||Join us for more live coverage of Super Rugby with the Sharks taking on the Lions at Ellis Park up next.|
||The hooter has gone and Meyer chips it out which brings us to FULL-TIME.|
||Prior feeds the scrum and the force will have to attack from deep. the Cheetahs rush them on defence forcing the error from the Force, and the Cheetahs regain the possession.|
||Force have a penalty right in front but they stupidly take it quickly, and Brussow, as he does, wins a penalty on the ground. the Cheetahs opt for touch and the Cheetahs set a drive, winding down the clock. Brussow makes a forward pass and the force have a scrum deep in their half.|
||Pietersen converts the penalty to extend the lead to nine points.|
||Cheetahs win the line-out, they set the drive, and win a penalty. Pietersen points to the sticks looking to take the score out of reach for the Force.|
||22 phases now and the force are in to the 22m, Wykes has made 3 carries and McCalman now takes it forward. Cheetahs defence is too good as Cummins kncoks it forward. Sadie hacks it down-field and Hendricks is sprinting and he gets their first, he kicks it again from the ground and Petty can only hack it out as the Cheetahs have a line-out inside the Force 22m.|
||Force are awarded a penalty on the halfway for the Cheetahs driving off their feet at the breakdwon. Holmes clears for touch, taking play to the 22m line of the Cheetahs. The Force botch the line-out and Cheetahs clear through Pretorius. The Force playing ball in midfield, as Holmes spreads wide but the Cheetahs defence is solid. Wykes breaks the advantage line and the Force are creeping closer with 11 phases.|
||Pietersen makes the conversion to extend the lead of the Cheetahs.|
||Prior feeds,and Holmes clears, Le roux goes wides and Sadie finds a sweet gap, he releases Hendricks but Petty makes a desperate cover tackle inside the home side's 22m. The force are penalised at the breakdown for diving over. The Cheetahs opt for touch and they set a drive off the line-out. It is well formed, moving forward, with Brussow controlling at the back. The Force can't stop it as Brussow dives over for the try.|
||The Force win the line-out and spread the ball wide. After 5 phases Ian Prior's grubber is charged down from Brussow and the Cheetahs are awarded a scrum on the 10m of the Force. Venter crashes up from the scrum but the Cheetahs loose it forward at the breakdown for s scrum to the Force in a similar position.|
||Mathewson feeds the scrum, and the Cheetahs are penalised for not scrumming straight, Ebersohn kicks for touch and takes play up to the halfway line.|
||After a penalty to the Force, Ebersoh kicks deep and the Cheetahs are right back in their 22m. The Forces secure the line-out and are maintaining possession well with 8 phases before the Cheetahs make a good turnover. Le Roux thumps one up the park and Morahan begins a counter before the Cheetahs win it back again and Prinsloo puts a kick down-field. The end result is a scrum to the Force on their 22m.|
||The Force win the line-out and have gone 5 phases before Ebersohn puts it high and Hendricks spills the catch into touch. The Force take a quick line-out and are into the Cheetahs 22m. Hendricks scrambles after the Burton puts a grubber through. Pietersen clears to the 22m line for a Force throw. The Force set a drive but this time the Cheetahs stop it. Prinsloo dives on a loose ball and Hendricks clears it down field.|
||Ebersohn agains plugs a kick in the corner, it's well judged and the cheetahs are pinned back intheir 22m with a line-out. Prinsloo sets up the exit from the line-out and Pretorius clears for touch taking play to the 10m of the visitors.|
||Pretorius puts a box kick in high after the restart and Petty takes clean but fires a pass into touch for a line-out to the Cheetahs on halfway. The Cheetahs form a maul but Pretorius plays Pietersen who puts it high from the boot and the Cheetahs win the ball back. Le Roux takes the ball at flyhalf and the Cheetahs are into their 9th phase. Pietersen drops into the pocket and cleanly strikes a drop goal, and its OVER.|
||Pietersen makes the conversion to bring the Scores within 4.|
||The Cheetahs restart and the Force form a maul but are held-up by the cheetahs through good work from Oosthuizen. Scrum for the Cheetahs. Hendricks takes the ball flat off his wing. The Cheetahs are awarded a penalty for McCalman not releasing the tackler. It's right in front and Pietersen will look for 3.|
||Burton attempts the conversion but hits the post.|
||Force now in control of possesion on the 50m before Ebersohn puts in a great kick taking play down to the visitors 5m line for a line-out. Cheetahs slap back the ball from a short line-out and Hendricks rushes a kick to touch for a Force line-out on the Cheetas 5m. Wykes wins the ball and the Force set the maul, its looking dangerous and the Force score a try through Chris Alcock.|
||SECOND-HALF: Force flyhalf Ebersohn gets the half underwy.|
||Pietersen restarts as Ebersohn punts one back. Pietersen puts a high kick in but the Cheetahs players are off-side, and the Force are awarded a penalty. Ebersohn attempts a long-ranged penalty 57m out, but he misses and that brings us to HALF-TIME.|
||Ebersohn converts the penalty to take the lead for the Force.|
||The rain is pouring down now in Perth, as the Force are given a penalty for Prinsloo not rolling away. Its 30m out and Ebersohn will have a shot for goal.|
||Pietersen converts the penalty for 3 points to take the Cheetahs back in to the lead.|
||The Force have a line-out in the visitors 22m, and they set the maul, as the Cheetahs are penalised for coming in the maul from the side. The Force opt confidently for a scrum. the force play out wide from the scrum. Van Jaarsveld makes an intercept and he off-loads to Sadie who is away sprinting down the field. The Force are penalised at the ruck and Pietersen goes for poles.|
||Petty kicks high from the scrum but Rhule shows a good understanding of the rules as it goes out on the full. The Cheetahs win their line-out on the Force 10m. Oosthuizen comes steaming in like a train and shows Koteka who is boss. Pietersen then spills again as the ball is scrappy out-wide for the cheetahs.|
||The Force secure the scrum as Ebersohn clears with an exit-strategy. Hendricks takes it quickly, but Pietersen drops the ball in contact. The conditions are greasy in Perth. The Force have a scrum on their own 10m.|
||The Cheetahs win a penalty for the Force holding on at the ruck. Pietersen opts for touch. the Cheetahs have a line-out on the 22m line of the home-side. They form a maul with Brussow controlling at the back. Pretorius passes to Venter who puts Sadie in space. The Cheetahs get quick ball and it is on out wide but Rhule spills the ball for a Force scrum inside their own 22m.|
||Pretorius feeds and Pitersen kicks a high cross-field kick, but the ball beats everyone to touch. force play it quick and hack one down-field. Hendricks returns a kick, and the Force are attacking in the middle of the park.|
||Mathewson digs it out as Burton takes a flat pass to crash it up. The Force lose the ball during the second phase from Mafi. The Cheetahs have a scrum on the 50m.|
||Mathewson feeds, and the Force are awarded a short-arm, as they re-elect a scrum.|
||The Force win the scrum and go right with Petty making some meters. The home team shwoing some good continuity, but the cheetahs manage a turnover before Rhule looses it forward. A scrum for the Force out-wide just inside their own half.|
||Cheetahs have a midfield scrum, the backline is set in formation for a power move. Venter crashes hard and breaks the advantage line. the Cheetahs move the ball in the opposite direction before they knock-on. the Force have a scrum on their own 10m.|
||Ebersohn adds the extras to take the Force into the lead.|
||Mathewson feeds the scrum, and the Force receive a scrum penalty for BG Uys not scrumming straight. The Force opt for another scrum. Mathewson goes blind and Petty gives a pass out the back door to Morahan for a try in the corner.|
||The Force set a solid drive and it is well formed, but the Cheetahs hold it off. The Cheetahs are scrambling on the line, and Ruan Hoffmann blows for a scrum on the 5m to the Force.|
||Petty slips a tackle and the Force are 5m out. A Penalty is awarded to the Force, and they opt for touch to set a line-out 5m out.|
||force keeping in tight on the Cheetahs 10m, but there is no way through for them. Cummins now breaks some tackles down the touch line, he throws a Hail Mary inside to keep the ball in play. The Force now onto their 15th phase.|
||Pietersen misses the conversion from the corner.|
||Cheetahs secure the line-out and Pretorius is controlling the ball nicely. The Cheetahs inching closer as Le Roux throws a wild skip pass to Rhule who dives over in the corner for the try.|
||McCalman is penalised for entering the ruck and sealing the ball off his feet. Pietersen kicks for touch and the Cheetahs have a line-out on the 5m line of the Force.|
||Haylett-Petty collects the kick and takes it to contact. Ebersohn kicks down field, and there is an early kick exchange resulting in a Force line-out on the 50m. Ebersohn puts it high and Le Roux replies with the left boot. Cummins begins a counter as the Force have control on the 50m.|
||KICK-OFF: Cheetahs flyhalf Joe Pietersen gets the game underway.|
||The Force have faced the Cheetahs eight times in total with six of those games being decided by fewer than 10 points. The force won the previous encounter in Bloemfontein. The Cheetahs have lost their last five games in Super Rugby this season.|
||Welcome to live coverage of Super Rugby Round 9 with the Cheetahs taking on the Force from NIB stadium in Perth.|
There will be a lot of desperation on display in the second half of the weekend's Super Rugby matches. Jan de Koning reports.
There will be a lot of desperation on display in the second half of the weekend's Super Rugby matches.
We start this part of our preview in Perth, where the Cheetahs - on a five-match losing streak - will be chasing a first overseas win in 2015 when they close out their Australasian tour against the Western Force - a team who is on a six-match losing streak.
The Cheetahs know they have been well below par this season, with their leaky defence one of their biggest issues. The Force, in stark contrast, maintains the best tackling success rates (90 percent) this year.
The Lions, who still have play-off ambitions, will host a Sharks team in total turmoil.
The Lions have hit back since losing their first three matches in South Africa - winning three games on their Australasian tour and downing the Bulls at Ellis Park last weekend.
The Lions are 10th on the standings with 17 points, but only three points separate them and the sixth-placed Bulls.
The Sharks and Bulls lead the South African conference, with the Bulls facing the beleaguered Reds in Pretoria in the final match of the round.
The Reds have lost six of their seven games and left former Wallaby skipper James Horwill at home, after he received a one-match ban for punching an opponent last week.
We look at the second half of the weekend's matches!
Saturday, April 11
Western Force v Cheetahs
(nib Stadium, Perth - Kick-off: 19.45; 13.45 SAST; 11.45 GMT)
The Australians just love a bit of hype and the Western Force have wasted no time in trumpeting the significance of this match.
The Force entered the Super Rugby competition with the Cheetahs in 2006, with the Western Australian franchise recording their first tournament victory against the Bloemfontein-based side in Kimberley that same year.
This will mark the ninth Super Rugby encounter between the two teams since 2006. The Western Force is leading with five wins to the three wins of the Cheetahs. It will also be the fourth time the teams meet Down Under since the first Perth encounter on 27 April 2007.
The last time the Force hosted the Cheetahs, on 23 March 2013, the visitors won 19-10. The Force, however, won the last match between the two - in May last year in Bloemfontein, 23-16.
Force coach Michael Foley said the match is an important occasion for both the team and franchise.
"We're excited about returning home and starting the second half of our season," he said of their winless two-match tour of South Africa - where they suffered heartbreaking defeats to the Sharks (9-15) and Bulls (24-25).
"Having six of our final nine matches at home provides an opportunity to display the character of the team - as we strive to move our game up a level.
"While aspects of our performances against the Sharks and Bulls were pleasing, we know combining passages of good play into wins comes down to our attitude to retain and recycle quick ball at the breakdown and physicality in defence.
"Saturday is also an opportunity for the franchise to acknowledge those who have supported the Force over the past 10 years, and to recognise their role in providing us with the opportunities we now have."
The Cheetahs, who have been comprehensively beaten in their last five matches this season, are clinging to a glimmer of hope that they could still reach the play offs.
However, coach Naka Drotské admitted it will require significant improvements in many aspects of their game.
He spoke of the improvements in terms of their "discipline".
"I feel we have too many soft moments and we have to eliminate that," Drotské told rugby365 in an interview.
He pointed out that they have played the Sharks twice already, they have also faced the Chiefs, Crusaders and Brumbies, while they have also played the Bulls.
"Those are all teams in contention for a top six finish," Drotské said, adding that a win will go a long way towards getting their campaign back on track.
2014: Force won 23-16, Bloemfontein
2013: Cheetahs won 19-10, Perth
2012: Cheetahs won 17-13, Bloemfontein
2010: Cheetahs won 29-14, Bloemfontein
2009: Force won 16-10, Perth
2008: Force won 16-15, Bloemfontein
Prediction: After winning their opening game this season, the Force have since lost six in a row and have not lost seven in a row since losing the opening nine matches of their first season in Super Rugby. The Force have faced the Cheetahs eight times in total with six of those games being decided by fewer than 10 points; each of those six games saw fewer than 40 points scored combined. The Cheetahs have lost their last five and have not lost six in a row in a single season since the beginning of 2009. The South African side has shipped 180 points in those five defeats which have been at an average margin of over 21 points and no fewer than 10. The Cheetahs have averaged fewer carries (76.9) than any other team this season, while opponents of the Force have averaged the fewest as well (86.6). While the Cheetahs have averaged the most missed tackles (22.6) this term, opponents of the Force maintain the best tackling success rate (90 percent). Australian referee Rohan Hoffmann's tract record against South African teams this year and his grossly incompetent performance in the Hurricanes versus Stormers game last week suggest a very long day at the office for the Cheetahs. The Western Force will get back on the winning track and with Hoffman in the picture the margin could be well beyond 10 points.
Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Luke Burton, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Kane Koteka, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes (captain), 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Angus Cottrell, 20 Chris Alcock, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Marcel Brache.
Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Johannes Prinsloo, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Burrie Uys.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Tienie Burger, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Ryno Benjamin.
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann
Assistant referees: Will Houston, Graham Cooper
TMO: Ian Smith
Lions v Sharks
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT)
The reputation of Lions coach Johan Ackermann is growing with each significant win his team achieves.
However, he moved swiftly to play down talk of his team being play-off contenders or being favourites against the troubled Sharks outfit.
"We've achieved nothing yet,"Ackermann told a media briefing this week, when asked about his team's run of four wins in their last five matches.
"We've got to keep grinding out results, week after week.
"If you get ahead of yourself now then you're on the wrong path," Ackermann added.
Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold this week spent more time answering questions about his team's discipline and having to rest key Springboks than he would have liked.
The Sharks, despite their troubled and patchy season, are still just outside the play-off zone - with the same points as the South African conference leaders, the Bulls, but below them on points difference.
However, Gold knows the quality of their performances need to show a sharp improvement or they will quickly become also-rans.
"Our performance last weekend [a 10-52 loss to the Crusaders] was unacceptable and we have taken full responsibility for the result and are determined to fix it this weekend," Gold told a media briefing in Durban.
"The Lions are playing some fantastic rugby and have come off a great tour.
"We are under no illusions about the toughness of the task on Saturday.
"However, in saying that, we have worked extremely hard this week and are determined to get our campaign back on track."
The Lions coach, Ackermann, is aware that the Sharks will throw everything but the kitchen sink at them.
However, he is confident the character that has been a trademark of the Johannesburg-based outfit's campaign so far will again come to the fore.
"We are playing with good discipline in recent times and I am pretty sure the players will keep on doing that," he said.
"We have created a culture of responsibility in our group and players know what we expect from them. The best way to stay out of trouble is always to keep your focus on executing the gameplan."
2015: Sharks won -29-12, Durban
2014: Sharks won 25-12, Johannesburg
2014: Sharks won 37-23, Durban
2012: Lions won 38-28, Johannesburg
2012: Sharks won 32-20, Durban
2011: Lions and Sharks drew 30-all, Johannesburg
2011: Sharks won 27-3, Durban
Prediction: The Lions have beaten the Sharks just once in their last 11 attempts (which also includes a draw), with their average losing margin across those nine defeats sitting at 15 points. The Sharks have won just two of their last six away games, however both those away wins came in South Africa. The Lions have won four of their last five matches, though all of these wins came by
margins fewer than five points. The Sharks have scored the most tries in the second quarter of matches this season (seven), while the Lions have scored the joint-fewest (one) in the same segment of their games. The Sharks are the only side yet to score a try in a possession that has lasted seven-plus phases. They have conceded five tries when possession has gone seven-plus phases, only
the Reds (six) fare worse in this department. Nobody will laugh at you if you back the Lions. In fact the bookmakers have made the Lions favourites. However, this is more of an even match and all the turmoil may just galvanise the Sharks enough to sneak a win by less than 10 points.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Mark Richards, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Lohan Jacobs, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Sharks: 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 Sibusiso Sithole, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (captain), 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Jack Wilson.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)
Bulls v Reds
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 19.10; 03.10 Sunday, April 12 AEST; 17.10 GMT)
The Bulls have been cautious this week, constantly talking up the Reds - despite the Australian outfit's dire situation.
They are second from last on the standings, with just one win in seven starts.
They've also had to deal with the Karmichael Hunt cocaine sage. In fact Hunt will make his first start for the Reds since his six-week ban, when he dons the No.15 jersey against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.
Bulls captain Pierre Spies is well aware just how "desperate" The reds will be to get their season going.
"Teams like that are always dangerous," Spies told a media briefing.
"They have some classy players in their team and if they are on song on the day, they can destroy you in a blink.
"We will have to play all the big moments well, but will also have to force our style of play on them and dictate the terms.
"That will require commitment and discipline."
The Reds' track record in Pretoria is not great. The last of their two wins at Loftus Versfeld happened over a decade ago - in 2001.
Reds coach Richard Graham remains confident they can put their poor form and troubled season behind then.
"Pretoria is always a fantastic challenge," Graham told a media briefing.
"The Bulls have made Loftus a fortress over the years and no Australian side has won there since 2007.
"That is a piece of history that the group would love to contest."
They will be without star Wallaby playmakers Quade Cooper (shoulder injury) and James O'Connot (calf strain), but the return of Hunt gives them some game-breaking ability at the back.
However, Graham said the collective will win the game, not individuals.
"We need to continue working collectively and the rewards will come," the coach said.
"The squad has trained well in the early stages of the week, the intensity has been very good. We need to continue that as we get closer to the game.
"Discipline is a necessity. The Bulls have kicked the highest percentage of penalty goals."
2013: Reds won 23-18, Brisbane
2012: Bulls won 61-8, Pretoria
2011: Reds won 39-30, Brisbane
2010: Reds won 19-12, Brisbane
2009: Bulls won 33-20, Pretoria
2008: Reds won 40-8, Brisbane
Prediction: The Bulls have lost just twice at home since the start of last year. The Reds have won three of the last four meetings between the sides. The Queensland side have lost their last five away to the Bulls, including their heaviest Super Rugby loss of all-time, and the Bulls' largest win (92-3, May 2007). The Bulls scored 61 points in their last home meeting with the Reds and in a run of
five consecutive home victories over the Queenslanders, they have mustered 257 points; an average of over 51 per game. Conversely,
the Reds have scored just 50 points in their last five games combined, all of which ended in defeat. Opponents of the Bulls maintain a better scrum success rate (95 percent) than against any other team. Opponents of the Reds average a 76.9 percent ball retention rate at scrum time, while only the Stormers (73.9 percent) and Chiefs (76.7 percent) have forced their opponents into losing possession more often. You will get good odds on a reds win, but it is likely to be wasted money. The Bulls to win comfortably - by 15 points or more.
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 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Hanro Liebenberg, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Jurgen Visser.
Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Lachie Turner, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 10 Nick Frisby, 9 Will Genia, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Curtis Browning, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Dave McDuling, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sef Faagase, 19 Marco Kotze, 20 Tom Murday, 21 Adam Korczyk, 22 Ben Tapuai, 23 Chris Kuridrani.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Lesego Legoete (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
Compiled by Jan de Koning
Statistical information provided by Opta Sports
REPORT: The Cheetahs snapped their five-match losing streak with a much-needed 24-15 win over the embattled Western Force in their clash in Perth.