The Waratahs’ slim hopes of making the finals have been blown away by the Stormers in Cape Town.
In a less-than-clinical performance from both teams, the Stormers came away with a 19 points to 13 victory.
The Stormers completely dominated the first half, with two tries and 71 per cent possession in the opening 40 minutes.
Joe Pietersen scored their first try with a simple overlap coming from a lineout just outside the 22 and break from Gio Aplon.
The Tahs had almost no possession, and whenever they got their hands on the ball Berrick Barnes automatically kicked it away.
Some of the kicks were accurate and had a strong chase, particularly from Pakalani, but others were more of the same aimless, no-pressure up-and-unders that we’ve seen far too many of this season.
The Stormers kicked away their fair share of possession too, but looked much more dangerous when they ran the ball.
Tiaan Liebenberg dived over in the corner for the Stormers’ second try just moments after a second ball spilled out on the Tahs side of the breakdown.
It was definitely an unwelcome distraction as Brendan McKibbin and a few other Tahs defenders were under the pump from the relentless Stormers attack.
The Tahs defended well but by half time they had made almost three times more tackles than the Stormers, 67 to 24.
Despite going into the sheds down 13-6 the Tahs fired the first shots in the second half with Rob Horne scoring a try untouched.
His five-pointer came off a great break up the middle from Kane Douglas, and a phase or two later Gio Aplon rushed out of the line on Dave Dennis, creating enough space for Dennis to get around him and offload to Horne.
The Stormers immediately put the pressure back on, camping in the Waratahs 22 for 14 phases before Chris Alcock secured a very timely turnover.
McKibbin slotted a penalty not long after, which took the score to 13-16.
This was as close as the Tahs would get on the scoreboard, with Peter Grant kicking a penalty of his own three minutes later to give the Stormers a six-point buffer.
The Tahs came close to scoring a second try just minutes later but Sekope Kepu put down a pass from Pakalani five metres from the line.
Neither team put on much pressure or kept the ball in hand for long during the final quarter, with kicks raining down on both sides and not much in between.
As clichéd as it is, it was a game of two halves.
In the opening stanza, the Tahs looked completely rudderless and like they were waiting for the Stormers plays so they had something to react to.
The lack of possession didn’t help, but the kicking was obviously part of the game plan so once again it was the execution that was lacking.
In the second 40, there were periods of composure and patience, some good running lines and a couple of excellent kicks from Barnes.
The Tahs also made life at the breakdown much harder for the Stormers, stifling their attacking runs around the fringes.
While they won the second half 10-3, the Waratahs never really looked like winning either.
Unfortunately the positives were too few and far between, especially when they were already down on the scoreboard.
The game ended with Dean Mumm knocking himself out in a tackle and eventually wandering off dazed and confused.
Kind of sums up the season really.