Jean de Villiers’s Stormers battered the Bulls in Cape Town with their best performance of the season.
The Stormers played with the intensity and mongrel of a team needing victory to secure the first place in the league standings.
As it was the Bulls were made to look like plodders in the 30-13 defeat.
All credit to the Stormers.
They were the better team in every aspect and deserved to win with a bonus point.
The Bulls were never in the match physically and on 55 minutes the Bulls coaching staff produced the white flag in subbing the core of their experienced players, including flyhalf Morne Steyn, who had been the best of an ineffective Bulls challenge.
The Bulls, who were already the South African Conference winners, needed to win to finish top of the table.
But they were never given a chance by a home team determined to erase the memory of an indifferent campaign with a stunning last league match.
The manner of the Stormers win would only have added to the frustration among Stormers supporters, as the side’s performance was consistent with all the pre-tournament talk of favourites.
The Bulls were a kick away from losing to the Sharks in Pretoria a week ago and in Cape Town there was no charitable misses from the Stormers.
This was as emphatic a victory as the Stormers have scored against the Bulls in some time.
It was memorable and it was inspirational.
De Villiers and Bryan Habana were again magnificent. Eben Etzebeth and Deon Fourie were immense and every other Stormer played his part in a fine victory.
The Bulls, given the last two performances, will need home ground advantage and a bit more to advance to a final.
Saturday night belonged to De Villiers and his Stormers.
This was an old fashioned pakslae.
The Chiefs top the table, the Bulls are second, followed by the Brumbies, Crusaders, Reds and Cheetahs.
The Brumbies host the Cheetahs and the Crusaders are at home to the Reds in next weekend’s quarter-finals.