ad link


29     35


Super Rugby | Durban
15:05 (GMT) | 14-02-2015
  • 83
We head straight to Loftus now for a massive derby!
  • 82
The Sharks lose the ball once again and the Cheetahs boots it into touch! FULLTIME! The Cheetahs have beaten the more fancied Sharks! The weekend of upsets continues!
  • 80
The Sharks launch another attack but as it reaches Lambie, he is thumped in the tackle and loses the ball forward. Hendricks hoofs the ball forward with Le Roux charging after it. He misses kicking it forward but Rhule doesn't. The ball rolls into touch for the final throw-in of the match on the Sharks 22
  • 79
Coetzee takes 3 tacklers with him as he crashes over the line but he KNOCKS IT ON as he attempted to place it! The ref brings them back for a PENALTY on the 5 metre line.
  • 78
Here come the Sharks once again! 5 metres from the Cheetahs try line as the forwards rumbles it closer to the line. The Cheetahs hold them off for 20 phases. PENALTY! Quick tap taken
  • 76
Lambie slots the conversion and we are back to a 6-point game
  • 75
The Sharks are in possession and have run it to the Cheetahs 22. Great continuity from them sees the ball shift to the left and finds Mvovo who bursts down the line for an easy score! TRY! Are we about to have a massive comeback from the home side?
  • 71
Willie du Plessis adds the extra points to extend the Cheetahs lead
  • 69
Pretorius makes a snipe for the line and gives it Prinsloo who is brought down a metre from the line. TRY!!! Wegner picks the ball up and crashes over the line from close range to get the bonus point try
  • 68
Sharks are under all sorts of pressure at the moment and concede penalties with regularity. Cheetahs find themselves with a line-out on the Sharks' 22
  • 65
Pietersen misses the conversion and we have a 6-point game
  • 64
TRY!!! Cheetahs gets the try after they set the maul from the line-out! Prinsloo emerges with the ball!
  • 62
PENALTY! The Sharks' front row collapses on the hit. Pietersen pops it into touch for a 5 metre line-out
  • 61
Cheetahs set a rolling maul and makes their way into the Sharks 22. Pietersen puts in a cross kick. Marais rises to grab it but can't keep control of the ball. Scrum to Cheetahs 9 metres from the Sharks try line
  • 59
Reinach's attempt at a grubber finds the hands of Pretorius who kicks ahead, Marais cleans up and gives a pass to Reinach who is bundled into touch
  • 56
The captain fades it between the posts and we have a 1 point game
  • 54
The ball rolls into touch but the play is brought back to the Cheetahs 10 metre line for a high tackle! PENALTY! Lambie chooses to have a shot at goal
  • 53
Sharks maintaining possession well as they edge their way up the field. A scrappy bit of play ensues as Le Roux attempts a clearance kick the goes horribly wrong.
  • 52
It's turned into a kicking battle now as the sides exchange kicks. Sharks will have a throw-in just inside Cheetahs territory
  • 50
He finds his range again and reduces the deficit!
  • 49
PENALTY! High tackle from the Cheetahs! Lambie will have a kick at goal from a lot closer and straighter this time
  • 48
It has the legs but hits the upright and the Cheetahs manage to boot it into touch just short of their 10 metre line
  • 47
It's been all Cheetahs in the opening exchanges! PENALTY! Oosthuizen is penalised at a scrum for an illegal bind and Lambie will look to narrow the gap
  • 44
No problem for Pietersen as he slots yet another 3-pointer
  • 43
The ball makes its way back to the Sharks 22 after Mvovo collects a kick. PENALTY! He fails to release the ball and hands Pietersen a chance to extend the Cheetahs' lead
  • 42
Cheetahs are in possession and make their way into the Sharks 22. Pietersen had a go at a drop goal but he pushes his effort to the right
  • 41
KICKOFF! Pietersen gets the second half underway!

Half Time

  • 40
Lambie slots the kick and that's the last action of the half! HALFTIME!
  • 39
The Sharks hit back with a huge shove of their own close to the Cheetahs' 5 metre line. PENALTY! Lambie will have a shot at goal.
  • 38
The Sharks look to hit back straight away. Mtembu makes a break before releasing Mvovo. The ball is recycled but is knocked on and another attack is stopped in it's tracks by a handling error
  • 37
Another 3 points to the Cheetahs from Pietersen's boot
  • 36
The ball is kicked into touch for a line-out. The SHarks tackle the jumper in the air and concede another PENALTY. Pietersen will have a shot at goal
  • 34
Huge shove from the Cheetahs. PENALTY!
  • 33
The attack is stopped in it's tracks by a knock on ans the Cheetahs will have the feed to the scrum just outside their 22
  • 31
A kicking battle ensues and the Sharks have a net gain as they have a line-out inside Cheetahs territory
  • 28
Pietersen makes no mistake in adding the extra points
  • 27
TRY!! Cooper attempts a shocker of a clearance kick. Britz collects the high ball, finds Super Sarel who draws the last defender and puts Venter over under the poles
  • 26
He picks himself up and slots over the extra points
  • 25
Solid scrum from the Sharks! Mtembu broke off the back of the scrum, gives it to Reinach, who puts Lambie through a whole. A little juggle from the flyhalf but he gets over for a TRY!!!
  • 23
No issues for Pietersen as he slots his second kick of the match
  • 22
The Cheetahs in possession inside Sharks territory. PENALTY! Du Plessis is caught in an offside position which hands Pietersen a chance to restore the 4-point lead
  • 20
His radar is locked and the ball sails between the poles. It's a 1-point game now
  • 19
PENALTY! The Cheetahs are caught offside at a line-out and Lambie will have a shot at goal from about 43 metres from the right flank
  • 17
Sharks forwards are doing some hard work early in the match but the Cheetahs defence are holding them at bay
  • 15
Pietersen curls the ball between the uprights!
  • 13
Oosthuizen with a blistering run through the heart of the Sharks defence! 5 metres to go. The ball is shifted through the hands and TRY!!!!! Cook gets the 5-pointer in the left corner
  • 11
That's the first points of the game as he splits the uprights
  • 10
Sharks have a penalty from 30 metres out. Lambie will have a shot at goal
  • 9
Cheetahs with a line-out just inside the Sharks 22. They inch their way closer to the try line. TURN OVER! Sharks come away with it.
  • 6
The Sharks spread the ball down the backline and finds Marais, who puts in a chip kick but it has too much gas on it and rolls over the try line. Blommetjies is there to touch it down. 22 drop out to the Cheetahs
  • 3
Cheetahs turn the ball over and Le Roux boots it down field. The ball rolls into touch inside Sharks 22
  • 1
Sharks have made their intent quite clear, keeping ball in hand and running at the Cheetahs
  • 0
KICK-OFF! Lambie gets the game underway!
  • -5
There hasn't been much to separate these teams in recent times. 2013 and 2014 saw them trade wins but the Sharks could hold the edge as they have won 6 of the last 8 matches between the sides
  • -10
Will the Sharks revert to type - structure and kicking? And the Cheetahs, can they find their best expansive form?
  • -15
The Cheetahs have lost a number of key players to the Bulls - Springboks Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane and Pieter Labuschagne. Would be interesting to see what that does to their cohesion
  • -20
The Sharks, with a new coaching set-up and plenty of star quality in their roster are favoured to win. However, we've already had a couple of upsets this weekend ...
  • -30
Welcome to Kings Park in Durban, where we are gearing up for the Super Rugby Round One encounter between the Sharks and Cheetahs.
Mc sharks logo 80x50
Mc cheetahs logo 80x50
  • 15 Garth April
  • 14 Jacobus Van Wyk
  • 13 Lukhanyo Am
  • 12 Marius Louw
  • 11 Odwa Ndungane
  • 10 Curwin Bosch
  • 9 Louis Schrueder
  • 8 Daniel du Preez
  • 7 Jean-Luc Du Preez
  • 6 Keegan Daniel
  • 5 Ruan Botha
  • 4 Tyler Paul
  • 3 Ross Geldenhuys
  • 2 Franco Marais
  • 1 Thomas Du Toit
  • 23 Rhyno Smith
  • 22 Tristan Blewett
  • 21 Michael Claassens
  • 20 Jacques Vermeulen
  • 19 Jean Droste
  • 18 John-Hubert Meyer
  • 17 Juan Schoeman
  • 16 Armand van der Merwe
  • 15 Clayton Blommetjies
  • 14 William Small-Smith
  • 13 Francois Venter
  • 12 Niel Marais
  • 11 Sibahle Maxwane
  • 10 Johan Goosen
  • 9 Tian Meyer
  • 8 Uzair Cassiem
  • 7 Oupa Mohoje
  • 6 Paul Schoeman
  • 5 Reniel Hugo
  • 4 Carl Wegner
  • 3 Johannes Coetzee
  • 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld
  • 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche
  • 23 AJ Coertzen
  • 22 Clinton Swart
  • 21 Zee Mkhabela
  • 20 Henco Venter
  • 19 Reynier Bernardo
  • 18 Tom Botha
  • 17 Charles Marais
  • 16 Jacques du Toit
Mc article dave dennis waratahs

Preview: S15 Round One, Part Two

Thu, 12 Feb 2015 23:03

The first Saturday of the Super Rugby season will be consumed by local derbies. Jan de Koning looks at Saturday and Sunday's games.

The first Saturday of the Super Rugby season will be consumed by local derbies - intriguing encounters that will be a delectable mix of brute and brains.

The day's drama starts when the three-time champion Blues host the two-time champion Chiefs in Albany.

We then head across the Indian Ocean to South Africa for two more derbies - the Sharks at home to the Cheetahs - both looking to put last year's disappointments behind them, the Sharks after being knocked out in the semifinals and the Cheetahs after failing to reproduce their sublime 2013 form when they reached the play-offs for the first time in history.

The day's action is concluded with the big north-south derby between the Bulls and Stormers in Pretoria - a game steeped in tradition and an encounter that seldom disappoints.

On Sunday the spotlight shifts to Sydney - where the big questions centres on Michael Cheika and his ability to juggle both the Waratahs (Super Rugby) and World Cup (Wallaby) jobs.

Cheika brought a first Super title to Sydney after building a side stacked with Wallabies including Benn Robinson, Kurtley Beale and Israel Folau.

Their main competition in Australia should come from the Reds, who have hired New Zealand-born code-hopper Karmichael Hunt and given another chance to wayward back James O'Connor.

We look at Saturday and Sunday's matches!

Saturday, February 14:

Blues v Chiefs
(North Harbour Stadium, Albany - Kick-off: 19.35; 06.35 GMT)

The return of serial code-hopper Sonny Bill Williams headlines the encounter in Albany.

His obvious talent aside, many wonder of he will be the spark that brings the Chiefs a third Super Rugby title in four years.

Williams, back from yet another stint in Rugby League, will hope to not just add another Super Rugby title, but also a World Cup gold medal to his collection this year.

With Williams grabbing the headlines, the absence of a trio of All Blacks stars - flyhalf Aaron Cruden, flank Liam Messam and Brodie Retallick - almost slipped by unnoticed.

They are sitting out as part of the agreement with the New Zealand Rugby Union to 'manage' key players ahead of the World Cup.

It won't be the first time the two teams have met this year. Both sides travelled to Whangarei on January 29 for the first of the pre-season games.

Blues coach John Kirwan admitted that his team must improve "significantly" after the blitzed them early in the game and then held on in the second half for a deserved win.

"However, it served a good purpose," Kirwan said, adding: "It gave me the other coaches some valuable pre-season knowledge about how the team was performing.

We know, this weekend we need to make sure we nail our execution, individual skills and urgency around the park."

The day after the Blues play the Chiefs, they will be travelling to South Africa for a two-game tour.

"With that in mind, I'm placing huge emphasis on the opening match,""Kirwan said, adding: "I'm expecting them to go out and give everything they've got. It's like a final for us."

Recent results:
2014: Chiefs won 11-8, Auckland
2014: Chiefs won 32-20, Hamilton
2013:  Chiefs won 26-16, Auckland
2013: Chiefs won 23-16, Mount Maunganui
2012: Chiefs won 41-34, Auckland
2012: Chiefs won 29-14, Hamilton

Prediction: The Chiefs have just a 46 percent win rate against compatriots when playing away from home, while the Blues boast a 63 percent win rate against fellow New Zealand sides at home. The Chiefs are enjoying a seven-match winning sequence over the Blues. In their last 14 games of last season, the Blues followed back-to-back defeats with two consecutive victories. The Chiefs have won their season opener in each of the last two seasons. The Chiefs had the worst discipline in 2014, conceding a competition-high 12.8
penalties per game. This may well be the only away win of the weekend - the Chiefs to sneak it by less than 10 points.


Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Charles Piutau, 13 George Moala/Hamish Northcott, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacments: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Luke Braid, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Hamish Northcott/Ben Lam.

Chiefs:  15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Johan Bardoul, 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Matt Symons (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacments: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Tevita Koloamatangi, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Bryce Heem.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Sharks v Cheetahs
(Kings Park, Durban - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT)

It is a game in which both teams will be searching for answers to questions that have been troubling them since last year.

The Sharks dropped out at the semifinal stage of both the Super Rugby and Currie Cup competition - with the former a particularly big let down, given the star quality of their playing roster.

Sharks coach Brad Mcleod-Henderson, determined to see his charges finally go on and claim a Super Rugby title - having been runners-up four times, losing semifinalists four times and lost in the preliminary stages of the play-offs once.

While not advocating a complete change in gameplan, McLeod-Henderson admitted there need to be some adjustments.

"You also want to play smart and do what is working for you," he said.

"If the opportunities are there we want to be able to take them, but we still need to make sure that we are doing the basics well, defending well, our set pieces need to function and we need to make sure that we are accurate at the breakdown.

"If we do all those things I am sure it will be an exciting game."

He added that they will not really focus on results too much, but are more focused on their performances.

"If we play to our potential I am sure we will get off to a winning start," the coach said.

The Cheetahs, who will hope to put a disappointing 2014 behind them, have turned to Stormers import Joe Pietersen to solve their flyhalf problem - a result of Springbok Johan Goosen's departure to France.

With Elgar Watts still working his way back to full fitness after a lengthy injury lay-of and young Willie du Plessis a touch too raw for the bruising Sharks, Pietersen is the man entrusted to guide the Cheetahs.

"Joe has impressed since joining us and has earned his start against the Sharks," Drotské said.

"We are eager to see how he performs in Durban."

The loss of three Springboks to the Bulls - hooker Adriaan Strauss, prop Trevor Nyakane and flank Pieter Labuschagne - could be the most telling blow for the Bloemfontein-based outfit.

While Springbok fullback Willie le Roux will be at his post against the Sharks, flank Heinrich Brüssow and centre Johann Sadie have not been considered for the Sharks game after their stint in Japan.

Recent results:
2014: Cheetahs won 27-20, Bloemfontein
2014: Sharks won 19-8, Durban
2013: Cheetahs won 12-6, Durban
2013: Sharks won 29-22, Bloemfontein
2012: Sharks won 34-15, Durban
2012: Sharks won 34-20, Bloemfontein

Prediction: The Sharks have won six of the last eight matches between the sides, but the two defeats in this sequence came in 2013 and 2014. The Cheetahs have won three of seven away games against the Durban-based side. The Cheetahs last won their opening fixture of the year in 2007, since then they have lost all seven Round One matches. The Sharks have started each of the last two seasons with a victory, including a win over the Cheetahs in 2013. The Sharks also beat the Cheetahs on the opening day in 2011. The Sharks conceded 17 turnovers per game last season, more than any other side in the competition. There is no doubt the Cheetahs have the ability to beat the Sharks, but the home team just seem to have too much class - the Sharks by 10 to 15 points.


Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Sibusiso Sithole, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Marco Wentzel, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Odwa Ndungane.
Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Clayton Blommetjies, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Jean Cook, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Minnie.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 BG Uys, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Johannes Prinsloo, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Cornal Hendricks.
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Archie Sehlako (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Bulls v Stormers
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 19.10; 17.10 GMT)

The Bulls are determined to prove their detractors wrong and they could not have asked for a better opening-round test that their arch-rivals - the Stormers.

The three-time champions will be led into battle by veteran Victor Matfield in the absence of No.8 Pierre Spies - who starts on the bench as he eases his way back to full fitness.

The Bulls have spoken throughout the pre-season of a more attacking approach and Matfield again emphasised the point at a media briefing this week.

"We want to go out and score tries - if you don't score tries you won't win this competition," Matfield said.

"If you look at the stats each year, it is almost always the team that scores the most tries that wins it.

"So it is about scoring tries and we've worked hard on that, especially playing from broken field, so hopefully we can score some nice tries this year."

In Adriaan Strauss, recruited from the Cheetahs in the off-season, the Bulls may just find the spark that could ignite another successful campaign.

However, the Stormers have their own wrecking ball in No.8 and captain Duane Vermeulen.

For coach Allister Coetzee it is important that they don't have another slow start, as they did the last few years.

"It goes both way, it is the first game for them [the Bulls] as well," Coetzee told a media gathering in Cape Town.

"They are sitting with players who had just 10 and 20 minutes against Saracens [in a pre-season outing] - coming back after [being out injured for] some time."

He admitted that it is always tough going to Loftus Versfeld.

"It is our third year running that we have to play our opening match away from home," Coetzee said, adding: "We have to rectify that, after not getting off to a good start the last two years.

"Last year it was the Lions [at Ellis Park, a 10-34 loss] and in 2013 it was the Bulls [a 17-25 loss at Loftus].

"You ask any team playing away in their opening game, it is never easy - we have to rectify that.

"On top of that you have to go to altitude in the opening game - match fitness [or the lack of it] will be a factor.

"That is what we experienced against the Lions [in Johannesburg] last year - it is not an excuse, but it is a factor.

"We have to deal with it. We have a plan or two and hopefully that helps."

Recent results:
2014: Stormers won 16-0, Cape Town
2014: Bulls won 28-12, Pretoria
2013: Stormers won 30-13, Cape Town
2013: Bulls won 25-17, Pretoria
2012: Stormers won 19-14, Pretoria
2012: Stormers won 20-17, Cape Town

Prediction: The Bulls went unbeaten at home in 2014, winning seven and drawing one. They have lost just one of their last 19 at home. The Stormers lost seven of eight away matches last term, but their solo victory in that run of games came in their final away match of the season - a two-point squeaker against the Sharks. Defeat to the Sharks in the opening round of last season was the first opening weekend defeat tasted by the Bulls since 2007 (also against the Sharks). The Stormers lost their opening games in 2013 and 2014. There is no doubt the Bulls are a quality outfit at home and that gives them a slight. The Bulls should win, but it will be by less that 10 points.


Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen/Neethling Fouché, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Pierre Spies, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 23 Jesse Kriel.

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa), Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Sunday, February 15:

Waratahs v Western Force
(Allianz Stadium, Sydney Kick-off: 16.05; 05.05 GMT; 13.05 AWST)

Michael Cheika has the unenviable task of juggling both a Super Rugby (Waratahs) and international (Wallabies) coaching jobs.

For added spice they will have an enormous target on their backs after wining the Super Rugby title last year.

Cheika said that the season ahead would be about capitalising on the momentum of a positive pre-season, and building on a successful formula.

"The key thing for us is not to reinvent the wheel, we need to be very clear about the identity of the team and not think about the result," Cheika said at a media briefing this week.

"[We must] just think about playing the best rugby possible and enjoying ourselves - and making sure we're 100 percent committed.

"The squad have committed very well to everything we've asked them to do in the pre-season and they've prepared well. I'm lucky to have the whole squad to choose from for this weekend.

"For us to be successful this year we need to have two or three lads who weren't in the starting team last year to step up and put some pressure and claim a place in the side.

"We have to move forward, we have to keep driving forward and being competitive with each other and I think there are a few guys from the pre-season who have put their hand right up for selection this weekend."

Western Force coach Michael Foley said his side is looking forward to kicking off its 2015 season this weekend.

"Playing the champions at their home is a good test for us first up," Foley said.

"Having pushed each other day after day throughout the pre-season, the boys are keen to get the season started."

Recent results:
2014: Force won 28-16, Perth
2014: Waratahs won 43-21, Sydney
2013: Waratahs won 28-13, Perth
2013: Waratahs won 23-19, Sydney
2012: Waratahs won 23-18, Perth
2012: Force won 21-20, Sydney

Prediction: The Force was one of just four sides to defeat the eventual 2014 Super Rugby champions last season. The Waratahs went on a nine-match winning run at the end of last season, their previous best winning run stemmed just five games. The Force have won twice before in Sydney, but the The Perth-based franchise has lost its opening fixture of the season every year since inclusion to the competition in 2006. Bernard Foley, the top points scorer in Super Rugby last season, and Israel Folau will be the game-breakers for the Tahs. The Waratahs should have too much class and win by 10 to 15 points.


Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Will Skelton, 4 David Dennis (captain), 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Stephen Hoiles, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Matt Carraro.

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Solomoni Rasolea, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes (captain), 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Luke Burton.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

By Jan de Koning

Mc article sharks v cheetahs2

Cheetahs upset 'superstar' Sharks

Sat, 14 Feb 2015 16:57

REPORT: The Cheetahs showed that big names mean little as they recorded a 35-29 win over the Sharks in their Super Rugby match.

The Cheetahs showed that big names mean little as they recorded a 35-29 win over the Sharks in their opening round Super Rugby match in Durban on Saturday.

Outscoring the home team by four tries to two, the Cheetahs showed the loss of several star players have not robbed them of the true value of their game - high-tempo, energetic and entertaining play.

The Sharks, with 11 Springboks and two former England internationals in their line-up, looked out of sorts till late in the second half when they launched a force and determined effort - clawing back from 15 points down and coming within millimetres of claiming a late winner.

However, of bigger concern will be the growing number of injured Springboks - with Cheetahs lock Lodewyk de Jager leaving the field with a suspected fractured collarbone and Sharks prop Tendai Mtawarira limping off with a leg injury.

The Sharks, with an experimental style of attacking play and many promises of a more expansive game, were not able to hold out the Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs stuck to their usual attacking game that has seen them knock over some bigger teams in years gone by, but this time their defence was sound as they held out the Sharks on their line for over 22 phases near the death.

The first points in the game came after some exciting interplay between the Cheetahs and a Sharks team that seemed to have revived its attacking flair, Pat Lambie, as the captain for the day, put the first points on the board with a penalty that slid through the uprights.

More worrying for the Cheetahs than the three points was the injury to Springbok lock Lodewyk de Jager who limped off with his arm in a make-shift sling in the lead up to that penalty kick.

It may have been a big loss but the Cheetahs were not ready to lie down striking back with a fantastic try by Jean Cook.

Sarel Pretorius sucked in a number of defenders with a pass behind his back to Torsten van Jaarsveld who had the presence of mind of pop it off to Coenie Oosthuizen who surged forward to put the Sharks on the back foot.

From there it was a simple matter for Willie Le Roux to shift it out wide for Jean Cook sitting on the wing to slide over untouched.

Joe Pietersen converted well for his first points in a Cheetahs jersey.

Lambie soon made it a one point game after the Cheetahs were pinned for a penalty at maul-time halfway through the first half.

Pietersen then added a penalty to his burgeoning Cheetahs career to push out the lead back to four points.

However it was a fantastic set piece move that lead to the first try of the game as Lubabalo Mtembu broke from the back of a scrum.

Mtembu then threw a dummy that sold Jean Cook, although there may be a case of obstruction from the referee, and gave a great offload to Cobus Reinach who played Pat Lambie in for a try under the posts.

The Sharks glory did not last long as Kyle Cooper, of all people, attempted a clearance kick that fed Willie Britz to run into the broken play, his pass then sent Pretorius on a jinking run until the scrumhalf offloaded to Francois Venter to stroll in for a try.

A penalty each before half-time kept the Cheetahs in a four point lead as the visitors went into the shed 20-16 ahead.

The second half was a different affair as the game tightened up and kicking became key.

Pietersen got the first points with a penalty early on, but the Sharks slowly clawed their way back with two well taken Lambie penalties that made it a one-point game with 20 minutes remaining.

Finally the wall broke as Johannes Prinsloo got a try for the Cheetahs with basically his first touch of the game.

The Cheetahs took a five-metre line-out, turning down a kickable penalty, which formed into a great drive that got the replacements over the line.

The Cheetahs then went on to pick up their bonus-point try with some hard worked from the forwards.

The pressure allowed Sarel Pretorius to snipe near the line and offload to early replacement Carl Wegner who dived in under the posts.

The Sharks were not ready to admit defeat with only six minutes remaining as Lwazi Mvovo got over in the corner.

The Sharks, from their own 22, worked hard to keep the ball alive as almost every Sharks player was involved in getting the ball to Mvovo on the wing for a fantastic score - Lambie completed the conversion to make it a six point game.

Late drama ensued as it looked as if Marcell Coetzee had dotted down for the try.

The Sharks worked through 22 phases before being awarded a penalty which SP Marais took quickly, he got close but it fell to Coetzee who reached for the line.

The referee asked the TMO to look for a knock on, and after some deliberate consideration the ball was deemed to be lost forward.

The Sharks had a penalty advantage but in the one minute that remained they were unable to get all important try as the Cheetahs held on for a famous victory.

Man of the match: Cobus Reinach looked to epitomize the Sharks new attacking style while Pieter-Steph du Toit was huge in the set pieces. For the Cheetahs, Johannes Prinsloo made an instant impact when he came on for Teboho Mohoje but in the end it was super Sarel Pretorius that deserves the award for his parts in setting up the tries.

The scorers:

For the Sharks:
Lambie. Mvovo
Cons: Lambie 2
Pens: Lambie 5

For the Cheetahs:
Cook, Venter, Prinsloo, Wegner
Cons: Pietersen 2, Du Plessis
Pens: Pietersen 3


Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Sibusiso Sithole, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Marco Wentzel, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Odwa Ndungane.
Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Clayton Blommetjies, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Jean Cook, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Minnie.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 BG Uys, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Johannes Prinsloo, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Cornal Hendricks.
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Archie Sehlako (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

By Darryn Pollock

Francois Venter (27min) and Carl Wegner (69min)
VENUE Durban
REFEREE Andrew Lees (Australia)