Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby journalist
1 minute read
7 Jun 2015
12:38 pm

The Stormers the lone SA qualifier

Rudolph Jacobs

The DHL Stormers will be crowned South African Conference champions for the third time in five years, but will also be the only representative from the Republic in the Vodacom Super Rugby playoffs this season.

FILE PICTURE: DHL Stormers players after the win over the Sharks during the Super Rugby match between Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers at Growthpoint Kings Park on May 31, 2014 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

In fact, the top six teams for 2015 have also been determined with one round left in the league phase of the competition, meaning the Vodacom Bulls and Emirates Lions will miss out, along with the seven-time champion Crusaders.

The Hurricanes have wrapped up the New Zealand Conference and top spot on the log, but the second position and the identity of the Australian champions – it’s between the Waratahs and the Brumbies – will only be known after next weekend’s matches.

The DHL Stormers’ 19-19 draw against the Emirates Lions in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon means they clinched the SA Conference, but are dependent on other results going their way in order to claim that all-important second spot in the overall standings.

The draw also ended the Emirates Lions’ slim chances of finishing in the top six for the first time ever, but they can be proud of their best-ever season in Vodacom Super Rugby, with nine wins, six defeats and one draw.

The Vodacom Bulls’ chances also evaporated on Saturday morning when they controversially went down to the Rebels in Melbourne by a solitary point, 21-20. The best they can now hope for is eighth on the log.

The Toyota Cheetahs, in their first match under new coach Franco Smith, started very well but ultimately the defending champion Waratahs had too much fire-power and won easily, by 58-33.