SA’s Super 14 grip tightens

2010-05-01 22:36

Rob Houwing, Sport24 chief writer

Cape Town – A second all-South African final in three years in the Vodacom Super 14 has moved a crucial step closer to likelihood.

The only regrettable aspect to neutrals in this country is that the Sharks, finalists in 2007 when the Bulls dramatically snatched the trophy at the death in Durban, have had their always slim hopes of a 2010 semi-final rally dashed – courtesy of 27-19 defeat to the same foes at soggy Loftus on Saturday.

But a showpiece on May 29 featuring the Bulls and Stormers, the classical “north v south” duel, is still a very realistic possibility as those two sides dug deeper weekend footholds at the top of the table with two rounds left.

Victor Matfield’s defending champions moved to 43 points after their deserved derby triumph over the Sharks, who started with ominous intent but were gradually pinned back and pacified by the steely, composed blue machine.

The Stormers, who had been saddled on 34 points before the latest fixtures alongside the Crusaders and Reds, in turn cemented second spot impressively on Friday night by advancing to 38, now four clear of the very team they trounced at Newlands 42-14 and the Queenslanders as well.

Both the Crusaders and Reds had nothing to show for their efforts this weekend in log-point terms and that leaves them jammed in third and fourth with all of the Waratahs, Brumbies and Hurricanes breathing very uncomfortably down their necks.

You have to wonder whether the plucky Reds’ fire has finally been doused – they have a second-row crisis of dizzying proportions after their loss to compatriots the Brumbies, with both Adam Byrnes and Rob Simmons crying off the Canberra battlefield in the first quarter with what seemed fairly serious injuries and joining James Horwill and Van Humphries on the crocked list.

It virtually crippled their once cohesive pack and now they face the resurgent Hurricanes away in a game which could eliminate one of them from the knockout-phase picture.

Things look much rosier in South African terms, even if all five of the semis contenders behind the pace-setting Bulls and Stormers will be aware that these two lock horns at Newlands in the very last match of the league phase, so somebody is going to drop points from the dream encounter.

But next weekend is an opportunity for both hungry local outfits to all but seal home semis anyway – that will definitely be the case for the Bulls if they beat the Crusaders at Loftus, because nobody then could knock them out of a top-two finish.

It would also be extremely hard to deny the Stormers a Newlands semi-final should they beat the Sharks at Absa Stadium.

The home side in that fixture will only be playing for pride, although you suspect they have already known that for much of their gutsy turnaround in recent weeks, until they came a cropper in Pretoria.

Smart money suggests the Stormers, with their better all-round talent and verve at present, may continue on their winning ways in Durban, especially if their pack fronts up satisfactorily to a gnarly Sharks eight.

Behind the scrum, it is impossible to escape a feeling that John Plumtree’s charges lack some sort of X-factor and cutting edge this year, and the Stormers have that in abundance – especially with Springbok centre Jaque Fourie really running into a rich vein of form.

In terms of the ongoing but flickering challenge from abroad, maybe the Waratahs are the likeliest obstacle now to a pair of semis on South African turf.

They were pretty awful in losing heavily to the Highlanders at unforgiving Invercargill, but full houses against the porous Chiefs (away) and then Hurricanes (back in Sydney), which would take them to 43 points, are not out of the question if coach Chris Hickey reads the riot act.

Certainly, though, the cream of South Africa’s Super 14 assault are sitting extremely pretty …

Remaining fixtures for top seven sides:

Bulls (43 points): Crusaders (h), Stormers (a)
Stormers (38 points): Sharks (a), Bulls (h)
Crusaders (34 points): Bulls (a), Brumbies (h)
Reds (34 points): Hurricanes (a), Highlanders (h)
Waratahs (33 points): Chiefs (a), Hurricanes (h)
Brumbies (32 points): Highlanders (h), Crusaders (a)
Hurricanes (32 points): Reds (h), Waratahs (a)


  • Selma - 2010-05-01 23:39

    Bulls Stormers Final in Soweto. Redicolous. FIFA needs to hand back Loftus for the final.

  • Bakkies asb! - 2010-05-02 00:35

    Mooiman dis eenvoudig!Stormers sal ten minste 9 punte optel wat hul op 47 sal plaas.Koeksusters van Moftus gaan hul volgende 2 games verloor em maks 2 punte optel maar kom ons sê hul wen die Saders en eindig gelyk met die Stormers sal ons PD ons deurvat.MAAR ons WIL eintlik die final op Moftus speel of waar ever die Bulls se homeground dan sal wees dat ons hul eers in die Kaap verniel en dan in Tswane!

  • Sharks supporter - 2010-05-02 01:14

    Blue Cows, don't ever come to Durban again. We will julle stukkend moer. Waarheid

  • Sharks supporter - 2010-05-02 01:18

    Blue Cows, don't ever come to Durban again. We will julle stukkend moer. Waarheid

  • Sharks supporter - 2010-05-02 01:47

    maders ek soek julle, kalkoene, chickens with no guts. ... watch it, it's coming your way doos

  • BALSAK(alias Blue Bul Hater) - 2010-05-02 06:56

    Go STORMERS and BULLS , make us proud and play in the FINAL on 29 May 2010!!! Sorg asseblief dat julle GELYKOP speel die 15de MEI 2010!!MY lewe, my alles, my hart, MY siel, My WP en STORMERS foreva!!

  • SR - 2010-05-02 07:36

    Wow, Great rugby this weekend..... Go Bulls, Go Stormers and yes Go Cheetahs. Dit lyk baie goed vir SA Rugby.... mooi gespeel Cheetahs en Lions gee maar op.

  • Yenza - 2010-05-02 09:52

    Its all going to go down to the wire in the Stormers vs Bulls game at Newlands. The Bulls can play the big games and have learnt to dig deep. If the Stormers beat them at home, they can win the Super 14.

  • Telg - 2010-05-02 10:24

    Some facts: Try's for S14 2010: Stomers 30; Bulls 43 Try's against: Stomers 14; Bulls 24 Differance: Stomers 16; Bulls 19 50+ Scores 2010: Stomers 1; Bulls 4 Away Loss 2010: Stomers 3; Bulls 2 Home wons on trot: Stomers 8; Bulls 17 Semi Finals: Stomers 0/1; Bulls 2/2 Finals: Stomers 0/0; Bulls 2/2 Players involved in Semi and Final: Stomers 1/22 (Brain Habana) Bulls 16/22 Players involved in international final: Stomers 3; Bulls 6 IQ of captains: Stomers 117; Bulls 134 Coaches: Stomers 1 World Cup and 1 Tri Nations; Bulls 1 S14 and 1 CC X - Factor: Rassie Erasmus vs Heineke Meyer both directors of rugby. MAN I love this GAME!!!!!!!!

  • Paul Robinson - 2010-05-02 10:56

    As someone said, "by the end of the Super14, we will all be Bull's supporters", but it sure looks like the Stormers want in!

  • Carl Muller - 2010-05-02 11:00

    Daar is net een masjien en dit is die blou masjien. Twee semi en een finaal in S A sal fantasties wees.

  • Jack - 2010-05-02 14:38

    This is how the next 4 weeks play out (remember you read it here first!): Next week - Sharks beat Stormers, no bouns points; Bulls lose to 'Saders, but get bonus point. Week after: Bulls field 2nd team vs Stormers, and bench best players, but win anyway. Semi-finals: Soweto & Christchurch, Bulls vs Reds, 'Saders vs Waratahs. Final: in Soweto - Bulls vs 'Saders. Arrogant, rude & uninformed Stormers supporters who clog this website every week with their crude & racist bile, mouths clamped shut for another year, to everyone's relief.

  • FactsRFacts - 2010-05-02 14:54

    BULLS already in semis - period - CHAMPIONS!

  • Scaramouche - 2010-05-02 15:00

    And congratulations to the Cheetahs for stopping the Blues from any play-off aspirations would be in order!!

  • Greg - 2010-05-02 17:21

    After the Super 14 start resting the players that will campaign in New Zealand. Start conditioning these guys and get them fit, strong and powerful. We can then defend the World Cup and be the first team to do so.

  • mario - 2010-05-02 18:52

    Bulls sal moet beter verdedig as Saterdag teen Sharks as hul die Stormers wil wen.

  • jacksegat - 2010-05-02 19:04

    Jack jou doos...

  • nikka - 2010-05-02 19:31

    jack you are a typical bulls supporter!! STORMERS 4 LIFE! Bulls vs Stormers final in Soweto, 21-19 Stormers win! thanx for coming

  • OneTeamOnly - 2010-05-02 19:53

    There is only ONE team that has booked it's place in the semi's - the BULLS of course. So to the other supporters - best you wait another week or maybe even two before you get to cocky:-)

  • Sorry but ... - 2010-05-02 22:51

    Jack actually has a point

  • Blou somme! - 2010-05-02 23:35

    Kyk ek het nooit eers besef daar is rekenaars in Pretoria nie so n ou leer elke dag dinge by.Daar is op meeste rekenaars wat minder as 10 jaar oud is n calculator(optelmasjientjie) opsie.Click daarop dan probeer jul dievolgende : Stormers 38 + 10=48. Dan Crusaders 34 + 10 = 44.Dan Reds 34 +10 = 44.Dan Tahs 33+10 = 43. Nou die Bulls 43 +0 = 43!.Nou vir die moeilike deel.Stormers 1ste met 48.....Saders ebn Reds 2de en 3de aghangende van punteverskil en dan kan die Tahs voor die Bulls eindig al het hul ook 43 as hul punteverskil beter as die Bulls s'n is.O ja punteverskil is die verskil tussen punte aangeteken en punte afgestaan.So julle kanaalbarbers wiskundig (toemaar dis te moeilik om vir julle te verduidelik) kan die Bulls nog uitval.Hoogs onwaarskynlik maar nie wiskundig onmoontlik nie.Lees WEER ek sê ONWAARSKYNLIK maar nie ONMOONTLIK nie ek sê nie die Bulls gaan niks punte verder optel nie so kalm bly julle spul cheap tewe! Vang julle?In die toekoms,voor julle begin kots,call a friend met n optelmasjientjie! GO THE SADERS!

  • @Jack - 2010-05-03 01:24

    Why do you aholes always have to throw the racist phrase in as well? Maybe a Pretoria mentality problem? Listen Jack, you and your fellow Bulls supporters are such ars@holes that no one takes you seriously anymore. I mean, just look at the Bulls players and supporters and anyone can see the lights is on but there is no one home mate! Pretoria must be the k*kest place on earth to live in and it must be terrible in the offseason. I mean what does an idiot like you do if there is no rugby in Pretoria? What did you do a few seasons back when the MIGHTY BULLS lost 11 in a row!?O sh*t sorry mate I forgot about all the great Afrikaans shows in Pta / Tshwane like Stevie Wonderpump, Dozi the drunk Christian, How to pomp the dominee’s wife, Kurt’s duets, Robbie’s Klaylats adventures etc. Then you can go to a mall and maybe get a signature from steroids Spies......or windpomp Joost....po@ppo@p with Amore........Powder-puff Wannenburg......Band-Aid Matfield or maybe even see Tortoise Steyn or Spietkop du Preez in action! Then there is the new Habana from Pretoria......nagapie VD Heever and Show pony Olivier! Suppose you have all the Bulls gear hey!? Heavy stuff like...jersey, horns (own?) naartjies, cheap brandy, pick & pay Tab and a lekker vetpens hey!?You’re the man brother keep it up! Happy w@nking rock spider Dutchman! Jou mamma gaan daai vet rooi wangetjies lekker warm klap hoor!

  • Tommygun - 2010-05-03 06:09

    Just watched the Heineken cup semis. What I want to know is the refs there blowing the new rules? Holding the tackler, lying on the wrong side, coming inn on the side seems to be the norm. If Dickenson was blowing this game Munster and Barritz would have pulled an Aussie and called for his head. Trouble is any Southern ref would have killed them and rightly so.

  • Bullet - 2010-05-03 06:48

    The Bulls were lucky again, Watch the STOMERS beat them. It would be such a pleasure shutting up the arrogant bulls supporters and see Pretoria go into mourning again From a Shark supporter

  • Lion@Bullet - 2010-05-03 07:36

    You know what old chop? The harder they train and the better they play? The luckier the Bulls seem to get! So why dont you come lucky your nose through my hairy crack! You, @jack and Blou somme! The Bulls are going to slaghter the stormers! whahahaah

  • Bullet - 2010-05-03 08:02

    If you are a Blue Bulls suporter and you are smimming in the sea and a Shark approaches you. What do you do? Just speak Afrikaans and he will think you are a rock!!!!

  • pienk_stormer - 2010-05-03 08:19

    dis vir my so ironies hoe grrotbek al die stormer supporters nou is, die bulle is so k@k en hulle supporters is so k@k maar, f_k noudat ons die cheetahs se coach 'n paar springbokke en new zeelanders gekoop het nou is ons net kaas. Julle bewys maar net dat die stormer supporters groter a$$holes as almal is, want voor al die gekopery was julle stadium so leeg soos malema se kop. Net soos julle die bulle se ondersteuners almal onder die selfde kam kam gaan ons ook nou maar se om dat die kaap so skeef is moet al hulle supporters maar pienk begin dra. Dis hoekom die stormers so goed in die skrum is want hulle hou van buk. Hier is vir al die idiote wat hou van om stereo tipes te maak a.g.v hulle span keuse .!.. Suurg@tte omdat die bulle al 2 keer die beker gevat het. Hopenlik vat ons hom weer net sod@t julle weer moet leer om maniere te kry want eweskielik is elke stormer 'n grootbek

  • erudite supporter - 2010-05-03 08:37

    Do some of you cretins realise that the Bulls and Stormers are both actually South African teams? I am an avid Bulls supporter and have been for 40 years, but whenever ANY of our South African teams play an overseas team they have my full support. We should be proud of and encourage all of our country's teams. Friendly rivalry is indeed healthy, but unhinged insults and aggressive mudslinging only lends credence to what many Australians and New Zealanders already believe us to be - dimwitted barbarians.

  • Big Blue - 2010-05-03 09:11

    ...well said Jack..!!

  • @pienk_stormer - 2010-05-03 09:50

    Prozac mag dalk help vir jou angsaanvalle peesterbek.Waar kom Pieter Rossouw en Vlok Cilliers vandaan?Verstaan jy die begrip pro...fes....sio...neel...sê nou mooi vir oom als in een professioneel.Lee paviljoene seg jy!?Broer wavan praaaaat jy?Gaan ruik aan die skooldogtertjies se fietse se sale man jy is op die verkeerde site...p@es!

  • Jack - 2010-05-03 10:21

    @ AJack. Re-read my comment. You are a perfect example of my point. Anyway, I don't live in Pta, I'm English-speaking, and I am a highly educated and qualified person - which you obviously are not. I also happen to like the fact that the Stormers are doing well, but you won't understand why. To borrow from Barry Ronge: next time you go to the lavatory, do it upside down - that way, the fecal matter, on its way down, will temporarily fill the useless space between your ears with something far superior to what is there at present.

  • Lourens min somme - 2010-05-03 11:47

    Dis die 5 spanne se punte verskul totaal. 1 Vodacom Bulls 114 2 Vodacom Stormers 172 3 Crusaders 80 34 18 4 34 4 Reds 79 5 Waratahs 54 @ Blou somme. As jy se dis waarskeinlik dan glo jy seker ook aan Kersvader en die tanne muis. As die Tahs meer punte verskil punte as die Bulls wil kry moet hulle altwee die volgende wedstryde wen met 30-0 en 31-0 en die bulls moet al hulle wedstryde verloor en niks punt aanteken nie. So smaak my jy doen te veel somme en kyk te min rugby ou maat.

  • siya - 2010-05-03 11:54

    super 14 final in soweto!! Wow fok i can't wait. i'll be the first one in line to get my ticket. People of soweto will come out in their numbers to support this, even though most won't afford the ticket, the atmosphere they will create around this event will be one to remember for years!! *stormers we go hard*

  • THE VOICE - 2010-05-03 11:58

    Suddenly ... after 14 LONG YEARS the girls supporting the "bergbokke" are all wetting themselves - suddenly they are also part of the SUPER rugby equation. Welcome girls ... i know it must be an exhilarating first time experience for ye all ... enjoy it as we all know you ARE NOT USED TO IT! Try to keep the voices down however ... the sudden extacy might just result in unfortunate "little accidents."

  • Gtr - 2010-05-03 12:02

    @ Jack...I'm not sure you are right about your predictions, but you did put 'lavotory' thing that beautifull.... Pitty that a LOT of Stormer supporters commenting here, makes the most common of the Bulls' fans look quite dignified in comparrison... Once again, I'll state it; Jealousy digs the mud that envy throws at success. And when you throw mud, you end up losing ground. People that continue with their insults are showing me that they are NO better than the people they're insulting. The Stormers are playing awesone rugby, and I was amazed at how easily they took the Crusaders apart. But, if they are as good as every Stormers' fan would have me believe, they are still below the Bulls, who according to some of you 'wonderkinds', are overrated. Now, that shows that the intelligent people also moved north with the Great Trek...

  • Bullet - 2010-05-03 12:09

    Aan al die apies wat hier sit en nonsens praat. blablablabla ja blablablabla nee blablablabla,.. Luister nou gou mooi vir oom Bullet. Dit is begin Mei. Die Bulle en Stormers lyk albei baie goed, maar nog niks, fokol, nada, bokker-all is nog gewen nie. Support wie julle wil, maar hou op kak oor en weer praat, Julle gee my 'n pyn..... verskoon my, ek moet weer hardloop... NS Goed om sien auntie Stuart het hom gedra op Nuweland.

  • NEMO - 2010-05-03 14:27

    Well done to the Bulls and Stormers ... but be sure to finish the job >>

  • Tannie Tokkie - 2010-05-03 15:22

    Nay man... hou julle in moenie sulke gif spu .....ek en Bertie gaan Nuweland toe hy het alreeds die Venter waentjie gepak , hy het selfs n paar snoeke gaan koop hier by pick n pay lynnwood ridge , nou vries hy dit toe ek hom vra hoekom seg hy " Vir protection ma" hulle het ons laas met snoek en papsak probeer intimidate , nou vat ek ook n stywe snoek saam", Ai Bertie is nie al dag 100% met ons nie , Sien julle dar onder ne 15 May Tannie Tokkie (Nie Kokkie)

  • ricfdef - 2010-05-03 18:35

    Dis darmlekker om jou span uit n ander land te kan ondersteun! Ekstans in london en elke Saterdag proebeer ek en my pelle die rugby te kyk.Wys nie altyd op Sky nie, dan gaan soek ons dit want ons wil SA ondersteun, maak nie saak wie speel nie! Stormers, Bulls, Cheethas, Skarks en die Lions, ons het iets van alles hier, en ons geniet dit so. Lyk my party van die ondersteuners in SA het hul liefde vir die game verloor en sien elke Maandag uit daarna om mekaar sleg te se hier. Word groot man..... Was nog altyd en sal nog altyd HOU BY DIE BLOU!!!!

  • @jack - 2010-05-03 23:43

    Blah blah blah, weet jy watter kak jy praat? Standing upside Is jy verveeld, jou poephol!

  • @Lourens min somme - 2010-05-04 00:43

    Ou jirre maar jy is fkn dommer as wat ek gedink het jou simpel d@@s!WISKUNDIG beteken dis moontlik proes.Dis moontlik dat die Bulls teen die Saders met 100 punte ook kan verloor maar HOOGS ONWAARSKYNLIK.Verstaan jy duh of het hul jou ook nie die taal in donkietech geleer nie.Gaan speel in die park saam met die kleuters man want jou IK vlak is laer as slangk@k

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