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Thu Apr 24 08:58:45 SAST 2014

It's all sunshine for Stormers

LIAM DEL CARME | 09 July, 2012 06:440 Comments
Joe Pietersen of the Stormers during the Super rugby match against the Cheetahs at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday
Image by: LOREN BATTERSBY / GALLO IMAGES

ALLISTER Coetzee stopped short of thumping his chest, but he derived considerable pleasure from watching his Stormers side wrap up the South African conference in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The 13-6 victory over the Cheetahs at a wet Free State Stadium sealed the deal for Coetzee's men.

His men will now join the Chiefs in the Super rugby play-offs, and need only one point to secure a home semifinal.

The Stormers next face the struggling Melbourne Rebels at Newlands on Saturday - and the Stormers will finally be looking to grab a bonus point.

Should the Chiefs secure a bonus-point win away against the Hurricanes, the Stormers will not be able to rise above second place on the overall log.

"Winning the conference is tougher than (winning) the Currie Cup, because this is where your national players play," he said.

"The pre-season goal was to get into the play-offs. I have to give the team credit by again being the top team in the conference.

"Last year, we played it down a bit, but in a competition as unremitting as this, when you lose top players but still win at Loftus and at the Free State Stadium, you have to give credit.

"Recently I read how the Stormers play unexciting, boring, dour rugby. What people tend to forget is that it is the final score that matters. That is what we understand.

"The national coach also talks about your choice of playing winning or losing rugby. We've won 13 [games] out of 15. We play winning rugby."

Coetzee was then asked about this Saturday's final round of league matches which will determine the play-offs.

The Stormers will know by the time they kick off against the Rebels whether the Brumbies, who have emerged as dark horses under Jake White, have caught up with them on the table.

Coetzee will have to look both ahead and behind him on Saturday.

"Anything can happen in Wellington between the Hurricanes and the Crusaders," he said. "The Hurricanes also want to be in the play-offs."

The Hurricanes are one point behind the Bulls and the Sharks who are on 54 points.

Both may need a bonus-point win over the Lions and the Cheetahs respectively to shut out the defending champions, the Reds, and the Hurricanes.

The Crusaders are expected to cement their place in the top six with victory over Western Force in Christchurch.

The Sharks, however, face opponents that have proven to be difficult foes over the years.

"We will have exactly the same mindset as we've had for the match against the Stormers," said Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske.

"We know we'll finish around 10th so we really have nothing to play for. We will go to Durban to win."

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