SA Rugby President, Mr Mark Alexander, on Monday congratulated the Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers for winning their respective Vodacom Super Rugby conferences in 2017.
The sides from Johannesburg and Cape Town will host two of the four quarter-finals this weekend, while the Cell C Sharks will also be in action as the top eight teams vie for the final four spots in the playoffs.
Apart from winning their conference, the Emirates Lions also topped the overall standings for the first time – following in the footsteps of the DHL Stormers (2012), Vodacom Bulls (2009 and 2010) and Cell C Sharks (2007), who have claimed the first place on the log in the last decade.
“To yet again have three South African teams in the playoffs, and the Emirates Lions topping the log, is a great achievement and advertisement for our rugby,” said Mr Alexander.
“There is great optimism in our rugby again, with even our three other teams – the Southern Kings, Toyota Cheetahs and Vodacom Bulls – putting in some noteworthy performances along the way.
“I think it’s fair to say however that the three strongest teams from South Africa have deservedly qualified for the playoffs and we would like to wish all of them very well for what the coming weeks may dish up.
“Looking back at the last 10 years, it’s clear that success at Vodacom Super Rugby level has a spill-over effect into Test rugby, and with that in mind, as well as the Springboks’ performances against France last month, I think we can be optimistic about the rest of the international season.
“But first I would like to call on all our supporters across the length and breadth of the country to get behind the Emirates Lions, DHL Stormers and Cell C Sharks as they carry our flag in the final weeks of Vodacom Super Rugby.”
The four Vodacom Super Rugby quarter-finals are (SA kick-off times):
Friday, 21 July
11h35: Brumbies v Hurricanes (Canberra)
Saturday, 22 July
09h35: Crusaders v Highlanders (Christchurch)
14h30: Emirates Lions v Cell C Sharks (Johannesburg)
17h00: DHL Stormers v Chiefs (Cape Town)