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Super Rugby | Sydney
09:40 (GMT) | 13-06-2015
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Stay logged onto for all the match reports and latest news and join us again at 14.30 GMT as we head to Pretoria for the first of two South African derbies between the Bulls and the Cheetahs
  • 81
The Reds are awarded a short-arm penalty but their attack comes to nothing as the Tahs steal back possession to allow Foley to kick the ball into touch! FULL-TIME!
  • 80
Reds secure the ball inside their 22 but the Tahs have managed to hold them up by forcing a maul. Tahs will have the scrum feed on the Reds' 22
  • 79
Tapuai fails to add the extra points from the right touchline
  • 78
Some scrappy defensive work by the Tahs allows Cooper to regather the ball on the 22 before goose-stepping his away over the line
  • 77
Turner gets the ball and he finds a gap that takes the Reds into Tahs' territory. The ball is quickly recycled and the Reds make their way to the Tahs' 22. Tahs knock the ball on at the breakdown and the Reds will have the feed
  • 75
Tahs look to launch an attack from inside their 22 but they cough the ball up and the Reds are now on the attack and a few metres from the try line. But a pass is intercepted and allows the Tahs to find touch on the halfway line
  • 74
Foley maintains his kicking record as he converts another try
  • 72
Tahs secure the ball and the forwrds have teken them to within a few metres. Mumm gets the ball and bashes his over the line to secure the bonus point
  • 71
Reds are on the attack and in possession on the Tahs' 10 metre line but the Tahs steal possession back and have made their way to the Reds' 10 metre line. PENALTY! Reds are caught offside. Foley finds touch 7 metres from the Reds' try line
  • 69
Foley makes no mistake with the conversion as he splits the uprights
  • 68
Foley gets the ball and throws a dummy before sniping through a gap. He passes it to McKibbin on the inside and it's an easy run-in to the line
  • 67
The ball fails to emerge from the breakdown and the Tahs will have the scrum feed just inside the Reds' 22
  • 66
Reds secure the line-out but kick possession away and the Tahs are back in possession on the Reds' 10 metre line
  • 65
Tahs pick off an interception and they launch a counter-attack through Naiyaravoro. Hunt shows good cover defence to tackle the big man into touch. Reds will have the throw-in close to their 10 metre line
  • 64
The Tahs scramble in defence to recover the ball close to their 5 metre line. Foley puts in a box kick and the Reds are back on the attack, just outside the Tahs' 22
  • 63
Reds have won possession back and the forwards have taken them onto the Tahs' 10 metre line. The ball is recycled before Cooper decides to put in a grubber
  • 62
Reds kicks a high ball and Folau leaps to claim the catch under pressure from Kerevi. PENALTY! Kerevi is deemed to have taken Folau out. Foley finds touch just outside the Reds' 22
  • 61
Reds secure the ball and Cooper puts it on the boot. The ball rolls too far though as Folau allows it to roll over the try line. Tahs restart the match with a 22 drop-out
  • 60
Tahs manage to secure the restart and Foley opts to kick the ball into touch on the halfway line. Reds will have the throw-in
  • 59
Foley splits the uprights with his second conversion of the match
  • 57
The Tahs secure the ball and the ball finds Folau who goes on a huge run that gets the Tahs to the Reds' 5 metre line. The ball is recycled and finds Potgieter who bashes his way over Turner for the score
  • 56
Tahs launch an attack but Naiyaravoro's offload fails to go to hand. Kuridrani knocks the ball on as he attempts to scoop the ball. Scrum to the Tahs on the Reds' 10 metre line
  • 55
A kicking battle starts from the restart and it ends with Turner finding touch on the halfway line to hand the Tahs the throw-in
  • 54
Foley easily slots the conversion to extend the Tahs' lead
  • 53
A much better scrum sees Palu go down the short side but he is brought down one metre from the try line. The ball is sent tot he backline to find Foley, who pops it on the inside to Dennis who grabs the first try of the match
  • 51
PENALTY! The scrum crumbles under the pressure and the Reds are penalised. Tahs opt for another scrum
  • 50
The ball is taken through a few phases but nothing comes of it. PENALTY! Reds are penalised for being offside and Thomson is sent to the bin for the infringement
  • 49
Tahs are full of running now as they make their way to the Reds' 22. Foley finds Folau who gets them to the 5 metre line
  • 48
Genia places a chip kick that is claimed by Folau. The Tahs are now in possession on the Reds' 10 metre line
  • 47
The Reds steal the line-out, Phipps knocks the ball on in his attempt to steal it, Genia slips in his attempt at a box kick. Play is brought back for the knock-on on the Reds' 10 metre line
  • 46
The Reds fail to make any further metres and the Tahs steals it at the breakdown. They kick the ball up-field, only for it to be returned by the Reds. Play resumes with a Tahs line-out on the halfway line
  • 45
Reds have made their way into the Tahs' 22. Cooper sends a wide pass that finds Tapuai and he gets them to within 10 metres
  • 44
Palu picks it off the back of the scrum and makes a few metres before the ball is recycled to Foley who finds touch just outside his 22
  • 43
The Reds secure the line-out and have edged their way to the 5 metre line. They keep it among the forwards but the Tahs are doing well on defence. Palu strips the ball from Holmes and the Tahs come away with a scrum on their 5 metre line
  • 42
Genia spots a gap and makes it to the 22 before chipping it over the head of Foley. Foley recovers though to find Folau who kicks the ball into touch
  • 41
KICK-OFF! Foley gets the second half underway. PENALTY! Tahs concede a penalty from the restart. Turner finds touch on the Tahs' 10 metre line

Half Time

  • 40
Tahs have taken the ball through the phases but remain stuck on their 10 metre line. The play goes sloppy as both sides knock the ball on. That's HALF-TIME!
  • 39
Genia looks to have a run but loses possession in a tackle and the Tahs regain possession on their 10 metre line
  • 38
Reds remain in possession but the Tahs are standing firm in defence
  • 36
Tahs finally get the dominance in the scrum. PENALTY! Reds are penalised for not remaining straight. Foley fails to find touch and the ball rolls over the dead-ball line. Reds will have the scrum feed on the Tahs' 10 metre line
  • 35
The Tahs somehow manage to retain possession despite the Reds having a dominant scrum. Foley launches a high ball that's collected Kuridrani. He loses possession after a big hit to hand the Tahs the scrum feed on their 10 metre line
  • 33
The Reds look to take the ball through the phases but end up losing the ball forward in contact. Scrum feed to the Tahs on their 22
  • 32
A mistake by Foley sees him kick the ball directly into touch to hand the Reds a line-out just inside the Tahs' 22
  • 30
More kicks eventually sees Turner finding touch close to the halfway line
  • 29
O'Connor collects a high ball to secure possession for the Reds. After a few phases, Cooper puts in a high ball that's comfortably collected.
  • 28
Reds secure the ball and sends the ball down the line. PENALTY! Gill is penalised for entering the breakdown from the side. Foley finds touch on the halfway line
  • 27
Tahs secure their line-out. PENALTY! Hooper is penalised for pulling a Reds player's jersey. Turner finds touch on the Tahs' 22
  • 26
Foley finds touch on the Reds' 10 metre line
  • 25
Reds secure their line-out and finds Cooper who places a cheeky chip-kick for Hunt to run onto. Hunt fails to hold onto the ball as the Tahs launch a counter-attack. They make it to their 10 metre line before coughing possession up themselves. PENALTY! Reds are penalised for not releasing the ball at the breakdown
  • 24
Turner finds touch close to the Tahs' 10 metre line
  • 23
The Reds set the maul from the line-out. PENALTY! Tahs are penalised for collapsing the maul. Out come the handbags
  • 22
Reds have won the ball from the line-out and are in possession just outside their 22 before a kicking battle comes to an end with Folau running the ball back at the Reds. He offloads to Naiyaravoro but Turner is up for the challenge as he tackles the wing into touch
  • 21
PENALTY! The Reds are penalised for wheeling the scrum. Foley finds touch on the Reds' 10 metre line
  • 19
Skelton knocks the restart on and the Reds re now on the attack close to the Tahs' 22. The attack comes to nothing though as they lose the ball forward to hand the Tahs the scrum feed just outside their 22
  • 17
Foley makes no mistake with his first kick of the match to break the deadlock
  • 16
The Tahs send it to their backline and have lost a few metres. PENALTY! Cooper is penalised for not rolling away at the breakdown. Foley will have a shot at goal
  • 15
Tahs steal possession and are back on the attack inside the Reds' 10 metre line. PENALTY! Reds re penalised for taking out the scrumhalf. Foley puts the ball into touch to set up an attacking line-out, 8 metres from the Reds try line
  • 14
Massive shove by the Reds sees them being handed a penalty. Turner finds touch on his 10 metre line
  • 13
The throw goes to the front but is not straight the Reds will have the scrum feed
  • 12
Hooper secures the ball for the Tahs and they are on the attack. PENALTY! The Reds fail to roll away from the breakdown and hands the Tahs a chance to launch an attack from a line-out, 7 metres from the Reds' try line
  • 11
Cooper strikes it well and certainly has the distance but it drifts left and hands the Tahs a 22 drop-out to restart the match
  • 9
Genia places Phipps under all sorts of pressure at the back of the scrum. PENALTY! Phipps fails to release the ball after being tackled. Cooper will have a shot at goal
  • 8
A horrible pass from Phipps sees him throw a forward pass but he gets away with it as Cooper's attempt to secure a pass goes forward as well. lucky escape for Phipps
  • 7
Reds win the ball back against the throw and a kicking battle ensues. Turner eventually finds touch on the halfway line. Tahs will have the throw-in
  • 6
Tahs pull off an incredible defensive effort and are awarded a penalty after the Reds entered a ruck from the side. Foley finds touch on the Reds' 10 metre line
  • 5
PENALTY! Tahs fail to push straight at the scrum and allows Turner to find touch inside the Tahs' 22
  • 4
Pressure from both sides on their opponents have made the opening exchanges a tense affair with neither side gaining any ascendency. Play resumes with a Reds scrum feed on their 10 metre line after the Tahs knock the ball on
  • 2
The Reds have lost some ground as the Tahs push them back inside their half. Cooper sends a long pass to Kuridrani on the right touchline but he is tackled into touch by Naiyaravoro
  • 1
The Tahs secure the ball and opt to find some territory but Foley only manages to find touch just outside his 22
  • 0
KICK-OFF! Cooper gets the match underway
  • -5
Thanks to the Brumbies losing earlier, the Tahs have claimed top spot in the Australia conference and will need a win to wrap up second spot on the log and host a semi-final match
  • -10
The Waratahs have won their last three against the Reds, restricting the Queenslanders to five points or fewer in those three games.
  • -15
Welcome to the final Australian derby in the round-robin stage of the competition. The Waratahs host the Reds in Sydney
Mc waratahs logo 80x50
Mc reds logo 80x50
  • 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 Dave Dennis
  • 4 Will Skelton
  • 3 Sekope Kepu
  • 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau
  • 1 Benn Robinson
  • 23 Peter Betham
  • 22 Brendan McKibbin
  • 21 Stephen Hoiles
  • 20 Dean Mumm
  • 19 Mitchell Chapman
  • 18 Paddy Ryan
  • 17 Jeremy Tilse
  • 16 Hugh Roach
  • 15 James O'Connor
  • 14 Chris Kuridrani
  • 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
  • 25 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi
  • 24 Ben Tapuai
  • 23 Jake McIntyre
  • 22 Nick Frisby
  • 21 Hendrik Tui
  • 20 Beau Robinson
  • 19 Ed O'Donoghue
  • 18 Sam Talakai
  • 17 Pettowa Paraka
  • 16 Saia Faingaa
Mc article adam ashley cooper media 630

Preview: S15 Round 18, Part Two

Thu, 11 Jun 2015 22:42

The focus will be on the Australian conference as the defending champion Waratahs and the Brumbies chase maximum points.

The focus will be on the Australian conference as the defending champion Waratahs and the Brumbies chase maximum points in a race to lock down a home semifinal and an easier path to this year's Super Rugby Final.

Both teams are on 47 points heading into the 18th and final round of regular season play, with the Australian conference title up for grabs - and with it direct passage to a home semifinal in the play-offs on June 26 and 27.

The tournament's runaway leaders, the Hurricanes, and the second-placed team after this weekend will skip next week's first stage of play-offs.

The Waratahs face the lowly Reds in Sydney, while the Brumbies host seven-time champions Crusaders in the first match on Saturday.

After the drama of the day's opening match it gets even more intriguing, when Chiefs host the Hurricanes in New Plymouth- with the home team most likely going to need a bonus-point win to overtake the Highlanders in the race for the fourth place on the standings and home-ground advantage in the first round of the play-offs.

The Highlanders play the lowly Blues on Friday, which means the Chiefs will know exactly what is required come Saturday's kick-off.

Then the Waratahs get their chance against the Reds in Sydney.

After that follows the long trek across the Indian Ocean for a dead rubber between the Bulls and Cheetahs in Pretoria, before the Sharks bring the weekend's action to a close when they host the Stormers in Durban - the South African conference winners, the Stormers, sending a virtual B-team to protect their frontline players ahead of the play-offs.

We look at Saturday's games!

Saturday, June 13

Brumbies v Crusaders
(GIO Stadium, Canberra - Kick-off: 15.30; 17.30 NZ time; 05.30 GMT)

While the Crusaders will be looking to give All Black legends Dan Carter and Richie McCaw a winning send-of, the Brumbies are motivated by the need to secure home-ground advantage in the play-offs and also earn a bye in the first round of the knock-out stages.

After sealing their place in the play-offs last week the Brumbies know that only a bonus-point will be good enough to secure them top spot in the Australian conference and a passage straight into he semifinals.

The Brumbies, who are currently sixth, often struggle against the Crusaders and have won only two of their last eight meetings.

Playmaker Matt Toomua will make his return from the bench, having missed six of the Brumbies' last seven games with an ankle injury.

The Crusaders are out of the play-off race for the first time since 2001, but that's no comfort for Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham.

"A team with nothing to lose is sometimes the hardest team to play against," he said.

"They've had two wins in a row and so have we, so it should be a tough match, especially with [All Black greats] Richie McCaw and Dan Carter playing their last game for the franchise.

"Last week against the Western Force we executed our plays well and will be hoping for a similar performance on Saturday in front of a good home crowd."

Carter admitted 2015 has hardly been ideal, but when he peels-off his Crusaders jersey for the last time in Canberra it will be with few regrets.

"It's only just started to hit me that this is it," he told The Press newspaper.

"My last week of training - and my last game with the boys on Saturday. It's going to be a little bit emotional. Obviously it's been a frustrating year with the inconsistencies but if we can put in a performance to be proud of this week at least we can finish the season on a high.

"I wouldn't change anything throughout my Crusaders career."

The playmaker, who will become the world's highest paid rugby player when he takes up a contract with French outfit Racing Metro after the World Cup, mused that his only regret was he hadn't won a Super Rugby title in his final season.

"It's blown all expectations in what I've achieved, I was happy to play just one game and I've won three titles. I never thought I'd get to these levels and the Crusaders environment has been everything I expected and more."

Recent results:
2014: Crusaders won 40-20, Christchurch
2013: Crusaders won 30-23, Canberra
2011: Crusaders won 52-10, Nelson
2010: Crusaders won 40-22, Christchurch
2009: Brumbies won 18-16, Canberra
2008: Crusaders won 34-3, Christchurch

Prediction: The Brumbies have won their last three Super Rugby games and have not managed to win four in a row so far this season. The Crusaders have won the last four meetings between these sides, with three of those victories coming by 18+ points including one by 42 points. The Crusaders have averaged more points per game than any other team this season (30) while the Brumbies have conceded the fewest (15). The Brumbies boast the best line-out success this season (92 percent), however the Crusaders have stolen more line-outs per game than any other team (2.5). The Brumbies have scored the most tries in the opening quarter of their games this season (15) while the Crusaders have scored the most in the 20 minutes after half-time (20). The Brumbies have made a habit of looking like champions and then losing the plot at the business end of the season. They are also likely to run into a highly-motivated Crusaders team, that will win by at least 10 points.


15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Robbie Coleman, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Matt Toomua, 23 James Dargaville.

Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Jone Macilai, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 David Havili, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Richie McCaw, 6 Matt Todd, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Colin Slade, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Chiefs v Hurricanes
(Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth - Kick-off: 19.35; 07.35 GMT)

Skipper Conrad Smith will join centre partner Ma'a Nonu as the most capped Hurricanes players when the Wellington-based team faces a determined Chiefs outfit.

This will be Smith's 124th appearance for the Canes, a number Nonu brought up against the Highlanders in Napier the previous weekend.

Nonu is not playing against the Chiefs, with Sonny Bill Williams in the No.12 jersey.

Smith achieved a milestone earlier this year when he and Nonu became the most capped midfield pairing for the 'Canes, while last week he also became the most successful Hurricanes' captain, winning 33 matches in charge.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd doesn't attempt to hide from the fact his side doesn't have the intrinsic motivation of their opposites for a match that's become a tricky precursor to their home semifinal.

"You can't lie to each other," Boyd told The Dominion Post.

"At the end of the day we have to go to New Plymouth and try hard and put a credible performance out there, but the game assumes, from a ladder point of view, more significance to them than it does to us," he added.

Boyd likes the concept of a Hurricanes versus Chiefs rivalry in the Taranaki hinterland, but this year at least, he's not buying into the hype.

"They were historically with the Hurricanes, but at the end of the day it's more of a marketing thing than a rugby thing," he said.

"Our players are looking forward to playing up there and it should be close to a full house… However, we haven't talked about reclaiming our land or anything of that nature."

Boyd reckons Saturday's match won't be a fizzer and you get the feeling the Hurricanes wouldn't mind if the Chiefs missed out on a home quarterfinal.

"They'll know exactly what they need to achieve or do.

"The Highlanders game is on Friday and the Brumbies are before us in Australia, so they'll know if they need four or five points and they'll know what sort of margin they need. I'm assuming they'll come out chasing points."

Recent results:
2015: Hurricanes won 22-18, Wellington
2014: Chiefs won 24-16, Hamilton
2014: Hurricanes won 45-8, Wellington
2013: Chiefs won 34-22, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 17-12, Wellington
2012: Hurricanes won 28-25, Wellington
2012: Chiefs won 33-14, Hamilton

Prediction: The Chiefs are unbeaten in six at home to the Canes, with the Hurricanes last winning in Hamilton in 2007. The Hurricanes have won six of their last seven against fellow New Zealanders despite holding a half-time lead in just three of those games. The Hurricanes have averaged the most metres (557), clean breaks (11.6) and defenders beaten this season (24.2). The Chiefs have made more offloads than any other team this season, averaging 17.3 per game. The Canes are the only team in Super Rugby this season to have scored 100+ points in each quarter of their game. The Hurricanes look like they'll go out to 'enjoy' the occasion, which will open the door for a big win by the Chiefs - at least 15 points.


15 Tom Marshall, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe/Hosea Gear, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Maama Vaipuu, 7 Michael Leitch, 6 Liam Messam (captain), 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Jamie Mackintosh, 19 Michael Fitzgerald, 20 Mitchell Crosswell, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Damian McKenzie.
Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Rey Lee-Lo, 11 Julian Savea, 10 James Marshall, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Brayden Mitchell, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 James Broadhurst, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Frae Wilson, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 Sam McNicholl.
Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Shane McDermott (New Zealand), Paul Williams (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)

Waratahs v Reds
(Allianz Stadium, Sydney - Kick-off: 19.40; 09.40 GMT)

With the Waratahs set to take the field just hours after the completion of their domestic rivals, the Brumbies, Adam Ashley-Cooper has said that the side is concentrating solely on their own performance.

Heading into the final round of the regular Super Rugby season, the Waratahs and Brumbies are equal on 47-points.

However, the Waratahs sit above the Brumbies after securing an extra win throughout the season, but both sides are desperate to secure a home semifinal.

"The only game we're keeping an eye on is ours, we've got a couple of days left to finish the [regular] season on a really good note and we control our destiny by the performance this weekend," Ashley-Cooper said in an interview on the Waratahs website.

"It's very important. It gives you an opportunity to play a semifinal in front of your home crowd and the support we've been getting here in Sydney has been immense for us and hopefully we can get that again."

However, Ashley-Cooper's teammate Michael Hooper took a different view on the overall competition standings said that he thought a select few members of the team should be aware of the outcome in the earlier clash between the Brumbies and Crusaders.

"I think it's important for a select few people to know depending on scores and how we want to go on with the game especially for the captain and those around him it's pretty important to know."

In his last season for the Waratahs before continuing the final chapter of his playing career in France, Ashley-Cooper said that he was feeling fresh and starting to hit his straps after a baker's cist kept the veteran utility back on the sidelines for six weeks earlier in the season.

Reds coach Richard Graham said his side was looking forward to the clash with their arch rivals from New South Wales, a fixture both sides will be highly motivated for.

"It is always a game full of expectation," he said.

"I spoke to the players earlier in the week about last impressions.

"It will be the last opportunity in 2015 they have to leave strong memories with their teammates, the rest of the competition and more importantly with the people who support them each week.

"We have a responsibility to make sure our performance is physical, is accurate and is 80 minutes."

Recent results:
2015: Waratahs won 23-5, Brisbane
2014: Waratahs won 34-3, Brisbane
2014: Waratahs won 32-5, Sydney
2013: Reds won 14-12, Sydney
2013: Reds won 25-17, Brisbane
2012  Reds won 32-16, Brisbane
2012: Reds won 25-21, Sydney

Prediction: The Waratahs have won their last three against the Reds, restricting the Queenslanders to five points or fewer in those three games. The
Tahs have won 15 of their last 17 games at home, allowing their opponents a losing bonus point in just three of those games. Only the Force have a worse goal-kicking success than the Reds (60 percent) and the Waratahs (66 percent). The Waratahs have scored the most first phase tries this season (22) while only the Cheetahs have conceded more than the Reds (22). Israel Folau (205), Kurtley Beale (204) and Bernard Foley (170) make up three of the top four ball carriers in Super Rugby this season; Folau (36) and Beale (30) also rank first and second for offloads. The Waratahs' South African-like tactics - the physical brutality with which they play - have proved to be too much in recent years for a Reds team that lost the attacking spark which made the men from Brisbane such a threat a few years back. The Waratahs should win by at least 10 points.


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 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mitchell Chapman , 20 Dean Mumm, 21 Stephen Hoiles, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Peter Betham.
Reds: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 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 Jake McIntyre, 24 Ben Tapuai, 25 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi.

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Matt O'Brien (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

Bulls v Cheetahs
(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 GMT)

Both teams made a valiant attempt this week to talk the game up as something of significance.

And while it is indeed a dead rubber, as far as Super Rugby is concerned, there is plenty to be gained from victory.

Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has been under pressure for some time, because of the Bulls' declining form and by kick-off on Saturday he will know what the future holds for him.

He has a date with the Bulls' board of Directors on Friday and Saturday may well be his last match as coach.

However, he remained defiant to the last.

"We would like to finish the tournament with a strong performance," Ludeke told a media briefing in Pretoria.

"We did not reach all the targets we have set for ourselves as a team, but I am proud of the way we have played at times during the season. Unfortunately our away-form again cost us."

Bulls captain Pierre Spies was signing from the same hymnbook, insisting that they will deliver a good, final performance.

"The Cheetahs team will have nothing to lose and will certainly attack from all angles, but we are also very keen to end our season on a high," Spies told the same media briefing.

"We are back at Loftus Versfeld for a last time this season and would like to give the supporters something to cheer about.

"That said, there is no time for emotional goodbyes, as we will have to play for 80 minutes to make sure we get the right result."

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith is at the start of a rebuilding phase in Bloemfontein, having taken over from Naka Drotské only last week.

Smith is adamant both teams have a lot to play for.

"I see it as preparations for the next step and I agreed to coach these two matches with a specific purpose and goals," Smith said.

"Although this competition has nothing to do with the next one [the Currie Cup], it is still important that we regain respect not for anyone else but for ourselves."

Recent results:
2015: Bulls won 39-20, Bloemfontein
2014: Bulls won 26-21, Pretoria
2014: Cheetahs won 15-9, Bloemfontein
2013: Bulls won 30-25, Bloemfontein
2013: Bulls won 26-20, Pretoria
2012: Bulls won 40-24, Pretoria
2012: Bulls won 51-19, Bloemfontein

Prediction: The Bulls have won their last five on the bounce at home, while the Cheetahs have lost five of their last six on the road. The Bulls have only ever lost once to the Cheetahs in Super Rugby. The Bulls have averaged the fewest offloads per game this season (5.5) while the Cheetahs have made the third fewest (7.6). The Cheetahs have spent the least time in possession this season, averaging just 13 minutes on the ball per game. The Bulls have conceded the joint fewest tries in the final quarter of matches this season (6), while the Cheetahs have conceded the most (16). The Bulls seem to have the beating of the Cheetahs because they find it so easy to smother them. It will be another win for the Bulls, but by less than 10 points.


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, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Arno Botha, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip van der Merwe, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Morné Mellett.
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Roelof Smit, 20 Bjorn Basson, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Jurgen Visser, 23 Werner Kruger.
Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Clayton Blommetjies, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ryno Benjamin, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Henco Venter, 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 Teboho Mohoje, 22 Renier Botha, 23 Coenie van Wyk.

Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Ben Crouse
TMO: Willie Vos

Sharks v Stormers
(Kings Park - Kick-off: 19.10; 17.10 GMT)

The Stormers appear to have conceded any hope of finishing second in the Super Rugby standings and know they will most likely to play in next week's preliminary play-off - with home advantage.

The Stormers, who have sent a seemingly second-string side to Durban in order to rest their frontline players for the play-offs, are bracing for a fierce South African derby against the Sharks - who have confirmed that Springboks Willem Alberts, as well as the Du Plessis brothers Bismarck and Jannie will be playing their last match for the Durban franchise before leaving to join overseas-based teams

"I expect a brutal game to be honest," Stormers attack coach Robbie Fleck told the media in a teleconference call this week.

"There's going to be a lot of emotion for them as they have players leaving and they'll want to earn back the respect of their fans."

Fleck said despite resting a host of frontline players, the Stormers are determined to finish off the regular season on a good note.

"We want to go out there and win the game," the backline mentor said, adding: "Results can go either way over the course of the weekend and there is still a glimmer of hope that the Waratahs and Brumbies can fall short and we have an opportunity to get the home semifinal.

"The focus is to go out there and get the win and whatever happens outside of that is out of our hands."

Sharks backline coach Sean Everett sad they felt they have got ten better with each game since the disastrous start to their Australasian tour against the Highlanders.

"There has been regular improvement and we finished tour with beating Reds," he said, adding: "We then beat Rebels, who are not an easy outfit."

Everett admitted the result will make no difference to the standings, but felt they would like to show that they are up there and can beat the best in the country.

Recent results:
2015: Stormers won 29-13, Cape Town
2014: Sharks won 34-10, Cape Town
2014: Stormers won 21-19, Durban
2013: Stormers won 22-15, Cape Town
2013: Sharks won 12-6, Durban
2012: Sharks won 26-19, Cape Town (semifinal)
2012: Sharks won 25-20, Durban
2012: Stormers won 15-12, Cape Town

Prediction: The last five meetings between these sides have seen an average of less than 19 points scored by each team. The last two fixtures between the sides have both been settled by 15+ points, however the previous six before that were all separated by losing bonus point
margins. The Stormers have conceded the fewest second half tries in Super Rugby this season (11). The Durban-based side has the worst tackle success this season (83 percent), having missed more tackles per game than any other team this season (24). The Sharks' Marco Wentzel has won the most line-outs in this year's Super Rugby (64). The Sharks will have the greater desire and should win by at least a converted try.


15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (captain), 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20 Khaya Majola, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Heimar Williams.

Stormers: 15 Robert du Preez, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Alister Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Seabelo Senatla, 23 Kobus van Wyk.

Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Marius Jonker

Compiled by Jan de Koning

Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article 476951042

Tahs bag home semi

Sat, 13 Jun 2015 11:28

REPORT: The Waratahs have secured a home semifinal after they defeated the Reds 31-7 in a sloppy Sydney encounter.

Defending champions the Waratahs bounded away with four converted second-half tries against the Reds on Saturday to secure the Australian conference title and a Super Rugby home final in Sydney.
The Waratahs wrestled their way to a 3-0 lead by the end of a scrappy first-half before motoring to victory in the second, claiming the number two spot overall in the final standings behind tearaway leaders the Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes and Waratahs will have next week off as the Stormers take on the Brumbies and the Highlanders host the Chiefs in the opening week's play-offs.
It was the Waratahs' 11th win of the season but the 12th loss of a disastrous campaign for the Reds, who won the Super Rugby title four years ago.
It was an ugly opening half with only a Bernard Foley penalty goal separating the two rivals at half-time, but the Waratahs stepped it up in the second term with four converted tries.
Skipper Dave Dennis crashed over off an inside pass from Foley in the 53rd minute and was followed five minutes later by South African flank Jacques Potgieter after a tremendous bumping run by Israel Folau.
Replacement scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin scooted over after lead-up play from Foley, and Dean Mumm came off the bench to score the bonus-point fourth try seven minutes from the end.
Quade Cooper scored a consolation try for the Reds in the dying minutes for his side's only points.
"Our defence was really good. We were disappointed by our defence in Bloemfontein [against the Cheetahs] last week but today the win was off the back of some really good team defence," Dennis said.
"They are a tough team. It's always a hard slog against the Reds... and I think through our hard work and patience it paid off."
The Waratahs have now won their last four encounters against the Reds by substantial margins - 32-5 and 34-3 last year and 23-5 and 31-5 this season.
Reds skipper James Slipper, who came off with a shoulder injury, said his team had played a poor second-half.
"Disappointing the way we finished in the second-half," he said.
"I thought going into half-time we were right in the mix, but we came out a bit soft and we really didn't create the opportunities. And they did."
The Reds now face a period of soul-searching, with the future of coach Richard Graham in doubt and established players Will Genia, James Horwill and likely Quade Cooper heading to play overseas.
Man of the match: There were really no contenders here for the Reds although Adam Thompson and Quade Cooper tried their best. For the Waratahs Israel Folau and Taqele Naiyaravoro were both handfuls to bring down, while Dave Dennis was a workhorse. Bernard Foley claims the honours as he was useful with ball in-hand, making some quality line-breaks and the provider of two try-assist.
The scorers:
For the Waratahs:
Tries: Dennis, Potgieter, McKibbin, Mumm
Cons: Foley 3
Pen: Foley
For the Reds:
Try: Cooper
Yellow card: Adam Thomson (Reds, 50 - professional foul - deliberate offside)
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 Will Skelton, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mitchell Chapman , 20 Dean Mumm, 21 Stephen Hoiles, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Peter Betham.
Reds: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 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 Jake McIntyre, 24 Ben Tapuai, 25 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi.
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Matt O'Brien (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia
Dave Dennis (53min), Jacques Potgieter (57min), Brendan McKibbin (68min), and Dean Mumm (72min)
Quade Cooper (78min)
Bernard Foley (54min), Bernard Foley (59min), Bernard Foley (69min), and Bernard Foley (74min)
Bernard Foley (17min)
Adam Thomson (50min)
VENUE Sydney
REFEREE Nick Briant