Crusaders 43 - 15 Chiefs
The Crusaders showed they are a champion side, putting in the performance against one of the competition contenders that keeps them in the hunt for first place in New Zealand. That they are still in the hunt after playing quite poorly, and now are coming into form should spread fear into the other playoff teams.
What a game. This showed both the best and worst of the Highlanders this season, after they raced into a healthy lead, only to squander it, then race back into a commanding lead, only to nearly squander it again, all while their poor discipline rendered it's ugly head yet again. The highlights are a must watch.
Cheetahs 34 - 13 Blues
This result confirmed that the Cheetahs made the most of their spectacular season by reaching the playoffs for the first time, while simultaneously consigning the Blues to nearly-rans. It was a much improved season from them, but it won't count for much. Ball Handling Hooker will be cheering on the Cheetahs in the playoffs.
Southern Kings 12- 24 Stormers
This result was consigned to not matter after the Cheetahs result as both teams now have nothing to play for. The Kings will play the Lions in a relegation playoff soon, while the Stormers will finish outside the playoffs and lose a lot of their top players like Joe Pietersen and Bryan Habana.
Bulls 20 -19 Sharks
A late charge from the Bulls kept them atop the ladder, in what could be an important position. A solitary point will confirm them as home semi-finalists, while finishing top means that they will host the final, should they get there.
Key games next week:
With only the order of the playoff contenders to change, these are the games that will affect standings;
Crusaders - Hurricanes - Expect the Crusaders to win, probably with 5 points.
Blues - Chiefs - Expect a narrow Chiefs vicotry giving them 1st in NZ.
Waratahs - Reds - I think the Tahs could sneak this one while the Reds are without Genia and Horwill
Force - Brumbies - Brumbies to win, possible bonus point
Stormers - Bulls - Bulls to win by a multiple of 3.
1. Bulls v ( Brumbies v Reds)
2. Chiefs v ( Crusaders v Cheetahs)
Another spectacular week brought Cillian Hogan 98 points clear of Ball Handling Hooker in the race for first place, with only 4 weeks to go. While Garbhan is 260 points behind, and will be fighting with Connacht Man for 3rd.
Head to Head league.
With 8 points the difference between 1st and 2nd, and the difference between 2nd and 3rd, it's likely to remain that way. the battle for 3rd, 4th and 5th will go on between the Weshties, Les Mecs and Multiple Scoregasms.