Bloemfontein – Having overcome poor conditions, the Stormers were satisfied with their narrow 13-6 victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday, according to captain Jean de Villiers.
The visitors dropped a bonus point in their run to a possible home semi-final, but they cemented their place at the top the SA conference with one round to play in the Super Rugby league phase.
“The victory over the Cheetahs is very important,” De Villiers said.
“It was terrible to play in the pouring rain and to score four tries in those conditions was always going to be difficult.
“We've got the win and will take the four points.”
The Western Cape outfit settled in second place on the overall log on 62 points – an unassailable eight points ahead of the Bulls and the Sharks.
They had been geared up for a five-point win, but the heavy rain seemed to level the playing field, and the Cheetahs were in the running for an upset until Stormers winger Gio Aplon scored the only try of the game late in the second half.
The rest of their points were contributed by flyhalf Peter Grant, while Riaan Smit knocked over two penalties for the hosts.
The Stormers face the struggling Melbourne Rebels next week with an opportunity to clinch a home playoff.
“We've had a tough ride this season, but we've done very well,” De Villiers said.
“Now there is only one game against the Rebels remaining.
“We are definitely happy with where we are.”
The Cheetahs, 10th in the standings with nothing left to play for but pride, travel to Durban for their last game of the competition.
“We are very disappointed with the result,” said Cheetahs captain Adriaan Strauss.
“Obviously we wanted to win our last home game, but we didn't.
“I am still proud of the team though. They pitched in the wet conditions and played well.
“We also did very well in the scrums, but we just couldn't come away with the victory.” – Sapa