The last round of Super Rugby ended up being Moving Day again at the Crusaders’ expense for a second year in a row.
The Lions leapfrogged the seven-time champions to finish top of the overall Super Rugby standings, thanks to a 27-10 victory at the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
Defeat for the Crusaders at the Hurricanes earlier in the day had left the Sharks in a peculiar quandary – win and face a trip to Christchurch in the play-offs, or lose and head to Johannesburg for another clash with the Lions.
Garth April gave the Sharks an early lead but the Lions went into half-time with a 13-10 advantage thanks to tries from Malcolm Marx and Andries Coetzee, before Jaco Kriel crossed in the second period as the visitors racked up 14 unanswered points.
The visitors pulled clear at the beginning of the second half at Loftus Versfeld through touchdowns from Siya Kolisi and Damian Willemse, but Piet van Zyl and Jesse Kriel made the Stormers sweat by reducing the gap to 34-33 with 10 minutes to go.
It was not until the 77th minute that Seabelo Senatia finally put the result beyond doubt, getting on the end of a Dillyn Lleyds chip to cross for the decisive score.
Super Rugby Quarter-Finals
Brumbies v Hurricanes in Canberra
Lions v Sharks in Johannesburg
Crusaders v Highlanders in Christchurch
Stormers v Chiefs in Cape Town