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Super Rugby | Dunedin
07:35 (GMT) | 30-05-2015
  • 81
Join us for more live coverage of Super Rugby as the Force take on the Reds next up.
  • 80
The restart by McKenzie doesn't go 10m, and that brings the game to FULL-TIME.
  • 78
Sopoaga can't convert the kick.
  • 77
Highlanders 5m out, and the forwards pick-and-go a couple of times sucking in defenders, before Smith goes wide. Sopoaga plays Ben Smith and he powers his way over for the try.
  • 76
Highlanders secure the line-out and launch a backline attack. Sam Cane is penalised for not supporting his body-weight. The Highlanders opt for the scrum in search of a bonus-point try.
  • 74
Smith keeps on putting box-kicks in pinning the Chiefs back in their 22m. Pressure is put on the and the Highlanders force the line-out inside the Chiefs 22m.
  • 73
Sopoaga, from the corner, nails the conversion.
  • 72
Highlanders are 5m out as Smith keeps it with the forwards. Smith goes back to the blind and finds Buckman who dives over the line for a try.
  • 70
Sopoaga puts a cross-kick in for the Osborne, the kick is touched and Horrell calls for the mark but it doesn't count as the ball was touched. He is swamped over the line for a Highlanders scrum.
  • 68
McKenzies restart goes out on the full and the Highlanders have a scrum on centre. Smith puts a grubber through and McKenzie fields the ball but the Highlanders are there in numbers to force a scrum.
  • 66
Sopoaga is on song and he converts the penalty.
  • 65
Highlanders gain a penalty from the scrum and Sopoaga will keep chipping away with a kick for poles.
  • 63
Sopoaga puts a kick over the Highlanders defence, but Heem is back to dot down for a 22m restart. Sopoaga goes aerial again. McKenzie can't field it and the Highlanders have a scrum for a kncok-on.
  • 60
Sopoaga raises the flag for the Highlanders and pts 3 more points on the board.
  • 59
Highlanders have a line-out on the Chiefs 10m Osborne comes in at first receiver. Chiefs are pinned for offside play. Sopoaga will try and cancel out McKenzies earlier penalty.
  • 57
McKenzie from 30 metres in front, converts the penalty.
  • 56
Chiefs attack in midfield and the Highlanders a penalised for hands in the ruck. McKenzie presented with another chance to kick for poles.
  • 55
Pule feeds the scrum, and they peel blind but Pulu's kick goes out on the full. Highlanders set for the line-out in Chiefs territory. Osbornes takes a flat ball and sets the next phase. Smith moves it wide but the pass to Naholo goes forward for a Chiefs scrum.McKenzie kicks down field and Smith responds with a high kick. Chiefs field it but the ball becomes unplayable for Chiefs scrum.
  • 53
Highlanders lose the ball and the Chiefs have a scrum on their 22m.
  • 52
In the wet conditions we see another handling error, this time from Elliot. The Highlanders have a scrum around halfway.
  • 49
McKenzie converts the penalty for the Chiefs.
  • 47
Chiefs taking it direct, and Edmonds is penalised for offside. McKenzie will slow things down with a kick for poles.
  • 46
Chiefs now with possession on halfway and they earn a penalty as Hardy is penalised for a no-arms tackle. McKenzie finds touch for the Chiefs.
  • 45
Sopoaga puts a good conversion over from the corner.
  • 44
Sopoaga puts a kick in and McKenzie returns with a touch-finder on halfway. Coltman throws and the Highlanders secure the line-out. Naholo comes flat from his wings and burst through the Chiefs line. He changes direction, puts the jets on and burns Heem as he heads for the corner and scores the try.
  • 42
After a kick exchange, Sopoaga finds touch near halfway for a Chiefs line-out which the Highlanders disrupt for a scrum to the home-side.
  • 41
SECOND-HALF: Chiefs flyhalf Marty McKenzie gets the half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
The Highlanders with a scrum 5m from their own line and Smith makes a touch-finder on their 22m. The Chiefs with a last chance to attack in the half. The throw is too far and Pryor comes away with it. Smith kicks it out to bring the game to HALF-TIME.
  • 39
The Chiefs with a huge shove and win a penalty against the head. They go for the line-out again, and set the drive. Pulu swings to his flyhalf McKenzie and he puts a grubber through for his brother to chase. He dives on it and scores the try. McKenzies unite. However after a TMO review, the try is dissallowed an ruled a knock-on.
  • 36
Aaron Smith pinned for off-sides at the ruck and the Chiefs kick for the corner. They win the line-out and form the maul, but accidental off-sides hands the Highlanders a scrum.
  • 34
Chiefs slowing it down as the forwards rumble forward. The ball becomes unplayable and the Chiefs have another scrum 10m out for the try-line.
  • 33
Chiefs attack from the kick-off as McKenzie plays Gear who shows some wheels and burns Osborne on the outside, he chips through and there is a knock-on from the Highlanders. The Chiefs set for a scrum in the Highlanders 22m. Gear takes a short pass to set the platform off the scrum.
  • 30
Sopoaga strikes the post on the attempted conversion.
  • 29
Chiefs make a hash of it as they try and run the miss-kick out and hand a line-out to the highlanders 5m out. They are paying under advantage, but Chiefs defense is good. They go wide to find the big wing Osborne who shrugs off two defenders and dives over for the try.
  • 27
Sopoaga takes a shot at goal from 50m on the angle but it is short.
  • 26
Pulu throws a dummy from the scrum and finds a hole running 40m, but his pass is intercepted by Fekitoa tracking back. Ben Smith kicks onto McKenzie and he returns the favour. McKenzie penalised for cleaning Aaron Smith out who was not part of the ruck.
  • 23
McKenzie finds touch from the scrum for a Highlanders line-out on the Chiefs 22m. Coltmans throw is not straight and the Chiefs opt for the scrum.
  • 21
Naholo powers forward taking the direct route but loses the ball 2m from the line. The Chiefs have a scrum in their red zone.
  • 20
Highlanders setting for a line-out on halfway. Smith goes high and the Highlanders recollect. Fekitoa finds some space down the touchline and the Highlanders are 7m out.
  • 17
This time McKenzies radar is is good and the Chiefs are on the board.
  • 16
Chiefs get over the advantage line well through 3 phases as Elliot goes hard and gains metres. Highlanders penalised at the ruck and McKenzie will have another attempt at goal.
  • 15
Highlanders go left from the scrum and Smith plays Naholo who takes it to the line. Another handling error by the Highlanders and the Chiefs have a scrum on halfway.
  • 14
Highlanders now with a line-out on the Chiefs 10m. Its a good set move by the backs, but Chiefs defense is good. Coltman is then penalised for holdig on. McKenzie will look for territory. Chiefs secure the line-out on halfway, but a pass to Sam Cane is slightly forward. Scrum Highlanders.
  • 12
Its a good strike and its over. Superb kick from Sopoaga.
  • 11
Smith goes aerial and the Vaipulu is penalised for obstructive running. Sopoaga is going to have another crack at posts from 50m out.
  • 9
The penalty kick is good by Sopoaga and the Highlanders take the lead.
  • 8
Highlanders are awarded a penalty from the scrum for offside play by the Chiefs. Sopoaga will look to put the Highlanders on the board.
  • 5
Chiefs are quickly back into Highlanders territory. Pulu slows things down as Cane takes it up. Ainley makes a steal on the ground and the Highlanders kick but dont find touch. Gear fields and starts to counter, Highlanders turnover again and Smith hacks it forward. Heem is back to cover but knocks it forward. Scrum Highlanders just outside the Chiefs 22m.
  • 3
McKenzie has pushed it right of the poles. The scores remain level.
  • 2
Chiefs with early possession in the Highlanders half, and they receive a penalty for Edmonds not rolling away. McKenzie will have a shot at goal.
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Highlanders flyhalf Lima Sopoaga gets the game underway.
  • -10
The fog has rolled in at Invercargill so it might change the approach from both sides. The Highlanders will look to use theirs strengths and counter from the back three, and the Chiefs will want to make sure they kick into space.
  • -20
There is plenty at stake in this game, given that just one point separates the two sides. The Highlanders have won their last two against the Chiefs.
  • -30
Welcome to live coverage of Super Rugby Round 16 with the Chiefs taking on the Highlanders at Invercargill.
Mc highlanders logo 80x50
Mc chiefs logo 80x50
  • 15 Ben Smith
  • 14 Waisake Naholo
  • 13 Malakai Fekitoa
  • 12 Richard Buckman
  • 11 Patrick Osborne
  • 10 Lima Sopoaga
  • 9 Aaron Smith
  • 8 Dan Pryor
  • 7 John Hardie
  • 6 Elliot Dixon
  • 5 Tom Franklin
  • 4 Alex Ainley
  • 3 Josh Hohneck
  • 2 Liam Coltman
  • 1 Brendon Edmonds
  • 23 Jason Emery
  • 22 Marty Banks
  • 21 Fumiaki Tanaka
  • 20 Gareth Evans
  • 19 Joe Latta
  • 18 Ross Geldenhuys
  • 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown
  • 16 Ash Dixon
  • 15 Damian McKenzie
  • 14 Hosea Gear
  • 13 Charlie Ngatai
  • 12 Anton Lienert-Brown.
  • 11 Bryce Heem
  • 10 Marty McKenzie
  • 9 Augustine Pulu
  • 8 Michael Leitch
  • 7 Maama Vaipulu
  • 6 Sam Cane
  • 5 Michael Fitzgerald
  • 4 Ross Filipo
  • 3 Ben Tameifuna
  • 2 Hika Elliot
  • 1 Pauliasi Manu
  • 23 Tim Nanai-Williams
  • 22 Andrew Horrell
  • 21 Brad Weber
  • 20 Mitchell Crosswell
  • 19 Brian Alainu'uese
  • 18 Mitchell Graham
  • 17 Siate Tokolahi
  • 16 Quentin MacDonald
Mc article lions training 630

Preview: S15 Round 16, Part Two

Fri, 29 May 2015 00:20

Saturday's action covers the whole spectrum, with Super Rugby action from the top to the bottom. Jan de Koning reports.

Saturday's action covers the whole spectrum, with Super Rugby action from the top to the bottom.

Not only do we have the pace-setters going toe-to-toe, but we also have an intriguing basement battle.

It all starts at Rugby Park in New Zealand's most southern city,  Invercargill, where the Chiefs and Highlanders will meet in a crucial conference encounter. They are fourth (Chiefs) and fifth (Highlanders) on the standings, with just one point separating them.

This is followed by the all-Australian basement battle between the Western Force and Reds in Perth.

We then make the long trek across the Indian Ocean to Cape Town, where the Stormers will be under pressure to maintain their winning form in their all-South African derby against the Cheetahs - to ensure they hold onto their conference lead.

The Lions, who could claim the SA conference lead should the Stormers slip up, will face a Waratahs team without suspended forward pair Silatolu Latu and Will Skelton. Both lost their appeals on Thursday - meaning Latu's four-week and Skelton's two-week bans remain in place.

We look at Saturday's matches!

Saturday, May 30

Highlanders v Chiefs

(Rugby Park, Invercargill - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)

There is plenty at stake, given that just one point separates the two sides.

The most significant aspect is the number of former Southland players in the Chiefs team that will 'return home' to Invercargill.

However, one who will not feature is former Highlanders prop Jamie Mackintosh.  He was captain of the Highlanders for two seasons, before he left after the side's disappointing 2013 season.

Mackintosh, who played one Test for the All Blacks in 2008, has had a stop-start season with the Chiefs this year. The loosehead prop played in the opening half of the season, but when the team got back from South Africa he had to go to Perth for a family funeral and has not got back into the team since.

Despite not being named in the matchday 23, he said there's still a very strong Southland connection.

"We've got the McKenzie brothers [Damian and Marty] in our side, and they're from Southland.," Mackintosh told the Otago Daily Times.

"Plus we have some special players in our side."

The man they call Whoppa, said this week the Chiefs were concentrating on making sure they did not give the Highlanders any opportunities on the counterattack.

The Chiefs have been forced to make some important selections as well, with Sam Cane taking over as captain from injured skipper Liam Messam, who will miss the match with a left shoulder injury that flared up following last Friday's win over the Bulls in Rotorua.

The injury is only expected to keep the All Blacks flank out for one game.

"This is the group that is hopefully going to propel us to the play-offs and then we'll worry about guys coming back later in the round-robin," Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie told the Waikato Times.

Recent results:
2015: Highlanders won 20-17, Hamilton
2014: Highlanders won 29-25, Dunedin
2014: Chiefs won 21-19, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 19-7, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 41-27, Dunedin
2012: Chiefs won 27-21, Dunedin
2012: Highlanders won 23-19, Hamilton

Prediction: The Highlanders have won their last two against the Chiefs, a feat they had not previously achieved since 2000, when they won four in a row (1997 to 2000). Two of the last three meetings between these sides has seen the side losing at half-time go on to win the match. The Chiefs have made more offloads per game than any other team this season (18.2) while the Highlanders have allowed their opponents the most in 2015 (13.3). The Chiefs have conceded a competition-high 17.7 turnovers per game this season while opponents of the Highlanders have conceded more than against any other opponent (18.4). The Highlanders have scored more tries than any other team in the 20 minutes leading up to half-time (14), however the Chiefs have conceded the joint fewest in the same quarter (three). Not much to choose between the teams and we feel the Highlanders will edge an exciting encounter - by five points.


Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Dan Pryor, 7 John Hardie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Joe Latta, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Hosea Gear, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Bryce Heem, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Maama Vaipulu, 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Mitchell Graham, 19 Brian Alainu'uese, 20 Mitchell Crosswell, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Tim Nanai-Williams.
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant referees: Shane McDermott, Mike Lash
TMO: Glenn Newman

Western Force v Reds
(nib Stadium, Perth - Kick-off: 17.40; 09.40 GMT; 19.40 AEST)

This basement battle is likely to have plenty of 'feeling', as neither side wants to finish last in the competition.

Quade Cooper will make his return from injury at flyhalf for the Reds in the most significant change.

The Force have named an unchanged side, as they look to register their third win of the season.  

"Quade [Cooper] was given the all clear 10 days ago, but we wanted to keep working on his strength and bulk just to ensure we didn't compromise his return," Reds head coach Richard Graham said.

"He has been training with the squad now for about three weeks and will have no problems returning to play at this level."

The Western Force have made no secret of the fact that they will do "whatever it takes" to win what is likely to be a brutal scrap.

"While we showed a lot of character last week [in a loss to the Highlanders], particularly in defence, it's important we bring that same intensity to finish off the opportunities we're creating in attack," coach Michael Foley said.

"It's exciting to finish with three derby matches - two of them in Perth - and the guys are very driven to finish the season well."

The Perth-based franchise were beaten 18-6 by the Reds earlier this season, and prop Pek Cowan said the team are eager to turn the tables on Saturday.

"You don't normally like to lose a derby game, so for us there's definitely a bit of revenge," Cowan told the Australian Associated Press.

"We're making it very personal. We're going to make sure we do the job.

"We're playing to win.

"We're playing all Australian teams [in the last three rounds] and there's no better way to take out a bit of frustrating than to play against guys that you know quite well."

Recent results:
2015: Reds won 18-6, Brisbane
2014: Force won 30-20, Perth
2014: Force won 32-29, Brisbane
2013: Force and Reds drew 11-all, Perth
2013: Force won 19-12, Brisbane
2012: Force won 45-19, Perth
2012: Reds won 35-20, Brisbane

Prediction: The Force have only ever lost at home to the Reds once before - in 2011. The Force have won just two games this season, both against 2014 champions, the Waratahs. The Force (17 minutes and 27 seconds) and the Reds (16 minutes and 36 seconds) rank first and second for average time spent in possession this season. Despite this, the Force have made the fewest clean breaks this season, averaging just 5.1 per game. Only the Force (53 percent) have a worse kick success this season than the Reds (58 percent). The Force players seem to rise to another level in all-Australian derbies and could sneak a win - by less than a converted try.


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 Patrick Dellit

Reds: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Karmichael Hunt, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Lachie Turner, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Adam Thomson, 5 James Horwill, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 James Hanson, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements - from: Andrew Ready, Pettowa Paraka, Sam Talakai, Ed O'Donoghue, Beau Robinson, Nick Frisby, Jake McIntyre, Ben Tapuai, Jamie-Jerry Taulagi
Referee: Matt O'Brien
Assistant referees: Damien Mitchelmore, Michael Hogan
TMO: Peter Marshall

Stormers v Cheetahs
(Newlands, Cape Town - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT)

The build-up to this game has all been about it being the final match for Naka Drotské and Os du Randt.

Drotské will retired, with Franco Smith taking over from next week, while Du Randt will head to Japan.

For the Stormers it is about maintaining their lead in the South African conference.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee admitted that it will be a fired-up Cheetahs team arriving at Newlands.

"One should never underestimate how important this game is for those guys," Coetzee told a media briefing in Cape Town.

"They are still a good side, they are a willing side and they want to play for each other.

"There is also the emotional thing where they want to have a good send-off for their coach."

However, the Stormers' motivation is completely different.

"We have got to focus on our processes," he said, adding: "We have got to make sure our work-rate is good, our defence is sound and our set-pieces function well.

"The rain is going to come down over the weekend so we have got to make sure our scrum is still strong and solid and our line-out has improved so that is a focus."

Coetzee also felt that the Cheetahs' lowly position on the standings - third from last with just four wins from 13 outings - is misleading.

"A lot of people will look at the Cheetahs and underestimate them, we have burnt our fingers and learned from that.

"It is the business-end and you want to get your game up and running in all departments and make massive progress going forward.

"That is where you get confidence through winning tough games like this in the latter part of the competition."

Recent results:
2015: Cheetahs won 25-17, Bloemfontein
2014: Stormers won 33-0, Cape Town
2014: Cheetahs won 35-22, Bloemfontein
2013: Stormers won 28-3, Cape Town
2013: Cheetahs won 26-24, Bloemfontein
2012: Stormers won 13-6, Bloemfontein
2012: Stormers won 16-14, Cape Town

Prediction: The Cheetahs have scored just three points combined in their last two away games against the Stormers, losing on their last six trips to their conference rivals. The Cheetahs have lost their last two games by more than 20 points; the last time they lost three in a row by 20+ points was in 2010 when they lost four by 20 points or more. The Stormers (81 percent) and the Cheetahs (80 percent) rank first and second for kick success this season. The Cheetahs have the worst scrum success this season (74 percent) while the Stormers boast the third best in Super Rugby 2015 (92 percent). The Cheetahs have conceded more metres (512) and clean breaks (11.8) per game than any other team this season, while the Stormers have conceded the third fewest in each category (389 and 6.5). The Stormers are unlikely to be caught napping again, as they were earlier this season. Also, the expected inclement weather will suit the Stormers' more structured game and they should win by about 15 points.


15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
Cheetahs: 5 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Joe Pietersen, 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 Burry Uys, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Sarel Pretorius, 22 Coenie van Wyk, 23 Rayno Benjamin.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Francois Pretorius (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

Lions v Waratahs
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 19.10; 03.10 AEST; 17.10 GMT)

The Waratahs have been labelled the 'bullies' of Super Rugby, in the wake of the double ban slapped on two players.

While Tahs coach Michael Cheika naturally defended his players and the team's tactics, he was unable to convince a judicial panel that they have not crossed that thin divide between physical and foul.

The result is that their appeal - against the bans of lock Will Skelton (two weeks) and hooker Tolu Latu (four weeks) - have been dismissed.

They will have neither of these 'enforcers' available at Ellis Park on Saturday - although Latu would not have played anyway, as he wasn't even named in the tour squad.

Cheika has publicly questioned the reasons for labelling his team as being "over the top" with their physicality and asked whether people wanted a "soft" Super Rugby team or a "hard" unit.

Cheika described the performance of the 23-year-old man-mountain, Skelton, as what's expected from a forward.

"He's just playing footy and he's playing footy hard and like we should," Cheika told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"The whole thing is a moot point. Will is a big guy and that's how he played on that day, it was the nature of things.
"We just want a game played with physicality, nothing outside of the rules - just play hard. That's what our goal is, as it is for every rugby team. People either want us to be softies or hard - I'm not sure what the issue is."
Lions coach Johan Ackermann sidestepped the controversy surrounding the Waratahs and suggested his team will be up against a team of 'international' standard.

Despite the absence of the part-time Wallaby lock, Skelton, the Waratahs still have superstars like Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale, Michael Hooper and Bernard Foley.

“They've been together for quite a while now and they've obviously been coached well," Ackermann told a media briefing at the team's base in Johannesburg.

"If you look at the number of Australian caps in that side it is almost like the Lions against Australia," Ackermann added.

“So that is the challenge that lies ahead for us, but it is a great one for the players and for the team, against a quality side."

Recent results:
2014 : Waratahs won 41-13, Sydney
2011: Waratahs won 29-12, Sydney
2010: Waratahs won 73-12, Sydney
2009: Waratahs won 38-33, Johannesburg
2008: Waratahs won 26-3, Sydney
2007: Waratahs won 25-16, Johannesburg

Prediction: The Johannesburg-based side's solitary win against the Tahs was in 1997 - although as the Cats (combined with the Cheetahs) they won in 2001. Since then they have conceded an average of 39 points per game and scored just 15 themselves. Since 2012, the Brumbies (twice) are the only Australian side to win in South Africa against the Lions. The Waratahs have averaged 22 defenders beaten per game this season, the second most in Super Rugby, however the Lions have the best tackle success in 2015 (88 percent). The Tahs have scored more first phase tries than any other team this season (19) while the Lions have scored a joint-high nine tries after seven-plus phases. These two sides boast three of the top six tacklers in Super Rugby (Warren Whiteley - 204 from 211, Warwick Tecklenburg -153 from 159 and Michael Hooper - 144 from 165). There is no doubt the Waratahs will start as favourites and should win - while the Lions will do well to keep it down to single digits.


15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1  Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Dillon Smi, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Nicolaas Hanekom.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 David Dennis (captain), 4 Mitchell Chapman, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Hugh Roach, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 David Porecki, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Dean Mumm, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Matt Carraro.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Lesego Legoete (South Africa), Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Interviews this week!

Mc article highlanders v chiefs 630

Highlanders smash hapless Chiefs

Sat, 30 May 2015 09:45

REPORT: The Highlanders produced a classy second-half performance to record a bonus-point 36-9 win over the Chiefs in a wet Invercargill.

The Highlanders produced a classy second-half performance to record a bonus-point 36-9 win over the Chiefs in a very wet Invercargill on Saturday.

The four-tries-to-nil victory kept alive the Highlanders' slim chance of catching the table-topping Hurricanes, while the result put a serious dent in the Chiefs' play-off hopes.

Leading just 11-3 at half-time, the Highlanders applied the squeeze-tactics and scored three unanswered second-half tries - the bonus-point scoring coming in the 77th minute.

The 10th win from 14 games lifted the Highlanders to within nine points of the Hurricanes and offers a chance to overtake the competition leaders - who were beaten by the Crusaders 35-18 last Friday.

At a foggy and damp Rugby Park the Highlanders subjected the Chiefs to a barrage of high kicks, forcing handling errors and gaining a territorial advantage that delivered a four-try bonus point win.

The Highlanders led 11-3 at half-time - with a try to Patrick Osborne and two Lima Sopoaga penalties.

Waisake Naholo's brilliant solo effort just after the break built the buffer the Highlanders had been looking for, after the Chiefs mounted a concerted effort in the closing stages of the first spell to narrow the gap.

The giant wing took the ball as first receiver from a line-out on the half-way line and ploughed through a wilting defence on a 55-metre run to the line.

The Highlanders had opened with two penalties by Sopoaga to one by Damian McKenzie for the Chiefs, before Osborne crossed for his try after a long build-up that began when the Highlanders turned down a shot at goal and went for a line-out drive.

The forwards were held up forcing scrumhalf Aaron Smith to bring the backs into play, with the ball sent from side to side across the ground until the Chiefs' defence cracked.

The Chiefs were denied a chance to close the gap at the end of the half when they turned penalties into line-out drives three times only to fall short of turning them into points.

Fullback Damian McKenzie went closest when he dived on the ball over the tryline following a chip kick by his flyhalf brother Marty McKenzie.

But after watching several replays the television match official ruled that Damian McKenzie did not have sufficient control of the ball.

Three minutes into the second half Naholo's try converted by Sopoaga lifted the Highlanders to an 18-3 lead and their confidence grew.

McKenzie landed two further penalties for the Chiefs to close the gap to 18-9, before Sopoaga added two more penalties and converted the tries by Buckman and Ben Smith to finish with a personal match tally of 16 points.

Man of the match: Not too many Chiefs in the running for this, given that their notorious lack of discipline saw their penalty count into double figures again. Waisake Naholo scored an awesome try, not to mention how crucial it was in giving the Highlanders the breathing space they required early in the second half. Ben Smith is always close and he scored the bonus-point try. Elliot Dixon had a massive game. Lima Sopoaga controlled the game with poise. However, our award goes to Highlanders scrumhalf Aaron Smith for the quality of his service in the testing conditions at a very cold and wet Invercargill.

The scorers:

For the Highlanders:
Osborne, Naholo, Buckman, B Smith
Cons: Sopoaga 2
Pens: Sopoaga 4

For the Chiefs:
D McKenzie 3


15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Dan Pryor, 7 John Hardie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Joe Latta, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Jason Emery.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Hosea Gear, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Bryce Heem, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Maama Vaipulu, 5 Michael Fitzgerald, 4 Ross Filipo, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Mitchell Graham, 19 Brian Alainu'uese, 20 Mitchell Crosswell, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Tim Nanai-Williams.
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant referees: Mike Lash, Mike Lash
TMO: Glenn Newman

Patrick Osborne (29min), Waisake Naholo (44min), Richard Buckman (72min), and Ben Smith (77min)
Lima Sopoaga (45min) and Lima Sopoaga (73min)
Lima Sopoaga (9min), Lima Sopoaga (12min), Lima Sopoaga (60min), and Lima Sopoaga (66min)
Damian McKenzie (17min), Damian McKenzie (49min), and Damian McKenzie (57min)
VENUE Dunedin
REFEREE Nic Briant