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Super Rugby | Wellington
07:35 (GMT) | 09-05-2015
  • 81
Join us again shortly when the Force take on the Waratahs in Perth
  • 80
After getting another penalty, Marshall gives his side a line-out 10m inside the Sharks half. they form the maul before going wide. Thrush and Marshall takes the ball up before Shields loses the ball between his legs. But it is a penalty for the Hurricanes. Marshall lines-up the kick from about 27m out and he converts the penalty and the Hurricanes win it. FULL-TIME: Hurricanes 32-24 Sharks
  • 77
Marshall has a chance to extend the lead and he converts the penalty with the Hurricanes now leading 29-24
  • 76
Ndungane field a kick in his own half and he sends a high ball before being knocked down. There is no penalty and the Hurricanes get a line-out on halfway after the ball goes straight out into touch. The Sharks steal the line-out and take it through a number of phases before it is kicked by Cronje, The Hurricanes counter and win a a penalty inside the Sharks 22,
  • 74
Marshall misses the conversion, but the Hurricanes lead 26-24
  • 73
The Hurricanes get the ball back and are back inside the Sharks half of the field as they go in search of another try. The Hurricanes, after a number of passes through the hands, eventually find Thrush in the corner and he goes over for the try!
  • 70
Marshall line-up the kick to level the scores and misses it with the score remaining 24-21 to the Sharks with 10 minutes to go
  • 69
The Hurricanes win a line-out in their own half after a Sharks over throw and they decide to run it with Savea showing his strength in the tackle. The Hurricanes win a penalty 10m from the Sharks 22 after Steyn was offside.
  • 67
Steyn converts the try and the Sharks lead 24-21
  • 65
The Hurricanes win a scrappy line-out before losing the ball forward and the Sharks will get another chance with a scrum about 15m from the Hurricanes 22. After a reset they go wide with Steyn taking the ball up. Ungerer sends loose pass but Sithole does well to gather. They go wide and Pietersen is in space and he passes to Ndungane who dives over for the try!
  • 62
A maul is formed after Wentzel wins the line-out and the Sharks drive over the tryline. They celebrate, but it goes up to the TMO for a referral. It is deemed to be obstruction and the Canes get the penalty. Marshall finds touch near his 22.
  • 61
The Sharks take the ball up through their backline from the scrum with Steyn making good metres. Now in the Hurricane 22, the away side starts to get quick ball from the rucks and Sithole benefits from it with some space on the flanks. The Sharks win the penalty with the Hurricane not rolling away. The Sharks choose a 5m line-out.
  • 58
The Sharks take a quick throw but cannot find a gap and instead they kick down field for a Hurricanes line-out. The Hurricanes decide to kick it from the line-out, but it goes dead from Marshall. The Sharks have an attacking scrum 10m from the Hurricane 22
  • 56
After an exchange of kicks, the Hurricanes gets a line-out about 10m inside the Sharks half. They go wide to Lee-Lo who is well marked. They go back the other direction and Thomson finds a bit of space before the ball is lost. the Sharks kick and the Canes run it back before Shields is tackled into touch
  • 54
Marshall adds the extras and the Hurricanes lead 21-17
  • 53
It turns out to a Hurricanes scrum in the end and the home side are nearly through after Nonu bashes his way forward. Goodes picks the ball up from the base of the ruck and goes over for the try!
  • 52
From the line-out, the Hurricanes works a move for Jane but he is marked well. They go wide and Thomson sprints inside the Sharks 22. The Hurricanes take the ball up the centre before they go wide. They can't do anything with it as they send a forward pass and the Sharks get a defensive scrum in their own 22
  • 50
The Hurricanes go on the attack inside the Sharks half and Jane beats a tackler inside the away side's 22. The Sharks turn it over and the Sharks clear and kick the ball out for a Hurricanes line-out 10m from the 22m line.
  • 48
Steyn adds the extras and the Sharks lead 17-14
  • 47
The Sharks wins the ball back inside the Hurricanes half and they go wide and Sithole is in space down the touchline and he races away for the Sharks second try!
  • 46
The Sharks run it from the scrum before it is kicked, with the Hurricanes getting a line-out deep inside their opponents half. Broadhurst shoes his power from the line-out as the Hurricanes are back inside the Sharks 22. Nonu is in a half gap before the ball is lost and hacked down field from the Sharks.
  • 43
From a line-out 5m insid ethe Sharks half, the Hurricane bash it up through Proctor. The Sharks wrestle the ball back before Underer sends a poor high ball, but the Hurricanes lose it forward. The Sharks kick again and the Hurricanes run it back with Nonu in a bit of space towards the Sharks 22. The Sharks turn the ball over in their 22 after a big tackle by Bismarck du Plessis
  • 41
SECOND HALF: Hurricanes' flyhalf James Marshall gets the second half under way!

Half Time

  • 40
The Hurricanes go wide from the line-out but they lose the ball and it is kicked down field by the Sharks. The Hurrricanes run it back and then kick. After a kicking duel the ball goal into the Hurricanes in goal area, The home side takes it quickly and makes some good yards before giving away a penalty on halfway after holding onto the ball. Steyn goes for polls from about 52m out and his kick is a poor one as it strays wide, HALF-TIME: Hurricanes 14-10 Sharks.
  • 38
They Sharks go for the line-out again and they form the maul. They drive it up before giving away a penalty themselves a Marshall relieves the pressure with a good kick into the Sharks half of the field.
  • 36
The Sharks form the maul again and are just centimetres from the tryline. They win another penalty after a side entry and they go for a 5m line-out again. They form the maul but this time are driven back. The Sharks keep the ball close with their forwards before Cronje sends a poor cross-kick but they some back for the penalty to the Sharks.
  • 34
From a scrum just inside their half, the Sharks win a penalty and Cronje finds touch inside the the Hurricanes 22. The away side forms the maul again before they opt for pick and goes inside the Canes 22. They win a penalty and opt for another line-out 5m from the Canes tryline.
  • 32
From a line-out 10m inside their own half, the Sharks form a maul and drive inside the Hurricanes half, The beast goes for a run and again makes some metres. Cronje kicks possession away. The Hurricanes counter through Smylie but the ball is lost forward by Nonu on halfway.
  • 30
The home side goes to the midfield with Nonu from the line-out but he loses it and it is kicked away by the Sharks. the Hurricanes run it back and Proctor finds space down the touchline. It goes wide and Vito makes his way inside the Sharks 22. The Hurricanes hold onto the ball and the Sharks win the penalty.
  • 28
The Hurricanes wins a penalty at the scrum and Marshall gives his team an attacking line-out near the Sharks 22.
  • 26
From the line-out, the Sharks go wide but again they are well marked. Jannie du Plessis puts down a sitter of a pass near halfway and the Hurricanes get a scrum in a good position.
  • 25
After a few turnovers , Milner-Skudder breaks through a tackle as the Hurricanes go on the attack. They lose the ball and the Sharks counters before Ungerer sends a grubber down field. Milner-Skudder finds touch with a disappointing kick.
  • 22
And it is another high tackle straight from the restart and Oosthuizen gets a yellow card for the offence
  • 21
Marshall adds the extras and the Hurricanes lead 14-10
  • 20
The Hurricanes get the ball back after the restart and they win a penalty on halfway. Marshall give his side a line-out 10m from the Sharks 22. From the line-out Proctor is put through a gap and he passes to Smith who beats two defenders go over for the try!
  • 18
After 20 phases the Sharks go wide with Pietersen brought down just short and they come back for a penalty right in front of the polls after the Hurricanes were deemed to be offside. Steyn goes for polls and converts the penalty with the Sharks leading 10-7
  • 16
The Sharks are now on the attack and Pietersen is in space as the away side make their way inside the Hurricanes 22. The Sharks go wide but they are well covered by the home side. The Beast makes some metres with the Sharks now just 5m away from the tryline
  • 13
Marshall adds the extras and the scores are all level at 7-7
  • 12
The Hurricanes get the ball back from the restart and Ardie Savea uses his pace and power to evade a few Sharks tacklers. The ball goes to the short side and Vito is in space inside the Sharks 22. It goes wide again and Jane finds himself in acres of space to go in for the try in the corner!
  • 10
From the scrum the ball goes wide and Milner-Skudder gets tackled high and the Sharks get a warning. Marshall will step up and and try to knock over the penalty from about 40m out. He misses it and the Sharks keep their 7-0 lead
  • 9
The Hurricanes takes a quick penalty in the Sharks half now and after some good runs they are just 5m from the Sharks 22. They go wide and Cronje nearly intercepts, but it is lost forward for a Hurricanes scrum near the Sharks 10m line.
  • 7
Steyn adds the conversion and the Sharks lead 7-0
  • 6
The Sharks get free-kick from the scrum and they take it quickly with Bothma taking the ball up. The Sharks go wide before Steyn sends a cross-kick, which is won back. They go wide again and Ndungane is tackled into touch 5m from the Hurricanes tryline. The Hurricanes commits a mistake at the line-out and Bismark du Plessis picks up the loose ball and dives over for the try!
  • 4
The Sharks win the line-out before they are tackled back. The Durban side gains some momentum with runs from Sithole and Pietersen in the Hurricanes 22 before the ball is lost forward by the home side and the Sharks will have a scrum about five metres from the Hurricanes tryline.
  • 2
The Sharks has possession early on in the Hurricanes half but are tackled back. They get a penalty on halfway and Cronje gives his side a line-out just outside the home side's 22
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Sharks flyhalf Lionel Cronje gets the game under way!
  • -10
The Sharks have lost four in a row, their worst run of form since May 2013 (when they lost five). The home side has won just one of their last seven against the Sharks.
  • -20
The Hurricanes are aiming to become the first side to notch 10 wins this year. They last won 10 in a campaign in 2012, but did not claim that 10th victory until the final game of the regular season.
  • -30
Welcome to live coverage of Round 13 of Super Rugby with the Hurricanes taking on the Sharks at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington.
Mc hurricanes logo 80x50
Mc sharks logo 80x50
  • 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder
  • 14 Cory Jane
  • 13 Conrad Smith
  • 12 Ma'a Nonu
  • 11 Matt Proctor
  • 10 James Marshall
  • 9 Chris Smylie
  • 8 Victor Vito
  • 7 Ardie Savea
  • 6 Blade Thomson
  • 5 James Broadhurst
  • 4 Jeremy Thrush
  • 3 Ben Franks
  • 2 Motu Matu'u
  • 1 Chris Eves
  • 24 Reynold Lee-Lo
  • 23 Otere Black
  • 22 Frae Wilson
  • 21 Brad Shields
  • 20 Mark Abbott
  • 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen
  • 17 Reg Goodes
  • 16 Brayden Mitchell
  • 15 Lwazi Mvovo
  • 14 Odwa Ndungane
  • 13 JP Pietersen
  • 12 Frans Steyn
  • 11 S'bura Sithole
  • 10 Lionel Cronje
  • 9 Stefan Ungerer
  • 8 Renaldo Bothma
  • 7 Etienne Oosthuizen
  • 6 Marcell Coetzee
  • 5 Marco Wentzel
  • 4 Stephan Lewies
  • 3 Jannie du Plessis
  • 2 Bismarck du Plessis
  • 1 Tendai Mtawarira
  • 23 Waylon Murray
  • 22 Andre Esterhuizen
  • 21 Conrad Hoffmann
  • 20 Kyle Cooper
  • 19 Mouritz Botha
  • 18 Lourens Adriaanse
  • 17 Dale Chadwick
  • 16 Franco Marais
Mc article cheslin kolbe stormers run 630

Preview: S15 Round 13, Part Two

Thu, 07 May 2015 22:14

It is not often teams rest players when they face the Sharks, but the Hurricanes feel they can do without key backs Julian Savea and TJ Perenara.

It is not often that teams will rest players when they face the Sharks, but the Hurricanes certainly feel they can do without key backs Julian Savea and TJ Perenara.

The Sharks may well use the 'gesture' as motivation when the two sides meet in the Cake Tin in the first of Saturday's matches.

The Hurricanes, who lead the Chiefs by five points in the New Zealand conference and are nine points ahead of South Africa's Bulls in the overall standings, will also be without record points scorer and flyhalf Beauden Barrett - who is sidelined for a month with a knee injury.

Coach Chris Boyd said he has elected to hand wing Savea and scrumhalf Perenara a break under the rest requirement for All Blacks players in this World Cup season.

In Saturday's only derby the lowly Western Force host the defending champion Waratahs in Perth.

The Waratahs are just one point behind the Brumbies in the Australian conference and poised to jump into the top three if they beat the Force and the Canberra side slip up against the Stormers in Cape Town.

The Force are on the bottom of the standings following a 10-match losing run, but they have won their past two games against the Waratahs.

The match of the day is likely to be the contest between the Lions and the Highlanders in Johannesburg - two teams capable of scoring some scintillating tries and always willing to entertain.

The Highlanders, who put 48 points and seven tries past the Sharks last week, are fifth on the global standings and third in the New Zealand conference. They are six points clear of the eighth-placed Lions.

The Bulls have the weekend off, leaving the door open for the Stormers to leapfrog them back to the top of the South African conference if the Cape Town-based franchise can get a bonus-point win over Australia's Brumbies in Cape Town on Saturday - in the last of the weekend's matches.

The Brumbies, who lost to the Waratahs at home last weekend, have a good record at Newlands with four wins and a draw in their last seven visits.

We look at Saturday's games!

Saturday, May 9

Hurricanes v Sharks
(Westpac Stadium, Wellington - Kick-off: 19.35; 09.35 SAST, 07.35 GMT)

It is a fact that trouble Sharks simply can't escape: Two coaches they kicked out two years ago are coming back to haunt them.

The Durban-based franchise already face an enormous task when they take on the table-topping Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

However, the two faces they won't enjoy seeing in the opposing dressing room are Chris Boyd and assistant coach John Plumtree - who were involved with the Sharks previously, although it was in reversed roles.

Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold acknowledged the influence the duo will have in the Hurricanes camp.

"We understand what this weekend is going to bring," Gold said, adding: "There's a big personal element involved.

"I'm a good friend of Plum [Plumtree], but it doesn't help that he knows the intricacies of nearly all of our players."

As Gold admitted, they are up against a Hurricanes team on an absolute high.

"This is probably going to be a big challenge for many of our players at this moment in time, with our backs against the wall."

The positives for the Sharks are the return of some seasoned Springboks - Frans Steyn and Jannie du Plessis.

"It's wonderful to have a guy like Frans back," Gold said.

"Jannie will also make a difference for us.

"It's cruel how sport is -when things are bad they're particularly bad. We've had an injury crisis, but it is an opportunity for young guys to step up to the plate.

"We have some big challenges ahead, but other teams have also been in this position before and came out stronger.

"So it's exciting to have guys like Frans, Jannie and Renaldo [Bothma] back and it's important that we focus on the positives."

Recent results:
2014: Sharks won 27-9, Durban
2012: Hurricanes won 42-18, Wellington
2011: Sharks won 40-24, Durban
2010: Sharks won 29-26, Wellington
2009: Sharks won 33-17, Durban
2008: Hurricanes and Sharks drew 13-all, Wellington]

Prediction: The Hurricanes are aiming to become the first side to notch 10 wins this year. They last won 10 in a campaign in 2012, but did not claim that 10th victory until the final game of the regular season. The home side has won just one of their last seven against the Sharks. The tourists have lost four in a row, their worst run of form since May 2013 (when they lost five). Julian Savea (17; second) and Cobus Reinach (15; fifth) are amongst the top players for clean breaks this season, however the latter returned to South Africa early this week with a fractured hand. The Hurricanes have forced the most missed tackles from their opponents this season, an average of 22.7. The Sharks have averaged the most missed tackles (22.5). The Hurricanes may have lost some of their attacking sting - with Julian Savea, TJ Perenara (rested) and  Beauden Barrett (knee injury) missing. However, they still look a classy outfit and while the Sharks are likely to be more competitive than last week, the home should win by seven points or more.


Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Matt Proctor, 10 James Marshall, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Blade Thomson, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Reggie Goodes, 19 Callum Gibbins, 20 Brad Shields, 21 Frae Wilson, 22 Otere Black, 23 Rey Lee-Lo.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (Captain), 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Kyle Cooper, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Andre Esterhuizen, 23 Waylon Murray.
Referee: Chris Pollock
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe, Michael Lash
TMO: Aaron Paterson

Western Force v Waratahs
(nib Stadium, Perth - Kick-off: 17.40; 19.40 AEST; 09.40 GMT)

Like true champions the Waratahs are beginning to find form at a crucial stage in the season.

After losing two of their first four matches, including the opening round against this week's opposition, the defending champions have won five of their last six outings and are on a three-match winning streak.

Waratahs lock Will Skelton and outside back Rob Horne are confident that the team is building some serious momentum.

The Waratahs are in the top six on the standings for the first time in 2015 and are just a solitary point behind Australian conference leaders, the Brumbies.

After last week's determined and physical performance against the Brumbies, Skelton said the side enjoyed closing out last week's gutsy win even if it wasn't a complete performance.

"A win's a win," Skelton said in an interview on the Waratahs website.  "There are always things that we can improve on."

"I guess that's the satisfying thing, we'll look back from after a game and review it and say we've got a lot of things that we need to work on, but to still get the win is pleasing."

Horne echoed his forward teammate's comments by saying that confidence was building throughout the side.

"I think we're starting to put it together now," Horne said.  "We're earning some good tough wins and that self-belief is certainly starting to come back over the group."

This week sees the Waratahs travel across Australia determined to get revenge on a Force side that has managed to squeeze and frustrate the Waratahs in their last two encounters.

And while the Force have yet to post a second victory in 2015 since getting the jump on the Waratahs in this year's opening fixture, Horne believes that their opponents will be itching to inflict more pain on his side.

"How the Force play their game plan has I guess had the edge on us the last few times we've met," Horne said.  

"It's up to us to go out and execute as well as we can because if we don't we know that they'll capitalise on our mistakes.

"They brought a lot of intensity in that [round one] game and we weren't up for it and it's as simple as that.

"It's always tough going over there.  They've got a great home crowd that gets behind them when they get their tails up so I'm really looking forward to getting over there."

Recent results:
2015: Force won 25-13, Sydney
2014: Force won 28-16, Perth
2014: Waratahs won 43-21, Sydney
2013: Waratahs won 28-13, Perth
2013: Waratahs won 23-19, Sydney
2012: Waratahs won 23-18, Perth
2012: Force won 21-20, Sydney

Prediction: The Force has lost 10 in a row since beating the Waratahs on the opening weekend of the season; their worst ever run of form. The Western Australian side has been limited to single figures in the first half of 10 of their 11 games this year. The Force has won its last two against the 2014 champions; each by 12-point margins. The Tahs have pieced together three wins in a row for the first time this season; but they have come at a combined margin of just 10 points. Their first four victories this year each came by 10 or more points. Kurtley Beale (145), Israel Folau (140), Ben McCalman (135) and Bernard Foley (116) make up the top four for carries this season. Dane Haylett-Petty (108) and Kyle Godwin (107) are sixth and seventh on this list respectively. The Force rank first in average time in possession (17 minutes and 49 seconds), but second-last in points per game (16.5) - with only the Reds averaging fewer (13). Maybe it won't be as convincing as most pundits suggest, but the Waratahs have good form and too much class. They should win by more than 10 points.


Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Solomoni Rasolea, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 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, 20 Kane Koteka, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Marcel Brache
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Dave Dennis (captain), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Hugh Roach, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Mitch Chapman, Tala Gray, Pat McCutcheon, Brendan McKibbin, Matt Carraro, Peter Betham.
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Matt O'Brien (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

Lions v Highlanders
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 15.00; 01.00 NZ time, Sunday, May 10; 13.00 GMT)

The Lions may have been 'slow out the blocks' in a number of games this season, but they have shown an amazing ability to fight back and stay in the game.

In fact there has been just one blow-out all season, the 6-34 loss to the Crusaders in Christchurch in Week Five.

Since then they recorded five consecutive victories, with last week's 33-35 reverse against the Bulls their first defeat since mid-March.

The Highlanders, as they showed in putting 48 points and seven tries past the Sharks last week, are capable of running away with any opposition.

However, the Lions have a few things going their way.

The Highlanders had to travel across the Indian Ocean this week, they will play at altitude and the game will get underway at 15.00 with the temperatures in the mid-20s (°C).

Lions coach Johan Ackermann, who is looking for his bench to make a huge impact in the final quarter, welcomed the earlier kick-off.

"The Highlanders will be a nice challenge, but it is great to be at home with a 3-o'clock [15.00] kick-off," Ackermann told a media briefing in Johannesburg.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said the Lions have been a vastly improved side this year and will be formidable challenge at Ellis Park.

"They are one of the form South African teams," Joseph told the Otago Daily Times.

"They are a really sticky team to play, so we will have to work hard to acclimatise," Joseph said.

Despite their impressive form of the past six rounds, Lions captain Warren Whiteley said they are determined to avoid back-to-back defeats - following last week's loss to the Bulls.

"We still want to improve in a lot of areas, such as the scrums and line-outs, where we're not consistent enough," Whiteley told a media briefing.

"The way in which we start this weekend against the Highlanders will also be very important, because we didn't get a good start last weekend against the Bulls."

Ackermann made no secret of the fact that the final quarter is where he expects the game to be won or lost.

With Marnitz Boshoff starting at flyhalf and Ross Cronje at scrumhalf, Ackermann is looking for his form halfbacks - Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies and scrumhalf Francois de Klerk to make a huge impact off the replacement bench.

"Hopefully we can get that impact we selected them for," Ackermann said, adding: "Our first XV must start well so that those guys can play with freedom when they come on."

Recent results:
2014: Highlanders won 23-22, Dunedin
2011: Lions won 26-22, Dunedin
2010: Highlanders won 39-29, Dunedin
2009: Lions won 27-22, Johannesburg
2008: Highlanders won 29-20, Dunedin
2007: Lions won 11-6, Johannesburg

Prediction: The Lions have trailed at half-time in seven of their last eight outings but went on to win six of these games. The Highlanders have never beaten the Lions twice in a row, but did win the last encounter between these sides by a single point in a match that was 364 days prior to this one. The Highlanders' 48-15 defeat of the Sharks marked their largest Super Rugby victory in over 10 years and their seventh largest overall. The Landers have lost five of their last six in South Africa. Opponents of the Lions have spent the least time in possession per game this season (14 minutes and 19 seconds). Only the Cheetahs (13 minutes and 19 seconds) have spent less time in possession than the Highlanders (13 minutes and 41 seconds). The Lions have scored the fewest number of tries when starting out with the ball inside the opposition 22 (four), 10 fewer than the Highlanders (14). It is going to be a cracker between two very exciting teams. The Lions have a good chance of victory, in fact they may even start as slight favourites. However, we feel the Highlanders will sneak a win, by five points or less.


Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Ruaan Lerm, 21 Francois de Klerk, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain) 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Brendon Edmonds, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Elliott Dixon, 20 John Hardie, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery

Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Rodney Bonaparte
TMO: Johan Greeff

Stormers v Brumbies
(Newlands, Cape Town - Kick-off: 17.05; 01.05, Sunday, May 9 AEST, 15.05 GMT)

The Stormers will be looking to reclaim first place in the South African conference, while the Brumbies are desperate to hold onto the No.1 position in the Australian conference.

Trailing the Bulls by four points in the SA conference, the Stormers require a four-try bonus point and victory to reclaim a spot they occupied just a week ago.

The Brumbies, who lead the Waratahs by one point in the Aussie race, can afford to be a touch more conservative - a simple win will suffice.

However, victory is non-negotiable for both teams.

Brumbies scrumhalf Nic White, who has been out for the past month with an ankle sprain, said it is a "crucial week" for both teams.

"The winners give themselves a chance at the play-offs, while the losers will have a hard time from here on in," White said in an interview on the Brumbies' website.

"They [the Stormers] are playing at home and their playing with a lot of confidence. Any time you get a big game at home it helps you lift and I'm guessing they'll use that extra boost on Saturday.

"They've always been very strong at the set-pieces, their scrum and their line-out have always been at the top of the competition.

"But this year I think they've added an attacking flair which we haven't seen a lot of and that's going to be something we need to contain."

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said his team is determined to set the record straight, after last week's disappointing loss to the Cheetahs.

However, they are up against a "very good" Brumbies side.

"They're very structured and don't gift you any free possession," the Stormers coach said.

"They're well coached and well organised in all aspects of their game.

"They've got a great maul and line-out [attacking-wise and defensively] and we really have to be up for this one.

"We're bracing ourselves for one helluva clash. We have a good record at Newlands and we want to make things right - straightaway!
"We're obviously aware that we weren't good enough last week and although we've had a disrupted week of training, with a lot of our players having been with the Springboks [until Thursday], we're looking forward to being back at home in front of our supporters."

Recent results:
2014: Brumbies won 25-15, Canberra
2013: Stormers won 35-22, Cape Town
2011: Stormers won 16-3, Canberra
2010: Brumbies won 19-17, Cape Town
2009: Brumbies won 17-10, Canberra
2008: Stormers won 20-10, Cape Town

Prediction: The last three matches between these sides have all been won by 10+ points, with the Stormers picking up two 13-point victories, but losing the most recent meeting. The Stormers have won three of their last four games, while the Brumbies have lost three of their last four. Damien de Allende is set to become the first player to reach 50 for defenders beaten this season. He has beaten at least 12 more (49) than anybody else so far. Sam Carter has won at least eight more line-outs (46) than any other player this season. The Brumbies boast the best line-out success rate this season (91 percent), while the Stormers' is the second worst (78 percent). The Brumbies have scored 22 tries from possessions that started with a line-out, a competition high. The Stormers have scored five when starting with a line-out, a competition low. These are two of four sides to average fewer than 10 penalties conceded this season. The Brumbies have averaged the most penalties won this season (11.8). It is going to be a cracker, likely to be a real arm-wrestle, which the Stormers should win - although the margin will be in single digits.


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

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Robbie Coleman, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 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 Jordan Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Quinton Immelman
TMO: Shaun Veldsman

Compiled by Jan de Koning

Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Some great interviews done this past week!

Mc article hurricanes v sharks 630

Canes edge Sharks in thriller

Sat, 09 May 2015 09:43

REPORT: The Hurricanes stretched their lead at the top of the Super Rugby standings with a thrilling 32-24 win over the Sharks on Saturday.

The Hurricanes stretched their lead at the top of the Super Rugby standings with a thrilling 32-24 win over the Sharks in Wellington on Saturday.

It was a much-improved Sharks team, who will feel aggrieved by some questionable calls made by New Zealand referee Chris Pollock - including denying them a legitimate try.

However, days, weeks and years from now the scoreboard will reflect a Hurricanes win.

And they deserve credit for the manner in which they continued to come back in the face of a determined Sharks onslaught.

The Sharks, who were expected to go into their shells, given their form and results this season, showed great variety in their game in the early exchanges. They also managed to hold onto the ball much better, building pressure through the phases, being very direct with the forwards.

However, the Hurricanes again showed why they are top of the table - pouncing on every weakness they could find and exploited the lapses that still crept into the Sharks' game all too often. Their tempo was also much higher than that of the Sharks.

Discipline also remained an issue for the visitors, as Etienne Oosthuizen was sent to the sin bin in the first half after one too many high tackles.

After a period of sustained pressure - in which the Sharks took the ball through multiple phases and also won a penalty - hooker Bismarck du Plessis barged over from close range. Frans Steyn added the conversion - 7-0 in as many minutes.

The Hurricanes replied in kind - building pressure by taking the ball through the phases, till a long, overhead floating pass from Ma'a Nonu found Cory Jane on the right wing. The All Black flyer went over without a hand being laid on him. James Marshall added the extras - 7-all after 13 minutes.

Steyn got the Sharks back in front with a penalty that came after the accumulative pressure of 22 phases, before Conrad Smith exploited some sloppy  Sharks defence. However, the initial impetus came from a neat inside pass by Ma'a Nonu to Matt Proctor - 14-10 after 21 minutes.

Barely a minute later the Sharks were down a man - Etienne Oosthuizen sent to the sin bin for a high tackle, the Sharks' infamous lack of discipline again coming to the fore, with the referee having already warned them about a number of high hits in the game.

However, the Sharks hung on without conceding any points. In fact right on half-time Steyn had a shot at goal from just inside his half, but it was a real shocker - hardly reaching crossbar height - and the Hurricanes took that four-point (14-10) lead into the break.

The Sharks again scored first after the break - withstanding a period of sustained pressure by the Hurricanes, before a turnover deep inside their 22, a hack upfield by Bismarck du Plessis and a powerful counter ruck, won them the ball - which was spun wide very quickly, with Sibusiso Sithole using his pace to beat the cover. Steyn's conversion made it 17-14 after 47 minutes.

Now it was the Hurricanes' turn to build pressure through the direct route, with their South African prop Reggie Goodes the man to finally carry the ball over the line. Marshal made it 21-17 with the conversion.

Despite a ridiculous call by New Zealand referee Chris Pollock to rule obstruction at a perfectly legal maul, the Sharks got back in front 15 minutes from time - quick hands and some great interplay found Odwa Ndungane in space and he had no trouble strolling over. Steyn's conversion crept inside the upright - 24-21.

The tit-for-tat battle continued when Jeremy Thrush went over with six minutes to go - following classic Hurricanes inter-passing in which forwards and backs linked brilliantly. Marshall's conversion attempt drifted wide - 26-24.

Marshall gave his team a five-point lead with three minutes to go and then made it 32-24 right on the full-time hooter - denying the Sharks a bonus point.

Man of the match: Frans Steyn looked very impressive at inside centre, Marcel Coetzee, Bismarck du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira, on defence and with ball in hand, worked very hard. However, the Sharks most threatening player was wing Sibusiso - who not only scored a crucial second-half try, but often got his team over the advantage line with some powerful bursts. Nehe Milner-Skudder produced his usual bursts of energy, Cory Jane was impressive, Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu were very threatening in midfield, 11 Matt Proctor, Victor Vito and Ardie Savea were powerful and James Broadhurst continued to enhance his reputation. However, our award goes to Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush - who not only scored the bonus-point try at a crucial stage, but made 15 tackles, had 13 carries (most effective) and won five line-outs.

The scorers:

For the Hurricanes:
Jane, Smith, Goodes, Thrush
Cons: Marshall 3
Pens: Marshall 2

For the Sharks:
B du Plessis, Sithole, Ndungane
Cons: Steyn 3
Pens: Steyn

Yellow card: Etienne Oosthuizen (Sharks, 22 - foul play, high tackle)


Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Matt Proctor, 10 James Marshall, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Blade Thomson, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 Reggie Goodes, 19 Callum Gibbins, 20 Brad Shields, 21 Frae Wilson, 22 Otere Black, 23 Rey Lee-Lo.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (Captain), 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Kyle Cooper, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Andre Esterhuizen, 23 Waylon Murray.
Referee: Chris Pollock
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe, Michael Lash
TMO: Aaron Paterson

Cory Jane (12min), Conrad Smith (20min), Reg Goodes (53min), and Jeremy Thrush (73min)
Bismarck du Plessis (6min), S'bura Sithole (47min), and Odwa Ndungane (65min)
James Marshall (13min), James Marshall (21min), and James Marshall (54min)
Frans Steyn (7min), Frans Steyn (48min), and Frans Steyn (67min)
James Marshall (77min) and James Marshall (80min)
Frans Steyn (18min)
Etienne Oosthuizen (22min)
VENUE Wellington
REFEREE Chris Pollock (New Zealand)