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Super Rugby | Dunedin
06:35 (GMT) | 14-03-2015
  • 81
Join us shortly for our next game between the Reds and the Brumbies in Brisbane
  • 80
In one last throw of the dice the Waratahs make their way into the Highlanders 22 after a good run by Lousi, but it comes to nothing after they lose the ball forward. The Highlanders run it before Ben Smith boots the ball out for FULL-TIME: Highlanders 26 - 19 Waratahs
  • 79
Foley gets the CONVERSION over and the score is now 26-19
  • 78
The Highlanders clear through Marty Banks and Folau runs it back. He passes to Carraro who passes inside to Hoiles who scores the TRY!
  • 77
From the scrum the Waratahs gets a penalty after a Highlanders collapse and they opt for another scrum with less than five minutes to go. they go to Carraro who loses the ball forward with an open tryline in front of him. Scrum to Highlanders
  • 75
Horne finds space and Hooper drives his way in the Highlanders 22 after multiple phases and the Waratahs get a penalty after the Highlanders were offside and they opt for a line-out five metres from the Highlanders tryline. They form a driving maul and are over the line and Craig Joubert goes to the TMO. It is held up and the Waratahs will get another chance with a scrum
  • 73
The highlanders go to the short side but that area is well covered. Fekitoa kicks and it bounces off a Waratahs player into Osbornes hands before Aaron Smith sends a kick but goes dead with Fekitoa chasing. The home team gets the restart but lose it forward and Sam Lousi finds space as the 'Tahs make their way over halfway
  • 71
Free-kick to the Highlanders after an early engagement from the Waratahs. Banks kicks deep but doesn't find touch. The Waratahs run it back with Folau and play is stopped for foul play with Sam Lousi charging Gareth Evens off the ball. Highlanders have the penalty and Banks finds touch near the 'Tahs 22
  • 68
The Highlanders give away a penalty at the scrum and Foley gives his team an attacking line-out in the Highlanders 22. From the line-out Robinson takes it up but is smashed back, the away team goes again but a big tackle from Edmonds on Beale gives the Highlanders a scrum after a knock on
  • 65
The Waratahs now take it up through Horne. Beale finds space as the away team runs it out of their 22, They are met with good defence now but Foley finds a gap before it is lost forward by Hooper. The Highlanders will have a scrum now on halfway
  • 63
From the line-out Manu takes the ball up after beating a tackle. It is kicked down field. Fekitoa kicking behind the defence and Osborne nearly gets a try, but Folau dots it down in goal and the Highlanders will get a attacking scrum five metres from the Waratahs tryline. From the scrum Osborne takes it up before Fekitoa knocks it on. Scrum to Waratahs
  • 61
From the scrum Sopoaga sends a short kick over the Waratahs defence, the Waratahs run back with Carraro finding space inside the Highlanders 22. Foley is tackled and it is a penalty for holding on and it is a line-out for the Highlanders 10 from their 22
  • 57
From the line-out the Waratahs form a driving maul before it goes wide to Horne who is tackled well. Palu takes it up but is tackled 3 metres short, but the Waratahs cannot do anything with it and lose it forward. The Highlanders will have a defensive scrum deep in their own 22
  • 55
Manu takes the ball up for his team now before Ben Smith is nearly through. Aaron Smith sends a high ball and the Highlanders have the ball back before Robinson turns it over and Betham is tackled five metres short of the Highlanders tryline and the Waratahs get a penalty and opt for a five metre line-out
  • 53
From the scrum the Highlanders win a penalty and Sopoaga will line up a kick about 30 metres out. He gets the penalty wide and the score remains 26-12
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The Waratahs now have ball in their own half but the Highlanders turn it over with Elliott Dixon finding space, but it was knocked on at the previous play and the Waratahs will have a defensive scrum just outside their 22
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Sopoaga misses the conversion and the Highlanders 26-12
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The Waratahs now have the ball just outside the Highlanders 22, but it is turned over and the ball is given to Osborne who sprints down the touchline before Ben Smith finds more space. The ball goes to Osborne again who breaks through a tackle and gets the Highlanders' bonus point TRY!
  • 45
Sopoaga gets the CONVERSION over and it is 21-12 to the Highlanders
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From the scrum the Highlanders get a free kick and Dixon breaks through a tackle before it is passed to Ben Smith who breaks through two tackles to stretch over for the TRY!
  • 43
The Highlanders form a maul from the restart before Ben Smith kicks down field. The Waratahs now have the ball and have a overlap on halfway, but the Highlanders turn it over and Manu loses it forward after a good pass from Hohneck. Scrum to the Waratahs on their 22
  • 41
SECOND HALF: Waratah's flyhalf Bernard Foley gets the second half under way!

Half Time

  • 40
Sopoaga gets the CONVERSION over and the Highlanders lead 14-12. The Waratahs get the ball back from the restart, but Betham knocks on from which the ball is spread to Naholo who is tackled into touch for half-time
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The Highlanders have the ball in their own half before Aaron Smith kicks. Horne runs it back with Skelton making ground, but Fekitoa rips it from Folau and the ball goes to Naholo who sprints in for the Highlanders second TRY!
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The Highlanders now have a penalty as the Waratahs backline was offside from a ruck and Sopoaga line up a kick for the polls about 30 metres out and gets the penalty wide and the score remains 12-7
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From the scrum the 'Tahs set a platform through their forwards before Foley finds touch near halfway. The Highlanders go to Osborne from the line-out who makes a few metres before Dixin takes it up as the Highlanders are in the Waratahs 22. But the Tah's turn it over and Beale finds touch near their own 10 metre line
  • 33
Th Highlanders with momentum after that try go on the attack with Ben Smith find space before a kick down field gives the 'Tahs a line-out which is won by the Highlanders in the away teams 22, but they can't do anything with it after it is lost forward and the Waratahs have a scrum in their own 22
  • 31
Sopoaga gets the CONVERSION over and it is Waratahs 12- 7Highlanders
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With a man extra the Highlanders opt for a scrum five metres from the Waratahs tryline. From the scrum. The Highlanders get forward momentum with smith with a gap and Tom Franklin pushes his way over for the TRY!
  • 28
The highlanders are just metres from the tryline now but are met with some good defence and they get the penalty and Sekope Kepu gets a YELLOW CARD for taking out Aaron Smith without the ball
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The Ball goes wide to Naholo who finds space as the Highlanders make their way into the Waratahs 22 and they get the penalty with Robinson not rolling away and they go for an attacking line-out five out from the Waratahs tryline
  • 25
Folau runs the ball int the Highlanders half before it is turned over by Fekitoa and Lima Sopoaga finds a gap and makes his way in the Waratahs half. They lose the ball and the Waratah have the ball in their own half and Phipps loses the ball at the ruck and the Highlanders will ahve a scrum near the Waratahs 10 metre line
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The Waratahs get a penalty after Folau is tackled in the air and they have an attacking line-out just outside the Highlanders 22, but they lose it forward and the home team will have a scrum just outside their 22
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Foley adds the CONVERSION and the Waratahs lead 12-0
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The Highlanders lose it forward at the line-out and the Waratahs have a scrum on halfway. From the scrum they get a penalty with another collapse by the home team and Foley gives his team a line-out five out from the Highlanders 22
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The Waratahs form a maul before they go to the short side where Phipps passes to Matt Carraro who is in for the second TRY!
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From the scrum the ball goes wide to Naholo who is well covered before the Waratahs get the ball off a loose pass and they get a penalty after a Highlanders player leaves his feet. Foley gives his team a line-out near halfway on the Highlanders side
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The Highlanders lose another line-out and Folau bashes it up. Palu make more ground before it is spread wide and is lost forward by Folau. Highlanders have an attacking scrum 10 metres from the Waratahs 22
  • 13
From the scrum the Highlanders get a free-kick and Lima Sopoaga kicks it deep in the Waratahs 22. Folau returns it. Beale finds touch on the Highlanders 10 metre line. From the line-out the home team has messy possession, but the Highlanders get the penalty and Lima Sopoaga cannot find touch with Foley clearing near halfway
  • 11
The Waratahs go on the attack with Potgieter making good ground before it is spread wide to Horne who is tackled into touch in the Highlanders 22. From the line-out the home team clears through Aaron Smith and Folau runs it back. Now in the Highlanders half Phipps finds a half gap before it is lost forward by Hooper and the Highlanders will have a scrum just outside of their 22
  • 8
From a line-out deep in the Waratahs half the home team loses the ball forward and the Waratahs have a defensive scrum just outside their 22. From the scrum the Waratahs get a penalty with the Highlanders collapsing and Foley gives his team a line-out just past the Highlanders 10 metre line
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Foley misses the conversion and the Waratahs lead 5-0
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Lima Sopoaga kicks and it goes out on the full and the Waratahs have a line-out in the Highlanders half. They go wide to Hooper who breaks through the defence and then passes to NIck Phipps who is in for the TRY!
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The Waratahs gets a penalty straight from the kick-off. The Waratahs run from a line-out from their own 10 metre line. They go wide to Horne who is tackled into touch and the Highlanders will ahve a line-out on the 'Tahs 10 metre line
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Lima Sopoaga gets the game under way!
  • -5
The game will be played under a closed roof at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.
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The Highlanders have scored exactly 20 points in each of their three games so far this season with all three games being settled by a margin of seven points or fewer (won two and lost one).
  • -20
The 'Tahs have won their last four against Kiwi opposition; however they have lost eight of their last nine games in New Zealand. The 2014 champions have never won five in a row against sides from New Zealand.
  • -30
Welcome to live coverage of Super Rugby with the Highlanders taking on the Waratahs at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
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  • 15 Ben Smith
  • 14 Waisake Naholo
  • 13 Rob Thompson
  • 12 Teihorangi Walden
  • 11 Tevita Li
  • 10 Lima Sopoaga
  • 8 Luke Whitelock
  • 7 Dillon Hunt
  • 6 Shannon Frizell
  • 5 Tom Franklin
  • 4 Jackson Hemopo
  • 3 Siate Tokolahi
  • 2 Ash Dixon
  • 1 Daniel Leinert-Brown
  • 23 Matt Faddes
  • 22 Fletcher Smith
  • 21 Aaron Smith
  • 20 Elliot Dixon
  • 19 Alex Ainley
  • 18 Tyrel Lomax
  • 17 Aki Seiulu
  • 16 Liam Coltman
  • 9 Kayne Hammington
  • 15 Bryce Hegarty
  • 14 Alex Newsome
  • 13 Curtis Rona
  • 12 Kurtley Beale
  • 11 Taqele . Naiyaravoro
  • 10 Bernard Foley
  • 9 Jake Gordon
  • 8 Michael Wells
  • 7 Michael Hooper
  • 6 Ned Hanigan
  • 5 Rob Simmons
  • 4 Tom Staniforth
  • 3 Sekope Kepu
  • 2 Damien Fitzpatrick
  • 1 Tom Robertson
  • 23 Lalakai Foketi
  • 22 Nick Phipps
  • 21 Will Miller
  • 20 Jed Holloway
  • 19 Nick Palmer
  • 18 Harry Johnson-Holmes
  • 17 Hugh Roach
  • 16 Paddy Ryan
Mc article messam v vermeulen 630

Preview: S15 Round Five, Part Two

Fri, 13 Mar 2015 00:18

SUPER SATURDAY: It is going to be a cracking day of entertainment and drama, as we look at five intriguing games.

It is going to be a cracking day of entertainment and drama, as super Saturday brings us five intriguing games.

It all starts in Christchurch when the Crusaders will look to put their campaign back on track against a Lions team fresh from a win over the Blues.

Then the Highlanders host the Waratahs in a trans-Tasman encounter that could be a good indication of the two teams' championship prospects this year.

Then follows a quick hop across the Tasman Sea where the struggling Reds host an impressive Brumbies in one of only two domestic derbies.

The match of the day will take place on the other side of the Indian Ocean, where the table-topping Stormers host the Chiefs, New Zealand's top team, at Newlands.

The day concludes in Bloemfontein when the Cheetahs will l9ook to bounce back from last week's disappointing loss to the Bulls when they host a struggling Sharks team.

We look at all Saturday's matches!

Saturday, March 14

Crusaders v Lions
(AMI Stadium, Christchurch - Kick-off: 16.30; 03.30 GMT, 05.30 SAST)

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has wasted no time in drafting in some big guns, as he looks to lift his seven-time champions from near the foot of the table.

Kieran Read, who missed the opening three games as part of New Zealand's broader World Cup plan, takes over the captaincy from regular skipper Matt Todd.

Throw in other big name All Blacks - like Sam Whitelock, also in his first game of the season, Richie McCaw and Dan Carter - an the enormity of the task facing the Lions becomes obvious.

Read spoke of the need to re-ignite his team's faltering Super Rugby and he is indeed one of the players that often provide the spark when the Crusaders need it most.

Read says the team need self-belief after losing to last year's cellar-dwellers, the Melbourne Rebels, in the opening round before a hard-fought win over the Highlanders and a record loss to the Chiefs before last week's bye.

"We've just got to back ourselves,"Read said in an interview with the NZ Newswire.

"I think we're lacking a little confidence in our ability," the All Black stalwart said.

"A few guys might have gone missing in our last game and we certainly don't want to be putting that on the track for our fans.

"It's a non-negotiable and it's about getting our skills up and playing the sort of rugby that the team and the individuals are capable of."

Read said the Crusaders respected the Lions, who toppled the Blues 13-10 in Albany last week and were unlucky to lose two games prior to that.

Their set piece had been particularly impressive, Read said.

Recent results:
2014: Crusaders won 28-7, Johannesburg
2012: Crusaders won 23-13, Johannesburg
2010: Crusaders won 46-19, Christchurch
2009: Crusaders won 32-20, Johannesburg
2008: Crusaders won 31-6, Christchurch
2007: Lions won 9-3, Johannesburg

Prediction: The Lions have the opportunity to win on consecutive weekends in New Zealand for the first time since they went it alone - in 2006. As they Cats (when they teamed up with the Cheetahs) they won back-to-back April 2001. Since the Lions beat the Crusaders in Christchurch in 2001, the New Zealand side have won 34 of their 35 games at home against South African teams; a five-point defeat against the Sharks last season is the only blemish on the Crusaders' record during that run. The Crusaders have lost their opening home game twice in the last three seasons, but have gone on to win their next home game on each occasion; the last time the Christchurch side lost their first two home games in a season was in 2004. The Crusaders have the best scrum success rate in the competition so far this season (96 percent); in their three games this season they have lost just one scrum on their own feed. The Lions are the only team this season to average fewer than one try per game (0.8); the Johannesburg team also average just 3.5 clean breaks per game; the lowest in Super Rugby this season. The Lions could push the Crusaders all the way, but it is unlikely they will cause another upset. The Crusaders to win by 10 points or more.


Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Kieron Fonotia, 23 David Havili.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9  Ross Cronje, 8  Warren Whiteley (captain), 7  Warwick Tecklenburg, 6  Jaco Kriel, 5  Martin Muller, 4  Franco Mostert, 3  Julian Redelinghuys, 2  Robbie Coetzee, 1  Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Francois de Klerk, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Howard Mnisi.

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)

Highlanders v Waratahs
(Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin - Kick-off: 19.35; 06.35 GMT; 17.35 AEDT)

Both teams won 'ugly' last week - the Highlanders having required a 80th-minute Marty banks penalty to steal victory from the Chiefs and while the defending champion Waratahs were more convincing against the Red, they were not as clinical as they would have liked.

The Highlanders may be catching the Tahs at just the right time.

Jamie Joseph has reshuffled his pack - among the changes first-choice flank Shane Christie making his season debut, after recovering from a knee injury.

The Waratahs named an unchanged side, but they will again be without the steadying influence of Adam Ashley-Cooper - who is struggling with a mysterious knee problem.

Highlanders Jamie Joseph, although pleased with last week's win, spoke of the need to eliminate the high error rate from their game against a Waratahs team very  well-equipped to exploit mistakes.

''It was a good result for us, but not entirely how we wanted to play," Joseph told the Otago Daily Times.

"We do need a bit more ball but to do that, we need to be a bit more clinical in our half and attack in their half. The first or only try we got started from under our own posts,'' he said.

''We can't rely on that sort of rugby every week to get across the line so that was the focus this week.

''We have got to be a lot smarter, do things a lot better - real basic stuff. Fortunately it did not cost us the result in the weekend but we come up against the opposition [Waratahs] that won the competition last year so we are going to have to be better.''

The Waratahs, in their first outing against a side from either New Zealand or South Africa, have weapons all over the park, and Joseph knows his side will have to be on its game to come away with a win.

''They're pretty strong. You do not stumble across the championship. They have X-factor players in the form of [Israel] Folau, [Kurtley] Beale and I'd put [Michael] Hooper in that.

"They've got a Wallaby tight five and a Springbok on the blindside that provide plenty of go-forward. You get a headache thinking about them, so we need to focus on our own stuff.''

Recent results:
2014: Waratahs won 44-16, Sydney
2012: Highlanders won 18-17, Dunedin
2011: Waratahs won 33-7, Sydney
2010: Highlanders won 26-10, Invercargill
2009: Waratahs won 34-16, Sydney
2008: Waratahs won 15-12, Dunedin

Prediction: The Highlanders have scored exactly 20 points in each of their three games so far this season with all three games being settled by a margin of seven points or fewer (won two and lost one). The 'Tahs have won their last four against Kiwi opposition; however they have lost eight of their last nine games in New Zealand. The 2014 champions have never won five in a row against sides from New Zealand. The Waratahs have gained the most metres (541), made the most clean breaks (10.7) and beaten the most defenders (25) on average this season. The Highlanders have the best line-out this season with the Dunedin-based side having success with 96 percent of their own throws so far. The Highlanders have conceded just one first half try this season, the lowest tally in the competition so far in 2015. Tough game to call, although on paper the Waratahs seem the better equipped. The Highlanders, at home, are always tougher and if they show the grit they did against the Chiefs last week they may well sneak a win - by less than 10 points.


Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 Shane Christie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Pingi Ta'alapitaga, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 John Hardie, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 David Dennis (captain), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Tolu Latu, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Sam Lousi, Mitchell Chapman, Stephen Hoiles, Brendan McKibbin, Jono Lance, Taqele Naiyaravoro/Ben Volavola.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Kane McBride (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

Reds v Brumbies
(Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane - Kick-off: 18.40 local; 08.40 GMT, 19.40 AEDT)

There is always bad blood in these Australian derbies and the off-field verbal jousts usually suggest a brutal, ugly arm-wrestle.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham did not endear himself to the Brisbane franchise and their fans when - after a 47-3 win in Round One - suggested the Reds were not "up to the standard of Super Rugby".

It has been regurgitated by the Brisbane media this week, with Reds back row forward Jake Schatz saying his side would be using Larkham's comments as motivation ahead of the grudge derby.

Larkham has made a brave attempt to play down the impact by claiming he was quoted out of context and meant to say Queensland's performance level was not up to their usual high standards.

"I'm sure internally the Reds will focus on the game - they're not worried about external comments," Larkham told the Australian Associated Press.

"We're not trying to get into any war of words with coaches or players or anything like that.

"We're very focused on trying to take our game to the next level, which is, I'm sure, also their focus."

The Reds, who will be missing playmaker James O'Connor with a leg injury, will hope the return of veteran Wallaby James Horwill will spark the team after a shocking start to the season.

Horwill was a late withdrawal from last week's match due to back spasms, but has been declared fit.

"It is fantastic to have Kev [James Horwill] back in the team after a few weeks on the sideline," Reds coach Richard Graham said.

"His hand injury was a freak injury but a horrendous one at the same time. His withdrawal last week with a back spasm has allowed him an extra seven days recovery and he'll be fully fit this weekend."

The Reds' only win this season was a dour 18-6 triumph in an arm-wrestle with the Western Force in Brisbane in week two and they were also dire in their 5-23 loss to the Waratahs last week.

Graham hopes the team will turn it around this week.

"It's great to be playing at home again in front of the Reds faithful," the coach said.

"The team are upbeat and looking forward to the game against the Brumbies. The previous result [the 3-47 loss in Round One] has absolutely no bearing on this contest. We haven't even discussed it."

Recent results:
2015: Brumbies won 47-3, Canberra
2014: Brumbies won 23-20, Brisbane
2014: Reds won 27-17, Canberra
2013: Reds and Brumbies drew 19-all, Brisbane
2013: Brumbies won 24-6, Canberra
2012: Reds won 13-12, Canberra
2012: Reds won 20-13, Brisbane

Prediction: The Reds have lost five of their last six games at home to fellow Australian opposition with their last two defeats in that run seeing the Reds fail to score more than five points in either game. Of the 11 meetings between the two sides in Queensland, nine have been settled by fewer than 10 points. The Brumbies have lost just one of their last nine in Queensland (won seven and drawn one). The Reds are the only team so far this season to average fewer than 10 points per game, due in part to their 50 percent goal kicking success rate which is the joint-worst in the competition. The Reds have scored three of their four tries this season off first phase ball; no team in Super Rugby has scored as high a percentage of their tries from the first phase of possession. Adam Thomson has stolen a competition joint-high three line-outs for the Reds this season. It appear the Reds have been not recovered from the fall-out of the Karmichael Hunt cocaine saga, although the media are keen to point the finger at the coach. Whatever the reason, they appear unable to fight their way out of the wet paper bag. The Brumbies should win by at least 15 points.


Reds: 15 Ben Tapuai, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Campbell Magnay, 10 Nick Frisby, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Marco Kotze, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sef Faagase, 19 Dave McDuling, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Johnson, 23 Tom Banks.
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, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Blake Enever, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Lausii Taliauli, 23 James Dargaville.

Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Matt O'Brien (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Stormers v Chiefs
(Newlands, Cape Town - Kick-off: 15.00; 13.00 GMT; 02.00 Sunday, March 15 NZ time)

The match of the weekend - the table-topping and unbeaten Stormers against New Zealand's top tea.

The result of this match will be a good indicator of both side's championship prospects.

The Stormers, after many false starts, appears to be finally living up to the hype surrounding them.

Winning four from four, they couldn't ask for a better start with their steely defence the key.

The Chiefs should have the same stats, but for letting their match against the Highlanders slip in the dying minutes last week.

Despite having home ground advantage Stormers coach Allister Coetzee has been hard at work to keep his team grounded and is taking nothing for granted.

"We're in for a big one this weekend, of that there is no doubt," Coetzee told a media briefing.
"It's not for nothing that the Chiefs have won the Super Rugby title twice in the past three years and we need to be at our very best to win this one.
"They will test our defence in a different way, more so than before, as their biggest threat is the variety they bring on attack."
The loss of young Springbok firebrand Eben Etzebeth, has been offset by the return of experienced loose forward Schalk Burger, who is set to win his 99th cap for the Stormers if he comes off the bench.
Whilst Burger is on the verge of his 100th appearance for the Stormers, following in the footsteps of Andries Bekker, Jean de Villiers and Peter Grant before him, 23-year-old loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff will make his 50th appearance this Saturday.

* Look at an interesting statistical preview at the bottom of this article!
Recent results:
2014: Chiefs won 36-20, Hamilton
2013: Stormers won 36-34, Cape Town
2011: Chiefs won 30-23, Hamilton
2010: Stormers won 49-15, Hamilton
2009: Chiefs won 28-14, Cape Town
2008: Stormers won 35-26, Hamilton

Prediction: The Stormers have won their opening four games of the season, their best start since 2012 when they won their first six. The Chiefs have lost on just one of their last six trips to South Africa (W3 D2) however their one loss in that run came against the Stormers in March 2013. The Stormers have conceded the fewest metres and clean breaks on average this season, allowing their opponents to gain fewer than 300 metres and 3.5 clean breaks per game. The Chiefs have offloaded more than any other team on average this season, 18.3 per game; Sonny Bill Williams has made a joint competition-high nine offloads. No side has scored as many tries from inside their own half as the Chiefs so far this year (four). They have the star power and skills, but it is a tough ask for the Chiefs coming off a loss, travelling to the Republic and playing the top of the table side. The Stormers appear to have the desire and skill to go all the way. It won't be easy, but the Stormers should win by 10 points or less.


Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Demetri Catrakilis, 23 Huw Jones.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Tim Nanai-Williams, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Jamie Mackintosh, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Tom Marshall.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Cheetahs v Sharks
(Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT)

The Sharks will have revenge on their minds, not only because the Cheetahs beat them in Round One, but they have also lost three of their four matches so far this season.

The men from Durban have only played against South African opposition - the Cheetahs, Lions, Bulls and Stormers - with their only win having been against the Lions.

The Cheetahs have won three of their past four meetings, including their round one clash, but they haven't done it easily.

One thing is certain that between these teams, plenty of points will be scored. The Cheetahs have racked up 80 points in three games and the Sharks 106 in four.

Heinrich Brüssow returns for the Cheetahs off the bench, after missing the start of the season due to concussion.

Centre JP Pietersen insisted there is no crisis at the Sharks, despite their poor start to the season.

"I won't say we're in a crisis," Springbok star Pietersen said.

"A couple of good wins and then we're back in the competition.

"You can see by the results so far, there are a lot of away teams winning games, so Super Rugby is a long competition and there's a long way to go."

However, Pietersen admitted that one win out of four was unacceptable.

"I don't think one of four is acceptable for any team. So we need to step up."

The poor sequence of results under new director of rugby Gary Gold has meant that the Bok-laden Sharks are a lowly 10th position on the standings and with a lot of work to do in the coming weeks if they are to ignite their challenge for an elusive Super Rugby crown.

Recent results:
2015: Cheetahs won 35-29, Durban
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 Cheetahs have won three of the last four meetings between the two teams, however all three wins yielded a losing bonus point for the Sharks. The Cheetahs have made fewer carries this season than any other team, an average of 70 per game, and have subsequently gained the fewest metres (277m per game). Only the Brumbies (3.3) have averaged more tries this season than the Cheetahs (three), however the Bloemfontein side also concedes the most points per game on average (30.7). Pieter-Steph du Toit has won more line-outs than any other player in Super Rugby this season, with 26 catches to his name in the set piece; he has also stolen a joint- high three line-outs. Willie Le Roux has assisted five tries so far this season, two more than the next-best performer in this category. The Cheetahs always seem to lift their game for the Sharks, who have looked disjointed since to off-season coaching revamp. The new boss, Gary Gold, may need a bit of time to get his message across - which will give the Cheetahs another chance of a win - by about 10 points.


Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Johannes Prinsloo, 7 Jean Cook, 6 Teboho Mohoje, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Mienie.
Replacements: 16 BG Uys, 17 Stephan Coetzee, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Heinrich Brüssow, 20 Steven Sykes, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Clayton Blommetjies.

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 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 / Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Marco Wentzel / Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Andre Esterhuizen, 23 Jack Wilson.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article highlanders celebrate

Highlanders come back to sink Tahs

Sat, 14 Mar 2015 08:11

A fantastic second half turn around by the Highlanders has seen them collect a bonus point 26-19 victory against the Waratahs at Forsyth Barr stadium.

A fantastic second half turn around by the Highlanders has seen them collect a bonus point 26-19 victory against the Waratahs at Forsyth Barr stadium.

It was an excellent match, just a marvellous mix for players, spectators and rugby football in general There were setbacks and errors, there was speed, skill and messy play, there was bravery and intensity, and it was unpredictable - it was a match worth watching.
It seemed that the Waratahs, Super Rugby's reigning champions, were on the way to victory, 12-0 up after 19 minutes. But it took them nearly an hour to score again while the Highlanders scored 26 points, their last try a thriller when Patrick Osborne started on the left and then finished it off on the right with much exhilarating passing in between.
There was an inauspicious start to the match forr the Highlanders when Shane Christie was injured in the warm-up before the match and was replaced in the starting team by John Hardie. Dressed in his number ones on the stand was Gareth Evans who had played for the Highlanders Development team. He was whipped off the stand, clad in Highlanders colours and put on the bench. After 29 minutes Hardie was taken off on the motorised stretcher with a damaged ankle and on came enthusiastic Evans who then had a fine game of great commitment.
The Waratahs scored early, both of their tries coming from line-outs.
For the first one the line-out was near the half-way line and Israel Folau came into the line. He gave a tiny pass to Michael Hooper on his right and Hopper burst past Hardie and inside Shaun Treeby. The flank raced down toward the Highlanders' last defender, Waisale Noholo. Hooper drew Noholo and passed to Nick Phipps on his left and the scrumhalf raced some 18 metres to score 15 metres in from touch. 5-0 after three minutes.
And the Waratahs were dominant. At the first scrum of the match the Highlanders were penalised and in all they were penalised four times in scrums that were increasingly messy in the match.
When Lima Sopoaga, who had a mixed match, kicked out on the full, the Waratahs had a line-out. They mauled and then Hooper broke away on the blind side. He gave to Phipps near the touchline and the scrumhalf passed inside to Matt Carraro who raced through for a try. This time Bernard Foley converted, 12-0 after 19 minutes and the Waratahs was ascendant.

A penalty against Benn Robinson gave the Highlanders a five-metre line-out. They did not form a maul but bashed. The referee played advantage and he did so a second time when Sekope Kepu played Aaron Smith when he did not have the ball. It was the second time it had happened close to the Waratahs' line in the same passage of play and so he sent Kepu to the sin bin. When Kepu's period of penance was over, the Highlanders led 14-12 and built on their lead after that. It certainly was a significant moment in the match.

When Kepu went off, Paddy Ryan came on to prop and Wycliff Palu had to go off, which was significant as the Waratahs packed down a seven-man, five-metre scrum with no No.8. From the scrum near the posts, Aaron Smith darted for the line and when he was tackled at the line Tom Franklin picked up and drove over for a try under the posts. 12-7 after 29 minutes.

Sopoaga missed a relatively easy penalty kick at goal but when the Waratahs were moving the ball wide to their left far from their line Malakai Fekitoa dashed up quickly and grabbed Folau just as the elegant fullback got the ball. Both players were on their feet when Fekitoa ripped the ball from Folau's possession and passed to Noholo. The big wing juggled and then swung round, racing a good 50 metres down the touchline. He beat Carraro and raced on. He beat Kurtley Beale and scored near the posts. 14-12 to the Highlanders with half-time a minute away.

The Waratahs put the ball into a scrum and this time the Highlanders put on pressure so that the ball lay in the tunnel. Hooper put a foot into the tunnel to hook the ball and was freekicked for his illegal effort. Aaron Smith tapped and the ball went to new father Ben Smith who got past Beale and despite the efforts of Kepu and Foley, forced his way over for a try, which delighted all his team mates and himself - a baby and a try all within a few days. Sopoaga converted. 21-12 after 44 minutes.

The Highlanders came roaring back with the try of the match. It started with Osborne racing on the left. He gave infield to Ben Smith who went on a mazy run across to the right. There were may passes, slick and hopeful, till the ball reached Osborne who was now on the right and he beat Jacques Potgieter and Beale to score the try that took the score to 26-12 after 47 minutes, In the remaining 33 minutes the Highlanders did not score again but then the Waratahs did not really look like scoring not even when they had two five-metre line-outs and two five-metre scrums, for the Highlanders' defence was determined, with Elliot Dixon and Fekitoa outstanding. On defence the Highlanders gained turnovers as they were much better at the post tackle contest than the Sydneysiders. The Highlanders also attacked from a five-metre scrum when Carraro carried over.

But the Waratahs were determined and began to put the ball through phases as they advanced up through their own territory. A penalty gave them a five-metre line-out and they mauled their way over the line but neither the referee nor the TMO could see a grounding. The Waratahs had a five-metre scrum, a penalty and another scrum but Carraro knocked on and Marty Banks kicked clear but not out and the Waratahs countered to great effect. Beale fed Folau who gave to Carraro racing down the right touchline. He passed inside to Stephen Hoiles who scored. Foley converted to get his side into bonus point territory but there were just two minutes play and the Highlanders coped with them easily.

Man of the Match: Israel Folau of the Waratahs had an excellent game, save only his failure to keep the ball away from Malakai Fekitoa who had a splendid game especially on defence. Aaron Smith, Ben Smith and rugged Elliot Dixon were great for the Highlanders but our choice of Man of the Match is Patrick Osborne, busy, threatening Patrick Osborne who started and finished a great try.


For the Highlanders:
Tries: Franklin, Naholo, B. Smith, Osborne
Cons: Sopoaga 3
For the Waratahs:
Tries: PhippsCarraro, Hoiles
Con: Foley 2
Yellow Card: Sekope Kepu (Waratahs, 28 - repeated infringements, playing the scrumhalf without the ball)

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 John Hardie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Pingi Ta'alapitaga, 19 Mark Reddish, 20Gareth Evans , 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 David Dennis (captain), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Tolu Latu, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Sam Lousi, Mitchell Chapman, Stephen Hoiles, Brendan McKibbin, Jono Lance, Taqele Naiyaravoro/Ben Volavola.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Kane McBride (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
Tom Franklin (30min), Waisake Naholo (39min), and Ben Smith (44min)
Nick Phipps (3min)
Lima Sopoaga (31min), Lima Sopoaga (40min), and Lima Sopoaga (45min)
Bernard Foley (20min) and Bernard Foley (79min)
Sekope Kepu (28min)
VENUE Dunedin
REFEREE Craig Joubert