14 Jun 2015

Super Rugby playoff schedule sorted

8:27 am on 14 June 2015

The reigning champion New South Wales Waratahs subdued a fired up Queensland Reds team to storm into the Super Rugby playoffs with a 31-5 victory that assured them of a week off and a home semi-final.

The Hurricanes Rey Lee-Lo and Chiefs Sonny Bill Williams collide.

The Hurricanes Rey Lee-Lo and Chiefs Sonny Bill Williams collide. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Second half tries from captain Dave Dennis, flanker Jaques Potgieter, halfback Brendan McKibbin and lock Dean Mumm gave the Waratahs a bonus point they did not need and sent a crowd of 26,746 home happy.

Earlier defeats for the ACT Brumbies and Chiefs ensured both teams would have to hit the road for the first round of playoffs next weekend as they bid for third titles.

The Brumbies, who went down 37-24 to the Crusaders in Canberra, will travel to South Africa to face the Stormers, while the Chiefs, who were beaten 21-13 by the Hurricanes, will meet Highlanders in Dunedin.

The winners of those ties will travel to meet the Hurricanes and Waratahs in the semi-finals the following weekend.

After defeat for the Brumbies, the Waratahs were already assured of the Australian Conference title and only needed a victory to guarantee they would finish ahead of the Stormers.

They made heavy work of it against a fired up Reds team in the first 53 minutes with miserly defence and a proliferation of errors on both sides leaving Bernard Foley's 17th minute penalty the only score.

Dennis crashed over to open the floodgates soon after Reds flanker Adam Thomson had been sin-binned and Potgieter, McKibbin and Mumm followed their skipper in the next 20 minutes.

First-five Quade Cooper scored a late consolation try in what might be his final match for the Reds but two other stalwarts of their 2011 Super Rugby triumph, Will Genia and James Horwill, were sent off to new clubs in Europe with a 12th loss of the season.

The Hurricanes, already assured of topping the end of season standings and a home semi-final, came from behind to beat the Chiefs, who needed a bonus point victory by more than 37 points to avoid the trip to Dunedin.

The Chiefs started well enough when a converted intercept try from winger Bryce Heem and two penalties from Marty McKenzie put them 13-0 up after half an hour.

The Hurricanes then scored 21 unanswered points with a penalty try and a Conrad Smith effort putting them ahead at halftime before James Marshall's intercept sent them eight points clear in the 56th minute.

Earlier, winger Nemani Nadolo had scored two tries as the Crusaders claimed a comfortable victory in what was the last appearance for All Black first-five Dan Carter and almost certainly All Black captain and flanker Richie McCaw.

Carter slotted 17 points with the boot, while flanker Matt Todd became the first forward to score a try in five successive games in Super Rugby.

The Brumbies scored all three of their tries from rolling mauls with flankers David Pocock, who left the game late in the first half with concussion, and Jarrad Butler touching down and the third awarded as a penalty try.

Referee Jaco Peyper also gave the Crusaders a penalty try after they got their own rolling maul working with seven minutes remaining before Carter converted and kicked his last penalty in Super Rugby to take his record tally to 1,708 points.

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