Stormers clinch top spot
Juan de Jongh bags two as the Rebels are defeated
Last Updated: 14/07/12 4:29pm
The Western Stormers ensured they finished top of the Super XV table after a 26-21 win over the Melbourne Rebels at Newlands.
With the South African Super Rugby Conference secured, Allister Coetzee's side needed to beat their Australian opponents - who had nothing but pride to play for to make sure they finished above the Waikato Chiefs.
The Stormers began the game on the front foot as the Rebels started slowly, giving away two sloppy penalties which were punished by Peter Grant.
Stormers were totally dominant and scored their first try of the game after 14 minutes as Juan de Jongh eased through the Rebels' defence beating two men to touch down under the posts, with Grant adding the extras.
After a spell of pressure from the Rebels, the Stormers ended the half as they began it as Grant converted a penalty in front of the posts.
The Rebels got on the board in the 50th minute as Rodney Blake crashed over the line, with Julian Huxley adding the conversion.
And just three minutes later the Newlands crowd started to panic as Nick Phipps skipped through a sluggish defence to touch down, as Huxley again added the extras.
That seemed to wake up the hosts who replied immediately as de Jongh ran onto a pass from Grant to score under the posts, as Grant maintained his 100 per cent success rate with the boot to open the gap to nine.
But the Rebels were not beaten and with 10 minutes left, Nic Stirzaker broke through the Stormers defence before offloading to Cooper Vuna who scored under the posts.
Huxley converted again but his counterpart Grant converted another penalty, meaning the Rebels needed a converted try to complete a remarkable win.
They could not penetrate the defence again as the Stormers held on to secure a home tie in the semi-finals of the tournament.