Stormers sink in Semi’s!
The men from KwaZulu-Natal have now won eight from their last nine matches, including last weekend’s qualifier over the Reds in Brisbane and yesterday’s semi-final victory by 26-19 over the DHL Stormers in Cape Town.
Because of the travel factor, many experts thought The Sharks would struggle against the South African Conference winners and the team that finished top of the log. That was not the case though as the DHL Stormers could not match the physical intensity of the KwaZulu-Natalians.
Keegan Daniel and his team did not stray from their winning recipe of the past month and will now have an opportunity to win their first-ever Vodacom Super Rugby title after The Sharks lost in the finals of 1996 (to the Blues playing as Natal), 2001 (to the Brumbies) and 2007 (to the Vodacom Bulls).
To lift the trophy against the Chiefs in Hamilton though, The Sharks will have to do what has only been achieved once in the history of Vodacom Super Rugby – win a final in another country. In 2000, the Crusaders travelled to Canberra where they beat the Brumbies by 20-19.
Only two teams have won finals away from home – the Crusaders also did it in 1998 (against the Blues in Auckland) and 1999 (against the Highlanders in Dunedin), while the Vodacom Bulls beat The Sharks in Durban in 2007, but in each of those matches, the final was played in the eventual winners’ home country.
In Friday’s first semi-final, the Chiefs reached only their second final when they beat the Crusaders by 20-17 in Hamilton, outscoring the seven-time champions by two tries to one.
It will be the first Vodacom Super Rugby final in New Zealand since 2008 and the first ever hosted by the Chiefs