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Super Rugby | Canberra
08:40 (GMT) | 04-04-2015
  • 81
Be sure to join us for more live coverage of Super Rugby with a mouth-watering match-up coming up next between the Sharks and the Crusaders.
  • 80
Cheetahs attack from the scrum and Rhule puts a kick in behind the defence, Ah Wong has had enough and he kicks the ball out to end the game and bring us to FULL-TIME. Brumbies victorious by 20-3.
  • 79
White kicks for touch but doesn't find touch although Rhule knocks on resulting in a Brumbies scrum at the Cheetahs 22m. Brumbies win the scrum and and set it up in midfield. White is sloppy at the breakdown as Benjamin does good work to force the scrum turnover.
  • 77
Brumbies win the line-out and Toomua clears for touch, line-out Cheetahs just outside the Brumbies 22m. Its won cleanly by the Cheetahs but they are losing ground on attack, pushed back to the 10m line. Penalty awarded for the Brumbies - textbook Pocock.
  • 75
Brumbies clear for touch after they won the scrum. Cheetahs have a line-out on the 22m of the Brumbies and they secure it. They attack for 3 phases before the Brumbies give a penalty away at the ruck. The Cheetahs don't hesitate to go for touch. They win their line-out and spread it but Pietersen loses it in contact. Brumbies kick deep and Cheetahs begin a counter. Much better from the Cheetahs, as Hendricks runs down the touchline but is tackled out on the Brumbies 5m by Speight.
  • 70
Brussow loses it forward from the line-out and the Brumbies clear down-field. Cheetahs still on the attack at the 22m and Le Roux puts Hendricks as he gets 7m out from the try-line. Cheetahs win a line-out but are turned over in the maul. Good work from Sam Carter.
  • 67
Brumbies with a set move in the backline off the line-out but spill it forward and the Cheetahs earn a scrum. Strong run by the Cheetahs backline with Venter crashing it into contact. Penalty given to the Cheetahas and they kick for touch. They secure their own line-out and Pietersen finds some space, another penalty awarded to the Cheetahs as Pretorius takes it quickly. ANOTHER penalty for the Cheetahs for a high tackle on Pietersen. They kick for touch and set up the line-out.
  • 65
Line-out won by the Brumbies on the 5m line, its a set-move as they attack the short-side but Cheetahs read it like a book and tackle Mann-Rea into touch. Cheetahs win their line-out and Le Roux relieves the pressure with a clearance.
  • 63
Brumbies go wide from the line-out as they attack the Cheetahs line. After 5 phases Sadie attempts an intercept and knocks-on. Scrum for the Brumbies just inside the home team's half. Penalty awarded to the Brumbies from the Scrum. Oosthuizens knees on the ground is the Ref's call. Brumbies opt for touch.
  • 60
Vaea picks up from No.8 and the Brumbies onve again are 5m out. Speight takes a short pass and dances pass a tackle and loses the ball forward mid-dive. Scrum to the Cheetahs. Pretorius feeds and they run it out from their own line. Le Roux puts Rhule away but he is tackled out on the Cheetahs 10m.
  • 58
The Brumbies set the maul from the line-out and are 1m out from the try-line. Nic White dummies and goes for the line, end result is a scrum for the Brumbies 5m out.
  • 57
Brumbies win the line-out as Vaea crashes forward. White passes out to Toomua who finds Fardy and he puts it to the boot to find a great touch clearance. Brumbies come away with it and the ball is loose in the backline. Brumbies given a penalty for a high-tackle from Sadie - very harsh decision. White kicks for the corner.
  • 54
Brumbies spread it from the line-out but knock on and Cheetahs earn a scrum. Pretorius puts a good kick in behind the Brumbies and finds good touch.
  • 53
Pretorius feeds, and plays Venter flat. Pietersen puts it high on Tomane and he gathers. Toomua returns a kick and the cheetahs launch a counter but Le Roux sells Rhule and he is smoked into touch.
  • 50
Brumbies now attacking at the Cheetahs 22m, but the Cheetahs receive a scrum just outside their 22m.
  • 48
Cheetahs with possession in midfield. Pocock makes the turnover and wins a penalty for the Brumbies in his characteristic fashion. Toomua kicks for touch but it is too long - rookie mistake.
  • 46
Lealiifano makes the CONVERSION and adds the extras.
  • 45
Brumbies opt for touch and the Brumbies set a maul from the line-out, Pocock falls short of the line. The lock-forward Enever drives for the line and scores the TRY.
  • 43
Early mistake from the Cheetahs as Oosthuizen knocks-on in the backline. Brumbies win the scrum and Toomua skips out wide. Brumbies into their 5th phase as they get closer to the try-line. Tommua spreads to Tomane who dives for the corner but is tackled out. The Ref brings them back for a penalty. Brumbies go for touch.
  • 41
SECOND-HALF: Cheetahs flyhalf Joe Pietersen gets the half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
Penalty to the Brumbies from the Scrum and they point to the posts. Lealiifano CONVERTS the penalty for 3 points, and that brings us to HALF-TIME.
  • 39
Nic White picks up at the base of the scrum and turned up the speed going through the Cheetahs line, he puts it on the boot for Speight to chase, and he collects but is tackled 2m short of the try-line. Speight tries to pop it up but Brumbies knock on. Cheetahs breath a sigh of relief as they have a 5m scrum.
  • 37
Pietersen receives from the scrum and puts a chip through, its scrappy and the Brumbies are awarded a scrum from a Cheetahs knock-on.
  • 35
Cheetahs play the ball from the scum and kick high on Tomane again. This time he catches it, and the Brumbies attack with Speight powering through defenders as he off-loads to Tomane but he spills it. Scrum Cheetahs on theri 10m.
  • 33
Brumbies knock-on, and the Cheetahs have a scrum on their 22m. A number of resets taking place.
  • 30
Uys secures the line-out, and Cheetahs setting up an exit play for Pietersen to find touch.
  • 29
Scrum penalty against the Cheetahs for collapsing. Brumbies clear for touch and secure the Line-out on their 10m. They set the maul before White goes to the backs with a set-piece move which puts Speight away who shows a strong fend and makes a 60m line break. Brumbies now all the way up to the 5m line. Sio rumbles it forward but resilient defence from the Cheetahs takes the prop into touch.
  • 27
Cheetahs set the drive again, and the ball isn't coming out as the Brumbies win a scrum turnover.
  • 25
Cheetahs win the line-out and use a set move as Pretorius makes a bust. Penalty awarded to the Cheetahs as they opt for a line-out when right in front of poles. Confident call. They set the drive but Brumbies were ready for it. Brussow breaks off, they go wide, but no advantage as they receive another penalty. Same again for the Cheetahs.
  • 22
Brumbies dominating possession, but the Cheetahs get a scrum on their own 10m. Solid scrum from the Cheetahs and they win a penalty. Pietersen clears for touch.
  • 20
Lealiifano CONVERTS the penalty for the extra 3 points.
  • 19
Brumbies attacking in the Cheetah territory, onto their 6th phase but the knock-on and the Cheetahs counter and kick deep. Brumbies launch their own counter and Brussow is penalised for off-side at the ruck. Brumbies opt for goal.
  • 17
Pietersen lines up a kick for goal and he CONVERTS the penalty for 3 points.
  • 16
No try. Cheetahs receive a penalty for a double movement. Cheetahs opt for touch and they win the line-out. Meyer box-kicks high and win the ball back. Cheetahs go high again and Tomane spills it again as the Cheetahs gather the ball and are awarded a penalty.
  • 14
Brumbies win the line-out but White goes wide. Toomua hitting the line at pace and pins his ears back for the line. Cheetahs look to have held him up and they are reviewing with the TMO.
  • 13
Brumbies awarded a penalty and White kicks for touch. Frady secures the line-out and Brumbies set the drive. The Brumbies given a penalty for illegal entry in the maul. The Brumbies will try again as they go for touch.
  • 10
Brumbies set up a maul from the line-out then White goes wide. Cheetahs make a turnover and Le Roux relives pressure with a kick for touch. Brumbies secure the line-out through Fardy. White plays back the same way as Coleman breaks the line. The Brumbies continue to attack.
  • 7
Brumbies with a line-out just outside the Cheetahs 22m. White plays short to Sio who makes a destructive run towards the poles. The Brumbies awarded a penalty for the Cheetahs not rolling away. Brumbies opt for touch although it is right out in front.
  • 5
Lealiifanu adds the extra 2 as he makes the CONVERSION.
  • 4
Toomua finds touch and Brumbies have a line-out just outside the 22m of the Cheetahs. Fardy wins the line-out and White plays Speight flat. Quick ball as Toomua plays Lealiifanu who runs over Pietersen for the Easy pickings for the Brumbies.
  • 2
Early penalty for the Cheetahs as Pietersen finds good touch. Cheetahs secure the line-out and are playing ball in the midfield, but loosing ground. Brumbies awarded a penalty on half-way.
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Brumbies flyhalf Matt Toomua gets the game underway.
  • -5
Conditions are clear in Canberra, promising some quality rugby.
  • -10
The Cheetahs won the previous encounter between the 2 teams in Bloemfontein 27-21. However the Brumbies have won 4 out of the last 6 encounters.
  • -15
Welcome to live coverage of Round 8 of Super Rugby with the Cheetahs taking on the Brumbies at GIO Stadium in Canberra.
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  • 15 Robbie Coleman
  • 14 Joe Tomane
  • 13 Henry Speight
  • 12 Christian Lealiifano
  • 11 James Dargaville
  • 10 Matt Toomua
  • 9 Nic White
  • 8 Jarrad Butler
  • 7 David Pocock
  • 6 Scott Fardy
  • 5 Sam Carter
  • 4 Blake Enever
  • 3 Scott Sio
  • 2 Stephen Moore
  • 1 Ben Alexander
  • 23 Nigel Ah Wong
  • 22 Lausii Taliauli
  • 21 Michael Dowsett
  • 20 Ita Vaea
  • 19 Jordan Smiler
  • 18 Ruan Smith
  • 17 Allan Alaalatoa
  • 16 Josh Mann-Rea
  • 15 Willie le Roux
  • 14 Cornal Hendricks
  • 13 Johann Sadie
  • 12 Francois Venter
  • 11 Raymond Rhule
  • 10 Joe Pietersen
  • 9 Tian Meyer
  • 8 Willie Britz
  • 7 Boom Prinsloo
  • 6 Heinrich Brussow
  • 5 Francois Uys
  • 4 Carl Wegner
  • 3 Coenie Oosthuizen
  • 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld
  • 1 Danie Mienie
  • 23 Ryno Benjamin
  • 22 Willie du Plessis
  • 21 Sarel Pretorius
  • 20 Tienie Burger
  • 19 Steven Sykes
  • 18 Maks van Dyk
  • 17 BG Uys
  • 16 Stephan Coetzee
Mc article richie mccaw ball 630

Preview: S15 Round Eight, Part Two

Fri, 03 Apr 2015 06:29

SUPER SATURDAY It is going to be a spicy Easter weekend and for some certainly not such a Holy Saturday. Jan de Koning reports.

It is going to be a spicy Easter weekend and for some certainly not such a Holy Saturday.

There will be desperation by the Blues to finally get a win, when they get the day underway with a trip to Hamilton and an encounter with the high-flying Chiefs.

The Cheetahs will be equally desperate to end their losing streak when they travel to Canberra to take on the Australian conference leaders, the Brumbies - who are coming off a bye.

Then we cross the Indian Ocean for what will be the match of the weekend - an angry team of Sharks looking to take their frustrations out on the Crusaders, following the decision by SANZAR this week to not only ban utility back Francois Steyn, but also muzzle the men from Duran so they can't express their disapproval.

The weekend's action comes to a conclusion with the trans-Jukskei derby between the revitalised Lions - fresh from a record-breaking Australasian tour - and the Bulls, who are on a four-match winning streak.

We look at Saturday's matches!

Saturday, April 4:

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

These derbies have a knack of throwing up some nasty surprises.

Yes, the Blues have looked like they can't buy a win and the pressure on coach John Kirwan is mounting. In fact some media reports in New Zealand suggest he has already been 'fired' and will not coach the team next year.

That is a sideshow that may be contributing to the team's bush-league and unsatisfactory performances.

The Chiefs have five wins in seven games and are second in the New Zealand conference heading into the clash.

At the other end of the table are the Blues, who have yet to register a win in six outings, including a first-round 23-18 loss to the Chiefs.

However, the Chiefs barely scraped past the Blues in Week One - a result that is still fresh in the mind of Chiefs coach Dave Rennie.

"The matches between these two teams are traditionally real arm wrestles," Rennie told the Waikato Times.

"The Blues have plenty of high quality players and have come close nearly every week, so we will give them the respect they deserve and expect it to be an entertaining, tough match."

Kirwan has not helped his own cause with the constant tinkering of the team - seemingly adding to the lack of confidence that is so evident every week.

This week Jamison Gibson-Park will start at scrumhalf ahead of veteran All Black Jimmy Cowan. Midfielder Francis Saili has been aced, with George Moala moving from outside to inside centre and Pita Ahki named in the No.13 jersey.

To add to their problems, veteran All Black prop Tony Woodcock has been ruled out with concussion.

While the bookies have made the Chiefs outright favourites, given the vastly differing fortunes of the two outfits, the Chiefs remain cautious.

"Regardless of how well the teams are going in the competition, these two neighbours have a fierce rivalry," Chiefs assistant coach Tom Coventry said.

"We know that the Blues have been hurting," Coventry told NZ Newswire.

"They have been talking about playing the Chiefs since we played them in round one. They were pretty disappointed in how they went. But the rivalry brings out the best in them. We're expecting a tough match."

Recent results:
2015: Chiefs won 23-18, Albany
2014: Chiefs won 11-8, Auckland
2014: Chiefs won 32-20, New Plymouth
2013: Chiefs won 26-16, Auckland
2013: Chiefs won 23-16, Mount Maunganui
2012: Chiefs won 41-34, Auckland]
2012: Chiefs won 29-14, Hamilton

Prediction: Prior to their current eight-match winning streak against the Blues, the Chiefs had never gone more than three victories in a row against their conference rivals. Despite losing the last eight instances of this fixture, five of those matches have seen a losing
bonus point scored. The Blues' losing streak against the Chiefs is their second-worst run against another team in Super Rugby history, only against the Sharks have they lost more games in a row (10; ongoing). Indeed, their current run of eight Super Rugby losses in a row (against all teams) represents the Blues' worst ever form in the competition. The Chiefs have averaged the fewest missed tackles this season (11.9). However, the Blues rank second when it comes to defenders beaten per game (21), with the Chiefs the third best side in this respect with an average of 20.7. I won't put my house on it, but there is a good chance the Blues will remain winless and the Chiefs will take away five valuable points - winning by 10 points or more.


Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Andrew Horrell, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Pauliasi Manu, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Bryce Heem.
Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Pita Ahki, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Charlie Faumuina/Angus Ta'avao, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Patrick Tuipulotu, 20 Luke Braid, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Francis Saili.
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Brumbies v Cheetahs
(GIO Stadium, Canberra - Kick-off: 19.40; 10.40 SAST; 08.40 GMT)

The Brumbies maybe unbeaten at home and sit comfortably at the top of the Australian conference.

However, as the Waratahs showed two weeks ago - before last week's bye - the Canberra-based outfit is very beatable.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské certainly feels his team can upstage one of the tournament's big guns and end their own four-match losing streak.

"Yes, they are a well-balanced team - with good forwards and a good kicking game," Drotské told rugby365 in an interview from the team's training base at the beachside suburb of Coogee, near Sydney central.

"However, the last three years we did very well against them and were unfortunate to lose those games," he said of encounters that saw the Brumbies sneak by with 15-13 (2013 play-off match) and 24-23 (2012) margins.

On top of that, the Cheetahs won 27-21 in Bloemfontein last year.

"We are positive and we know that if we play to our potential we can beat any team."

The Cheetahs' biggest problem has been a lack of discipline - conceding silly penalties - and poor ball control.

The Brumbies, however, are determined to make their home advantage count.

Coach Stephen Larkham the Brumbies are in a good position to cement their spot on the ladder - being refreshed after last week's bye.

"We can get into a good routine and certainly build up towards that game against the Waratahs," Larkham told the Canberra Times.

"We don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. We've still got 10 games to go in the competition and we've lost two now - so we've got to make sure we make the most of this home-ground advantage that we're going to have over the next five weeks."

While the Brumbies were well beaten by the Waratahs 28-13, Larkham didn't think they were exposed by the reigning champions.

He was impressed with his team's physicality and felt if a few decisions had gone their way it could have been a different result.

Recent results:
2014: Cheetahs won 27-21, Bloemfontein
2013: Brumbies won 15-13, Canberra (preliminary play-off match)
2012: Brumbies won 24-23, Canberra
2011: Cheetahs won 47-36, Bloemfontein
2010: Brumbies won 61-15, Canberra
2009: Brumbies won 40-27, Bloemfontein

Prediction: The 61 points conceded by the Cheetahs against the Brumbies in 2010 was the most the South African outfit has shipped in a single game. The last three matches between the sides have been settled by losing bonus point margins. The Cheetahs are on a four-match losing streak, which has been at an aggregate margin of 89 points. The Cheetahs have the worst tackling success rate (83.9 percent) in the competition and have averaged the most misses per match (22.3) so far. The Brumbies are the second-worst side when it comes to misses per game, an average of 21 while their tackling success rate sits at 85.1 percent. The Cheetahs' scrum success rate (70 percent) is the worst in the competition, while just three sides have fared better than the Brumbies (91 percent) at this set piece. The Cheetahs always give themselves a chance with their attacking game, but it is their defence and lack of ball control that may well count against them again. The Brumbies to win by about 10 points.


Brumbies: 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Henry Speight, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Scott Sio, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Ita Vaea, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Lausii Taliauli, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.
Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Johannes Prinsloo, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Mienie.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Burrie Gildenhuys Uys, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Tienie Burger, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Rayno Benjamin.
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, James Leckie
TMO: Peter Marshall

Sharks v Crusaders
(Kings Park, Durban - Kick-off: 15.00; 13.00 GMT; 02.00, Sunday, April 5 NZ time)

The Francois Steyn saga is adding the spice, but encounters between these two sides are never short of on-field drama.

They are two quality outfits that have appeared in the play-offs more than most - the Crusaders kicking on to win seen titles, the Sharks unable to win in four finals, losing in the semifinals another four times and getting knocked out in the preliminary play-offs in 2011.

No doubt the men from Durban will want to show they can produce a quality game and are better than the reputation they have gained in recent weeks - which have resulted in captain Bismarck du Plessis and Steyn being banned for foul play.

Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold is adamant his team can be champions.

"The Crusaders are a fantastic team, loaded with All Blacks," Gold told a media briefing this week.

"They have not won this competition as many times as they have by accident.

"They can never be taken lightly and we all know what a dangerous side they are when they hit their straps.

"It's fantastic to play against a team of this quality; every team wants to be measured against the best.

"We are confident with our group of players and are excited about the match-up this weekend."

The Crusaders are without their two talisman players - Dan carter and Richie McCaw.

Carter returned home for the birth of his second child and McCaw will play off the bench.

Between them the two All Black greats have amassed 268 Super Rugby caps.

Assistant coach Aaron Mauger said they had always mapped out a contingency plan to cover the loss of Carter.

"We knew this was happening right at the start of the season and had a plan for it," Mauger told a media briefing in a teleconference call from Durban.

"The fortunate thing for us is we have got a lot of players who can play in multiple positions."

The decision to rotate McCaw to the bench appears to have been made before the Crusaders' loss to the Bulls last week.

"It was always part of the long-term plan," Mauger said in reference to McCaw.

"And we have got two quality No.7s, we know they can both do a job and Matty [Matt Todd] has been performing really well."

The other key selection is the inclusion of controversial loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett - with the All Black having come under fire for his illegal scrumming technique.

However, Mauger is confident that he will not be targeted by the referee.

"They know what they are doing and you would like to think a lot of those decisions aren't based on media influences and all that sort of stuff," the Crusaders' assistant coach said.

"I suppose it just comes down to a referee's interpretation and if they are doing it the wrong way they just have to adjust and make sure they get it right."

Recent results:
2014: Crusaders won 38-6, Christchurch (semifinal)
2014: Sharks won 30-25, Christchurch
2013: Sharks won 21-17, Durban
2011: Crusaders won 36-8, Nelson (preliminary play-off match)
2011: Crusaders won 44-28, Twickenham
2010: Crusaders won 35-6, Christchurch
2009: Crusaders won 13-10, Durban
2008: Crusaders won 18-10, Christchurch

Prediction: The Crusaders accounted for the Sharks' heaviest ever defeat in terms of losing margin (43) and points conceded (77); a 77-34 win during 2005. However in their maiden meeting in 1996, the Crusaders lost 58-26 and that remains the most points conceded in a match by the Canterbury side. The Sharks have averaged more kicks from hand per game than any other side so far (29.3) but are also the recipients of more kicks from hand per game (28.9) than any other team. The Crusaders rank first for scrum success rate (94 percent). The Sharks have scored the most tries in the 20 minutes that lead up to half-time (seven). The Crusaders have scored the most tries in the 20 minutes that follow half-time (eight). It is a tough game to call, but under the circumstances I expect the Sharks to rally and sneak a win - by less than 10 points.


Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie (captain), 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20 Renaldo Bothma, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Waylon Murray.

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 David Havili, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Owen Franks, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Richie McCaw, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse, Rodney Boneparte
TMO: Willie Vos

Lions v Bulls
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT)

The Lions are riding the crest of the wave - coming off a record-breaking tour of Australasia.

Their three wins mean they have made amends for the poor start to the season, but it could all unravel very quickly if thy lose to the Bulls this week.

The visitors from Pretoria are on a four-match winning streak, including an impressive demolition of the Crusaders last week.

That is why Lions captain Warren Whiteley has been cautious in his assessment of the Lions' prospects this week.

"Sometimes there is the temptation to relax a little after an emotional period, like on tour," Whiteley said.

The Bulls are also without Springbok Handré Pollard and veteran Bok Victor Matfield are being rested - with reports of a knee injury contributing to his absence.

Whiteley, however, does not believe it will weaken the Bulls.

"We have to be honest with ourselves, we're not outsiders anymore," the Lions skipper said.

"We've matured a lot this past year and therefore the expectations should be higher. If we want to move up in the log standings, we have to start beating the big guns."

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke is keen for the team to continue with the rugby that earned them four wins on the trot, but realises the challenge that will come from the home side.

"The Lions just came back from their best tour ever, so will be keen to keep that momentum and will be boosted by their home crowd," Ludeke told a media briefing.

"We are also keen to keep progressing as a team and as it is our traditional derby, we are expecting a cracker of a game," Ludeke said.

Bulls captain Pierre Spies was adamant that the Bulls will have to play ever better this week.

"We learned it the hard way during the opening two weeks," Spies said.

"You cannot be off the pace during the 80 minutes, as other teams punish you. We played great rugby last weekend, but that will mean nothing to the Lions, who will come out all guns blazing on their home turf. We lost there last year, so have a lot to prove this time around."

Recent results:
2014: Lions won 32-21, Johannesburg
2014: Bulls won 25-17, Pretoria
2012: Bulls won 37-20, Pretoria
2012: Bulls won 32-18, Johannesburg
2011: Bulls won 30-23, Pretoria
2011: Bulls won 24-20, Johannesburg

Prediction: Prior to their last meeting, which the Lions won, the Bulls had won their previous 11 games against the Lions. The run was the Lions' joint-longest losing run against a single opponent and is the Bulls' joint-best against one side; they also won 11 in a row against the Cheetahs. The Lions' seven matches this season have all yielded 41 or fewer points and an average of 35. The Bulls are aiming for five straight victories for the first time since 2013 when they went nine in a row. The Bulls have averaged the most points this season (28), while only the Reds (9.3) have turned in less per game than the Lions (13.7). The Bulls are on a hot streak and they have adequate replacements for their absent Springboks. The Lions will make life unpleasant for the Bulls and will go close, but in the end the men from Pretoria will sneak a win - by five points or less.


Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Francois de Klerk, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jurgen Visser.

Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Shaun Veldsman

Compiled by Jan de Koning

Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article brumbies v cheetahs2 630

Brumbies too strong for Cheetahs

Sat, 04 Apr 2015 10:32

REPORT: The Brumbies maintained their stranglehold on the Australian conference with a 20-3 win over the hapless Cheetahs on Saturday.

The Brumbies maintained their stranglehold on the Australian conference with a 20-3 win over the hapless Cheetahs in Canberra on Saturday.

It was the Brumbies' 11th consecutive win at home and cemented their second place on Super Rugby's global standings.

The home team outscored the visitors by two tries to none and will be happy with their defence - even though they were probably fortunate not to have been penalised more for transgressions.

The Cheetahs, although having been competitive for large chunks of the game, were just not accurate enough to have been a real threat to the Brumbies.

The well-drilled Brumbies controlled the rucks and mauls.

It was the Brumbies' seventh straight win over the Bloemfontein-based Cheetahs in Canberra and continues their unbeaten run at home from early last season.

The last time the Brumbies lost at Canberra Stadium was against the Reds (17-27) in February last year.

Inside centre Christian Lealiifano finished with 15 points from a try, two conversions and two penalty goals, while lock Blake Enever plunged over for his first Super Rugby try.

Joe Pietersen kicked the Cheetahs only points.

The Brumbies, with David Pocock outstanding in the rucks and mauls, built up a 13-3 lead at half-time and were never in any danger against the Cheetahs, who slumped to their fifth straight loss.

Lealiifano brushed aside a feeble tackle from flyhalf Pietersen in just the fourth minute to score a soft try, before Enever powered over five minutes after the interval to tighten the Brumbies' grip on the match.

The Brumbies' winning margin would have been greater but for a disputed disallowed try to Matt Toomua in the first half and Henry Speight losing the ball over the try-line midway through the second half.

"I think the biggest positive to come out of the game was our defence, they score twenty points a game on average so to keep them to three was massive," Toomua said.

Skipper Stephen Moore praised the Brumbies' maul defence.

"I thought our defence was really good, particularly our maul defence and our one-on-one tackles," he said.

"It would have been nice to get the four tries for the bonus point, but sometimes that's the way the game goes."

Cheetahs captain Francois Uys said his team played well in patches.

"Our accuracy let us down, we didn't really execute some of the plays and I think one or two opportunities didn't go our way," Uys said.

"We tried to keep it a bit tight, but the Brumbies defended the maul extremely well, especially in the first half while we were on their goal-line, and we didn't come away with any points and in the second half we were chasing the game."

The Brumbies cross the Tasman next week to face the Blues in Auckland, while the Cheetahs head to Perth to play Western Force on their way home.

Man of the match: Heinrich Brüssow tried hard, Willie Britz had a few decent runs and Coenie Oosthuizen was also good value. Christian Lealiifano did what was expected of him, Nic White had a few good moments, while Henry Speight showed that the move to centre could make him an even bigger danger than he already is. However, our award goes to Brumbies flank David Pocock, who once again showed that he has the ability to push the envelope without getting on the wrong side of the referee too often. His workrate is something to behold.

The scorers:

For the Brumbies:
Lealiifano, Enever
Cons: Lealiifano 2
Pens: Lealiifano 2

For the Cheetahs:


Brumbies: 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Henry Speight, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Scott Sio, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Ita Vaea, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Lausii Taliauli, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.
Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Johannes Prinsloo, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Mienie.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Burrie Gildenhuys Uys, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Tienie Burger, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Rayno Benjamin.
Referee: Ben O'Keeffe
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, James Leckie
TMO: Peter Marshall

Christian Lealiifano (4min) and Blake Enever (45min)
Christian Lealiifano (5min) and Christian Lealiifano (46min)
Christian Lealiifano (20min) and Christian Lealiifano (40min)
Joe Pietersen (17min)
VENUE Canberra
REFEREE Ben O'Keeffe