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Super Rugby | Melbourne
09:40 (GMT) | 12-06-2015
  • 81
Join us for more live coverage of Super Rugby as the Crusaders take on the Brumbies first up on Saturday.
  • 80
Holmes goes long and Crawford runs it back. Lost roll of the dice for the Rebels as Jones carries it forward. The Rebels are in Force territory now as Inman finds a half-gap. Working the hard-yards here are the Rebels. And a knock on ends the game. The Force are winners.
  • 79
Force set a good platform from the line-out but Burton;s inside pass to Godwin results in obstructive play and the Rebels have a scrum. Harris makes a break down the left hand side and the Rebels are attacking on the 22m and Harris dropped in the pocket for the drop goal but he misses. The Force will restart with a 22m.
  • 75
Rebels have a scrum in their own half but some pressure from the Force earns them the scrum turnover but it is a tighthead to the Rebels as they attack but Inman throws a shocker of a pass and Crawford is tackled out.
  • 72
Harris, from the corner, can't convert the kick as the Force retain the lead.
  • 71
Force clear for touch and Holmes puts it out for a Rebels line-out on their 22m. Rebels use a set move from the line-out and Crawford finds a hole, he throws a loopy pass to Veainu who dives over in the corner for the try.
  • 69
Rebels now looking to strike back and they are in the 22m of the Force but Debreczeni loses it forward and the Force run it back using the advantage. But the a kick goes too far and the Rebels dot it down for a 22m.
  • 67
Holmes converts well from the corner to extend the Force lead.
  • 66
Cam Crawford finds a gap and bursts down towards the Force tryline. he offloads well and the rebels are 5m out. Stirzacker plays left and the Rebels have numbers but Brache shoots up and intercepts, he is away and finds Moharan who sprints 70m to score in the corner.
  • 64
Harris slips as he tries to kick and misses.
  • 63
Rebels win the scrum penalty as the Force collapse. Harris will have a shot at goal.
  • 61
Rebels launch an attack from the scrum but Jeffries looses it forward in contact for a Rebels scrum.
  • 60
Debreczeni puts a high kick in and Cummins collects well. Rebels have the ball back and English fends off one tackle and moves forward. Debreczeni's inside pass is knocked on by McCalman as he attempted an intercept. Play is settled with a Rebels scrum.
  • 58
Jones wins the line-out but Harris puts a kick out on the full. The Force have a line-out inside the Rebels half. Force rumble forward but Fainga'a is all over the ball winning the penalty turnover.
  • 57
Harris finds touch and the Rebels win the line-out. Higginbotham drives for the line but loses it over the try-line and the Force swing it in their own dead-ball area but Wykes is hammered and the play comes back for a Force scrum. Holmes clears for touch.
  • 55
Harris clears from the restart and Haylett-Petty returns with an up-and-under which Stirzaker collects but he hacks one out on the full. Force win the line-out and Brache bags it forward. McMahon wins the penalty turnover for the Rebels.
  • 52
Faulkner is penalised for scrumming in and the Rebels this time opt for poles. Harris converts the penalty from in-front.
  • 49
Higginbotham picks and goes from the base of the scrum. Force defence is relentless but the Rebels are given a penalty for the force not rolling away. The Rebels opt for the scrum.
  • 47
Harris is back to collect and he replies with a kick but it stays in field, Hodgson is back to clean up but Holmes puts a shocking kick in that Higginbotham charges on to and he chips and chases but Moharan is back to touch down for a rebels 5m scrum.
  • 46
Rebels secure the line-out and are already back in the Force 22m. Debreczeni throws an inside pass to Crawford. Rebels inching closer but the Force defence is not letting slip and they turn it over and Mathewson puts a box kick in.
  • 43
Rebels in the Force 22m and Debreczeni moves the ball quickly left but Jones knocks-on. Holmes kicks for touch.
  • 41
SECOND-HALF: Rebels flyhalf Jack Debreczeni gets the half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
Rebels win the line-out and Stirzaker puts it out to bring the game to HALF-TIME.
  • 38
Cummins takes a flat pass and almost hits the line. The Rebels regain possession as the ball pops out and Harris clears for touch.
  • 37
Its scrappy for the force and they are losing metres, but Haylett-Petty bounces a tackle and offloads out the backdoor to Heiberg who crashes over the line but he is held up and the Force will get a 5m scrum.
  • 36
Force secure the line-out and Brache charges forward. The forwards are picking and going and the Rebels are penalised for a side-entry to the ruck. Holmes sticks it in the corner and Wykes wins the line-out.
  • 34
Rebels secure the scrum and Debreczeni puts a useless touch finder in.
  • 33
The Force kick for the corner and are attacking the Rebels line but a knock-on gives the Rebels a scrum.
  • 32
Hold the phone... play is brought back as English held a Godwin back which allowed Crawford to find the gap. Penalty Force. No try.
  • 31
The Rebels use a set move from their scrum and Crawford is released from an inside pass. He finds Harris who sells the dummy and is brought down 5m short. A quick recycle and Stirzaker gets the ball away only to find Crawford who started the move, and he powers his way over for the try.
  • 29
Debreczeni pumps one down field and Holems returns with a counter. Force playing ball around halfway and they are awarded a penalty as the Rebels are offside at the ruck. Holmes overcooks the kick for the corner and Rebels come back for a scrum - rookie move from Holmes.
  • 26
Harris from 40m out, shaves the upright and its a miss. Mathewson quickly catches and kicks out rto touch,
  • 25
McCalman is penalised for being in the wrong side of the ruck and Harris will have a shot at goal.
  • 24
Force now stringing some phases together looking good as Brache jinks it up. Cummins cuts inside making good metres but after a number of plays the Rebel win a penalty turnover. Harris finds touch on the Force 10m.
  • 22
Force secure the line-out and Holmes bangs a kick out on the halfway. McMahon secures the ball but it is lost forward when he goes to ground. The Force have a scrum on halfway.
  • 20
Rebels quickly in Force territory after the restart and Stirzaker is dictating play. Quick hands from Harris release Inman to make some metres. Tomani charges up but the ball pops out and Jones cleans up as they lose metres.The Rebels slowing things down as the forwards crash it up in phases. Debreczeni swings it wide but the Force are there to cover in defence as Inman is bundled out.
  • 17
Holmes makes the easy conversion.
  • 16
Force win a penalty and hit the corner. Mafi collects and Hodgson has the ball at the back of the maul. Heiberg takes it forward. Fainga'a is penalised for being off his feet at the ruck. Holmes will have another opportunity to take the lead.
  • 15
Harris lines one up and converts the penalty to tie things up.
  • 14
Rebels applying pressure and Hodgson is penalised for coming in the side to the ruck. Higginbotham opts for poles.
  • 13
Force win the scrum free-kick and Holmes boots the ball into touch.
  • 11
Crawford comes off his wing but is well tackled. Inman takes the direct route but the Force solid is strong and they Force the error winning the scrum.
  • 9
Rebels win the line-out and are 5m out. Higginbotham wraps around and crahses up. Haylett-Petty is penalised for hands in and the Rebels opt for a scrum.
  • 7
Debreczeni clears for touch and the Force have a line-out. The ball is clean but Hodgson's inside pop to Alcock is lost forward. The Rebels counter and are up to the halfway. Debreczeni plays Harris but the Force defence is solid. Fainga'a crashes it up and then McMahon.English puts a grubber through and all MAthreson can do is run it out.
  • 4
Rebels wtih a line-out and they secure it as Tomani carries it forward. Harris puts one on the toe and Haylett-Petty collects well and the Force rumble forward. Godwin stabs a grubber through for a Rebels line-out deep in their half.
  • 2
Holmes' kick is good and the Force are on the board.
  • 1
Early penalty for the Force and Holmes will have a shot at goal.
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Force flyhalf Zach Holmes gets the game underway.
  • -10
For the Force all that is left is playing to give departing lock Sam Wykes a winning send-off. However, the Rebels can showcase the progress they made this season with a commanding win at home.
  • -20
Welcome to live coverage of Super Rugby with the Force taking on the Rebels in Canberra.
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  • 15 Mike Harris
  • 14 Bryce Hegarty
  • 13 Tom English
  • 12 Mitch Inman
  • 11 Cam Crawford
  • 10 Jack Debreczeni
  • 9 Nic Stirzaker
  • 8 Scott Higginbotham
  • 7 Colby Faingaa
  • 6 Sean McMahon
  • 5 Lopeti Timani
  • 4 Luke Jones
  • 3 Paul Alo-Emile
  • 2 Pat Leafa
  • 1 Toby Smith
  • 23 Telusa Veainu
  • 22 Ben Meehan
  • 21 Jordy Reid
  • 20 Scott Fuglistaller
  • 19 Sam Jeffries
  • 18 Tim Metcher
  • 17 Cruze Ah-Nau
  • 16 Tom Sexton
  • 15 Dane Haylett-Petty
  • 14 Luke Morahan
  • 13 Marcel Brache
  • 12 Kyle Godwin
  • 11 Nick Cummins
  • 10 Zack Holmes
  • 9 Alby Mathewson
  • 8 Angus Cottrell
  • 7 Matt Hodgson
  • 6 Chris Alcock
  • 5 Steve Mafi
  • 4 Sam Wykes
  • 3 Tetera Faulkner
  • 2 Nathan Charles
  • 1 Chris Heiberg
  • 23 Patrick Dellit
  • 22 Luke Burton
  • 21 Ryan Louwrens
  • 20 Brynard Stander
  • 19 Wilhelm Steenkamp
  • 18 Oliver Hoskins
  • 17 Guy Millar
  • 16 Heath Tessmann
Mc article patrick osborne highlanders 630

Preview: S15 Round 18, Part One

Wed, 10 Jun 2015 21:36

There will passion and drama aplenty on the opening day in the final round of Super Rugby league action. Jan de Koning reports.

There will passion and drama aplenty on the opening day in the final round of Super Rugby league action.

The opening match will have a Blues team trying to say farewell to a number of legends by giving them a winning send-off.

However, they are up against a Highlanders team desperate for a bonus-point win that could secure them home-ground advantage in the preliminary round of the play-offs.

The Highlanders and Chiefs - who face the runaway leaders, the Hurricanes - are both on 48 points and with just a solitary point separating them in terms of points difference the men from Dunedin will be in no mood for gratitude towards the departing Blues.

We then hop across the Tasman Sea to Melbourne, where the Rebels and Force will go head to head in a dead rubber - a game with nothing but pride on the line.

We look at Friday's games!

Friday, June 12

Blues v Highlanders

(Eden Park, Auckland - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)

There is a lot more at stake for the Highlanders than the Blues.

They may already be in the play-offs, but they can finish anywhere from fourth to sixth. It is the latter they want to avoid, as that will in all likelihood involve a trip to cape Town and a meeting with the Stormers.

However, despite the need for a bonus-point win, the Highlanders are well aware that their first objective must be to get victory.

The Highlanders sit on 48 points, the same number as the Chiefs, and know if they get five points on Friday, the pressure will be on the Chiefs.

''We just have to get back to a bit of structure," loose forward Gareth Evans told the Otago Daily Times.

"We need to go up there and not worry about bonus points,'' Evans added.

''It's just about going out there and worrying about winning first and then everything else is out of our hands, whether we have a home play-off or we are travelling to South Africa.

''Obviously, we would love to have a home play-off and to get the Dunedin folk in behind us.

But that is out of our hands. We have to just go out there and put the result out on the field.

''What happens to the Chiefs and the Hurricanes is out of our hands.''

On the flipside, Friday's game marks the end of an era for three Blues stalwarts.

Veteran All Black hooker Keven Mealamu will be stepping on to the field for his last time in the Blues jersey. Tony Woodcock, who is out from play with a shoulder injury, and Luke Braid, out with a concussion, will be sitting in the Blues players’ box for their final game.

Mealamu says he is not letting his thoughts wander past the job in hand on Friday.

"I've been blessed to have been able to play in Super Rugby for 15 years, and this is certainly not the end of my rugby quite yet," Mealamu said.

"I will make a final decision on that at the end of the year," Mealamu added.

"In some ways it will be emotional to share my final Super rugby game on Friday with my teammates, my friends and especially my family.

"This has been a tough season for the Blues, but we can go out on a good note knowing we have performed to our best."

Recent results:
2015: Highlanders won 30-24, Dunedin
2014: Blues won 30-12, Auckland
2014: Highlanders won 29-21, Dunedin
2013: Highlanders won 38-28, Dunedin
2013: Blues won 29-18, Auckland
2012: Highlanders won 27-20, Auckland
2012: Highlanders won 30-27, Dunedin

Prediction: The Blues have won six of their last seven at home to the Highlanders and have only lost twice at home to the Dunedin-based side in Super Rugby. The last eight meetings between these two sides have seen an average aggregate score of 52 points per game. The Aucklanders have lost their last four at home to fellow New Zealand sides, with their most recent two defeats in that run each coming by over 20 points. The Blues boast the best tackle success in Super Rugby this season (88 percent). The Blues (9.1) and Highlanders (9.2) have won fewer penalties than any other teams this season. The Blues will start with a lot of passion, but in the end the Highlanders' greater class and desire will win the day - by at least two scores.


15 Charles Piutau, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Hamish Northcott, 12 George Moala, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Jamison Gibson-Park, 8 Joe Edwards, 7 Brendon O'Connor, 6 Chris Vui, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Hayden Triggs, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Keven Mealamu (captain), 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 James Parsons, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Will Lloyd, 20 Jack Ram,  21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Lolagi Visinia.

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

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Shane McDermott (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Rebels v Western Force
(AAMI Park, Melbourne - Kick-off: 19.40; 17.40 AWST; 09.40 GMT)

The Rebels have made progress this season, the Western Force have slipped back - right out of the also-rans pack to being cannon-fodder.

For the Force all that is left is playing to give departing lock Sam Wykes a winning send-off.

However, Rebels coach Tony McGahan believes his team can showcase the progress they made this season with a commanding win at home.

McGahan is looking to mould the squad to a point where they can challenge for a title and winning a dead rubber like this - without letting the standards slip - will be a step in the right direction.

"We've got a hell of a lot to play for," McGahan said in an interview in the West Australian newspaper.

"We've built up some sort of credibility this year with the way we've performed.

"We want to make sure we protect that.

"People are here to be accountable, so there's no slackening off at any period.

"The last game of the season - it can really leave a bad taste in people's mouths if you lose."

Wykes admitted there will be "a little bit of emotion" in Melbourne.

"It's starting to sink in, but at the same time it's exciting," he told The West Australian, when asked about his pending departure to Japan.

"It hasn't been the best year and I would love to have achieved a little bit more in terms of personal honours and team goals, but I'm honoured to have played rugby in Perth and been a part of history.

"To put on the blue jersey with the boys was something I never took for granted.

"To finish off with a win would be great, to sing the team song for one last time," he said.

Recent results:
2015: Rebels won 21-17, Perth
2014: Rebels won 22-16, Melbourne
2014: Force won 32-7, Perth
2013: Rebels won 30-23, Perth
2013: Rebels won 30-23, Melbourne
2012: Rebels won 32-31, Perth
2012: Rebels won 30-29, Melbourne

Prediction: The Rebels have won their last four at home and have never won five on the bounce in Melbourne. The Rebels have won seven of the nine Super Rugby meetings between these two sides and have won their last three at home to the Force. No team has averaged longer in possession this season than the Force (17 minutes and five seconds) who have the best ruck success in the competition (96 percent). The Rebels have the worst line-out success this season (78 percent) while the Force are the fourth-worst team in that regard (83 percent). The Force (13.1) and the Rebels (13.8) have conceded fewer turnovers per game than any other teams this season. The Western Force showed, twice against the Waratahs, that they can beat the best. However, they ave not lacked the consistency that makes you think they can beat a much-improved Rebels outfit - who will by at least 10 points.


15 Mike Harris, 14 Bryce Hegarty, 13 Dom Shipperley, 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 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Jordy Reid, 22 Ben Meehan, 23 Tom English.

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Marcel Brache, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 Zack Holmes, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Angus Cottrell, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Chris Alcock, 5 Steve Mafi, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Replacements - from: Heath Tessmann, Chris Heiberg, Guy Millar, Wilhelm Steenkamp, Brynard Stander, Ryan Louwrens, Luke Burton, Patrick Dellit, Oliver Hoskins.

Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Telusa Veainu (71min)
Luke Morahan (66min)
Zack Holmes (67min)
Mike Harris (15min) and Mike Harris (52min)
Zack Holmes (2min) and Zack Holmes (17min)
VENUE Melbourne
REFEREE Andrew Lees