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South Africa will have no sides in the semi-finals of Super Rugby for only the second time in 16 years, but it could be just the start of the country's declining fortunes in the competition.
The Bulls overcame an early scare to overwhelm their neighbours the Lions at Loftus Versfeld and take the last Super Rugby playoff place.
It may be the final round but there's still eight teams fighting for the final four wildcard places. Who'll make the 2019 quarterfinals?
The model also ensures the unions and the Springboks work in partnership to develop "players of national interest", and younger players will be offered "commitment clauses" that will reward them for staying in South Africa.
Jaco Visagie scored a late try to snatch a 24-24 draw for the Bulls against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday that effectively ended the home side's playoff hopes.
There's plenty of mind games going on in Australia, while Liam Squire returns in New Zealand to press his All Blacks claims, and the Bulls have gone all in on Handre Pollard.
Only the Reds and Sunwolves are out of contention for the Super Rugby finals. We've analysed the form and run home of the other 13 sides, settling on some fearless predictions in the process.
Springboks fly-half Handre Pollard has rejoined the Bulls in New Zealand ahead of their Super Rugby Round 17 fixture against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Friday.
Flyhalf Harry Plummer had the chance to win it for the Blues, but his penalty goal miss resulted in a draw with an undermanned Bulls side at Eden Park on Friday.
A Tevita Kuridrani hat-trick delivered the Brumbies a 22-10 bonus-point win against the Bulls in Canberra on Friday.
Springboks flyhalf Handre Pollard, who played a key role in a rare away success for the Bulls in Australia last week, is returning home after injuring his calf and will miss the next three Super Rugby matches.
A two-haul by Marika Koroibete wasn't enough to save the Melbourne Rebels from a disappointing 32-17 loss to the Bulls, which blew their chance to regain the Australian Super Rugby conference lead.
Winger Sevu Reece scored a hat-trick of tries as the Crusaders made light work of the Bulls with a comprehensive 45-13 Super Rugby victory at Loftus Versfeld on Friday.
The NSW Waratahs' Super Rugby semi-final hopes have suffered a blow after falling to a 28-21 loss against the Bulls in Pretoria.
Aaron Mauger has the Otago-based franchise humming, while the Reds can press a strong playoff claim this weekend. In South Africa, the teams each have key players injured.
The Bulls and Springboks star will miss six to eight weeks of Super Rugby.
The Stormers breathed new life into their ailing Super Rugby campaign with a 24-23 victory over the Bulls in a fierce South African derby at Newlands on Saturday.
We've reached the halfway point of the 2019 Super Rugby season. The Crusaders are clear at the top, but the chasing pack is not small in size. We review your team's progress here!
Queensland Reds have made a rough start to their two-match South African road trip after falling 32-17 to the Bulls in Pretoria.
Super Rugby round 9 is highlighted by the Blues playing for their fifth consecutive win as they look firmly placed in the playoff race, while the Reds go on tour and the Sharks aim to solidify their place at the top of their conference.
Two late tries from Domingo Miotti lifted the Jaguares to victory over the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Super Rugby round 8 is highlighted by the Crusaders returning home for the first time since the Christchurch terror attacks to take on the Brumbies, in what is sure to be an emotional night.
It may not quite be a dirty word like "rotation" was during Mickey Arthur's stint as Australia cricket coach, but Rugby World Cup-aiding "rest weeks" are fast becoming a key factor in this year's Super Rugby competition.
"It's a massive honour to be entrusted with this role, especially knowing that I have the backing of the people around me," Pote Human said in a statement released by the Blue Bulls Company.
Handre Pollard struck a last-minute penalty as the Bulls returned to winning ways with a narrow 19-16 victory away over the Sharks at King's Park in Super Rugby on Saturday.
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