AAP Rugby

Brumbies host Sharks in Super Rugby finals

By AAP Newswire

The Brumbies are eyeing their first Super Rugby crown in 15 years after surging into the finals on a record-winning streak.

Several members of the Canberra-based side's 2004 championship-winning line-up were on hand at GIO Stadium as the Brumbies chalked up a sixth consecutive victory with a final-round 40-27 result over the Queensland Reds.

Coach Dan McKellar said spirits were high, knowing they were now just three wins away from securing another title.

The Australian conference winners will host South Africa's Sharks in the quarter-finals, for the right to play Argentina's Jaguares or New Zealand's Chiefs in the semi-finals.

"There's no ladder now. It's all back to square one, so you've got to front up next Saturday night," McKellar said after the Brumbies notched six-straight wins for the first time since 2007.

"I think we're ready. Our game's in good shape: our defence, set piece, we're taking our opportunities in attack and creating plenty of opportunity in attack."

With the Melbourne Rebels and NSW Waratahs imploding in the past month to crash out of contention, McKellar said the Brumbies also sensed they were representing Australian rugby in the playoffs.

"You're sick of rugby getting beaten up in Australia for one reason or another," he said.

"So, I'd love for us to keep working hard and put some really positive stories together for our own players and group to remember, but also for rugby to get some positivity over the next few weeks.

"I'm confident we can do that."

The Sharks booked their place in the elimination rounds with a last-gasp Lukhanyo Am try that gave the Durban outfit a dramatic 12-9 victory over the Stormers in Cape Town.

The Bulls' subsequent 48-27 victory over the Lions helped the Sharks leapfrog the Lions and into the playoffs.

Unlike their upbeat hosts, the Sharks are set in a siege mentality, which could work to their advantage next weekend.

Coach Robert du Preez indicated their mindset by labelling the Durban press "a bunch of cockroaches" after their narrow victory over the Stormers.

"All the terrible press that this side and management team got over the last month or however long is a complete joke," he said.

Du Preez felt his Sharks can win in Canberra as well.

"I have got no doubt in my mind. This is a fantastic team. On any given day we can beat any opposition," he said.

In the other quarter-finals, New Zealand conference winners the Crusaders will take on the Highlanders in Christchurch and South African conference winners the Jaguares will play the Chiefs in Buenos Aires on Friday night.

The Hurricanes face the Bulls in Wellington before the Brumbies-Sharks match on Saturday night.

THE SUPER RUGBY QUARTER-FINALS DRAW (all times AEST):

Friday, June 21

* Crusaders v Highlanders in Christchurch, 5.35pm

Saturday, June 22

* Jaguares v Chiefs in Buenos Aires, 8:05am

* Hurricanes v Bulls in Wellington, 5:35pm

* Brumbies v Sharks in Canberra, 8:05pm