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Super Rugby | Perth
09:45 (GMT) | 22-04-2017
  • 81
Thank you for tuning in. Join us 17:15 when the Cheetahs takes on the Bulls at Loftus.
  • 80
Turnover as the hooter goes. Penalty Force. Lance kicks it out. Line-out Force. Chiefs wins the line-out and Messam kicks it out to end the game. FULL TIME
  • 79
Force making meters.
  • 78
Donald takes it up short. Cruden with a banana kick for McKenzie. Force with Ball in hand.
  • 77
Force takes it up short. Penalty Chiefs for holding on. Cruden finds touch on the Force 10.
  • 76
Force getting tackled back. Chiefs off their feet. Penalty Force. Lance finds touch. Line-out Force inside the Chiefs half
  • 75
Force putting up phases trying to find space
  • 74
Penalty Force and Lance kicks for touch. Line-out Force inside their half. Scrum Force knock on in the tackle.
  • 73
Line-out Chiefs inside the home teams 22. Cruden grubbers through. Force with ball in hand trying to create a better field position.
  • 72
Force secure the ball. Lance kicks for clearance and finds touch.
  • 71
Chiefs with ball in hand. Hodgson with a steal. Scrum Force inside their 22.
  • 70
Force with the turnover.
  • 69
Chiefs plays it short putting up phases.
  • 68
Force with ball in hand. Knock on Chiefs scrum.
  • 67
Restart is good.
  • 66
Cruden attempts to convert and adds the 3 points
  • 65
Big scrum from the Chiefs. Penalty Chiefs.
  • 64
Chiefs just 5 short of the try line. Knock on. Scrum Force on their 5.
  • 63
Scrum Chiefs inside the Force half.
  • 62
Free-kick Chiefs. Cruden finds touch. Force takes it quick and knocks it.
  • 61
Big tackle from the Chiefs and knocks it on. Chiefs scrum inside their 22.
  • 59
Forward pass and the ball rolls into touch. Chiefs takes the line-out opt. Force steals it.
  • 58
Force wins their line-out. Force putting up the phases.
  • 57
Turnover is good says the ref. McKenzie kicks for clearance and finds touch just outside their 22.
  • 56
Penalty Force and Lance goes for touch. Line-out Force just short of the Chiefs 22. Force just 6 meters short of the try line
  • 55
Chiefs plays it wide and McKenzie chips it down field.
  • 54
restart is good
  • 53
Cruden looks to add the 3 points and punts it over.
  • 52
Chiefs moving backwards. McKenzie breaks and offloads. Advantage Chiefs. High tackle Penalty Chiefs.
  • 51
Forward pass Chiefs scrum on the Force 10.
  • 50
Lowe knocks it on. Scrum Force inside the Chiefs half.
  • 49
Chiefs finding momentum moving forward. Force wins back the ball and carries it over and it is a 22 restart for the home team
  • 48
Chiefs wins the line-out. Chiefs playing side to side.
  • 47
Penalty Force. Lance finds touch and gives the Force some clearance. Line-out Force inside their 10.
  • 46
High ball for McKenzie and wins the contest. Chiefs breaks through and offloads to McKenzie and knocks it forward. Scrum Force inside their half
  • 45
Knock on Chiefs scrum. Chiefs plays it short. Chiefs going wide and Lowe kicks it down field.
  • 44
Penalty Force. Lance kicks for touch. Line-out force on the Chiefs 5.
  • 43
Restart is good and the Force forces the knock on. Scrum Force.
  • 42
Chiefs plays it short. Falling over says the ref and its a Chiefs Penalty. Cruden attempts to convert the 3 points and punts it through the middle.
  • 41
Cruden to start off the second half. Force secure the ball. Turnover to the chiefs. Scrum Chiefs ball on the Force 22.

Half Time

  • 40
Prior feeds the scrum and pass it to Morahan to kick into touch to start the Break. Half Time
  • 39
Knock on scrum Force on their 5.
  • 38
Lowe finds Brown. Chiefs putting up the phases trying to move over the advantage line.
  • 37
Chiefs wins the line-out. Penalty Chiefs and Cruden finds touch. Line-out 6 meters short of the try line
  • 36
Change of direction from the Chiefs and Stevenson gets tackled into touch. Line-out Force on their 5
  • 35
Prior finds touch just outside their 22. Chiefs line-out. Chiefs gets shacked and plays it wide.
  • 34
Cane grubbers the ball int touch. Line-out Force on their 5. Free-kick Force for numbers.
  • 33
Force wins the line-out. Chiefs steals it back in the break down.
  • 32
Chiefs wins back the ball. Penalty chiefs and Cruden finds touch inside Force half
  • 31
restart is good
  • 30
Prior adds the extras
  • 29
Penalty Force and Prior finds touch inside the Chiefs 22. Force forms the maul and moves forward and finds the momentum. TRY TIME Matt Hodgson
  • 28
Chiefs steals the ball. Turnover Force. Force playing it wide.
  • 27
Scrum force inside their own half. Penalty Force. Prior kicks and finds touch. Line-out inside the Chiefs half
  • 26
Force kicks for clearance but does not find touch. Messam tries to take on two and offloads. Forward is the call says the ref.
  • 25
Chiefs counter and McKenzie gets away from a few. chiefs kicks it high and mark is call from the Force.
  • 24
Force with ball in hand. Prior with a box kick down field.
  • 23
Chiefs plays it wide and offloads left and right trying to find the miss match and the ball gets passed int touch
  • 22
Knock on from the home team and it is a Chiefs scrum. Lowe takes it short.
  • 20
Force puts up the phases. Penalty offside and Prior kicks into touch. Line-out Force inside their half.
  • 19
Line-out Chiefs and the ball is knocked scrum Force inside their 22.
  • 18
Chiefs going blond side and kerr-Barlow grubbers it through and force the Force to run into touch
  • 17
Turnover Chiefs playing the advantage after the knock. No advantage scrum Chiefs
  • 16
Chiefs plays it wide and McNicol kicks it down field.
  • 15
Scrum reset
  • 14
Scrum Chiefs inside their own half
  • 13
Force moving forward. Dangerous tackle and its a penalty for the Force. Line-out force inside the Chiefs half
  • 12
22 restart for the Force. Charge down from the Chiefs.
  • 11
Force with ball in hand. Prior with a box kick. Lowe counters and grubbers the ball. Penalty chiefs. McKenzie looks to add the 3 points and it is off to the left.
  • 10
Force line-out and the Chiefs wins it
  • 9
Restart is good
  • 8
Cruden adds the extras
  • 7
TRY TIME Messam drives over the line
  • 6
Force wins it back and plays it wide. turnover in contact and the chiefs playing advantage. Cruden breaks through and offloads
  • 5
Force kicks for clearance and its a Chiefs line-out.
  • 4
Chiefs win the ball back and shifts it to the right. McKenzie almost breaking through and no support and the Force turns it over
  • 3
22 restart for the chiefs.
  • 2
Force moving forward. Advantage is the call. Force plays it wide and knocks it on. No Advantage. Prior attempts to convert and it is off to the right
  • 1
Lowe with the break and offloads slightly forward. Scrum Force
  • 0
Force with the kick-off
  • -5
Perfect rugby conditions tonight in Perth with clear skies and a light breeze
  • -10
Referee for tonight will be Nicholas Berry (Australia) and is assisted by referees: William Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia) TMO: Damian Mitchelmore ( Australia)
  • -20
The Chiefs is not a team who gives up easily who made a massive comeback last week against the Cheetahs. The Force will have to put in a big effort and play a full 80 min against the Chiefs
  • -30
Will this be a win for the Perth home team as they take on the Chiefs who have only lost one game this season so far.
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Mc chiefs logo 80x50
  • 1 Ben Daley
  • 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau
  • 3 Tetera Faulkner
  • 4 Lewis Carmichael
  • 5 Ross Haylett-Petty
  • 6 Isireli Naisarani
  • 7 Matt Hodgson
  • 8 Richard Hardwick
  • 9 Ian Prior
  • 10 Luke Burton
  • 11 Luke Morahan
  • 12 Billy Meakes
  • 13 Marcel Brache
  • 14 Curtis Rona
  • 15 Dane Haylett-Petty
  • 16 Heath Tessmann
  • 17 Francois Van Wyk
  • 18 Pekahou Cowan
  • 19 Onehunga Havilli
  • 20 Brynard Stander
  • 21 Mitch Short
  • 22 Jono Lance
  • 23 Alex Newsome
  • 1 Siegfried Fisiihoi
  • 2 Brayden Mitchell
  • 3 Atunaisa Moli
  • 4 Dominic Bird
  • 5 Brodie Retallick
  • 6 Liam Messam
  • 7 Sam Cane
  • 8 Michael Leitch
  • 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow
  • 10 Aaron Cruden
  • 11 James Lowe
  • 12 Anton Lienert-Brown.
  • 13 Sam McNicol
  • 14 Shaun Stevenson
  • 15 Damian McKenzie
  • 16 Hika Elliot
  • 17 Aidan Ross
  • 18 Sosefo Kautai
  • 19 Taleni Seu
  • 20 Lachlan Boshier
  • 21 Finlay Christie
  • 22 Stephen Donald
  • 23 Toni Pulu
Mc article kieran read crusaders 800

SR Preview: Round Nine, Part Two

Thu, 20 Apr 2017 22:19

IN THE SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Closing out games has become a popular catchphrase for coaches.

It is because the final quarter of games that have proven to be the most fruitful for teams looking to pile on the points - either to shut out the opposition or catch up when they are behind.

Nearly 30 percent of all points scored this season have been scored after the 60-minute mark, three percentage points more than any other quarter.

The South African contingent have been the main proponents of this scoring trait towards the latter point in the game, with their six sides scoring 31 percent of their total tries in the final quarter of games.

Interestingly the Australian and New Zealand teams have needed some time to warm up.

They've scored 20 percent and 21 percent of their tries respectively in the opening quarter of games this season, notably less than the South African and Argentine/Japanese groups (both 24 percent).

The Bulls (47 percent) have scored nearly half of their total tries in the final quarter of games this campaign, significantly more than any other team in the competition, while the Lions and Sunwolves (both 39 percent) rank in at equal second in that category.

In Part Two of the preview we look at all the Saturday matches!

Saturday, April 22:

Highlanders v Sunwolves
(Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill - Kick-off: 17.15; 14.15 Japan Time; 05.15 GMT)

Tony Brown is one of several coaches who will move on at the conclusion of the Super Rugby season.

He will link up with Japan head coach and his predecessor at the Highlanders, Jamie Joseph, at the end of the season to assist with the Cherry Blossoms.

Just as it has done at the Chiefs (Dave Rennie has signed with the Glasgow Warriors) and Lions (Johan Ackermann is moving to Gloucester) the initial media hype appears to have died down.

Brown feels he is now able to focus on what his side needs to do to get a win against the Sunwolves in Invercargill on Saturday.

''For me I'm just 100 percent committed to make sure the Highlanders perform as well as they can against a pretty good Sunwolves team,'' Brown told the Otago Daily Times.

His team will certainly go into the game as overwhelming favourites.

In two games so far against New Zealand sides, the Sunwolves have conceded 135 points.

However, Highlanders lock Joe Wheeler said they will not underestimate the visitors, because no games in Super rugby are easy.

"I think the Sunwolves, what they have shown over the last few weeks, is they are a team that is improving," Wheeler told the Otago Daily Times.

"They tested the Crusaders in a few areas and if we let them play to their strengths then they can be dangerous like any team in this competition.''

Wheeler spent a year playing in Japan for the Suntory side and know what to expect.

"They play a similar brand. They like to play unstructured and throw the ball around. It is different to us - they are really good tacklers, they chop you round the ankles and bring a lot of line speed."

Previous results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: This will be the first meeting between these sides in Super Rugby; the Sunwolves have lost both previous games against New Zealand opposition. The Sunwolves' two previous games against New Zealand sides saw them concede 133 points in total and score just 20 in return. The Japanese side are yet to win away from home in Super Rugby, losing their previous 10 such matches by an average margin of 30 points. The Highlanders have won 11 of their last 12 home games against teams from outside New Zealand, with their only defeat in that run coming by a single point exactly a year ago (v Sharks). Four of the Highlanders' last six games have seen the defeated team come away with a losing bonus point. Both these sides have scored just three tries in the opening quarter of their games so far this season, no side has scored fewer in that period (Brumbies & Rebels also three). The Highlanders have recorded the best scrum success this season (98 percent), losing just one scrum on their own feed in 2017. The Sunwolves have averaged just 14 minutes 20 seconds in possession per game so far this season, lower than any other side. Kenki Fukuoka has scored four tries in his last five games, with three of those scores coming away from home. Marty Banks has landed all 19 of his kicks at goal this season, no other player has attempted more than 10 without missing at least one. The Sunwolves can't seem to cope with the pace and intensity of New Zealand sides. On top of that they will experience the testing climate of the deep south for the first time. The Highlanders will win by at least 35 points.


Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Matt Faddes, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Elliot Dixon, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Teihorangi Walden, 23 Sio Tomkinson.

Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 William Tupou, 12  Timothy Lafaele, 11 Yasutaka Sasakura, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Willem Britz, 7 Yuhimaru Mimura, 6 Edward Quirk (captain), 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Yasuo Yamaji, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Koki Yamamoto, 18 Heiichiro Ito, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 21 Yuki Yatomi, 22 Hayden Cripss, 23 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi.  

Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Crusaders v Stormers
(AMI Stadium, Christchurch - Kick-off: 19.35; 09.35 SA Time; 07.45 GMT)

The Crusaders' toughest opposition to date has been fellow New Zealanders, the Highlanders, who were beaten 30-27 with two late tries - after the Christchurch-based side had trailed 6-27 at one point.

Although the Stormers arrived in New Zealand off the back of a 16-29 defeat to the Africa Two conference leaders the Lions, their sole loss of the year, coach Robbie Fleck said they have already put that behind them.

"Every week we start from scratch, that is what we have been good at this year," Fleck said.

"Whether it is a win or a loss we have got to come back and work hard all over again," he added.

Crusaders' strength revolves around star lock Sam Whitelock - who this week signed on for another three years - and their All Blacks-laden pack.

Stormers assistant coach, New Zealander Paul Feeney, acknowledged it will take a big effort to contain them.

"They are very good at set-piece, very physical, very organised," Feeney said.

"It is the best forward pack going around in Super Rugby, it's as simple as that."

The Crusaders have never lost to the Stormers at home, although a quirk of the Super Rugby system means the two sides have not played each other since Tom Taylor kicked the Crusaders home 14-13 in Christchurch three years ago.

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth takes over the Stormers captaincy from Siya Kolisi - who stayed behind in Cape Town for a few days - before joining his teammates towards the end of the week.

It is the first of three tour matches in New Zealand for the Stormers and Kolisi will be available to play next wee.

Recent results:
2014: Crusaders won 14-13, Christchurch
2013: Crusaders won 19-14, Cape Town
2012: Crusaders won 31-24, Christchurch
2011: Crusaders won 29-10, Cape Town (semifinal)
2011: Crusaders won 20-14, Cape Town

Prediction: The Crusaders are the only unbeaten team in Super Rugby this season after the Stormers' 100 percent winning run ended against the Lions in the last round. The Crusaders have won 13 of the last 15 meetings between these sides, including the last five in a row. The Stormers have never won away to the Crusaders; they drew their first such meeting in 1996 and have lost all nine since. The Crusaders' last three home games against the Stormers have all been won by seven points or fewer. The Christchurch-based side have won 37 of their last 38 home games against South African opposition, with the Sharks' five-point victory in May 2014 being the only negative result during that run. This will be the Crusaders' first game against South African opposition this year; they lost their last such game (v Lions, July 2016) but have not lost consecutive matches against South African sides since losing three on the bounce in 2010. The Crusaders are the only side yet to concede a try in the final 20 minutes of a game this season, while only the Lions and Hurricanes (both 12) have scored more in that period than the Crusaders (11). Only the Hurricanes (24) have scored more first half tries this season than the Stormers (17). Crusaders' Manasa Mataele made five clean breaks last weekend, no player made more in Round Eight. SP Marais has assisted six tries this season, the third-most of any player behind Beauden Barrett and Joe Powell (both seven), and the most of any non-halfback. It will be a testing three weeks for the Stormers in New Zealand and it is likely to start with a loss. The Crusaders by 12 points.


Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.  
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele.

Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Dan Kriel.

Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

Western Force v Chiefs
(nib Stadium, Perth - Kick-off: 17.45; 21.45 NZ Time; 09.45 GMT)

The Western Force have gone on a massive publicity drive to get spectators to the game in the hope that they can prove to the Australian Rugby Union they need to stay in Super Rugby.

Force coach Dave Wessels said they also need to show up and perform on the field, as that is where they can make their biggest statement.

"We feel like we're making good progress as a team and to be able to test ourselves against the Chiefs, who have been one of the standout teams in Super Rugby for a few years now is exciting," the Force's South African coach said.

"We want to see as many people out at the ground as possible for what should be a really exciting game."

In form Force prop Ben Daley also spoke of the need to make a statement - both on and off the field - the ARU.

He admitted that because the Chiefs never let up, even when they are behind - like last week when they came from being 0-24 down against the Cheetahs - the home team will have to put in a massive effort for the full 80 minutes.

"We have to make sure we start well," Daley said.

"They [the Chiefs] are also coming back from a two-week tour of South Africa and we need to make sure we put the m in the 'hurt' locker."

Recent results:
2016: Chiefs won 53-10, Hamilton
2015: Chiefs won 35-27, Hamilton
2014: Force won 18-15, Perth
2013: Chiefs won 22-21, Pukekohe
2012: Chiefs won 20-12, Perth

Prediction: The Chiefs have won eight of the 10 meetings between these sides, however the Force won the last time they hosted the Chiefs. The Force have won their last two home games, the first time they've won consecutive matches in Perth since winning five on the bounce in 2014, a streak that included victory over the Chiefs. The Chiefs have won four of their last five games away to Australian sides, each by margins of 12+ points, this after losing four in a row in Australia before that. The Chiefs have recorded the best line-out success rate of any team this season (94 percent), losing just five of their 82 throws. Damian McKenzie has gained more metres than any other player this season (673) and is one of just two players to make 100+ carries (110, Samu Kerevi – 101). The Force will be competitive for the first half, but after the break the Chiefs should ease clear and win by 15 points.


Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Curtis Rona, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Luke Burton, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Isi Naisarani, 5 Ross Haylett-Petty, 4 Lewis Carmichael, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Francois Van Wyk, 18 Pek Cowan, 19 Onehunga Havilli, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Alex Newsome.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Sam McNicol, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi.  
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Toni Pulu.

Referee: Nicholas Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)

Bulls v Cheetahs
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 17.15; 15.15 GMT)

Any hope that the Bulls would bring some continuity and momentum into this game was dealt  cruel blow when Springbok flyhalf Handré Pollard injured his ankle at training on Thursday.

Pollard will be sidelined for about 10 weeks.

Both coaches spoke of the importance of winning - as they sit outside the top 10 (the Bills 11th on 10 points and the Cheetahs 14th on nine points) with just two wins each.

One of the Cheetahs' victories were over the Bulls in Round Tow.

"It is a very, very important match for us," Bulls coach Nollis Marais said.

"We need to keep on building from last weekend, not only on improving on the good things we did, but also to make sure that winning feeling becomes an addictive one.

"We need to prove that the win over the Jaguares was the tipping point for us.

"We always believed we were a better team than the results showed, but we now have another opportunity to go out and prove it."

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith said he expects a "very physical" encounter with the Bulls - who have "big players" and a host of Springboks.

"They are very motivated at the moment [after a poor start to the season]," Smith said, adding: "The set pieces will be crucial.

"The Bulls have the tallest line-out players [in the competition]. Their scrum is also solid.

"We saw how the media wrote about the performance of [Springbok prop] Trevor [Nyakane].

"The other key is for us to match their physicality.

"They are a team that carries the ball towards you and dominate you physically, so we will have to be at our best in that aspect."

Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss is also not expecting any favours from the Cheetahs, whom he represented 97 times in Super Rugby.

"This will be a massive game," Strauss said.

"They have the belief that they can beat us and to be honest, have the players to do that if we don't pitch.

"Any South African derby match is huge, and I know how much it means for them to beat the Bulls."

Recent results:
2017: Cheetahs won 34-28, Bloemfontein
2016: Bulls won 43-17, Bloemfontein
2016: Bulls won 23-18, Pretoria
2015: Cheetahs won 42-29, Pretoria
2015: Bulls won 39-20, Bloemfontein

Prediction: The Cheetahs won the last meeting between these sides but have never won back-to-back matches against the Pretoria side. The Bulls have won seven of their last eight at home to the Cheetahs, although five of those seven victories came by single figure margins. The Cheetahs have lost their last nine away games, including their last five away to South African opposition. The Cheetahs have averaged more carries per game than any other side this season (130) and have kicked from hand less often than any other team (15.3 per game). Bulls' pair Jamba Ulengo and Travis Ismaiel have played every minute for their side this season, no other side has more than two players to play every possible minute this season. In Pretoria the smart money will be on the Bulls, but it is unlikely to be by more than seven points.


Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nick de Jager, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Marnus Schoeman/Jacques Potgieter, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Franco Naude.

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Niell Jordaan, 21 Uzair Cassiem, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Fred Zeilinga

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)

Sharks v Rebels
(Kings Park, Durban - Kick-off: 19.30; 17.30 GMT; 03.30 AUS Time Sunday, April 23)

Two teams coming off impressive wins.

The difference is that the Sharks had a bye since they beat the Jaguares, while the Rebels had to travel 16,000 kilometres over the Indian Ocean since their win over the Brumbies last week.

Sharks lock Etienne Oosthuizen, who knows what to expect from the visitors from his time with the Brumbies, cautioned his teammates that the Australian outfit are much better than what their record of just one win in six starts suggest.

He admitted that after the physical, confrontational match against the Jaguares a fortnight ago, they expect something different from the Rebels.

"They are typical of Australian sides in that they like to throw the ball around, so our challenge will be to stop their momentum and also to play to our game," Oosthuizen said.

That doesn't make them any less dangerous and despite sitting bottom of the log, they beat the Brumbies - who were top of the log.

"It is really down to what happens on the day," the lock said, adding: "One team was probably more up for it on the day, and the two teams have quite a rivalry going, matches between them are always quite tough.

"The Brumbies have struggled against the Rebels in the past, so this was nothing new and not totally unexpected."

Rebels centre Tom English believes last week's win in the dying minutes against the Brumbies has given the Rebels plenty of confidence for their trip to South Africa.

However, the Sharks pose a serious threat - especially as they are notoriously physical.

"We need to look to tick the scoreboard over at every opportunity we get," English said in Durban.

"South Africans are generally good kickers and they're going to take those penalties and before you know it they're nine points ahead so for us it's taking those opportunities.

"We saw what our set piece can do on the weekend with that scrum in the last minutes of the game so we need to back our set piece, the South Africans pride themselves on that so it will be a good challenge up front."

Recent results:
2015: Sharks won 25-21, Durban
2014: Sharks won 22-16, Melbourne
2013: Sharks won 64-7, Durban
2011: Sharks won 34-32, Melbourne

Prediction: The Sharks have won all four previous meetings between these sides, with their 57 point win (64-7) against the Rebels in March 2013 representing their biggest Super Rugby victory. The Sharks have won their last seven home games, their best run since winning eight on the bounce from 2013 to 2014. The Rebels have won just twice outside of Australia (L25), and have not won in South Africa in 11 attempts. The Sharks have conceded just two tries in the opening quarter of games so far this season, no side has conceded fewer, while the Rebels have scored the joint-fewest in that period (3). Ruan Botha has won 37 line-outs this season (including steals), more than any other player and 16 more than the Rebels' top line-out winner Steven Cummins (21). The Rebels seldom travel well and the Sharks have had a break. We feel the Sharks should win by 12 points.


Sharks: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Lubabalo Mtembu (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenraad Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai  Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Jeremy Ward.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Will Miller, 6 Jake Schatz, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Siliva Siliva, 1 Fereti Sa'aga.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Laurie Weeks, 18 Tom Moloney, 19 Esei Haangana, 20 Hugh Sinclair, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Ben Volavola.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

* Statistics provided by Opta Sports

Mc article force v chiefs 800

Chiefs win Perth arm-wrestle

Sat, 22 Apr 2017 08:24

SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Chiefs were made to work harder than they wanted to for a 16-7 win over the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.

The teams scored one try each, but three Aaron Cruden penalties sealed the win for the Chiefs - keeping them firmly in the play-off race.

In winning the Chiefs stretched New Zealand teams' dominance over Australian opposition to 14-0 in this season's Super Rugby.

The Force, with their future Super Rugby participation under major threat over SANZAAR restructuring for the 2018 season, never gave the Chiefs a moment's peace and kept them under the shackles.

The Chiefs finished off a gruelling tour where they split their two games in South Africa against the Western Stormers and Central Cheetahs.

The Chiefs remain in third spot three points behind the Crusaders in the New Zealand conference after seven wins from eight games.

"I was proud of the way the boys were able to dig in in that second 40 minutes and grind it out," Cruden said.

"We knew that the Force coming off a bye and obviously everything they are going through would show an immense passion and pride and that's certainly what they did."

The Force's Parent body, RugbyWA, has launched legal action against the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) in a bid to keep threatened franchise afloat as the axe hovers over the Perth-based outfit.

Super Rugby's governing body SANZAAR announced earlier this month that two South African teams and one from Australia would be axed from 2018, streamlining the 18-team competition to a three-conference 15-team format.

Both tries were scored in the first half with Liam Messam plunging over in the eighth minute and Force skipper Matt Hodgson scoring off the back of a rolling maul from a lineout win.

The Force suffered an injury setback midway through the opening half to their Wallaby back Dane Haylett-Petty, who came off with a damaged right hamstring.

The Chiefs have now won nine of their 11 meetings with the Force, but both of their losses have come in Perth.

Man of the match: Matt Hodgson scrapped hard and, as always, was The Force's most productive player. Damian McKenzie had his moments, Sam Cane was busy and Brodie Retallick was monstrous in the tight exchanges. Our award goes to Chiefs flyhalf Aaron Cruden, who changed his tactics when it was required to take control. He also kicked three crucial penalties.

The scorers:

For the Western Force:
Con: Prior

For the Chiefs:
Con: Cruden
Pens: Cruden 3


Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Curtis Rona, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Luke Burton, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Isi Naisarani, 5 Ross Haylett-Petty, 4 Lewis Carmichael, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Francois Van Wyk, 18 Pek Cowan, 19 Onehunga Havilli, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Alex Newsome.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Sam McNicol, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi.  
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Toni Pulu.

Referee: Nicholas Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)

Matt Hodgson (29min)
Liam Messam (7min)
Ian Prior (30min)
Aaron Cruden (8min)
Aaron Cruden (42min), Aaron Cruden (53min), and Aaron Cruden (66min)
REFEREE Nicholas Berry (Australia)