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Cheetahs

FULL-TIME
17     40

Lions

Super Rugby | Bloemfontein
13:05 (GMT) | 23-05-2015
  • 82
We head straight to Newlands for the final match of the Round as the Stormers host the Rebels!
  • 81
The Lions knock the ball on as the hooter sounds and that's FULLTIME!
  • 80
They make their way up to the 10 metre line but the ball is once again knocked on
  • 79
Lions are penalised for moving off the the mark and the Cheetahs opt to run it out of their half
  • 78
Lions launch a good attack as Combrink goes on a run down the right touchline but the attack comes to nothing as they knock the ball on at the breakdown to hand possession back to the Cheetahs
  • 76
Cheetahs are strong in defence and force the turnover but they knock the ball on just as it looks like they are gaining the upperhand. Lions feed on the 10 metre line
  • 75
Lions secure the ball from the line-out and edge their up-field through the hard-working forwards. Cheetahs win back possession and Blommetjies looks to be away but he is brought back for a knock-on. Lions feed on their 10 metre line
  • 74
The Cheetahs are in possession inside their 22 and opt to run the ball out. Hendricks gets the ball but his chip kick slides off the side of his boot and the Lions regain possession
  • 72
Coenie van Wyk curls the conversion between the uprights to add the extra points
  • 71
The maul is set and Prinsloo emerges with the ball to grab his second of the match
  • 70
Lions decide to tap-and-go and remain 5 metres from the try line. Blommetjies attempts a stab kick but it can't find its way through. PENALTY! Lions are penalised for a high tackle and the Cheetahs remain on the attack as they opt to kick the ball iinto touch for a 5 metre line out
  • 69
PENALTY! The Lions are caught in an offside position
  • 68
Cheeaths have a great chance as they find themselves in possession on the Lions' 22. Blommetjies finds Hendricks who bursts through a gap and gets the Cheetahs close to the 5 metre line
  • 67
Jantjies maintains his flawless record by adding the extra points
  • 66
Lions regain possession from the 22 drop out and go in search of the bonus point try. It opens up for Mapoe down the short side and he gets the Lions to the Cheetahs' 5 metre line. De Klerk has a quick snipe and gets over the line
  • 64
The maul is set but the Cheetahs are up for the battle. A Coetzee toes the ball through and Combrink goes charging after it. He slides off the field and smashes into the security fence! OUCH!
  • 63
The maul is set and rumbles its way closer to the line. PENALTY! Uys collapses the maul and the Lions opt once again for the line-out
  • 62
Cheetahs steal the throw and kick the ball back into Lions territory who decides to run the ball back at the home side. Jantjies goes for a run. PENALTY! Cheetahs play the ball on the ground to hand the Lions a chance to get a 5 metre line-out
  • 60
The Cheetahs find themselves in possession on the halfway line. PENALTY! Cheetahs fail to release the ball at the breakdown and the Lions opt to kick the ball into touch close to the Cheetahs' 5 metre line
  • 58
Yet another promising Cheetahs attack comes to nothing as they cough up possession and allows the Lions to clear their lines. Play will resume with a Cheetahs line-out on the Lions' 10 metre line
  • 57
Some errors have crept into the Lions game as they cough up possession and the Cheetahs are now on the attack
  • 55
This man makes kicking look oh so simple as he slots yet another shot at goal
  • 54
Lions back in possession on the halfway line. PENALTY! Cheetahs fail to roll away at the breakdown and the Lions have a chance to extend their lead through the boot of Jantjies
  • 53
Cheetahs have their tails up now as they take play into Lions territory but they somehow manage to cough up possession and are forced to start another attack from inside their 22.
  • 52
Coenie van Wyk curls in his first kick of the match!
  • 51
The maul is set once again and they force their way through the Lions defence for a Prinsloo try!
  • 50
Blommetjies pops the penalty into touch and the Cheetahs will have the throw-in close to the Lions' 5 metre line. They set the maul before Prinsloo breaks away and gets within 2 metres. PENALTY! Kriel fails to release the tackled player and the Cheetahs opt for another 5 metre line-out
  • 49
They keep it with the forwards before spreading it wide. Benjamin is on the receiving end of a R Coetzee tip tackle and is driven into the ground
  • 48
A massive shove from the Cheetahs sees them win back possession and are on the attack
  • 47
Prinsloo hands the Cheetahs some front foot ball as he makes a few metres. The ball is switched to the right but their attack is once again stopped by a handling error that hands the Lions the feed to the scrum on their 22
  • 46
Jantjies clears the ball up-field from the restart and the Cheetahs will have the line-out throw-in on the Lions' 10 metre line.
  • 45
Jantjies makes no mistake with the conversion attempt as he extends the Lions' lead
  • 43
Cheetahs are back in possession and on the front foot with possession on the Lions' 10 metre line. A stray pass by Blommetjies is picked up by Mnisi who launches a counter-attack. He finds Skousan and the wing flies down the touchline for a great try
  • 42
Cheetahs in possession just inside the Lions half after Hendricks went on a good run. PENALTY! The Lions are penalised at the breakdown but the Cheetahs fail to find touch and the Lions will restart the match with a 22 drop-out
  • 41
KICK-OFF! Blommetjies gets the second half underway!

Half Time

  • 40
Another proper scrum as the Lions go on the attack. A Coetzee gets the ball close to the 22. It's recycled to the left and de Klerk sells a dummy before giving it on the inside to Mapoe, who trots in for an easy score
  • 40
Jantjies slots the conversion and that is HALF-TIME
  • 39
Both sides have taken their own sweet time to get the scrum set but we finally see no reset scrum as the Lions opt to kick the ball up-field. A kicking battle ensues and Blommetjies fails to hold onto high ball to hand the Lions the scrum feed on the Cheetahs' 10 metre line
  • 37
de Klerk has a box kick charged down and the Cheetahs are in possession on the Lions' 22. However, the Lions force a maul and the ball fails to emerge to hand possession back to the Lions via a scrum feed on their 22
  • 36
PENALTY! van Dyk is penalised once again for scrumming in on the angle! That's his third offence. Jantjies will have a shot at goal from about 39 metres. Another solid strike from him as he extends the Lions' lead
  • 35
The next scrum is reset as well as the front rows collapse on impact once again
  • 34
Yet another reset scrum as the front rows "slip"
  • 33
The Cheetahs managed to stop the Lions attack and play will resume with a Lions feed to the scrum after the ball failed to emerge from the breakdown
  • 32
Lions launch an attack from just inside their half and have made their way to the Cheetahs 10 metre line
  • 31
It has taken some time to set the scrum. PENALTY! van Dyk is penalised for a second time for scrumming in on an angle
  • 29
Cheetahs back in possession and have made their way close to the Lions' 22. Unfortunately they knock the ball on as they look to recycle the ball and the Lions will have the scrum feed
  • 28
Jantjies maintains his 100 kicking record as he sneaks this one inside the right upright
  • 26
The maul is set and they get over the line! Jaco Kriel emerges with the ball!
  • 25
PENALTY! Cheetahs are penalised for scrumming on an angle. Jantjies pops the ball into touch for a 5 metre line out
  • 24
de Klerk makes his way through a gap and takes the Lions to the Cheetahs' 22. The ball is quickly recycled and finds Whiteley who comes within 5 metres of the try line. Coetzee attempts to get the quick ball but he knocks the on to let the Cheetahs off the hook
  • 22
Cheetahs are enjoying majority of the possession but simple errors are killing their momentum. A promising attack comes to nothing as they knock the ball on to hand the ball back to the Lions via a scrum
  • 21
It's time for the traditional kicking contest that ends with Rhule finding touch on the Lions' 10 metre line
  • 19
The Cheetahs backline is looking dangerous as they make their way over the gain line with every carry. The attack comes to an abrupt end though as Blommetjies is bundled into touch just outside the Lions' 22
  • 18
de Klerk puts in a box kick from inside his 22 and finds touch on their 10 metre line to hand the Cheetahs the throw-in
  • 17
The Cheetahs are in possession again inside the Lions 22a through a line-out. They set a maul but are easily shuffled into touch
  • 16
Another well struck kick by the flyhalf as he slots his second kick of the match!
  • 15
de Klerk opts for a chip kick but it falls kindly for Blommetjies, who clears the ball up-field. The Lions run the ball back at the Cheetahs. PENALTY! Cheetahs fail to release the tackled player and Jantjies will have a shot at goal from about 40 metres
  • 14
It's a patient build-up by the Lions as they keep the ball among the forwards and edge their way up the field. Up to the 22 they go
  • 13
Torsten Van Jaarsveld misses his jumper and the Lions are back in possession. It is all quite lateral at the moment as the Cheetahs stand their ground in defence
  • 12
The Cheetahs claim a line-out ball and are on the front foot on the Lions 10 metre line. F Venter breaks through a gap but loses the ball in the process and the Lions launch a counter-attack. It all comes to nothing at Coetzee runs into touch on the Cheetahs' 10 metre line
  • 10
He strikes it well and watches it split the uprights to level the scores
  • 9
PENALTY! Cheetahs are caught in an offside position and Jantjies will have a shot at goal from about 40 metres
  • 8
The Lions secures possession from the restart and are on the attack on the Cheetahs' 10 metre line. They keep it among the forwards but the Cheetahs are standing firm in defence.
  • 7
Brummer slots the first kick of the match to break the deadlock
  • 6
The ball is spread to the midfield and Venter puts in a grubber that falls kindly for Rhule. PENALTY! Lions fail to roll away at the breakdown and the Cheetahs will have a shot at goal
  • 5
First scrum of the back goes down under the pressure and has to be reset
  • 4
A rare mistake by Jantjies sees him kick the ball too far and it rolls over the deadball line. Cheetahs will have the scrum feed inside Lions territory
  • 3
No love lost between the sides in the opening minutes as there have been some big tackles already
  • 2
The Lions secure the ball and it's spread to Mapoe who gets over the advantage line. The ball is quickly recycled and sent the other way but comes to a standstill as the Cheetahs managed to take the ball into touch
  • 1
Blommeties finds a good early touch, kicking the ball from his try line into the Lions half of the field. Lions will have the throw-in
  • 0
KICK-OFF! Jantjies gets the match underway!
  • -7
The Cheetahs have held a half-time lead in four of their last five games against the Lions, but won just one of these matches. Having previously lost 17 out of 18 away games, the Lions have won three of their last five on the road.
  • -10
It will be the last home game for Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské and forwards mentor Os du Randt, before the veteran duo walk off into the sunset and the weather is playing its part as sunshine and clear skies await the players
  • -20
The last time these two teams met, just under a month ago, it was an eight-try thriller in which attack was at a premium and defence took a backseat.
  • -30
Welcome to the penultimate match of Round 15! It is sure to be a cat fight as the Cheetahs host the Lions in Bloemfontein!
Mc cheetahs logo 80x50
Cheetahs
Mc lions logo 85
Lions
START LINE UP
  • 15 Clayton Blommetjies
  • 14 Cornal Hendricks
  • 13 Francois Venter
  • 12 Michael van de Spuy
  • 11 Raymond Rhule
  • 10 Francois Brummer
  • 9 Tian Meyer
  • 8 Willie Britz
  • 7 Boom Prinsloo
  • 6 Carel Greeff
  • 5 Francois Uys
  • 4 Carl Wegner
  • 3 Maks van Dyk
  • 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld
  • 1 Danie Mienie
RESERVES
  • 23 Ryno Benjamin
  • 22 Coenie van Wyk
  • 21 Shaun Venter
  • 20 Henco Venter
  • 19 Steven Sykes
  • 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen
  • 17 BG Uys
  • 16 Stephan Coetzee
START LINE UP
  • 15 Andries Coetzee
  • 14 Ruan Combrinck
  • 13 Lionel Mapoe
  • 12 Howard Mnisi
  • 11 Courtnall Skosan
  • 10 Elton Jantjies
  • 9 Francois de Klerk
  • 8 Warren Whiteley
  • 7 Warwick Tecklenburg
  • 6 Jaco Kriel
  • 5 Martin Muller
  • 4 Franco Mostert
  • 3 Ruan Dreyer
  • 2 Robbie Coetzee
  • 1 Jacques van Rooyen
RESERVES
  • 23 Harold Vorster
  • 22 Jaco van der Walt
  • 21 Ross Cronje
  • 20 Albertus Smith
  • 19 Robert Kruger
  • 18 Julian Redelinghuys
  • 17 Schalk van der Merwe
  • 16 Armand van der Merwe
Mc article ma a nonu hurricanes 630

Preview: S15 Round 15, Part Two

Thu, 21 May 2015 23:37

HOME STRETCH: It seems unlikely anybody will catch Super Rugby's runaway leaders, the Hurricanes. Jan de Koning looks at Saturday's matches.

It seems unlikely anybody will catch Super Rugby's runaway leaders, the Hurricanes. But that won't stop teams from trying to knock them over and claim bragging rights in the home stretch of the tournament's league stages.

The first team that will have a crack at them is the Blues, who host the Hurricanes in Auckland on Saturday.

The Hurricanes will be looking to extend their already burgeoning 14-point overall lead, but opted to rest captain Conrad Smith. All Blacks centre Ma'a Nonu will make a milestone 122nd appearance, equalling the team's record as their most capped player shared with Tana Umaga.

From Auckland it is a quick hop across the Tasman Sea for a replay of last year's contentious Final - the defending champion Waratahs hosting the seven-time champion Crusaders in Sydney. The Waratahs can leapfrog the inactive Brumbies at the top of the Australia conference in they win, while the Crusaders must win to stay in touch with the top six in the run-in to the play-offs.

There is then a trek across Australia, from east to west, where the Western Force will host an ambitious Highlanders outfit in Perth. The Highlanders, like the Chiefs (both on 39), have more points that the Brumbies (in second place) and the Bulls (third), but because of the convoluted conference system are outside the top three.

Our next stop is an 8,000-kilometre trek across the Indian Ocean to central South Africa - where the Cheetahs host the Lions in an all-South African derby. It is a fixture that less than a month ago produced eight tries and promises to be another exciting, all-action affair.

We conclude the weekend's action when the Stormers will hope to reclaim the South African conference lead - depending obviously what happened the day before between the Chiefs and Bulls. The Stormers host the Rebels in a game that will be heavily influence by prediction of rain and both teams' well-known dependence on defence to squeeze out a win.

We look at Saturday's matches!

Saturday, May 23


Blues v Hurricanes
(Eden Park, Auckland - Kick-Off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)

The Blues will be hard-pressed to repeat last week's heroic win over the Bulls, a rare feat in a season of turmoil.

Not only did they pay a heavy price for the brutal approach in the encounter with the Bulls, the already injury-riddled team losing a few more All Blacks, but the Mexican stand-off over coach John Kirwan's position has become near farcical.

Kirwan has been forced to name his third captain of the season - hooker James Parsons - after injury ruled out Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua.

Kirwan feels they have it in them to claim another big scalp, in the Hurricanes.

"They are one of the best counter-attacking sides in the competition," he told the NZ Herald.

"They can attack from all over the place so it's really important that we shut them down."

The public spat over Kirwan's position as head coach continues to cast a pall over the team, with some media reports suggesting an intervention into the dispute by New Zealand Rugby is only days away.

The Blues are on a run of seven defeats against fellow New Zealand sides in Super Rugby.

The Hurricanes have looked a class act all season and even without Conrad Smith still have plenty of class in a backline that features devastating runners like Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea and Cory Jane.

Nonu will make a milestone 122nd appearance for the Hurricanes, equalling the team's record as their most capped player, level with another midfield gem in Tana Umaga.

Recent results:
2015: Hurricanes won 30-23, Palmerston North
2014: Blues won 37-24, Auckland
2014: Hurricanes won 39-20, Wellington
2013: Blues won 28-6, Auckland
2013: Blues won 34-20, Wellington
2012: Hurricanes on 35-19, Wellington
2012: Hurricanes won 26-25, Auckland

Prediction: The Blues are on a run of seven defeats against fellow New Zealand sides in Super Rugby. However, five of these have come on the road. The Hurricanes have lost just once this season and have won their last five away games, a record run on the road for the Wellington-based side. On average Hurricanes' matches this season have seen an aggregate score of 46 points, with their matches going over 50 points on six occasions. The Canes average more tackles per game than any other team (135) whilst the Blues are the third most tackled team (123). The Hurricanes can boast two of Super Rugby's top three try scorers (TJ Perenara - seven & Julian Savea - six) whilst no Blues player has managed more than three this season. Injuries, infighting and a lack of consistency will conspire against the Blues. The Hurricanes to win by at least 15 points.

Teams:

Blues:
15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Francis Saili, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Brendon O'Connor, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Angus Ta'avao, 18, Nic Mayhew, 19 Will Lloyd/Hayden Triggs, 20 Joe Edwards, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Matt Vaega.
 
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 James Marshall, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Blade Thomson, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush (captain), 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16. Motu Matu'u, 17 Ben May, 18 Tolu Fahamokioa, 19 Mark Abbott/Callum Gibbins, 20 Brad Shields, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Otere Black, 23 Willis Halaholo.

Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe, Aki Aso
TMO: Aaron Paterson

Waratahs v Crusaders
(ANZ Stadium, Sydney - Kick-off: 19.40; 21.40 NZ time; 09.40 GMT)

No doubt this will be a cracker, the match of the weekend.

Both teams have attempted to play down the significance, but it is a replay of last year's controversial Final, when South African referee Craig Joubert erroneously awarded the penalty that gifted the Waratahs victory.

No doubt the Crusaders will have revenge on their minds.

This game will also be a true indication of the Waratahs' championship potential.

Veteran centre Adam Ashley-Cooper made no secret of the fact that the outcome of this game could have a significant influence on the Waratahs' prospects of defending their title.

With the current Super Rugby standings - with just four rounds left - a Waratahs win will lift them into top spot on the Australian conference and make the task of the Crusaders reaching the play-offs highly improbable.

"At the end of the day we need to win four from four to really secure our spot and that's the only way you look at it," Ashley-Cooper said.

"Without getting too ahead of ourselves, we've got the Crusaders this week - one of the best teams in the competition and one of the best teams in New Zealand.

"We just have to put all our focus and all of our concentration into that before we can start thinking about points and ladders and finals."

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder admitted they are playing "a final every week" during the run-in to the play-offs.

The Crusaders face an uphill battle to make the Super Rugby play-offs. They are in ninth place overall, but are fourth in the New Zealand conference, eight points behind the Chiefs and the Highlanders.

"We talked about that on Monday [when the squad resumed training after the bye week]," Blackadder said.

"Every game for us is a final now.

"It's probably a good week, playing the Waratahs who were in last year's Final.

"We'll be well and truly motivated and it's going to be a good challenge."

Recent results:
2014: Waratahs won 33-32, Sydney (Final)
2013: Crusaders won 23-22, Christchurch
2012: Crusaders won 37-33, Sydney
2011: Crusaders won 33-18, Nelson
2010: Crusaders won 20-13, Christchurch
2009: Crusaders won 17-13, Sydney

Prediction: The last time these sides met was the 2014 final when the Tahs won by a single point and in doing so ended a run of 11 defeats against the Crusaders (including two play-off defeats). Five of the last six games between these sides have been settled by seven points or fewer. The Crusaders won their last game against the Reds but have only won back to back games once this season, back in mid-March. The Crusaders have passed the ball more than any other team this season, averaging 172 per game, whilst the Waratahs rank second in that regard (158). Three of the tournament's top four carriers play for the NSW outfit - Kurtley Beale (174), Israel Folau (172) and Bernard Foley (140). The Crusaders may not have been the most consistent team this year, but they have shown glimpses of their potential. A desperate Crusaders team is always dangerous and could pull off an upset - by about eight points.

Teams:

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 Dave Dennis, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Silatolu Latu, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mitchell Chapman, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Patrick McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Matt Carraro.

Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Nafi Tuitavake, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Matt Todd, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Israel Dagg, 23 Jone Macilai.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

Western Force v Highlanders
(nib Stadium, Perth - Kick-off: 19.45; 23.45 NZ time; 11.45 GMT)

The Western Force may be playing for no more than pride, but it is a key game for the Highlanders.

They are fifth on the ladder on 39 points, equal with the Chiefs (fourth).

Victory could go a long way to cement their place in the play-off zone.

They are up against a Force side coming off a bye and sitting at bottom of the table.

The Force will be high on confidence after their win over the Waratahs, in their last game before the bye. That (18-11) victory in Perth was one of only two triumphs - both over the Tahs.

Force coach Michael Foley said his side will be looking to continue on from their last performance against the Waratahs.

"Our last performance was built on outstanding attitude and discipline in defence and at the breakdown," Foley said.

"In some ways it was a response to the disappointment of the Blues match, but more importantly, it was a reflection of how we play when we focus on our strengths.

"In our remaining four games, we want to deliver more of the same.

"The Highlanders are a team that plays with a lot of spirit, and it's important that we're able to bring that same determined attitude again this weekend."

Recent results:
2014: Force won 31-29, Dunedin
2013: Force won 19-18, Perth
2011: Force won 21-14, Dunedin
2010: Force won 41-27, Queenstown
2009: Force won 33-28, Perth
2008: Force won 36-28, Queenstown

Prediction: The Force ended their worst ever Super Rugby run of 10 consecutive defeats by beating the Tahs last week. Force have won their last six games against the Highlanders, with their last defeat coming back in 2007. The Highlanders have lost 14 of their last 15 away games against Australian opposition. The Force have spent more time in possession than any other team this season on average (17 minutes and 23 seconds), whilst only the Cheetahs have spent less time on the ball than the Dunedin-based side (13 minutes and 50 seconds). Waisake Naholo has made 20 breaks this season, the joint most in the competition. No Force player has managed more than 10 (Luke Morahan - 10). No doubt the Western Force have a realistic chance of victory. However, the Highlanders have too much riding on the result not to be focused and should win by at least 10 points.

Teams:

Western Force:
15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Ryan Louwrens, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Sam Wykes, 20 Kane Koteka, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Brad Lacey.
 
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Shaun Treeby, 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 Dan Pryor, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Richard Buckman, 23 Marty Banks.

Referee: Andrew Lees
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann, Graham Cooper
TMO:  Ian Smith

Cheetahs v Lions
(Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT)

The last time these two teams met, just under a month ago, it was an eight-try thriller in which attack was at a premium and defence took a backseat.

It is likely to be another entertaining affair.

However, there is a bit more riding on the game - especially for the Cheetahs.

It will be the last home game for coach Naka Drotské and forwards mentor Os du Randt, before the veteran duo walk off into the sunset.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann admitted it will add to the motivation for the Cheetahs.

The Lions have their own motivation. They are just one victory away from making this their best season in Super Rugby yet.

However, Ackermann said it is about focusing on improving their own game - in the wake of a disappointing loss to the Brumbies last week - rather than trying to set records.

"We are not chasing a number, wanting to win eight or nine games," he said, adding: "We [also] don't chase play-offs.

"We weren't happy with our performance last weekend and we need to rectify that, if we can do that and walk away with the win that would be our ultimate goal.

"Breaking records and extra achievements will be a bonus, but that is not part of the motivation or the focus."

With only three league matches left for Ackermann's charges, a maximum haul of 15 log points will be foremost in their minds if they are to have any chance of reaching the play-offs in the conference era.

The team from Johannesburg will be encouraged by the notion that the Cheetahs have been their favourite locally based team in the competition, winning seven of their 12 encounters since the two franchises parted ways as the Cats.

"We know we will have to meet fire with fire against the Lions on Saturday," Cheetahs captain Francois Uys said.

"If you allow them to do what they want and not disrupt them at all, it will be easy for them, as they are a good unit and play well together.

"So we will have to play well to beat them, like we did in Johannesburg earlier in the season - when one or two errors in the end probably cost us the game.

"If we stick together as a team, we know we're in with a chance."

Lions captain Warren Whiteley, like his coach, cautioned his teammates against expecting an easy ride in Bloemfontein.

"They are an unpredictable side and we know when they click they are a dangerous side," Whiteley said, adding: "We saw that when we played against them [in Johannesburg last month] and they played great rugby.

"It is really important for us first and foremost to focus for 80 minutes and that is one of our games the last couple of weeks.

"It is important to play the right type of rugby they are a dangerous side on turnover ball and they've got some explosive runners at the back."

Recent results:
2015: Lions won 34-29, Johannesburg
2014: Lions won 60-25, Johannesburg
2014: Lions won 21-20, Bloemfontein
2012: Cheetahs won 26-5, Welkom
2012: Lions won 27-25, Johannesburg
2011: Cheetahs won 53-19, Johannesburg
2011: Lions won 25-20, Bloemfontein

Prediction: The Cheetahs have held a half-time lead in four of their last five games against the Lions, but won just one of these matches. Having previously lost 17 out of 18 away games, the Lions have won three of their last five on the road. Seven of the Lions' last eight games have been settled by five points or fewer. The Lions have the best tackle success rate this season (88 percent) whilst the Cheetahs have broken fewer tackles per game than any other team (12.7). The Cheetahs can boast the hooker with the most successful line-out throws (Torsten van Jaarsveld - 117 from 135), whilst replacement Stephan Coetzee's throw success rate of 94 percent is the best of any hooker (minimum 10+ throws). The Cheetahs have been erratic at best this season - a combination of injuries and internal issues. The home side does have the added motivation of it being the last home game of Naka Drotské and Os du Randt. The Lions were just as poor in their last outing. However, the Lions have showed a lot more promise this season and should have just too much class for the Cheetahs - winning by 12 to 15 points.

Teams:

Cheetahs:
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Johannes Prinsloo, 6 Carel Greeff, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Minnie.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Burrie Uys, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Coenie van Wyk, 23 Rayno Benjamin.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Robert Kruger, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Harold Vorster.
 
Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Stormers v Rebels
(Newlands, Cape Town - Kick-off: 19.10; 03.10, Sunday, May 24 AEST; 17.10 GMT)

Don't expect a free-flowing try feast. It looks set to be a dour arm-wrestle.

Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham made it clear earlier this week that both teams will rely on their defence to strangle to opposition and secure victory.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee also said they will look to secure the win first, and worry about the "bonuses" afterwards.

"The Rebels have beaten the Crusaders and the Brumbies away this year, so it shows their capacity as a team," Coetzee said.

"We need to pitch up for this weekend's match - we need to bring attitude and ensure our physicality is spot-on.

"This is much-improved Rebels team. They're a good team, they're well-coached and we know we're in for a tough time of it on Saturday."

The Stormers can claim top spot in the South African conference - depending on what happens in the encounter between the Chiefs and Bulls on Friday.

The Bulls are on tour for the next three weeks, while the Stormers are at home for that same period.

For Coetzee it is about their own game, doing the basics and securing the win.

"We want to be stronger and better against the Rebels this week," he said, adding: "I think we all agree that our line-outs aren't there yet and we're working on that plan.

"The bonus points scenario, if you look at all the teams that have six, seven bonus points, they are teams that have lost narrowly six, seven times.

"We don't want to go and say we must just lose [by less than seven], we want to fight until we win the game and that's the philosophy."

With a bit of rain expected in Cape Town on Saturday, four tries might move even further down the list of priorities.

"It's not going to change our playing style. It's not going to force us to do something that we haven't done," said Coetzee.

Previous results:
2013: Rebels won 30-21, Melbourne
2012: Stormers won 26-21, Cape Town
2011: Stormers won 40-3, Melbourne

Prediction: The Stormers have won their last four against Aussie opposition, despite trailing at half-time in two of these matches. The Rebels are yet to win in South Africa, losing all eight games so far, picking up just two losing points in the process and conceding an average of 40 points per game. The three previous games between these sides have seen an average aggregate score of 47 points. Only the Hurricanes and the Crusaders have a better scrum success than these two sides (92 percent). Damian de Allende has beaten the most defenders this season (49), 23 more than the
top Rebels player (Sean McMahon - 26). Expect lots of scrums, line-outs and mauls - with the Stormers winning by less than 10 points.

Teams:

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

Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Tom English, 13 Dom Shipperley, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Cam Crawford, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 ,Scott Fuglistaller 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Cruze Ah-Nau.
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Colby Fainga'a, 22 Luke Burgess, 23 Bryce Hegarty.

Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning
@King365ed
@rugby365com


Statistical information provided by Opta Sports
 

 

Mc article cheetahs v lions 630

Lions spoil Os & Naka's party

Sat, 23 May 2015 16:56

REPORT: The Lions spoiled Cheetahs coaches Naka Drotské and Os du Randt's Bloemfontein farewell, with a comprehensive 40-17 victory.

The Lions spoiled Cheetahs coaches Naka Drotské and Os du Randt's Bloemfontein farewell, with a comprehensive 40-17 victory on Saturday.

The four tries to two bonus-point triumph ensured that the Lions retain their hope of reaching the Super Rugby play-offs for the first time since their split from the Cheetahs 10 years ago.

However, for Drotské and Du Randt it was a sad farewell to the Free State Stadium - with Drotské retiring after next week's away game to the Stormers and Du Randt heading to Japan next month.

The highlight of their long spell in charge was steering the Cheetahs to the Super Rugby play-offs two years ago.

Flawless goal-kicking by flyhalf Elton Jantjies, good handling by backs and forwards, and powerful scrummaging were key factors in the comfortable success.  

The Lions host the Australian Waratahs next weekend before visiting compatriots the Stormers in their final league game and two victories could see them through to the knock-out stages.

Flank Jaco Kriel, centre Lionel Mapoe, wing Courtnall Skosan and scrumhalf Francois de Klerk scored a try each for the Lions, who led 23-3 at half-time in perfect late South African autumn conditions.

And Jantjies was back to his best goal-kicking form, not missing a shot as he slotted four conversions and four penalties for a 20-point contribution.

Flank Johannes Prinsloo scored two tries for the Cheetahs and replacement back Coenie van Wyk converted both.

A penalty from flyhalf Francois Brummer gave the hosts a seventh-minute lead that did not last long.

Jantjies kicked two penalties to give the visitors an advantage they never surrendered and Kriel claimed the opening try on 26 minutes after a driving maul off a line-out.

Another Jantjies penalty stretched the lead to 16-3 before the try of the match was scored in first-half stoppage time.

Numerous Lions handled the ball in a sweeping movement before a De Klerk dummy created space for Mapoe to burst through.

A Kriel off-load sent Skosan clear for the third try before the Lions were temporarily reduced to 14 men when hooker Robbie Coetzee was sin-binned for a late, dangerous tackle.

Prinsloo gave Cheetahs supporters a rare opportunity to cheer with the first of his two pushover tries before the Lions got their bonus-point fourth try on 66 minutes.  

Powerful running and skilful handling brought the Lions close to the try-line and when De Klerk was held just short, he dotted the ball down with an outstretched hand.

Man of the match:  Clayton Blommetjies was the one Cheetahs backline player that looked threatening with ball in hand, while flank Johannes Prinsloo was the home team's most productive forward. Andries Coetzee was a constant threat, Howard Mnisi showed he deserves more starting opportunities, Lionel Mapoe showed he can be an asset to the Springboks at the World Cup and Francois de Klerk was at his most brilliant best behind the Lions pack. Flanks Warwick Tecklenburg and Jaco Kriel is never far away from this award, while the Lions scrum was again a good weapon. However, our award goes to the team's two most consistent players - flyhalf Elton Jantjies, for his near flawless control, and captain Warren Whiteley, for again showing his sublime skills and enormous workrate.

The scorers:

For the Cheetahs:
Tries:
Prinsloo 2
Cons: Van Wyk 2
Pens: Brummer

For the Lions:
Tries:
Kriel, Mapoe, Skosan, De Klerk
Cons: Jantjies 4
Pens: Jantjies 4

Yellow card: Robbie Coetzee (Lions, 49 - foul play, spear tackle)

Teams:

Cheetahs:
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Johannes Prinsloo, 6 Carel Greeff, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Danie Minnie.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Burrie Uys, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Coenie van Wyk, 23 Rayno Benjamin.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Harold Vorster.
 
Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Boom Prinsloo (51min) and Boom Prinsloo (71min)
TRIES
Jaco Kriel (26min), Lionel Mapoe (40min), Courtnall Skosan (43min), and Francois de Klerk (66min)
Coenie van Wyk (52min) and Coenie van Wyk (72min)
CONVERSIONS
Elton Jantjies (28min), Elton Jantjies (40min), Elton Jantjies (45min), and Elton Jantjies (67min)
Francois Brummer (7min)
PENALTIES
Elton Jantjies (10min), Elton Jantjies (16min), Elton Jantjies (36min), and Elton Jantjies (55min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
 
Robbie Coetzee (49min)
 
 
VENUE Bloemfontein
REFEREE Jaco van Heerden