||Join us again shortly for our next match when the Waratahs takes on the Sharks in Sydney.|
||Thomson is tackled back from the scrum and the Chiefs now have a 5m scrum in a good position to go for that winning score. The Hurricanes drive them back in the scrum and they get the penalty. The ball is kicked out and the "Canes takes the win. FULL-TIME : Hurricanes 22-18 Chiefs|
||Pulu finds a gap around the ruck 5m from the 'Canes tryline and he is in for the try. It gets referred to the TMO and the ball was lost forward in the previous ruck. Scrum for the 'Canes 5m from their own tryline.|
||Pulu kicks down field from the restart and Milner-Skudder sends a high ball. Leitch runs it back as the Chiefs keeps the ball close. They are now inside the 'Canes half before Gear finds a gap and is tackled inside the 22. Cane and Graham makes a few more metres as they are just 5m away from another try.|
||Damian McKenzie misses the conversion and the score is now 22-18|
||Damian McKenzie gives his team an attacking line-out in the 'Canes 22. They form the driving maul before Pulu has a crack at the line. The ball goes to Sam Cane who bashes over for the try!|
||Thomson takes the ball up from a scrum before it goes wide with Milner-Skudder tackled hard. after another phase the 'Canes get the penalty and Black cannot find touch. the Chiefs gets a penalty with the Canes not rolling away.|
||The Canes lose the ball forward in the Chiefs half and the visitors decide to keep ball in hand. Gear goes up the centre and takes his team inside the 'canes half. The ball is lost forward and James Marshall kicks. Leitch is in a bit of space before the ball is knocked-on on the 'Canes 22m line.|
||James Marshall adds the extras and the 'Canes lead 22-13|
||Perenara goes short side from the scrum and Jane goes past a tackle. Thomson take sthe ball up before it is turned over. the Chiefs go wide but Nonu intercepts a pass and runs in for the try!|
||From the scrum on their own 10m line, The Chiefs go wide with Gear kicking down field. Milner-Skudder kicks and the Chiefs runs it back before Elliot sends a forward pass. The Canes have a scrum on their own 10m line.|
||Weber sends a high ball from the line-out, but Julian Savea takes it well. James Marshall kicks down field before Tom Marshall runs it back. Messam take sthe ball up before he loses the ball forward. The 'Canes counter and after some wonderful passing Goode's finds himself in the 22. James Marshall kicks the loose pass forward and dives on the ball. It goes to The TMO but a forward pass has been identified.|
||Thrush loses the ball forward at the line-out and the Chiefs will have a defensive scrum 12m from their own 22. They go wide and Tom Marshall kicks down field, Milner-Skudder finds touch inside the Chiefs half.|
||The Chiefs drives the ball up from the line-out before Weber heads off on a little run. The Chiefs keep it close with Squire making a few metres. He hold on and Broadhurst wins his side a penalty. James Marshall gives his team a line-out 12m from the Chiefs 22|
||The 'Canes takes a cheeky restart and runs the ball inside the Chiefs half after a few turnovers the away side has the ball near halfway. McKenzie gathers a loose pass and the Chiefs gets a penalty after tackler did not release the flyhalf on the ground. The Chiefs will have a line-out in their own half after a poor kick|
||Damian McKenzie lines up the kick from 40m out and he misses the penalty with the score remaining 15-13|
||The 'Canes form a maul before going wide to Jane who kicks. Tom Marshall gathers and he kicks down field and it goes into the in-goal area again. McKenzie sends a high ball from a high ball. The Chiefs gets a penalty now on the Canes 10m after and offside play.|
||Leitch takes the ball up from the restart. Cane takes it up but is smashed by Coles in the tackle. Gear then finds space in the "canes 22 before he passes and the ball eventually goes out into touch. The Canes wins a penalty and James Marshall gives his team a line-out near the Chiefs 10m line.|
||Weber clears from the defensive scrum and Milner-Skudder and Julian Savea runs it back Nonu sends a grubber and the Chiefs run it out with Damian Mckenzie. Tom Marshall kicks but it goes into the 'Canes in-goal area.|
||the Hurricanes choose a line-out 7m from the Chiefs tryline after the penalty. They form the maul but Messam comes through the middle. The 'canes recover before it goes wide to Nonu who stretches over for the try. It goes to the TMO and it is judged to be lost forward.|
||The Canes go on the attack from the restart with Julian Savea bouncing off a tackle. Now in the Chiefs half, Perenara sees a gap before it goes wide with Ardie Savea making his way inside the Chiefs 22. It goes wide again before play is brought back for a 'Canes penalty after the Chiefs were offside. Squire gets a yellow card for an earlier tip tackle on Nonu.|
||James Marshall misses the conversion but the 'Canes lead 15-13|
||The home side forms the maul again and this time Ardie Savea is over fro the try from the drive!|
||The 'Canes form another maul, but it is well defended by the Chiefs. The'Canes get another penalty and James Marshall gives his team another line-out 5m from the Chiefs tryline. They form the maul again and get another penalty after the Chiefs came in from the side again. The'Canes go fro the line-out again|
||The Chiefs takes the ball through the hands from the restart but Heem steps out into touch. From a line-out on the Chiefs 22, the 'Canes from a maul and drives towards the 5m line. They get a penalty after an incorrect entry from the Chiefs and they opt for the line-out|
||SECOND HALF: Hurricanes' flyhalf James Marshall gets the second half under way!|
||Damian McKenzie adds the extras and the Chiefs lead 13-10 at HALF-TIME!|
||The Chiefs attack through the midfield from the scrum with Gear taking the ball up. Elliot makes a few metres before it goes wide. Leitch charges forward before Heem breaks and he passes to Ngatai who canters in for the try!|
||The Chiefs gets the ball back from the restart. The Canes turn it over but their was a knock on earlier and the Chiefs gets a scrum just inside the 'Canes half.|
||Milner-Skudder is in space but its a forward pass. Play is brought back for a 'Canes penalty just outside the Chiefs 22 after the visitors were found to be offside. James Marshall goes for the three points and he gets it. the 'Canes lead 10-6|
||From a line-out deep inside their own half, the Chiefs go wide, but are will marked. Weber has a sniping break and makes a few metres before Damian McKenzie kicks. The 'Canes run it back and Julian Savea is into space. The ;Canes now in the Chiefs 22 go wide with Broadhurst taking it up|
||After a reset, the Canes go wide and Milner-Skudder kicks deep. The Chiefs run it back with Gear before they go wide and Allardice is tackled back. They hold onto the ball and the 'Canes get a penalty. Perenara take sit quickly and after a number of phases, they hold on and the Chiefs get a penalty inside their own 22.|
||The 'Canes steal it but lose it in the process and the Chiefs are just 10m from the Canes tryline. They keep it close but lose the ball forward and the home side will have a defensive scrum.|
||The 'Canes get a penalty from the scrum and James Marshall finds touch on halfway. They go wide from the line-out before Shields takes it up. The Chiefs wins the penalty and McKenzie gives his team a line-out just outside the Canes 22.|
||The Chiefs does well after the restart and Damian McKenzie finds touch inside the 'Canes 22. The 'Canes clear from the line-out through Marshall, but the Chiefs will have an attacking line-out deep inside the Canes half. The Chiefs takes the ball up from the set piece but are held up and the the home side gets the scrum|
||The Chiefs wins the line-out and Lienert-Brown is in space before the ball is lost. Play is brought back fore a Chiefs penalty and Damian McKenzie will go for the three points. he converts the penalty and it is now 7-6 to the Canes.|
||The Chiefs wins the line-out and drives into the Hurricanes 22. The away side keep the ball close before it is turned over and Nonu kicks the ball out.|
||This time it is the 'Canes who gets the scrum penalty and James Marshall gives his team a line-out. It is not in straight and the Chiefs gets the scrum. The away side goes on the attack but are tackled well about 10m from the 'Canes 22. They lose the ball and Jane kicks out on the full.|
||The Chiefs win another scrum penalty after illegal binding from the home side and McKenzie gives his team a line-out on their own 10m line. The flyhalf sends a high ball and the Chiefs turn it over gain and Heem is in space. He passes to Weber who gives the ball to Mckenzie who loses the ball forward with the tryline open.|
||The 'Canes go on the attack from the restart but after a few phases the ball is lost forward and the Chiefs will have a scrum on their own 22m line.|
||The Chiefs gets a penalty after the restart and Damian Mckenzie converts it for a 7-3 scoreline|
||Marshall adds the extras and the 'Canes lead 7-0|
||Marshall finds a gap and passes to Milner-Skudder who is tackled inside the Chiefs 22. The Hurricanes go wide and Jane loses the ball in the tackle, but play is brought back for a penalty to the 'Canes. James Marshall gives his team a line-out 5m from the tryline. They drive before going wide and Nonu busts through a tackle for the try!|
||From a line-out between their 10m line and halfway, Weber passes to Cane who is nearly through. Leitch takes the ball forward, but it was knocked on and the 'Canes get a scrum on halfway. Perenara goes short side but Jane is well covered. The 'Canes are tackled back in their own half now|
||The Chiefs disrupts the 'Canes line-out, and the Chiefs gets a scrum just outside their own 22. After a reset and a little niggle, the Chiefs wins the penalty.|
||From the scrum, Nonu skips his way past a couple of tackles before it is kicked and the Hurricanes gets the first penalty off the game after the Chiefs were offside. James Marshall gives his team a line-out 10m from the Chiefs 22.|
||The Chiefs gets the ball after the restart with Elliot driving forward before Leitch loses the ball forward outside the 'Canes 22.|
||KICK-OFF: Damian McKenzie gets the game under way!|
||The Chiefs' three defeats have come a combined margin of five points (three, one and one).|
||The Hurricanes have won just two of their last seven against the Chiefs. However, the 'Canes have won eight of their last nine at home against the men from Waikato.|
||Welcome to live coverage of Round 14 of Super Rugby with the Hurricanes taking on the Chiefs at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington|
Intrigue, drama, sub-plots, controversies and surprises. It sound like a Hollywood scripted series or silver screen production.
Intrigue, drama, sub-plots, controversies and surprises. It sound like a Hollywood scripted series or silver screen production.
However, this is what Saturday's matches of Super Rugby's Round 14 holds.
It all starts when the table-topping Hurricanes host fellow New Zealand franchise the Chiefs in Wellington. The drama comes in the form of a Chiefs team desperate not to lose any more ground on the runaway leaders, the Hurricanes, and at the same time stay ahead of a hard-chasing bunch of teams just one win away from overtaking them.
The sub-plot would have been the midfield battle between All Black rivals Ma'a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams. However, Williams pulled out injured on Friday, robbing the game of one of its main attractions.
We then hop across the Tasman Sea to Sydney, where the defending champion Waratahs host the Sharks. The Tahs are looking to bounce back from last week's shock loss to the Western Force and they face a Sharks team desperate to salvage something from the disaster that has become their season.
For the second half of the day's action we track across the Indian Ocean to South Africa.
The Lions, one of the most popular teams in the competition, host the Brumbies in Johannesburg. The Lions have play-off dreams, but sit just outside the top six. The Brumbies are just one point ahead of the Waratahs in the Australian conference and know that defeat could see them drop out of the top three - perhaps even the top six, depending on other results.
The weekend's action concludes when the Cheetahs host the Highlanders. The home team, the Cheetahs, know their coach Naka Drotské will retire after the season and will look to give him a happy send-off by winning their last five matches. The Highlanders, who are still struggling to come to terms with last week's loss to the Lions, know another loss could also see them tumble out of the play-off zone.
The Crusaders, Western Force and Stormers have byes.
We look at all Saturday's matches!
Saturday, May 16
Hurricanes v Chiefs
(Westpac Stadium, Wellington - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)
The headlines all week have focused on the midfield battle between destructive centres Sonny Bill Williams and Ma'a Nonu.
It has been billed as a World Cup selection trial and is certainly an intriguing sub-plot to a massive game - as the Hurricanes seek to extend their 10-point lead over the two-time champion Chiefs in the New Zealand conference. Another chapter was added to that drama on Friday - when Williams opted out of the game.
However, almost lost in the hype surrounding the battle of the All Blacks was the selection of rookie flyhalf Damian McKenzie.
The 20-year-old has been handed the all-important No.10 jersey for this crunch encounter.
His elder brother Marty and experienced utility Andrew Horrell have both been found wanting in the wake of All Black star Aaron Cruden's season-ending knee injury.
Coach Dave Rennie feels there is no better time than now to push the youngster into the kitchen and see if he can stand the heat.
"[Damian] is the guy we think can do the job this week," Rennie told the Waikato Times.
"He's obviously a bit of a handful in regard to his speed and footwork at No.10, so we think he can challenge in and around that area.
"He's got a very good kicking game and is pretty electric so we think he can do the job for us."
Ahead of one of the most anticipated matches this season, coach Rennie said his team is ready for the enormous challenge facing them.
"The Hurricanes are the form team of the competition," the coach said, adding: "They are a team full of experienced players and have combinations that have played together for a number of seasons.
"They have been consistent and played some great footy.
"A win to the Hurricanes will probably see them seal the conference and if we win, we will pull them back towards the pack, so it is a big day for both sides."
The Hurricanes also have flyhalf issues, with James Marshall standing in for the other injured All Black, Beauden Barrett.
2014: Chiefs won 24-16, Hamilton
2014: Hurricanes won 45-8, Wellington
2013: Chiefs won 34-22, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 17-12, Wellington
2012: Hurricanes won 28-25, Wellington
2012: Chiefs won 33-14, Hamilton
Prediction: The Hurricanes have won just two of their last seven against the Chiefs. However, the 'Canes have won eight of their last nine at home against the men from Waikato. Six of the Hurricanes' 10 wins this season have been by eight points or under. The Chiefs' three defeats have come a combined margin of five points (three, one and one). Only Liam Messam (18) has conceded more penalties than Ben Franks (17) this season. The Hurricanes have averaged the most defenders beaten (23.2) this year, but the Chiefs have forced the lowest tackling success rate from their opponents (83 percent). There is no doubt that the Chiefs' lack of discipline - they are the most carded team by some distance, yes much worse than the Sharks - could come back to haunt them. Their nine yellow cards and one red were collected mostly by senior players - including Hikawera Elliott, Liam Messam and Sam Cane. We feel the Hurricanes will edge this arm-wrestle, but it won't be by much more than five points.
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 James Marshall, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16. Dane Coles, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Mark Abbott/Callum Gibbins, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Otere Black, 23 Rey Lee-Lo.
Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Hosea Gear, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Bryce Heem, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Mike Fitzgerald, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Mitchell Graham, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Marty McKenzie.
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe, Aki Aso
TMO: Vinny Munro
Waratahs v Sharks
(Allianz Stadium, Sydney - Kick-off: 19.40; 11.40 SA time; 09.40 GMT)
The Waratahs are chasing their eighth straight home win against the Sharks, as the defending champions look to bounce back after last week's disappointing 11-18 defeat to the Western Force.
The sub-plot in this episode of Saturday's drama is the absence from the Waratahs team of destructive back row forward Jacques Potgieter, who has a chest injury.
Potgieter last week confirmed that he will join the Sharks next year.
The Sharks are looking to snap a five-match losing streak, a daunting prospect when one considers the Durbanites have not won in Sydney in 15 years. The Durban-based franchise's solitary win in Sydney was a 26-19 triumph in March 2000.
However, the one aspect that does count in favour of the visitors is the experience of a forward pack that includes six Springboks - Marcell Coetzee, Marco Wentzel (who has taken over the captaincy), Stephan Lewies, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis and Tendai Mtawarira.
Wallaby and Waratahs prop Ben Robinson spoke about the challenges the Tahs face against the Sharks forward pack this weekend.
He described the Sharks as a "typical South African side" that scores a lot of tries through the maul.
"They're a very strong pack," the veteran front row forward said in stating the obvious, adding: "We know we are up for a big challenge this weekend.
"They have the [du Plessis] brothers there and they give them a bit of cohesion.
"They're a very aggressive forward pack and in our previous games against them they played strong.
"They had a driving maul against us last year, which was disappointing, and their previous performances show they're a really strong side."
Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold returned the favour, describing the Waratahs as a very physical team, "probably the most physical Australian team".
However, Gold felt the Western Force last week showed how to contain and beat the Sydney-based outfit.
"The Force beat them by matching them from a physical point of view, so that's the challenge for us.
"With the likes of [Kurtley] Beale, [Israel] Folau and [Adam] Ashley-Cooper, they have some fantastic playmakers in their backline and a big strong pack.
"They're a formidable team, No.1 through No.15, they're a very well-balanced team with threats everywhere; this is possibly our toughest challenge to date."
2014: Sharks won 32-10, Durban
2012: Waratahs won 34-30, Sydney
2011: Sharks won 26-21, Durban
2010: Waratahs won 25-21, Sydney
2009: Waratahs won 16-12, Durban
2008: Waratahs won 28-13, Sydney (semifinal)
2008: Waratahs won 25-10, Sydney
Prediction: The Waratahs have won their last seven home games against the Sharks. The Waratahs' last four matches have yielded losing bonuses, while their last three have seen just 86 points scored in total. The Sharks have lost five in a row, but have only suffered six straight defeats in a single campaign once before (2000). The Sharks have averaged the most kicks from hand kicked (25.3) and received the most (26.5), but the Waratahs have produced the least, an average of 14.7. Just two sides have scored more opening quarter tries than the Waratahs (8), while the Sharks have scored the second fewest in the opening 20 minutes (two). The Waratahs have looked vulnerable all season, even when they are winning. Maybe it has something to do with coach Michael Cheika's divided attention - split between the Waratahs and Wallabies. The Sharks may have had a disastrous run this season, but they remain a quality side and when they get it right they can topple any side. Saturday may be their day, but they won't win by much more than a converted try.
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 Stephen Hoiles, 5 David Dennis (captain), 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: Hugh Roach, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Mitchell Chapman, Jed Holloway, Jack Dempsey, Tala Gray, Pat McCutcheon, Brendan McKibbin, Matt Carraro, Peter Betham.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Frans 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: Rohan Hoffmann
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, Will Houston
TMO: George Ayoub
Lions v Brumbies
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT; 01.05 Sunday, May 17 AEST)
The Brumbies will look to finish their two-week tour of South Africa with a win against the impressive Lions.
It is tight in the Australian conference with the Brumbies, one-point leaders over the Waratahs, rushing back Matt Toomua - who will make his comeback at centre - as they hope to end a slide that has seen the Canberra-based outfit lose four of their last five matches.
"It's hard to watch [when the team is losing], but the positive is that I'm back and I've got a few games to play - to hopefully assist getting our season back on track a bit," Toomua said.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann said the Brumbies bring very different challenges than other Australian teams.
"They may not be as expansive, they are indeed a defensive team," Ackermann said, adding: "But they remain one of the best teams.
"One of the things we have picked up is that the are extremely competitive at the breakdown. They don't just spoil it [your possession], they turn it over."
Ackermann said they will make some tweaks to their game, but won't stray too far from their expansive approach.
"I still believe if we can move the ball and keep it alive, it can create opportunities for us - so we don't need to just rely on tactical kicking.
"There will be times when you can use that [kicking] and I believe between Elton [Jantjies] and Jaco van der Walt we can play both [execute both types of game plans].
"We must just get the balance."
While most Australian pundits feel the Brumbies need to prove they're not "one-trick ponies", lock Sam Carter said they won't turn away from the success of their rolling maul.
The Brumbies boast the best defence in the competition, conceding just 12 tries in 12 matches this year.
But they've lost five games by five points or less and Carter said it's now or never to start their championship run.
"It's the pointy end of the season and we've seen teams come into form," the lock told the Canberra Times.
"The Crusaders tend to do it every year.
"We know that if we stick to what we do best, we can be a real threat towards the end of the year."
With four more matches left before the playoffs, Ackermann's charges are on the cusp of making this their best season yet.
However, Ackermann said this would mean nothing if they did not keep their play-off hopes alive by winning their remaining matches of the regular season.
2012: Brumbies won 34-20, Johannesburg
2011: Lions won 29-20, Canberra
2010: Brumbies won 24-13, Canberra
2009: Lions won 25-17, Johannesburg
2008: Brumbies won 28-21, Canberra
2007: Brumbies won 14-9, Johannesburg
Prediction: The last two meetings between these sides, which took place in 2011 and 2012, were won by the away side on the day (one win each). Indeed, the last four meetings between the sides have yielded two wins apiece but no losing bonus points. The Lions have trailed at half-time in eight of their last nine matches, but have won seven of those nine matches (including one when they led at half-time). Every single one of those wins came by a margin of five or fewer points. The Brumbies have led at half-time in their last two games, but went on to lose both. The Brumbies boast the best line-out (91 percent) in the competition, while the Lions' is the second worst (79 percent). If the Lions are anywhere near the Brumbies in the last quarter they are likely to kick on and steal another close win - 10 points or less.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Robert Kruger, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 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 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 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 Allan Alaalatoa.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Jean-Paul Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Jordan Smiler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Robbie Coleman.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Johan Greeff
Cheetahs v Highlanders
(Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein - Kick-off: 19.10; 17.10 GMT; 05.10, Sunday, May 17 NZ time)
For the second week in a row the Highlanders will face a free-running South African team in a rarified Highveld atmosphere - as they look to stay in the play-off zone.
Last week the Highlanders clearly ran out of puff in the second half, as the Lions came back from 17 points down to win.
Bloemfontein is only a few 100 metres lower than Johannesburg (1,400 metres compared to 1,753 metres above sea level), which means another 80 minutes of lung-busting action for the New Zealanders.
Coach Jamie Joseph was cautious not to be seen to make excuses for last week's second-half flop, but conceded the Highlanders had talked about the altitude effect.
''I think it played a big part," Joseph told a media briefing.
However, he made it clear it was more than just overcoming the altitude they focused on this week, with their scrums also receiving a lot of attention.
"The scrums were a part of the game where we came second," he said of the loss to Lions, adding that they will have to be much better against the Cheetahs: "The scrums require a lot of co-ordination from everybody."
Cheetahs head coach Naka Drotské said his team will face a Highlanders side determined not to slide further down the standings.
"The big challenge for us this week will be to play with the same intensity as two weeks ago [in the win over the Stormers]," Drotské told a media briefing.
"We know that this match, like any encounter against physical New Zealand teams with their big backs, will be a big challenge for our backline.
"They have a couple of danger men at the back, and from turn-over possession they are probably the best in the competition.
"Bad kicks will be punished so we have really worked hard at our tactical kicking and our chase lines, so hopefully we will be ready for them on Saturday."
Cheetahs captain Francois Uys admitted they will - just like the Lions did - look to "put pressure on their set pieces".
"We must starve them of possession," Uys said, adding: "Scrums has been a big focus for us and we've worked hard on it, so hopefully it will come off this weekend."
2013: Cheetahs won 36-19, Invercargill
2012: Highlanders won 36-33, Bloemfontein
2011: Highlanders won 24-21, Dunedin
2010: Highlanders won 31-24, Bloemfontein
2009: Highlanders won 32-8, Dunedin
2008: Highlanders won 31-28, Bloemfontein
Prediction: The Cheetahs won the first and last meetings between the sides, but lost the seven in between. The last six contests between these clubs each yielded 40 plus points and an average of 54 per game. The Highlanders have lost their last three in South Africa, but all these defeats have been by margins less than seven. The Cheetahs have won 77 percent of their scrums so far, a tournament low. Their opponents have won 94 percent of their feeds, every other side have forced lower success rates without the feed. Combined, these sides have scored just seven opening quarter tries this term. They have scored 21 in the second quarter. The Cheetahs - already without Springboks Heinrich Brüssow, Willie le Roux and Coenie Oosthuizen - have lost another two key players to injury. The absence of Joe Pietersen and Sarel Pretorius could really hurt them. It will open the door for a Highlanders win - by about eight points.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Johannes Prinsloo, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Mienie.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Burrie Uys, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Carel Greeff, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Coenie van Wyk , 23 Raymond Rhule.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith 14 Ryan Tongia, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (Captain), 7 John Hardie, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Dan Pryor, 22 Fumiaki Tanaka, 23 Marty Banks
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Lesego Legoete
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
Compiled by Jan de Koning
Statistical information provided by Opta Sports
REPORT: The match between the NZ giants lived up to its reputation as the 'Canes prevented a late surge from the Chiefs to hold out to a 22-18 victory.