||We head straight to Perth now as the Force host the Cheetahs|
||The Stormers have finally tasted success on the road!|
||The hooter goes as the Tahs are awarded a short-arm penalty. They cough possession up and allows Kolbe to kick the ball into touch. FULLTIME|
||The Waratahs look to get some more points but a handling error sees Leyds attempt to turn possession over and have a dart from the halfway line. But he fails to hold onto the ball and the home side will have the scrum feed on the halfway line|
||It's a tough conversion chance for Coleman and he kicks it to the right of the uprights|
||After being pushed back 10 metres, Foley makes a break but coughs up possession. Kolbe claims the loose ball and sprints his way from his 22 all the way to the Tahs try line to get the bonus point!|
||It's very scrappy play from the home side as the Stormers stand their ground to keep the Tahs from making any metres. The play remains close to the 10 metre line|
||Here come the Tahs as they find themselves on the Stormers' 10 metre line once again but they can't seem to find a way through this stubborn defence|
||Coleman increases the lead with a successful conversion|
||INTERCEPTION! De Jongh intercepts a pass and juggles the ball before releaseing De Allende who sprints his way through the Tahs defence!|
||The Tahs finally claim a line-out and have made their way to the Stormers' 10 metre line|
||The Tahs cough up possession once again and hands the Stormers a scrum feed on the 22. PENALTY! The Stormers are penalised for collapsing the scrum and Foley kicks the penalty into Stormers territory|
||It's the Tahs turn to cough up possession around the halfway line mark to hand possession back to the Stormers. Coleman puts the ball on his boot and finds touch just outside the Tahs 22|
||It's time for a kicking battle that ends with Leyds kicking the ball into touch just inside Tahs territory. The throw-in goes wrong once again and the Stormers regain possession but they kick it back into the hands of Folau|
||He has plenty of distance on the kick but it's pulled left and the Tahs will restart the game with a 22 drop-out|
||PENALTY! Phipps moves to early and is caught offside and Coleman will have a shot at goal from close to 50 metres|
||The Tahs manage to maintain possession after a big shove from the Stormers. The ball gets the midfield but they are stopped in their tracks by a huge De Jongh hit! The ball is recycled but another handling error stops the momentum of the game and adds to the stop-start affair. Play will resume with a Stormers feed on the Tahs 10 metre line|
||It's time for handling errors to creep into the Stormers game as they cough up possession to hand the Tahs the scrum feed|
||De Jongh makes a big tackle and manages to hold up the opposition. A maul is called and the ball fails to emerge to hand the Stormers a scrum on the Tahs' 10 metre line|
||A charge down by the Stormers sees them pin the Tahs back on their try line. The ball is recycled to Foley who finds a good touch just outside his 22. The Tahs steal the line-out and spread the ball through the backline|
||He learned from the previous attempt and splits the uprights to add three more points to the Tahs total|
||PENALTY! This time the Stormers' front row goes down on the hit and hands Foley a chance to have a shot at goal from a similar position to his previous attempt|
||The Stormers win back possession from the Tahs' line-out but as they lose the ball in their attempt to rumble it up field. Scrum feed to the Tahs close to the Stormers' 10 metre line|
||The scrum is solid and the ball finds Coleman who kicks it into touch but makes just 10 metres. The Stormers sack the Tahs' line-out and turn the ball over at the next breakdown. Coleman once again puts the boot on the boot and finds touch outside the 22|
||They keep it among the forwards who are inching their way closer to the line. It's sent out to Foley who is tackled just inches from the line but loses the ball forward as he attempts to place it over the try line. Defensive scrum to the Stormers on their 5 metre line|
||Foley's attempt hits the left upright but Hooper responds quick and regains possession for the home side. Just 5 metres from the try line now|
||The Tahs go in the attack immediately from the restart and find themselves in Stormers territory. The visitors are a bit too eager in defence and are caught offside. Foley will have a shot at goal from about 30 metres|
||Coleman makes no mistake with the conversion as he curls the kick through the uprights|
||The Stormers are back in front after a beautifully worked move! Coleman places a beautiful chip kick from inside he 22 and Van Wyk claims the catch just in front of the 10 metre line. He brushes off a would-be tackler to get the first points of the second half|
||KICK-OFF! The second half is underway|
||Foley adds the extra points to hand the home side a slender two point lead as the hooter goes for HALFTIME|
||Another solid scrum from the Tah's allows Phipps to fling a long pass to the left and finds Horne who scruggs off a De Allende tackle to score in the corner for the home side|
||Beale makes a sniping break through the Stormers defence and takes them up to the 5 metre line but he is denied by great scramble cover defence from De Allende. An attempted intercept by De Jongh goes to ground and the Tahs will have the scrum feed 6 metres from the try line|
||It's time for a kicking battle with the final one being claimed by Foley who collects it calmly while being under pressure from Kolbe. The Tahs make their way to the halfway line|
||It's an easy little kick for the flyhalf as he reduces the deficit to five points|
||Another solid scrum from the home side sees them launch an attack but the Stormers hold their own on defence. The next phase is set up but the Stormers fail to roll away at the breakdown to hand Foley a shot at goal from right in front|
||A much better scrum by the home side sees them retain possession but the Stormers turn the ball over at the breakdown. However, it's a bit scrappy, so play will resume with a Tahs feed to the scrum on the Stormers' 22|
||Rhodes fails to hold onto possession to hand the Tahs the scrum feed|
||The Stormers are dominating the scrums as they are awarded yet another scrum penalty after the Tahs failed to hold their bind. Play will resume with a Stormers line-out just inside their half of the field|
||It's another clean line-out take for the home side who now use their forwards to bash their way through the Stromers defence. Inside the 22 they go but they lose the ball after Robinson ran into Potgieter for an accidental offside. The Stormers will have the scrum feed 10 metres from their try line|
||The penalty is kicked into touch on their 10 metre line. The Tahs claim possession and send it through the hands. Burger smashes into Skelton but it's deemed to be a shoulder charge and the Tahs are able to kick the penalty onto the Stormers' 22|
||The throw finds its jumper and the Stormers set a maul that is quickly dealt with by the Tahs. They make their way to within 10 metres from the try line but fail to release the ball after being tackled and lets the Tahs off the hook|
||Huge scrum from the Stormers - which has become the norm. The Tahs pop up under the pressure and Catrakilis is able to kick the penalty into Tahs territory for an excellent attacking line-out|
||The play has remained close to the halfway line for much of the game thus far and we restart things with a scrum feed to the Stormers on their 10 metre line|
||Catrakilis pops over the conversion to add the extra points|
||The Stormers manage to pick up the loose ball inside the Tahs 22. The ball is quickly shifted to the right and finds De Allende in acres of space who dots the ball down close to the uprights|
||Carr claims the restart but has the ripped from his grip and the Tahs have possession on the halfway line. They are keeping it among the big men but the ball goes loose|
||Catrakilis attempts a drop goal but he pulls it left and misses the audacious kick|
||The Stormers are enjoying the majority of the possession now as they find themselves winning possession on the Tahs 22|
||He splits the uprights with his second successful penalty kick to hand the Stormers the lead once again|
||It's time for a little kicking battle which comes to an end with the Stormers in possession on the Tahs 10 metre line. The home side concedes a penalty in front of the poles after entering a ruck from the side. Catrakilis will have a shot at goal|
||Foley failes to add the extra points as he leaves this attempt to the right as well|
||Folau claims a spectacular catch from a pass and bursts through the Stormers' before handing the ball to Naiyaravoro who runs over three defenders to get the first try of the match in the corner!|
||He misses the attempt to the right and the game will resume with a 22 drop-out|
||The Waratahs are in possession just inside Stormers territory as they look to make their way up-field. PENALTY! Burger comes flying into a tackle on Hooper but catches him a little high. Foley will have a shot at goal from about 2 metres|
||The Stormers look like they have come to play as their backline looks to take the game to their hosts. However, a promising move comes to an end as Kolbe flings a forward pass to van Wyk to hand the Tahs a scrim on the halfway line, close to the touchline|
||His first kick of the match finds its target from about 38 metres to get the first points of the game|
||Play resumes with a scrum feed to the Stormers just inside Tahs territory. OENALTY! Rbinson is penalised at scrum time and Catrakilis has opted to have a shot at goal|
||The line-out is claimed but they cough the ball up on the 22. Tahs collects the ball and kicks it into touch on their 10 metre line.|
||The Stormers are in a running mood and they pass the ball through the backline who takes them up to their 10 metre line. Naiyaravoro tackles Leyds high and Catrakilis kicks the penalty into touch for a line-out inside Tahs territory|
||KICK-OFF! Catrakilis gets the match underway|
||Just a solitary point separates these sides. The Waratahs find themselves in eighth place on 18 points while the Stormers have claimed 17 points from seven matches to take up ninth place on the log|
||The Stormers are coming off the back of three straight defeats while their hosts - Waratahs - have found their groove with two consecutive wins over the Blues and Brumbies, respectively|
||Welcome to match three of Round Nine which sees the Waratahs host the Stormers in Sydney|
Desperate times call for desperate measures. It may be a well-worn cliche, but it certainly rings true for a few of the teams in Round Nine.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. It may be a well-worn cliche, but it certainly rings true for a few of the teams in Round Nine.
We have just one Friday game and that includes a very desperate - winless - Blues team hosting the Australian conference leaders, the Brumbies, at Eden Park in Auckland.
The media have not let up on Blues coach John Kirwan and according to some publications in Aotearoa he has already been fired. All that must be determined is his departure date.
However, Kirwan has stood his ground and remains adamant his tem is still in with a chance of reaching the play-offs, although he admitted this week the Blues were "running out of runway".
Saturday starts with the big New Zealand South Island derby, the sixth-placed Crusaders hosting the fifth-placed Highlanders in Christchurch.
One point separates them on the standings, but even if they were poles apart, there is always plenty of feeling in these derbies and emotions tend to boil over.
The first half of our preview for this week concludes with the encounter between the defending champion Waratahs and the Stormers, desperate to break their tour duck.
We look at the first half of the weekend's matches!
Friday, April 10
Blues v Brumbies
(Eden Park, Auckland - Kick-off: 19.35; 17.35 AEST; 07.35 GMT)
The winless Blues, according to coach Kirwan, can't buy a trick.
"It's about those small moments, we had our chances and didn't take them," Kirwan said this week, after their seventh straight loss.
The Brumbies are well aware that a team as desperate as the Blues will not be holding anything back - making them a tricky hurdle.
Prop Scott Sio made no secret of the Brumbies' apprehension ahead of the trip across the Tasman Sea.
Even though the Blues are winless and stone last, they will play their first real home match this season - after Eden Park was used for the cricket World Cup and they were forced to play their other 'home' matches in Albany.
"It's a massive test this week," Sio said.
"We've got a lot of respect for them and we know we have to front up.
The scrum and the set-piece will be another big part in winning and continuing on in this competition."
Sio said dominance is what they are trying to build their game on.
"Just like back in the 1980s and 1990s, whoever was dominant on the day generally won," he added.
2014: Brumbies won 26-9, Canberra
2013: Brumbies won 20-13, Auckland
2012: Blues won 30-16, Canberra
2010: Blues won 39-34,Auckland
2009: Brumbies won 37-15, Canberra
2008: Brumbies won 16-11, Auckland
Prediction: The last eight meetings between the Blues and Brumbies have followed a pattern of two victories followed by two defeats for the Auckland-based side. If this run were to continue, they would win this game. The Brumbies have won the last two meetings between the sides, but have never won three on the bounce against the Blues. The Blues are currently on a nine-match losing streak; their worst-ever run of form. The Blues have averaged more rucks lost per game than any other side this season (5.3). The Brumbies have forced a worse ruck success rate (91 percent) from their opponents than any other team. The Brumbies have managed more opening quarter tries (seven) than any other side this season, while the Blues have scored the joint-fewest (one). The Blues appear to lack the belief to pull off the numerous close defeats this season. The Brumbies, in contrast, look a well-coached and structured team. They should win by about 10 points.
Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Pita Ahki, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Luke Braid, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Steven Luatua, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Francis Saili.
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 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Ita Vaea, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Lausii Taliauli, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.
Referee: Andrew Lees
Assistant referees: Nick Briant, Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Ben Skeen
Saturday, April 11
Crusaders v Highlanders
(AMI Stadium, Christchurch - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)
Were the Sharks really that bad, or were the Crusaders that good?
That has been the question asked since the seven-time champions put 50-odd points past the Sharks in Durban last week.
The Highlanders will provide the answer to that, as they are a team capable of testing the resolve of even the most powerful outfits.
While the Crusaders had to make the long trek across the Indian Ocean - a well documented fact that the east-to-west trip takes more out of teams - the Highlanders come off a bye.
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said the side was looking forward to the derby.
'The guys are jumping around getting ready for a tough challenge against the Crusaders,'' Joseph told the Otago Daily Times.
''The Crusaders are coming off a 50-point win over the Sharks. They really smashed them, so we know we are going to be up against it.
"Obviously, their confidence should be high so that basically means we are going up there and are going to have to play very well.''
The Highlanders, who have already had their two byes, are one point and a position above the Crusaders.
Joseph said the next phase of the season was the coming four weeks when the side had two games away from home and two in Dunedin.
They travel to Christchurch, then return to Dunedin to play the Blues, nip over to Australia and play the Brumbies, before returning home to play the Sharks at home before heading overseas.'
2015: Crusaders won 26-20, Dunedin
2014: Crusaders won 34-8, Christchurch
2014: Crusaders won 32-30, Dunedin
2013: Crusaders won 40-12, Dunedin
2013: Crusaders won 24-8, Christchurch
2012: Crusaders won 51-18, Christchurch
2012: Highlanders won 27-24, Dunedin
Prediction: The Crusaders have won their last six against the Highlanders; another victory would equal their best run of seven wins on the bounce against the Dunedin-based side. The Highlanders have failed to reach double figures in their last two away games against the Crusaders. The Highlanders are playing away from home for just the second time this season. The Crusaders boast the best scrum success rate (95 percent) in the competition. The Highlanders' line-out success rate (91 percent) is the second-best this year behind the Brumbies (92 percent). Eleven of the Crusaders' 25 tries this year have been in the third quarter of matches, no other side has scored more than seven in the same period. Only the Waratahs (six) have conceded more five-pointers in the same timeframe than the Highlanders (five). You can never discount the Highlanders, but the smart money will be on the Crusaders to win - by less than 10 points.
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 Jimmy Tupou, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Richie McCaw, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Dan Carter, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Pingi Tala'apitaga, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery.
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Kane McBride (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
Waratahs v Stormers
(Allianz Stadium, Sydney - Kick-off: 19.40, 11.40 SAST; 10.40 GMT)
The defending champion Waratahs will get their first taste of South African opposition this season.
The Stormers, desperate to end the three-match losing streak that has seen them drop from first to ninth in the last month, are just one-point and one spot on the table behind the Waratahs.
Not even the absence of captain Duane Vermeulen - rested in accordance with a request from Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer - can convince the Waratahs that the Stormers are a soft touch.
Waratahs defence coach Nathan Grey, said that the Stormers would still provide a serious challenge for the defending champions.
"They're a very physical side," Grey said.
"Yes, Vermeulen's not playing, but they're getting back Juan De Jongh, another starting player, their vice-captain who has been named as their captain [in replace of Vermeulen]," Grey said.
"You lose a bit somewhere you gain somewhere else. They played very well against the Hurricanes last week and were a little bit unlucky not to get a result there. But they provide a lot of firepower across the park and they've got good skills so we're very much aware of that."
Stormers assistant coach Robbie Fleck was equally complimentary of the opposition this week.
"The Waratahs are a quality outfit," Fleck said in a teleconference call from Sydney.
"They've proven it over the past few years, having taken on the best teams in Super Rugby and beating them.
"They're big, they ask a lot of questions of you defensively and their defence is accurate too.
"We need to be at our best against them, but we have taken confidence from the ‘Canes match and will use that on Saturday," he said.
2014: Waratahs won 22-11, Cape Town
2013: Waratahs won 21-15, Sydney
2012: Stormers won 19-13, Cape Town
2010: Stormers won 25-6, Cape Town (semifinal)
2010: Stormers won 27-6, Cape Town
2009: Waratahs won 12-6, Sydney
Prediction: The Waratahs have won 12 of their last 13 at home in Super Rugby; their average margin of victory in those 12 wins is
18.5 points. The Tahs have won the last two meetings between the sides, but have never won three games in a row against the Stormers. None of the last eight meetings between the sides have seen 40+ points on the board. The Waratahs have won fewer turnovers per game (5.2) than any other side this season, while opponents of the Stormers have averaged fewer turnovers won (5.4) than vs any other opponent. The Stormers have managed more scrum steals than any other side this season and have forced a lower success rate (74 percent) at the opposition feed than any other team. Only Damian de Allende (29) has beaten more defenders than Israel Folau (26) so far this season. This is probably the game of the weekend, so much at stake for two quality teams just outside the play-off zone. The Stormers are close to breaking that drought, but the Waratahs may just have the edge on them - and will win by less than 10 points.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 David Dennis (captain), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Mitchell Chapman, Pat McCutcheon, Stephen Hoiles, Brendan McKibbin, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Jono Lance, Peter Betham.
Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, James Leckie (New Zealand)
TMO: Peter Marshall
Compiled by Jan de Koning
Statistical information provided by Opta Sports
Two late tries saw the Stormers claim an impressive 32-18 bonus point victory over the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.