Stormers

Stormers give SA hope for a second Semi-Final birth

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From the South African perspective, the weekend’s Super 14 matches brought a possible second candidate for a semifinal berth with the Stormers’ 32-16 win over the Western Force.


From a competition perspective, the injury to Crusaders’ Dan Carter is arguably the biggest news.


The Stormers, by virtue of their bonus points before they started winning in Australasia -where they now have three wins from four tour matches -are suddenly there or thereabouts when possible semifinalists are discussed.


Lying sixth on 18 bonus points, they are only a single point behind fourth placed Hurricanes and the Force, who are fifth.


The Hurricanes, however, have a match in hand – and to put things into perspective it must be pointed out that the Blues, who are third, have 24 points compared to the Stormers 18.


Carter’s ankle sprain may keep him on the sidelines for six weeks. That could seriously affect the Crusaders’ drive to regain the title.


They held out a difficult Hurricanes side in a hard, closely fought derby contest, winning 20-13 because of their forwards’ impressive display.

 

It was only the second time in seven outings that the Crusaders didn’t get a four-try bonus point.

The Sharks remain unbeaten, but once again were not convincing in their 22-10 win over the Reds in Durban on Saturday.


However, they do have the quality and the experience to do well on their five-match Australasian tour that starts with a match against third-placed Hurricanes on Saturday – but they’ll have to take that step up.


The winless Cheetahs lost their seventh match on the trot – but they could so easily have won four or even five of them that they lost by single-score margins.


This time it was the Waratahs who scraped home 23-19, with the Cheetahs scoring three tries to two.

 

On Saturday they’re at home to the Reds – and that won’t be an easy match, either, judging by the Reds’ recent performances.

One can also feel for the defending champions Bulls.


Under tremendous pressure after only two wins from their first six matches, two unbelievable decisions – one by the television match official (TMO), the other by referee James Leckie in tandem with his touch judge – probably denied a much-improved Bulls side a win.

 

The importance of the 72nd minute drop kick by Nick Evans to make the winning score 17-14 must not be forgotten, either.

The Chiefs accounted for the winless Highlanders winning 39-24 and earning a bonus point to move to eighth place on the log. They’re improving as their relatively new side starts to gel.


Sapa –Super14.com

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