top two South African teams and the Brumbies did not disappoint when they beat the, recently on form, Reds 32-12 which also kept their semi-final hopes alive. The Cheetahs, however, ended the Blues’ hopes of making a semi-final when they beat them 36-32 in a hard-fought match.
The one team that did not come to the party this weekend were the Lions who now hold the record for the most successive losses. Western Force gave a clinical performance which saw them walking away with a 33-12 victory.
The last match of the weekend was the highly anticipated showdown between the Bulls and the Sharks. Even though the Sharks got off to a good start the Bulls showed their power and unwillingness to lose at home to score 24 unanswered points and win 27-19.
The combination of wins has really opened up the log for a lot of the sides, but it also has given a solid position to the Bull and Stormers.
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