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Super Rugby | Johannesburg
13:00 (GMT) | 09-05-2015
  • 81
Join us again shortly when the Stormers face the Brumbies at Newlands in Cape town.
  • 80
Jantjies lose the ball forward in the Highlanders 22 and teh visitors run it back as they go in search of a winning score. However they hold onto the ball after taking it through a number of phases and the Lions win a penalty on their 22m line. They kick the ball out and that is FULL-TIME: Lions 28-23 Highlanders
  • 79
The Lions form a maul from a line-out on the Highlanders 10m line and again make some serious metres. Armand van der Merwe stays strong in the tackle before Jantjies is nearly through a gap in the Highlanders 22
  • 77
The Lions win another scrum penalty after the Highlanders decided to wheel it and Whiteley signals for the three points in what should be an easy kick for Jantjies in front of the polls. The flyhalf converts the penalty and the Lions lead 28-23
  • 75
The Highlanders get the ball back after a deep restart, but Osborne is held up on halfway and the Lions win themselves a scrum. Combrinck is in space down the touchline before Mostert makes some metres with a good pass in the centre of the field, The ball is lost forward by the Highlanders and the Lions will get a scrum just outside the Highlanders 22
  • 73
The Lions are determined to keep the ball before Jantjies sends a high ball. Banks kicks down field but it goes in the in-goal area and the Lions will have the restart on their 22.
  • 70
Jantjies has a chance to give his team the lead with the penalty kick on the 22 and he converts it. Lions 25-23 Highlanders
  • 69
The Highlanders steal a crucial line-out 5m from their tryline but a poor kick by Ben Smith gives the Lions another attacking line-out in the Highlanders 22. The Lions lose it again but the Lions turn it over and win the penalty after the visitors wanted to run the ball out.
  • 68
Sopoaga kicks down field from the line-out. And after a brief kick duel the Lions attempt to run it out of their 22. After two more kicks the Lions come away with the ball and Jantjies is in space. The Lions are now in the Highlanders 22 with Andries Coetzee sprinting towards the tryline. The visitors get the ball back but it is going to be a 5m line-out for the Lions.
  • 65
Sopoaga's kick goes too far from the restart and the Lions get an attacking scrum on halfway. They shove the Highlanders back before going wide but Combrinck cannot hold onto the final pass with the tryline open ahead of him. the Highlanders have a line-out on their 22m line.
  • 63
Jantjies misses the conversion and the Highlanders lead is now only by one: 23-22
  • 62
A maul is formed by the Lions inside the Highlanders 22 again and they get another penalty just as they were gathering momentum. The Lions opt for the 5m line-out. Kriel takes it up before Mostert bashes his way forward. The ball goes wide and Vorster is over for the try!
  • 60
The Lions win a penalty at the scrum and Jantjies gives his side a line-out inside the Highlanders 22 after a great kick.
  • 58
The Lions are now keen to keep ball in the hands they run it out from their own tryline. The highlanders turn it over but there was a knock on at the base of a ruck and the Lions will get a scrum just outside their own 22.
  • 57
Jantjies adds the extras and the score is now 23-17 to the Highlanders.
  • 55
A maul is formed by the home side in the visitors 22 and they drive forward with some powerful momentum and Kriel is over for the try!
  • 54
The Lions find themselves with the ball inside the Highlanders half with Whiteley trying to find a gap. The ball is lost but play is brought back for a Lions penalty near the Highlanders 10m line. Jantjies gives his team a line-out in the visitor's 22
  • 52
Sopoaga sends a high ball from the scrum and Combrinck takes it well, The ball is turned over and the Highlanders now have the ball in a good position in the Lions half. The visitor go with one-off runners before Ben Smith lands a drop goal to extend his teams lead - 23-10 to the Highlanders
  • 50
The Lions win penalty deep inside their own half they get a line-out near the Highlanders 10m line. They cannot do anything with it as De Klerk loses the ball forward and the Highlanders will have the scrum on halfway
  • 47
Jantjies adds the extra two and the score is now 20-10 to the Highlanders
  • 46
Ben Smith sends a high ball from deep inside his own half but Jantjies takes well. They Lions go on the attack now with Andries Coetzee in space from a Vorster pass. Coetzee passes to Skosan who sprints in for the try!
  • 45
Andries Coetzee kicks down field from the line-out and the Highlanders run it back and win another penalty with Tecklenburg not rolling away. Manu asks Sopoaga to go for the three points but the flyhalf pulls his kick wide with the score remaining 20-3
  • 43
The Lions lose the ball forward after trying to keep ball in hand after the restart and the Highlanders will have an attacking line-out on the Lions 22. Osborne takes it up before Sopoaga sends a cross-kick and Naholo gathers and dots the ball down in the corner, but he was in touch.
  • 41
SECOND HALF: Lima Sopoaga gets the second half under way!

Half Time

  • 40
Sopoaga adds the extras and the Highlanders lead 20-3 at HALF-TIME!
  • 40
The Lions get the ball back in their own half and Hollenbach makes a few metres. The Highlanders turn over before the Lions win it back again. Hollenbach is in space again as the Lions are in the Highlanders half. However it is turned over again and Fekitoa sprints 65m for his team's second try!
  • 38
The Highlanders steal a lions line-out throw before kicking down field. Andries Coetzee sends the ball back in the Highlanders half after a mammoth kick and he finds touch
  • 36
Sopoaga adds the extras from a tight angle and the Highlanders lead 13-3
  • 35
The Highlanders dummies with the maul at the line-out before going wide and after a few phases they find Evans in space and the flank goes over for the try!
  • 34
Vorster braeks another tackle after the Lions go wide from the scrum. The highlanders turn it over and Gareth Evans find space down the blind side. After a chip kick Skosan does well to gather the ball ahead of a Highlanders player. He kicks it out and the Highlanders will get a line-out inside the Lions 22.
  • 32
Cronje sends high ball from a line-out but the Highlanders just get easy ball back and they decide to run it. The visitors lose the ball forward on halfway and the Lions will get a scrum in an attacking position
  • 30
Noholo takes the ball up from the scrum before Sopoaga lands a drop goal from 38m out give his team a 6-3 lead
  • 29
The Highlanders go onto the attack from the scrum with Naholo gathering a good cross-kick. They Lions attempt to steal it on the ground but they lose it forward in the process and the Highlanders will get a scrum near the Lions 10m line.
  • 27
The Highlanders run out of their 22 before Aaron Smith sends a high ball. The Lions counters and Vorster is in space. He passes to Andries Coetzee who passes to Combrink who is in for the try in the corner. However their was a forward pass in that sequence and the visitors will get a scrum on their own 10m line.
  • 26
Boshoff's kick from the restart is too far and the Highlanders get the scrum on halfway. Ben Smith goes through a half gap from the set piece before it is turned over. Andries Coetzee finds a wonderful touch finder inside the Highlanders 22
  • 23
Andries Coetzee runs it back from the restart before Hollenbach is almost through a half gap again. After a couple of turnovers the Highlanders find themselves with the ball inside the Lions half. They win a penalty after a Lions player failed to roll away and Sopoaga will go for polls from 25m out. He gets the three points and we are all level at 3-3
  • 20
The Lions win a penalty after their jumper was played in the air and Boshoff will aim to extend the lead. This time he misses and the score remains the same
  • 19
They Lions are dominant in the scrums and they shove the Highlanders back to win another penalty. Boshoff gives his team a line-out 5m from the Highlanders 22.
  • 17
Manu takes the ball up for his team from the line-out before it is kicked down field. The Lions run it back again but their is a forward pass and the visitors will get an attacking scrum near the Lions 10m line. After a reset the Highlanders go wide with Osborne making a few metres. The visitors go the other direction abut there is forward pass from Ash Dixon and the Lions have a scrum 5m from their 22
  • 14
Hollenbach is nearly through a gap from the line-out. Boshoff kicks and he finds touch inside the Highlanders 22. Sopoaga hacks it up field from the line-out and the Lions run it back with Andres Coetzee nearly through, but is tackled into touch just outside the Highlanders 22
  • 11
The Highlanders after getting the ball back forms the maul inside the Lions 22, but they cannot use it and the home side gets the defensive scrum. The Lions win another scrum penalty and Boshoff gives his team a line-out between the Lions' 10m line and halfway.
  • 9
The Highlanders now have the ball just outside the Lions 22. They go wide but Fekitoa's pass is knocked it touch. The visitors take it quickly with Fekitoa again central to the attack but again his pass goes into touch inside the Lions 22
  • 7
The Lions win a scrum penalty after the Highlanders collapse the scrum and Boshoff will go for the three points from almost 55m out. He converts the penalty and the Lions lead 3-0.
  • 6
Boshoff gives his team a line-out near halfway after Osborne's penalty. The away side scoops up the over throw before Sopoaga's kick is too long and goes dead. The Lions have a scrum on halfway.
  • 4
The Highlanders gets a penalty from the line-out after their jumper was taken out in their air. From a line-out 10m from the Lions 22 they go wide and Ben Smith sprints inside the Lions 22. Aaron Smith, after two phases, picks the ball up from the base of the ruck and darts over for the try! However after a TMO decision the try is not allowed after Osborne held a player back.
  • 3
The Lions are in possession in the Highlanders half and they find space down the blindside. However the ball is lost forward and the Highlanders have a scrum just outside their 22. Aaron Smith finds touch inside the Lions 22 before Boshoff finds touch deep in the highlanders half
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Marnitz Boshoff gets the game under way!
  • -10
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.
  • -20
The Lions have trailed at half-time in seven of their last eight outings but went on to win six of these games.
  • -30
Welcome to live coverage of Round 13 of Super Rugby with the Lions taking on the Highlanders at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Mc lions logo 85
Mc highlanders logo 80x50
  • 15 Andries Coetzee
  • 14 Ruan Combrinck
  • 13 Harold Vorster
  • 12 Alwyn Hollenbach
  • 11 Courtnall Skosan
  • 10 Marnitz Boshoff
  • 9 Ross Cronje
  • 8 Warren Whiteley
  • 7 Warwick Tecklenburg
  • 6 Jaco Kriel
  • 5 Franco Mostert
  • 4 Andries Ferreira
  • 3 Julian Redelinghuys
  • 2 Robbie Coetzee
  • 1 Schalk van der Merwe
  • 23 Howard Mnisi
  • 22 Elton Jantjies
  • 21 Francois de Klerk
  • 20 Ruaan Lerm
  • 19 Robert Kruger
  • 18 Ruan Dreyer
  • 17 Jacques van Rooyen
  • 16 Armand van der Merwe
  • 15 Ben Smith
  • 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 Brendon Edmonds
  • 24 Jason Emery
  • 23 Marty Banks
  • 22 Fumiaki Tanaka
  • 21 John Hardie
  • 20 Elliot Dixon
  • 19 Ross Geldenhuys
  • 18 Daniel Lienert-Brown
  • 16 Ash Dixon
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 lions v highlanders 630

Lions maul Highlanders

Sat, 09 May 2015 14:57

REPORT: The Lions produced the most impressive comeback of the season when they beat the Highlanders 28-23 at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The Lions produced the most impressive comeback of the season when they beat the Highlanders 28-23 at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Outscoring the visitors by three tries to two, the Lions came back from trailing 3-20 at the half-time break - outscoring the tiring visitors by 25-3 in the second half.

It was a rush of second-half replacements, with Elton Jantjies and Francois de Klerk top of the pile, that turned the tide for a home team looking dead-and-buried at the end of a very ordinary first half.

The Highlanders found out the hard way that not all teams capitulate like the Sharks did last week.

It is a result that took the Lions another step closer to their first appearance in the play-offs since their split from the Cheetahs 10 years ago.

The Lions' scrums may have been a dominant factor, but their line-outs were a mess - gifting the Highlanders plenty of free gifts.

It also didn't help the home team that they conceded a host of turnovers - either at the breakdown, or through some sloppy handling.

The Highlanders showed why they are rated as one of the tournament's most dangerous team from turnovers. While their scrums were under pressure, they made life decidedly unpleasant for the home team in the line-outs and at the breakdown.

In the second half the Lions got their maul working, to devastating affect, setting up their two comeback tries - scoring one from 20 metres out. More importantly, it gave them the momentum and belief that they could actually win.

The home team also controlled the ball better and denied the Highlanders the many freebies they enjoyed in the first half.

Marnitz Boshoff and Lima Sopoaga exchanged penalties in the first quarter, before a Sopoaga drop-goal gave the Highlanders the lead on the half-hour mark.

However, the last 10 minutes of the opening half turned into a disaster for the home team - with turnovers hurting them most.

The first try came after 35 minutes, from a line-out near the Lions' line. The Highlanders looked like setting up a maul, but then took the ball wide where quick hands created space for Gareth Evans. Sopoaga's conversion made it a 10-point game - 13-3.

And then came the hammer blow, right on the stroke of half-time, with a turnover - after the Lions were making good ground with the ball in hand. Malakai Fekitoa picked up the ball and broke around the ruck, sprinting 65 metres for a great individualistic score. Sopoaga's conversion made it 20-3 at half-time.

After Sopoaga pushed an early penalty attempt wide, the Lions bounced back - quick recycling, a break from Harold Vorster and great interplay putting Courtnall Skosan over for the home team's first try. Elton Jantjies, on for a misfiring Boshoff, added the extras - 10-20 with over half-an-hour still to play.

Playing on advantage, fullback Ben Smith then slotted a drop-goal to stretch the lead.

However, the Lions' response was swift and brutal - a powerful maul that moved all of 20 metres and had Jaco Kriel getting an armchair ride over the line. Jantjies made it a six-point game, 17-23, with the conversion.

It was another powerful maul that set up the next try, although centre Harold Vorster got the five-pointer after a line-out and a few quick phases. The first maul gave them the penalty that got them into the Highlanders' 22.

Elton Jantjies gave the Lions the lead for the first time in the 70th minute, with a penalty, and sealed the win in the 77th minute with another three-pointer - making the final score 28-23.

Man of the match: You can always look at the Smiths, Ben and Aaron, with Malakai Fekitoa also a constant threat. Nasi Manu and Mark Reddish were their best forwards, while Lima Sopoaga was the Highlanders' most effective player. The Lions' outside backs - Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck and Courtnall Skosan - all had some promising moments, while Harold Vorster and Alwyn Hollenbach easily matched their more acclaimed opponents in midfield. You can always count on the Lions' loose forwards - Warren Whiteley, Warwick Tecklenburg and Jaco Kriel - while Franco Mostert also put his hand up again. However, our award goes to the Lions' replacement halfbacks - flyhalf Elton Jantjies and scrumhalf Francois de Klerk - who changed the entire complex of the game after they came on early in the second half.


For the Lions:
Skosan, Kriel, Vorster
Cons: Jantjies 2
Pens: Boshoff, Jantjies 2

For the Highlanders:
Evans, Fekitoa
Cons: Sopoaga 2
Pen: Sopoaga
DGs: Sopoaga, B Smith


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 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 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

Courtnall Skosan (46min), Jaco Kriel (55min), and Harold Vorster (62min)
Gareth Evans (35min) and Malakai Fekitoa (40min)
Elton Jantjies (47min) and Elton Jantjies (57min)
Lima Sopoaga (36min) and Lima Sopoaga (40min)
Marnitz Boshoff (7min), Elton Jantjies (70min), and Elton Jantjies (77min)
Lima Sopoaga (23min)
Lima Sopoaga (30min) and Ben Smith (52min)
VENUE Johannesburg
REFEREE Craig Joubert (South Africa)