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Super Rugby | Loftus Versfeld
15:15 (GMT) | 24-02-2018
  • 81
Thank you for joining us. Catch some more 6 Nations action on Rugby365
  • 80
The ball is booted into touch and that brings the game to an end. The Bulls records their 1st win
  • 79
The Bulls holding onto the ball as they grind down the clock.
  • 78
The Bulls finds touch inside the Canes' 22. They look to maul but the Hurricanes defense holds strong
  • 77
The Hurricanes on the attack and the ref blows his whistle for a penalty. He goes upstairs to check for foul play by the visitors. Penalty reversed as a Hurricanes player took out a Bulls player illegally. The Bulls opts for touch
  • 76
After the restart possession changes hands a couple of times. The Hurricanes wins a penalty inside their own half and opts for touch
  • 72
Rossouw fails to add the extras
  • 71
The Hurricanes on the attack and West tries to chip but the ball is charged down by Pollard. He kicks it through and the Bulls chases it down. Good counter rucking by the Bulls sees them win possession back and Schoeman dives over for a try
  • 69
A bit of banged ping-pong kicking from both teams before the ball is kicked into touch by the Hurricanes. Line-out on the half for the home team
  • 68
The Bulls looking to build a few phases but their momentum is stopped when the ball is lost forward. The Canes plays the advantage and loses it just before they lose the forward. Scrum for the home team in good attacking position
  • 66
Scrum for the Bulls and they win a penalty and opt for touch
  • 64
Both teams making use of the boot.
  • 63
The Canes win a free-kick and they play it quickly. Barrett opts for a cross-kick but the ball beats everyone to touch
  • 61
Scrum for the Hurricanes after the Bulls lost the ball forward .
  • 59
West adds the extras
  • 58
The Hurricanes attacking from the line-out. They draw in the Bulls defenders before Peranara puts a grubber kick behind the defenders for Barrett to collect and score
  • 56
Another penalty for the Hurricanes and they opt for touch
  • 55
The Hurricanes wins a penalty after the Bulls' line-out and opts for touch before they opt to make use of the boot
  • 54
The Bulls with ball in hand as the game has become a bit more static as players might have become a bit tired.Penalty for the Bulls and they opt for touch
  • 53
The Bulls attacks wide but Kotze fails to hang onto the ball. Scrum for the Hurricanes on the halfway line
  • 51
Shields puts in a kick that rolls into touch deep inside the Bulls' half. Penalty at the line-out for the Bulls as they set-up their rolling maul
  • 50
The Bulls puts it up high from the line-out and the Hurricanes run it back.
  • 49
Scrum penalty for the Bulls and the pressure is relieved as they opt for touch
  • 48
TJ Perenara dots down a try for the Hurricanes. The ref goes upstairs to check the grounding and the try is not awarded. 5m scrum for the Bulls
  • 46
The Bulls with a line-out of their own and they look to maul but a breakaway by De Jager sees him isolated and the Canes wins a turnover penalty and opt for touch
  • 45
This time around the Hurricanes look to run from the line-out but the Bulls wins a penalty on the ground
  • 44
The Hurricanes wins another penalty on the halfway line and they opt for touch
  • 43
The Bulls looks to attack the midfield from the line-out but the ball is lost forward in contact. Canes scrum on their own 10
  • 42
The Hurricanes look to maul from the Bulls' 22 but the home teams defense drives them back and forces a penalty. The Bulls opts for touch
  • 41
The 2nd half gets on the way and the Bulls gets an early scrum just inside their own half. The Bulls is penalized at the scrum and the Canes opts for touch

Half Time

  • 40
Pollard ticks over the scoreboard as the Bulls lead the 1st half. Halftime
  • 39
Line-out 15m out for the Bulls as they look to build a few phases. Another penalty for the Bulls in front of goal and they opt for 3 points
  • 37
The Bulls wins a scrum penalty close to their own 10 and they opt for touch
  • 36
At the return of play, the Hurricanes manages to get their hands on the ball and launch an attack but their momentum is stopped by a handling error
  • 33
Pollard fails to add the extras
  • 32
The two lock forwards combine to create a wonderful try for the Bulls. Lodewyk De Jager finishes
  • 31
Jesse Kriel runs straight through the Canes midfield but the ball is soon after turned over and the Hurricanes clears. The Bulss runs the ball back through Jesse Kriel
  • 29
The Bulls playing phase after phase before the ball is lost forward. Scrum for the home team as the ball was dislodged by a Canes player
  • 28
5m scrum for the Hurricanes on their own try-line. West clears into touch inside their own half
  • 27
The Bulls manages to score as RG Snyman dots it down but the ref goes upstairs to check for a knock-on and his on-field decision is over ruled by the TMO
  • 26
The Canes opts for touch but the Bulls wins the line-out ball and looks to counter.The Bulls edging closer to the try line as they play phase after phase
  • 25
The ref goes upstairs to check foul play and Pierre Schoeman is sent of for a dangerous tackle
  • 24
Both teams making use of the boot before the ball is knocked forward by the Canes and Pollard launches a counterattack that sees RG Snyman run through in acres of space with no support. He eventually tries to pass the ball to Kriel but the ball is knocked forward by the Bulls
  • 22
Possession changes hands a couple of time before play comes to a stop for a knock on by the Hurricanes
  • 20
After the restart, the Bulls get their hands on the ball and they look to attack but the ball is lost in contact by De Jager
  • 19
West adds the extras
  • 17
The Hurricanes with ball in hand and they go wide to Goosen who chips over the last defender and collects to score
  • 15
Penalty for the Bulls and they opt for touch. They look to attack the midfield but the ball is lost forward in contact
  • 13
After the restart West clears into touch. The line-out ball is won by Canes and they look to attack wide
  • 13
West fails to add the extras
  • 11
The Hurricanes mauls 5m out and they drive it over the try line Ricky Riccitelli dots it down
  • 9
The Hurricanes running from the line-out, they put it up in the midfield and wins a penalty.
  • 8
After the restart, the Canes gets ball in hand and builds an attack of their own. They win a penalty and opt for touch
  • 6
Pollard strikes it perfectly as it goes straight through the middle
  • 5
At the return of play, the Bulls wins a penalty for ill-discipline by the Hurricanes. And they opt for goal 44m out
  • 4
Pollard fails to add the extras
  • 3
The Bulls spreads the ball wide and a brilliant pass by Kriel sets up Kotze for a try
  • 2
Bulls line-out just inside the away teams half. The Bulls plays a number of phases and makes a few yards
  • 1
Pollard gets the game on the way and the Hurricanes secures the ball and clears. Pollard returns the kick and the Bulls wins it back in the air.
  • -5
The players are doing their final preparations before taking the field. Referee Rasta Rasivhenge will be in charge of the whistle in this fixture
  • -10
Players to look out for in the Bulls line-up will have to be Jesse Kriel, Handré Pollard, and Roelof Smit while the Canes will expect strong performances by Ngani Laumape, Thomas Perenara and Ardie Savea
  • -20
The Canes have been one of the stand-out performers in Super Rugby despite missing out last year. This will be an interesting matchup as the Canes look to continue where they left off. The Canes managed the only win over the Crusaders last year. This win should give the Hurricanes a bit of confidence. The Hurricanes were the best attacking team in Super rugby the previous year and the young Bulls team will look to do the same. The home field advantage will favor the Bulls and as we all know Loftus can really become a struggling point for the Canes.
  • -30
Welcome to Loftus Versfeld, where we are building up to the last game of Super Rugby's Round Two - the Bulls against the Hurricanes.
  • -30
Welcome to Loftus Versveld, Pretoria for this exciting round 2 Super Rugby fixture
Mc bulls logo 80x50
Mc hurricanes logo 80x50
  • 1 Pierre Schoeman
  • 2 Jaco Visagie
  • 3 Frans van Wyk
  • 4 RG Snyman
  • 5 Lodewyk de Jager
  • 6 Roelof Smit
  • 7 Thembelani Bholi
  • 8 Hanro Liebenberg
  • 9 Andre Warner
  • 10 Handre Pollard
  • 11 Johnny Kotze
  • 12 Burger Odendaal
  • 13 Jesse Kriel
  • 14 Travis Ismaiel
  • 15 Divan Rossouw
  • 16 Adriaan Strauss
  • 17 Lizo Gqoboka
  • 18 Conrad van Vuuren
  • 19 Nick de Jager
  • 20 Marco van Staden
  • 21 Embrose Papier
  • 22 Marnitz Boshoff
  • 23 Duncan Matthews
  • 1 Toby Smith
  • 2 Ricky Riccitelli
  • 3 Ben May
  • 4 Vaea Fifita
  • 5 Sam Lousi
  • 6 Brad Shields
  • 7 Ardie Savea
  • 8 Gareth Evans
  • 9 TJ Perenara
  • 10 Ihaia West
  • 11 Wes Goosen
  • 12 Ngani Laumape
  • 13 Vince Tavae –Aso
  • 14 Julian Savea
  • 15 Matt Proctor
  • 16 James O’Reilly
  • 17 Chris Eves
  • 19 Fraser Armstrong
  • 20 Murray Douglas
  • 21 Blade Thomson
  • 22 Jamie Booth
  • 23 Beauden Barrett
  • 24 Ben Lam
Mc article super rugby round two 2 800

Preview: Super Rugby, Round Two - Part Two

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 21:23

WALL-TO-WALL: Strap yourself in. There are 12 hours of uninterrupted action on the first full Saturday of the season.

It starts with the Sunwolves - now being used to prepare the Japan national team just like the Jaguares are an extension of Argentina. The Japanese franchise host the Brumbies in Tokyo in the first match of the marathon session.

That is followed by what must be the match of the weekend - the defending champion Crusaders at home to the Chiefs, a settled team against a franchise with plenty of personnel changes, including a new head coach.

A short hop across the Tasman sea and the Waratahs host the Stormers.

We then cross the Indian Ocean where the Lions, beaten finalists the last two years, start their quest to win their first Super Rugby title since 1993 - when they host the Jaguares at Ellis Park.

The day concludes when the Bulls, now under the tutoring of New Zealander John Mitchell, take on the Hurricanes in Pretoria.

We look at Round Two's Saturday matches!

Saturday, February 24

Sunwolves v Brumbies
(Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo - Kick-off: 13.15; 15.15 AEST; 04.15 GMT)

There is no attempt to conceal the fact that Japan's rugby bosses are using the Sunwolves to help prepare their national team for the World Cup tournament they host next year.

Jamie Joseph, the New Zealand who played for the All Blacks and Japan, is coach of the Sunwolves and the Japan national team.

He is leaning heavily on foreign imports - with South Africa one of the biggest sources of for his playing roster.

Even without prop Ruan Smith who, left the franchise for "family reasons", Joseph still has six South Africans in his Super Rugby squad - Hencus van Wyk, Grant Hattingh, Wimpie van der Walt, Pieter Labuschagne, Willem Britz and Gerhard van den Heever.

Britz, Labuschagne and Grant Hattingh are all in the starting XV for Saturday. They are being earmarked to represent Japan at the World Cup next year.

Van der Walt has already made his international debut for Japan.

Joseph admitted they face a tough challenge in the Brumbies.

"I anticipate that they are going to put a lot of pressure on the set pieces - like scrum and line-out," Joseph said.

"Plus, they have tough backs that are really hard to stop."

The Brumbies are a team in transition, of sorts.

They have a new head coach in Dan McKellar, who took over from Stephen Larkham at the end of last year.

The Brumbies were greeted by snow at their first training session in Tokyo on Thursday, with temperatures expected to be as low as three degrees for the game.

"We've had a look at the Sunwolves, the reality is the coaching staff is the same group as the national team," McKellar said.

"But to a certain extent, you're guessing.

"We're focused on ourselves and getting our plan right, making sure we turn up to execute well and get the outcome we want.

"They'll bring a whole lot of enthusiasm, a whole lot of energy and will play off the cuff. We have to be ready for that."

Previous result:
2016: Brumbies won 66-5, Canberra

Prediction: The Brumbies will start favourites, but don't write off the Sunwolves altogether. They have upset teams in the past and once they get on the front foot, they play with an energy that is difficult to contain. Still, the Brumbies should win by at least 15 points.


Sunwolves: 15 Jason Emery, 14 Lomano Lava Lemeki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Robbie Robinson, 9 Yutaka Nagare (captain), 8 Willem Britz, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Kazuki Himeno, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Ho Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.         
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Asaeli Ai Valu, 19 James Moore, 20 Edward Quirk, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Sione Teaupa.

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Rob Valetini, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Richie Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Lachlan Mccaffrey, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Lausii Taliauli.

Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)

Crusaders v Chiefs
(AMI Stadium, Christchurch - Kick-off: 19.35; 06.35 GMT)

Apart from the numerous All Blacks on show, the Chiefs and Crusaders have a history of meeting in the opening week - facing off against each other three times in the last decade in Christchurch.

They played in 2009 (Crusaders won 19-13), 2014 (Chiefs won 18-10), 2016 (Chiefs won 27-21), and now this weekend, which is eagerly awaited throughout the country.

Chiefs coach Colin Cooper cannot wait to get his first crack at the defending-champion Crusaders with his new franchise.

"We know it has to happen," he said, adding: "We have to play down in Christchurch this year, so playing the Crusaders first, we're not daunted by it, we're excited by it, going to Christchurch and their backyard."

Crusaders back Jack Goodhue admitted they will have a target on their backs as defending champions, but are up for the challenge.

"It will be about attitude," the 2017 All Black said.

"[It is about] how much we want it.

"The boys are excited for this first round.

"We will just play our own game and hopefully start the season well."

The other talking point is about exciting utility back Damian McKenzie playing at No.10.

The Chiefs coach, Cooper, selected a physical and experienced lineup to set the benchmark for the side's 2018 campaign.

The starting XV features five 2017 All Blacks in the forward pack alone, as well as the much-talked-about combination of Brad Weber and Damian McKenzie in the No.9 and No.10 jerseys.

"Everyone is talking about Damian, but it's just about giving him time at No.10," Cooper said.

"Brad is coming off injury, but played really well in the pre-season and shows a lot of excitement if he can get into space."

Goodhue said they know what to expect.

"With Damian [McKenzie] at No.10, he will want to run it a bit more," the midfielder said, adding: "He is an exciting player.

"He gets a lot of reward for his high-risk game."

Recent results:
2017: Crusaders won 27-13, Christchurch (semifinal)
2017: Crusaders won 31-24, Suva
2016: Chiefs won 23-13, Suva
2016: Chiefs won 27-21, Christchurch
2015: Chiefs won 26-9, Christchurch
2015: Chiefs won 40-16, Hamilton

Prediction: It is, without doubt, the match of the weekend and a tough game to call. The Chiefs, despite the many changes, have threats all over the park. However, the Crusaders look a more solid, all-round team and should win a real Kiwi arm-wrestle by five points.


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

Chiefs: 15 Charlie Ngatai (captain), 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Atunaisa Moli, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Liam Messam, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Sean Wainui.

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

Waratahs v Stormers
(Allianz Stadium, Sydney - Kick-off: 19.45; 08.45 GMT; 10.45 SA Time)

The Waratahs, determined to lift themselves from the mire of mediocrity they slipped into last year, host a Stormers team determined to prove their detractors wrong.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said the team is ready to play.

"The game against the Stormers will be a physical contest and it's a chance for our guys to show what they have, and what we have been focusing on delivering," Gibson said.

"The kind of start we had against the Rebels [in a pre-season trial] last week was too slow for my liking, and we cannot afford to do that against the Stormers.

"We will need to up the tempo."

Wallaby No.6 Ned Hanigan also spoke of the physical nature of the opposition.

"They are very direct, upfront and physical, so it'll warm the shoulders up for the season ahead, we're looking forward to it," Hanigan said.

"If you win the contact zone more than half the time in a game you're probably going to win.

"This weekend will be a contest in that area and it's something that we're looking forward to, getting geared up to get into it."

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said that his team is determined to carry the momentum they gained from last week's narrow win over the Jaguares in their first game on tour.

"It has been a good week for us in Sydney and the players are focused on making a positive start to the tour," Fleck said.

"We know there are several areas in which we can improve, so we will be giving it everything on Saturday," he added.

Recent results:
2016: Waratahs won 32-30, Cape Town
2015: Stormers won 32-18, Sydney
2014: Waratahs won 22-11, Cape Town
2013: Waratahs won 21-15, Sydney
2012: Stormers won 19-13, Cape Town

Prediction:  The Stormers can win in Sydney, as they have done before. But is this Stormers selection of the same quality as the class of 2015? Coach Robbie Fleck spoke at length about rustiness last week and that 'rustiness' will most likely cost them. The Waratahs by 12 points.


Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Andrew Kellaway, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.          
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Alex Newsome.

Stormers: 15 Sarel Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johannes Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 John Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Dean Muir, 17 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 George Whitehead, 23 EW Viljoen.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), William Houston (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Lions v Jaguares
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 15.05; 13.05 GMT; 10.50 Buenos Aires time)

The Jaguares are looking to break a trend that has existed since their entry into Super Rugby.

They have beaten the Lions twice in Buenos Aires and have lost twice in Johannesburg.

However, their lack of discipline has often been their biggest problem and could come back to haunt then against the free-running Lions.

Lions coach Swys de Bruin is cautious, pointing to how the Argentinians came back against the Stormers - showing their true qualities in the last 20 minutes at Newlands.

"They are an international team, no doubt," De Bruin said.

"It is going to be very important that we maintain our disciplinary standards."

He said they will not creep into their shells and become conservative in their approach.

"We have been playing a particular brand [of rugby] for the last five years and we are going to stick to that."

De Bruin said they have worked very hard on fixing their wonky line-outs.

Jaguares lock Guido Petti suggested they may target the Lions' scrum.

"The scrum was very good [against the Stormers] and we want to continue along that line," Petti said.

The lock described the Lions as a "dynamic" team, which opens the game up and looks to attack the open spaces out wide.

Recent results:
2017: Lions won 24-21, Johannesburg
2017: Jaguares won 36-24, Buenos Aires
2016: Jaguares won 34-22, Buenos Aires
2016: Lions won 52-24, Johannesburg

Prediction: Discipline is indeed the key word for this game. If the Jaguares maintain their composure they will be in with a realistic chance of winning at Ellis Park for the first time. However, the Lions showed last week they do have the experience to win tight games and should win by 12 points.


Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques Van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacobus Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Marco Jansen Van Vuren, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg.

Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Tomas Lezana, 7 Javier Ortega, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Felipe Arregui.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Javier Manuel, 18 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Marcos Kremer, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Leonardo Senatore, 23 Ramiro Moyano.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Jaco Pretorius (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)

Bulls v Hurricanes
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 17.15; 15.15 GMT; 04.15, Sunday, February 25 NZ time)

Bulls captain Burger Odendaal  jokingly said there were more journalists at Thursday's media briefing than there were in the stands last year.

As that idiom goes: Many a true word said in jest.

The fact is, John Mitchell has been tasked with getting the Bulls up to a respectable standard and ensure the spectators return to Loftus Versfeld.

Mitchell was keen to see the competition starting and his campaign as Bulls coach get underway.

"The wait is finally over for us," the former All Black mentor said.

"We worked hard to get to this point and that work and progress will now be tested against one of the best teams in the competition.

"It is a tough way to start, but we would not want it any other way.

"We know we play a very decent team, but our squad will be pretty focussed on our own outcomes and how to get there.

"We worked hard to this point, but we understand that we will not be the complete product yet.

"It remains a fantastic competition and I am happy to be back as a coach. We have a number of objectives we want to achieve in Super Rugby and we can finally start testing our progress against a very capable opponent."

Bulls captain, Burger Odendaal, despite his somewhat comical reference to the empty stands, was pleased to have a home start.

"We love playing at Loftus Versfeld and realise that we owe our loyal supporters a good season," Odendaal said.

"The guys are pretty determined to deliver just that. We face some formidable opponents in the Hurricanes, but this is our home and we are committed to start something special as a group."

The talking point around the Hurricanes team is the decision to leave World Rugby Player of the Year Beauden Barrett on the bench.

It is part of an agreement with New Zealand rugby.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd confirmed his All Blacks are to miss two Super Rugby matches.

Having Barrett as insurance on the bench is not a bad compromise.

"Jeez, I might get myself in trouble here," Boyd said in a teleconference call from Pretoria.

"Am I allowed to talk about that?

"The All Black management and coaches have no input on when or how, but we have a requirement to give our All Blacks two weeks where they don't play at the end of the week.

"That's our choice when we do that and why, but they require an additional two weeks rest."

Recent results:
2017: Hurricanes won 34-20, Pretoria
2015: Hurricanes won 17-13, Pretoria
2014: Hurricanes win 25-20, Wellington
2013: Bulls won 48-14, Pretoria
2011: Bulls won 26-14, Napier

Prediction: Is it too soon for John Mitchell to have a real impact on the Bulls? Gut instinct says it will take a few weeks. Then again, gut instinct is not always correct. We think the Hurricanes will win a hard-fought battle - by nine points.


Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain ), 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolf Snyman, 3 Frans van Wyk, Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Nic de Jager, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, Divan Rossouw.

Hurricanes: 15 Matt Proctor, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Alex Fidow, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ben Lam.

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Stephen Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning


Mc article bulls v hurricanes 800

Brave Bulls battle past Hurricanes

Sat, 24 Feb 2018 15:00

SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Bulls showed grit not seen in years to battle past the Hurricanes in a bruising encounter in Pretoria on Saturday.

The Bulls are back. And if Pretoria is as wise as we think it is, Loftus Versfeld will be full next week when the Lions bring their two wins to the enthusiastic ground.

The Hurricanes brought a team of experienced men to Loftus Versfeld while the Bulls had far less experience. The teams scored three tries each.

The Hurricanes had a tough times in the scrums, conceding three penalties but they put pressure on the Bulls' line-out. The Hurricanes may have been neater about their possession in the line-outs, which was largely uncontested but they lost one and threw one in skew while the Bulls, whose every line-out was contested, lost one.

The Hurricanes won the turnovers. Their backs were more skilful and creative but the Bulls pack were the ones whose forwards handled better and made more ground.

In the first half the Hurricanes battled to get possession but they had much the better of the second half, till the last 15 minutes or so when the Bulls came back.

Last year the Bulls' defence was fragile. In this match they were direct and energetic on defence and actually were less leaky than the Hurricanes were, for the visitors did not relish getting stuck into big men. Two of the three Bulls' tries were scored by forwards and only a long TMO investigation prevented the forwards from having a third.

The Bulls scored first when they went hither and thither in phases, and a clever under-armpit pass from Jesse Kriel gave Johnny Kotze a try. 5-0 after 3 minutes.

They scored again when rough Sam Lousi was penalised for an armless tackle. 8-0 after 6 minutes.

The same Lousi had a great charge down the middle of the field, and penalty gave the Hurricanes a five-metre line-out. The Hurricanes mauled cleverly and Durban-born hooker Ricky Riccitelli fell down for the try. 8-5 after 12 minutes.

Six minutes later, the Hurricanes took the lead. A long, bouncing pass found East London-born Wes Goosen. The Bulls young, Windhoek-born fullback Divan Rossouw came up to challenge Goosen who chipped over his head and into empty acres. He raced after the ball which generously stood up for him and he ran another 24 metres to score a try, which Ihaia West converted to give the Hurricanes a 12-8 lead after 18 minutes.

Big lock RG Snyman went off on the first of his long gallops which faded when the tried an underarm flipback to Pollard. 

This was heartening for the Bulls but soon afterwards they had a disheartening blow when prop Pierre Schoeman was yellowcarded for a swinging arm.

To their credit, when Schoeman returned to battle, the Bulls were leading 13-12. They did not let a yellow card get them down.

In fact they nearly had two tries. Snyman leant  a big arm down for what looked like a try after TJ Perenara had bravely stopped Lood de Jager at the goal-line. But a lengthy examination by the TMO decided that Frans van Wyk had lost the ball forward that Snyman picked up to dab down over the line.

But two minutes later, a metre inside the Hurricanes' half, Snyman burst through two attempted tackles and strode downfield. This time there were no subtle flipbacks, just a pass to his tall companion De Jager about two metres from the Hurricanes 22 and De Jager strode off while defenders scurried towards him. He scored in the left corner and the Bulls were back in front, 13-12.

Schoeman came back, Vince Aso went offside, and Pollard made the half-time score 16-12 to the Bulls.

On 56 minutes Beauden Barrett, World Rugby's Player of the year in 2016 and 2017, came onto the field, replacing Julian Savea. He had one touch of the ball that was better than anybody else's touches in the match.

But his first touch was a try. The Hurricanes were hot on the attack and near the Bulls' line, Perenara gave Barrett a grubber pass to his left. Barrett seized it and scored. West converted, and the Hurricanes were back on top at 19-16 with 21 minutes to play.

At this stage 20-year-old, Clanwilliam-born Embrose Papier came on at scrumhalf.

The Hurricanes had greater post-try energy but Pollard charged down a West kick, picked up the ball and hoofed it downfield. Kriel sped after the ball. Ardie Savea got the ball and Kriel got Savea. Big Lood de Jager was there to clean out. The Bulls went right and prop Schoeman sold a dummy and scored. With 8 minutes to play the Bulls led 21-19.

They played keepball and then when time was up Papier kicked the ball out for the victory.

Man of the Match: RG Snyman. Nobody was better than this giant.

The scorers:

For the Bulls:
 Kotze, De Jager, Schoeman
Pens: Pollard 2

For the Hurricanes:
 Riccitelli, Goosen, Barrett
Cons: West 2

Yellow card: Pierre Schoeman (Bulls, 25 - foul play, swinging arm)


Bulls: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain ), 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolf Snyman, 3 Frans van Wyk, Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Nic de Jager, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, .

Hurricanes: 15 Matt Proctor, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Fraser Armstrong, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Beauden Barrett, 23 Ben Lam.

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Stephen Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Johnny Kotze (3min), Lodewyk de Jager (32min), and Pierre Schoeman (71min)
Ricky Riccitelli (11min), Wes Goosen (17min), and Beauden Barrett (58min)
Ihaia West (19min) and Ihaia West (59min)
Handre Pollard (6min) and Handre Pollard (40min)
Pierre Schoeman (25min)
VENUE Loftus Versfeld
REFEREE Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)