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Brumbies to host Sharks

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Brumbies the sole representatives for Australia in Super Rugby finals

The Brumbies will gallop into a Super Rugby quarter-final against the Sharks after the besieged South African side pipped the Lions to the last spot in the playoffs.

The Australian conference winners, the only local side to make the finals, will host the Sharks in a knockout quarter-final in Canberra at 8.05pm (AEST) on Saturday.

The Sharks booked their place in the elimination rounds thanks to a last-gasp Lukhanyo Am try that gave them a dramatic 12-9 victory over the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday night.

The Bulls’ 48-27 victory over the Lions later in the evening helped the Sharks leap-frog the latter side into the playoffs.

The Brumbies are bursting with confidence amid their best winning streak in 12 years after their 40-27 thrashing of the Queensland Reds in Canberra took the side to six straight wins.

“We’re pleased with the way we’re performing at the moment and the growth in the team has been nice,” captain Christian Lealiifano said ahead of the quarter-finals draw.

“So we’ve just got to continue to keep working hard and hopefully we’ve got another few more weeks to go.

“Hopefully it doesn’t matter who we get.”

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 the team’s current 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 on Saturday night.

Du Preez feels 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.”

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 take on the Chiefs in Buenos Aires on Friday night.

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

If the Brumbies win next weekend, they will line up against either the Jaguares or the Chiefs in the semi-finals.

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Brumbies the sole representatives for Australia in Super Rugby finals