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Bulls

FULL-TIME
33     41

Stormers

Super Rugby | Loftus Versfeld
13:00 (GMT) | 15-07-2017
  • 81
Stay with us as we head straight to our live coverage of the Sharks and Lions
  • 80
The referee blows his whistle shortly after the restart. FULL TIME
  • 79
The conversion is good
  • 78
The Bulls struggling to make it out of their own half. Leyds gets it in the turnover and Senatla speeds forward to snatch it up and high dive over the line to socre the TRY
  • 77
The ball kicked forward and Kolbe looks to chase but the Bulls rush back to defend. The hosts with it now
  • 76
Line-out to the away team. They press forward inside the 10 of the home team
  • 75
They take it and clear
  • 74
The Stormers whiff the throw but win another shortly after. The Bulls steal it again and have it at the 5
  • 73
The restart kick is picked up by Serfontein. The referee blows for a high tackle by Ismaiel. The ball kicked into touch
  • 72
He takes his kick and sends it wide
  • 71
The Bulls push aggressively and give away a penalty. Willemse steps up for a kick from the home team 10
  • 70
Scrum to the Stormers after the restart. They have it around the 22
  • 69
Jantjies adds the extras
  • 68
The back pass sloppy and bounces passed 4 players before Kriel scoops it up and runs from the 10 to put it down comfortably. TRY
  • 67
The Stormers move it up field and Kolbe looks for the tap forward but it goes into touch. Line-out for the Bulls and they clear after the throw
  • 66
Schoeman boots it and it curves outward
  • 64
Nyakane takes on 3 and forms the ruck. The ball picked up by van Zyl and he runs to the corner to score the TRY
  • 63
Th Bulls have it inside the 10 of the away team now in their 8th phase
  • 62
He sends the conversion kick wide
  • 60
They clear and Senatla brings it down then sends it to Leyds who cuts through the defence and offloads to Willemse who tumbles over the line to score the TRY
  • 59
Line-out taken around the 22 and the Bulls now look to build with Snyman. The Stormers turnover. Line-out to the Bulls inside their 10
  • 58
The referee blows for a scrum to the Stormers. He refers to the TMO for a high tackle by Kolbe and decides to overturn his decision and give the Bulls a penalty
  • 57
The Bulls have it around the half way and they show increasing aggression as they attempt to make a way through the Stromers defence but the away tam holds firm
  • 56
The ball cleared by Vermaak but it's touched by Jenkins and the Stormers have a line-out further up field
  • 55
The Bulls with tit now after the reset and the ball is dabbed forward by Gelant around the 22. Line-out for the away team
  • 54
Willemse adds the extras
  • 53
The Stormers take the scrum and Carr is the man who finds the space. The support is there and they make it to the 5 meter. The ruck is formed and they push over the line. The referee looks to the TMO and he decides to award the TRY
  • 52
Scrum to the Stormers around the half way
  • 51
The referee calls van Vuuren over and awards him a yellow card for his efforts in a high tackle.
  • 50
The penalty kick is pushed wide
  • 49
Serfontein again looking to force his way through the Stormers defence. The hosts win a penalty and Schoeman decides to have a shot at goal
  • 48
The ball booted forward by the Bulls from their 10 and Leyds takes it down but the contest is there
  • 47
Jenkins steals the line-out and the Bulls burst forward with Serfontein. He makes it to the 22 but it's turned over
  • 46
Scrum reset. The ball lost forward. The Bulls clear into touch to relieve some of the pressure
  • 45
The ball knocked-on and taken quickly by Malherbe. They move the ball along the 5. They make it over the line but the referee says held up. Scrum to the Stormers at the 5 again
  • 44
Scrum reset
  • 43
Line-out for the Bulls at their 5. They move it back and put it down in the try area for a 22 meter restart. The referee calls play back a for a scrum to the visitors around the 5
  • 42
The Stormers on the attack early in the second half. The Bulls hold and tackled the attackers into touch
  • 41
The whistle goes an the second half is underway

Half Time

  • 40
The hooter sounds. The away team have it at the 5. The ball turned over and then cleared into touch. HALF TIME
  • 39
The Stormers win the scrum and the Stormers kick into touch at the 5 again
  • 38
Line-out for the Stormers and the ball is knocked-on. Scrum to the home team at their 5
  • 37
The counter ruck is there by the Stormers and they win a penalty. They opt to send it into touch at the 5
  • 36
The ball cleared after the throw and the Stormers have a line-out now around the mid field
  • 35
The restart kick is sent back and forth. Willemse kicks it forward and it goes into touch around the 22 of the hosts
  • 34
Willemse adds the extras
  • 33
Senatla gets it and shows his Sevens skills as he nips passed half the defence. The Bulls turnover as he finds himself with no support. The Stormers win it back and Leyds this time running through the gaps to put it down between the sticks
  • 32
He takes the kick and adds 3
  • 31
Willemse prepares for a kick at goal
  • 30
The Stormers win a penalty at the 22 after a high tackle
  • 29
The conversion is good
  • 28
The line-out taken and the Bulls execute some swift passes. Kriel the man who gets the inside ball and turns on the acceleration and puts it down between the sticks. TRY
  • 27
Line-out taken and the ball cleared by the Stormers
  • 26
The Stormers give it away and Gelant picks up the scraps then sprints to the 5 but is stopped by Kolbe, showing extraordinary defensive skills. The away team win a penalty and clear
  • 25
The Stormers looking for space at the 10 of the hosts but the Bulls hold a strong line
  • 24
The Stormers win the scrum this time around and the ball is kicked but it doesn't reach touch. The Bulls pluck it out of the air at the half way but lose it again
  • 23
The Stormers win a penalty from the maul. Scrum to the away team at the 5
  • 22
The Bulls tear the Stormers apart in the scrum and kick the ball into touch around the 22. The Bulls look for the maul and make some good ground. They win a penalty and kick into touch at the 5
  • 21
Scrum to the Stormers
  • 20
The ball lost forward around the half way after the restart
  • 19
Schoeman secures the extras
  • 17
The Bulls make space along the wing and Kriel is unleashed. He offloads to Matthews who takes it the final distance and scores the TRY
  • 16
The Bulls with it now after the reset and the ball kicked forward. It's ran back but the Bulls turnover and start from the half way again
  • 15
Willemse sends it wide
  • 13
The Stormers maneuver themselves superbly as Leyds cuts a way through the defence and moves the ball out wide to Notshe who takes it around and puts it in close to the sticks. TRY
  • 12
Vermaak gets it and looks to pass but goes alone instead and gets his team inside the 22
  • 11
The ball cleared after the restart kick lands at the 5 of the away team. Gelant tries to kick forward but sends it straight into touch. Line-out a the half way for the visitors. Scrum to the Stormers after the line-out
  • 10
Willemse secures the extras
  • 9
The Stormers have it after the restart kick is fumbled upon bringing it down. Etzebeth powers through 5 as he makes it to the 5. The Bulls push them back to the 22. The visitors get it and hand it to Kolbe who wriggles free of 3 tacklers and puts it down over the line. The referee confers with the TMO and says TRY
  • 8
Schoeman sends it over for 2 extra points
  • 7
The ball cleared and the Bulls run it back. Good movements by the hosts as they rush forward with swift offloads. The Bulls throw themselves on the ball over the line and the referee refers to the TMO. TRY
  • 6
Scrum reset
  • 5
The referee sounds his whistle for a penalty to the away team around their 22. Scrum to the Stormers
  • 4
Scrum inside the Stormers 10 for the Bulls
  • 3
Line-out to the Stormers at their 10 and it's over thrown. Penalty to the Bulls after the lose ball is knocked forward
  • 2
Line-out for the Bulls around their 5. They take their throw and clear
  • 1
The ball moved around the mid field and then kicked into touch by the Stormers
  • 0
The referee blows and we're off
  • -3
The players readying themselves to leave the locker rooms now
  • -5
The Stormers have scored 15 tries after maintaining possession for seven or more phases, four more tries than any other team in the competition and 11 more than the Bulls
  • -10
The Bulls have now gone four games at home without victory, the last time they lost more home games in succession was a run of nine losses from 2001 to 2003
  • -15
A tight 40-34 win against the Cheetahs in Round 15 sees the Stormers searching for back-to-back wins away from home against South African opposition for the first time since early 2015
  • -20
The Stormers have won eight of their last 11 games against the Bulls, including five of their last six, though each of their losses in that period has come on the road
  • -30
Welcome to Loftus Verfeld, home of the Bulls. They will be hosting the Stormers in this SA derby
Mc bulls logo 80x50
Bulls
Mc stormers logo 80x50
Stormers
START LINE UP
  • 1 Pierre Schoeman
  • 2 Adriaan Strauss
  • 3 Conrad van Vuuren
  • 4 Jason Jenkins
  • 5 RG Snyman
  • 6 Shaun Adendorff
  • 7 Jannes Kirsten
  • 8 Nick de Jager
  • 9 Rudy Paige
  • 10 Tian Schoeman
  • 11 Duncan Matthews
  • 12 Jan Serfontein
  • 13 Jesse Kriel
  • 14 Travis Ismaiel
  • 15 Warrick Gelant
RESERVES
  • 16 Jaco Visagie
  • 17 Trevor Nyakane
  • 18 John-Roy Jenkinson
  • 19 Ruben van Heerden
  • 20 Ruan Steenkamp
  • 21 Piet van Zyl
  • 22 Tony Jantjies
  • 23 Burger Odendaal
START LINE UP
  • 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
  • 2 Bongi Mbonambi
  • 3 Frans Malherbe
  • 4 Eben Etzebeth
  • 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit
  • 6 Siya Kolisi
  • 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe
  • 8 Nizaam Carr
  • 9 Jano Vermaak
  • 10 Damian Willemse
  • 11 Seabelo Senatla
  • 12 Damian de Allende
  • 13 EW Viljoen
  • 14 Cheslin Kolbe
  • 15 Dillyn Leyds
RESERVES
  • 16 Ramone Samuels
  • 17 Steven Kitshoff
  • 18 Frans van Wyk
  • 19 Chris van Zyl
  • 20 Juarno Augustus
  • 21 Justin Phillips
  • 22 Juan de Jongh
  • 23 Dan Kriel
Mc article thomas perenara hurricanes 800

SR PREVIEW: ROUND 17, PART TWO

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 22:43

IN THE SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: You could not have asked for a more enthralling and entertaining finish to the league stages of the competition.

The final positions on the standings may well be decided in the last encounter - match No.135.

The Crusaders and Lions are embroiled in a final-round battle to claim the top rankings spot and home advantage throughout the Super Rugby play-offs.

The Crusaders, just two points ahead of the Johannesburg-based Lions, must beat defending champion Hurricanes to go into next week's top-eight play-offs as top seed and in the box seat to host the Final on August 5.

Should the seven-time champions stumble in Wellington on Saturday then the Lions could leapfrog them to finish top of the final-season standings if they down the Sharks in Durban later that day.

Eight teams have already qualified for the play-offs with the top four conference winners having home advantage in the first week of the play-offs against the fifth to eighth-placed wild card teams.

Only the exact final places are to be decided this weekend.

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

Saturday, July 15:

Sunwolves v Blues
(Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo - Kick-off: 12.00; 15.00 NZ time; 03.00 GMT)

The Sunwolves are still searching for their first win over a New Zealand franchise.

They also haven't won since Week Seven, when they knocked over the Bulls.

Sunwolves coach Filo Tiatia said they are excited that we are back home in Japan, after two heavy defeats on tour in South Africa -  7-94 yo the Lions and 15-52 to the Stormers.

"We brought some fresh legs into selection this week," Tiatia said.

"We still have a large number of injuries in the squad," he added.

Captain Willem Britz described this week's selection as a "very exciting" team.

"Some of the players will be given another shot after the Stormers game, some fresh legs will be coming in so we are really looking forward for the game," Britz said of the visit by the Blues.

"Our preparation is going really well. We will focus on our strong points, our attacking game and fix some things on defence.

"Also this is the last game of the season. I really hope it will be a full crowd at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium. I really just want to go out there and thank the supporters for the support throughout the whole season by playing good rugby."

Blues coach Tana Umaga said he is expecting a lively and challenging match.

"It is clearly a challenge to come back after a four-week break for a one-off game, as the Sunwolves have had two games in South Africa," Umaga said.

"We know the conditions will be tough but we have prepared as well as possible for that.

"We have a number of players who will be in a Blues jersey for the final time and we want to honour them, as well as honour the Sunwolves in our first time in Japan by selecting our best possible team and playing good Blues rugby."

Previous results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: The Blues will become only the second New Zealand team to visit the Sunwolves in Super Rugby history, after the Hurricanes blew them away 83-17 in the opening round of this season. The Blues have led at half-time in each of their last five games away from home, though they've gone on to win only two of those games. The Sunwolves have crossed the whitewash at least once in each half of five of their last six games on home turf. The Blues boast a ruck success rate of 96% so far this campaign, the best of any team in the competition. Only one of the Sunwolves' last seven tries has been scored by a back, and the last time a back from the Japanese franchise scored a try on home turf was in Round Seven this season. The Blues will win, by plenty - 35 points or more.

Teams:

Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Kotaro Matsushima, 13 William Tupou, 12 Timothy Lafaele, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Willem Britz, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Malgene Ilaua, 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Kotaro Yatabe, 3 Koo Jiwon, 2 Takeshi Hino, 1 Koki Yamamoto.              
Replacements: 16 Yusuke Niwai, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Yasuo Yamaji, 19 Yuya Odo, 20 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 Ryohei Yamanaka.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Josh Goodhue, 20 Jerome Kaino, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Stephen Perofeta, 23 Rene Ranger.

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Akihisa Aso (Japan), Tasuku Takawahara (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)

Chiefs v Brumbies
(Waikato Stadium, Hamilton - Kick-off: 17.15; 15.15 AEST; 05.15 GMT)

The result of the game will ultimately decide the Chiefs' quarterfinals opponent.

Currently there are two scenarios.

The preferred outcome will see the Chiefs pack their bags next Wednesday for Canberra, for a return encounter with Australia's best Super Rugby side, the Brumbies.

The appeal of this scenario is solely due to the reduced travel time. To secure this, the Chiefs must defeat the Brumbies this weekend and in the later game, the Crusaders must draw with or beat the Hurricanes.

The second scenario sees the Chiefs depart for Cape Town a mere seven hours after their match this Saturday to play the Stormers.

They have their destiny in their own hands, facing up to an underwhelming Brumbies side - that last week lost to the reds and have a meagre 50 percent success rate this season.

If it wasn't for the ridiculous conference system, the Brumbies would not have been in the play-offs.

Despite the negativity surrounding the Australian franchises' dismal form this season, Brumbies scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli believe they can put together a quality performance when it matters most.

Throughout the campaign a feeling of togetherness and trust has permeated through the team.

Win or lose, the message has been that the team is in it together.

With the Chiefs sitting third in the New Zealand conference and sixth overall, the two sides could potentially meet a week later in Canberra for the quarterfinal.

Recent results:
2016: Chiefs won 48-23, Canberra
2015: Chiefs won 19-17, New Plymouth
2014: Brumbies won 32-30, Canberra (play-off match)
2014: Brumbies 41-23, Canberra
2013: Chiefs won 27-22, Hamilton (Final)

Prediction: The Chiefs have won four of their last six games against the Brumbies, and will be looking for three victories in a row against the team from the Australian capital for the first time in Super Rugby history. The Chiefs have won each of their last four games when hosting the Brumbies, though they've allowed them a losing bonus point on each occasion. The Chiefs have won nine of their last 10 games against Australian opposition, and haven't lost to an Australian team when playing at home since 2014. The Brumbies have lost on their last eight visits to New Zealand by an average margin of 15 points, last winning in Round Four, 2014 against the Hurricanes. The Canberra squad have been kept tryless in the opening half of three of their last six games, scoring only five tries in total across that span. The Brumbies, when they get it right, can make life unpleasant for the best teams. However, the Chiefs should ease to victory by 15 points.

Teams:

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Solomon Alaimalo, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Aidan Ross, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Tom Sanders, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Shaun Stevenson.

Brumbies: 15 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Nigel Ah Wong, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Lolo Fakaosilea, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy (captain), 5 Blake Enever, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, 2 Robbie Abel, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Ben Hyne, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Jordan Smiler, 22 Ryan Lonergan, 23 Tom Banks.

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Richard Kelly (New Zealand), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Hurricanes v Crusaders
(Westpac Stadium, Wellington - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)

The match of the weekend - for many reasons.

The Hurricanes and Crusaders wrap up the league stages of their Super Rugby campaigns with a blockbuster New Zealand Conference derby.

With the Crusaders undefeated in 2017, the Hurricanes face a huge test heading into the Super Rugby play-offs in what could be their final home match of the year.

When the two teams met in Round 12 in Christchurch earlier this year, the final score saw the Crusaders come out on top 20-12, but the Hurricanes have got everything to play for this week as the quarter finals approach.

A win would likely see the Hurricanes head to Canberra to play the Brumbies, while a loss would probably see them head to South Africa to play the Stormers in Cape Town.

The Hurricanes recalled All Blacks Thomas Perenara, Beauden Barrett and Ardie Savea in the only changes to the team that started during last month's 31-all1 draw with the touring British and Irish Lions.

In contrast the Crusaders have opted to rest some key All Blacks - the front trio of Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks - on 'medical advice'.

The Crusaders are vying to retain their unbeaten Super Rugby record and ensure they finish top of the regular season ladder, giving them home advantage throughout the play-offs.

Defeat could see the Lions overtake them and could result in as trip to South Africa for the Final next month.

The Hurricanes and Crusaders have met 30 times in Super Rugby since 1996.

The Hurricanes have won 10 times, the Crusaders 18, and two matches have been drawn.

The Hurricanes have scored 85 tries so far in 2017, a Super Rugby record.

Recent results:
2017: Crusaders won 20-12, Christchurch
2016: Hurricanes won 35-10, Christchurch
2015: Crusaders won 35-18, Christchurch
2015: Hurricanes won 29-23, Wellington
2014: Hurricanes won 16-9, Wellington
2014: Hurricanes won 29-26, Christchurch

Prediction: This will be the first time since 2015 that the Hurricanes have hosted the Crusaders, with the Wellington side winning each of their last three such fixtures. The Crusaders hunt for their 15th win of the campaign, which would equal the Super Rugby record for the most wins by a team in a single season (including play-offs). In fact, anything more than a loss for the Crusaders would see them become just the third team in Super Rugby history to progress undefeated through the regular season (Blues 1997, Crusaders 2002). The Hurricanes will be looking to avoid consecutive Super Rugby losses on home turf for the first time since Round Four, 2014 after a 17-14 loss to the Chiefs prior to the international break. The Crusaders kept the Hurricanes tryless when they met in Round 12 this season, the only team to keep the Wellington franchise from breaching their line in the last three years. The Hurricanes do have a realistic chance to knock over the Crusaders, but the smart money is on the Crusaders to win by five points.

Teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara (captain), 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 2 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Wes Goosen, 23 Cory Jane.

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 David Havili, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Samuel Whitelock, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Sean Wainui.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Western Force v Waratahs
(nib Stadium, Perth - Kick-off: 17.45; 19.45 AEST; 09.45 GMT)

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson, with his future in Sydney in doubt, had to douse the flames fanned by rumours that he has a player revolt on his hands.

Gibson fronted up to the media and said the players are "determined" to play at their best to win the match.

"We're firmly focused on delivering and our focus doesn't extend beyond that, making sure that we finish off well," Gibson said.

In contrast Force coach Dave Wessels had the 'luxury' of being able to talk about on-field issues for a change - despite his team's uncertain future.

Wessels said the team is determined to finish the season strong and send Matt Hodgson out on a winning note.

The loose forward is walking off into the retirement sunset after the match in Perth.

"Saturday's game will be special for both Hodgo [Hodgson] and the franchise," Wessels said.

"He's given everything to the cause over a long career and we hope the Sea of Blue will help us give him the send-off he deserves."

Waratahs assistant coach Chris Malone spoke of the passion of the Force players that will confront the Tahs.

"They had a good game against the Rebels last week," Malone said, adding: "It was abrasive, it was attritional, it wasn't a walk over of any sorts.

"They're very direct in terms of the way they play, they run hard and they will try to take us on through the middle which is an area we need to get better at.

Recent results:
2017: Waratahs won 19-13, Sydney
2016: Waratahs won 49-13, Perth
2015: Force won 18-11, Perth
2015: Force won 25-13, Sydney
2014: Force won 28-16, Perth
2014: Waratahs won 43-21, Sydney

Prediction: The Waratahs have won their last two games against the Force, restricting them to just 13 points on each occasion. This will be the first time that the Western Force have finished their season on home soil since a 21-15 win against the Brumbies in 2013. The Waratahs have won their last four games away from home within Australia, including wins after trailing at half-time in each of their last two such fixtures. The Western Force are one of only four teams in the competition to have not had their opposition steal a scrum this season (also Bulls, Crusaders, Sharks). Bernard Foley has scored an average of 11.9 points per game so far this season, the second most of any player in the competition behind Curwin Bosch 12.7). If there is one team that often trouble the Waratahs it is the Western Force - who will rely on raw emotion to secure a win - by nine points.

Teams:

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Jono Lance, 23 James Verity-Amm.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Cam Clark, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Dean Mumm, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 David Lolohea, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 David McDuling, 20 Ryan McCauley, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Mack Mason, 23 Andrew Kellaway.

Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Will Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

Bulls v Stormers
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 15.05; 13.05 GMT)

Once the biggest game of the season, this north-south derby is no longer big, nor does it come with the build-up that would fill a stadium.

While the Stormers have plenty to play for - momentum ahead of the play-offs - the Bulls are playing just for pride.

There is some additional motivation.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais will vacate his seat after the match, with New Zealander John Mitchell set to formally take over as 'Executive of Rugby' on Sunday.

Marais said he tried to remove the emotion and focus on the rugby.

"I think it was quite a good week," Marais said.

"I just sat down on Monday and said to the guys: 'Obviously it's not what we planned for in the season, we let the fans down'.

"Obviously there's change coming and we've let the fans down - it's not nice and it's not the greatest feeling in the world.

"However, we want to finish off strong and make sure that we make people proud on Saturday, by playing good rugby.

"We are going to do our outmost to win the game on Saturday. It is still a derby game and as I said to the guys, I started against the Stormers and I finish against the Stormers."

Stormers captain Siyamthanda Kolisi said their focus was on their own game, rather than the developments in the Bulls camp.

They have bigger goals ahead.

"Our main focus is to get momentum for [the quarterfinal against a New Zealand team] next week," Kolisi said.

"The things that we wanted to work on, which I am not going to mention, is just simple stuff and us just controlling the game more.

"We can afford to allow whoever we are playing against pull us in and play the way they want us to play.

"We are going to work on our strong points and just focus on our things."

Recent results:
2017: Stormers won 37-24, Cape Town
2016: Bulls won 17-13, Pretoria
2016: Stormers won 33-9, Cape Town
2015: Stormers won 15-13, Cape Town
2015: Stormers won 29-17, Pretoria

Prediction: The Stormers have won eight of their last 11 games against the Bulls, including five of their last six, though each of their losses in that period has come on the road. A tight 40-34 win against the Cheetahs in Round 15 sees the Stormers searching for back-to-back wins away from home against South African opposition for the first time since early 2015. The Bulls have now gone four games at home without victory, the last time they lost more home games in succession was a run of nine losses from 2001 to 2003. The Stormers have scored 15 tries after maintaining possession for seven or more phases, four more tries than any other team in the competition and 11 more than the Bulls. Each of the Bulls' last six tries against the Stormers have been scored by backs; Deon Stegmann in 2015 was the last Bulls' forward to cross against the Cape Town side. Only die-hard fans will risk their money on a Bulls win. The Stormers will win and they will be disappointed if it is not at least 20 points.

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conrad Janse van Vuuren, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 John Roy Jenkinson, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Ruan Steenkamp, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Burger Odendaal.

Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Juan de Jongh, 23 Dan Kriel.

Referee: Kubo Shuhei (Japan)
Assistant referees: Federico Anselmi (Argentina), Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Sharks v Lions
(Kings Park, Durban - Kick-off: 17.15; 15.15 GMT)

By the time the game kicks off, the Lions will know whether they still have a chance to finish first on the standings.

However, Lions coach Johan Ackermann said his team won't be focussed on the encounter between the Hurricanes (who can do them a huge favour) and the Crusaders earlier in the day.

It is about getting the best out of his team in this match.

Ackermann said they can't afford to get ahead of themselves.

"We have had a bye week, so it is important to get back into the process," he told rugby365.

"The Sharks in Durban is a great challenge, as we have not won there often.

"It is important that we get momentum and play good rugby."

He said that "regardless of the result", it is important that they go out as a team and play well.

"Only after the match we will worry about the play-offs.

"There may or may not be something at stake in the game [depending on what happens in the match between the Hurricanes and Crusaders earlier in the day].

"We won't know till Saturday, so my expectations of the players is to prepare for this like any other game. You can't wait till Saturday before making a call on how you want to play."

There will be a measure of "revenge" in the Sharks' approach to the match, as they are still rankled by their dramatic 29-34 loss at Ellis Park earlier this season.

"We have been looking forward to this game for some time, especially after what happened at Ellis Park where we felt we should have won, so we are definitely excited about this one," Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach said.

"In that Johannesburg game it did not work out.

"Hopefully we can put in a great performance and it will go our way this time."

The Sharks can avoid a long trip to play the Crusaders in the first week of the play-offs if they beat the Lions with a bonus point and the Highlanders are upset at home by Australia's Reds.

Recent results:
2017: Lions won 34-29, Johannesburg
2016: Lions won 37-10, Johannesburg
2016: Lions won 24-9, Durban
2015: Lions won 23-21, Johannesburg
2015: Sharks won 29-12, Durban

Prediction: The Lions have beaten the Sharks in each of their last four meetings, after winning just twice in 13 meetings prior. The Sharks have won their final regular season game in each of their last seven campaigns, winning their last five such fixtures by an average margin of 24 points. The Lions have now won 11 games in a row since a 12-point loss to the Jaguares in Round 3, and have scored 199 points in their last three games combined. The Sharks rely on the penalty goal more often than any other team in the competition, slotting 3.3 penalty goals per game so far this season. The Lions' Franco Mostert has stolen 13 line-outs so far this season, six more than any other player in the competition, though Sharks duo Ruan Botha (seven) and Stephan Lewies (seven) are each ranked equal second. It could get brutal, but the Lions should win - by 12 points.

Teams:

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

Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Jacobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Garth April, 9 Jacobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenraad Oosthuizen, 2 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23  Jeremy Ward.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

* Statistics provided by Opta Sports & sportguru.info

Jason Jenkins (7min), Duncan Matthews (17min), Jesse Kriel (28min), Piet van Zyl (64min), and Jesse Kriel (68min)
TRIES
Cheslin Kolbe (9min), Sikhumbuzo Notshe (13min), Dillyn Leyds (33min), Siya Kolisi (53min), Damian Willemse (60min), and Seabelo Senatla (78min)
Tian Schoeman (8min), Tian Schoeman (19min), Tian Schoeman (29min), and Tony Jantjies (69min)
CONVERSIONS
Damian Willemse (10min), Damian Willemse (34min), Damian Willemse (54min), and Damian Willemse (79min)
 
PENALTIES
Damian Willemse (32min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
Conrad van Vuuren (51min)
 
 
VENUE Loftus Versfeld
REFEREE Kubo Shuhei (Japan)