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Super Rugby | Pretoria
17:10 (GMT) | 02-05-2015
  • 81
Join us next week for more live coverage of Super Rugby as the Crusaders take on the Reds first up in Round 13.
  • 80
Hougaard feeds and it is a solid scrum by the Bulls as they kick it out to bring the game to FULL-TIME.
  • 79
Bulls on the attack inside the Lions 22m as they look to wind the clock down. The Bulls have a 5m scrum as the ball is unplayable and the hooter has gone. This will be the last play, the Lions need a tighthead if they want to remain in the game.
  • 78
Jantjies makes the conversion from the corner.
  • 77
Cronje makes a break down the middle of the field as he shows his fresh legs, he is looking for support and he finds Mostert. The Lions make their way into the 22m of the Lions and Jantjies makes a run at the line coming 2m short. Whiteley plays Kriel quickly from scrumhalf and Kriel dives over for a try.
  • 75
Pollard's kick is good from 50m out, and he extends the lead by 3.
  • 74
Bulls shove well and receive a penalty at the scrum-time. Pollard indicates a long-ranged kick for polls.
  • 72
Bulls secure the line-out on the 50m and set a maul. Pollard takes a drop-goal attempt from 50m out but it is a shank, and Skosan counters but a slight knock-on gives the Bulls a scrum on the halfway.
  • 70
the Lions have a line-out on the Bulls 10m but its stolen by the Bulls. Pollard clears with a kick and the Lions counter. Jantjies players Vorster who fends off the tackler and off-loads, as they reach the 22m of the Bulls. Pollard makes a steal on the ground and wins the penalty for the Bulls. Pollard will clear for touch.
  • 68
Pollard makes a perfect kick from the corner to extend the lead.
  • 67
Vorster makes a break down the touchline but he is tackled out by Hougaard. The Bulls secure the line-out and Odendaal takes the ball at pace finding a half-gap. Pollard puts it high but the Lions regain possesion, and Jantjies quickly gives possession away and the Bulls counter them selves as Visser breaks down the touchline swerving in-field and Whiteley makes a cover tackle. the Lions are penalised at the ruck and Spies takes a quick tap and powers his way over the line through 3 defenders for a try.
  • 63
De Klerk feeds the scrum and the Lions receive a penalty. Jantjies will kick for touch to set a line-out for the Lions on the Bulls 22m. Mostert manages to hang on this time, but the Bulls defence pressurizes the the Lions into a knock-on. The Bulls have a scrum on their own 22m and win a penalty from the scrum. Pollard doesn't find touch from the penalty and the Lions launch a counter.
  • 61
Matfield steals the line-out and Hougaard box-kicks but De Klerk takes cleanley. Jantjies throws a loopy pass out-wide putting the Skosan under pressure. They manage to compose themselves and they spread the ball right, Basson almost intercepts the pass from Mnisi but knocks-on. Scrum Lions on their 10m.
  • 59
Hougaard feeds and Odendaal takes the ball to the line at pace. Bulls go left again but the Lions receive a penalty from the ruck. Jantjies will clear for touch to set a line-out for the Lions on the Bulls 22m.
  • 57
Jantjies finds touch from the restart and the Bulls have a line-out on the halfway. They set a drive and are mauling well. Hougaard box-kicks and Skosan can't take cleanly. The Bulls have a scrum inside Lions territory.
  • 55
Jantjies converts the kick to take the lead for the Lions for the first time.
  • 54
Combrink makes a great touch-finder and the Bulls take it quickly. Combrink makes a good snatch from a high kick by the Bulls and he beats 3 defenders. The Lions move the ball left as Mnisi breaks over the advantage line to get 5m out. He pops to Van Rooyen who powers his way over for a try.
  • 52
Jantjies converts the penalty as the Lions close in on the Bulls lead.
  • 51
After a number of resets the Lions receive a penalty as Marcel van der Merwe is changing his angle. Jantjies has another opportunity to add 3 points.
  • 49
The Lions steal the Bulls line-out and the away-side is on the attack. The ball can't come out from the ruck and the Lions have a scrum in the middle of the park.
  • 46
Kriel attacks from the kick-off and bursts down the touchline for 40m, he finds Coetzee on the inside and the Lions are right back in the Bulls 22m. The Lions swing the ball wide to the opposite side of the field and Vorster dives for the line but his knee it out. The Bulls receive a line-out and they use an exit play to relieve some pressure. Lions line-out 30m out from the try-line. Whiteley secures and the backline uses hands but Boshoff throws it out.
  • 45
Jantjies raises the flags from in front.
  • 44
De Klerk feeds the scrum and its a big shove from the Lions as they are awarded the penalty. De Klerk takes it quickly as the Lions speed up the game and make their way into the Bulls 22m. Nyakane is penalised for being off-his feet at the ruck. Jantjies will have a shot at poles.
  • 42
Lions run it out from their 22m before Coetzee stabs a grubber through. Kriel collects and and the Bulls have possession. Pollard puts one high and Engelbrecht knocks-on for a Lions scrum.
  • 41
SECOND-HALF: Bulls flyhalf Handre Pollard gets the half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
Lions kick the ball out to take the game to HALF-TIME.
  • 39
Lions have a line-out on their own 5m after a kick charge-down from Hougaard. The Bulls steal the line-out and win a penalty. The Bulls opt for the line-out in the corner as the Bulls set a maul, but they are penalised for shifting the contact point.
  • 38
Jantjies converts the penalty with an excellent strike from 45m out.
  • 37
Boshoff kicks for touch and the Lions have a line-out, they set a drive. Jantjies throws and inside pass that goes straight to Pollard's hands. Visser kicks deep and Boshoff takes a drop-goal attempt from 50m out and it close but just goes wide. Bulls kick the ball back and the Lions counter and receive a penalty for Pollard not rolling away. This time they go for poles.
  • 35
De Klerk puts an aimless box-kick in and Kriel calls a mark. Kriel looks for territory and the Lions have a line-out on the Bulls 10m. A scrappy line-out sees Van der Merwe kick a loose ball through and Strauss is penalised for pulling back Van der Merwe.
  • 33
Lions line-out on the halfway and Whiteley secures. quick ball for the Lions as Jantjies is dictating play. Bulls turnover possession and are attacking on the halfway line. Matfield makes a shocking pass to Strauss and the Lions turnover possession. Mnisi straightens but the Bulls regain possession and swing it wide but Van Zyl runs out. Lions take a quick throw and are attacking in midfield.
  • 30
Pollard's kick is good and he adds 2 extra points.
  • 29
Botha secures the line-out and the Bulls form a maul. Van Zyl plays Pollard who gives it to Serfontein and he takes it to the gain line, Serfontein pops to Engelbrecht who busts the line and shows electric pace as he swerves past Combrink for a try.
  • 28
Lions with possession in the middle of the park, and Whiteley makes a poor cross-kick which sales out for a Bulls line-out on their 10m.
  • 27
Lions slow things down and will look for 3 points through the boot of Jantjies. It's a clean strike and Jantjies narrows the margin on the scoreboard.
  • 26
The Lions secure the line-out and De Klerk plays flat to Vorster, but they will come back for a penalty at the Line-out as Matfield made an early tackle on the jumper.
  • 25
Jantjies finds touch and they win the line-out. Jantjies plays Vorster as they look to run it out of their 22m. Jantjies eventually put the ball to boot and Kriel counters with Hougaard. Bulls penalised for holding on and Boshoff kicks for touch to set a line-out inside the Bulls 22m.
  • 23
Pollard drives the Lions deep into their 22m. Boshoff makes a poor decision as the chase is good and Boshoff is bundled into touch. But the Lions get away with it as the Bulls are penalised for a high tackle on Boshoff.
  • 21
Pollard strikes the ball cleanly as it sails through the uprights from 50m out.
  • 20
Bulls secure the restart and form a maul, they receive a penalty as the Lions collapse the maul. Andries ferreria guilty. Pollard opts for touch and the Bulls have a line-out on halfway. they secure the line-out and Pollard plays left. Whiteley penalised for not rolling away. Pollard will have another shot.
  • 18
Pollard converts the penalty to extend the lead for the Bulls.
  • 17
solid scrum from the Bulls as Pollard takes it to the line. Redelinghuys is guilty of not supporting his body-weight and the Bulls have a penalty. Pollard will have a shot at goal.
  • 15
First scrum of the game, as the Lions have the feed. Jantjies plays Vorster flat and Jantjies kicks but doesnt find touch. There is a kick exchange and the end result is a knock-on from Jantjies for a Bulls scrum on th Lions 22m.
  • 13
Jantjies makes no mistake as he raises the flags.
  • 12
Kriel punts one out from his 22m and finds touch to set a Lions line-out on their own 10m. Mostert secures the line-out and Combrink finds a massive hole, he runs strongly and off-loads to de Klerk who beats the last defender to run under the poles for a try.
  • 10
Pollard this time converts the extras.
  • 9
Bulls kick deep onto Boshoff and he replies with a big punt. Bulls have a line-out on their 10m. Matfield secures and the Bulls move it wide again through Serfontein. The Bulls play back wide the opposite direction again as Van der Merwe plays Botha down the touch-line who finds Serfontein on the inside and Serfontein plays van Zyl who sprints over the line for a try,
  • 7
Pollard's kick from the corner sails wide.
  • 6
The restart finds the touchline and the Lions have a line-out on the bulls 10m. The overthrow the ball and Botha comes away with the ball. Bulls looking dangerous on attack as Pollard spreads wide. They come back the opposite direction as Matfield skips to Botha who takes it up to the 5m line. Van Zyl throws a dummy at the ruck and dives over for a try.
  • 4
Jantjies misses the opportunity as 3 points go a begging.
  • 2
Early line-out for the Bulls and Matfield secures, Van Zyl spreads wide and Kriel takes the ball to contact. Pollard moves the ball the other way and Straus is bundled into touch. Lions take a quick line-out and are attacking in midfield. A high tackle by Flip Van der Merwe gives the Lions a penalty 40m out and Jantjies looks for 3.
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies gets the game underway.
  • -5
Look out for our live coverage of the Champions Cup final which is currently on the go as well with Toulon taking on Cleremont.
  • -10
Welcome to live coverage of Super Rugby as the Lions are taking on the Bulls at Loftus Versveld.
Mc bulls logo 80x50
Mc lions logo 85
  • 15 Jesse Kriel
  • 14 Francois Hougaard
  • 13 JJ Engelbrecht
  • 12 Jan Serfontein
  • 11 Bjorn Basson
  • 10 Handre Pollard
  • 9 Piet van Zyl
  • 8 Arno Botha
  • 7 Jacques du Plessis
  • 6 Pieter Labuschagne
  • 5 Victor Matfield
  • 4 Flip van der Merwe
  • 3 Marcel van der Merwe
  • 2 Adriaan Strauss
  • 1 Trevor Nyakane
  • 23 Jurgen Visser
  • 22 Burger Odendaal
  • 21 Tiaan Schoeman
  • 20 Pierre Spies
  • 19 Grant Hattingh
  • 18 Andrew Beerwinkel
  • 17 Morne Mellett
  • 16 Callie Visagie
  • 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
  • 7 Warwick Tecklenburg
  • 6 Jaco Kriel
  • 5 Franco Mostert
  • 4 Andries Ferreira
  • 3 Julian Redelinghuys
  • 2 Armand van der Merwe
  • 1 Jacques van Rooyen
  • 23 Courtnall Skosan
  • 22 Alwyn Hollenbach
  • 21 Ross Cronje
  • 20 Robert Kruger
  • 19 Luvuyiso Lusaseni
  • 18 Ruan Dreyer
  • 17 Corne Fourie
  • 16 Mark Pretorius
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 bulls v lions2 630

Bulls go top after bonus-point win

Sat, 02 May 2015 19:19

REPORT: The Bulls moved to the top of the South African conference and second place on the global standings on Saturday.

The Bulls moved to the top of the South African conference and second place on the global standings after securing a bonus-point (35-33) win over the Lions in a try-feast at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

They outscored the Lions by four tries to three, in a game of high pace and great entertainment value - with both teams willing to stick to an expansive approach.

In the first half the Bulls, showing their willingness to add pace and with to their game in glorious fashion, turned the tables on the Lions. The pace with which the Bulls played certainly exposed the Lions' defence.

Add to that the Bulls' line-out superiority - through the likes of Victor Matfield, Jacques du Plessis and Pieter Labuschagne - and the Lions were left to live of scrappy scraps of possession.

However, once the visitors from Johannesburg had a chance to reassess at the half-time break, they managed to hold onto the ball better. In the first 20 minutes after the break they dominated possession and territory - having as much as 80 percent of the ball.

It allowed them, through a high-paced inter-passing game and scrum dominance, to take the lead midway through then half.

However, the ascendancy was lost when the coaching staff brought on a new front row and the Bulls also started dominating the scrum.

That helped the home team build a commanding lead again and held on in the end when the Lions produced a typical late charge.

After Elton Jantjies missed an early shot at goal, the Bulls burst into life with a two-try blitz.

The first came after a Lions line-out malfunction allowing Arno Botha to go on a run. After a few very effective phases scrumhalf Piet van Zyl darted over from close range - producing a sublime dummy that beat Robbie Coetzee.

Barely two minutes later the Bulls, after Victor Matfield secured a line-out win, the Bulls took it wide to the right and then came back where Arno Botha once again made ground, before he off-loaded to Jan Serfontein, who in turn put Van Zyl into space and over for the second try.  Pollard, who missed the first conversion, slotted this one to make it 12-0 after just 10 minutes.

The Lions bounced back with a great try of their own. From a line-out Ruan Combrink bust through a gap and put scrumhalf Francois de Klerk clear for the try. Jantjies' conversion made it 7-12.

Pollard slotted two penalties and Jantjies one, as the Bulls' pressure continued to bring rewards.

On the half-hour mark the Bulls produced another sublime play - from a line-out Pollard combined with Serfontein to put JJ Engelbrecht into a hole, the Springbok's pace and taking him past several defenders on a weaving run to the line. The conversion made it 25-10.

Two minutes from half-time Jantjies narrowed the gap to 13-25 and that is how it stayed to the break.

Jantjies also got the first points of the second half, a penalty five minutes after the break - 16-25. That became 19-25 with another scrum penalty in the 52nd minute.

The Lions hit the front for the first time in the 55th minute - when Combrink started a counter from a high kick and the Lions quickly got into their passing and recycling rhythm. The crucial break in the build-up came from Howard Mnisi and from close range Jacques van Rooyen burst over. Jantjies gave the lead (26-25) with the conversion.

With the final 10 minutes approaching the Bulls made the Lions pay for another error - Jurgen Visser breaking down the touchline and swerving in-field. Although Warren Whiteley made a great cover tackle, the Lions were penalised at the ruck. Pierre Spies took a quick tap and powered over.

Pollard slotted the conversion and a penalty from 50 metres out - making it 35-26 with five minutes to go.

However, the Lions were not done yet. Replacement scrumhalf Ross Cronje made a break down the middle of the field. He found support in Franco Mostert. The Lions recycled effectively Jantjies made a run at the line - stopped just metres short. Whiteley then played it quickly to Kriel, who charged over. Jantjies' conversion made it a two-point game (33-35) with two minutes remaining.

However, the Bulls hung on, even having another dash at a late try to deny the Lions. It ended with the ball being run into touch and the Bulls securing a bonus-point win.

Man of the match: You can look at the usual suspects - Warren Whiteley, Warwick Tecklenburg, Franco Mostert up front, with backs like Francois de Klerk, Harold Vorster and Ruan Combrink. The Lions' general was flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who continues to produce the form that could win him a World Cup spot. However, their most effective player was flank Jaco Kriel, who got them back into the game on two occasions in the second half. Victor Matfield continued his high workrate and is still a dominant force in the line-outs. Francois Hougaard again impressed on the wing. There was also good work from the loose forwards - Arno Botha, Jacques du Plessis and Pieter Labuschagne. It was the loose forward the got the Bulls the momentum they most needed and the most effective of those was No.8 Arno Botha - who carried strongly, making 75 metres, made all his tackles and also won a few line-outs, including a steal on the Lions' throw.

The scorers:

For the Bulls:
Van Zyl 2, Engelbrecht, Spies
Cons: Pollard 3
Pens: Pollard 3

For the Lions:
De Klerk, Van Rooyen, Kriel
Cons: Jantjies 3
Pens: Jantjies 4


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)

Piet van Zyl (6min), Piet van Zyl (9min), JJ Engelbrecht (29min), and Pierre Spies (67min)
Francois de Klerk (12min), Jacques van Rooyen (54min), and Jaco Kriel (77min)
Handre Pollard (10min), Handre Pollard (30min), and Handre Pollard (68min)
Elton Jantjies (13min), Elton Jantjies (55min), and Elton Jantjies (78min)
Handre Pollard (18min), Handre Pollard (21min), and Handre Pollard (75min)
Elton Jantjies (27min), Elton Jantjies (38min), Elton Jantjies (45min), and Elton Jantjies (52min)
VENUE Pretoria
REFEREE Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)