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Highlanders

FULL-TIME
39     21

Stormers

Super Rugby | Dunedin
06:35 (GMT) | 28-03-2015
  • 81
Join us again shortly for more live coverage of Super Rugby with the Waratahs taking on the Blues in Sydney!
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From the scrum the Highlanders go wide and makes some good metres with their big ball runners. they are just 5m from the Stormers 22 and they win a penalty. Banks converts the PENALTY and the Highlanders win it 39-21 - FULL-TIME
  • 78
The Stormers go onto the attack in their own half before they lose it forward and the Highlanders have a scrum on halfway
  • 76
Kolbe is in space from the scrum and he sprints down field before passing to Jones. He passes to De Jongh in the Highlanders 22 who scores the TRY!
  • 76
Coleman adds the CONVERSION and it is now 36-21
  • 75
Pryor again finds space from the restart as the Highlanders find themselves in the Stormers half before it is lost forward a few phases later and the Stormers will have the scrum on their ow 10m line
  • 73
Banks misses the conversion and the Highlanders lead 36-14
  • 72
The Stormers run it out from their own 22 from the scrum with Kolbe in space. But the Stormers lose it forward after a big tackle and the Highlanders go wide and Dan Pryor is in space and sprints to score the TRY!
  • 70
The Stormers, from the scrum 5m from their own tryline, goes to De Allende with a good solid carry before Coleman finds touch outside of the Stormers 22. The Highlanders go short and they now find themselves in the Stormers 22 before it goes wide and Emery loses it forward
  • 68
From a scrum on their own 10m line, the Highlanders sends a high ball through Sopoaga and Naholo wins the ball back as they find themselves on the Stormers 10m line. Sopoaga kicks before Kolbe returns it. Ben Smith sends a kick and wins it. The Highlanders kick again and the Stormers are under pressure on their own tryline with a scrum
  • 65
After the Stormers could not take adavantage of Kolisi's wonderful break, They are are now on the attack again in the Highlanders half with Burger and Kolisi doing some good work. But Etzebeth lose the ball forward and the Highlanders get the scrum
  • 62
Coleman adds the CONVERSION and the score is now 31-14
  • 61
The Stormers choose another 5m scrum from the penalty. Groom is put under pressure at the back before Kolisi and Burger go for some pick-and-goes, MIchael Rhodes pick it up now and he is in for the TRY!
  • 60
The Stormers, from the scrum 5m from their own tryline, goes to De Allende with a good solid carry before Coleman finds touch outside of the Stormers 22. The Highlanders go short and they now find themselves in the Stormers 22 before it goes wide and Emery loses it forward
  • 59
The Stormers opt for a line-out 5m out and the form the driving maul and they are over the tryline. It goes to the TMO but it is deemed held-up. Play comes back for a Stormers penalty and they choose a scrum. Coleman is close to scoring after going through a half gap and the Stormers get another penalty
  • 57
The Highlanders now hav ethe ball in the Stormers half before they kick. Burger now finds space as he sprints down field before passing to Carr who is brought down in the Highlanders 22. They get the penalty and Aaron Smith gets YELLOW CARDED for killing the ball
  • 56
The away team has lost a lot of ground now as they continue with one-off runners before Coleman sends a grubber, which Osborne gathers. The Highlanders kick and the Stormers run it back. Carr is stopped in his tracks with a tackle from Lentjies. and they lose the ball.
  • 54
Catrakilis gives his team a line-out between the Highlanders 10m and 22m line after the penalty. From the line-out the away team forms the maul before it is passed to Kolisi who makes some metres. The Stormers opt for one-off runners now as they make their way into the Highlanders 22. A pass is loose but Leyds recovers.
  • 52
The Stormers run the ball from inside the own half now, but the Highlanders defence is well organised. Catrakilis' kick is charged down, but the Stormers win it back before Kolisi is in space. The Stormers lose it forward and the Highlanders run but they give away a penalty near the 10m of the Stormers
  • 49
Sopoaga adds the CONVERSION and the Highlanders lead 31-7
  • 48
From the scrum it goes to Treeby who is strong in the tackle before Edmonds takes it up. The Highlanders are just a metre short before it goes wide to Patrick Osborne who dives over for the TRY!
  • 47
The home side goes wide from the Scrum before Ashe Dixon breaks through a tackle as the Highlanders find themselves in the Stormers 22. They win a penalty with the Stormers not rolling away and Aaron Smith takes it quickly and they will get a scrum 10m out with the ref getting in the way of the pass.
  • 45
From the scrum the Highlanders go widet o Ben Smith who loses the ball forward. The Stormers take the ball up now with Burger but Carr sends a forward pass to Leyds. Highlanders have another scrum on halfway
  • 43
Ben Smith takes a good high ball from Catrakilis. The Highlanders go wide but Fekitoa is in touch. The Stormers, from a line-out near their own 10m line form the maul and make their way into the home side's half. They go wide and Kolbe loses the ball forward, Highlanders have the scrum near halfway
  • 41
SECOND HALF: Stormers flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis gets the second half under way!

Half Time

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Sopoaga adds the CONVERSION from a difficult angle and the Highlanders lead 24-7 at HALF-TIME!
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From the scrum, on the Stormers 10m line, Aaron Smith goes short side to Naholo is in the gap and bulldozes his way over Kolbe for the TRY! in the corner.
  • 39
From the scrum, 5m from their own tryline, Carr takes it up, before Catrakilis kicks it out. The Highlanders take it quickly and will get a scrum near the Stormers 10m line after the De Allende loses the ball forward attempting a tackle
  • 38
After a huge kick by Ben Smith it is dotted down in goal by Kolbe for a 22 restart. The Highlanders get the ball back on the Stormers 10m line. Edmonds bashes his way into the Stormers 22 . Osborne is nearly in a half gap and Aaron Smith knocks on at the ruck after the next phase and the Stormers have a scrum 5m from their own tryline.
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Sopoaga adds the CONVERSION and the Highlanders lead 17-7
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The Stormers have the ball in the Highlanders half before Naholo intercepts a pass from De Jongh and races about 60m for the TRY!
  • 32
The Highlanders go wide from the line-out and they win the penalty after the Stormers go straight over the ruck in a harsh call. Sopoaga converts the PENALTY and the Highlanders lead 10-7
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From the scrum, The highlanders win the free-kick and they kick down field. After a brief kicking dual the Highlanders run it with Osborne taking his team to halfway. A loose pass goes into touch and the Highlanders will have a line-out on the Stormers 10m line
  • 29
The Stormers are dominant in the scrum and they win another penalty, Catrakilis gives his team a line-out 5m from the Highlanders 22. Burger and Kleyn takes it up before it goes wide to De Allende. But the home team gets the scrum after the Stormers run into each other.
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The Stormers win a Highlanders line-out on halfway but they give away a penalty after Kleyn holds on to the ball. The Highlanders have a line-out near the Stormers 10m line. They go wide but Ben Smith loses the ball forward and the Stormers get the scrum
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Sopoaga adds the CONVERSION and it si all square at 7-7
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The Highlanders now have an attacking scrum about 10m from the Stormers tryline. Lentjies and Osborne makes some good metres. After the next few phases Aaron Smith picks it up quickly and scores a TRY! against the base of the post.
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The Highlanders wins the ball from the restart and the find space out wide but Hohneck cannot hold onto the ball and the Stormers have a scrum m from their own half
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Catrakilis adds the CONVERSION and the Stormers lead 7-0
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The Stormers win a penalty just outside their 22 from the scrum and Catrakilis gives his team a line-out on the Highlanders 10m line. Groom goes to the midfield with De Allende strong in the tackle. The Highlanders defence is good before Kolbe is in space on the flanks. They go wide again in the home side's 22 and Burger passes to De Jongh who is in for the TRY!
  • 16
The Stormers win the ball after the Highlanders took the line-out quick and they find themselves just outside the Highlanders 22. Sopoaga intercepts a pass a races down field, he passes to Noholo who spills the ball forward. Smith gathers and passes to Sopoaga who thinks he is in for the try, but its brought back for then lost forward
  • 15
The Stormers wastes an opportunity at the line-out with Ntubeni not throwing in straight and the Highlanders have a scrum 5m from their own 22. The home side wins a penalty with Koch collapsing and Sopoaga gives his team a line-out 5m inside the Stormers half
  • 14
The Stormers, from a scrum on their 10m line, shove the Highlanders back and they win the penalty and Catrakilis gives his team a line-out 5m from the Highlanders 22
  • 12
From the line-out the Stormers form a maul and the make some good metres into the Highlanders half. Carr, Kolisi and Burger opt for pick and goes before they go wide and give away a penalty for holding on. The Highlanders take it quickly but lose it forward a few phases later on the Stormers 10m line.
  • 10
The home side goes with the route of Naholo from the scrum before a high ball is sent and the Stormers gather well. Catrakilis sends a grubber and the Highlanders have the ball before Sopoaga's kick finds touch just inside the Stormers' half
  • 8
The Stormers, from a scrum in the Highlanders half, go to the short side before Kleyn drives forward. It goes wide but De Jongh cannot hold on and the Highlanders will have a scrum on their own 10m line
  • 5
From the scrum on the Stormers 10m line, the Highlanders give away a free-kick after Aaron Smith doesn't put the ball in. Burger takes it quickly before Carr bursts through a tackle. Kolbe misses a pass which goes into touch and the home team takes it quickly. The Highlanders lose it forward. Stormers get the scrum
  • 2
The Stormers drive it up from the restart before they go wide with Ntubeni making metres up to halfway. Catrakilis kicks out on the full and the Highlanders have a line-out on the Storners 10m line. The Stormers knock it on and the home team gets the scrum
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Highlanders flyhalf Lima Sopoaga gets the game under way!
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The Highlanders have lost their last six against the Stormers, a run which was preceded with nine wins from 12 meetings between the sides.
  • -20
Today's match will be Schalk Burger's 100th for the Stormers in Super Rugby.
  • -30
Welcome to live coverage of Round Seven of Super Rugby with the Highlanders taking on the Stormers at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
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Highlanders
Mc stormers logo 80x50
Stormers
START LINE UP
  • 15 Ben Smith
  • 14 Waisake Naholo
  • 13 Malakai Fekitoa
  • 12 Shaun Treeby
  • 11 Patrick Osborne
  • 10 Lima Sopoaga
  • 9 Aaron Smith
  • 8 Nasi Manu
  • 7 James Lentjes
  • 6 Elliot Dixon
  • 5 Joe Wheeler
  • 4 Tom Franklin
  • 3 Josh Hohneck
  • 2 Ash Dixon
  • 1 Brendon Edmonds
RESERVES
  • 23 Jason Emery
  • 22 Marty Banks
  • 21 Fumiaki Tanaka
  • 20 Dan Pryor
  • 19 Mark Reddish
  • 18 Pingi Talaapitaga
  • 17 Daniel Leinert-Brown
  • 16 Liam Coltman
START LINE UP
  • 15 Cheslin Kolbe
  • 14 Kobus van Wyk
  • 13 Juan de Jongh
  • 12 Damian de Allende
  • 11 Dillyn Leyds
  • 10 Demetri Catrakilis
  • 9 Nic Groom
  • 8 Nizaam Carr
  • 7 Schalk Burger
  • 6 Siya Kolisi
  • 5 Manuel Carizza
  • 4 Jean Kleyn
  • 3 Vincent Koch
  • 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni
  • 1 Steven Kitshoff
RESERVES
  • 23 Huw Jones
  • 22 Kurt Coleman
  • 21 Louis Schreuder
  • 20 Michael Rhodes
  • 19 Eben Etzebeth
  • 18 Frans Malherbe
  • 17 Oliver Kebble
  • 16 Bongi Mbonambi
Mc article jj engelbrecht bulls traini

Preview: S15 Round Seven, Part Two

Thu, 26 Mar 2015 22:54

Can we match last Saturday for sheer drama? The quality of the play was below par, but the drama was befitting of a Hollywood script.

Can we match last Saturday for sheer drama? The quality of the play may have been somewhat below par, but the drama was befitting of a Hollywood script.

The ingredients are there to make this Saturday another delectable day.

It starts with two teams desperate to bounce back from last week's disappointments - the fourth-placed Chiefs hosting the Cheetahs in Hamilton. The Chiefs come off a one-point loss to the Sharks and had to travel all the way from Durban. The Cheetahs were handed a 43-point drubbing by the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Then it is off to the South Island, where Highlanders, fresh from a disappointing loss to the table-topping Hurricanes, host a Stormers team coming off a bye.

We hop across the Tasman Sea to Sydney where the defending champion Waratahs will look to build on the momentum gained from last week's demolition job on the Brumbies when they face the winless Blues.

The Sharks have had to deal with plenty of off-field drama in the wake of their win over the Chiefs - with captain Bismarck du Plessis suspended and utility back Francois Steyn facing a re-trial after initially being cleared by a disciplinary hearing. They Western Force could feel their wrath in Durban on Saturday.

We conclude the weekend's action with what could be the match of the round - the three-time champion Bulls looking to add to their three-match winning streak, while the seven-time champion Crusaders have won three of their last four matches and are equally nervous about the outing in Pretoria.

We look at Saturday's matches!

Saturday, march 28


Chiefs v Cheetahs
(Waikato Stadium, Hamilton - Kick-off: 16.30; 05.30 SAST, 03.30 GMT)

The Chiefs have an abundance of world class talent and the potential to win a third title.

However, two defeats in their last three outings suggest they don't have the consistency to get the most out of their very impressive roster.

Fortunately they are up against a Cheetahs team that has been iffy for the past month and capitulated in dramatic fashion against the Crusaders last week.

All Black flank Sam Cane said despite the visitors' shockingly poor showing last week they are expecting another big physical battle against the Cheetahs - their third South African opponents in a row.

Add in the fact that the Chiefs had just returned from a trip to the Republic and the anxiety and disquiet in the home team's camp are understandable.  

The Cheetahs are often rated as the most expansive team in the South African conference, but Cane feels the Chiefs have the defensive skill to plug any holes.

"Our defence, to be honest, has been pretty sharp this season and we've got to make sure we keep building on that," Cane told the Waikato Times.

He said the Chiefs' attack remains a vital weapon, although they made about 30 handling errors at the weekend.

"It's about eliminating some of that sort of stuff, and bringing the performance together of the backs and forwards which we know we can do."

Recent results:
2014:  Chiefs and Cheetahs drew 43-all, Bloemfontein
2013: Chiefs won 45-3, Hamilton
2012: Chiefs won 39-33, Bloemfontein
2010: Chiefs and Cheetahs drew 25-all, Hamilton
2009: Chiefs won 28-10, Kimberley
2008: Chiefs won 22-20, Hamilton

Prediction: The Chiefs' last home match against the Cheetahs provided their largest ever Super Rugby winning margin (42 points).  The last meeting between the sides provided the highest-scoring draw in Super Rugby history; the match finished 43-all in Bloemfontein. It was also the third draw in nine meetings between the teams. The Chiefs have the best tackling success rate in the competition (89 percent), while the Cheetahs' is the third worst (84 percent). These two sides' try-scoring records are identical in second, third and fourth quarters of matches this season, but the Chiefs have scored two more (four) in the opening 20 minutes of matches. The Cheetahs' defence seems patchy and their set pieces were under pressure - be that from illegal tactics or not - last week. The Chiefs are just the kind of team that will make you pay if you leak like sieve. The Chiefs could win by 20 points or more.

Teams:

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Charlie Ngatai/Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Tom Marshall, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9  Brad Weber, 8  Michael Leitch, 7  Sam Cane, 6  Liam Messam (captain), 5  Michael Fitzgerald, 4  Matt Symons, 3  Ben Tameifuna, 2  Quentin MacDonald, 1  Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Mitchell Graham, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Johan Bardoul, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Marty McKenzie.
 
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Johannes Prinsloo, 7 Jean Cook, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 BG Uys.
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Danie Mienie, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Willie Britz, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Ryno Benjamin
 
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Highlanders v Stormers
(Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin - Kick-off: 19.35; 08.35 SA time; 06.35 GMT)

Both teams are coming off a loss, determined to put their campaigns firmly back on track - after what was decidedly underwhelming performances.

The Highlanders were not as clinical or energetic when they went down (13-20) to the Hurricanes last week, while the Stormers - who are coming off a bye - were also well below their best in a 19-28 loss to the Chiefs.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said his side need to show a bit more patience and get the ball in good field positions.

''We have to remember, you win the game in the last minute, not the first minute," he told the Otago Daily Times.

''We know we can play and we just have to make sure we get some field position and apply some pressure.''

Stormers head coach Allister Coetzee said there was lots of energy in training this week and he hopes that translates into form on the field.

Coetzee, speaking in a teleconference call from the team's training base in the holiday resort of Queenstown, said the game is "massively important" for his team.

"However, there are processes we have to get right," he said.

"Once our set pieces function well, the line-outs work and we put pressure on the scrums, then the result will take care of itself.

"We are playing against a very good counter-attacking team a team that punishes you if you are inaccurate, so we will have to look after possession."

Recent results:
2014: Stormers won 29-28, Cape Town
2012: Stormers won 21-6, Dunedin
2011: Stormers won 16-6, Cape Town
2010: Stormers won 33-0, Cape Town
2009: Stormers won 18-11, Dunedin
2008: Stormers won 26-16, Cape Town

Prediction: The Highlanders have lost their last six against the Stormers, a run which was preceded with nine wins from 12 meetings between the sides. The New Zealanders picked up a losing bonus point in just two of those six losses, losing by an aggregate margin of 78 points. Though they have thrown fewer line-outs than any other side, only the Brumbies (91 percent) have a better throw success rate than the Highlanders (90.9 percent). Opponents of the Stormers have averaged the second fewest passes (107.6) so far, whilst opponents of the Highlanders have averaged the fewest kicks from hand (15.8). The elusive Highlanders have forced the worst tackling success rate from their opponents (82 percent) so far this season. The Stormers have forced the worst scrum success rate from their opponents (69 percent) in the competition, with the South Africans stealing more scrums against the head than any other team this year on average. The Stormers will have to return to their defence-orientated game if they are to pull off a win, because the Highlanders have a showed a vulnerability when they are put in a choke-hold. The Stormers by less than 10 points.

Teams:

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 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Pingi Tala'apitaga, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery.
 
Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
 
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)

Waratahs v Blues
(Allianz Stadium, Sydney - Kick-off: 19.40; 21.40 NZ time; 08.40 GMT)

There is no doubt the word 'desperation' is synonymous Blues coach John Kirwan.

Not only has Kirwan drafted in seasoned flyhalf Dan Bowden, who will play his first Super Rugby match in five years, but he also opted against resting All Blacks Charlie Faumuina, Charles Piutau and James Parsons - in line with New Zealand Rugby Union's World Cup strategy.

The reason is simple. The winless Blues, last on the 15-team standings, are in a dire position.

"The original plan was the Waratahs and possibly another away game, but we've had to rethink that and take our season one game at a time," Kirwan said.

"We're under a little bit of scoreboard pressure so we have to get back on the winning track first."

The 28-year-old Bowden is back from spells in the English premiership and Japan, having previously played for the Highlanders and Crusaders from 2008 to 2010.

"He [Bowden] has been through it before so I just said to him: 'Get out there and empty the tank'," Kirwan said.

"It's his experience that we're looking for and that doesn't leave you, so he's pretty relaxed about it."

The Waratahs are well aware that there's backlash likely to come for a desperate Blues outfit.

That is why coach Michael Cheika has demanded a repeat of the quality and intensity that saw them demolish the Brumbies - aggression and an 'edge' at the collision.

"It's always going to be a challenge with the Blues, they're a big team - with [front row forwards] Charlie Faumuina, Patrick Tuipulotu, All Blacks there - that lead their go forward in the pack," Waratahs lock Will Skelton told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"And they got us last year, in the same position. We'd just come off a good win and going into them probably underestimated the Blues and they took advantage.

"They will be looking to bully us around but we're up for it."

Recent results:
2014: Blues won 21-13, Auckland
2013: Waratahs won 30-27, Sydney
2011: Blues won 26-13, Auckland
2011: Blues won 31-17, Auckland
2010: Waratahs won 39-32, Sydney
2009: Waratahs won 27-22, Auckland

Prediction: The Blues have won three of the last four matches between these sides. The last five matches between the sides have been won by the home side on the day. The Blues have picked up a losing bonus point in their last three defeats to the Waratahs. The 'Tahs have been beaten by margins greater than seven points in each of their last three defeats to the Auckland-based side. With regard to turnovers won, the Waratahs (4.6) and Blues (5.2) are the worst and third worst performing teams respectively.  The Blues (16 minutes 25 seconds) and the Waratahs (16 minutes 11 seconds) rank first and third respectively for average time spent in possession this season. Only the Round Six leaders, the Hurricanes (seven), have scored more final quarter tries than the Waratahs (six), while the Blues have scored the joint-fewest in the same timeframe (one). The Blues will eventually win, but it is unlikely to be this weekend. The Waratahs by 15 points or more.

Teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 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 Tolu Latu, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Hugh Roach, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Sam Lousi, Mitchell Chapman, Stephen Hoiles, , Brendan McKibbin, Jono Lance, Peter Betham.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 George Moala, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Hayden Triggs, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi/Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Luke Braid, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Pita Ahki.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees, Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

Sharks v Western Force
(Kings Park, Durban - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT; 23.05 AWST; 02.05 AEDT Sunday, March 29)

The Sharks have faced bigger challenges off the field than on it this past week, and the end is not in sight yet.

How they manage to put the Bismarck du Plessis and Frans Steyn sagas behind them will be key when the Sharks face a lowly Force team that has lost five consecutive matches after an opening-round loss.

The Sharks, before this week's setbacks, were gaining some handy momentum - having won the last two games, following a two-match losing streak.

"I feel we are gaining a bit of momentum, but we are just going to take it week by week," Sharks fullback SP Marais told a media briefing in Durban.

"Although we won last weekend, I wouldn't say it was a pretty affair, and the two red cards meant that we put ourselves under a lot of pressure.

"But we are very happy to have come away with a win. We are super glad but we can't dwell on it because this weekend is another challenge."

Despite their lowly position, 13th, on the standings, the Perth-based outfit remains threat.

"The Force have definitely improved over the last few years, especially if you take where they started and where they are 10 years later," Marais said.

"They have a good pack and some quick backs and looking at their record in this year's competition, I don't think we can take them too lightly, it's going to be a different challenge and it's sure to be difficult.

"They will play a very different game to the Chiefs and we're preparing for that. We've done our analysis and I think they will bring a different challenge to the Chiefs - who threw the ball around a lot more. The Force keep it tight, and as soon as you are sucked in, they take it out wide. We have to be sharp.

"We had to be way more defensive against the Chiefs because of the two red cards, so hopefully this weekend we can play with 15 guys and run a bit more."

Recent results:
2013: Sharks won 23-13, Perth
2012: Sharks won 53-11, Durban
2011: Sharks won 39-12, Perth
2010: Sharks won 27-22, Durban
2009: Sharks won 22-10, Perth
2008: Sharks won 17-10, Durban

Prediction: The Sharks' six-match winning streak against the Force is their current second best winning streak against a single opponent. The Force have taken a losing bonus point in two of their four trips to Durban. The Sharks (84 percent) have the worst tackling success rate in the competition, while the Force tackle at just 85 percent. The Force have averaged the fewest line-out steals (0.3), while the Sharks have come up with the most (2.2 average). The Force have the worst scrum success rate in the competition (73 percent). The Force came close last week because the Bulls were poor. The Sharks are likely to present a different challenge and should with by about 15 points.

Teams:

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Conrad Hoffmann, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel (captain), 6 Renaldo Bothma, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20 Daniel du Preez, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Waylon Murray.

Western Force: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Luke Burton, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8  Ben McCalman, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes (captain), 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Dane Haylett-Petty.
 
Referee: Nic Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Bulls v Crusaders
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 19:10; 06.10 NZST, 17.10 GMT)

The Bulls may be on a three-match winning streak, but last week's streaky one-point (25-24) win over the hapless Western Force produced enough evidence to suggest they are far from an in-form team.

Coach Frans Ludeke, always the optimist, saw positives in the close win over the Force.

However, he was also pragmatic enough to acknowledge dangers pose by a Crusaders team that demolished both the Lions and Cheetahs in the past fortnight.

"We did a lot of things well against the Force, but our execution and defence were lacking," Ludeke said.

"We failed to deliver the knock-out punch when they had 13 men on the field.

"It is a mindset as well, but few challenges are greater than beating the Crusaders, so I am pretty sure the guys will be up for it. It certainly showed in this week's training."

Bulls captain Pierre Spies echoed similar sentiments,.

"We did some good things, but also played poorly at times and that nearly cost us the match," Spies said.

"It is just not good enough at this level. We need to show we are the championship side we believe we are.

"Hopefully we will have the crowd support this week.

"This Crusaders team is a good one, but this is our turf and we need to defend it," Spies added.

"We have lost twice at home and we cannot allow it to happen again. I think we have turned the corner and is keen to lead the guys onto the field."

Crusaders assistant coach Tabai Matson, in a teleconference call from the team's base in Pretoria, described it as a "critical game" in their campaign.

"It will be an immense physical battle, a real arm-wrestle," Matson said of a Bulls team renowned for its abrasive approach.

All Black veteran Kieran Read also spoke of the huge challenge awaiting them in Pretoria.

He said nothing can be assumed with the Bulls.

"We will expect them to be on their game. They have a few guys in there that are a lot more experienced in their tight five."

Recent results:
2013: Crusaders won 41-19, Christchurch
2012: Crusaders won 28-13, Christchurch (preliminary knock-out match)
2012: Bulls won 32-30, Pretoria
2011: Crusaders won 27-0, Timaru
2010: Bulls won 39-24, Soweto (semifinal)
2010: Bulls won 40-35, Pretoria
2009: Bulls won 36-23, Pretoria (semifinal)

Prediction: The Crusaders hold the record for the most points scored in a single match against the Bulls; they beat them 75-27 in 2000. The last eight contests between the sides have been won by the home side on the day, with each side collecting four triumphs apiece. The Crusaders have scored more tries that originated from scrums (6) than any other side so far, whilst the Bulls are one of four sides yet to score a try from a possession that originated with a scrum. The Crusaders have scored five tries after winning a turnover, more than any other team. Only the Crusaders (28.6) have averaged more points per game than the Bulls (27.4) so far this season. The Crusaders have won more scrums per game (8.2) at a better success rate (95 percent) than any other side this season.  It is going to be the most intriguing and closely contested encounter of the weekend - with the Bulls sneaking a win by less than 10 points.

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Morné Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Dean Greyling, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jurgen Visser.
 
Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Kieron Fonotia, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Tom Taylor, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Dan Carter, 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 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Colin Slade, 23 David Havilli.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (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 highlanders v stormers2 630

Highlanders too strong for Stormers

Sat, 28 Mar 2015 08:26

REPORT: The Highlanders recorded their first win over the Stormers in eight years, as they overpowered the visitors 39-21 on Saturday.

The Highlanders recorded their first win over the Stormers in eight years, as they overpowered the visitors 39-21 in Dunedin on Saturday.

The game is about attack and defence.

The Highlanders won the attack and, when it mattered, the defence as well and so they won the game by even more than the score suggests was fair.

Oh, the Stormers had their moments, but there are more than moments in a match.

If in 43 minutes you score no points while your opponents score 31 points, you are not winning the match.

In the end the Highlanders, who taught that attacking means scoring tries and taught it well, scored their highest score this year.

They scored five tries. Three were by strong wings, one by a perky scrumhalf and one by a loose forward who was playing at outside centre at the time.

Two of the three Stormers' tries came in the last 20 minutes, when the match was won and lost, and they came at a time when their loose forwards adopted creative roles rather than just being 'fetch and carry' men.

And the most creative of them was affable Schalk Burger playing his 100th Super Rugby match in a remarkable career of highs and chasmic lows.

When he ran onto Forsyth Barr Stadium first, everybody applauded.

The Highlanders kicked off and the Stormers mauled and then ran, and then Demetri Catrakelis kicked out on the full.

The Stormers' kicking was the worst aspect of their game, a meaningless and unprofitable product branded defeat.

At one stage they lost a kicking duel which became a drop-out to the Stormers and a try to the Highlanders.

If you valued a kick by when and where you next get possession, kicking was a poor investment for the Stormers.

The Stormers attacked first, but the Highlanders nearly scored first when flyhalf Lima Sopoaga intercepted a pass from Catrakelis. Dillyn Leyds covered and saved when the TMO, after Sopoaga had loped over the goal-line, discovered a tiny Highlander knock-on after the ball had struck Nic Groom's boot.

But just after that Siyabonga Ntubeni threw a long pass to Cheslin Kolbe and the bravest player in the world set off on a run down the right. The ball came back wide left, where Burger, who had already handled in the attack, bowled a pass to Juan de Jongh who got the ball despite Highlander interference, cut inside and scored. Demetri Catrakelis converted - 7-0 after 18 minutes.

There was no time for complacency as Leyds made a horrible hash of the kick-off and the Highlanders attacked. They were over but were frustrated by a knock-on though they stayed attacking. 

Under great pressure, Kolbe could not clear far, and from the resultant line-out James Lentjes drove at the Stormers' line and after much bashing Aaron Smith cunningly dabbed the ball against the base of the post protector for a try that levelled the scores. It was a moment of wonderful cheek - 7-all after 22 minutes.

An iffish penalty against Damien De Allende at a tackle when he dabbed his right hand on the ground as he won the ball with his left, made the score 10-7 to the Highlanders after 32 minutes.

The Stormers were playing deep and passing to their left when De Jongh passed straight to Waisake Naholo who went through the empty half of the field for a try at the posts. 17-7 after 34 minutes.

Just before half-time, Aaron Smith went blind from a scrum and grubbered. Groom stuck out a foot and the ball ricocheted into the arms of Naholo who ran over Kolbe and scored in the right corner, whence Sopoaga kicked the conversion. 24-7 which was the half-time score and the Stormers had the gallows look.

In the first half the Highlanders had suffered greatly in the scrums, largely destroyed and penalised three times but in the second half with some adjustments they owned their own scrums.

Early in the second half the Highlanders advanced in purposeful phases. The Stormers were penalised and the men from the south tapped and Patrick Osborne forced his way through Burger and lock Jean Kleyn to score. 31-7 after 48 minutes, and the Highlanders had a bonus point.

With half an hour to play the Stormers made several changes and changed tactics to the more direct pick-'n-drive. When they had a drop-out Ntubeni took it quickly and Burger was off racing down the field till Nizaam Carr looked as if he were going to score. But the visitors attacked and Aaron Smith cheated and was sent to the sin bin. The Stormers drove the maul from a five-metre line-out over the line but were held up. Twice they swapped penalties for five-metre scrums and eventually Michael Rhodes, on for Carr, forced his way over for a try. 31-14 after 61 minutes.

The Stormers looked on the way to scoring again when Burger, then Siya Kolisi and then De Jongh raced down the middle of the field. A pass from Groom would surely have led to a try but instead he took a tackle and eventually the Highlanders won a turnover and ended attacking down the right when a chip by Fumiaki Tanaka produced desperate defence on the Stormers' line. The Highlanders stayed on the attack and were given the ball by a Rhodes knock-on after a horrible Groom pass and went wide to their right where Pryor was in an outside centre position and raced 20 metres to score. 36-14 after 72 minutes.

From a scrum Kolbe was at flyhalf and took an outside gap just inside his own half. He gave to Huw Jones who played inside to De Jongh who scored his second try. 36-21 with five minutes to play and the Stormers hopeful of a fourth try. Instead they were penalised at a tackle, Marty Banks goaled and the final whistle went.

The last time the Highlanders beat the Stormers was in 2007 and this was a comprehensive victory.

Man of the Match: Schalk Burger was the best of the Stormers and Aaron Smith promised to be the best of the Highlanders till he cheated and missed the last half an hour of the match, sin-binned and then substituted. Our Man of the Match is big, determined, overpowering Waisake Naholo.

The scorers:

For the Highlanders:
Tries:
A Smit, Naholo 2, Osborne, Pryor
Cons: Sopoaga 4
Pen: Sopoaga, Banks

For the Stormers:
Tries:
De Jongh 2, Rhodes
Cons: Catrakilis, Coleman 2

Yellow card: Aaron Smith (Highlanders, 56 - professional foul, cynically killing the ball at the tackle)

Teams:

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 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Pingi Tala'apitaga, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery.
 
Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
 
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)

Aaron Smith (23min), Waisake Naholo (34min), Waisake Naholo (40min), Patrick Osborne (48min), and Dan Pryor (72min)
TRIES
Juan de Jongh (19min), Michael Rhodes (61min), and Juan de Jongh (76min)
Lima Sopoaga (24min), Lima Sopoaga (35min), Lima Sopoaga (40min), and Lima Sopoaga (49min)
CONVERSIONS
Demetri Catrakilis (19min), Kurt Coleman (62min), and Kurt Coleman (76min)
Lima Sopoaga (32min) and Marty Banks (80min)
PENALTIES
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
Aaron Smith (57min)
 
 
VENUE Dunedin
REFEREE Rohan Hoffmann