NZ champion Crusaders secure playoffs bye

Last updated 07:00 13/07/2014

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Forwards lead Crusaders to an easy victory Resilient Chiefs still fighting for the three-peat Sharks miss out on home Super Rugby semifinal Brumbies defeat Force to clinch playoffs spot Blues coach Sir John Kirwan feels the pressure Top-of-table Waratahs smash fumbling Reds

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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.

In the final round's other two matches, the Bulls dealt to the Melbourne Rebels 40-7 in Pretoria and the Lions mauled the Cheetahs 60-25 in Johannesburg.

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)

 

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