Chiefs 34 - 22 Hurricanes
A hugely impressive performance from the Chiefs, and their unheralded pack in particular. They seemed to have unearthed another performer in Matt Vant Leven who dominated from no.8 putting in 17 tackles, two linebreaks, one steal and a try.
Highlanders 12 - 40 Crusaders
What a game this was. It had everything, from a red card, to a sumptious offload from Tamati Ellison for Ben Smith's try, to a coast to coast try at the death for Telusa Veainu. And yet Dan Carter put on a masterclass with 25 points, a try, a try assist, two linebreaks, one linebreak created, 5 tackle busts, 2 offloads and ten tackles.
With the news that Richie McCaw will feature for the Crusaders before the end of the season, this has been a great week for the men from Canterbury.
A last minute try put the Blues in a dangerous position with the playoffs only 2 games away. Frank Halai's two tries weren't enough, while Anthony Boric was outstanding for the Blues with 26 tackles, while finding time for a linebreak and two offloads too. Riaan Viljoen with the match winning try.
Bulls 48 - 18 Southern Kings
The Bulls hammered the Kings, and it's now certain that the Kings will face the Lions in the South African relegation match. Jan Serfontein with the pick of the Bulls tries, after some quick thinking by Ndugane from an errant restart from the Kings
Stormers 28 - 3 Cheetahs
A hugely dissapointing show from the Cheetahs, who were done a favour by the Sharks earlier. Deon Fourie and Siya Kolisi had huge games, which meant that the Cheetahs never settled, and players like Willie le Roux were unable to continue from impressive showings with the Springboks.
What this means:
The Bulls and Chiefs guaranteed that they will feature in the playoffs, with the Bulls ensuring that they will finish first in South Africa, while a hugely unlikely collapse is the only thing that can deny the Chiefs top spot in New Zealand.
In the race for the playoffs, the Hurricanes and the Waratahs are now definitely out, while both the Sharks and the Stormers are making late charges.
Next week's Cheetahs v Blues will be a huge game, especially now that Chris Noakes and Piri Weepu will take no part after injuries.
Both the Stormers and the Sharks need to win all remaining games and hope the Blues beat the Cheetahs, then the Blues lose the following week. This will free up one slot for them to capitalise on. Both teams play the Kings and the Bulls in their remaining games.
By virtue of the Blues loss, and their next fixture against the Cheetahs, the Reds have also qualified for the playoffs. The Blues are the only remaining side outside of the playoffs that can go ahead of them, but for that to happen, the Cheetahs would be unable to go ahead of the Reds.
Chiefs (q) 61
Bulls (Q) 59
Brumbies (q) 59
Reds (q) 54
Cheetahs 46 (with a bye to come)
Crusaders v Chiefs
Cheetahs v Blues
Kings v Stormers
Bulls v Sharks
Crusaders v Hurricanes
Blues v Chiefs
Waratahs v Reds
Force v Brumbies
Sharks v Kings
Stormers v Bulls
Only two games left in the calendar do not have qualification hopes riding on them so far.
It was a significant period in the fantasy game, with a clear emergence of a top two. Poseidon's Belvedere with 489 points edges ahead of Ball Handling Hooker by 15 points. From there, there is a gap of 109 back to Garbhan Hogan, who isn't out of it, then a further 214 points back to Connacht Man who probably has 4th spot tied up at this stage.
In the head to head, Poseidon's Belvedere still has an 8 point lead, to second, and a 16 point lead to 3rd.
|Ball Handling Hooker||322 - 115||Les Mecs|
|GlasUlstermanNSW||326 - 489||Poseidon's Belvedere|
|Multiple Scoregasms||473 - 245||Average|
|The Weshties||260 - 256||Ireland's Answer|