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Super Rugby | Bloemfontein
17:10 (GMT) | 16-05-2015
  • 81
Join us for more live coverage of Super Rugby when the Bulls take on the Chiefs first up in Round 15.
  • 80
Highlanders secure the line-out and kick the ball into touch to bring the game to an end. That is FULL-TIME in Bloemfontein.
  • 79
Good set move from the Cheetahs as Venter makes a line-break. The Cheetahs eventually bundled into touch for a line-out to the Highlanders.
  • 78
Cheetahs secure the scrappy line-out, but play is brought to a halt for a Highlanders knock-on. Scrum Cheetahs on the Highlanders 22m.
  • 77
Cheetahs on the offense at the Highlanders 22m, but Evans rips the ball and the Highlanders clear. Blommetjies counters from the back and off-loads to Benjamin. Greef finds space down the touchline and he chips, but Ben Smith covers and runs it out.
  • 75
Marty Banks adds the conversion.
  • 74
Highlanders with a line-out on halfway which they win and are attacking the Cheetahs with phases. Ben Smith stabs a grubber through and collects it himself and scores the try. Putting an end to any Cheetahs hopes of a comeback.
  • 72
Brummer quickly converts the kick.
  • 71
The Cheetahs swing it from the line-out and Van der Spuy gives a short pass to Venter who crashes over for a try under the poles.
  • 70
Cheetahs tails are up as they are running riot. They receive a penalty and Blommetjies kicks for the corner. Prinsloo claims it but they lose ground. Uys carries it hard and Pryor is penalised for illegal rucking on the ground. Blommetjies hits the corner again.
  • 68
Brummer converts his kick for 2 more points.
  • 67
Cheetahs strike off the kick-off as Rhule bursts down the touch-line. Some good continuity as Britz gets close. Wegner finishes off for the try.
  • 66
Brummer's kick is good from the corner.
  • 65
Cheetahs earn a scrum penalty and they kick for the corner. Sykes secures and they set the drive. Cheetahs 5m out now and 7 phases in. They shift it short-side quickly and Britz passes to Benjamin who dives over in the corner for a try.
  • 62
Highlanders get a short-arm and they opt for a scrum. Smith plays Sopoaga and plays Buckman on the switch. Benjamin rips the ball from contact and the Cheetahs launch a quick counter. Blommetjies is released and he steps past the last defender and runs over the try-line, but play is brought back for a forward pass.
  • 60
Highlanders win the scrum and smith nudges a grubber through. Cheetahs claim it and get out of trouble as they run it out. However another handling error from the Cheetahs by BG Uys gives the Highlanders a scrum in midfield.
  • 58
Reddish secures the line-out and Smith puts a kick in, Blommetjies returns with a kick of his own that has gone too far again, and play will comeback all the way fro a scrum on the Cheetahs 10m.
  • 57
After a couple of reset scrums, the Cheetahs are penalised for folding in, and the Highlanders kick for touch.
  • 54
Cheetahs line-out is woeful but they earn a scrum from a Highlanders knock.
  • 52
Cheetahs receive a free-kick and the they take it quickly, play is brought back for a penalty to the home-side. Blommetjies hits the corner this time. And they secure a scrappy line-out. Cheetahs 5m out now. Meyer sends it wide but the Highlanders manage a turnover and Hardy clears with the boot.
  • 50
Cheetahs with possession, and Elliot Dixon is penalised for being in-front of the kicker. Blommetjies hoes for the corner to set the line-out, however he has over-cooked it and the Highlanders will restart with a scrum.
  • 47
Cheetahs claim the ball from the restart, but the quickly lose possession. Fekiotoa finds a hole and breaks dwon the middle of the field, he finds Ben Smith in support. They shift it wide to Gareth Evans who strides over for a try in the corner.
  • 47
Sopoaga's kick is off-target.
  • 46
Sopoaga converts the kick to add the extras.
  • 45
Highlanders kick for touch and secure the line-out. Up to the Highlanders 5m line now as Smith dictates play. Smith picks and goes from the base and dives low over the line.
  • 43
A kick exchange early on results with a line-out to the Highlanders on halfway. They secure it and Smith puts it high, and the ball finds the touchline for a Cheetahs throw. Burger secures the throw and Meyer puts a box kick in, Osbourne is taken in the air by Rhule. Rhule who has been on for one minute is shown the yellow.
  • 41
Highlanders flyhalf Lima sopoaga gets the half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
Blommetjies restarts deep and Ben Smith kicks it out to bring the game to half-time.
  • 39
Cheetahs pinned for holding on and the Highlanders have a penalty. Sopoaga takes a shot at goal, but it is just wide from 50m out.
  • 38
Smith plays Sopoaga who release Fekitoa with a powerful run. The Highlsnders play both ways exhausting the width of the field. 8 phases now and they are in the 22m of the Cheetahs. Smith nudges a grubber though and Blommetjies clears. Blommetjies receives another kicks and he counters this time. Cheetahs at the halfway.
  • 35
Meyer feeds the scrum and the Highlanders receive a short-arm. They opt for another scrum.
  • 33
Highlanders have a line-out on the Cheetahs 10m, they secure the line-out but some poor passes in the backline result in a Cheetahs scrum in midfield.
  • 31
Sopoaga strikes the conversion cleanly and raises the flags.
  • 30
Highlanders again showing their attacking threat with soft hands. Ben Smith puts a nudge through and Osbourne chases for and scores.
  • 28
Osbourne fields the restart and Sopoaga kicks deep. Blommetjies returns the favour. Smith puts the box-kick up and Wegner loses it forward for a Cheetahs scrum.
  • 26
Sopoaga misses the conversion.
  • 25
Cheetahs lose ground as the Highlanders defences is strong. Brummer has to kick, and he kicks on Ben Smith. The Highlanders counter and Manu busts down the touchline, he beats 3 tackles and off-loads to Aaron Smith and he scores in the corner.
  • 23
Buckman rips the ball off the Cheetahs and Sopoaga puts kick in behind the Cheetahs, Tongia chases and dives on Brummer giving a penalty away. Cheetahs kick for touch and they win the line-out.
  • 21
The line-out is stolen and the Highlanders are attacking in the Cheetahs 22m. A side-entry from Gareth Evans is penalised and the Cheetahs kick for tocuh to set the line-out.
  • 19
After a kick exchange, Sopoaga drives the Cheetahs back again to their 22m. Clear tactics from the Highlanders.
  • 18
Sopoaga, from an identical position as his first attempt, converts the kick.
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Highlanders use a set move from the line-out and some silky hands from the backline puts Tongia into space, he puts a perfect, well-timed chip-and-chase in, he collects it and scores in the corner.
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Meyer puts a high kick in an Blommetjies claims it. The Cheetahs tails are up and are attacking, but quickly defused as the Highlanders are given a penalty. Sopoaga looks for touch and sets the line-out.
  • 14
Scrappy line-out again but the Cheetahs earn a penalty. Brummer has a shot at goal. He lines it up, and the kick is good.
  • 13
Another lost line-out by the Cheetahs, but Smith is off-side and the Cheethas are relieved with a penalty. Blommetjies clears for touch and sets a line-out on 30m out from the Highlanders 22m.
  • 11
Smith opts for the boot after the scrum and he drives the Cheetahs back to their 22m.
  • 10
Meyer breaks left from the scrum and Benjamin makes some good ground. Brummer brings play back right but the pass to Venter is forward and the Highlsnders have a scrum in midfield.
  • 9
Highlanders fumble in the backline as Buckman can't hold on and the Cheetahs have a scrum on halfway.
  • 7
Cheetahs with a scrum on the Highlanders 10m. It is a tight head and Fekitoa hacks it up field, the kick has gone too far and the Cheetahs restart with a 22m.
  • 5
Sopoagaslots the conversion to add two points.
  • 4
Cheetahs lose the line-out and the Highlanders are pressing 5m out. Ball unplayable and the Highlanders have a scrum 5m out. Sopoaga puts a cross-kick in an Tongia makes easy work of the collect and he runs over untouched for the try.
  • 2
Highlanders with an early set-piece in the Ceetahs half. Smith puts a delicate chip through and Tongia collects but is tackled into touch 5m out from the Cheetahs line.
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Cheetahs flyhalf Francois Brummer gets the game underway.
  • -10
Welcome to live coverage of Super Rugby with the Highlanders taking on the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
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  • 15 Clayton Blommetjies
  • 14 Ryno Benjamin
  • 13 Francois Venter
  • 12 Michael van de Spuy
  • 11 Sergeal Petersen
  • 10 Francois Brummer
  • 9 Tian Meyer
  • 8 Willie Britz
  • 7 Boom Prinsloo
  • 6 Tienie Burger
  • 5 Steven Sykes
  • 4 Carl Wegner
  • 3 Maks van Dyk
  • 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld
  • 1 Danie Mienie
  • 23 Raymond Rhule
  • 22 Coenie van Wyk
  • 21 Shaun Venter
  • 20 Carel Greeff
  • 19 Francois Uys
  • 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen
  • 17 BG Uys
  • 16 Stephan Coetzee
  • 15 Ben Smith
  • 14 Ryan Tongia
  • 13 Malakai Fekitoa
  • 12 Richard Buckman
  • 11 Patrick Osborne
  • 10 Lima Sopoaga
  • 9 Aaron Smith
  • 8 Nasi Manu
  • 7 John Hardie
  • 6 Gareth Evans
  • 5 Mark Reddish
  • 4 Alex Ainley
  • 3 Josh Hohneck
  • 2 Liam Coltman
  • 1 Brendon Edmonds
  • 23 Marty Banks
  • 22 Fumiaki Tanaka
  • 21 Dan Pryor
  • 20 Elliot Dixon
  • 19 Tom Franklin
  • 18 Ross Geldenhuys
  • 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown
  • 16 Ash Dixon
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 cheetahs v highlanders 630

Highlanders win 10-try feast

Sat, 16 May 2015 19:17

REPORT: The Highlanders cemented their place in the top six of the Super Rugby competition with an emphatic 45-24 win over the Cheetahs.

The Highlanders cemented their place in the top six of the Super Rugby competition with an emphatic 45-24 win over the hapless Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

Outscoring the home team by seven tries to three, the Highlanders moved up to fifth place - with the same points as the fourth-placed Chiefs, 39.

The bonus point was secured inside the opening half-hour, the Highlanders taking a 26-3 lead into the half-time break.

After the break the visitors quickly raced out to a 38-3 lead, before the Cheetahs got three consolation tries in the final quarter,

Debutant Ryan Tongia scored two tries for the red-hot Highlanders - a result that completed a disastrous Super 15 weekend for South African sides.

Australia-born Rugby League convert Tongia quickly made his mark as a wing at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, dotting down twice within 18 minutes of the kick-off.

The fast, inventive Highlanders toyed with the injury-ravaged Cheetahs for 60 minutes, scoring six tries while all the hosts could manage was a penalty.

Then the Cheetahs woke up to score three tries in seven minutes before Highlanders fullback and co-captain Ben Smith completed the 10-try feast

"It was great to bounce back after surrendering a big lead to lose at the Lions last weekend," said All Black Ben Smith.

"The Cheetahs rattled us in the closing stages with those three tries, but I trusted my team-mates to get the job done."

Cheetahs stand-in skipper and centre Francois Venter said: "We want to forget the first half - nothing went right for us.

"In the last 20 minutes we saw the real Cheetahs with three tries in rapid succession."

After the Tongia brace, scrumhalf Aaron Smith and wing Patrick Osborne dotted down and flyhalf Lima Sopoaga converted three while Cheetahs flyhalf Francois Brummer kicked a penalty.

The second half began disastrously for the South Africans with replacement wing Raymond Rhule sin binned on 43 minutes for a dangerous tackle.

Aaron Smith and flank Gareth Evans took advantage of the numerical superiority to cross for Highlanders tries and Sopoaga converted one to create a 35-point gap,  

Then the Cheetahs finally discovered the running rugby they are famed for and wing Rayno Benjamin, lock Carl Wegner and centre Venter scored tries that Brummer converted.

Replacement Highlanders flyhalf Marty Banks completed the scoring when he converted the Ben Smith try.

Man of the match: Willie Britz, Johannes Prinsloo and Carl Wegner tried hard, but without much support. Lima Sopoaga was the general that directed play, Nasi Manu was powerful with ball in hand, Gareth Evans was very productive and Alex Ainley also produced a huge workrate. However, our award goes to the Smiths - fullback Ben and scrumhalf Aaron - who were creative, energetic and the spark for any team they play in.

The scorers:

For the Cheetahs:
Benjamin, Wegner, Venter
Cons: Brummer 3
Pen: Brummer

For the Highlanders:
Tongia 2, A Smith 2, Osborne, Evans, B Smith
Cons: Sopoaga 4, Banks

Yellow card: Raymond Rhule (Cheetahs, 43 - foul play, tackling a player in the air)


15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Johannes Prinsloo, 6 Tienie Burger, 5 Steven Sykes, 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 Francois Uys, 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

Ryno Benjamin (65min), Carl Wegner (67min), and Francois Venter (71min)
Ryan Tongia (4min), Ryan Tongia (17min), Aaron Smith (25min), Patrick Osborne (30min), Aaron Smith (45min), Gareth Evans (47min), and Ben Smith (74min)
Francois Brummer (66min), Francois Brummer (68min), and Francois Brummer (72min)
Lima Sopoaga (5min), Lima Sopoaga (18min), Lima Sopoaga (31min), Lima Sopoaga (46min), and Marty Banks (75min)
Francois Brummer (14min)
Raymond Rhule (43min)
VENUE Bloemfontein
REFEREE Stuart Berry