Brumbies, High­landers into Su­per 15 semis, S. Africa out

The China Post - - SPORTS - BY ROBERT SMITH

Aus­tralia’s ACT Brumbies will face run­away league lead­ers Welling­ton Hur­ri­canes while de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons NSW Waratahs have home ad­van­tage over the Otago High­landers in next week­end’s Su­per Rugby semi­fi­nals.

The Brumbies, twice cham­pi­onship win­ners, ended South African hopes of claim­ing the south­ern hemi­sphere pro­vin­cial ti­tle with a 39-19 win over the Western Storm­ers in Cape Town on Satur­day.

It is the first time since 2003 that a South African side has missed out on the last four and five years since the last team from the re­pub­lic, North­ern Bulls, won the cham­pi­onship.

The Waratahs, who along with the Hur­ri­canes skipped the open­ing play-off round, will tackle the High­landers in Syd­ney af­ter Otago ended the Waikato Chiefs’ quest for a third ti­tle in a 24-14 vic­tory in Dunedin.

Both the Hur­ri­canes and High­landers have yet to win the Su­per Rugby ti­tle in the 19 years of the com­pe­ti­tion.

The Waratahs have won 13 of their 19 en­coun­ters with the High­landers, but lost to the Kiwi side 26-19 in round five this sea­son in Dunedin.

The Hur­ri­canes, who fin­ished 14 points clear at the top of the reg­u­lar sea­son stand­ings, have lost their last four meet­ings with the Brumbies, in­clud­ing two in Welling­ton, the venue for this week’s semi­fi­nal.

Winger Joe To­mane scored a hat-trick of tries in the Brumbies’ com­pre­hen­sive win over the Storm­ers, wreak­ing havoc in the open­ing half, cross­ing for three tries within 25 min­utes of the kick-off.

Prop Scott Sio barged over for a fourth try for the Aus­tralian out­fit and the visi­tors led 24-6 at half­time.

The South Africans fared bet­ter early in the sec­ond half and twice got within eight points, but never looked like snatch­ing vic­tory.

No. 8 Ita Vaea and full­back Jesse Mogg also crossed the try-line for the Brumbies and fly-half Chris­tian Leali­ifano kicked three con­ver­sions and a penalty.

Mogg scored when his side were two men short af­ter winger Henry Speight was red-carded for a dan­ger­ous tackle and flanker Scott Fardy yel­low-carded for a pro­fes­sional foul.

Speight’s chances of play­ing against the Hur­ri­canes may de­pend on a SAN­ZAR ju­di­ciary hear­ing this week.

In­tensely Phys­i­cal

The High­landers knocked twotime for­mer cham­pi­ons Waikato Chiefs out of the Su­per 15 race with a bruis­ing vic­tory.

It was an in­tensely phys­i­cal en­counter with not only a place in the semis on the line but also a last chance to im­press the All Blacks’ se­lec­tors ahead of the nam­ing of a 40-man squad for next month’s Rugby Cham­pi­onship.

High­landers wing Waisake Na­holo, widely ex­pected to earn his All Blacks call up, did his chances no harm with two tries, both en­gi­neered by Aaron Smith go­ing to the short side from the back of a scrum.

The Chiefs, who lost twice to the High­landers in the reg­u­lar sea­son, seized the lead near­ing half-time when a third An­drew Hor­rell penalty have them a 9-8 lead at the turn.

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