17 Apr 2010

Chiefs all but gone while Stormers top table

9:10 am on 17 April 2010

The Stormers have sounded a warning that they're serious Super 14 title contenders - and both the Chiefs and All Blacks coaches say the in-form South African rugby side is the best in the competition.

The Stormers thrashed the Chiefs 49-15 at Waikato Stadium on Friday night to go top of the table and all but end the Chiefs' semi-final hopes.

Beforehand All Blacks coach Graham Henry proclaimed the Stormers the best side in the Super 14 while afterwards Chiefs coach Ian Foster said they were the best team they'd played this year.

The Chiefs remain winless at Waikato Stadium and their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread after the six tries to two thrashing.

The Stormers led 20-10 at half-time and were clinical in capitalising on repeated errors by the home side.

Chiefs coach Ian Foster is well aware they're in mathematical territory now, and to make Foster's coaching job harder, two of his All Blacks suffered shoulder injuries in the game.

First-five Mike Delany and centre Richard Kahui are in doubt now, joining winger Lelia Masaga, who played despite some niggles but struggled all night.

And while skipper Schalk Burger hailed it as one of the best road wins for a South African side, the Springbok flanker was also keen to downplay the significance of the performance.

Burger says the Queensland Reds will be tough next week in Australia and the Super 14 is a week by week proposition.

The Hurricanes' slim playoff chances are still alive after a gutsy 23-13 win over the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.