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Super Rugby | Johannesburg
15:05 (GMT) | 16-05-2015
  • 81
Join us again for more live coverage of Super Rugby with the Cheetahs taking on the Highlanders next up.
  • 80
Vorster made a last ditch attempt to gain a bonus point with a break up the midfield, but it was not to happen and the final whistle has gone as the Brumbies are victorious.
  • 79
Van der Walt adds the extra 2 points.
  • 78
The Lions are in the 22m of the Brumbies after 11 phases and Coetzee shrugs off tackles t oscore the try.
  • 76
Mogg attempts his 3rd long-ranged kick and this time it is good, as he extends the lead by 3 more.
  • 75
Mogg clears for the Brumbies and drives the Lions back to halfway. Clumsy again from the Lions and the Brumbies have a penalty from off-side play by the Lions.
  • 73
Lealiifano from the corner, and he hits the post.
  • 72
A big shove from the Brumbies and White gets the ball out, Mogg throws a skip pass wide to Tomane who runs over for the try.
  • 71
Brumbies opt for the kick for touch instead of poles. They secure the line-out and White keeps it short with the forwards, a knock-on gives the Brumbies a scrum in a dangerous position 7m from the line.
  • 69
Brumbies earn a penalty from the scrum, and this could seal the game.
  • 68
Lions looking to play now as they run it out from the restart. After a promising build up the Lions hands let them down and the Brumbies have a scrum.
  • 66
Jantjies quickly converts the extras.
  • 65
Kriel picks and goes from the ruck and he busts 3 tackles to sprint under the poles for a try.
  • 64
Brumbies win the scrum and play blind as Lealiifano makes a break, his chip went to far and the Lions restart with a 22m. Lions now upping the tempo as they attack on halfway. 12 phases now for the Brumbies and they are up to the 22m.
  • 60
The Lions can't secure the line-out and White pins them back to the halfway again. The Brumbies force the turnover as the ball can't come out from the ruck.
  • 58
After a scrum penalty, Lions have a line-out on halfway, and they win a penalty for an early sack by Fardy. Combrinck kicks for touch.
  • 55
Brumbies are back in the Lions 22m as the Lions keep slipping tackles. Kriel wins a penalty for the Lions to relieve some pressure. Tecklenburg wins the line-out but Mapoe gives possession away with a chip-kick. White puts an up-and-under high and Coetzee makes a hash of it at the back. The Brumbies have a scrum on the Lions 22m.
  • 53
Another Lions off-side error gives White a chance to kick for touch. Pocock wins the line-out and Kurindrani takes the ball forward. Play is brought to a halt as Whites kick goes too far for a 22m restart.
  • 51
Lions drive play back with the boot and take play to the Brumbies 10m for a line-out.
  • 50
Janties goes wide off the line-out and Hollenbach takes the ball to the line. Speight makes a steal on the ground and White pinns them Lions back with a box-kick.
  • 48
Brumbies 5m out from the Lions try-line, but Tomane fires a loose off-load and the Lions survive. Scrum down on the 5m to the Lions. Another massive push from the Lions earn them s penalty. Jantjies clears for touch.
  • 45
Mogg misses and the Lions restart with a 22m.
  • 44
Lions win a penalty from the scrum and Jantjies clears for touch for a Lions line-out inside the Brumbies half. Lions with an obstruction mistake and Mogg will have a long-ranged penalty kick for poles.
  • 42
Jantjies with aerly error as his foot was on the touchline as he attempted his clearance. Brumbies maul the line-out. Lions under pressure but they win the scrum turnover in their 22m.
  • 41
KICK-OFF: Brumbies flyhalf Christian Lealiifano gets the half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
Jantjies pushes the kick and that brings the game to HALF-TIME.
  • 39
Lions defence is holding up strong and Tomane is called out for obstructive running by Alexander, and Jantjies will have a shot from 50m on the stroke of half-time.
  • 38
After a couple of reset scrums, the Brumbies make quick metres and are up to the 22m of the Lions through Kurindrani.
  • 36
Vorster makes a break down the touchline but he loses the ball in contact and the Brumbies have a scrum in midfield.
  • 34
Jantjies gives a penalty away and the Brumbies will take a shot at goal, but Lealiifano misses the kick.
  • 33
Mogg puts a kick on the full and the Lions have a line-out on halfway. Scrappy again but they claim it. De Klerk puts an average box-kick in and the Brumbies have a line-out. The away-side spread wide after the set-piece and are now 5m.
  • 30
Lions attacking line-out on the Brumbies 22m, they set the maul, and it is moving forward, they earn the penalty for a side-entry and the Lions kick for the corner and will try the same move. Coetzee again butchers the line-out. The Brumbies clear well and are out of danger.
  • 27
Lealiifano converts his own try as the Brumbies take charge of the game.
  • 26
Lions butcher the line-out as Coetzee passes an awful pass that is intercepted by Lealiifano and he jogs under the poles for a try.
  • 24
The Lions get out of jail with a scrum penalty. Jantjies clears for touch to set the line-out on their 10m.
  • 24
Lions under pressure as Jantjies miss reads a bomb kick and finds himself in a sticky situation in his 22m. The Brumbies counter-ruck well and the Brumbies have a scrum inside the Lions 22m.
  • 21
This time Lealiifano raises the flags with the conversion.
  • 20
Brumbies hit with back-to-back tries as they pass wide and Speight made a break down-field, collected a chip and Vaea took a pass at pace and was unstoppable as he busted over for a try.
  • 19
Lealiifano can't add the extras.
  • 18
Brumbiess knocking on the door, and Kurindrani picks a gap and powers his way over for a try.
  • 17
Mapoe does some good cover work after a chip through from Fardy and the Brumbies have an attacking line-out on the Lions 22m. Vaea makes a good carry before Tomane makes a burst and is in support with Pocock.
  • 15
Brumbies playing ball in the Lions half and Kriel guilty of playing the ball in the ruck as he gives a penalty away in front of the poles. Lealiifano will have a shot. The kick is good as he opens the scoring for the Brumbies.
  • 13
Combrinck's kick is a great one and he extends the lead for the Lions.
  • 12
Lions given a penalty for more illegal rucking by the Brumbies, and Combrinck now attempting a 59 metre penalty kick.
  • 11
Jesse Mogg attempted a 65m penalty kick but it is just to the left.
  • 10
Jantjies drills the kick up to the 22m of the Brumbies for aline-out. Scraapy ball again at the line-out but the Lions secure it, however the Pocock wins a penalty as the Lions hold on.
  • 8
Brumbies turnover possession in the Lions 22m but they lose it forward for a scrum. Big shove from the Lions and they win a penalty.
  • 7
Jantjies will line-up a shot for goal and he converts putting the Lions on the board.
  • 6
Kriel cleans up the line-out as Hollenbach takes a flat pass to the line. 6 phases for the Lions as they enter the 22m of the Brumbies. Fardy is penalised for not releasing.
  • 4
Lionss maul 10 metres from a line-out and the Brumbies are penalised for collapsing. Jantjies will kick for the corner to set the line-out on the Brumbies 22m.
  • 2
Brumbies with early possession in their half, and are awarded with a penalty as the Lions enter the ruck from the side. Lealiifano gains territory and sets the line-out. Carter claims the line-out and Brumbies play wide left as Tomane finds space but his off-load ends in Lions' hands.
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies gets the game underway.
  • -10
Weather is clear and sunny in Johannesburg, excellent conditions for rugby.
  • -20
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. The Brumbies have led at half-time in their last two games, but went on to lose both.
  • -30
Welcome to live commentary of Super Rugby with the Brumbies taking on the Lions at Ellis Park.
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  • 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
  • 7 Robert Kruger
  • 6 Jaco Kriel
  • 5 Franco Mostert
  • 4 Martin Muller
  • 3 Julian Redelinghuys
  • 2 Robbie Coetzee
  • 1 Schalk van der Merwe
  • 23 Howard Mnisi
  • 22 Jaco van der Walt
  • 21 Ross Cronje
  • 20 Warwick Tecklenburg
  • 19 Luvuyiso Lusaseni
  • 18 Ruan Dreyer
  • 17 Jacques van Rooyen
  • 16 Armand van der Merwe
  • 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
  • 1 Allan Alaalatoa
  • 23 Robbie Coleman
  • 22 James Dargaville
  • 21 Michael Dowsett
  • 20 Jordan Smiler
  • 19 Jarrad Butler
  • 18 Ruan Smith
  • 17 Jean-Pierre Smith
  • 16 Josh Mann-Rea
Mc article michael cheika waratahs training 630

Preview: S15 Round 14, Part Two

Thu, 14 May 2015 23:54

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.

Recent results:
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."

Recent results:
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.


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.

Recent results:
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."

Recent results:
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.


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

Mc article lions v brumbies 630

Brumbies blitz errant Lions

Sat, 16 May 2015 17:10

REPORT: The Brumbies produced a first-half blitzkrieg that blew the Lions off the park and secured them a 30-20 bonus-point win.

The Brumbies produced a first-half blitzkrieg that blew the Lions off the park and secured the Australian conference leaders a 30-20 bonus-point win in their Super Rugby encounter at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Trailing 0-6 after 15 minutes, the Brumbies scored 22 unanswered points in just over 10 minutes - leaving the Lions to play catch-up for the rest of the game.

The Lions have made a habit of coming from behind this season, having done it on seven occasions already.

However, on Saturday the Brumbies were simply too focused and clinical, shutting the home side out and cementing  their place at the top of the Australian conference.

The Lions made use of the boot a bit more than expected in the early stages - with short, tactical kicks, rather than long and aimless hacking downfield. And when the Lions did attempt to run at the Brumbies, they were met by solid  defence.

The Brumbies, in contrast, opted to keep the ball in hand - with strong, hard running and flat passes on the gainline, which tested the Lions' defence.

While the Lions again dominated the scrums, their line-outs were scrappy, at best, and the Brumbies made the breakdown a real lottery. That left the Lions with too little possession to get their free-running game going. It was not till the game was well won by the visitors that the home side played with some freedom.

The biggest surprise was when Lions coach Johan Ackermann replaced his successful front row midway through the second half, give away the one advantage his team did have.

The opening score came in the seventh minute - Elton Jantjies slotting the penalty, after David Pocock's actions at the breakdown were deemed illegal.

Jesses Mogg had a shot from 65 metres out and while he had the distance, was well off target. Moments later Ruan Combrink, also from inside his own half, slotted a penalty to make it 6-0.

Christian Lealiifano got the Brumbies on the board in the 15th minute, before three quick tries silenced the Ellis Park crowd.

The first came after the Brumbies took the ball to the left and a kick through from Scott Fardy put the Lions defence on the backfoot. Quick recycling, quick hands and hard running got big Tevita Kuridrani over.

The second was in a same manner - hard-running No.8 Ita Vaea finishing off a classic move in which the Brumbies regathered a well-placed kick. And the next score came from a Lions error, a shocking pass by hooker Robbie Coetzee intercepted by Lealiifano.

In a matter of 10 minutes the score went from 0-6 to 22-6 for the visitors.

On the half-time hooter Elton Jantjies had a shot from 55 metres out, but he was wide of the mark and it was still a 16-point game at the break.

The Brumbies crept into their shell after the break, playing for territory and forcing the Lions to play from deep inside their half.

The Lions finally got their game going and with 15 minutes to go - after numerous phases and the referee playing advantage on three occasions - Jaco Kriel burst over for a crucial score. Jantjies, conversion made it 13-22.

However, with the Lions scrum now under pressure - after the earlier substitutions - the Brumbies worked their way back into the Lions 22, where another powerful scrum gave the Brumbies the front foot ball they desired and Joe Tomane strolled over in the left corner. The Lealiifano conversion attempt hit the upright, but at 27-13 with five minutes to go the game was safe.

And Jesse Mogg sealed the win with a penalty four minutes from time.

Andries Coetzee got a consolation try for the Lions, after a rare period of breaking the line and keeping the ball through the phases. It gave them a chance of a losing bonus point and possibly also a four-try bonus point.

However, as was the case for most of the game they let themselves down through a sloppy error - the Brumbies taking a 10-point win, 30-20.

Man of the match: You never have to look much further that Warren Whiteley when you consider who the Lions' most influential player is. Jaco Kriel, as usual, and Franco Mostert were also very busy. The Lions' most powerful weapon was once again their front row - Julian Redelinghuys, Robbie Coetzee and Schalk van der Merwe. Flank David Pocock was a huge presence through the game, hooker Stephen Moore was an workhorse of incredible vale, No.8 Ita Vaea was powerful with ball in hand, while Scott Fardy and Rory Arnold showed how they valuable they could be to the Wallabies. Tevita Kuridrani also exposed the Lions' defence with his hard running, while Nic White's kicking kept the Lions on the backfoot. However, our award goes to Brumbies flyhalf Christian Lealiifano, who was the catalyst for the Brumbies when they produced that 22-point burst in the first half.

The scorers:

For the Lions:
Kriel, Coetzee
Cons: Jantjies, Van der Walt
Pens: Jantjies, Combrink

For the Brumbies:
Kuridrani, Vaea, Lealiifano, Tomane
Cons: Lealiifano 2
Pens: Lealiifano, Mogg


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

Jaco Kriel (65min) and Andries Coetzee (78min)
Tevita Kuridrani (18min), Ita Vaea (20min), Christian Lealiifano (26min), and Joe Tomane (72min)
Elton Jantjies (66min) and Jaco van der Walt (79min)
Christian Lealiifano (21min) and Christian Lealiifano (27min)
Elton Jantjies (7min) and Ruan Combrinck (13min)
Christian Lealiifano (15min) and Jesse Mogg (76min)
VENUE Johannesburg
REFEREE Jaco Peyper