Lions crush Cheetahs to finish on a high
July 12, 2014
Ryno Benjamin of Cheetahs gets tackled by Ross Cronje during their loss to the Lions © Getty Images
The Waratahs made it a club record seven Super Rugby wins in a row with a 34-3 success over the Reds in Brisbane. The bonus-point success came courtesy of two tries from Kurtley Beale, who also set up another for full-back Jono Lance. Scrum half Nick Phipps scored the Waratahs' bonus-point try in the 73rd minute, but they had already secured top spot and home semi-final.
The Crusaders all-but sealed second spot with a convincing 34-8 bonus-point victory over rivals the Highlanders. Matt Todd grabbed two of their four tries, while Dan Carter booted 14 points to ensure the Christchurch side will also finish top of the New Zealand Conference.
Lionel Mapoe ran in a hat-trick of tries as the Lions savaged the Cheetahs 60-25 at Ellis Park, the Lions scoring eight tries in all. The Cheetahs had as many yellow cards as try-scorers, with Philip van der Walt, Coenie Oosthuizen and Johan Goosen all sin-binned, and at one point in the second-half were down to 13 men.
Long-time leaders Sharks had to settle for third place despite a clinical 34-10 away win over Western Stormers . They needed a 35-point bonus-point victory to snatch second place from Canterbury Crusaders. But the improbable target soon became impossible and two tries in the final four minutes gave Sharks a flattering scoreline. Finishing third on the combined standings means Sharks miss out on a bye next weekend and a home semi-final. Instead, they must host New Zealand's Otago Highlanders next Saturday and, if successful, play the seven-time champion Crusaders away a week later in the semi-finals.
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