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Chiefs

FULL-TIME
40     16

Crusaders

Super Rugby | Hamilton
06:35 (GMT) | 28-02-2015
  • 81
We head straight to the REBELS v BRUMBIES match!
  • 80
Crusaders set a driving maul. Slade puts in a cross-kick that goes into touch and that's FULLTIME!
  • 79
A game of hot potato ensues as both sides cough up possession. The ball eventually goes into touch close to the Crusaders 22
  • 78
Into the Crusaders 22 they go. TURNOVER. Crusaders win the ball back and have run it up to their 10 metre line. PENALTY! Chiefs fail to roll away at the breakdown. McKenzie has taken Ellis past the horizontal and drops him to the ground. It's deemed careless and the youngster is sent to the bin
  • 76
Apa is tackled into touch. Chiefs take it quickly and kicks it back into Crusaders territory. The ball is kicked back as Lowe takes the tackle to set up the next phase
  • 75
Crusaders are choosing to run the ball out from inside their 22. Great hands from them and they are up to the halfway line
  • 72
Ellis finds the safety of the touchline, about 35 metres from his try line
  • 71
McKenzie is tackled 3 metres from the line but Weber knocks the ball on as he attempts to recycle it. Scrum to the Crusaders on their 5 metre line
  • 70
It's all going the way of the Chiefs now! Crusaders have no idea what has hit them. Chiefs have a line-out close to the Crusaders 5 metre line
  • 68
Cruden nails the conversion
  • 67
Break away TRY for Lowe! The Crusaders lose the ball at the breakdown, Williams picks up the loose ball and sends Lowe down the left touchline for an easy score!
  • 64
Cruden pulls the conversion
  • 62
TURN-OVER! Chiefs win the ball back. Marshall runs onto a pass with great speed and gets the BONUS POINT TRY in the corner.
  • 61
It's thrown to the back and the maul is set. Cruden gets the ball and makes a dart for the line. PENALTY! Ciefs go straight off their feet at the breakdown and the Crusaders decide to take it quickly
  • 60
PENALTY! Chiefs get a penalty at the breakdown and Cruden pops the ball into touch on the Crusaders 5 metre line
  • 59
Possession changes hand sbut it's the Chiefs who manage to maintain it long enough to launch an attack
  • 55
PENALTY! The Chiefs fling the ball to the right and make plenty of metres before the Crusaders fail to release the tackled player. Cruden will have a shot at goal. He makes no mistake to extend the CHiefs lead
  • 53
Ellis boots the ball into touch from the back of the scrum. Throw in to the Chiefs just outside the Crusaders 22
  • 52
Cruden puts a kick through and its a great chase down by Marshall and Lowe. Taylor is tackled a metre from his own line. Marshall steals the ball and dots the ball down on the line. NO try as the ball was deemed to be lost forward
  • 51
Great flow to the game now as both sides keep the ball in hand and make metres with every ball-carrier. Crusaders get it into Chiefs territory before losing possession
  • 49
The strike is good and it sails between the uprights
  • 48
Crusaders concede a PENALTY on their 10 metre line and Cruden will have a shot at goal
  • 47
Slade adds the extra points to reduce the lead to 6 points
  • 45
TRY! Ellis picks it from the back of the ruck and dives under a tackler to get the Crusaders' first try of the match.
  • 44
From the resulting Chiefs line-out, Cruden kicks it into touch but the Crusaders get possession back and gets back onto the Chiefs 5 metre line
  • 43
Funnell throws it to the front of the line and receives it back before going on a run down the touchline but he is tackled into touch
  • 42
Crusaders are in possession on the Chiefs 10 metre line. PENALTY! Chiefs go off their feet at the breakdown. Taylor puts the ball into touch close to the Chiefs 5 metre line
  • 41
KICK-OFF! Slade gets the second half underway!

Half Time

  • 40
Slade misses his attempt at goal. Chiefs with a 22 drop-out as the hooter goes. The ball is kicked into touch and that's HALFTIME!
  • 39
PENALTY! Chiefs enter the ruck from the side as the Crusaders looked threatening. Slade opts to have a kick at goal
  • 37
Crusaders finally manage to wrestle possession back . Ellis takes a quick tap and gets the Crudasers close to the Chiefs 22.
  • 34
Cruden has found his direction and adds the extra points
  • 33
It's all the Chiefs at the moment as they get into the Crusaders 22! TRY!!! Clinical finish from the backline as Ngatai gets the third try of the match.
  • 31
He gets his second kick of the night to extend the Chiefs lead
  • 30
Pulu makes another break for the line but comes up short. PENALTY! Crusaders concede a penalty on their 5 metre line and the handbags have been brought out once again. Cruden will have a shot at goal
  • 28
The forwards are doing the donkey work and get the ball to the 5 metre line before being awarded a scrum as the ball was trapped in the ruck.
  • 27
PENALTY! Laulala prevents a quick line-out throw by taking out Marshall and concedes a PENALTY! Cruden puts it into touch close to the Crusaders 5 metre line
  • 26
That's another 3 points to the Crusaders from the boot of Slade.
  • 25
The Chiefs seem to be losing their discipline at the breakdowns as they concede another PENALTY inside their territory. Slade will have a shot at goal to reduce the deficit
  • 23
It's third time lucky for Cruden as he finally gets a kick through the uprights
  • 22
Here come the Chiefs! Lowe breaks a tackle and drives his team 2 metres short of the line! TRY!!! Pulu takes the ball from the back of the maul and sneaks over the line
  • 21
Another player is taken out in the air and this time, Matt Todd is given his marching orders. Crusaders are down to 14 men
  • 19
Cruden has left his kicking boots in the changeroom as he misses another kick at goal
  • 18
Huge scrum from the Chiefs as they put the Crusaders under extreme pressure! PENALTY! The Crusaders front row pops up and Cruden has a chance to hand the Chiefs the lead
  • 17
The momentum has shifted to the Chiefs now as they launch another attack from inside their territory. However, it's thwarted by an accidental offside and the Crusaders will have the scrum feed
  • 16
Slade misses his first kick of the match and the Chiefs will restart the game with a 22 drop-out
  • 15
PENALTY! Chiefs enter a ruck from the side straight from the restart and Slade opts to have another shot at goal
  • 14
Cruden fails to add the extra points
  • 13
TRY!!! Great team effort from the Chiefs and an even better finish by Sonny Bill Williams! Spins out of a tackle and crashes over
  • 12
Here come the Chiefs again as Cruden finds a half-gap
  • 10
Chiefs finally have some possession now and have made their way into the Crusaders' 22. KNOCK-ON! The attack is stopped in it's track and the Crusaders will have the scrum feed inside their 22
  • 8
Lowe takes out Barrett in the air from the restart. YELLOW CARD! Chiefs down to 14 men
  • 7
No problems for the Crusaders flyhalf as he pops over his second penalty of the match
  • 6
Taufua breaks through the Chiefs defence and is brought down just short of the 5 metre line. PENALTY! Chiefs are caught offside at the breakdown and Slade will have another shot at goal
  • 5
It's been all the Crusaders in the opening minutes. On the attack on the Chiefs 22 now
  • 3
Slade slots the first points of the match as the cow bells ring out from the home crowd
  • 2
The match has barely started and the handbags have already been brought out. Laulala and Tameifuna have taken each other for a little waltz. PENALTY eventually awarded to the Crusaders and Slade will have a shot at goal from 52 metres
  • 0
KICK-OFF! Cruden gets the match underway
  • -2
Cruden leads the Chiefs out to a resounding applause as he makes his 50th appearance for the Chiefs
  • -10
It's a ripper of a day! Clear skies overhead, ideal for running rugby
  • -15
Regardless of who is playing and who is not, this will be an absolute cracker of a game and could possibly be the game of the weekend
  • -20
The Chiefs are lined with All Blacks for this encounter with Sonny Bill Williams, Sam Cane and Bordie Retallick returning. It's a stark contrast to their opponents, who are without Dan Carter, Israel Dagg (both injured) and Owen Franks (suspended)
  • -25
Since 2012, they have met on 5 occasions in Hamilton. The Chiefs edge the Crusaders 3-2, the most recent of which being an 18-17 win for the Crusaders in 2014
  • -30
Welcome to Match 4 of Round Three of Super Rugby and it's a BIG ONE!! It's arguably the game of the season! The Chiefs against The Crusaders in Hamilton!
Mc chiefs logo 80x50
Chiefs
Mc crusaders logo 80x50
Crusaders
START LINE UP
  • 15 Charlie Ngatai
  • 14 Sean Wainui
  • 13 Anton Lienert-Brown.
  • 12 Johnny Faauli
  • 11 Solomon Alaimalo
  • 10 Damian McKenzie
  • 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi
  • 8 Pita Gus Sowakula
  • 7 Sam Cane
  • 6 Lachlan Boshier
  • 5 Tyler Ardron
  • 4 Brodie Retallick
  • 3 Angus Taavao-Matau
  • 2 Liam Polwart
  • 1 Karl Tu'inukuafe
RESERVES
  • 23 Alex Nankivell
  • 22 Marty McKenzie
  • 21 Brad Weber
  • 20 Liam Messam
  • 19 Luke Jacobson
  • 18 Jeff Thwaites
  • 17 Sam Prattley
  • 16 Samisoni Taukel'aho
START LINE UP
  • 15 David Havili
  • 14 Seta Tamanivalu
  • 13 Jack Goodhue
  • 12 Ryan Crotty
  • 11 George Bridge
  • 10 Mitchell Hunt
  • 9 Bryn Hall
  • 8 Jordan Taufua
  • 7 Matt Todd
  • 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis
  • 5 Sam Whitelock
  • 4 Scott Barrett
  • 3 Michael Alaalatoa
  • 2 Codie Taylor
  • 1 Tim Perry
RESERVES
  • 23 Manasa Mataele
  • 22 Mike Delany
  • 21 Mitchell Drummond
  • 20 Tom Sanders
  • 19 Quinten Strange
  • 18 Chris King
  • 17 Wyatt Crockett
  • 16 Ben Funnell
Mc article brodie retallick chiefs

Preview: S15 Round Three, Part Two

Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:34

DERBY DAY: Two of Super Rugby's most successful teams - the Crusaders and Bulls - appear to be up the creek without a paddle.

Two of Super Rugby's most successful teams - the Crusaders and Bulls - appear to be up the creek without a paddle.

The seven-time champion Crusaders, without a title since 2008, travel to Hamilton to face compatriots and two-time champions the Chiefs.

However, it is trouble within their own ranks, as much as the opposition that could trip them up again.

After this intriguing opening to Saturday's derby-day action, we hop across the Tasman Sea where the Rebels host Brumbies in an all-Australian encounter in Melbourne.

Then it is the long trek across the Indian Ocean to Pretoria where the three-time champion Bulls take on the Sharks - the most successful team never to have won a Super Rugby title - in Pretoria. The Bulls, despite there array of superstars have been firing blanks this season and are winless after two rounds.

The last match on Saturday is another all-South African derby, just 50-odd kilometres down the M1 in Johannesburg - the winless Lions hosting the table-topping Stormers.

We look at Saturday's matches!

Saturday, February 28

Chiefs v Crusaders
(Waikato Stadium, Hamilton - Kick-off: 19.35; 06.35 GMT)

The two teams' buildup could not have been more contrasting if they tried - the Chiefs getting a rash of All Blacks back, the Crusaders having to soldier on without a few of their most influential and experienced internationals.

All Blacks Dan Carter and Israel Dagg will miss the Crusaders' trip to Hamilton, as the seven-time champions' tough start threatens to worsen.

Injuries to flyhalf Carter and explosive fullback Dagg, plus New Zealand prop Owen Franks' suspension for striking, are the cause of coach Todd Blackadder's biggest headaches.

The depleted Crusaders face a Chiefs side buoyed by the return of code-hopper Sonny Bill Williams, fellow All Blacks Sam Cane and international player of the year Brodie Retallick.

Scrumhalf Augustine Pulu, another of the team's returning All Blacks, said it is now up top the internationals to maintain the momentum build up through the team's unbeaten start to the season.

"The boys have done a real good job of rowing the boat and we've just got to jump in and join them," he told the Waikato Times.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said Brad Weber had been great for the team in the opening two matches, which put pressure on Pulu.

"But [Pulu] is a good player and he's been working hard so we expect him to fire at the weekend," Rennie said.

Recent results:
2014: Crusaders won 18-17, Hamilton
2014: Chiefs won 18-10, Christchurch
2013: Chiefs won 20-19, Hamilton (semifinal)
2013: Crusaders won 43-15, Christchurch
2013: Chiefs won 28-19, Hamilton
2012: Chiefs won 20-17,Hamilton (semifinal)
2012: Crusaders won 28-21, Hamilton
2012: Chiefs won 24-19, Napier

Prediction: The Chiefs have won four of the last six contests between the sides, despite losing 16 of their 25 meetings overall. Fifteen of those 25 matches have seen the losing team end the game within the losing bonus point scope. The Crusaders have won all 18 of their scrum feeds so far. The Chiefs have managed the most clean breaks this season (20), almost twice as many as the 2014 finalists (11). James Lowe has made a competition-high 222 metres over the gainline so far, the Crusaders' Robbie Fruean is third on this list with 118 metres. The Crusaders look vulnerable and the Chiefs have some real firepower - especially among the backs. It will be a cracker, likely to be the weekend's most entertaining game, with the Chiefs winning a thriller by ;less than 10 points.

Teams:

Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Liam Messam (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Michael Fitzgerald, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Mitchell Graham, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Sean Polwart, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Seta Tamanivalu.
 
Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Alex Hodgman, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Nathaniel Apa, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Rebels v Brumbies
(AAMI Park, Melbourne - Kick-off: 19.40; 08.40 GMT)

The Rebels and Brumbies will look to put last week's disappointing losses behind them. As with all of the teams in the Australian Super Rugby conference, the Rebels and Brumbies come into this game with a won one, lost one record.

After being pipped at the post by an Aaron Cruden penalty on the full-time siren - to lose 17-19, the Brumbies are determined to put their campaign back on track and reproduce the form that saw them put almost 50 points past the Reds in Week One.

Last year the Rebels beat an ill-disciplined Brumbies outfit 32-24 and Brumbies flank Scott Fardy, who was sin-binned, knows all too well the challenge which the Melbourne-based outfit will pose this Saturday.

"They've had a great start to the season," Fardy said.

"They were unlucky last week. I only caught the end of the game because we were obviously playing, but to knock off the Crusaders in Christchurch [in week one] is a huge effort and that's something we've struggled to do so they've been growing for the past few years and they'll get better."

Despite the Brumbies loss to the Chiefs last Friday, Fardy said that the side was happy with how the forwards played, and for the best part got the better of their New Zealand rivals, but was adamant that that's how the Brumbies pack should play each week.

"Our scrum's always been a big part of our game and the same with our line-out and rolling maul. Since 2012 it's been something we've been really proud of.

"It's had a good start this year, but we're two rounds in so it's going to be a big challenge this weekend against a good Melbourne pack," said Fardy.

"I think they've muscled up for the last few years. They've been growing as a forward pack and they're looking good and it's going to be a tough challenge for us to go down to Melbourne."

Making the trip down to Melbourne even more difficult is that openside flank David Pocock will again be missing from the side through injury.

The battle of the front row will play a big part in establishing who wins this game. Last week, the Rebels came up against another international front row and were impressive, and again they will need to be at their best.

Coach Tony McGahan said he was looking forward to the challenge of playing the Brumbies, a side he has great respect for.

"You're always in for a big challenge when you play against the Brumbies," McGahan said.

"They're the most successful Australian Super Rugby franchise ever, and are a formidable opponent who have impressed so far again this season. We have a lot of time for their senior playing group and way they get on with their business on the field.

"It's an exciting opportunity to again test ourselves against one of the competition benchmarks, and show we are continuing to move forward in the right direction following very tough opening games against the Crusaders and Waratahs."

McGahan also praised the work of his forward pack despite eventually suffering a narrow defeat to the Waratahs.

"I thought that our forward pack performed very well and showed great physicality against the Waratahs," McGahan said. "The performance and togetherness of the forward pack in our opening two games shows that they deserve to hold their spots in the squad moving into the game against the Brumbies."

Recent results:
2014: Brumbies won 37-10, Canberra
2014: Rebels won 32-24, Melbourne
2013: Brumbies won 39-17, Canberra
2013: Brumbies won 30-13, Melbourne
2012: Brumbies won 27-19, Melbourne
2012: Brumbies won 37-6

Prediction: The Rebels' largest ever Super Rugby victory (35-14 over Cheetahs) came a year ago to the day of this game. The Rebels have lost six of the last seven clashes between the sides. The Rebels (85 percent) have the worst tackle success rate in the league after two rounds. Consequently, opponents of the Rebels have gained more metres (1,066) than against any other side so far. The Rebels have scored exactly three points in the first half in each of the last three meetings between the sides (W1 L2); the Brumbies have scored 10+ first half points in all eight meetings with the Rebels. The Rebels' biggest ally is in their homeground advantage. The Brumbies, at least on paper, have the classier team and should win by at least 10 points.

Teams:

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Colby Fainga'a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Sefanaia Naivalu.
 
Brumbies: 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Jordan Smiler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Jesse Mogg.
 
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

Bulls v Sharks
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT)

Any team with 10 internationals must be rated a good bet to upstage the best.

However, the Bulls have been well-below par, with reputations taking bigger dents with every passing week - unlike the Sharks, who bounced back last week, after also losing in Week One.

"We have started poorly, no doubt and we have put ourselves under pressure, even if it is early in the competition," Bulls coach Ludeke said.

"One cannot really afford to drop any home matches if you have serious title aspirations, so nothing but a win will suffice.

"We realise the Sharks are one of the best teams in the competition, but we owe it to ourselves and the supporters out there to play to our potential.

"If we do that, we will be competitive as our squad is certainly good enough."

Sharks assistant coach Paul Anthony emphasised the importance of winning after a poor start - their loss to the Cheetahs in week one was every bit as poor as the Bulls' defeat to the Stormers on the same day.

"What is ideal is that we put in a better performance against the Lions after losing to the Cheetahs," Anthony said.

"We want our players to be accountable for how they perform. That game we lost, as with the Bulls against the Hurricanes [last week], those were both literally millimetres away from victories.

"Without a doubt the players felt accountable after the Cheetahs loss. They knew that they weren't on par, they were disappointed with themselves. But they all lifted their performances markedly and we're hoping to lift it even more, game after game."
 
Bulls captain Pierre Spies feels his team can turn the season around.

"We have lost to ourselves as much as our opponents so far," Spies said.

"We need to eliminate the soft moments from our game and make sure we execute. It is going to be a tough battle, a typical local derby, but we are ready for this challenge," Spies added.

Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis admitted his team will have t raise the bar considerably this week, as they are expecting the desperate Bulls to produce a determined effort.

"Last week, when we sat down, we were very disappointed in the previous game, but we picked it up and beat the Lions," Du Plessis said.

"You are only as good as your last game, so for us it is now about focusing on what we can change not focusing too much on the opposition, but you would be a fool if you think that they are not going to be storming out of the change room to be really physical, especially in the first half and even throughout the game.

"What is important for us is to be able to match that physicality and the intensity they will bring in the first few areas of contact."

Recent results:
2014: Bulls won 23-19, Pretoria
2014: Sharks won 31-16, Durban
2013:  Bulls won 20-19, Pretoria
2013: Bulls won 18-16, Durban
2012: Sharks won 32-10, Durban
2012: Bulls won 18-13, Pretoria

Prediction: Of sides currently in the competition, the Bulls are the only South African representatives to hold a positive win/loss record over the Sharks (won 13, lost nine, drawn two). That includes seven wins in their last 10 meetings. Meanwhile, their last 12 wins over the Sharks have been by single-figure margins. The Bulls have conceded the most turnovers so far (34), though the Sharks have coughed up 33 themselves. Pieter Labuschagne has made the most tackles so far this Super Rugby season (39). Matt Todd and Michael Hooper are ranked equal-second with 31. The Bulls last lost their first three games of the season in 2005. You have to be an avid fan to put serious money on the Bulls. The smart money is on the Sharks to win - by 10 to 15 points.

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Francois Hougaard, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Morné Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Dean Greyling, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Travis Ismaiel, 23 Jurgen Visser.

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Marco Wentzel, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Fred Zeilinga/Lionel Cronje, 23 Jack Wilson.

Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Ben Crouse (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Lions v Stormers
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 19.10; 17.10 GMT)

South Africa's unbeaten table-toppers, the Stormers, are wary of an ambush in Johannesburg for the second season in a row - when they face the Golden Lions.

The Stormers, who jointly lead the standings with the Hurricanes, were chastened 34-10 by the Lions last year and are on their guard for Saturday's clash, despite the Johannesburg team losing both their matches so far.

"It is a different challenge this weekend," Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said at a media briefing - when asked if the Lions would pose a similar threat than the Bulls (in week one) and Blues (last week) did.

"It is another game that you have to be up for.

"That is the challenge in this competition. One week you have a physical encounter from a foreign team, the New Zealanders -  it was really physical last Saturday and the players did really well in that department.

"Yes, I know we have line-out issues we have to sort out, the execution wasn't that great.

"However, the discipline was outstanding. We could have been lured into a lot of off-the-ball stuff, but we didn't fall into the trap of retaliating - the team remained composed and we got on with the job.

"The challenge is different this week, with the width, passing game that the Lions bring.

"We just have to make sure we keep working hard."

Lions coach Johan Ackermann made eight changes to the starting line-up, after the team suffered their second consecutive defeat with a 12-29 loss to the Sharks in Durban last weekend.

He was at pains to explain that the changes were part of their player management policy, while it was also partly an audition for players ahead of the Australasian tour starting next week.

"Our thinking is, let's put these guys out there and give them the opportunity to stake a claim to go on tour," Ackermann said.

The Stormers will be without powerhouse flanker Rynhardt Elstadt, who broke his leg in last week's 27-16 win against the Blues at Newlands and is out for four months.

Recent results:
2014: Stormers won 18-3, Cape Town
2014: Lions won 34-10, Johannesburg
2012: Stormers won 27-17, Cape Town
2012: Stormers won 24-19, Johannesburg
2011: Stormers won 33-19, Johannesburg
2011: Stormers won 19-16, Cape Town

Prediction: The Stormers have won 12 of their last 13 matches between the sides. Their most recent meeting in April 2014 was the lowest scoring contest between these teams (21 combined points). The Stormers are one of two sides to win all of their scrums so far this season. Opponents of the Lions have spent the least amount of time in possession so far, an average of 11 minutes three seconds. The Stormers won their first three matches of the season in each of the 2011 and 2012 seasons and went on to win their first six games in each year, finishing first and second on those season-end logs respectively. There is no doubt who the favourites are - the Stormers. It is simply a case of what the margin will be - 15 to 20 points.

Teams:

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Howard Mnisi.

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 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.

Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning
@King365ed
@rugby365com


Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

 

Mc article chiefs celebrate630

Chiefs brush off Crusaders

Sat, 28 Feb 2015 08:25

The Chiefs cruised to a 40-16 bonus point victory against the Crusaders in Hamilton to maintain their unbeaten start to the Super Rugby season.

The Chiefs cruised to a 40-16 bonus point victory against the Crusaders in Hamilton on Saturday to maintain their unbeaten start to the Super Rugby season.
 
The home side scored five tries in a dominant performance, leaving the Crusaders with just four log points from one win in their first three games.
 
The visitors got their noses in front early through two penalties from the boot of Colin Slade, and things got even tougher for the Chiefs when left wing James Lowe was shown a yellow card for taking a man out in the air.
 
However, despite that setback the home side would be next to strike as a surge into the Crusaders 22 was finished off by Sonny Bill Williams who swivelled to plant the ball on the line for the first try of the game.
 
Shortly after Lowe came back on it was the Crusaders who were reduced to 14 men, with Matt Todd shown a yellow card for a very similar offence.
 
The Chiefs took full advantage as they marched into the Crusaders 22 and it was scrumhalf Augustine Pulu who forced his way over for their second try to put them 12-6 up.
 
The teams exchanged penalties before the Chiefs landed another big blow with their third try which came from a line-out on halfway.
 
After sending it wide a neat kick ahead was won back in the Crusaders 22 and after winning quick ball Sam Cane spun a long pass out to Williams who put his centre partner Charlie Ngatai over to take their lead to 22-9 at half-time.
 
The Crusaders were first to strike in the second half when vetern scrumhalf Andy Ellis snuck over for their first try to cap an extended period of pressure and bring them back within striking distance.
 
The Chiefs hit back with two penalties from Cruden and then went after the bonus point which came when Tom Marshall forced his way over in the corner after a suicidal quick tap by the Crusaders in their own 22.
 
It got even worse for the visitors, when another turnover on halfway saw Lowe race away for their fifth try and despite a late yellow card for Damian McKenzie the Crusaders had no answer in the final stages.
 
Man of the match: There were a number of candidates in the Chiefs backline, but the stand-out was Sonny Bill Williams who created so much for those around him.
 
The scorers:
 
For the Chiefs:
Tries: Williams, Pulu, Ngatai, Marshall, Lowe
Cons: Cruden 3
Pens: Cruden 3
 
For the Crusaders:
Try: Ellis
Con: Slade
Pens: Slade 3
 
Yellow cards: James Lowe (Chiefs, 7 mins - Illegal tackle) Matt Todd (Crusaders, 21 mins - Illegal tackle) Damian McKenzie (Chiefs, 77 mins - Illegal tackle)
 
Teams:
 
Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Liam Messam (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Michael Fitzgerald, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Mitchell Graham, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Sean Polwart, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Seta Tamanivalu.
 
Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd (captain), 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Alex Hodgman, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Nathaniel Apa, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.
 
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Charlie Ngatai (33min)
TRIES
 
CONVERSIONS
 
PENALTIES
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
Damian McKenzie (78min)
Matt Todd (21min)
 
 
VENUE Hamilton
REFEREE Mike Fraser (New Zealand)