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Super Rugby | Wellington
04:30 (GMT) | 18-04-2015
  • 82
Join us at 7:05 GMT for the build-up to the next match between the Highlanders and the Blues!
  • 81
The Waratahs hand the Hurricanes their first loss of the season!
  • 80
The ball is flung wide and it it loose as the Tahs apply the presssure. KNOCK-ON! The Canes lose possession forward tohand the Tahs the scrum feed on the Canes' 5 metre line as the hooter sounds. The ball is kicked into touch and that's FULLTIME!
  • 79
The kick is dragged and misses the uprights to hand the Canes possession with a 22 drop-out
  • 78
The Tahs' are confident in attack as they throw the ball around with ease. It finds Carraro who muscles his way close to the 5 metre line. PENALTY! The Canes are caught off their feet at the breakdown and Foley will have a shot at goal
  • 77
A pass from Shields to Perenara goes horribly wrong and the Tahs are back on the attack and make their way into the Canes' 22
  • 76
Play will resume with a Canes line-out on the halfway line after Polota-Nau is penalised for an off-the-ball shoulder charge
  • 75
The line-out is cleanly claimed and Foley puts the ball onto the boot but it's still in-field to allow the Canes with a counter-attack chance. The home sdie makes their way into Tahs territory before the ball is turned over and the visitors launch an attack of their own. It comes to nothing though as Robinson is bundles into touch on the Canes' 22
  • 74
The visitors launch an attack of the own as the fling the ball to the left but the Canes win back possession with Milner-Skudder kicking the ball up-field and it rolls into touch on the Tahs' 22
  • 73
The crowd is getting behind the home side now as the Canes buil momentum of their own. They make their way into Tahs territory but an attempted pass goes into touch for a Tahs line-out.
  • 71
Barrett's conversion attempt is missed badly
  • 70
Perenara takes it quickly and gets the gome side within 5 metres. Ather another two phases, Perenara makes a snipe and gets over for the bonus point try!
  • 69
A nifty set-piece from the Canes sees the ball given to Milber-Skudder who loses trhe ball forward in the tackle. Foley attempts to release the pressure but his kick is poor and allows J Savea to go on a run. The Canes ahave made their way into the Tahs 22. PENALTY!
  • 68
Foley looks for some territory as he kicks the ball up field. It's claimed by J Savea who runs it up to his 10 metre line. PENALTY! The Tahs are caught off their feet at the breakdown and Barrett boots the ball into touch for a line out on the Tahs' 22 metre line
  • 66
The Canes have worked their way into the 22 and take the ball through the phases. PENALTY! The attack comes to nothing as they fail to release the ball at the breakdown to hand the Tahs a chance to clear the ball to their 10 metre line for a throw-in
  • 64
After a number of restarts, the Tahs manage to get the ball to Foley who kicks the ball into touch on the 22 after being under severe pressure from the Canes
  • 63
Shields claims the line-out but the ball somehow pops loose. It is reclaimed though but they have lost 5 metres. Perenara snipes down the blindside to get close to the 5 metre line but great defence by the Tahs sees the Canes knock the ball on as they snuff out the attack
  • 62
The line-out is quickly taken and the Canes swing the ball to the right to get themselves within 5 metres. PENALTY! The Tahs are caught offside and the Barrett puts the penalty into touch for a 5 metre attcking line-out
  • 60
The ball is taken through the phases as they slowly make their way up-field. Barrett straightens the attack and gets over the advantage line. Perenara attempts a little chip kick but is claimed by Folau who puts a woeful kick into touch
  • 59
The Canes are back on the attack with possession just inside Tahs territory
  • 58
It's an easy three points as he splits the uprights to extend the lead
  • 57
Foley has a dart but is stopped 2 metres from the line. PENALTY! The Canes are caught offside in front of their poles. Foley opts to have a shot at goal
  • 56
A massive shove from the Tahs allows Phipps to release Foley who makes a few metres. The Tahs keep it among the big men as they inch their way to the 5 metre line
  • 55
The momentum is with the Tahs now as they look to attack once again from the restart. However, the ball gets turned over and it's the Canes' turn to launch an attack of their own but they are stopped in their tracks by a knock-on to hand the Tahs a scrum on the Canes' 22
  • 53
Foley manages to sneak in the conversion with the use of the left upright
  • 52
The ball falls kindly for Hooper who goes on a bursting run that takes the Tahs up to the 5 metre line. The ball is thrown to the right and finds Folau, who gets on the putside of Savea for the bonus point try in the right corner!
  • 51
After a reset scrum, the Tahs are awarded the penalty as Goodes pops up under a massive shove from the visitors. Foley puts the ball into touch close to the Canes' 22
  • 49
Play will resume with a line-out to the Canes just inside the 10 metre line of the Tahs. The throw-in is not straight and the Tahs will have the scrum feed inside their territory
  • 47
PENALTY! Palu makes a cynical mistake as he is caught with his hands in the scrum to allow Barrett to kick the ball into touch close to the 10 metre line
  • 46
It's time for a kicking battle as Barrett and Folau sees who can get the most distance. It's eventually run up by the Canes who loses possession on the halfway line! Dennis goes on a hug run and comes within 2 inches of the line after being tackled by A Savea. the ball fails to come out of the breakdown and the Tahs will have the scrum feed 5 metres from the Canes' try line
  • 43
the Tahs turn the ball over on their 10 metre line and swing the ball left to Ashley-Cooper. He goes on a run and links up with Horne who passes it back to Cooper but is caught in possession to hand the Canes a penalty
  • 42
Perenara goes down the blindside and finds Milner-Skudder who runs down the right touchline before putting the ball on the boot. It goes a little too far though as Folau reacts quickest to dot the ball down for a 22 metre restart
  • 41
KICK-OFF! Barrett gets the second half underway. Palu claims the catch and the Tahs look to run the ball up the field from inside their 22. Foley gets the ball and boots it up field into the hands of Milner-Skudder, he hands it to Barrett who kicks it back up-field. A knock on by the Tahs sees the Canes have a scrum feed on the Tahs' 10 metre line

Half Time

  • 40
Folau rises perfectly to claim the restart and the Tahs are quickly inside the Canes 22. The Canes win back possession and an attempted no-look pass is INTERCEPTED by Betham who canters in from the 22 for his second try of the match
  • 40
It's a regulation conversion for Foley to level the scores at the HALFTIME break
  • 39
Barrett pulls the conversion left as, too, leaves points on the field
  • 38
The Canes win the line-out and the forwards do the hard yards before the ball is sent to the backline. Nonu hands the ball to J Savea who breaks the line and gets the ball up to the 5 metre line. The ball is recycled and switched to the left to find Shields on the left touch line and the big forward gets over the line
  • 37
The Canes are back on the attack as the forwards makes the hard yards. The ball is is flung to the backline and Nonu shows his fancy stepping with a massive break which takes the home side into the Tahs 22. TURNOVER! The Tahs manage to regain possession and Foley puts it into touch
  • 35
Foley pulls the conversion attempt and leaves the extra points on the field
  • 34
The ball is recycled and flung to the right to find Skelton and there's no stopping him from 5 metres out
  • 33
The Canes attempt to run the ball out of their 22 but a Milner-Skudder grubber goes as far as just outside the 22 before the Tahs regain possession. Palu shows his strength and makes a few metres to set up the next phase
  • 31
Hooper gets the ball and makes a few metres before being brought down. The ball is swung to the left and finds Folau who comes up inches short! It's quickly recycled and Beale goes low under a tackle. OH NO! He loses the ball forward as he attempts to place it over the try line
  • 30
A Savea takes out Phipps before he got his hands to the ball to hand the Tahs a penalty about 30 metres from the Canes' try line. Foley opts to boot the ball into touch for an 8-metre line out
  • 29
Excellent work at the breakdown by A Savea sees him win the ball for the home side, who manages to clear the ball up to their 10 metre line for a Tahs throw-in
  • 28
They manage to clear the ball to the halfway line but the resulting line-out allows the Tahs to reagin possession and launch an attack of their own. Skelton goes for a run and gets into the Canes' 22
  • 27
The ball is caught cleanly and they set the maul but as they are about to make a break down the blindside, they knock the ball on to hand the Canes the scrum feed
  • 26
The Canes cough the ball up from the restart and it finds the hands of Beale who misses an attempt at a kick through. The ball is claimed by Hooper who gets them to within 5 metres of the try line. The ball is recycled and they probe doen the left side. PENALTY! Canes are caught with their hands in the ruck to hand the Tahs a chance at points. They opt for a line-out
  • 24
This kick is 10 metres in from the left touchline and it does not matter where he kicks it from as he splits the uprights for another successful kick
  • 23
Here come the Canes once again straight from the kick-off. They receive the ball and a Nonu chip kick is put in which bounces favourably for Barrett who sprints his way from his 10 metre line all the way to score the the 5 pointer
  • 22
Barrett makes a tough kick - from the right touchline - seem like childs play as he slots the extra points
  • 21
Perenara darts down the blindside to draw the only defender, passes it to Smith who gets an easy score in the right corner
  • 19
The Tahs are caught offside and the canes opt for a 5 metre attacking scrum
  • 18
The ball finds the backline who gets the home side to within 5 metres of the try line thanks to some excellent work between Milner-Skudder, Nonu and Jane
  • 17
The Tahs are showing some excellent work-rates on defence as they manage to keep the Canes from entering their 22. They seem to have stolen the ball from the ruck but the ball is knocked on and the Canes have the feed to the scrum just outside the 22
  • 16
The Canes are back in attack mode as they muscle their way up to the Tahs' 22
  • 15
Foley makes a good strike with his first kick of the match and splits the uprights to add the extra points
  • 14
The ball is recycled and finds Betham who bashes his way through a tackle to dot the ball down on the line!
  • 13
The Tahs are on the attack as they take the ball through the phases and have made their way into the Canes' 22. Skelton breaks through the first tackle and gets them to within 5 metres from the try line
  • 11
Franks goes down under the pressure and Foley puts the penalty into touch just inside his half of the field.
  • 10
The ball is cleanly claimed and is thrown through the backline. Nonu draws a defender before passing it to Milner-Skudder who attempts a cheeky behind-the-back pass to J Savea but it goes forward and hands the Tahs the scrum feed
  • 9
After a few phases, a wild pass is thrown and the ball is claimed by the Tahs who are on the attack on the Canes' 10 metre line. Phipps probes the blindside before handing the ball to Skelton who makes a few metres. PENALTY! A Savea executes a perfect steal in the ruck and gets a penalty for the home side. Barrett pops it into touch just inside Tahs territory
  • 8
After a few resets, the ball eventually finds Milner-Skudder who shows off his fancy footwork to get the Canes c lose to the Tahs' 10 metre line
  • 6
Another early mistake sees the line-out not thrown in straight and the Canes will have the scrum feed on the halfway line
  • 5
It's a solid scrum and Foley manages to kick the ball into touch just outside his 22. The Canes enters the ball in front of the ball carrier and concede a penalty which allows Foley to kick it into touch on the halfway line
  • 4
A Savea breaks from the back of the ruck and gets all the way into the try zone unopposed! OH NO! A definite try comes to nothing as he loses the ball forward as he attempts to touch the ball down! What a mess! 5 metre scrum to the Tahs
  • 3
Milner-Skudder makes a break and gets the Canes back into the Tahs half of the field. A few phases goes as the Canes look dangerous
  • 2
The ball is kicked into touch inside Tahs territory. The line-out is cleanly taken and the Canes take the ball close to the 22. TURNOVER! The Tahs win it back and Foley boots it back into Canes territory
  • 1
The 'Canes steal the first line-out and are awarded a penalty as the Tahs are caught offside
  • 0
KICK-OFF! Foley gets the match underway in Jeremy Thrush's 100th Super Rugby game
  • -5
It is absolutely perfect under foot despite the cloudy overhead conditions
  • -10
Of the previous six matches between the sides, the Hurricanes have won just two matches (2012 and 2013) with the Waratahs claiming the points in the previous meeting in 2014 in Sydney.
  • -20
The Hurricanes have gone unbeaten thus far but can they continue that form against the out-of-sorts Waratahs who have failed to show the form that saw them win the title in 2014.
  • -30
Welcome to the second match of Round 10 of Super Rugby. We bring you the match between the Hurricanes and defending champions Waratahs from Wellington!
Mc hurricanes logo 80x50
Mc waratahs logo 80x50
  • 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder
  • 14 Cory Jane
  • 13 Conrad Smith
  • 12 Ma'a Nonu
  • 11 Julian Savea
  • 10 Beauden Barrett
  • 9 TJ Perenara
  • 8 Brad Shields
  • 7 Ardie Savea
  • 6 Callum Gibbins
  • 5 James Broadhurst
  • 4 Jeremy Thrush
  • 3 Ben Franks
  • 2 Motu Matu'u
  • 1 Reg Goodes
  • 23 James Marshall
  • 22 Reynold Lee-Lo
  • 21 Frae Wilson
  • 20 Adam Hill
  • 19 Mark Abbott
  • 18 Chris Eves
  • 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen
  • 16 Brayden Mitchell
  • 15 Israel Folau
  • 14 Peter Betham
  • 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper
  • 12 Kurtley Beale
  • 11 Rob Horne
  • 10 Bernard Foley
  • 9 Nick Phipps
  • 8 Wycliff Palu
  • 7 Michael Hooper
  • 6 Pat McCutcheon
  • 5 Dave Dennis
  • 4 Will Skelton
  • 3 Sekope Kepu
  • 2 Tola Latu
  • 1 Benn Robinson
  • 23 Matt Carraro
  • 22 Brendan McKibbin
  • 21 Stephen Hoiles
  • 20 Mitchell Chapman
  • 19 Jacques Potgieter
  • 18 Paddy Ryan
  • 17 Jeremy Tilse
  • 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau
Mc article crusaders training general

Preview: S15 Round 10, Part One

Thu, 16 Apr 2015 01:22

Two delectable north-south derbies in New Zealand, a trans-Tasman showdown and an all-Australian encounter is what we look at.

Two delectable north-south derbies in New Zealand, a trans-Tasman showdown and an all-Australian encounter.

That is what we look at in the first half of our Round 10 preview- as Super Rugby's league stages moves into the second half of the season.

They don't get much better than the seven-time champion Crusaders hosting the two-time champion Chiefs in Christchurch.

And that is our opening match of the weekend - also the only Friday outing.

Saturday starts with the very intriguing trans-Tasman encounter between the unbeaten Hurricanes against the defending champion Waratahs.

Can the men from Sydney, currently 10th on the standings, get their campaign back on track by becoming the first team this season to the table-topping Hurricanes?

The Highlanders face a tricky encounter against a Blues outfit that finally broke their duck when they beat the Brumbies last week. At least the fifth-placed Highlanders will have homeground advantage.

We bring this part of our preview to a conclusion when we look at the all-Australian derby between a Brumbies team desperate to bounce back from last week's disappointment and the Rebels coming off a bye.

Friday, April 17

Crusaders v Chiefs
(AMI Stadium, Christchurch - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)

There was a lot of talk about "attitude" this week. It is obvious there will be plenty of 'feeling' out on the park on Friday, especially from a Crusaders team desperate to stay in the play-off race.

The game is almost a must-win for the seven-time champion Crusaders, who are eighth on the ladder after four wins and four loses.

Despite their erratic from, Chiefs coach Dave Rennie still rates the Christchurch-based outfit very highly.

"The Crusaders are a quality side," Rennie said.

"Our previous encounters with them have been of test match intensity and this is a must win game for both sides to remain in touch with the Hurricanes."

Crusaders scrumhalf Andy Ellis made no secret of the fact that the Crusaders need to bring the "right attitude" if they are to avenge their Round Three loss to the Chiefs.

"That was frustrating but it probably was a kick in the pants for us and got us refocused," the veteran scrumhalf told the New Zealand media.

"We've made some good growth since then although we're still a bit up and down."

Ellis said the keys to victory over the Chiefs were intensity in attitude and defence for 80 minutes.

"We've got to give it everything because we know they will," he said.

"It will come down to being smart on attack and making good decisions."

Both teams are capable of playing some entertaining and expansive rugby, but the Crusaders may be set for a more tactical approach - given that Dan Carter and Colin Slade will play next two each other.

Also of interest will be the head-to-head battle between Carter and Sonny Bill Williams at inside centre.

Recent results:
2015: Chiefs won 40-16, Hamilton
2014: Crusaders won 18-17, Hamilton
2014: Chiefs won 18-10, Christchurch
2013: Chiefs won 20-19, Hamilton (semifinal)
2013: Crusaders won 43-15, Christchurch
2013: Chiefs won 28-19, Hamilton

Prediction: Since the start of 2012, the Chiefs have maintained a 66 percent win rate against the Crusaders. Eight of the last 10 encounters between the sides have been settled by margins fewer than 10 points. Indeed, a losing bonus point has been scored in four of the last six meetings between these sides hosted by the Crusaders. The Crusaders have failed to hit double figures in the first   half of their last four encounters against the Chiefs and managed no more than 10 second half points in each of those games too. These two sides are the worst disciplined in the competition so far. Only the Chiefs (12.4) have averaged more penalties than the Crusaders (12.3). Both sides have been shown six yellow cards apiece, more than any other team. The Crusaders and Chiefs rank last and second last for ruck success rate this season (both 93 percent). The Crusaders are the best side when in possession at scrum time, winning 96 percent of their feeds and more than any other side. It is a tough call to make, as the teams appear evenly matched. The Chiefs don't have any problems winning in Christchurch, but we're going to take a punt on the Crusaders and say they will win by seven points or less.


Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 David Havili, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Richie McCaw, 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 Matt Todd, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.

Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Brad Weber, 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 Mike Fitzgerald, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Bryce Heem.

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Kane McBride (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Saturday, April 18

Hurricanes v Waratahs
(Westpac Stadium, Wellington - Kick-off: 16.30; 14.30 AEST; 04.30 GMT)

The question on everybody's lips is: How long will the Hurricanes remain unbeaten?

The men from Wellington have looked near unstoppable - with the coaching combination of Chris Boyd and John Plumtree adding some real forward grunt to compliment the obvious backline class.

On the flip side there is a desperate Waratahs heading to Wellington, the defending champions looking to return to the winners circle and keeping their play-off hopes alive.

Last weekend the New South Welshmen went down to the Stormers (18-32) in an end-to-end contest in Sydney.

The Waratahs have won four of seven fixtures this season and stalwart centre Adam Ashley-Cooper believes they need to find some form if they want to compete with the Hurricanes, who currently lead the overall conference by six points.

"One, they're playing really good football at the moment and two, it's over in New Zealand so the travel is going to be a challenge. It will be a real test of character," Ashley-Cooper said in an interview on the Australian Rugby Union website.

Waratahs assistant coach Daryl Gibson considers the New Zealand heavyweights to be genuine title contenders in 2015.

"The Hurricanes look very hungry this year and you can see that by the way Conrad Smith is leading the team, they have a very experienced backline and the forwards to me, look like they have transformed into a hard-working pack," Gibson said

"They have always been a very good team from unstructured play, they can score long-range tries and they have showed that this season," Gibson said.

Hurricanes assistant coach Richard Watt said they are confident that last week's bye won't break the team's rhythm, but admitted the Waratahs pose a massive threat.

"They are a team that's a bit wounded at the moment," Watt told The dominion Post.

"That loss last week [to the Stormers] has probably stung them and they'll be desperate for some championship points.

"If you look where they're sitting on the table I think they're tenth at the moment, so they will come here pretty fired up.

"They're playing through champs, a lot of international players, that forward pack is pretty much an Aussie pack.

They are a big forward pack and they've got a lot going on [in attack]. They're pretty direct when they want to be and create space for themselves."

Recent results:
2014: Waratahs won 39-30, Sydney
2013: Hurricanes won 41-29, Wellington
2012: Hurricanes won 33-12, Sydney
2010: Waratahs won 32-16, Sydney
2009: Waratahs won 26-22, Wellington
2008: Waratahs won 20-3, Sydney

Prediction: A losing bonus point has been netted in just one of the last seven meetings between the sides. The Tahs have won five of those seven matches. The last five meetings between the sides have all seen 45+ points on the board in total and an average of 56 per game. The Hurricanes have equalled their best ever run of form in this competition (seven wins). Four of those wins have come via a margin of a converted try or less. The Tahs have produced fewer kicks from hand per game (13.7) than any other team, while The Hurricanes have been the beneficiaries from the fewest kicks from hand from their opponents; an average of 14.9. Only the Hurricanes (9) have scored more last quarter tries than the Tahs (7). This may well be the match that send the Waratahs into a nosedive and out of the play-off race. The Hurricanes to win by about 16 points.


Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Callum Gibbins, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Chris Eves, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Adam Hill, 21 Frae Wilson, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 James Marshall.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Pat McCutcheon, 5 Dave Dennis (captain), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Jacques Potgieter, Mitchell Chapman, Stephen Hoiles, Brendan McKibbin, Matt Carraro, David Horwitz, Jed Holloway.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Shane McDermott (New Zealand), Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Highlanders v Blues
(Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin - 19.35; 07.35 GMT)

The Blues will be keen to prove last week's win over the Brumbies, their first of the season, was not a one-off fluke.

However, injuries have not been kind to the men from Auckland - who will be without Luke Braid (concussion), while prop Tony Woodcock, left wing Melani Nanai and inside centre George Moala have all been bracketed pending a decision on their fitness to be made on Friday.

Coach John Kirwan was adamant he has the depth to cover the setbacks.

"You have got to trust the squad," Kirwan told

"There is no use playing guys that are a little bit injured."

The coach added that the Blues had put last week's win behind them and are looking to gather some momentum.

"We haven't taken too much notice of it," he said of their 16-14 triumph in Auckland - secured when Ihaia West slotted a 75th-minute penalty and Nic White hooked his last-minute attempt past the uprights.

"We have dropped that pretty quick and we are focusing on the Highlanders.

"We know they are an in-form team at the moment.

"They are playing exceptionally well."

The Highlanders, with back-to-back wins over the Stormers and Crusaders, will fancy their chances at home.

Hooker Liam Coltman, prop Kane Hames and lock Mark Reddish all start in a changed tight five that gives the home team a solid foundation.

Recent results:
2014: Blues won 30-12, Auckland
2014: Highlanders won 29-21, Dunedin
2013: Highlanders won 38-28, Dunedin
2013: Blues won 29-18, Auckland
2012: Highlanders won 27-20, Auckland
2012: Highlanders won 30-27, Dunedin

Prediction: Seven of the Highlanders' last eight matches have been settled by a losing bonus-point margin. The Landers have won their last three at home to the Blues but lost the previous three before that; they have never won four on the bounce at home to the Auckland-based side.  The last seven clashes between the sides have seen an average of 51 points on the board and no fewer than 42, which was in their most recent meeting last year. The last three visits of the Blues to the Highlanders have produced 173 points; an average of 57 per match.  The Highlanders' opponents have won more scrums at a better success rate (93 percent) than against any other side. However, the Dunedin-based team has forced the lowest tackling success rate (82 percent) from their opponents. Both these sides have scored just one opening quarter try this season. The Blues have scored the fewest final quarter tries too (one). The Blues may have some confidence after their maiden win for the season, but the Highlanders have been more consistent and that will be crucial. The Highlanders to win by at least 10 points.


Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jason Emery, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Josh Hohneck, 1 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Pingi Tala'apitaga, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Richard Buckman.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Pita Ahki, 12 George Moala/Francis Saili, 11 Melani Nanai/Tevita Li, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Tony Woodcock/Sam Prattley, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Francis Saili.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)

Brumbies v Rebels
(GIO Stadium, Canberra - Kick-off: 19.40; 09.40 GMT)

The Rebels will arrive in Canberra rested and fresh after their bye in Round Nine.

They will be met by a Brumbies team under a cloud of injury.

After easing through the first month of Super Rugby with just the one significant injury, the Brumbies depth is being tested - with another three starting players injured last week.

Along with Test stars Matt Toomua (ankle) and Scott Sio (knee), versatile outside back James Dargaville (foot) all went down during the narrow two-point (14-16) loss to the Blues and all are expected to spend lengthy periods recovering.

But despite the three joining a long list of injured players - which include Wallaby outside centre Tevita Kuridrani, Fotu Auelua and Jesse Mogg - Wallaby utility forward Scott Fardy is optimistic that the Brumbies team will have the depth to bounce back from last week's disappointment.

"We've had so much faith in what the guys off the bench have done this year," Fardy said in an interview on the Brumbies website.

"I think the guys you saw in Auckland - those we brought guys off the bench - did a great job.

"I'm really excited for those guys [who will start in place of the injured players].

"I look at it more as an opportunity; you've got to take those things, when guys get injured you've got to see it as an opportunity to increase your depth and see how guys are.

"I'm really excited about the potential players who are about come in and see what they're going to do for us."

One player in line to replace injured prop Scott Sio for the Brumbies important local derby with the improving Rebels is South African-born JP Smith and Fardy said that his fellow Brumbies were excited to see the newly awarded Australian citizen start.

"Yeah [it's a] big opportunity for him [Smith], he was one of those guys that came off the bench last week and was really impressive," Fardy said.

"When he came on I think he made about 14 tackles in half an hour and he was incredible.  He's someone who just needs an opportunity and obviously with Scotty's injury he gets that so we're looking forward to watching how he plays."

Saturday's match against the 10th placed Rebels serves as a vitally important match for the Brumbies, who in the coming weeks face the difficult propositions of facing the Highlanders and Waratahs at home before a two week tour of South Africa.

Recent results:
2015: Brumbies won 20-15, Melbourne
2014: Brumbies won 37-10, Canberra
2014: Rebels won 32-24, Melbourne
2013: Brumbies won 39-17, Canberra
2013: Brumbies won 30-13, Melbourne
2012: Brumbies won 27-19, Melbourne
2012: Brumbies won 37-6, Canberra

Prediction: The Brumbies have won all four of their meetings with the Rebels in Canberra; scoring 32, 37, 39 and 37 points during the course of these meetings. The aggregate score in those matches is 145-50, with the Rebels' smallest losing margin in this run sitting at 15 points. The Brumbies have won their last 11 home games, equalling their best run of its kind since winning their first 13 at home between 1996 and 1998. The Brumbies have the best line-out success rate (91 percent) this season, while the Rebels' is the worst (78 percent).  The ACT-based side has conceded fewer (9.3) and won more (12.6) penalties per game than any other team this year.  The Brumbies have scored eight tries and conceded just one in the 20 minutes following half-time. The Rebels have scored two and conceded five in the same timeframe. The Brumbies will have been stung by last week's loss and the Rebels could feel the brunt of their frustrations. The Brumbies to win by 15 points or more.


Brumbies: 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Lausii Taliauli, 13 Henry Speight, 12 Nigel Ah Wong, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Michael Dowsett, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Ita Vaea, 21 Jordan Smiler, 22 Nic White, 23 Rodney Iona.

Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Tom English, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Sefanaia Naivalu, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Tim Metcher, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Colby Fainga'a, 21 Jordy Reid, 22 Luke Burgess, 23 Bryce Hegarty.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article palu hurricanes630

Waratahs end Hurricanes' streak

Sat, 18 Apr 2015 06:12

The Waratahs beat the Hurricanes 29-24 in Wellington, to hand the home side their first defeat of the season.

The Waratahs beat the Hurricanes 29-24 in Wellington, to hand the home side their first defeat of the season.
The loss for the Hurricanes was not enough to knock them off the top of the Super Rugby standings, but for the Waratahs it meant a rapid rise from 10th place into the top six.
With both sides favouring a running game the match was an eight-try extravaganza, with both sides securing a four-try bonus point.
The Hurricanes picked up an extra bonus point for the close finish to put them a point ahead of the Chiefs who had briefly hit the front of the competition following their 26-9 win over the Crusaders on Friday.
The hosts looked to have struck first when a great team effort saw Ardie Savea go over, but he wasted the chance by fumbling the ball as he tried to ground it. 
Instead it would be the Waratahs to open the scoring when a patient build-up saw Peter Betham score out wide to put them 7-0 up.
The Hurricanes responded with two quick tries as first skipper Conrad Smith scored on the blindside of an attacking scrum and then flyhalf Beauden Barrett collected a chip kick to race away.
Barrett landed both conversions from either touchline, but the Waratahs hit back with big Will Skelton going over to cut the Hurricanes lead to 14-12.
The tries kept coming and Hurricanes No.8 Brad Shields was next to score as he rounded off another impressive attacking movement before Betham grabbed a late intercept try which saw the teams go into the half-time break deadlocked at 19-19.
The Waratahs were first to claim the bonus point when Israel Folau got over in the corner after a great run from Michael Hooper and they took their lead out to 10 points shortly afterwards with a Foley penalty.
The Hurricanes finally got their bonus point as TJ Perenara dotted down with just 10 minutes to play, setting up a tense finish to the game but the Waratahs were able to hold on for the win.
Although the Waratahs went into the match with a four-wins, three-losses record for the season, captain Dave Dennis said they never stopped believing in themselves.
"Not many people gave us a chance against the leaders, but we had a lot of belief that we could come over here and put in a good performance, and although it wasn't perfect it was a very big win for us," he said.
Hurricanes skipper Conrad Smith blamed poor defence for their first loss in eight games.
"We felt we could create a lot of opportunities on attack, and we did that, but we leaked too many tries. (Defence) is something we've done well so far this season but it wasn't good enough tonight," Smith said.
Man of the match: There were plenty of candidates. Both Hurricanes halfbacks were impressive, while Nehe Milner-Skudder, Ma'a Nonu and Brad Shields also made an impact. For the Waratahs Peter Betham scored two tries and Israel Folau was dangerous in space, but our award goes to Wycliff Palu who put his body on the line and got his side going forward on attack and defence.
The scorers:
For the Hurricanes:
Tries: Smith, Barrett, Shields, Perenara
Cons: Barrett 2
For the Waratahs:
Tries: Betham 2, Skelton, Folau
Cons: Foley 3
Pen: Foley
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Callum Gibbins, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Chris Eves, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Adam Hill, 21 Frae Wilson, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 James Marshall.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Pat McCutcheon, 5 Dave Dennis (captain), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Stephen Hoiles, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Matt Carraro.
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Shane McDermott (New Zealand), Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)
Conrad Smith (21min), Beauden Barrett (23min), Brad Shields (38min), and TJ Perenara (70min)
Peter Betham (14min), Will Skelton (34min), Peter Betham (40min), and Israel Folau (52min)
Beauden Barrett (22min) and Beauden Barrett (24min)
Bernard Foley (15min), Bernard Foley (40min), and Bernard Foley (53min)
Bernard Foley (58min)
VENUE Wellington
REFEREE Glen Jackson