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Stormers defeat Rebels to finish top

The Western Stormers ensured they finished top of the Super XV table after a thrilling 26-21 victory 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.

A first-half try from Juan de Jongh and three penalties and a conversion from Peter Grant gave their side a commanding 16-0 advantage at the break.

Rodney Blake and then Nick Phipps scored converted tries for the visitors to reduce the deficit to two. De Jongh and James Hilgendorf exchanged converted tries to ensure a thrilling finale before Grant's penalty with four minutes left secured the win.

Piri Weepu kicked 12 points as the Blues inflicted a shock 30-16 defeat on the Brumbies in Canberra. The visitors ran in three tries to one as their opponents failed to take the single point they needed to seal the Australian Super Rugby Conference and take their place in the play-offs.

Liaki Moli, Luke Braid and Hadleigh Parkes touched down for the Blues, who led 21-13 at the break. All three tries were converted by Weepu, who also kicked two penalties, while the Brumbies' only try came courtesy of Henry Speight.

The Crusaders booked their place in the play-offs as they ran in four first-half tries in a bonus-point 38-24 victory over the Western Force in Christchurch, while the Reds wrapped up a home play-off with a dominant performance in a 32-16 win over the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium.

The Sharks produced a superb second-half display to claim a 34-15 bonus-point victory over South African rivals the Cheetahs and seal their spot in the Super 15 play-offs.

The Bulls knocked the Brumbies out of Super Rugby and booked their own place in the play-offs after beating the Lions 37-20 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.

The result means the Bulls will finish the regular Super Rugby season in fifth place and they will travel to Christchurch to play the Crusaders in the play-offs.

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