ad link


15     9


Super Rugby | Durban
15:05 (GMT) | 28-03-2015
  • 81
FULL TIME, with the Sharks sneaking a 15-9 win in a scrappy encounter. Join us for our next match of Super Rugby with live coverage of the Bulls Vs Crusaders encounter.
  • 80
Penalty awarded to the force for a late hit from Du Preez. The Force take a shot at goal to try and secure a losing bonus point. The penalty is CONVERTED by Luke Burton.
  • 79
Scrum for the Sharks on their own 5m line. After an embarrassing moment from Kyle Godwin. Kankowski rescues a scrappy ball at the base of the scrum and Zeilinga clears for a Force line-out on the 22m.
  • 78
Zeilinga's kick falls just short and wide. The Force kick the 22m drop-out. The Sharks have a line-out in-between the 10m ans the 22m of the Force. The play is scrappy as the Sharks lose ground. The Force are attacking in midfield with some good continuity, on the 9th phase. Heiberg makes a clean break as the Force reach the 5m line. Godwin receives a pass out wide and he knocks on over an open try-line during his dive.
  • 74
Penalty given to the Sharks at the scrum, as the Force tighthead prop was scrumming in on the angle. Zeilinga attempting a long-range kick for poles out from halfway.
  • 73
Zeilinga kicks for touch and the Sharks have a line-out on the halfway. The throw is not straight yet again and the Force opt for the scrum.
  • 72
Force win the line-out as Faulkner makes a bust into the the Sharks 22m. TRY for the force and flank Steve Mafi. The ref has changed his mind and gone upstairs, checking for obstruction. Obstruction is given as Adriaanse was taken out illegally at the ruck. Penalty for the Sharks.
  • 70
Sharks and Force ringing the changes, as the Sharks get ready for a line-out just outside the Force 22m. Force turn it over from a Kankowski mistake. The force have taken the ball up to the 50m line, and are awarded a penalty for a high tackle from Bothma on Cummins. The Force kick for touch.
  • 68
Zeilinga adds the extras.
  • 67
Ebersohn misses the attempt in front and the Sharks keep the lead. The Force return a kick from the 22m drop out and SP Marais makes a great counter straight through the Force defence ghosting through tackles, and he puts Mvovo away who shows a clean pair of heels and he finishes for a TRY!
  • 66
Force charging up the midfield in the Sharks half, but they lose the ball as Mvovo picks up the scraps. Change of possession again as the Force progress forward on the Sharks 10m. The Force taking the direct route and they win the penalty for no clear release from the Sharks tackler. It is right out in front of the poles. They opt for the kick for goal.
  • 63
Zeilinga coverts the PENALTY and the Sharks move in front 8-6.
  • 62
The Force have a scrum on their 22m line, and the Force loose it forward at the base by McCalman. Scrum for the Sharks, as they reset again. Penalty is awarded to the Sharks for illegal binding. Zeilinga lines up a shot for goal.
  • 60
Steyn belts a kick down field as the Force have another line-out on their 22m. Ebersohn kicks one down the middle of the park as Marais returns with interest. Its to-and-fro with kicks. Bothma chases a kick from Ndungane and the Force have possession in their own 22m. Marais launches a counter from a Force kick and the Sharks have possession on the 50m. Bothma makes a break down the touch-line but cannot find Ndungane with the inside pass.
  • 56
Hoffmann feeds the scrum and Kankowski picks and passes to Hoffmann for the clearance. Great exit play. Force line-out of the 50m.
  • 55
Godwin stabs another grubber behind the Sharks defence which brings an end to the Force attack. The Force have a line-out which they form into a maul. They are powering forward towards the sharks 5m. The force keeping it in channel 1 and are into phase 7. They now spread wide but cannot penetrate the Sharks defence as they lose ground. A pick-and-go from Coleman results in accidental off-side. Scrum to the Sharks in their own 22m.
  • 52
The shakrs win the ball back and clear out of their own half. Great work from Bothma to regain the ball. The force kick a high one into the Sharks 22m and Mvovo calls for the mark. He clears for touch and the Force take a quick line out. Mohoran kicks the ball into touch. The Sharks win the line-out but lose the ball quickly in contact.
  • 50
The force have a scrum as matthewson feeds the ball. They go wide and are making meters, as Godwin plays a pivot role. Petty stabs a good grubber through into the Sharks 22m and SP Marais has no option but to hack it out. Line-out force.
  • 47
Steyn goes deep, and Petty replies with an up-and-under as the Force attack with a good kick chase. The Sharks clear and they have a line-out on the halfway line, as they form a maul but are not going anywhere - turnover awarded to the Force.
  • 45
Ndungane dots down a kick from the Force in the in-goal area and the Sharks have a 22m drop out.
  • 44
Steyn misses the conversion attempt.
  • 43
Force have a line-out on the halfway and the throw is not straight from Nathan Charles. Sharks opt for the scrum on the 15m line. Hoffman goes blind and releases Ndungane into some space as he beats some tackles down the touch line. The Sharks go wide again and Steyn throws an unintentional bounce pass that puts SP Marais in space as he runs over the goal-line for a TRY!
  • 41
Force have a line-out on the halfway and the throw is not straight from Nathan Charles. Sharks opt for the scrum on the 15m line. Hoffman goes blind and releases Ndungane into some space as he beats some tackles down the touch line. The Sharks go wide again and Steyn throws an unintentional bounce pass that puts SP Marais in space as he runs over the goal-line for a TRY!

Half Time

  • 40
Hoffman kicks it straight out off the scrum and that brings us to HALF-TIME.
  • 39
The Force clear from their own 22m and Steyn collects and returns with a kick. Koteka makes a brilliant break up the middle of the field and are now in the Sharks 22m, however they knock-on and the Sharks will have a scrum.
  • 38
The Force go for poles. Ebersohn from straight in front converts the PENALTY to extend the lead to 6 points.
  • 37
Centre scrum for the sharks on the Force 10m, and the Sharks win a free-kick. Hoffman takes it quickly as the Sharks press forward. Steyn shanks a kick into Mohoran's arms, and the Force have possession on the Sharks 22m. Matthewson keeping it close with the forwards after 10 phases. Resilient goal-line defence from the Sharks as the force go into their 17th phase. Penalty to the Force for not rolling away.
  • 32
Force attacking in their own half, and Ebersohn kicks one straight into his own player and Nathan Charles drops straight to the ground from the flacon.
  • 31
Ebersohn is kicking from out left of the poles, and he opens the scoring by converting the PENALTY.
  • 30
Inconclusive form the replays, therefore the ref will go with the penalty form the advantage for tackler not rolling away. The Force are going for the 3-points.
  • 29
The Force set up a maul, and they go wide with Burton gaining momentum. Matthewson showing some good service at the breakdown. Morahan sprints for the corner and the Force have a line-out. They win the line-out and are right on the Sharks goal-line. The Force have penalty advantage as McCalman tries to force his way over the line. The ref is going upstairs.
  • 27
The force have a scrum just inside the Force half. Scrum time is scrappy with a number of resets. Matthewson feeds and Du Plessis gives a penalty away for not holding his bind. Ebersohn kicks for touch and the Force have a line-out deep inside the sharks 22m.
  • 25
Mvovo with some space down the touchline showing some speed. The Sharks are right back in the Force 22m. The Force with an exit plan from the line-out and clears but doesn't find touch. Steyn puts a kick out on the full. Line-out Force on the halfway.
  • 22
Ebersohn kicks for touch from the penalty, and they have a line-out on the Sharks 5m. The Sharks win the line-out and Steyn clears. Petty shows some good footwork on the counter. Ebersohn puts it high and SP Marais collects. Steyn puts a kick behind the force and the Sharks give away a penalty at the breakdown on the Force 22m.
  • 20
Penalty to the Force for off-side at the line-out.
  • 19
Hoffman with a box kick from midfield and it goes straight out on the full. The Force are relieved with a line-out on the halfway. Force getting some phases together in midfield. Ebersohn spots some spcae behind Mvovo, and Mvovo clears to touch. Net gain for the Force.
  • 17
Sharks opt for the line-out but the throw is not straight from Cooper. The force take the line-out as they look for an exit strategy. Petty clears for the Force and the Sharks have a line-out inside the Force 22m. Not straight again from Cooper. Force take the line-out choice.
  • 14
Hoffman passes to Steyn who is in the pocket for a drop-goal but it is wide yet again from Steyn. Force restart deep and Marais launches a counter. Sharks go wide to Mvovo and they continue to move forward. Penalty to the Sharks - tackler not rolling away.
  • 12
Sharks milking a penalty off a scrum and they go for touch. Line-out for the Sharks on the 22m.
  • 11
Steyn with a deep restart. Force reply with a kick and its accidental off-side and the Force have a scrum. Ebersohn plays Godwin flat, but the Sharks turn it over in the tackle. Good work from Steyn in contact.
  • 9
Penalty to the Force at the scrum. Mtawarira guilty of collapsing. Ebersohn with a long-range attempt, but it is well wide.
  • 7
Force have the ball in midfield. Ebersohn passes to Burton and he knocks-on. The Sharks have a scrum just inside their own half.
  • 5
Deysel points to the poles and Steyn lines up for goal. He pushed it to the left. The force retsart with a 22m kick.
  • 4
Matthewson feeds the scrum, after a few resets. Its a tight-head as the Sharks rumble in the scrum. The ref awards a penalty to the Sharks for off-side.
  • 2
Immediately Sharks are on the front foot with possession just outside the Force 22m. Sharks stringing phases together as Deysel off-loads nicely in the tackle. Hoffmann spills the ball and the Force have a scrum inside their own 22m
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Sharks flyhalf Frans Steyn gets the game under way with a deep kick.
  • -10
The Sharks have made some changes to their team. Jean Deysel takes over the captaincy and Mouritz Botha and Beast Mtawarira have both been passed fit. Conrad Hoffmann takes over at scrumhalf and Frans Steyn shifts from centre to flyhalf.
  • -15
Conditions at Kings Park are cloudy, and some rain could be expected later during the match.
  • -20
Out of the last six Super Rugby matches between the Durban based Sharks and the Perth based Western Force the Sharks have won six. These two teams did not meet each other in last years fixture.
  • -30
Welcome to live coverage of Round Seven of Super Rugby with the Sharks taking on the Force at Kings Park stadium in Durban.
Mc sharks logo 80x50
Mc western force logo 80x50
  • 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
  • 6 Renaldo Bothma
  • 5 Marco Wentzel
  • 4 Mouritz Botha
  • 3 Jannie du Plessis
  • 2 Kyle Cooper
  • 1 Tendai Mtawarira
  • 23 Waylon Murray
  • 22 Fred Zeilinga
  • 21 Stefan Ungerer
  • 20 Daniel du Preez
  • 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda
  • 18 Lourens Adriaanse
  • 17 Thomas Du Toit
  • 16 Monde Hadebe
  • 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
  • 3 Tetera Faulkner
  • 2 Nathan Charles
  • 1 Pek Cowan
  • 23 Dane Haylett-Petty
  • 22 Zack Holmes
  • 21 Ian Prior
  • 20 Angus Cottrell
  • 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp
  • 18 Ollie Hoskins
  • 17 Chris Heiberg
  • 16 Heath Tessmann
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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article sharks v force 630

Sharks edge Force in snorefest

Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:06

REPORT: The Sharks collected four valuable points, as they beat the Western Force 15-9 in a dour Super Rugby Round Seven game on Saturday.

The Sharks collected four valuable points, although there was not much to be proud off as they beat the Western Force 15-9 in a dour Super Rugby Round Seven game in Durban on Saturday.

It was not the most flowing game and the rain didn't help matters and both teams lacked fluidity.

However, the Sharks will celebrate a win and the four valuable points that see them top of the South African conference.

It started badly and ended worse.

It was one of worst halves of rugby seen all year - the Sharks looking like a fish-a-chips team at the local club, a bunch of players just rocking up on a Saturday without having trained and hoping to get the game over as soon as possible so they can go to the pub afterwards.

The only highlights (or low-lights) were two Sias Ebersohn penalties, which gave the visitors a 6-0 lead at the break.

There was a promising start to the second half, with fullback SP Marais scoring a try barely two minutes after the restart. While the execution of Frans Steyn's pass to the No.15 not quite up to scratch, the bounce favoured the fullback and he had a clear run to the line.

However, then the mediocrity set in again and the error count continued to mount.

It was not till the 64th minute that the scorers were troubled, a Fred Zeilinga penalty giving the Sharks the lead for the first time.

Then follow a Sias Ebersohn choke, missing a kick from right in front, before a surprise counter by SP Marais found Lwazi Mvovo in open space and the Sharks wing's pace taking him clear and over.

The error count continued to mount and the Sharks eventually walked away with a scrappy and very ugly win. Nothing to be proud of, but still worth four points on the standings.

Sharks captain Jean Deysel said he was proud of his team.

"We had opportunities and spilled the ball, but the boys played well," Deysel said.

"Hats off to the boys in the scrums, but we couldn't get our game going.

"The boys made some big hits on defence and that put them under pressure. It doesn't get any easier with the Crusaders next week."

Force captain Sam Wykes admitted his team was their our own worst enemies.

"We left points out there, there were plenty of opportunities though," Wykes said.

"The win showed the class of the Sharks who rested players but still came away with the points.  

"It was a physical game and we'll learn a lot from it, but it was an awesome atmosphere here."

Man of the match: Dane Haylett-Petty came on as an injury replacement very early in the game and was one of the few bright lights in an otherwise dull showing. In a game where the workrate of some and skills levels of others were at a level of a third-rate club team, Renaldo Bothma stood out head and shoulders above in the sea of mediocrity.

The scorers:

For the Sharks:
Marais, Mvovo
Con: Zeilinga
Pen: Zeilinga

For the Western Force:
Ebersohn 2, Burton


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)

SP Marais (43min) and Lwazi Mvovo (67min)
Fred Zeilinga (68min)
Fred Zeilinga (63min)
Sias Ebersohn (31min), Sias Ebersohn (38min), and Luke Burton (80min)
VENUE Durban
REFEREE Nic Briant