Super Rugby play-offs decided
July 13, 2014
The Crusaders secured a home final after they hammered the Highlanders on Saturday © Getty Images
New Zealand conference champions the Crusaders have secured a home semi-final and a week off after South African conference champions the Sharks failed to claim a bonus point in their 34-10 win over the Stormers as the Super Rugby regular season drew to a close on Saturday.
The Sharks required a bonus-point victory to bump the Crusaders out of second place on the overall Super Rugby table. But the South African outfit fell one try and one point short, forcing them to settle for third place and a home qualifier against the Highlanders next week.
A Crusaders 34-8 demolition of the Highlanders saw the Canterbury side lock down the New Zealand conference while the Highlanders, who have lost four of their last six matches, sneaked into the playoffs in sixth place.
Two-time defending champions the Chiefs, who booked a third straight playoff berth with a scrappy 11-8 victory over the Blues on Friday, qualify as the fifth-placed team, and will head to Canberra to face the Brumbies in a rematch of the 2013 final. The Brumbies secured fourth place with a 47-25 hammering of the Western Force on Friday.
Australian conference champions the Waratahs, who had already secured the regular season title before the final round, have a bye into the semi-finals, where they will enjoy home-ground advantage. They crushed the Reds 34-3 in Brisbane to end the regular season on a seven-game winning streak.
The Super Rugby play-offs are as follows:
Saturday, July 19 2014
19:40 local, 09:40 GMT
Brumbies v Chiefs, GIO Stadium, Canberra, Australia
Saturday, July 19 2014
17:05 local, 15:05 GMT
Sharks v Highlanders, Kings Park, Durban, South Africa
Saturday, July 26 2014
Crusaders v higher ranked qualifier winner, AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Saturday, July 26 2014
Waratahs v lower ranked qualifier winner, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
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