The Stormers went to the top of the Super Rugby standings in the final round after they beat the Rebels 26-21 at Newlands in Cape Town.
The result gaurantees the Stormers a bye next weekend and then a home Semi-final against a qualifier to be decided.
The Stormers who were outscored by two tries to three in the match have never finished on top of the Super Rugby standings before.
Many of the Rebels players were playing their final match for the Melbourne franchise and it was evident all afternoon that they wanted to sign off on a high note.
The Stormers' show of intent to run the ball at every opportunity coupled with the Rebels' unwavering commitment on defence made for an absorbing contest in the opening 20 minutes.
The Rebels battled to contain the Stormers' early enterprise and they infringed twice in the first minutes and flyhalf Peter Grant goaled twice to give the Stormers an initial 6-0 lead.
The Stormers' backline was brought into play and it was only a matter of time before they broke though the Rebels' defence.
Leftwing Bryan Habana streaked through in the 13th minute but referee Lourens van der Merwe ruled an infringement in the Stormers' approach work.
But two minutes later centre Juan de Jongh darted in for the first try of the match, with Grant adding the conversion to give the Stormers a 13-0 lead.
The Rebels responded with waves of attacks in the Stormers' 22-metre area.
However, the Rebels came away empty-handed after a 13-minute attacking spell against Super Rugby's finest defence.
On the stroke of halftime Grant succeeded with a 40-metre penalty (16-0).
The Rebels returned with an even greater sense of purpose in the second half and their pressure paid dividends twice in the opening 14 minutes.
First prop Rodney Blake scored and scrumhalf Nick Phipps dotted down three minutes later. Fullback Julian Huxley converted both (16-14).
The 14-point setback served as a wake-up call for the Stormers and their backs and forwards combined splendidly in an upfield sortie which ended with De Jongh going in for his second try.
Grant converted for a 23-14 lead.
Rebel replacement Cooper Vuna ran in for the Rebels' third converted try in the 70th minute to make it 23-21.
The Stormers tried to produce a grandstand finish to the regular season but their only reward in the final minutes was a fourth Grant penalty.
Final Score Stormers 26 (16) Rebels 21 (0)
Tries - J de Jongh 2
Pen - P Grant 4
Con - P Grant 2
Tries - R Blake, N Phipps, C Vuna
Con - J Huxley 3
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant Ref 1:Mark Lawrence
Assistant Ref 2:Christie du Preez
TMO : Shaun Veldsman
15. Joe Pietersen , 14. Gio Aplon , 13. Juan de Jongh , 12. Jean de Villiers , 11. Bryan Habana , 10. Peter Grant , 9. Dewaldt Duvenage , 8. Deon Fourie , 7. Rynhardt Elstadt , 6. Siya Kolisi , 5. Andries Bekker , 4. De Kock Steenkamp , 3. Frans Malherbe , 2. Tiaan Liebenberg , 1. Steven Kitshoff
Replacements : 16. Brok Harris , 17. Deon Carstens , 18. Quinn Roux , 19. Jebb Sinclair , 20. Louis Schreuder , 21. Burton Francis , 22. Gerhard van den Heever
1. Rodney Blake, 2. Ged Robinson, 3. Jono Owen, 4. Cadeyrn Neville, 5. Hugh Pyle, 6. Tim Davidson, 7. Hugh Perrett, 8. Gareth Delve (vc), 9. Nick Phipps, 10. James Hilgendorf, 11. Cooper Vuna/Lachlan Mitchell, 12. Stirling Mortlock (c), 13. Mitch Inman, 14. Mark Gerrard, 15. Julian Huxley
Replacements : 16. Luke Holmes, 17. Paul Alo-Emile, 18. Al Campbell, 19. Ryan Hodson, 20. Nic Stirzaker, 21. Cooper Vuna/Lachlan Mitchell, 22. Richard Kingi