• Kings race clear of Bulls

    The Kings' historic win at Loftus Versfeld means that one of the Bulls or Cheetahs will finish the regular season at the bottom of the South African pile, writes JON CARDINELLI.

    The Kings beat the Bulls 31-30 in Pretoria on Saturday. The result marked the Eastern Cape franchise's first Super Rugby victory against the three-time champions. It also allowed the Kings (27 points) to move clear of the Bulls (20) in the overall standings.

    The Kings will finish ahead of the Bulls on the log, regardless of what transpires in the final round of the regular season. The results of the matches in Port Elizabeth (Kings vs Cheetahs) and Pretoria (Bulls vs Stormers) will determine which team finishes at the bottom of the South African pile.

    The Kings will be chasing a seventh season win when they host the Cheetahs. The central franchise currently has 17 log points, and at this stage are favourites to claim the South African wooden spoon.

    However, a win for the Cheetahs in Port Elizabeth plus a win for the Stormers in Pretoria next week would equal trouble for the Bulls. Those results would see the Bulls finishing the season as the worst-placed South African side.

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    Meanwhile, the Lions are still in with a shout of topping the overall log and earning the right to host a possible final. Those hopes will, however, hinge on the result of the New Zealand derby in Wellington on Saturday morning.

    The Crusaders (63) currently enjoy a narrow lead over the Lions (61). The Crusaders simply need to beat the Hurricanes next Saturday to finish the regular season at the top of the standings.

    A loss will leave an opening for the Lions. Johan Ackermann's side will still need to beat the Sharks in Durban to overtake the Crusaders in that scenario.

    If the Chiefs beat the Brumbies in Hamilton and then the Crusaders beat the Hurricanes in Wellington, the Chiefs will finish ahead of the Hurricanes in the final standings. That outcome could see the Hurricanes rather than the Chiefs travelling to Cape Town for a quarter-final showdown with the Stormers.

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    Photo: Anne Laing/HM Images

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    Jon Cardinelli