After their thrilling draw with the Waratahs the Vodacom Stormers have to beat the Lions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday to reach the semi-finals of the Super 14 competition.
The Stormers and the Sharks will be flying the South African flag this Saturday when the last round of league matches will be contested.
They are fourth and fifth respectively on the points’ table on 37 points – with a points’ difference of +9 the only thing that keeps the Stormers above their compratiots.
Both teams still have a slim chance of finishing second and thus ensuring a home semi-final.
That would happen if the Waratahs and Hurricanes loose their respective games – against the Reds in Brisbane and the Blues in Auckland – without earning a bonus point.
But then the Stormers and Sharks – who play the Chiefs in Durban – should get full points in their games. Points’difference would then determine which one would have home advantage.
If both the Waratahs and Hurricanes are victorious only one of the two local teams could finish fourth though. The Blues and Chiefs are still in with a shout, but need to rely on extraodinary results for them to be in the semi-finals.
The Hurricanes (40) are in pole position to finish second and secure the other home semi, with the Crusaders already secured of finishing first and thereby claiming a home semi-final.
Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus on Saturday evening thanked the supporters and the team’s main sponsor, Vodacom, for their support thus far this season.
“This is probably the last (Super 14) game at Newlands this season. This is awesome for a coach in his first year.
“I don’t think you guys understand what it means for a team to run out here when it’s raining and pouring and to get almost a full house is incredible.
“It’s a great honour for us. We’ll keep on trying to play rugby that etntertain you, although it was obviously tough today. You need people to stick by you, especially after the first three games, and we want to thank you for that.
“The support from Vodacom is lovely. This is the beginning of nice things here and let us see how far we can get this season. Hopefully we can go far.”