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Super Rugby | Auckland
07:35 (GMT) | 06-06-2015
  • 83
We head straight to Brisbane for the next match!
  • 82
Blues kick the ball up-field and the Saders run the ball back. The ball eventually goes into touch and that's FULL-TIME!
  • 80
Blues grab hold of the ball but Hickey decides to kick the ball up-field. Carter claims it and runs it back to the Blues' 10 metre line. The siren goes but the Saders keep going. Bird runs onto a ball and gets to the 22. Fonotia gets the ball and looks to offload to Nadolo, who spills it forward
  • 79
Saders secure the line-out and Ellis kicks the ball up-field. The Blues look to run the ball back at the Saders but Mealamu coughs up possession to hand the Saders the scrum feed on the halfway line
  • 78
The Blues win the ball at the breakdown and sends a huge kick up field. Lam goes charging after it and claims the ball but runs out of room and into touch
  • 77
Saders in possession on the halfway line and it gets a little scrappy with an attempted grubber but the Saders secure possession once again and find themselves on the Blues' 10 metre line
  • 76
Hickey fails to curl the ball in from the right touchline to leave the try unconverted
  • 75
Ball squirts out the back and Moala has a go at the line. He is stopped short but the quick ball finds Lam who can't be stopped this time to grab the Blues' first try of the match
  • 74
The ball is quickly recycled and finds Lam who muscles his way over the line, taking 2 Saders players with him but Whitelock has managed to get his hands under the ball to thwart the attempt. Blues will restart the match with a 5 metre scrum
  • 73
Saders put in an early shove and Gibson-Park takes the quick tap. Blues are in possession on the Saders' 22. Gidson-Park finds Hickey who is brought down on the 5 metre line
  • 72
Nadolo spills a Gibson-Park high ball as he completely misses a leaping catch. Play resumes with Blues scrum feed on the Saders' 10 metre line
  • 71
A clever chip kick by Carter bounces kindly for Taylor but he can't hold onto the ball as it rolls into touch. Blues will have the throw-in just outside their 22
  • 69
It's time for a kicking battle as both sides look for some territory. Play comes to a standstill for a knock on. Saders will have the feed just inside their 10 metre line
  • 68
Carter lines up and slots another conversion as the Saders lead is stretched to 28 points
  • 67
The maul is set and they rumble their way over the line Todd emerges with the ball and that's the all important bonus points try!
  • 66
Should have been a line-out but play resumes with a 22 drop out. A Carter high ball is claimed by the Blues but they are under all sorts of pressure at the breakdown. PENALTY! Blues enter the ruck from the side. Carter kicks the ball into touch for a 5 metre attacking line-out
  • 65
Saders are just 5 metres from the try line after McCaw went on a little run through the Blues defence. It goes through a few phases and goes from one side of the field to the other. The ball is flung to the left and finds McCaw once again who has a go at the line under pressure from Lam. His elbow grazes the touchline in his attempt to score the try in the left corner
  • 64
Blues find themselves in possession on the halfway line but they lose the ball forward and the Saders are back in possession and on the attack on the Blues' 10 metre line. PENALTY! The Blues fail to roll away t the breakdown. Ellis takes it quickly
  • 62
Carter slots the easiest kick of the night to add the extra points
  • 61
Another solid scrum by the Saders sees them push the Blues back. The pressure proves too much as the Blues collapse under the pressure
  • 60
Solid scrum by the Saders sees them push the Blues back. PENALTY! Blues are caught unbound at the scrum. Saders opt for another 5 metre scrum
  • 59
Blues secure the line-out just outside the Saders' 10 metre line. Moala straightens the attack and makes about 5 metres before being brought down. TURNOVER! Saders win it back and Carter puts the ball on the boot. Lam opts to run the ball form close to his try line and is under all sorts of pressure. He gives the ball to Vaega who is muscled over his try line and forced to touch the ball down. 5 metre scrum to the Saders
  • 57
Ellis finds Nadolo who runs through the heart of the Blues defence. He is brought down inside the 22. A definite try-scoring chance comes to nothing though as Crotty is oenalised for having obstructed West in the lead-up to Nadolo breaking the line
  • 56
Blues scrum is under pressure and Ellis knocks the ball loose. Whitelock secures the ball but the Blues knock the ball on in their attempt to win it back. Saders scrum feed on the Blues' 10 metre line
  • 55
Fonotia spills a high ball in his attempt to catch it. Blues with the scrum feed on their 10 metre line
  • 54
Blues have secured the ball and to run the ball at the Saders. West finds a gap and finds Moala who goes on a run but his offload is snapped up by Tuitavake to hand possession back to the Saders
  • 53
The offload fails to find a team mate and the Blues come away with a scrum on the halfway line
  • 52
Solid scrum by the Blues allows them to have a probe at the line. They are stopped short and the ball is kept by the forwards who look to find a way through. Whitelock steals the ball and the Saders run the ball out the back. The ball finds Fruean who gets the ball over halfway line
  • 51
Moala breaks through a tackle and takes the Blues to the Saders' 10 metre line. Nanai gets the recycled ball and offloads to Edwards who throws the ball in-field but its picked off by Ellis. The Blues drives him back over his try line and are awarded a 5 metre scrum
  • 50
A loose ball sees them driven back into their territory. Nadolo nearly intercepts a pass but the Blues maintain possession. Moala opts to kick the ball ahead. Taylor puts in a kick of his own and finds touch on the halfway line
  • 49
Nanai secures a Taylor kick and runs the ball back at the Saders. He is brought down on Saders' 10 metre line. They take the ball through the phases but have made very little ground
  • 47
Carter splits the uprights to keep the Saders in front
  • 46
PENALTY! Blues are penalised for scrumming in on the angle and Carter will have a shot at goal
  • 44
The ball is secured but Moala's pass is knocked into touch by the Saders and the Blues opt for a scrum just outside their 22
  • 43
The Blues win back possession and West opts for a grubber but Carter mops it up and the Saders are back on the attack. They knock the ball on and the Blues will have the scrum feed just outside their 22
  • 42
Saders run the ball back at them and are in possession on the Blues' 10 metre line. Taufua makes a few metres as the Saders edge closer to the 22
  • 41
KICK-OFF! Carter gets the second half underway. blues secure the ball but are pinned inside their 22 and West is forced to put in a clearance kick.

Half Time

  • 40
Carter is forced to use his right foot to kick the ball into touch and hands the Blues a line-out just inside the Saders' 22. Blues secure the ball but Cowen knocks the ball on at the breakdown as the hooter sounds. HALF-TIME!
  • 39
Huge shove from the Saders sees them force the Blues into an error. Saders will have the scrum feed after the Blues knock the ball on.
  • 38
The maul is set and they get over the line but are held up. Play will resume with a Blues scrum 5 metres from the Saders' try line
  • 37
PENALTY! Saders wheel the scrum and the Blues opt to go for a 5 metre line-out
  • 36
Saders knock the ball on from the restart and the Blues will have the scrum feed just inside the Saders' 22
  • 35
Carter has his kicking boots with him today as he slots another conversion to stretch the lead even further
  • 34
Saders take the line-out quickly and Romano goes on a charging run from 7 metres out to bulldoze his way over the line
  • 33
Todd gets a great offload to Fruean and the centre gets to within 7 metres. The ball is recycled but West puts in a good tackle to knock the ball loose. The Blues attempt at a clearance goes into touch
  • 32
The ball is secured and West kicks it up-field but fails to find touch and the Saders run the ball back at them. Saders find themselves inside the Blues' 22
  • 31
Carter gets the ball and puts in another cross kick for Nadolo but the ball bounces awkwardly and the big man knocks the ball into touch. Blues opt for a line-out just inside their 22
  • 30
Saders win the ball and kick it up-field. Lam gets it and runs the ball back at the Saders but the attack is stopped by another forward pass. Scrum to the Saders just inside the Blues' 10 metre line
  • 29
Blues have made a few metres and are full of running. The ball finds Nanai who attempts a chip kick as he crosses the 22 but it's touched by the Saders and rolls into touch
  • 28
It's now the Saders' turn to cough up possession and the Blues have the ball on the halfway line
  • 27
Blues find themselves in possession on the halfway line but they hand possession back to the Saders as their attack is stopped by a forward pass
  • 26
Carter slots the kick to extend the Saders' lead
  • 25
PENALTY! The Saders win the scrum penalty after the Blues bind illegally. Carter will have a shot at goal
  • 24
Drummond snaps up a loose ball and the Saders find themselves inches from the line. Taufua loses the ball with the try line in sight. Blues will have the feed
  • 22
Fruean knocks the ball on from a Carter pass and the Blues are let off the hook. Scrum feed to the Blues
  • 21
Nadolo gets the ball at first receiver but is brought down before the line. Nothing comes of the breakdown but the Blues were offside. Saders will have another scrum on the 5 metre line
  • 19
Taufua snipes from the back of the scrum and gets over the line but he is held up and the ref brings them back for PENALTY after the Blues collapsed the scrum. Saders opt for another scrum
  • 18
Saders restart the match with a line-out inside the Blues' 22. They set the maul and have made their way to within 7 metres of the try line. The forwards do the hard work and Fruean gets over the line but he is held up. Saders scrum, 5 metres from the try line
  • 17
It's gone scrappy from the restart but things eventually settle as Franks secures the ball for the Saders to allow Taylor to kick the ball up-field. Lam gets the ball and runs it back at the Saders but the Blues are penalised at the breakdown for a side entry. Saders penalty on the halfway line
  • 16
Carter has a tough kick from the left touchline but he makes it look too easy as he adds the extra points
  • 14
Carter puts in a cross kick and Nadolo produces the try of the season. He leaps, under pressure, and grabs a one-hander before dotting the ball down
  • 13
Saders gets the ball back and finds Nadolo who goes on a bulldozing run down the left touchline. Saders maintain possession and have made their way close to the Blues' 5 metre line
  • 12
Drummond opts to kick from the back of the scrum but it flies straight into touch and the Blues will have the throw-in in Saders territory
  • 10
Blues edge their way up-field but a mistake in midfield sees them knock the ball on. Scrum to the Saders just short of their 10 metre line
  • 9
Blues set the maul but they lose the ball and the Carter is able to kick the ball up-field. The Blues run the ball back at the Saders and are in possession on the 10 metre line.
  • 8
The scrum has been changed to a PENALTY after Franks is penalised for a dangerous clean-out. West kicks the ball into touch on the Saders' 5 metre line for an attacking line-out
  • 7
It's a kicking battle after the restart. Play will resume with a Blues scrum feed on the halfway line
  • 6
He slots his second kick of the match to bring up 100 points for the year!
  • 5
McCaw fails to roll way at the breakdown and hands West a chance to have another shot at goal
  • 4
Crusaders under all sorts of pressure as the Blues are back in possession inside the Crusaders' 22
  • 3
West makes no mistake with the kick and the Blues draw first blood
  • 2
The Blues send the ball through the hands and West breaks through to get the Blues to the 5 metre line. PENALTY! Saders are caught offside and the Blues will have a shot at goal
  • 1
Drummond puts in an early kick to hand the Blues a line-out just outside the Saders' 22
  • 0
KICK-OFF! West gets the match underway
  • -5
Cool, clear and calm conditions will greet the teams when they take to the field and we look forward (hopefully) to some entertaining, running rugby
  • -10
Sitting eighth, the Crusaders still have a mathematical chance of making the finals
  • -15
Welcome to the game 4 of Round 17! The Blues host the Crusaders in Auckland!
Mc blues logo 80x50
Mc crusaders logo 80x50
  • 15 Matt Vaega
  • 14 Ben Lam
  • 13 Hamish Northcott
  • 12 George Moala
  • 11 Melani Nanai Vai
  • 10 Ihaia West
  • 9 Jimmy Cowan
  • 8 Airi Hunt
  • 7 Brendon O'Connor
  • 6 Joe Edwards
  • 5 Josh Bekhuis
  • 4 Will Lloyd
  • 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi
  • 2 James Parsons
  • 1 Sam Prattley
  • 23 Matt McGahan
  • 22 Simon Hickey
  • 21 Jamison Gibson-Park
  • 20 Chris Vui
  • 19 Hayden Triggs
  • 18 Sione Mafileo
  • 17 Nic Mayhew
  • 16 Keven Mealamu
  • 15 Tom Taylor
  • 14 Nafi Tuitavake
  • 13 Robbie Fruean
  • 12 David Havili
  • 11 Nemani Nadolo
  • 10 Dan Carter
  • 9 Mitchell Drummond
  • 8 Jordan Taufua
  • 7 Richie McCaw
  • 6 Matt Todd
  • 5 Dominic Bird
  • 4 Luke Romano
  • 3 Owen Franks
  • 2 Codie Taylor
  • 1 Wyatt Crockett
  • 23 Kieron Fonotia
  • 22 Ryan Crotty
  • 21 Andy Ellis
  • 20 Luke Whitelock
  • 19 Sam Whitelock
  • 18 Nepo Laulala
  • 17 Alex Hodgman
  • 16 Ben Funnell
Mc article tl 1183049

Preview: S15 Round 17, Part Two

Thu, 04 Jun 2015 16:54

There is plenty at stake in Round 17 - wildcard spots, home semifinals and pride. We look at what Saturday has to offer.

There is plenty at stake in Round 17 - wildcard spots, home semifinals and pride. 
The Bulls were second on the Super Rugby log when they jetted down-under for their tour and they now find themselves ninth on the overall and third in the South African conference. 
It is an absolute must-win for the Bulls if they are to have any chance of a play-off game. However, the Rebels side has shown more grit than previous seasons, and they will want to finish their campaign off on a high.
"It is a must-win for us and we owe it to ourselves and our campaign with what we’ve done at home also where we pulled it together," said Bulls coach Frans Ludeke.
The second game on Saturday sees us cross the Tasman Sea to Auckland where the Crusaders look to keep their sniff of finals alive when they take on the Blues. Saders coach Todd Blackadder will not be keen to slip up against a young inexperienced Blues outfit. 
Sticking in Oceania, there will be emotions all around Ballymore when the Reds fans bid farewell to Queensland greats Will Genia and James Horwill. The Reds take on the Chiefs and will surely want to give the two legends a winning send-off. It wont be easy as the Chiefs are hungry for a fourth place finish overall.
We then cross continents to Africa when the Cheetahs, governed by new coach Franco Smith, will blood youngsters as they attempt to beat the Waratahs in a new era in Bloemfontein. The Cheetahs have nothing to lose which is always a dangerous mindset. The Waratahs are tied at the top of the Australian conference with the Brumbies, and cannot afford another slip-up like they did against the Lions. 
It all then comes down to the game of the weekend, where the Lions will be looking to ride their high all the way to Newlands and back. The South African conference poll position is at stake in this game and it is do or die for the Johannesburg men. 
We look at Saturday's matches!
Saturday, June 6
Rebels v Bulls
(AAMI Park, Canberra - Kick-off: 15.30; 07.30 SA time; 05.30 GMT)
It seems like there is only pride at stake in this game.
Although the Bulls will be wanting to claw their way back into a play-off spot. After a dismal start to their Australasian tour, the Pretoria outfit will be all guns-blazing against a deflated Rebels side that suffered two defeats in South Africa.
The Bulls need favours from other teams for their play-off dreams to come true, but they have not lost hope. 
"That is why we will fight untill the last game to make sure because there is still hope, we need favours, but there is still hope," said Ludeke.
Ludeke's troops will have to do it without the incumbent Springbok flyhalf Handre Pollard who is being rested for the crunch game. Jacques-Louis Potgieter will be keen to answer his critics with a match-winning performance. 
For the Rebels there is only pride to play for, however they will be wanting to finish strongly at home in one of their better seasons ever.
Previous results:
2014: Bulls won 40-7, Pretoria
2012: Rebels won 35-41, Melbourne
2011: Bulls won 47-10, Pretoria
Predication: The Bulls have won all three games between the sides, notching up over 40 points in each. There have been 180 points scored in the three meetings between the Rebels and the Bulls. The last time they met in Melbourne 76 points were scored, with 59 coming by half-time. Both the Rebels and Bulls are currently enduring their worst runs of form this year ;three straight defeats apiece. Just three sides have maintained a better lineout success rate than the Bulls (89%) this year, while the Rebels languish last (78%) in this regard. Both these sides have conceded eight tries from the opposition half and 11 between halfway and their own 22. However, the Rebels have conceded almost twice as many (20) as the Bulls (11) when their opponents start out with the ball inside their 22. Just two sides (both five) have conceded fewer tries in the final 20 minutes of matches than the Bulls (six) so far. Not much between the two sides, but the desperate Bulls to take it by seven
Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Cam Crawford, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (captain), 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Paul Alo-Emile, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Tom Sexton, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Tim Metcher, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Tom English 
Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Francois Hougaard, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Pierre Spies (captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van de Merwe, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Bjorn Basson, 23 Jurgen Visser.
Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant referees: James Leckie, Michael Hogan
TMO: Ian Smith
Blues v Crusaders
(Eden Park, Auckland - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)
Sitting eighth the Crusaders still have a mathematical chance of making the finals. Coach Todd Blackadder has made three changes in the forwards, among them the return of Wyatt Crockett. 
The Crusaders will have to do it without influential leader Kieran Read who is ruled out with a concussion.
"It is one of those things where we have got great replacements in Luke Whitelock and Jordan Taufua, so we
"We  don't need to rush him back either," Crusaders assistant coach Dave Hewett told New Zealand Rugby Heaven.
The Blues, meanwhile, have been hammered by injury and now representative duties due to the Under-20 World Cup. Despite missing so many regular starters, Kirwan has also made the bold call to overlook All Blacks midfielder Francis Saili and Lolagi Visinia. Hamish Northcott starts outside George Moala at centre.
"For us, it's important to give some of the youngsters a crack," Kirwan told
"I've got one eye on the future as well. It's forced on us by injury but it's a good chance for guys like Matt Vaega.
"Will Lloyd is going up against one of the best lineouts in the competition, so it's a great opportunity."
"I'm not putting any pressure on them. Obviously our season is finished. They just need to get out there put their hands up."
Recent results:
2015: Crusaders won 29-15, Christchurch 
2014: Crusaders 21-13, Christchurch
2014: Blues won 35-24, Auckland
2013: Crusaders won 23-3, Christchurch
2013: Blues won 34-15, Auckland
2012: Crusaders won 59-12, Christchurch
2012: Crusaders won 19-18, Auckland
Prediction: The Crusaders accounted for the Blues’ heaviest ever defeat when they beat the Auckland-based side 59-12 in 2012. Six of the last eight, and nine of the last 12, contests between the sides have been won by men from Christchurch. The Blues won two of four in May but you ’d need to go back to June last year to piece together their previous two victories. The Blues are aiming to win three home games in a row against the Crusaders, a feat they have managed just once in a run that included a home final win against their New Zealand rivals (2001-2003). Two of the last three meetings between these sides have seen the side leading at half-time go on to lose the game. The Crusaders lead the way for tries scored (48) this year, while the Blues sit second last (27) for five-pointers. The Blues have scored the fewest opening quarter tries (two) while the Crusaders have scored the second most in the same timeframe (12). The Crusaders have much more to play fore and they will out-class a rookie Blues team by 20 points.
Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Nafi Tuitavake, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 David Havili, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Matt Todd, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Kieron Fonotia.
Blues: 15 Matt Vaega, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Hamish Northcott, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Airi Hunt, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Will Lloyd, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Chris Vui, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Matt McGahan.
Referee: Chris Pollock 
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe, Jamie Nutbrown
TMO: Ben Skeen
Reds v Chiefs
(Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane - Kick-off: 19.40; 21.40 NZ time; 09.40 GMT)
On paper the Chiefs should bank an easy win, however they have had a poor run of late winning one out of the last possible four games, including a 15-16 loss to the Rebels.
Coach Dave Rennie has been boosted by the return of two All Blacks - Brodie Retallick and influential skipper Liam Messam. They will be keen to right the wrongs of the Chiefs recent run and finish off the Reds in Brisbane.
For the Reds, there is more to play for than just pride as they say cheers to two Queensland heroes - James  Horwill and Will Genia in their last game at Ballymore. The duo head North post World Cup. 
"The best way to honour the guys [Genia and Horwill] is through a good team performance," said Reds coach Richard Graham. 
"He [Genia] set a new standard of scrumhalf play, in the way that he ran the ball challenging defenders in the channel two and three area."
Commenting on the Chiefs, Graham is aware of the challenge they pose and their tactics they use.
"We expected [Brodie] Retallick and [Liam] Messam back, either way they a good side."
"They have been the benchmark of Super Rugby over the last three years winning it twice and making the semifinals last year."
"Certainly a challenge, and if you watch their game they surprise you with the way they interpret the laws and some of the tactics they use," explained Graham.
Recent results: 
2013: Reds won 31-23, Hamilton 
2012: Reds won 42-27, Brisbane
2011: Reds won 19-11, Hamilton
2010: Reds won 23-18, Hamilton
2009: Chiefs won 50-26, Brisbane
2008: Chiefs 32-20, Hamilton
Prediction: The Reds have won four straight against the Chiefs, this run being preceded by four straight losses against the men from Hamilton. Three of those Reds victories have been by more than a converted try. The Queenslanders have won three of their last six matches, it took them twice as long (12 games) to piece together their three previous wins. The Chiefs’ current run of three defeats in four games marks their worst form of the season. The Reds have conceded twice as many last quarter tries (14) than the Chiefs (seven). Super Rugby fixtures between these sides in Queensland have averaged an aggregate score of 56 points; the most recent two games in Brisbane saw an average of 73. As much as Genia deserves a victorious send-off, the Chiefs will be too strong and beat them by 15 points, at least.
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: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Pettowa Paraka, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ed O'Donoghue, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Hendrik Tui, 22 Nick Frisby, 23 Ben Tapuai, 24 Jake McIntyre.
Chiefs: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Tim Nanai-Williams, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Jarrod Firth, 19 Matt Symons, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.
Referee: Mike Fraser 
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann, Andrew Lees
TMO: George Ayoub
Cheetahs v Waratahs
(Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein - Kick-off: 15.00; 23.00 AEST; 13.00 GMT)
This game is the mark of a new era for the Cheetahs as Franco Smith takes charge for the first time. 
Smith is fielding a side full of talent and youth, however filled with inexperience too. 
Smith has tapped into his University (Free-State University) team's talent pool, the side he coached earlier in the year, and is starting two players from that side launching them into Super Rugby - No.8 Niell Jordaan and flyhalf Neil Marais who will make their Super Rugby debuts.
Smith wants to establish an attractive brand of rugby at the Cheetahs and his first task is against the Waratahs.
"I think the we need to hold onto the ball a bit better, so that will definitely be one of our objectives," said Smith.
"Our first phases have not been up to standard and we have to work hard at that to give us confidence going forward.
"I think that playing in the right areas of the field is very important and I think the defence has taken on a lot because with the possession and territory stats, they have been on the back foot for most of the season so we will need to get better in both components.
For the Waratahs, Jacques Potgieter is back and his return couldn't come quick enough. The Sydney-men can't afford to slip up against the 13th placed Cheetahs as they are tied on points with the Brumbies in top spot in the Australian conference.
Recent results: 
2013: Cheetahs won 27-26, Sydney
2012: Cheetahs won 35-34, Bloemfontein
2011: Cheetahs won 23-3, Sydney
2010: Waratahs won 40-17, Sydney
2009: Waratahs won 18-10, BLoemfontein
2008: Waratahs won 23-19, Sydney
Prediction: The Cheetahs have won three in a row against the 2014 champions, the last two victories in this run coming by a single point each. The previous three meetings were won by the Waratahs. The Cheetahs have won just two of their last 12 matches. The 'Tahs have not been defeated twice in a row since May 2013. The Cheetahs have averaged the fewest defenders beaten (12.8) this season while the 'Tahs have averaged the second most (22.4). The Cheetahs are the only side yet to score a try from a scrum this season. It will be a walk-over as the defending champions' -  Waratahs will teach a youthful Cheetahs team a lesson with a 30 point drumming
Cheetahs: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Cornal Hendricks, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Tienie Burger, 6 Johannes Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Burrie Uys.
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Gerhard Olivier, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Willie Le Roux.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Matt Carraro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 David Dennis (captain), 4 Mitchell Chapman, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Hugh Roach, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements - from: David Porecki, Jeremy Tilse, Paddy Ryan, Dean Mum, Stephen Hoiles, Pat McCutcheon, Brendan McKibbin, Peter Betham, Jack Dempsey, Jono Lance.
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Lourens van der Merwe
TMO: Johan Greeff
Stormers v Lions 
(Cape Town - Kick-off: 17.10; 15.10 GMT)
For the Lions, it all boils down to this crunch game against the Stormers.
If they pull off a win, they will need more than a favour or two from other teams to either top the Conference or claim a play-off spot.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann has named an unchanged starting XV barring one forced change with Alwyn Hollenbach coming in for the injured Lionel Mapoe. 
Ackermann's men will be brimming with confidence after they tripped up the defending champions with a win last weekend. 
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee will be looking to tie up the South African conference but knows it is never easy against the Lions.
"It is their last game in the competition, so there is no extra game after that and they are three points behind us so they need a bonus-point victory to keep them in the hunt," explained Coetzee.
"But for us it is just another Super Rugby game. It has got nothing to do with the first game, it is about improving on our last game against the Cheetahs and ensure that our processes stay in place.
"We had a great line-out and scrummaging performance against the Cheetahs and we were fantastic defensively, but we will be tested again by the Lions this week.
"They attack you wide, they ask questions from mauls and they also have a good scrum so they are really a good team.
"We have played enough against the Lions, we never won easily at Ellis Park, but the big thing is that we won there.
Recent results: 
2015: Stormers won 22-19, Johannesburg
2014: Stormers won 18-3, Cape Town
2014: Lions won 34-10, Johannesburg
2012: Stormers won 27-17, Cape Town
2011: Stormers won 33-19, Johannesburg
2011: Stormers won 19-16, Cape Town
Prediction: The Stormers’ record victory both in terms of margin and points scored came against the Lions in 2009; a 56-18 win. The Stormers have won 11 of 12 against their conference neighbours, though their defeat in this run came last year. The Lions have won eight of their last 10 while the Stormers have won six of their last seven. The last five fixtures between these sides have all seen fewer than 45 points scored on aggregate, and an average of 39 points per game. The Stormers (eight) and Lions (nine) are two of just three sides to average less than 10 penalties conceded this year. When it comes to tries scored from set-pieces (lineouts and scrums) with the feed, only the Bulls (14) and Lions (14)rank behind the Stormers (16). With the Lions in search of a bonus point it will be a high-scoring affair, but the Stormers will take it narrowly by five
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 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 Smit, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Jaco Taute.
Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Compiled by Andrew Duncan
Statistical information provided Opta Sports

Mc article nadolo blues630

Crusaders brush Blues aside

Sat, 06 Jun 2015 09:26
The Crusaders cruised to a 34-11 bonus point victory over the Blues at Eden Park to keep their play-off hopes alive.
The Crusaders cruised to a 34-11 bonus point victory over the Blues at Eden Park to keep their play-off hopes alive.
The bonus point win moved the Crusaders into seventh place and they are forced to rely on other results going their way to keep their feint hopes alive.
Their four tries to one victory gave the Crusaders back-to-back bonus points wins after their 35-18 defeat of the table-topping Hurricanes last week.
With Dan Carter back at his natural home of flyhalf, after spending most of the year in the centre, the Crusaders have won consecutive games for the first time since Round Six.
The improvement, built around Carter's astute reading of the game, has underscored an inconsistent season which has jeopardised their chance of extending a remarkable 14-year run of making the knockout stages.
They still did not look the complete package against the Blues whose chances of finishing in the top six were lost weeks ago and who treated this match as a warm-up for next year.
Coach John Kirwan, having presided over a side that has lost 12 of 15 games and with 12 squad members injured, opted to pick a host of youngsters saying he wanted to test them out ahead of next season.
But rather than look like lost rookies, the Blues dominated the opening stages and clocked up a 6-0 lead through two Ihaia West penalties.
They then refused to buckle when the Crusaders bounced back with a brilliant piece of expertise by Nemani Nadolo, who leaped high to grab a Carter corner kick one handed to score their first try.
The Crusaders were immediately back on the attack but for 12 minutes they were held out by a resolute Blues defence, bravely led by flyhalf West.
To end the stalemate the Crusaders quit a series of unproductive scrums for Carter to kick a penalty allowing them to regroup.
With their next onslaught, Luke Romano scored the Crusaders second try from a quick line-out and Carter's conversion putting them 17-6 up at half-time.
The Crusaders looked to secure the win before going for the four-try bonus point as Carter kicked another close-range penalty early in the second half to extend the lead to 20-6.
But even with a comfortable buffer, and with All Blacks Sam Whitelock and Ryan Crotty unleashed off the bench, the Crusaders still made hard work of breaking through the defensive shield put up by the Blues' greenhorns.
It was not until the final quarter that they bagged the remaining two necessary tries for the bonus point, and both result from their forward dominance.
The first was a penalty try after the Blues scrum collapsed on the line, and the second was scored by Matt Todd from a line-out drive.
Ben Lam scored a late try for the Blues.
Man of the match: George Moala was threatening for the Blues while Nemani Nadolo showed his class once again for the Crusaders, but our award goes to Dan Carter who controlled the match expertly and looks to be hitting some form at just the right time.
The scorers:
For Blues: 
Try: Lam
Pens: West 2
For Crusaders: 
Tries: Nadolo, Romano, Todd, penalty try
Cons: Carter 4
Pens: Carter 2
Blues: 15 Matt Vaega, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Hamish Northcott, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Airi Hunt, 7 Brendon O’Connor, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Will Lloyd, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Keven Mealamu, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Hayden Triggs, 20 Chris Vui, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Matt McGahan.
Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Nafi Tuitavake, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 David Havili, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Matt Todd, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Sam Whitelock, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Kieron Fonotia.
Referee: Chris Pollock 
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe, Jamie Nutbrown
TMO: Ben Skeen
Ben Lam (75min)
Nemani Nadolo (14min), Luke Romano (34min), and Matt Todd (67min)
Dan Carter (16min), Dan Carter (35min), Dan Carter (62min), and Dan Carter (68min)
Ihaia West (3min) and Ihaia West (6min)
Dan Carter (26min) and Dan Carter (47min)
VENUE Auckland
REFEREE Chris Pollock