The Western Force have ended a week of drama with a 22-3 Super Rugby loss to the Stormers at a rain-drenched nib Stadium on Saturday night.
The Force were in crisis mode all week after a number of players misbehaved during the team’s stay in Bloemfontein last round.
Fullback Dane Haylett-Petty was fined $5000 for urinating in the hallway of the team hotel, while Pek Cowan was fined the same amount and stripped of the captaincy after gaining unauthorised access to a team vehicle after the team-agreed curfew of 1am.
The Force put in a strong display against the Stormers in the opening 30 minutes, dominating possession and going close to scoring several tries.
But their inability to convert their chances came back to haunt them.
The Stormers scored two tries within the space of three minutes to enter the half-time break with a 15-3 lead, before adding another try in the second half to snare a bonus point.
The result guaranteed the Stormers top spot in the Africa 1 conference, securing them a home quarterfinal.
The Force remain dead last in the Australian conference with just two wins to their name.
Two serious head knocks held up play for several minutes in the first half.
Force flanker Angus Cottrell was the first to be stretchered off after clashing heads with an opponent.
He also appeared to injure his leg during the hit.
And Stormers outside centre Daniel du Plessis was in a world of pain a short time later after he was collected in the head by Marcel Brache’s hip as the Force winger marked a high ball.
To add salt to the wound, du Plessis was shown a yellow card for making contact with an airborne opponent.
The Stormers defended stoically in driving rain during the first 30 minutes.
And they pounced against the run of play late in the half with tries to Kobus van Wyk and flanker Siya Kolisi.
Van Wyk had a double to his name by the 57th minute when some slack Force defending allowed him to sneak a try on the wing.