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Force

FULL-TIME
6     55

Highlanders

Super Rugby | Perth
09:45 (GMT) | 20-05-2017
  • 82
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  • 81
Sopoaga fails to add the extras but that's the game.Full Time
  • 80
The Force looks to go wide but another knock on sees the Highlanders get a scrum in attacking position. A handling error by the Force sees Thompson go over for another try
  • 78
Force scrum inside their own half. They get a free kick and taps quickly. Penalty for the Highlanders who opt for touch. The ball is knocked on and The Force gets a scrum.
  • 74
Smith feeds the scrum and the Landers look to attack but their momentum is stopped by a knock-on
  • 73
The Highlanders lose their line-out ball and the Force snaps it up and looks to attack. But a handling error stops their momentum
  • 72
After the restart the Highlanders still look to attack. Both teams kicking before Banks looks to run. The ball is lost forward and the Force finds space after that. The ball is kicked through and the chase is on but the Highlanders gets their hands on the ball and clears it. The away team wins a penalty and opts for touch
  • 68
This time Banks fails to add the extras
  • 66
After the restart the Landers look to keep ball in hand. A kick by BAnks sees the Force attcking and a intercept by Buchman sees another try scored for the visitors
  • 64
Banks adds the extras
  • 63
The Force still with ball in hand looking to attack the midfield. The ball is lost and the Highlanders kicks. A kick return sees the LAnders counter and finding space for Hunt to go over for a try
  • 61
After the restart the Force looks to attack. Holding onto the ball, edging closer. The ball is turned over but a bad kick sees the Force still in good attacking position
  • 59
Banks adds the extras
  • 58
The LAnders attacking and they find space wide for Thompson to go over for the try
  • 57
A cross kick sees Li go over for a try but the ball was lost forward and a 5m scrum is awarded to the Force. They kick to relieve some pressure
  • 56
The Landers wins their line-out ball and looks to attack. Mauling before they go wide
  • 54
Scrum for the Highlanders close to the halfway line. They look to attack and wins a penalty. They opt for touch
  • 53
After the restart the Highlanders look to attack, finding space wide before they kick. Penalty for the Force which relieves the pressure
  • 51
Banks adds the extras
  • 50
The Highlanders still attacking 10m away from the try line. They find space and Aki Seiulu goes over for his 2nd try of the night
  • 48
The away team relieves pressure when they opt for touch from the penalty.
  • 47
The ref goes up stairs to check foul play and sends of Arnold with a yellow card
  • 46
After the restart the Force look to attack. They get close to the try line but is denied by the away teams defense
  • 45
Banks adds the extras
  • 44
Osborne finds space and runs straight through for the try
  • 43
Both teams making use of the boot. Kicking for territory.
  • 41
The 2nd half gets on the way and the ball goes into touch. Force line-out close to the away teams 10. They look to attack. The Highlanders gets the ball and goes wide before a grubber kick is put through which goes into touch

Half Time

  • 40
They fail to score and the Force turns over the ball kicks it out . That's it for the 1st half
  • 39
The Landers take the scrum looking to extend their lead with a try
  • 38
After the restart the away team looks to attack. Playing phase after phase. The Highlanders wins a penalty and Semisi Masirewa is sent of with a yellow card
  • 35
Banks adds the extras
  • 34
The Highlanders look to attack the midfield. The ball is lost but the ref calls backwards. Soon after that Aki Seiulu snaps up a ball and goes over for a try
  • 32
The away team looks to maul but the Force defense holds up. Scrum for the Landers 5m away
  • 31
After the restart both teams look to attack. Highlanders line-out on the Force 22. They look to go wide but the Ref awards a penalty. They opt for touch
  • 28
Prior feeds and the Force wins a scrum penalty. Prior kicks for goal. It bounces of the posts and goes over
  • 26
Scrum reset
  • 25
After the restart the Force kicks and applies pressure. Osbourne knocks it on in the air. Scrum for the Force close to the halfway line.
  • 24
Prior line it up and this time he puts it over
  • 23
Both teams make use of the boot. The Force looks to run and wins a penalty on the half way line. They opt for goal 45m away
  • 21
After the restart are back at it again building a few phases, before they kick
  • 20
Banks adds the extras
  • 19
After the line-out the Highlanders go wide and Tevita Li goes over for their first try
  • 18
Line-out for the Highlanders on the Force' 10 they go wide and kick. Force player tackled into touch
  • 16
After the restart the Highlanders look to attack but a forward pass stops their momentum. Scrum for the Force in good attacking position. The Force holds on to the ball and looks to attack before kicking
  • 13
Banks lines it up and strikes it perfectly. Over she goes!!
  • 11
The Landers intercepts a ball and now looking to attack. Finding space wide. Getting close to scoring after a cross-kick but the ball is lost forward and they win a penalty in front of goal
  • 10
After the restart kick the Highlanders gets a line-out on the half way line. They lose the ball and the Force look to attack
  • 8
A bit of ping pong kicking from both teams before the Force looks to hold onto the ball. Building a few phases and they win a penalty on the ground. They opt for goal and Prior misses it
  • 5
The Highlanders kick it back and looks to apply pressue. Grant kicks again and Faddes collects who puts in a good kick finding space behind the Force
  • 4
A bit of kicking from both sides. Line-out on the half for the Force. They look to attack the midfield before Grant kicks it high
  • 2
The Force looks to clear and miss touch. Both teams make use of the boot. Line-out for the Force on the Landers 22 and they make a meal of it
  • 1
The game gets on the way and first scrum of the game goes to the Landers inside their own half. They kick and find touch deep inside the Force half
  • -5
The teams are doing their final prep before the match starts
  • -10
Shuhei Kubo (Japan) will be the referee in charge of this fixture. The Force will welcome back a string of reinforcements - including Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jermaine Ainsley, Brynard Stander and Luke Morahan - as they look to claim a crucial New Zealand scalp. Players to look out for in the Highlanders team would have to be Malakai Fekitoa , Marty Banks at first-five, Matt Faddes at fullback and Elliot Dixon at number 8. The Force will for strong performances from Luke Morahan, Peter Grant and Brynard Stander if they want to win this match.
  • -20
After an impressive win over the Jaguares in Argentina the home team will come into this match full of confidence that they're able to stop this in-form Highlanders team. The Highlanders who recently toured South Africa comes of a clean-sweep, which extended their winning streak to 7 games. They will look to win this one and make sure of a place in the play-off zone.The Highlanders have lost six of their 10 games against the Force and New Zealand teams have often stumbled in the stopover in Perth on the way home. The Force will look to replicate last weeks performance and should the Highlanders fall into the trap of being complacent this become a long night for them
  • -30
Welcome to Perth, where The Western Force will take on The Highlanders in this round 13, Super Rugby fixture.
Mc western force logo 80x50
Force
Mc highlanders logo 80x50
Highlanders
START LINE UP
  • 1 Pekahou Cowan
  • 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau
  • 3 Jermaine Ainsley
  • 4 Richie Arnold
  • 5 Adam Coleman
  • 6 Ross Haylett-Petty
  • 7 Brynard Stander
  • 8 Richard Hardwick
  • 9 Ian Prior
  • 10 Peter Grant
  • 11 Alex Newsome
  • 12 Billy Meakes
  • 13 Curtis Rona
  • 14 Semisi Masirewa
  • 15 Luke Morahan
  • 19 Matt Philip
RESERVES
  • 16 Anaru Rangi
  • 17 Francois Van Wyk
  • 18 Tetera Faulkner
  • 20 Lewis Carmichael
  • 21 Isireli Naisarani
  • 22 Michael Ruru
  • 23 James Verity-Amm
START LINE UP
  • 1 Aki Seiuli
  • 2 Liam Coltman
  • 3 Siate Tokolahi
  • 4 Alex Ainley
  • 5 Tom Franklin
  • 6 Gareth Evans
  • 7 Dillon Hunt
  • 8 Elliot Dixon
  • 9 Kayne Hammington
  • 10 Marty Banks
  • 11 Tevita Li
  • 12 Richard Buckman
  • 13 Malakai Fekitoa
  • 14 Patrick Osborne
  • 15 Matt Faddes
RESERVES
  • 16 Ash Dixon
  • 17 Guy Millar
  • 18 Siua Halanukonuka
  • 19 Joe Wheeler
  • 20 Jackson Hemopo
  • 21 Aaron Smith
  • 22 Lima Sopoaga
  • 23 Rob Thompson
Mc article hanro liebenberg bulls 3 800

SR Preview: Round 13, Part Two

Fri, 19 May 2017 00:17

IN THE SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: The Southern Kings are suddenly a big deal. The proof of that can be found in the fact that their match tickets are suddenly hot property on the black market.

Yes, 'unofficial' ticket distributors and touts have been offering Kings tickets on the black market.

This new demand follows the Kings' unprecedented three-match winning streak - which include victories over the Waratahs (in Sydney), Rebels and Sharks (both in Port Elizabeth).

To put this into perspective, before their Australian tour the Kings hardly attracted 1,000 spectators to their 48,000 seater home stadium.

Now the Kings management are forced to put out advisories about who the official ticket distributors are.

Last week they attracted over 20,000 spectators to the game that saw then beat a South African team, the Sharks, for the first time.

This week the Brumbies are in town and it seems the demand for tickets are climbing.

But before we get to that game, there are a number of intriguing and very spicy games on offer.

It starts with the Hurricanes hosting the Cheetahs in Wellington, before the Western Force and Highlanders go head-to-head in Perth.

The Sunwolves are at their second home, Singapore, where they host the Sharks.

Then it is the trans-Jukskei derby between South Africa's top team, the Lions and the struggling Bulls.

The Kings and Brumbies will battle it out in Port Elizabeth, before the weekend's action is concluded in Sydney on Sunday where Waratahs and Rebels go into battle.

In Part Two of the preview, we look at the Saturday and Sunday matches!

Saturday, May 20:

Hurricanes v Cheetahs
(Westpac Stadium, Wellington - Kick-off: 19.35; 09.35 SA time; 07.35 GMT)

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith is he epitome of 'frustration'.

His side has run so many teams close - only to lose out in the closing stage. In fact, against the Highlanders in Round 11 they butchered a 21-point lead.

The travelling Cheetahs play their second match on the road in New Zealand and the expectation is of another high-scoring match.

Smith said they will look to "defend better", while still playing their expansive brand.

"It will be vital that we get good first-phase [set piece] possession," he told rugby365 from Wellington.

It is their fifth New Zealand opposition in the last six weeks, and - despite having conceded more than 200 points in their last five outings - the Cheetahs still believe they have a 'big' win in them.

He admitted it will be a tall order against a Hurricanes team that will look to bounce back from last week's loss to the Crusaders.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said there is no chance of taking the Cheetahs lightly.

"The Cheetahs are a particularly dangerous team that can score tries from anywhere and also have a big forward pack up front," Boyd said.

"We know they will bring a lot to the match."

In fact, the Cheetahs have averaged 31 points in their past three matches against the Crusaders, Highlanders and Blues.

Recent results:
2014: Hurricanes won 60-27, Wellington
2013: Hurricanes won 39-34, Bloemfontein
2012: Cheetahs won 47-38, Wellington
2011: Hurricanes won 50-47, Bloemfontein
2010: Cheetahs won 28-12, Bloemfontein

 

Prediction: The Hurricanes have won six of the last eight clashes between these teams, including each of the last two. The last four iterations of this fixture have seen an average aggregate points tally of 86pts; despite this, all but one of those four games have been decided by a margin of nine points or fewer. The Hurricanes have won their last 11 games played on home turf, a streak more than twice as long as any other they've managed in Super Rugby; they've scored an average of 39 points per game across those 11 victories. The last time any South African team travelled to Wellington and won was the Stormers in Round 11, 2013; the Hurricanes have since won eight such fixtures on the bounce. The Cheetahs have lost 13 of their 15 Saturday fixtures in New Zealand, including the last four in a row by an average margin of 24 points. The Hurricanes have scored 28 tries on the opening phase of possession, five more than any other team in the competition and 12 more than the Cheetahs. There have been 88 tries scored in matches involving the Cheetahs (32 scored, 56 conceded), no other side has seen the whitewash crossed as often this season. The Hurricanes score an average of 6.3 tries per game this season, more than any other team; should they continue that average they would need to play just three more games to best the Super Rugby team try record set by the Lions last season (81). Beauden Barrett's 13 try assists this season are two more than any other player, while he's one of just two (Bernard Foley, 1.2) to average more than one try assist per game this campaign (1.3). Torsten Van Jaarsveld has scored three tries in his last four games against New Zealand opposition, including one each in his last two such games. More pain is coming for the Cheetahs. The Hurricanes can't afford to lose anymore ground on the Crusaders and will ease past a tired and battered Cheetahs team - by at least 15 points.

Teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Beauden Barrett, 14 Wes Goosen, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Thomas Perenara (captain), 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Vaea Fifita, 4 Sam Lousi, 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Mike Kainga, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Jordie Barrett, 23 Ben Lam.

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

Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Will Houston (Australia), Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Western Force v Highlanders
(nib Stadium, Perth - Kick-off: 17.45; 09.45 GMT, 19.45 NZ Time)

Fresh from their upset victory in Argentina over the Jaguars, the Western Force return to Perth and will hope to stop the inform Highlanders.

The Force will welcome back a string of reinforcements - including Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jermaine Ainsley, Brynard Stander and Luke Morahan - as they look to claim a crucial New Zealand scalp.

Force coach David Wessels said this week the endeavour shown in Argentina was pleasing.

However, his side will need to be back on task against an in-form Highlanders side.
 
"Our performance in Argentina was built on the back of our intensity in our preparation," Wessels said.

"Our challenge is to match that again this week.

"We're excited to be back at home."

The Highlanders believe their biggest hurdle could be complacency.

Off the back of a clean sweep in South Africa - which extended their winning streak to seven matches - they will look to cement their place in the play-off zone.

The Highlanders have lost six of their 10 games against the Force and New Zealand teams have often stumbled in the stopover in Perth on the way home.

Assistant coach Mark Hammett said the squad had travelled well and he was confident it would be up for the final game of its trip.

''We've done [the travel] for so long, I suppose we know the little hiccups that can happen along the way,'' he told the Otago Daily Times.

''Three weeks away, sometimes the third week can be a tough one. Sort of with one foot on the plane.

''But we've done well so far.

''We're pretty stoked to get out of Africa with two wins and if we can get this one, we can set ourselves up well for the 'Tahs [Waratahs] the following week.''

Recent results:
2016: Highlanders won 32-20, Dunedin
2015: Highlanders win -23-3, Perth
2014: Force won 31-29, Dunedin
2013: Force won 19-18, Perth
2011: Force won 21-14, Dunedin

 

Prediction: The Highlanders have won their last two games against the Force, including a visit to Perth in which they held them to just three points, though they had lost six games in succession against the Force prior to this brace of wins. In only one of their four games on home turf this season has the Western Force trailed at half-time (one lead, level twice) with each of those four fixtures ending with a final points margin of fewer than 10 points. The Highlanders have won on six of their last seven visits to Australia after having won just one of their previous 15 excursions there. The Highlanders have snatched the title of most accurate goal-kickers from the Cheetahs; their 87 percent accuracy tops every other team in the competition and is 12 percentage points higher than the Force. Bill Meakes' tally of 16 carries in Round 12 was more than any other player across the weekend; only Dane Haylett-Petty (three times) has made as many carries in a game for the Force this season. This could be the Highlanders' banana peel, but we will still back them to sneak it - by less than 10.

Teams:

Western Force: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes (captain), 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Brynard Stander, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacement: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Lewis Carmichael, 21 Isireli Naisarani, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 James Verity-Amm

Highlanders: 15 Matt Faddes, 14  Patrick Osborne, 13  Malakai Fekitoa, 12  Richard Buckman, 11  Tevita Li, 10  Marty Banks, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21  Aaron Smith, 22  Lima Sopoaga, 23 Rob Thompson.

Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant referees: Ed Martin (Australia), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

Sunwolves v Sharks
(Singapore National Stadium, Singapore - Kick-off: 18.55 (11.55 GMT; 13.55 SA Time)

The Sunwolves may have won only one game this season, but they are determined to add the Sharks' scalp to that of the Bulls - which they claimed in Tokyo in Round Seven.

Making life difficult for the Sunwolves, however, is a playing schedule that forces them to fly almost 120,000 km over the course of a season - with away games in South Africa, Australia and Argentina on top of the trips to Singapore.

They have, by some distance, the most ridiculous schedule.

However, they are determined to prove their worth in the competition.

"For us it's about focusing on the process rather than just results," second row forward Sam Wykes told The Japan Times.

"If we keep preparing for how we want to play, the result is irrelevant for us.

"If we keep focusing on the wins and losses, that's when you really start to get bogged down."

Sharks coach Robert du Preez read his team the riot act, as their Jekyll and Hyde act continued with a loss to the Kings.

"This match is hugely important and it's not about maintaining a hold on our log position, but also about building momentum and confidence," Du Preez said.

"This was supposed to be our momentum phase, but we're back to square one again so we need a win to get us back on track.

"And we need a proper win, it needs to be an all-out great performance and that will set us up nicely for the three derbies we have at home.
 
"We need to play to our strengths and the pack will definitely be key for us," he said.

"I'm looking for a massive step-up from the whole team, so it's not just about the backline.

"This is a mission that we're going on and we need a massive effort from everyone; that's what let us down against the Kings.

"The effort was poor, we got out-played, out-muscled and out-passioned and with the squad that we have, that's unacceptable.

"I'm tired of making excuses for the players and I'm not making any excuses; it just wasn't good enough for a team of this calibre."

Previous result:
2016: Sharks won 40-29, Durban

 

Prediction: This will be just the second meeting between these teams after the Durban squad took a 40-29 win against the Sunwolves in the final regular season round last year. The Sunwolves will be looking for back-to-back home wins for the first time in their Super Rugby tenure after a one-point win against the Bulls in Round 7. The Sharks have won their last two games outside South Africa, never before have they won three such fixtures in succession within a single campaign. The Sharks have conceded only three tries in the opening quarter of games this campaign, the equal fewest of any team in the competition and 10 fewer than the Sunwolves' 13, which is more than any other team in the same period. Willie Britz has won 41 line-outs this season, the third-most of any player in the competition, while also stealing two opposition throws. It will be ugly and scrappy, a real arm-wrestle. However, the Sharks are likely edge ahead in the final quarter and win by 12 points.

Teams:

Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Shota Emi, 13 Ryohei Yamanaka, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Willem Britz, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Noahiro Kotaki, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Yasuo Yamaji, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Hino, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Hitoshi Ono, 20 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 21 Keisuka Uchidam 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 Yasutaka Sasakura.

Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Garth April, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacement: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Rowan Gouws, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sibusiso Sithole

Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Aki Aso (Japan), Tasuku Kawahara (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)

Lions v Bulls
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 17.15; 15.15 GMT)

Two more contrasting teams you can't find - both in terms of form and style.

The Lions are fresh off an unbeaten tour to Australian where they managed 14 out of a possible 15 points and are on unprecedented eight-match victory run.

The Bulls have lost five of their last seven games and coach Nollis Marais is under fire.

However, Lions coach Johan Ackermann is adamant there is "no chance" of complacency in his team ahead of this trans-Jukskei derby.

"The players know there are no easy games," Ackermann told rugby365.

He added that with their destiny is in their own hands, they are determined to keep raising the bar and ensure they do not need to rely on the goodwill of other teams.

"We are not looking at positions on the standings or the form of teams," he said.

"We respect the Bulls, because they have enough quality to beat any team.

"However, the key for us is that we focus on ourselves and what we need to improve."

He expects the Bulls to be "physical" and rely on their "massive pack of forwards".

Bulls coach Nollis Marais said the Lions are South Africa's "form team".

"We have had epic battles with them and this is a big derby match, so the guys will be up for it." Marais said.

Bulls captain Hanro Liebenberg said they are excited about the match.

"We have a chance to compare ourselves against the leading South African team in the competition," Liebenberg said.

"That is a nice challenge.

"We owe our fans a good show and where better to do that than in Johannesburg against the Lions."

Recent results:
2016: Lions won 56-20, Pretoria
2015: Bulls won 35-33, Pretoria
2015: Lions won 22-18, Johannesburg
2014: Lions won 32-21, Johannesburg
2014: Bulls win 25-17, Pretoria

 

Prediction: The Lions have won three of their last four games against the  Bulls after going winless in all of their previous 11 games against them. The Lions are undefeated in their last 13 South African derbies, including wins in their last 11, though the Bulls were the last team to defeat them in such a fixture (Round 12, 2015). The Bulls have lost their last two away games against South African opposition, the last time they lost more such games on the trot was a five-game drought which began in 2013 and included the entirety of the 2014 campaign. The Lions have won an average of 14.6 line-outs per game so far this season, more than any other team, while the Bulls have lost an average of just one line-out per game this season, the joint fewest of any side. Rudolph Snyman won seven line-outs in Round 12, the equal most of any player across the round, to take his season tally to 34. Most pundits feel the Lions will run away with this one. However, in reality it could be a real arm, wrestle. The Lions should still win, but not by more than 14 points.

Teams:

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Francois de Klerk, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Anthony Volmink.

Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Jade Stighling, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Abongile Nonkontwana, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Warrick Gelant.

Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Lesego Legoete (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Southern Kings v Brumbies
(Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth - Kick-off: 19.30; 17.30 GMT, 3.30 AUS Time, Sunday, May 21)

The Brumbies start their two-match tour, which includes a stop-over in Argentina, against the vastly-improved Southern Kings.

With the Reds, Waratahs and Western Force all chasing the Brumbies on the ladder, a win on the road will be crucial to sure up the side's lead of the Australian Conference.

Brumbies hooker Josh Mann-Rea has earmarked set-piece dominance as key to victory.

"Our set piece is a big part of our game and this week will be no different," Mann-Rea said in an interview on the Brumbies website.

"They are going to come at us at scrum time and line out time so, as a forward pack, we have just got to make sure that the set piece is run very well and we deliver some good ball for the backs.

"We have lost four in a row now so this week is a must-win for us to stay on top of the Australian Conference and keep our finals hopes alive."

The Kings are coming off a trio of victories - over the Waratahs, Rebels and Sharks.

However, Kings coach Deon Davids is expecting a tough encounter against the Brumbies.

"We have been looking at our execution and where opportunities may be against the Brumbies," Davids said.

"We will have to work very hard to get over that advantage line, to maintain momentum and to hold on to the ball," the head coach said.

"There is a lot of experience and strong, physical guys in their midst.

"They are dangerous attackers also, so it will be a good challenge."

Previous result:
2013: Kings and Brumbies drew 28-all, Canberra

 

Prediction: The only previous encounter between these teams ended in a 28-all stalemate when the Kings travelled to the Australian capital in Round Eight, 2013. Twenty-two of the last 29 instances of an Australian team visiting South Africa have seen the hosts emerge victorious, while the Brumbies will be looking to become the first Australian team to take a win in South Africa this campaign. The Kings have won four of their last eight home games against teams from outside South Africa and will be looking to win back-to-back such fixtures for the first time in their Super Rugby history. The Kings have scored 65 more points in the second half (176) than they have in the first (111), the largest disparity of any team in the competition. Henry Speight has scored four tries in his last five games against South African opposition, though only one of those four tries came when playing away from home. Is this the game where the Kings' bubble bursts? We think the Brumbies will win by 12 points.

Teams:

Southern Kings: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Alshaun Bock, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronje (captain), 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Stefan Willemse, 5 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Mzwanele Zito, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Johan Steyn, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Nicolaas Hanekom

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Aidan Toua, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter (captain), 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Leslie Leulua'Iali'I-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Andrew Muirhead, 23 Andrew Smith.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)

Sunday, May 21:

Waratahs v Rebels
(Allianz Stadium, Sydney - Kick-off: 16.05; 06.05 GMT)

While the Rebels are fighting for Super Rugby survival, the Waratahs are showing the same desperation as they chase a play-off spot.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson spoke of getting a good start in this crunch encounter - as they have allowed sides to get away from them in the first half.

The Tahs have been working to address that problem.

In their last match against the Blues the Waratahs trailed 0-26 at half-time and won the second half 33-14 - only to lose the game to the New Zealand side by 33-40.

"The players know that they need to work hard for the full eighty minutes and that we need to start with a real intent and an urgency to our performance," Gibson said.

Tahs centre Rob Horne spoke of the importance of getting that vital win that will keep them in touch with the Brumbies.

"We are pretty engulfed in what we are doing and pretty focused on putting out a good performance that we and all our supporters want," said Horne.

"Every game is important and we are pretty keen to work hard every day and try to put out the performance we are capable of.

"I love every time I pull on the jersey, so if I can go out and put on some good showing in the next couple of games, it would be good."

The two sides meet for the second time this season.

The Waratahs reclaimed the Weary Dunlop Shield when they came from behind to defeat the Rebels courtesy of four unanswered second-half tries earlier in the season.

Rebels lock Steve Cummins said that despite the results this season, the Rebels feel like they're capable of a challenging for points.

"We played really good footy in patches in that game [against the Waratahs]," Cummins said.

"We know that the most disappointing thing is if we play our Rebels rugby for 80 minutes that we can be getting results.

"That's obviously something that we have to keep working on."

Recent results:
2017: Waratahs won 32-25, Melbourne
2016: Rebels won 21-17, Sydney
2015: Waratahs won 18-16, Sydney
2015: Waratahs won 38-28, Melbourne
2014: Waratahs won 41-19, Melbourne
2014: Waratahs won 32-8, Sydney

 

Prediction: The Waratahs have won 10 of their previous 12 clashes between these teams, with their two losses coming by margins of no greater than four points. The Waratahs have lost their last four games on home turf, never before in their Super Rugby history have they lost more home fixtures in succession. The Rebels have won three of their last four games played on a Sunday, including a brace of wins last season against the Waratahs and Force. The Waratahs have scored six tries this season after opting to take a penalty tap, more than any other team in the competition while the Rebels are yet to score from via the same method. Amanaki Mafi has gained 565m so far this campaign, more than any other forward in the competition. The Rebels have a good chance to reclaim the Weary Dunlop Shield, but our money is on a Waratahs win - by five points.  

Teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Cam Clark, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 David McDuling, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Irae Simone.

Rebels: 15 Ben Volavola, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge (c), 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Sean McMahon, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Esei Haangana, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Jonah Placid.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper (Australia), Amy Perrett (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Compiled by Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

* Statistics provided by Opta Sports & sportguru.info

Mc article western force v highlanders 2017 800

Highlanders take Force apart

Sat, 20 May 2017 11:00

SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Highlanders ended their tour on a high note when they thrashed the Western Force 55-6 in Perth on Saturday.

The New Zealanders made it eight straight wins, and nine from 12 matches overall this season, by running in eight unanswered tries as they push towards the play-offs.

It was a horror show for the Force, who are living on Super Rugby's death row, and were never in the hunt as Australia's drought against New Zealand teams in 2017 continued.

At one stage the Force were down two men with a pair of players in the sin bin, and they were simply outclassed by the 2015 champions and 2016 semifinalists, who appeared to enjoy the slippery conditions and piled on 38 points in the second half.

It was the Highlanders' biggest ever win and skipper Elliott Dixon was thrilled with the effort.

"We have been working towards an 80-minute performance and it was good to get that," he said.

"It has been a good [few weeks] for us."

The Force were coming off a rare win, against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, but with an already lengthy injury list their hopes took an early dent when they lost Peter Grant to a head knock after just 10 minutes.

The Highlanders were in no mood to be sympathetic and pounced in the 19th minute, with Tevita Li breaking down the sideline for the opening try and his second of the season.

The home team stayed in touch through successive penalties from Ian Prior to close the deficit to 10-6.

In the 36th minute the visitors tightened their grip when Aki Seiuli, a late inclusion in the starting XV, intercepted close to the line and dived over.

Down 6-17 at the break, the Force also had to cope with being a man down after Semisi Masirewa was sent off late in the half.

In the 44th minute, Highlanders speedster Patrick Osborne broke away after a lovely dummy and left the Force players in his wake as he sprinted to the tryline.

The Force had Richie Arnold sent off in the 47th minute and three minutes later Seiuli again celebrated his promotion with a second try as he charged over from five metres out.

The Highlanders then added a further four late tries through Rob Thompson with a double, Dillon Hunt and Richard Buckman as the Force completely folded.

Force captain Bill Meakes was dismayed by the performance.

"It was really embarrassing for us," he said.

"Our workrate wasn't there."

Man of the match: Mart Banks controlled the game nicely, while Elliot Dixon's work rate was impressive throughout the game. However, the award goes to prop Aki Seiuli who scored two tries and made metres whenever he had ball in hand.

The scorers:

For Western Force:
Pens: Prior 2

For Highlanders:
Tries: Li, Seiuli 2, Osborne, Thompson 2, Hunt, Buckman
Cons: Banks 6
Pen: Banks

Yellow cards: Semisi Masirewa (Western Force, 39 - cynical play, deliberate knock down); Richie Arnold (Western Force, 47 - foul play, shoulder charge)

Teams:

Western Force: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes (captain), 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Brynard Stander, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacement: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Lewis Carmichael, 21 Isireli Naisarani, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 James Verity-Amm

Highlanders: 15 Matt Faddes, 14  Patrick Osborne, 13  Malakai Fekitoa, 12  Richard Buckman, 11  Tevita Li, 10  Marty Banks, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Guy Millar, 18 Siua Halanukonuka, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21  Aaron Smith, 22  Lima Sopoaga, 23 Rob Thompson.

Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant referees: Ed Martin (Australia), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

 
TRIES
Tevita Li (19min), Aki Seiuli (34min), Patrick Osborne (44min), Aki Seiuli (50min), Rob Thompson (58min), Dillon Hunt (63min), Richard Buckman (66min), and Rob Thompson (80min)
 
CONVERSIONS
Marty Banks (20min), Marty Banks (35min), Marty Banks (45min), Marty Banks (51min), Marty Banks (59min), and Marty Banks (64min)
Ian Prior (24min) and Ian Prior (29min)
PENALTIES
Marty Banks (13min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
Semisi Masirewa (38min) and Richie Arnold (47min)
 
 
VENUE Perth
REFEREE Shuhei Kubo (Japan)