Brumbies, Waratahs on the edge to make Super 14 finals

May 10, 2009

THE Brumbies and Waratahs will enter a nerve-jangling final round of the Super 14 rugby competition next week outside the top four, but still with a chance of making the finals.

Both teams remained in the hunt after penultimate round wins, but Western Force crashed out of contention with a dramatic 25-24 loss to the Stormers in Cape Town.

Seven sides enter the last round with a chance of making the top four, but only two of them finish off with a home fixture.

Technically, no team has yet totally secured a finals spot, though the ladder leading Bulls (42pts) would have to suffer a massive last round loss to miss out.

The two remaining Australian contenders will have the chance to crank up the pressure up on the other finals aspirants, but face a tension-filled Saturday as they feature in the two Friday fixtures.

The Brumbies, aiming to make the finals for the first time since their second Super title in 2004, will enter week 14 in fifth spot on 37 points, following a 37-15 home win over the Blues, which ended that team's top four hopes.

For and against separates the Brumbies (+9) from the fourth placed Crusaders (+31).

Similarly, NSW (36pts) head into the last round in seventh spot on points differential behind the Sharks, who they beat 16-12 in Durban.

The Waratahs (+24) finish off away to the struggling Lions in Johannesburg, while the Sharks (+44) host the Bulls in Durban.

Victorious in five of their last six games, the Brumbies face a formidable assignment away to the second-placed Chiefs (41pts).

A bonus point win could lift the Brumbies to as high as second, if they prevent the Chiefs from picking up any points and the Hurricanes (39) and Crusaders (37) collect no points from their away games against the Reds and Blues respectively.

An away semi is a more a realistic outcome for the Canberra-based franchise and almost certainly the only option for the seventh-placed Waratahs, who are striving to make the finals for the fourth time in the last five seasons.,00.html