NZ champion Crusaders secure playoffs bye
The New Zealand Conference champion Crusaders will get a week off, while the Chiefs and Highlanders will both head on the road during the first week of the Super Rugby playoffs.
With the South Africa Conference champion Sharks only beating the Stormers 34-10 this morning to conclude the regular season, the Crusaders held onto the No 2 spot, following their 34-8 domination of the Highlanders last night.
The Highlanders, who have lost four of their last six matches to back into the playoffs on 42 points, will head to Durban to face the Sharks, who finish on 50 points.
The two-time defending champion Chiefs, who booked a third straight playoffs berth with an 11-8 victory over the Blues on Friday night, finished on 44 points and will travel to Canberra to face the ACT Brumbies, who trotted into the last six with a 47-25 victory over the Western Force on Friday to end of 45.
The Australia Conference-winning NSW Waratahs, who secured the regular season title before the final round and will have homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, romped past the Queensland Reds 34-3 in Brisbane.
The playoffs schedule is as follows.
Super Rugby Qualifier A
Saturday, July 2014
Brumbies v Chiefs, GIO Stadium, Canberra, Australia. (21:40 NZT)
Super Rugby Qualifier B
Sunday, July 19 2014 (NZT)
Sharks v Highlanders, Growthpoint KINGS PARK, Durban, South Africa. (03:05am NZT)