Stormers 21 Chiefs 60

In the end, having watched his side cross for their eighth try to complete a crushing quarter-final victory, Dave Rennie could only shake his head.

That wry bemusement is what these Chiefs can conjure and this morning they were at their breath-taking best, thrashing the Stormers in Cape Town to book their first semifinal berth since 2013.

Being sent on the road, losing Liam Messam to ineligibility and yet more men to injury - nothing seems to faze Rennie's men when they're in this type of form.

The next challenge will be their toughest yet: a trip to Wellington to face the red-hot Hurricanes with a spot in the Super Rugby final on the line. And the difficulty level could yet be raised, given Stephen Donald (shoulder) and Sam Cane (head knock) both left the field prematurely this morning.


But the Chiefs have remained unbowed by a mounting injury toll this season and they're unlikely to start worrying now, especially with the way their attack was firing at Newlands.

"I thought we were pretty clinical," Rennie said. "We played at a tempo - we wanted to move their big forwards around and I thought we did that pretty well.

"When we've been at our best this year, we've done the obvious well and we've got good support coming from depth. I thought that was pretty sharp today."

It was far too sharp for the Stormers, who were facing their first Kiwi side all season. Given the magnitude of defeat, it was difficult to guess where the South African side would, in hindsight, fall on that particular issue.

On one hand, playing New Zealand teams would have undoubtedly left them better prepared for meeting one in the playoffs. On the other, based on the ease with which the Chiefs ran through them, a succession of games against Kiwi opposition would have likely curtailed their campaign well before the post-season.

The Stormers were simply unable to cope with the varying attributes to Chiefs brought to their attacking play, attributes that have been on display throughout the season.

In scoring four first-half tries and racing to a lead they never threatened to lose, the Chiefs' skillset was astonishing, their catch and pass on a different level to what their opposition were accustomed to encountering.

They attacked with pace and verve and, as has been the case all year, their support play is what truly set them apart. Because for every seemingly impossible pass from Damian McKenzie - and there were three in the first 40 minutes alone - the fullback needed a teammate in the right place to maximise on the exchange.

It was breathless stuff and that tempo extended to their defensive effort, placing an emphasis on line speed and building pressure at the collision. And, worryingly for the Stormers, that pressure led to errors and turnovers, which was often when the Chiefs were at their most dangerous.

Vincent Koch's second on the stroke of halftime - and Cane's subsequent substitution - gave the home side faint hope of mounting an unlikely comeback. But, having provided their attack a solid platform throughout the game, the Chiefs' scrum demolished their counterparts to set up McKenzie's try and virtually extinguish that.

Yet, even with the game sealed, the Chiefs simply refused to relent, crossing for three tries in the final five minutes as McKenzie ended his outing with 25 points.

"We've fallen out at this stage [of the playoffs] the last couple of times," Rennie said. "So we're just rapt to still be in the race."

Bring on the Hurricanes.

Stormers 21 (Koch 2, Carr tries; du Preez 2 cons, Thomson con)
Chefs 60 (McNicol, Weber, Sanders, Lowe, McKenzie, Elliot, Koloamatangi, Kerr-Barlow tries; McKenzie 2 pens, 7 cons)
Halftime: 14-34

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