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Super Rugby | Johannesburg
15:05 (GMT) | 04-04-2015
  • 81
Join us next week for more live coverage of Round 9 of the Super Rugby.
  • 80
Jantjies makes the CONVERSION to win the game 22-18. That brings us to FULL-TIME.
  • 79
The Lions take a quick restart and they win the ball back in the Bulls 22m. The Bulls are off-side and penalised.De Klerk takes it quickly and pops it to van der Merwe as he crashes over for the TRY.
  • 78
Potgieter converts the PENALTY to take the lead back.
  • 77
The Bulls have a penalty on their own 10m line, however with a late hit on Potgieter it will be where the ball landed instead. Therefore the penalty is now 30m out which puts it in range for the Bulls flyhalf.
  • 75
The Lions now on the attack after an intercept from De Klerk. Jantjies attempts a snap drop but misses.
  • 74
Jantjies wastes no time and converts the PENALTY to level the scores.
  • 73
Jantjies kicks for the corner and the Lions have aline-out just outside the Bulls 22m line. The Lions set a maul and rumble forward with advantage. The Lions keep it close with the forwards, as they inch ever-closer. Boshoff kncoks-on and they will come back for the penalty.
  • 71
After the restart the Bulls kick onto the Lions and the home-side begins a counter with Jantjies side-stepping tackles. The Bulls are penalised for a dangerous tackle by Paige.
  • 69
Potgieter converts the PENALTY to take the lead for the Bulls.
  • 68
Bulls with a scrum on the hafl-way as paige feeds the ball. Bulls awarded a penalty for the Lions prop scrumming in. Potgieter doesn't hesitate for poles.
  • 66
Potgeiter converts the PENALTY for the 3 points.
  • 64
Bulls have a line-out that is won by Hattingh, the Bulls attack with Engelbrecht and then Strauss knocks-on in contact. Bulls come away with the ball and Paiige plays Potgieter and Eneglbrecht receives from the pivot to take it up. Bulla are awarded a penalty for not releasing and Potgieter lines up for poles.
  • 62
Jantjies converts the long-ranged PENALTY, and with that the Lions take the lead.
  • 61
Bulls have a line-out on the halfway and the throw is not straight. Lions get a scrum feed and a scrum penalty for Morne Mellet losing his binding. Jantjies will line up a shot for goal.
  • 57
Jantjies lines-up a shot for goal and CONVERTS the penalty. The scores are level.
  • 56
Lions with the in midfield and De Klerk is controlling nicely. Mapoe beating some defenders and the Lions have made their way to the 5m line. De Klerk moves it out-wide but the Lions have lost the ball and the Bulls have possession, however the Bulls are penalised for sealing off.
  • 53
Lions win a scrum penalty and Jantjies is looking to level the scores with a long-range kick for poles, but it is just out wide.
  • 52
Bulls win the line-out as Paige box-kicks. Coetzee collects and Vorster kicks through. Kriel cacthes and counters before Potgieter kicks one too far and they wil come back for a scrum on the half-way line for the Lions.
  • 50
Jantjies finds touch from the penalty and the Lions win the line-out. They swing the ball wide and the Bulls merely usher them into touch.
  • 48
Lions set for the scrum on their own 5m line, as De Klerk feeds and plays flat to Vorster but he drops the ball and the Bulls have possession. Minnie makes a steal on the ground after Greyling isolated himself on the ground. Penalty to the Lions.
  • 45
Bulls have a line-out and they set to drive. Lions have turned it over and minnie takes the ball to contact at first receiver. Spies makes a turnover on the ground and Potgieter clears. Coetzee counters beating one defender. Another turnover as the bulls come away with the ball. Odendaal kicks down field. The Bulls flood the breakdown and claim the ball back. The ball is spread to the backs as Engelbrecht gets ever so close to the line and loses the ball in contact.
  • 43
Lions with a line-out on the Bulls 10m, but Hattingh makes a textbook steal in the line-out. Kriel boots down-field and Coetzee replies with an over-cooked punt that goes out on the full. Bulls will have a line-out on the Lions 10m. Strauss throws over thetop to Spies who runs forward. Bulls have lost the ball and Coetzee spirals an old-fashioned torpedo down to Bulls territory.
  • 41
SECOND-HALF: Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies gets the half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
Jantjies can't add the points and that brings us to HALF-TIME.
  • 39
Lions have a scrum outside the Bulls 22m, Cronje feeds and the Bulls get a free-kick for an early engage from the Lions. They tap-and-go before they send it down town. Lions with the ball and are attacking at the Bulls 10m. The Lions receive a penalty and Jantjies will attempt a shot at goal from 40m out.
  • 37
Potgieter converts the PENALTY to take the lead for the Bulls.
  • 36
Bulls receive a penalty from a line-out on the Lions 10m for collapsing the maul. Potgieter to attempt 3 points.
  • 34
Potgieter lines up from out wide on the 22m, and he converts the PENALTY to make it all-square at Ellis Park.
  • 33
Lions come away with it from the line-out but are losing ground fast. The Bulls turn the ball over and are on the attack on the Lions 22m. Greyling making a strong carry making it 10 phases, before the Ref awards a penalty to the Bulls for tackler not rolling away. The Bulls will go for poles.
  • 30
The handling errors are creeping in as the rain comes down in Johannesburg. The Bulls have a scrum just in their own half. Paige to feed, and he plays Potgieter, he puts it high and Volmink catches but steps out for a Bulls line-out.
  • 27
Potgieter converts the PENALTY to get the Bulls on the board.
  • 25
Paige feeds the scrum, and the Bulls scrum rumbles the Lions and they receive a penalty for it. Potgieter will line up a shot for goal.
  • 23
Lions restart and the Bulls collect with Hattingh. They form a maul going forward and the Ref deems a scrum to the Bulls.
  • 21
Potgieter misses the penalty from 49 meters out.
  • 20
Lions have the ball on the halfway, as Cronje puts a box kick up and Basson takes the ball cleanly. The Lions are penalised just inside their half and Potgieter lines up another shot at goal.
  • 19
Potgieter misses the long-ranged attempt only slightly and the Lions will restart with a 22m.
  • 18
Bulls receive a penalty from a line-out infringement and Potgieter lines up a shot from inside his own half.
  • 17
Jantjies lines up a shot for goal and converts the PENALTY for the 3 points.
  • 16
Hattingh with a good take in the line-out and the Bulls are running hard. Greyling takes it up and is penalised for holding on. Lions receive a penalty and jantjies finds touch. Lions opt for a short line out. They secure the ball and are up to the Bulls 22m. Jantjies gets his hands through a tackle and off-loads to Tecklenburg. Bulls once again not releasing the tackler and are penalised.
  • 13
Lions now with the ball after a deep restart from the Bulls. Lions playing on the 50m line as Jantjies takes it to the line. Volmink makes some ground before the Lions are penalised. The Bulls kick for touch and have a line-out just outside the Lions 22m.
  • 10
Jantjies converts the PENALTY for the early lead.
  • 9
Lions win the line-out and Minnie comes away with the ball but is met hard by Stegmann. Stegmann is penalised for not showing daylight. Jantjies lines up a shot for goal.
  • 7
the Lions kick for touch and Mostert wins the line-out. slow ball for the Lions as Jantjies finds some width before Combrinck puts the kick through. Bulls gather and Potgieter relieves the pressure with a kick. Line-out Lions.
  • 5
Bulls dominating the early stages with possession but Lions are sticking to their true defence they have shown all season. The Lions have a scrum as Cronje feeds and they win the scrum penalty.
  • 2
Bulls with early posession as the string 9 phases together before Potgieter steps into the pocket and has a drop-goal attempt, but it is wide.
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Bulls flyhalf Potgieter gets the game underway
  • -5
Welcome to live coverage of Round 8 of Super Rugby with the Bulls taking on the Lions at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg.
Mc lions logo 85
Mc bulls logo 80x50
  • 15 Andries Coetzee
  • 14 Ruan Combrinck
  • 13 Lionel Mapoe
  • 12 Harold Vorster
  • 11 Anthony Volmink
  • 10 Elton Jantjies
  • 9 Ross Cronje
  • 8 Warren Whiteley
  • 7 Warwick Tecklenburg
  • 6 Derick Minnie
  • 5 Franco Mostert
  • 4 Andries Ferreira
  • 3 Ruan Dreyer
  • 2 Robbie Coetzee
  • 1 Jacques van Rooyen
  • 23 Howard Mnisi
  • 22 Marnitz Boshoff
  • 21 Francois de Klerk
  • 20 Jaco Kriel
  • 19 Robert Kruger
  • 18 Julian Redelinghuys
  • 17 Corne Fourie
  • 16 Armand van der Merwe
  • 15 Jesse Kriel
  • 14 Francois Hougaard
  • 13 JJ Engelbrecht
  • 12 Burger Odendaal
  • 11 Bjorn Basson
  • 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter
  • 9 Rudi Paige
  • 8 Pierre Spies
  • 7 Hanro Liebenberg
  • 6 Deon Stegmann
  • 5 Grant Hattingh
  • 4 Jacques du Plessis
  • 3 Trevor Nyakane
  • 2 Adriaan Strauss
  • 1 Dean Greyling
  • 23 Jurgen Visser
  • 22 Tiaan Schoeman
  • 21 Piet van Zyl
  • 20 Roelof Smit
  • 19 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg,
  • 18 Marcel van der Merwe
  • 17 Morne Mellett
  • 16 Callie Visagie
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 armand van der merwe lions

Lions win Ellis Park shoot-out

Sat, 04 Apr 2015 16:59

REPORT: Hooker Armand van der Merwe charged over for the game's only try on full-time, as the Lions edged the Bulls 22-18.

The angry warthog, replacement hooker Armand van der Merwe, charged over for the game's only try on full-time, as the Lions edged the Bulls 22-18 in a thrilling Super Rugby encounter at Ellis Park on Saturday.

In a see-saw trans-Jukskei derby the Lions and Bulls exchanged penalties for 78 minutes, before a late rally produced the match-winning moment.

Trailing by three points with time running out in damp Johannesburg, the Lions gambled by taking a tap penalty rather than a kick at goal that would almost certainly have ensured a draw.

Little substitute scrumhalf Francois de Klerk caught the slow-to-retreat Bulls napping at Ellis Park with his tap-and-go penalty and passed to Van der Merwe, who barged over near the post.

Flyhalf Elton Jantjies converted to make a 17-point contribution having succeeded with five of seven penalty attempts in challenging conditions.

Rival playmaker Jacques-Louis Potgieter, deputising for injured Springbok Handré Pollard, kicked six penalties for the Bulls from eight shots at goal.

Ironically, the Bulls benefited more from collecting a losing bonus point than the Lions did from gathering four for the victory.

The Bulls rose five places to third, displacing the Sharks on superior points difference - after the Durban team suffered a humiliating 10-52 home loss against the Crusaders.

But the Lions' fourth win in five outings - three of them on an Australasia tour - lifted them just one place to 10th in the overall.

Only two points separate the Bulls and the Lions in the South African conference, though, with the Sharks and the Stormers in between.

There was never more than six points between the Johannesburg-based Lions and the Pretoria-based Bulls in a gripping derby watched by a vibrant Easter weekend crowd.

Lions skipper and No. 8 Warren Whiteley said he was happy with the risky tap-and-go decision.

"That is the nature of this wonderful bunch of guys - they all want to fight to the end for victory," he said.

"Maybe we were a bit lucky, but luck has not always been with us this season.

"It is easy leading these Lions. This was our eighth consecutive match and the spirit among us remains remarkably high."

Bulls skipper and No. 8 Pierre Spies admitted his team thought they had triumphed after Potgieter kicked a 79th-minute penalty for a three-point advantage.

"We thought we had it! We forgot that matches last 80 minutes and not 79 minutes," he lamented.

"The guys did enough to win, but a few close calls went against us."

After Jantjies kicked two first-half penalties, Potgieter slotted three to give the Bulls a 9-6 half-time lead.

The Lions led 12-9 and the Bulls led 15-12 in a see-saw second-half struggle before Jantjies equalised with his fifth successful penalty six minutes from time.

Potgieter nudged the Bulls back in front on 79 minutes only for quick-reacting De Klerk and Van der Merwe to combine for the match-winning try.

Man of the match: Trevor Nyakane and Adriaan Strauss had their best games since arriving at the Bulls this season. Hanro Liebenberg continued to impress in his remarkable debut season. Pierre Spies played a very tight, physical game and was very effective at it - even winning a turnover at the breakdown. You can always bank on the Lion' loose forwards to be stand-out players - Warren Whiteley, Warwick Tecklenburg and Derick Minnie monsters on defence and at the breakdown. Harold Vorster kept the Bulls' defence honest, while Franco Mostert again produced a mammoth workrate. In fact that an be said of the entire Lions pack. We were very tempted to give it to Warwick Tecklenburg, and he is certainly deserved of such an accolade. However, our award goes to Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies. Not only was he calm and collected under huge pressure, but his goal-kicking in testing conditions is what kept his team in the contest long-enough for the bench-boys to come on and win it.

The scorers:

For the Lions:
Van der Merwe
Con: Jantjies
Pens: Jantjies 5

For the Bulls:
Potgieter 6


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: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Shaun Veldsman

Armand van der Merwe (79min)
Elton Jantjies (80min)
Elton Jantjies (10min), Elton Jantjies (17min), Elton Jantjies (57min), Elton Jantjies (62min), and Elton Jantjies (74min)
Jacques-Louis Potgieter (27min), Jacques-Louis Potgieter (34min), Jacques-Louis Potgieter (37min), and Jacques-Louis Potgieter (66min)
VENUE Johannesburg
REFEREE Jaco van Heerden