ad link


16     15


Super Rugby | Melbourne
09:40 (GMT) | 02-05-2015
  • 81
Join us again later for more live coverage of Super Rugby when the Cheetahs take on the Stormers at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.
  • 80
After a reset, the Rebels win a penalty after illegal wheeling from the Chiefs. Debreczeni lines-up the kick for polls and he hits the upright. The Rebels manage to regather and Burgess kicks it out for FULL-TIME: Rebels 16-15 Chiefs.
  • 79
The Chiefs now have a scrum inside their 22 after a Rebels knock-on. They get a free-kick and they decide to run it. Leitch makes a few metres and after two more phases they lose it forward, The Rebels have a scrum 10m from the Chiefs 22m line
  • 77
The Rebels go for a 5m line-out for a third time from a penalty. They form the maul again and get the advantage again. They sends a grubber kick but it is grounded by a Chiefs player. Play is brought back for another Rebels penalty at the maul. The Rebels go for the line-out again., but this time the Chiefs win it.
  • 75
The Rebels decide on a line-out 5m from the Chiefs tryline as they try to close the game out. They form a driving maul and Reid is over the tryline, but it is a penalty again to the Rebels. They opt for another line-out. They form the maul again before going wide with Shipperley inches short of the tryline. Messam gets a yellow card for an incorrect entry at the maul
  • 73
The Rebels have the ball now inside the Chiefs half and English takes his team in their opponents 22 with a good run. The home side are just 6m short of the tryline now as the go with one-off runners. The ball goes wide but Inman is tackled a few metres short and the Rebels get a penalty.
  • 70
McKenzie hits the upright from the conversion and the Rebels still lead 16-15
  • 69
The Chiefs have the ball in the Rebels half and Pulu is in space after a pick and go. Now in the Rebels 22 the ball goes through a few phases before the ball is picked up by Leitch at the back of a ruck, who stretches over for the try!.
  • 68
From the scrum Hegarty kicks down field and Lowe finds space and is over halfway with a good run. Nothing comes from it as it is once again lost forward, this time by Nanai-Williams. From the scrum, the Rebels are driven back and the ball goes out into touch for a Chiefs throw in.
  • 66
Lowe gives his team a line-out in the Rebels 22. Messam sends a poor pass from the line-out to McKenzie and the ball is lost forward and the Rebels have a scrum just outside their 22 to try relieve the pressure.
  • 64
Naivalu runs it back into the Chiefs final third from the restart with the Rebels now trying to increase the tempo. After a few phases the ball is lost forward and the Chiefs have a scrum 12m from their 22. The away team drives the Rebels back and they win the penalty.
  • 62
Hegarty lines-up the kick polls but pushes the penalty wide. The score remains 16-10 to the Rebels.
  • 61
The Rebels now have a penalty just outside the Chiefs 22 with one of the visiting players going off their feet.
  • 59
McKenzie adds the extras and the Rebels hold onto a 16-10 scoreline
  • 58
Mckenzie kicks the ball out for a 5m line-out. The Chiefs gather and form the maul before going wide and a grubber is sent in behind the Rebels defence which Naivalu can't gather and Ngatai gets an easy try!
  • 57
The Chiefs take it wide but are again met with some good defence from the Rebels. McKenzie goes for the show and go but the home side does not fall for it and they get another penalty 5m short of the tryline.
  • 54
From the scrum, the Chiefs give it to Sonny Bill Williams but he is watched closely. The Chiefs forma maul from open play and are stopped just short of the tryline. Cane is held up over the line and they will get a 5m scrum.
  • 52
The Chiefs go to their midfield from the scrum and Ngatai is through a half gap. He passes to Horrell. They get a penalty and they ask for a scrum as they go in search of their first try of the game.
  • 50
From the scrum, the Rebels go wide as they take the risk of running it out of their 22. Debreczeni thumps the ball down field and the Chiefs return it. Debreczeni drops the ball trying to catch and the Chiefs will have an attacking scrum just outside the Rebels 22
  • 48
The Chiefs go wide from the line-out as they start to pick up the pace. Horrell tries to break through a tackle, but he is tackled back. Nanai-Williams slips out of tackle before once again they lose the ball in the Rebels 22. The home side will have a defensive scrum
  • 46
The Rebels lose the ball forward in the Chiefs 22 after missing a great opportunity to extend their lead. The Chiefs win a penalty after illegal scrumming by the Rebels and Lowe gives his team a line-out near halfway.
  • 44
The Chiefs take a quick line-out from a Rebels kick but they only take it through a couple of phases before it is lost forward on halfway. From the scrum, the Rebels go to the blindside and Shipperley is in space, the home side are now in the Chiefs 22 and they go wide with Naivalu being tackled 5m short.
  • 43
The Rebels run the ball out of their 22 before Debreczeni finds touch with a grubber kick in the Chiefs half. The Chiefs go wide before Nanai-Willaims finds space down the touchline. The Chiefs are now inside the Rebels 22, but they lose the ball forward.
  • 41
SECOND HALF: Nanai-William gets the second half under way!

Half Time

  • 40
Debreczeni misses the conversion but the Rebels lead 16-3 at HALF-TIME!
  • 39
Marshall sends a high ball from the restart and the Chiefs get the ball back inside the Rebels half. Sonny Bill Williams takes a few tackles with him inside the Rebels 22 before they give away a penalty for obstruction and Debreczeni finds touch near the Chiefs 22. Stirzaker breaks from the line-out and sprints in for the try in the corner.
  • 37
The Chiefs have the ball now in the Rebels half as they aim to reduce the deficit before half-time. They get a penalty 10m from the Rebels 22 after Jones failed to roll away. Horrell has a shot at goal and misses the penalty.
  • 35
Debreczeni will have a shot at goal from about 45m from the Lowe penalty and he converts it. Rebels lead 11-3
  • 34
The Chiefs form a maul but are penalised for obstruction as they tried to find away over for the try, Debreczeni gives his team a line-out on halfway. The Rebels make their way inside the Chiefs 22 before it is turned over a the Chiefs kick down field. Messam gathers and gives it to Weber who passes to Ngatai who sprints in for the try. It is disallowed as Lowe kicked Ellison with a knee and he gets a yellow card.
  • 31
From the line-out, the Rebels clear a scrappy ball through Debreczeni and the Chiefs have an attacking line-out in the Rebels 22. The Chiefs go for the driving maul before going wide with Nanai-Williams nearly through a gap. Play is brought back for a Chiefs penalty at the maul and they opt for a 5m line-out.
  • 29
From a line-out just outside the Rebels 22, the Chiefs form a maul before going wide with Marshall taking the ball into the Rebels 22. The ball goes to the short side but Messam is tackled into touch for a defensive line-out for the home side.
  • 27
Chiefs now attempt to run the ball out from their own half and Horrell finds a bit of space through a half gap. They go wide but it is lost forward by Tom Marshall 5m on the Rebels side of halfway. From the scrum the ball goes to Naivalu and after another phase it is lost forward. Weber finds touch inside the Rebels 22
  • 25
Hegarty gathers a box kick well and puts his team in a good position in the Chiefs half, The away side turns it over and after kicks by both teams the ball finally finds touch for a Chiefs throw in on halfway.
  • 23
Horrell sets-up a kick right in front from the scrum penalty and he converts it with the score now 8-3 to the Rebels.
  • 22
After some good pressure from the Chiefs from the restart, the Rebels are unable to free the ball from a ruck and the away side gets an attacking scrum on the Rebels 22. After a reset, they win a penalty after putting the Rebels front row under pressure
  • 19
Debreczeni is unable to add the extras but the Rebels lead 8-0
  • 18
Higginbotham calls for another scrum 5m from the Chiefs tryline after three penalties in a row. They go to Inman who is a caught off guard. Debreczeni takes it up before a quick pass sends Higginbotham over for the try in the corner!
  • 16
The home side forms the driving maul and are stopped just short. They win another penalty with a Chiefs player off his feet. Higginbotham chooses a scrum now 5m from the Chiefs tryline. The Rebels are put under pressure but still come away with the ball and it is intercepted. Play is brought back for another Rebels penalty.
  • 14
Reid bashes his way forward for the Rebels now before Smith is put in space by his flyhalf. The Rebels are now 5m short and they get a penalty with Tom Marshall offside. Rebels go for a 5m line-out.
  • 12
The Chiefs go wide from the scrum and Nanai-Williams loses the ball forward now after a good attacking move. The Rebels clear it and the Chiefs will have another chance with a line-out on the Rebels 22m line. The Chiefs can;t do anything with it and they give a way a penalty. Debreczeni finds touch inside the Chiefs half
  • 10
The home side wins the line-out and Timani takes the ball up before Debreczeni finds touch just outside his 22. The Chiefs form a maul from the line-out and the Rebels forces them sideways, but the Chiefs get a scrum after a rebels knock on.
  • 8
The Chiefs turn the ball over inside the Rebels half and they go wide before its lost forward. The Rebels go wide before it is turned over and Weber's kick finds touch 5m from the Rebels tryline.
  • 6
The Rebels have the ball in their own half and find some space inside the Chiefs forwards channel. Play is brought back for for a penalty with Messam offside. There is also a long delay to look at a potential foul play from Hika Elliot. Nothing comes from it and Debreczeni will kick for polls from a mammoth 57m out. He converts the penalty and the Rebels lead 3-0.
  • 4
From the scrum on halfway, the Chiefs take it wide with Ngatai tackled back and into touch on halfway from Mitch Inman. From the line-out, the Rebels go wide but are again tackled back by the Chiefs
  • 2
Tom Marshall breaks a tackle from the restart before Weber sends a high ball. The Rebels run the ball back from their own half, but make few metres over the gain line. McMahon breaks through a tackle before the ball is lost forward. Chiefs have a scrum on half way.
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Rebels flyhalf Jack Debreczeni gets the game under way!
  • -5
The Melbourne outfit has lost five of their last six against New Zealand teams, scoring over 20 points in just one of those games.
  • -15
The Chiefs have won all three meetings between these two sides, however the last two yielded a losing bonus point.
  • -20
Welcome to live coverage of Round 12 of Super Rugby with the Rebels taking on the Chiefs at AAMI Park in Melbourne
Mc rebels logo 80x50
Mc chiefs logo 80x50
  • 16 Bryce Hegarty
  • 14 Dominic Shipperley
  • 13 Tamati Ellison
  • 12 Mitch Inman
  • 11 Sefanaia Naivalu
  • 10 Jack Debreczeni
  • 9 Nic Stirzaker
  • 8 Scott Higginbotham
  • 7 Jordy Reid
  • 6 Sean McMahon
  • 5 Lopeti Timani
  • 4 Luke Jones
  • 3 Paul Alo-Emile
  • 2 Pat Leafa
  • 1 Toby Smith
  • 24 Telusa Veainu
  • 23 Tom English
  • 22 Luke Burgess
  • 21 Colby Faingaa
  • 20 Cadeyrn Neville
  • 19 Tim Metcher
  • 18 Cruze Ah-Nau
  • 17 Tom Sexton
  • 15 Tom Marshall
  • 14 Tim Nanai-Williams
  • 13 Charlie Ngatai
  • 12 Sonny Bill Williams
  • 11 James Lowe
  • 10 Andrew Horrell
  • 9 Brad Weber
  • 8 Michael Leitch
  • 7 Sam Cane
  • 6 Liam Messam
  • 5 Michael Fitzgerald
  • 4 Matt Symons
  • 3 Ben Tameifuna
  • 2 Hika Elliot
  • 1 Pauliasi Manu
  • 23 Bryce Heem
  • 22 Damian McKenzie
  • 21 Augustine Pulu
  • 20 Johan Bardoul
  • 19 Michael Allardice
  • 18 Jamie Mackintosh
  • 17 Siate Tokolahi
  • 16 Quentin MacDonald
Mc article victor matfield bulls huddle 630

Preview: S15 Round 12, Part Two

Thu, 30 Apr 2015 23:18

It is getting tight at the front-end of the Super Rugby play-off race. Jan de Koning looks at Saturday's matches.

It is getting tight at the front-end of the Super Rugby play-off race.

Just 10 points separate teams one to six, the current play-off spots, with seven more rounds to go. And with another three teams just three points outside of that, it means every defeat now could be cataclysmal.

Saturday's action start with two teams already well out of the race and playing just for pride - the 14th-placed Blues hosting the last-placed Western Force in Auckland.

After that it gets real interesting.

The table-topping Hurricanes host a desperate Crusaders team - the latter three points off the play-off pace - in Wellington.

The Rebels, with nothing more than a mathematic chance of making the play-offs, could do some serious harm to the Chiefs' prospects when they meet in Melbourne.

The day concludes with two all-South African derbies.

The first is in Bloemfontein where the Cheetahs, playing for little more than pride, host the South African conference leaders, the Stormers.

The Bulls, who conceded first place in the SA conference to the Stormers with a two-point defeat last week, host the high-flying  Lions in Pretoria - the latter looking to extend their record-breaking five-match winning streak and improve their own play-off prospects.

We look at all Saturday's matches!

Saturday, May 2

Blues v Western Force

(Eden Park, Auckland - Kick-off: 17:30; 13:30 AEST, 05:30 GMT)

John Kirwan's name remains in the headlines.

That is because his team has failed to live up to their pre-season hype and the vultures are circling.

It emerged this week that Kirwan put a resuscitation plan on the table that includes luring Crusaders assistant coach Tabai Matson to Auckland next year.

Reports in the New Zealand media suggest Kirwan is pushing for Matson to come on board as an assistant next year, with an eye to taking the reins the following season - with Kirwan stepping into an overseeing high performance role.

However, all this off-field talk is doing little to help solve the current on-field troubles.

And they will be up against a desperate Force team stuck on bottom of the table with 10 points; one behind both the Blues and Reds.

The Force haven't won since beating the Waratahs in their season-opener.

The subsequent nine-match losing run is the equal worst in the Force's 10-year history, and the team is desperate to snap back to the winners' list this week.

The Force were plucky against the Chiefs last Friday, scoring three tries in the second half.

Coach Michael Foley said the signs are there that his team's fortunes are changing.

"There was some good improvement in our ability to identify and take opportunities against the Chiefs," Foley said.

"This week we take on an experienced Blues side that contains a number of dangerous ball runners.

"To that end, while maintaining our attack is a focus, our defence will be the foundation of a good performance."

Recent results:
2014: Blues won 40-14, Perth
2012: Blues won 32-9, Auckland
2011: Blues and Force drew 22-all, Perth
2010: Blues won 38-17, Auckland
2009: Blues won 25-19, Perth
2008: Force won 27-17, Albany

Prediction: The Blues have won 10 of their last 12 home games against Australian opponents. The Force have beaten the Blues just once in Super Rugby, however that win did come away from home (2008). Five of those six defeats have been by margins over 20 points. After defeat to the Chiefs last weekend, the Force are now winless in their last four against New Zealand sides by an average margin of 22 points. Defeat for the Force would signal their worst ever run of form in Super Rugby. They are enduring a nine-match losing streak, something which previously occurred at the beginning of their first campaign in 2006. The Blues' 29-15 loss to the Crusaders was their heaviest defeat in over a year, but their 11th defeat in 12 matches. In this dance of the desperates we are going with the home team and say the Blues will win by eight points.


Blues: 15 Charles Piutau. 14 Lolagi Visinia, 13 Francis Saili, 12 George Moala/Hamish Northcott, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Jerome Kaino (captain), 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Akira Ioane, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Josh Bekhuis/Culum Retallick, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Steven Luatua, 20 Luke Braid, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Hamish Northcott/Tevita Li.
Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Luke Burton, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman/Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp/Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Kane Koteka, 21 Justin Turner, 22 Marcel Brache, 23 Junior Rasolea.

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Hurricanes v Crusaders
(Westpac Stadium, Wellington - Kick-off: 19:35; 07:35 GMT)

The Hurricanes will be under renewed pressure to hold on to their one-point lead over the Chiefs in the New Zealand conference, when they host the seven-time Super Rugby champions Crusaders.

The Hurricanes, beaten only once in nine games this season, have had some mighty tussles with the Crusaders at home in recent years and this will be another test of their credentials for a first-ever Super Rugby title.

The Wellington-based team will be boosted by the return from injury of hooker Dane Coles, fullback Nehe Milner-Skudder and wing Cory Jane.

However, captain Conrad Smith reckons the All Black-laden Crusaders are exactly the type of 'banana skin' that could spell trouble for the ambitious Hurricanes.

The match marks the start of a stretch of six New Zealand derby games in their last seven for the Hurricanes.

It is worth noting that the Hurricanes have a very poor record in derby matches, winning less than 50 percent of the time against their compatriots.

"All derby games, there's always a little bit more on the line," Smith told NZ Newswire.

"We're certainly excited about it but we're not in any way forgetting how much more work we've got to do.

"We know there are few Kiwi teams licking their lips at the chance of getting a crack at us."

Smith also knows that the Hurricanes have a huge target on their collective backs.

"In some ways you can be a victim of your own success."

Recent results:
2014: Hurricanes won 16-9, Wellington
2014: Hurricanes won 29-26, Christchurch
2013: Crusaders won 25-17-, Christchurch
2013: Hurricanes won 29-28, Wellington
2012: Hurricanes won 23-22, Christchurch
2012: Crusaders won 42-14, Wellington

Prediction: The Hurricanes have won nine of their last 11 home matches and have not lost two in a row (in one season) in Wellington since July 2013. The Canes have won four of the last five meetings between the sides after previously enduring a run of one win in 11 against the Crusaders. Those four wins have been by a combined margin of 12 points. The Crusaders won their last away fixture, however their previous two away wins were each followed by back-to-back away defeats. The Hurricanes (94.1 percent) and Crusaders (94 percent) rank first and second for scrum success rate this season. The Hurricanes (12) and Crusaders (10) have scored the most tries when starting out with the ball inside their own half. The Hurricanes' reinforced forward pack is what has changed them from pretenders to contenders and will see them edge the Crusaders in an arm-wrestle - by less than 10 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 Dane Coles, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Chris Eves, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Matt Proctor, 23 James Marshall.
Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 David Havili, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 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 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Kieron Fonotia, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Shane McDermott (New Zealand), Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

Rebels v Chiefs
(AAMI Park, Melbourne - Kick-off: 19:40; 21:40 NZST, 09:40 GMT)

The Rebels see themselves as genuine play-off contenders, even though most pundits regard them as also-rans.

The Melbourne-based outfit is 11th on the standings with 20 points, only eight points adrift of the sixth-placed Highlanders.

They are keen to show they are not just all talk and feel the Chiefs are the perfect opposition to prove their credentials.

Wallaby back Dom Shipperley said the Rebels are determined to make amends for last week's two-point loss to the defending champion Waratahs.

"We see this week as a week to get back on track and square up our ledger," Shipperley told the Herald Sun.

"We really need a launch pad to win a few games in a row and move up the table.

"The middle of the table is congested right now and three wins in a row can really move you up.

"That's what we're setting out to do and getting our momentum going this week."

The Chiefs have won all three previous encounters with the Rebels, but want to address defensive shortcomings after conceding four tries to the Western Force last week.

"We've certainly done a fair bit of work on defence," coach Dave Rennie said.

"The boys understand it needs to be a hell of a lot better this week."

The Chiefs are fourth on the overall table, but are just one point behind competition leaders the Hurricanes in the New Zealand conference.

Recent results:
2014: Chiefs won 22-16, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 39-33, Melbourne
2011: Chiefs won 38-10, Hamilton

Prediction: The Chiefs have won all three meetings between these two sides, however the last two yielded a losing bonus point. The Chiefs have won four in a row; their best run in a single campaign since racking up six straight victories in June 2013. The Hamilton-based side has won three of their last four away games, whilst their last three losses away from home have all been by fewer than five points. The Melbourne outfit has lost five of their last six against New Zealand teams, scoring over 20 points in just one of those games. The Rebels have scored the fewest second half tries this season (six), less than half as many as the Chiefs (13). The Chiefs rank joint third in terms of tries scored this season (27), while no side has scored fewer than the Rebels (15). The Rebels talk a good game, but we feel the Chiefs have too much class and should with by about 15 points.


Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Sefanaia Naivalu, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Jordy Reid, 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 Luke Burgess, 22 Tom English, 23 Bryce Hegarty.
Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Andrew Horrell, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Jamie Mackintosh, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Johan Bardoul, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Bryce Heem.

Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

Cheetahs v Stormers
(Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT)

The Stormers will be out to protect their lead in the South African conference against the unpredictable and very dangerous Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, where they haven't won since 2012.

The Cape Town-based Stormers leapfrogged the Bulls to the top of the conference with a 15-13 win last week.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said they will have the same mind-set as they do for all South African derbies.

"We understand how tough these games are and we know we need to pitch up," Coetzee told a media briefing in Cape Town.

"The Cheetahs pushed the in-form Lions in Johannesburg last week, they're a good side - especially in Bloemfontein - and we know this will be a tough match."

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské made several changes to his backline from the team that went down to the Lions in Johannesburg last week.

Scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius is the only player who retains his spot, while Joe Pietersen moves back to flyhalf after wearing the No.15 jersey last week.

The Stormers are familiar with the threat posed by Pietersen, who was based in Cape Town for a decade - before moving to Biarritz in 2013 and then joined the Cheetahs this year.

"Joe Petersen will always have a massive influence, whichever team he plays for," Coetzee said.

"However, we don't focus on Joe. It has been a long time since he has been at the Stormers - a lot of things have changed since he was here.

"When he was here we played a kick and chase game, based on solid defence, and it has changed since then."

Recent results:
2014: Stormers won 33-0, Cape Town
2014: Cheetahs won 35-22, Bloemfontein
2013: Stormers won 28-3, Cape Town
2013: Cheetahs won 26-24, Bloemfontein
2012: Stormers won 13-6, Bloemfontein
2012: Stormers won 16-14, Cape Town

Prediction: The last four meetings between these two sides have been won by the home side on the day (two wins each). The Cheetahs have scored fewer than seven points in three of their last five games against the Stormers. The Stormers have won nine of the last 11 meetings between these conference rivals. In the most recent meeting between the teams the Stormers rendered the Cheetahs scoreless. It was the only time the Cheetahs have been blanked in Super Rugby. The Cheetahs have won a lower proportion of scrum feeds (80 percent) than any other side while the Stormers have produced the most scrum steals (six). The Cheetahs have averaged the most turnovers won this season (9.6). However, opponents of the Stormers have averaged fewer turnovers won (5.6) than against any other team. The Cheetahs have the ability to comeback even when they are down by two scores or more. That makes them dangerous. However, it the Stormers remain composed they should win by at least 10 points.


Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Johannes Prinsloo, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen/Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Dolph Botha, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk/Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Carel Greeff, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 Danie Dames.

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.

Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha and Rodney Boneparte
TMO: Johan Greeff

Bulls v Lions
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 19.10; 17.10 GMT)

The return of veteran Victor Matfield grabbed the headlines, but it is a match that is crucial to both teams' campaigns in the tightly-contested South African conference.

Just four points separate the Stormers - first in the conference - and the Lions.

It means by the end of the weekend the Lions could find themselves at the top of the SA conference - if they get a bonus point win at Loftus and the Cheetahs upstage the Stormers, while also prevents the Cape Town outfit from getting any points.

The Bulls just needs a win to reclaim their place at the top of the SA totem pole, but only if the Cheetahs win.

Despite last week's loss - when Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen charged down a last-minute drop-goal attempt by Handré Pollard - the Bulls feel they are playing well enough to remain in the play-off race.

"We are getting into the rhythm to play the type of match we want to play," Bulls coach Frans Ludeke said.

"Our defence structure is good and we are very competitive in every match we play.

"We need to tweak some aspects of our game though, but I am confident that we are creating a style of play that will make us contenders in the play-off stages of the competition."

The Bulls know they are going to be tested by a Lions team that is once again full of running and willing to go the full 80 minutes ... and then some.

Bulls captain Victor Matfield said they are facing a team that expresses their personality on the field.

"We are also a squad that are proud of being the most successful local franchise ever," Matfield said.

However, you are only as good as your last match though and we came up short then.

"We need a solid performance before we go on tour, so a win is pretty much non-negotiable."

Recent results:
2015: Lions won 22-18, Johannesburg
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: After previously being winless in 11 games against the Bulls, the Lions have won the last two contests between these rivals. The last eight encounters between the Bulls and Lions have seen at least 40 points scored per game and an average of 50. The Bulls have lost just two of their last 24 home games in the regular season, with their back-to-back home defeats at the start of the season the only blemishes on that record. The Lions have won five Super Rugby matches in a row for the first time, though each of these wins came by margins of five or less. The Lions have scored the fewest first half tries (five) in 2015 and less than half as many as the Bulls (12). The Lions do have a very good chance of causing an upset, but this is at Loftus Versfeld and the smart money is on the Bulls to win a thriller by less than 10 points.


Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Morné Mellett, 18 Andrew Beerwinkel, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Pierre Spies, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Burger Odendaal, 23 Jurgen Visser.
Lions: 15 Marnitz Boshoff, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Andries Coetzee, 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 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 20 Robert Kruger, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Alwyn Hollenbach, 23 Courtnall Skosan.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article rebels chiefs

Rebels hold off rampant Chiefs

Sat, 02 May 2015 11:35

The Rebels pulled off one of their greatest victories with a tenacious 16-15 win over two-time champions, the Chiefs.

The Rebels pulled off one of their greatest victories with a tenacious 16-15 win over two-time champions, the Chiefs, in Melbourne on Saturday.
The Rebels dug deep to repel the Chiefs in a mighty second half performance after leading 16-3 at half time.
It was the first time in four encounters that the Rebels had beaten the Chiefs, who dropped five points behind the Hurricanes in the New Zealand conference.
Both teams scored two tries each, but it was flyhalf Jack Debreczeni's two penalty goals, that edged the Rebels home in a titanic struggle.
The Chiefs made it hard for themselves with some ill-discipline leading to yellow cards for wing James Lowe and skipper Liam Messam in both halves.
It was another eye-catching performance by the improving Rebels, who lie third in the Australian conference eight points behind leaders Brumbies.
Debreczeni kicked a penalty goal in the sixth minute, preceding a try in the corner by skipper Scott Higginbotham after pressure on the Chiefs' try-line.
Andrew Horrell reduced the gap with a penalty for the Chiefs before a big turning point when the Chiefs had a try by wing Tim Nanai-Williams disallowed by referee Andrew Lees who spotted Lowe lashing out at Rebels centre Tamati Ellison in the lead-up.
Debreczeni kicked the penalty and scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker got the benefit of an obstruction call to score for the Rebels nearing halftime.
The Chiefs dominated possession in the second half and scored tries by centre Charlie Ngatai and No.8 Michael Leitch to trail by a point heading into the final 10 minutes after Damian McKenzie's conversion attempt of Leitch's try hit an upright.
But the Rebels were able to keep play in the Chiefs quarter through a series of penalties and further aided by Messam's yellow card for making an indirect entry into Melbourne's driving maul near Waikato's try-line.
Man of the match: The Chiefs backs looked dangerous, despite the Rebels defiant defence. Sonny Bill Williams and Charlie Ngatai looked really good together in the midfield, as did Tim Nanai-Williams. For the Rebels, it was a captains innings from Scott Higginbotham that earns him the award.
For the Rebels:
Tries: Higginbotham, Stirzaker
Pens: Debreczeni 2
For the Chiefs: 
Try: Ngatai, Leitch
Con: McKenzie
Pen: Horrell
Yellow Cards: James Lowe (Chiefs, 34 - dangerous play, kicking out at a player) Liam Messam (Chiefs, 74 - repeated infringements, offsides at the maul)
Rebels: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Sefanaia Naivalu, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Jordy Reid, 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 Luke Burgess, 22 Tom English, 23 Telusa Veainu.
Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Andrew Horrell, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Jamie Mackintosh, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Johan Bardoul, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Bryce Heem.
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)
Scott Higginbotham (18min) and Nic Stirzaker (39min)
Charlie Ngatai (58min) and Michael Leitch (69min)
Damian McKenzie (59min)
Jack Debreczeni (6min) and Jack Debreczeni (35min)
Andrew Horrell (23min)
James Lowe (34min) and Liam Messam (75min)
VENUE Melbourne
REFEREE Andrew Lees (Australia)