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Super Rugby | Durban
13:00 (GMT) | 04-04-2015
  • 81
Join us for more live coverage of SUPER RUGBY with the final game of Round Eight with the Lions taking on the Bulls at Ellis Park.
  • 80
That try brings us to FULL-TIME and a dismal end for the Sharks.
  • 79
Tom Taylor CONVERTS his own try for an extra 2 points.
  • 78
Ellis distributes to Taylor and the 'Saders run it from their own try-line before chipping over resulting in a Sharks line-out. Sharks now on the attack but Bothma loses the ball forward yet again for the Sharks. 'Saders scrum inside their 22m. Ellis goes blind and drops it onto the boot but misses and the Sharks collect and attack with Wilson. Zeilinga makes a poor pass as Tom Taylor picks up the scraps and Runs 70m for a TRY under the poles.
  • 76
Sharks set for a drive but play wide early. After a number of phases going nowhere Zeilinga plays Esterhuizen who gives it to Murray then an average off-load sees Ndungane knock-on for a 'Saders scrum on their 22m.
  • 74
Play is now deep in the Crusaders territory and Dagg tries to find touch but he kicks out on the full and the Sharks will have a line-out on the Crusaders 22m line.
  • 72
Crusaders play from a scrum and Tuitavake takes on the line with a short ball from Slade. Sharks come away with the ball and begin to attack on their 10m line. Zeilinga plays Wentzel and he makes a ridiculous decision to off-load and he loses the ball. Crusaders hack the ball through, and the Sharks have a line-out on their 10m.
  • 69
Crusaders have a line-out and they pass it out wide, some scrappy hands results in them losing ground and Havili ends up clearing for touch. Sharks lose it at the line-out and the Crusaders kick down-field.
  • 66
Reincach kicks from the scrum but straight to the Crusaders. Crotty counters down the touchline and the Crusaders go wide as Dagg cross-kicks but the ball goes out. However no advantage as the Crusaders are awarded a penalty and they go for the corner. Not straight from hooker Taylor. Sharks awarded a scrum.
  • 64
Crusaders counter and Nadolo makes 30m beating defenders. The Crusaders spread the ball wide and attack down the opposite flank. Crusaders awarded a penalty and they opt for a kick for touch and gain a line-out on the 5m of the Sharks. The back-line receives the ball and some good hands being displayed by the Crusaders before Lualala loses the ball in contact resulting in a scrum for the Sharks on their 5m line.
  • 60
Sharks set the maul from the line-out and are in the 22m. Reincach looses it forward and the 'Saders clear with a punt down-field. SP Marais returns with interest and it is a Crusaders line-out on the 50m. Sharks make the steal in the line-out and Marais kicks deep.
  • 58
Crusaders play from a scrum and move the ball wide to the wing through Crotty. There is a forward pass and the Sharks have a scrum on the left-hand side of the field. Reinach feeds and the Sharks scrum struggles. Reinach comes away with it, the Crusaders are penalised for tackler not rolling away. Zeilanga makes a great touch finder for the line-out.
  • 54
Zeilinga makes the CONVERSION for the extra 2 points.
  • 53
Sharks have a line-out in the Crusaders 5m line. Wentzel the receiver and they set the drive. They go left as Murray takes it to the line. The shift it back and Zeilinga throws a skip pass for Ndungane who beats the tackle of Nadolo and scores the TRY.
  • 52
Slade misses the attempted conversion.
  • 51
A Set move off the line-out as Matt Todd runs straight through the middle of the line out, and carries on running unmarked for 20 meters and he scores the TRY.
  • 50
Sharks find themselves in uncharted waters as the Crusaders have a scrum on their own 5m line but the 'Saders receive a scrum penalty. Crusaders take it quickly and run from deep as Crotty stabs a grubber through and SP Marais collects but tackled in touch at the same time. Line-out for the Crusaders on the Sharks 22m.
  • 47
Slade misses the attempted conversion.
  • 46
Crusaders set for another scrum on the 10m line of the Sharks. Ellis picks up and cross kicks for Dagg. Sharks keep it alive however the Crusaders counter-ruck hard and win the ball. Ellis spreads the ball wide and Havili runs over for another TRY.
  • 44
Slade CONVERTS his own try for 2 points.
  • 43
Crusaders set for a scrum on the 50m line after Ndungane spills a ball forward. Ellis plays slade who takes it to the line. Crotty stabs a grubber through and the Sharks reply with a kick as the 'Saders begin a counter. Slade spots acres of space behind the defensive line and he chips, chases and collects as he dives over for a superb individual TRY.
  • 41
SECOND-HALF: Crusaders flyhalf Colin Slade gets the half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
Sharks opt for a scrum with their penalty, as Kankwoski picks up from the base. The Sharks are awarded another penalty for the Crusaders breaking the off-side line. However they have gone upstairs for foul play, and Jean Deysel is RED CARDED for a knee to the head on a Crusaders player.
  • 39
Sharks have the ball in the 'Saders 22m. Esterhuizen crashes it up and there is another YELLOW CARD for a professional foul by Nadolo.
  • 38
Sharks kick for touch with their penalty but lose the line-out. Crusaders kick deep and the Sharks counter with Ndungane but are awarded another penalty for a shoulder charge on Deysel and Fonotia receives a YELLOW CARD.
  • 37
Sharks restart deep as Ellis returns the favour, Sharks take a quick line-out as Reinach sprints down the touch-line who finds Ndungane, but he can't hang on. Laulala is YELLOW CARDED for a shoulder charge on SP Marais.
  • 36
Slade CONVERTS the extra 2 points to extend the lead.
  • 35
Crusaders have a line-out 12m from the Sahrks line. Whitelock receives and they set a drive as they get are a fraction short of the line. Ellis plays dagg wide as he gives it inside to Crotty who busts his way over the line for a TRY.
  • 31
Sharks have a scrum on their 22m, Reinach plays Lambie and his kick is semi-charged down. Nadolo runs it back but is tackled into touch. Sharks line-out in there own half. They win in and Reinach clears.
  • 29
Lambie kicks to Nadolo and the Crusaders counter back looking dangerous but Slade can't find a hand with his pass. Sharks have a scrum in their 22m., and they get a free-kick. Lambie punts out for territory. Line-out Crusaders on 5m from the half-way line.
  • 27
Crockett penalised at the scrum for losing his bind. Lambie clears for touch relieving some pressure. Cooper finds Kankowski at the line-out before Lambie kicks down field. Crusaders launch a counter and Dagg finds space again. Accidental obstruction gives the Sharks a scrum on their 22m.
  • 25
Crusaders on the attack again with Ellis sniping looking for support, he throws a loopy pass to Fonotia who play Nadolo, and Ndungane makes a try-saving tackle on the big Fijian wing. The result is a scrum to the Sharks on their own 5m line.
  • 22
Slade makes the CONVERSION to add the extras.
  • 21
Sharks make an error at the back by SP Marais and the 'Saders have a scrum 5m out. Ellis picks and goes off the scrum. Slade receives a pass and he cuts out a long pass flat to Fonotia who canters over unmatched for a TRY.
  • 18
Lambie opens the Sharks account by converting the PENALTY.
  • 17
Sharks spread wide and are awarded a penalty for a ruck infringement in front of the poles. Lambie looks for the poles.
  • 16
Sharks set a maul from a line-out on the 'Saders 22m line. Lambie goes left to Mvovo who steps and off-load into a Crusaders player for a line-out. Cooper misses his jumper but read knocks on. Let-offf for the Sharks as they have a scrum feed in the red zone of the Crusaders.
  • 14
A botched line-out and Ellis kicks deep, Sharks trapped in their own 22m, but Reinach relieves the pressure to halfway. Crusaders launch an attack from the line-out but the Sharks receive a penalty for the Crusaders holing on at the ruck. Lambie misses the kick for touch, and Nadolo kick returns.
  • 11
Slade restarts deep from the 22m drop. There is a kick exchange and the Sharks receive a line-out on their own 10m. The Crusaders penalised for an early tackle on the jumper at the line-out.
  • 9
Lambie lines-up the shot for goal and misses to the right.
  • 8
First scrum of the day on the 22m of the Sharks. Reinach plays Lambie with a set-move and pops inside to Mvovo. Sharks awarded a penalty and Lambie doesn't hesitate for the poles.
  • 6
Slade CONVERTS the extra 2.
  • 5
Sharks under pressure already back at their own line. Ellis spreads wide and Dagg runs over beating Botha like he wasn't even there for the TRY.
  • 3
Slade makes the CONVERSION to add the extras.
  • 2
Early line-out for the Sharks as Reinach kicks high on Havili who shifts it to Dagg and replies with a kick that the Sharks dot down for a 22m. Crusaders attack from deep and Havili beats a tackle down the touchline who off-loads to Read and he passes to Ellis who shrugs off Coetzee's cover tackle and he scores the TRY.
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Sharks captain and flyhalf Patrick Lambie gets the game underway.
  • -10
Conditions are windy in Durban, blowing from the south which may seem some rain at a later stage. Late change to the Sharks team with JP Pieterson exiting the match-day 23, seeing Waylon Murray fill the outside centre position and Jack Wilson moving to the bench.
  • -20
The Crusaders have the upper hand in previous encounters, defeating the Sharks on two occasions last year in the group stages and the semifinals. The Sharks have managed just two wins out of the last eight match-ups.
  • -30
Welcome to live coverage of Round 8 of Super Rugby with the Sharks taking on the Crusaders at Kings Park Stadium in Durban.
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  • 15 SP Marais
  • 14 Odwa Ndungane
  • 13 Waylon Murray
  • 12 Andre Esterhuizen
  • 11 Lwazi Mvovo
  • 10 Patrick Lambie
  • 9 Cobus Reinach
  • 8 Ryan Kankowski
  • 7 Jean Deysel
  • 6 Marcell Coetzee
  • 5 Marco Wentzel
  • 4 Mouritz Botha
  • 3 Jannie du Plessis
  • 2 Kyle Cooper
  • 1 Tendai Mtawarira
  • 23 Jack Wilson
  • 22 Fred Zeilinga
  • 21 Conrad Hoffmann
  • 20 Renaldo Bothma
  • 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda
  • 18 Matt Stevens
  • 17 Thomas Du Toit
  • 16 Franco Marais
  • 15 Israel Dagg
  • 14 David Kaetau Havili
  • 13 Kieron Fonotia
  • 12 Ryan Crotty
  • 11 Nemani Nadolo
  • 10 Colin Slade
  • 9 Andy Ellis
  • 8 Kieran Read
  • 7 Matt Todd
  • 6 Jordan Taufua
  • 5 Sam Whitelock
  • 4 Luke Romano
  • 3 Nepo Laulala
  • 2 Ben Funnell
  • 1 Wyatt Crockett
  • 23 Nafi Tuitavake
  • 22 Tom Taylor
  • 21 Mitchell Drummond
  • 20 Richie McCaw
  • 19 Jimmy Tupou
  • 18 Owen Franks
  • 17 Joe Moody
  • 16 Codie Taylor
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 sharks v crusaders 630

Crusaders smash indisciplined Sharks

Sat, 04 Apr 2015 15:02

REPORT: The Sharks were given a real lesson , and a hiding, by the Crusaders - who won their spiteful Super Rugby encounter 52-10.

The Sharks were given a real lesson , and a hiding, by the Crusaders - who won their spiteful Super Rugby encounter 52-10.

The visitor from New Zealand - who at one stage of Saturday's encounter in Durban had three players in the sin bin - outscored the home team by eight tries to one.

However, the spotlight will be firmly on a Sharks team devoid of a game plan and seemingly only able to resort to foul play to impose themselves on the opposition.

Sharks now have three red cards for the season - Bismark du Plessis (banned for four weeks for kicking an opponent in the head), Frans Steyn (banned for five weeks for a spear tackle) and now Deysel - facing lengthy ban himself for dropping a knee onto the head of a prone opponent.

The Crusaders will face a few enquiries of their own - with Nepo Laulala and Kieron Fonotia both spending 10 minutes in the sin bin for ugly no-arms, shoulder charged. Nemani Nadolo did not endear himself to the referee with the professional foul that earned him a period in the sin bin.

South African referee Stuart Berry - a late replacement for ill compatriot Marius van der Westhuizen - yellow-carded three New Zealanders within four minutes approaching half-time.

He then red-carded Sharks loose forward Jean Deysel, leaving the home team to play the entire second half with 14 men after trailing 3-28 at the break.

Kings Park is becoming synonymous with red and yellow cards as two Sharks and one player from another New Zealand outfit, Chiefs, were sent off there two weeks ago.

A Crusaders team dominant in all facets throughout were ahead within three minutes and secured a bonus-point fourth try with five minutes left of the opening half.

The record seven-time Super Rugby champions cruised to victory despite starting without two All Blacks icons - flyhalf Dan Carter and loose forward Richie McCaw.

Playmaker Carter left South Africa last weekend after a cruel loss to the Bulls in Pretoria to be with his wife, who is expecting their second child.

And All Blacks skipper McCaw was rested, coming off the bench only after 52 minutes when virtually all the damage had been inflicted.       

As if a humiliating defeat in the Indian Ocean city was not bad enough for the Sharks, flyhalf and skipper Patrick Lambie retired injured early in the second half.

Despite the walloping, the South Africans remained third on the combined Southern Hemisphere competition standings while Crusaders climbed four places to sixth, the last play-offs spot.

A try feast started by scrumhalf Andy Ellis and completed by replacement back Tom Taylor was overshadowed by all the crazy acts of ill discipline.

Crusaders tighthead prop Nepo Laulala was first to be sin-binned after his shoulders-only tackle injured fullback SP Marais.

Outside centre Kieron Fonotia joined him in the sin-bin a couple of minutes later for a no-arms challenge on Deysel.         

Giant Fijian wing Nemani Nadolo became the third Crusader to be yellow carded within four minutes when he committed a professional foul.

Deysel got a red card for a deliberate knee into the head of a fallen opponent as the first half drifted into a second minute of stoppage time.

Ellis, fullback Israel Dagg, Fonotia, inside centre Ryan Crotty, flyhalf Colin Slade, right wing David Havili, loose forward Matt Todd and Taylor crossed the tryline for the New Zealanders.

Slade slotted five conversions from seven attempts and Taylor converted his own try with the final kick of the match.  

Victory confirmed the superiority of the Crusaders over the Sharks with 16 victories and a draw from 22 Super Rugby meetings.

Right wing Odwa Ndungane was the lone Sharks try scorer and replacement flyhalf Fred Zeilinga converted from the touchline.

Lambie kicked a first-half penalty for the Durban outfit as a three-match winning streak came to an abrupt end.

Man of the match: Nothing worth writing about from the Sharks, unless you want to speak about the amateur hour they dished up. All the skills and class came from a Crusaders team that ran the home team ragged. You can mention almost every player in the team for their impressive display. However, our award goes to Crusaders fullback Isreal Dagg, who could do no wrong and was central to the expansive display that resulted in a flood of tries.

The scorers:

For the Sharks:
Con: Zeilinga
Pen: Lambie

For the Crusaders:
Ellis, Dagg, Fonotia, Crotty, Slade, Havilli, Todd, Taylor
Cons: Slade 5, Taylor

Yellow cards: Nepo Laulala (Crusaders, 36 - foul play, no arms in tackle), Kieron Fonotia (Crusaders, 38 - foul play, no arms in tackle), Nemani Nadolo (Crusaders, 40 - professional foul, kicking the ball away)
Red card: Jean Deysel (Sharks, 40 - foul play, knee to the head of an opponent)


Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Waylon Murray, 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 Jack Wilson.

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: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse, Rodney Boneparte
TMO: Willie Vos

Odwa Ndungane (53min)
Andy Ellis (2min), Israel Dagg (5min), Kieron Fonotia (21min), Ryan Crotty (35min), Colin Slade (43min), David Kaetau Havili (46min), Matt Todd (51min), and Tom Taylor (78min)
Fred Zeilinga (54min)
Colin Slade (3min), Colin Slade (6min), Colin Slade (22min), Colin Slade (36min), and Tom Taylor (79min)
Patrick Lambie (18min)
Nepo Laulala (37min), Kieron Fonotia (38min), and Nemani Nadolo (39min)
Jean Deysel (40min)
VENUE Durban
REFEREE Marius van der Westhuizen