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Super Rugby | Pretoria
17:10 (GMT) | 14-02-2015
  • 82
If the results of the weekend are anything to go buy, a win for the Force is not as far-fetched as most believe! See you then!
  • 81
Join us at 5.05 GMT for the final match of the final Super Rugby match of Round 1! The Waratahs are at home to the Force!
  • 80
FULLTIME!!! It's all over!! The Stormers have ended the Bulls' unbeaten run at Loftus!
  • 78
The Stormers are all over the Bulls right now. Coleman steps back into the pocket and slots a DROP GOAL to hand the Stormers a 12-point lead
  • 76
Stormers maintain possession before De Allende boots the ball upfield. A kicking battle ensues with the Stormers on the edge of the Bulls 22
  • 73
He slots his first kick of the match and the Stormers lead is now 9
  • 72
PENALTY! Nyakane goes straight down on the hit, to hand Coleman a chance to extend the Stormers' lead
  • 71
He pulls his attempt and the score remains unchanged. Pollard restarts the match with a 22 drop out. Stormers knock the ball on and the Bulls have the feed on their 10 metre line
  • 70
The Stormers set the maul and make their way close to the 22. PENALTY! Bulls are penalised for entering the maul from the side. Catrikilis will have a kick at goal
  • 68
Schreuder goes for a run fro the back of a scrum and the Stormers are on the front foot once again. Catrikilis attempts an audacious drop goal from close to the halfway line but he scuffs it. Kriel collects and boots the ball into touch close to the halfway line
  • 67
Straight through the uprights from the Stormers NO.10! The lead is now 6
  • 66
Up to the 22 they go. PENALTY! Bulls give a needless penalty away. Catrakilis with a shot at goal
  • 64
Big shove from the Stormers but the Bulls manage to keep possession and Pollard kicks it up field. It doesn't find touch though and the Stormers are back on the attack.
  • 63
Stormers enjoying a brief spell of possession now and are making their way closer to the Bulls 22. De Jongh breaks through the Bulls defence and gets the Stormers close to the 5 metre line. De Allende gets the ball on the left and dives for the corner but he loses the ball in the contact. a let off for the Bulls
  • 60
Pollard makes no mistake to reduce the deficit to 3 points
  • 59
Bulls are all over the Stormers right now! PENALTY! The pressure is forcing the Stormers to give away needless penalties at the breakdown. Pollard with a shot at goal
  • 56
Bulls are riding a wave of momentum now and have made their way into the Stormers 22. Stormers defending with all they have! PENALTY! Stormers force the Bulls to not release the ball!
  • 53
PENALTY! The Bulls rumbled their way up to the Stormers 22 before the away side gives away a penalty at the breakdown. Another chance for Pollard to add more points to the total. It's straight down the middle
  • 51
The Stormers flyhalf slots the kick from 30 metres
  • 50
Stormers now launch an attack of their own and are close to the Bulls 22. PENALTY! Bulls are caught offside and Catrakilis will have a shot at goal
  • 49
Pollard closes the gap to 6 points as he slots the kick
  • 48
Bulls are on full attack mode now and putting the Stormers under pressure as the Loftus faithful starts to buzz! PENALTY! High tackle from the Stormers and Pollard will have a shot at goal from 40 metres.
  • 45
Stormers finally has their hands on the ball. Up to the Bulls 22 they go. KNOCK ON! De Allende fails to grab a bad pass from Groom and the Bulls will have the feed on their 22
  • 43
Pollard makes no mistake and gets the first points of the second half
  • 42
PENALTY! The Stormers enter the ruck from the side and Pollard will have a shot at goal
  • 41
KICKOFF! Pollard gets the second half underway. The Bulls win back possession straight away and they make their way into the 22

Half Time

  • 40
PENALTY! Stormers are penalised for scrumming in on an angle! Pollard will attempt a kick from about 60 metres! He doesn't have the distance and the ball is kicked into touch by the Stormers! That's the last action of the half! HALFTIME!
  • 39
Another HUGE scrum from the Stormers!! They regain possession and have made their way into the Bulls half of the field.
  • 38
He hits the upright and the Stormers launch another attack from inside their half. KNOCK ON! They lose the ball and hand the Bulls a scrum just inside Stormers half
  • 37
PENALTY! Bulls penalised at the breakdown for not rolling away! Catrakilis will have a shot at goal from about 40 metres.
  • 36
PENALTY! Koch is having a field day against Nyakane in the scrums! Catrakilis kicks the ball into touch inside Bulls territory
  • 35
Another handling error kills the Bulls just as they attempt an attack! Stormers scrum on their 10 metre line
  • 34
PENALTY! Koch loses his bind and Pollard pops the ball into touch on the Stormers 10 metre line. The maul is set and makes a few metres before tit's spread to the backline
  • 32
The Bulls have been struggling to get any momentum for the last 10 minutes. Thery have a scrum feed on their 10 metre line.
  • 29
Catrakilis pops the conversion over to add the extra points
  • 28
The maul is set and they make their way towards the try line. It's collapsed 5 metres from the line. The ball is spread to the backline but they lose some metres. The ball is switched back the other way into the hands of De Allende who gives a pop to Vermeulen who straightens the line and scores under the poles! TRY!!!
  • 26
Groom is flattened by an Engelbrecht late hit! Pyper decides a PENALTY is enough punishment. Catrakilis boots the ball into touch inside the Bulls 22
  • 23
Bulls launch an attack from the halfway line and are showing good continuity as they rumble the ball closer to the Stormers' 22. KNOCK ON! The attack is thwarted and the Stormers have the feed close to their 22
  • 21
The attempt is pushed to the right and the Stormers will have a 22 metre drop out
  • 20
PENALTY! Stormers are penalised for collapsing a maul. Pollard will have a shot at goal from about 43 metres on the angle
  • 19
Bulls win a lucky penalty that Pollard kicks into touch for a line out on the Stormers 10 metre line
  • 18
The Stormers are absolutely dominating the Bulls at scrum time!
  • 16
Bulls have a line-out on the Stormers 10 metre line. Koch wins the ball for the away side and goes on a surging run! KNOCK ON! It comes to nothing and the Bulls will have the feed just inside their 10 metre line
  • 13
Catrikilis slots the attempt from 40 metres to increase the Stormers' lead
  • 12
TURNOVER! The Bulls win back possession and takes it to their 10 metre line! PENALTY! Bulls are penalised for not releasing the ball
  • 11
Stormers back in possession as Kolbe goes on a run. He is brought down but the ball is quickly recycled. De Allende takes them to the Bulls 22
  • 9
Easy conversion for Catrakilis as the Stormers take the lead
  • 8
Mistake from Visser! He knocks on a Leyds high ball! Leyds is there to collect it and runs in for a score under the uprights! TRY!
  • 7
Massive shove from the Stormers but the Bulls win back possession and Pollards boots it up field.
  • 6
Stormers have a scrum on the Bulls 10 metre line as they look to get a feel of the ball
  • 5
Pollard pulls his attempt across the face of the poles
  • 4
The set the rolling maul from the line out and make their way over the line! Stegman emerges with the ball
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Stormers having to work hard on their try line to keep the Bulls at bay! PENALTY against the Stormers. Bulls opt for the line out.
  • 2
Bulls have possession with a line out just short of the Stormers 22. It's thrown to the front and they get into the 22.
  • 0
KICKOFF! Catrakilis gets the match underway!
  • -5
The Bulls were unbeaten at home in 2014. Can they carry that record into the start of 2015?
  • -15
The Stormers have won 4 of the last 6 matches between the sides but haven't beaten the Bulls in Pretoria since 2012
  • -20
It's the big derby that all South Africans have been looking forward to! North vs South! Bulls vs Stormers!
Mc bulls logo 80x50
Mc stormers logo 80x50
  • 15 Warrick Gelant
  • 14 Johnny Kotze
  • 13 Jesse Kriel
  • 12 Burger Odendaal
  • 11 Divan Rossouw
  • 10 Handre Pollard
  • 9 Ivan van Zyl
  • 8 Marco Van Staden
  • 7 Thembelani Bholi
  • 6 Roelof Smit
  • 5 Lodewyk de Jager
  • 4 Rudolf Snyman
  • 3 Trevor Nyakane
  • 2 Adriaan Strauss
  • 1 Pierre Schoeman
  • 23 Duncan Matthews
  • 22 Manie Libbok
  • 21 Andre Warner
  • 20 Shaun Adendorff
  • 19 Jason Jenkins
  • 18 Frans van Wyk
  • 17 Lizo Gqoboka
  • 16 Jaco Visagie
  • 15 Dillyn Leyds
  • 14 Craig Barry
  • 13 EW Viljoen
  • 12 Damian de Allende
  • 11 Raymond Rhule
  • 10 Damian Willemse
  • 9 Dewaldt Duvenage
  • 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe
  • 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit
  • 6 Siya Kolisi
  • 5 Chris van Zyl
  • 4 Jan de Klerk
  • 3 Wilco Louw
  • 2 Ramone Samuels
  • 1 Steven Kitshoff
  • 23 Johannes Engelbrecht
  • 22 Sarel Marais
  • 21 Paul De Wet
  • 20 Nizaam Carr
  • 19 Kobus van Dyk
  • 18 Carlu Sadie
  • 17 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg
  • 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni
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 duane vermeulen try stormers v bulls

Stormers start with a bang at Loftus

Sat, 14 Feb 2015 19:20

REPORT: The Stormers laid down an early marker when they overpowered the Bulls 29-17 in their Super Rugby opener on Saturday.

The Stormers laid down an early marker when they overpowered the Bulls 29-17 in their Super Rugby opener at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The Stormers were clearly the better side and deserved their victory, surprising even though it was in a round which trumpeted to the world that homeground is not the advantage it used to be. For the fifth time in six Super Rugby matches the away team won and deserved to win.

The Bulls won the Springbok count 12-4. They had the men with experience, or so one expected, but it was the team with a third of the experience that played with greater calm, precision and coherence. It was the team with the dozen that had the serious deficiencies.

The Bulls started well enough and looked to be settling for a sumptuous victory and at times in the match they lifted themselves for a burst of battering but for the rest they relied on an unprofitable process of one-at-a-time phases. They once had several players on the overlap and chose to put the blinkers on and take the tackle. It is so sad to see a player like Jan Serfontein, such a creative player as a school boy, reduced to mindless and fruitless bashing.

But perhaps the biggest surprise was to see the Bulls destroyed at the scrums. They started off with a front row of Springboks against no Springboks and the Stormers had young locks who had a loose-forward look about them but the Stormers had the Bulls backpedalling so that they must have hated every one of the match's 13 scrums - 13 scrums with 21 problems.

It also did not help that they missed two penalty kicks at goal in the first half which they ended trailing 17-5.

At the first line-out in the first minute of the match the Stormers were penalised for a bit of elementary offside at a line-out, and from the resultant line-out the Bulls battered the Stormers, going through 12 phases in which Piet van Zyl and Lappies Labuschagne were close to the line.

They kicked out the second penalty for a five-metre line-out. Unlike the rest of their play in the next 77 minutes, the Bulls had a sharp, clever and novel plan at the line-out  maul in which they duped most Stormers into applying their force to the part of the maul where there was no ball and fewest Bulls. Deon Stegmann was credited with the try. 5-0 after three minutes.

That was it.

They did not look like scoring a try again and a few minutes later they made the simplest of errors to give the Stormers a lead which they held for 72 minutes.

Dillyn Leyds, a multitalented backline player, kicked high and chased after the ball. Jürgen Visser, the Bulls fullback, one of six starting backs in the Bulls side for whom the Cape is the land of their birth, was well in position under the ball as Leyds chased his kick. Leyds was some distance from Visser when Visser knocked the ball forward a goodly way. Leyds snatch it up and raced over the 22 for a try at the posts. 7-5 after 8 minutes.

It may have been a freak accident/incident but it, like the scrumming, it may have been devastating to Bulls morale.

When Arno Botha was penalised at a tackle, Catrakelis goaled. 10-5 after 13 minutes.

Soon after this Werner Kruger left the field with an injured ankle and later in the half Botha, just back from injury, went off with a sore shoulder, to be replaced by Pierre Spies.

JJ Engelbrecht was penalised at a tackle and the Stormers kicked out for a line-out. They mauled and were on advantage when the went wide to the right and then back left where Duane Vermeulen ran cleverly onto a clever pass by Damian de Allende to cut through and score under the posts, touched only after had had scored. 17-5 after 28 minutes. It could have been more but Catrakelis's long penalty hit an upright and stayed out.

The Bulls started the second half as if they had a new, high octane resolve, They battered and two penalties took the score to 17-11. But they could not keep it up and gradually their zeal ebbed away.  True they got as close as 20-17 but after that they faded and the team from the coast ended the match at altitude the stronger of the two teams.

The Stormers were within an ace of scoring when De Allende dived for the left corner as Rudy Paige and Handré Pollard grabbed him and De Allende knocked the ball on in the act of grounding it.

The referee referred the matter to the TMO but De Allende immediately told him there was no need to as he had knocked the ball on. It was a moment of rare delight.

Catrakelis kicked another penalty goal and his replacement Kurt Coleman kicked a long, angled penalty goal and then a soaring dropped goal, and the Stormers had won well - really well.

Man of the Match: The candidates were Stormers - several of them, from new man Vincent Koch in the front row to Cheslin Kolbe at full back. They included the massive figure of Duane Vermeulen, South Africa's Player of the Year in 2014, energetic, efficient Michael Rhodes and, our choice, inside centre Damien de Allende who was up against the Springbok incumbent and still was the game's brightest player - on attack and defence and with an great act of sportsmanship.

The scorers:

For the Bulls:
Pens: Pollard 4

For the Stormers:
Leyds, Vermeulen
Cons: Catrakilis 2
Pens: Catrakilis 3, Coleman
DG: Coleman


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, 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)


Dillyn Leyds (8min)
Handre Pollard (43min), Handre Pollard (49min), Handre Pollard (53min), and Handre Pollard (60min)
VENUE Pretoria
REFEREE Jaco Peyper (South Africa)