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Super Rugby | Sydney
08:40 (GMT) | 27-02-2016
  • 80
Thats Full-Time: Not the greatest of games but the Waratahs will take the victory. Thank you for joining us at for this match. Be sure to join us for the next game as the Rebels take on the Western Force.
  • 79
Reds keep bashing at the defense without any reward before losing the ball.
  • 78
Reds on the attack just 5 meters from the line. Chris Feauai-Sautia has a go in the corner but it comes to nothing. The ref blows for another penalty and this time the Reds have decided to kick for the corner
  • 76
Frisby feeds the scrum , the ref blows for another penalty and gives Jeremy Tilse a yellow card. They also choose to scrum for the 4th time in a row.
  • 75
Scrum reset
  • 74
Massive tackle from Rob Horne , but the ref has awarded the Reds another penalty. They choose to scrum for the third consecutive time.
  • 73
Good scrum from the Reds, they win another penalty. They opt to scrum again.
  • 72
Scrum for the Waratahs on their own line, they get penalized and the Reds are awarded the penalty. They choose to scrum .
  • 70
Knock on after knock on , the game has become extremely scrappy
  • 69
Waratahs opt to shoot for goal and Bryce Hegarty slots the penalty
  • 68
Guildford breaks the line for the Waratahs, the yellow card is shown to Sam Talakai of the Reds for foul play
  • 67
Reds on the attack near the Waratahs 22. Kerevi has a go but he has not been an effective runner today . The Reds lose the ball and Guildford puts in a kick and McIntyre knocks the ball forward. Scrum to the Waratahs. Its been an extremely poor second half here folks.
  • 66
Frisby feeds the scrum for the Reds and they win the penalty for the Waratahs front row collapsing. McIntyre will kick for touch once again to set up a lineout deep in Tahs territory.
  • 65
Knock on by the Waratahs , scrum for the Reds on the halfway line.
  • 64
Massive hit in defense by Latu for the Waratahs, he does not take any prisoners !
  • 63
The Tahs are on the attack near the halfway line through Kurtley Beale before Lucas decides to kick for territory and pin the Reds into their 22.
  • 61
Beale adds the extras
  • 60
Great play from Carraro as he breaks the line and offloads to Beale who kicks forward and Phipps dives on the ball and scores
  • 59
Goromaru adds the extras
  • 58
McIntyre throws the dummy and slices through to score the try for the Reds!
  • 57
Reds win the lineout and attack the Waratahs defence but there simply isnt any reward for their efforts . Extremely robotic rugby here, no creativity.
  • 55
We have a Reds scrum inside the Waratahs half. The hit is good and it results in a penalty awarded to them. McIntyre kicks for touch to set up a 5 meter lineout in a good position
  • 54
Reds on the attack 5 meters from the Waratahs line but the defense is rock solid eventually resulting in a turnover. Great stuff by the Waratahs
  • 53
Reds have a penalty for Dean Mumm taking a man out in the air. McIntyre kicks for touch. This game needs something exciting to happen...
  • 52
Waratahs lineout on their 22 , Polota-Nau finds his jumper and Beale clears the ball
  • 51
There is just no go forward ball for the Reds, leaves McIntyre with no option but to kick the ball.
  • 50
Hunt has a run for the Reds but with no reward
  • 49
Goromaru pulls the penalty kick to the right. 22 dropout to the Waratahs
  • 47
Good scrum from the Reds , they continue attacking but with no reward. They win a penalty and Goromaru will have another shot at goal
  • 45
Couple kicks back and forth before Folau makes a good run. The Reds are slipping to many tackles but are lucky as Taavao loses the ball forward - Scrum to the Reds
  • 44
Goromaru is successful with his penalty kick
  • 43
Waratahs building phases near the halfway line before the Reds win a penalty for a Waratahs player holding onto the ball. Goromaru will have a shot at goal
  • 42
Tui makes a good run for the Reds as they continue to bash at the Waratahs defense. Waratahs turn the ball over and Phibbs pins the Reds back into their own 22. Lineout to the Reds
  • 41
Second half underway

Half Time

  • 40
THATS HALF-TIME see you all in a bit for the second half! Waratahs dominating this game
  • 39
Turnover after turnover here before Phibbs kicks the ball into touch
  • 38
Reds win a penalty,McIntyre kicks for touch to set up the lineout deep inside the Waratahs half
  • 37
Guildford slides through the gap and makes 20 meters but then loses the ball forward. Scrum to the Reds inside their own half.
  • 36
Waratahs win the penalty , Beale opts to kick for touch to set up a lineout on the halfway
  • 35
Neville makes a good run for the Reds, Waratahs defense solid as a rock, does not look like its going to crack any time soon.
  • 34
Reds on the attack near the Waratahs 22 , theres just no venom in the attack though
  • 33
Waratahs turn the ball over and are on the attack from deep through center Horowitz
  • 32
Reds continue to bash at the Waratahs defense. They are 15 meters from the try line as Tui has another run.
  • 31
Reds on the attack near the Waratahs 22, Skelton holds strong in defense for the Tahs
  • 30
Good run by Hendrik Tui for the Reds , they continue to attack before the ball goes out resulting in a Waratahs lineout.
  • 29
Reds scrum just inside their half as a result of a knock on from the Waratahs. The Reds win the penalty at the scrum , they opt to kick for touch to set up a lineout
  • 27
Reds lineout on the halfway line. Faingaa finds his man and Frisby has a go but is closed down quickly
  • 26
Beale converts the try! Not looking good for the Reds here
  • 25
The Tahs have scored again, Hooper does well and gives the ball to Horowitz who puts in a grubber regathers and scores!!!!
  • 24
Beale pulls the conversion attempt
  • 23
TRY! The TMO has judged that Matt Carraro scored the try!
  • 22
Waratahs on the attack inside the Reds half. They swing the ball to Guildford, he puts in a grubber and thinks he has scored. TMO called into action.
  • 21
An extremely fast paced game here. Great for the spectators.
  • 20
Reds get the ball and swing the ball to Chris Feauai-Sautia who was one on one with Beale. Beale makes a great tackle 2 meters from the try line! Waratahs also win a penalty. Beale kicks for touch to set up a lineout. What great defense that was!
  • 19
Reds on the attack inside the 22 through Schatz who loses the ball and the Waratahs opt to counter attack from deep.
  • 18
Reds win another penalty and Jake McIntyre sets up the lineout inside the Tahs 22. Faingaa finds his jumper and the maul is set
  • 17
Waratahs on the attack through Guildford before the Reds win a penalty for incorrect entry at the ruck by the Tahs. Jake McIntyre kicks for touch to set up a lineout inside the Waratahs half.
  • 15
Scrum resets a couple times
  • 14
Waratahs opt to set up another 5 meter lineout. The maul was defended well by the Reds this time . The Tahs play the ball wide and look to get Folau through the gap but unfortunately there was a Reds player whos had got in the way so the ref judges that it is a Waratahs scrum.
  • 13
Waratahs attacking near the Reds 22. Another penalty results in a yellow card for Rob Simmons. Poor discipline from the Reds
  • 12
Jake McIntyre opts for field position but he overcooked his kick and the ball went out on the full. Lineout to the Waratahs.
  • 11
Reds lineout inside Waratahs territory Faingaa finds his jumper and the Reds are on the attack through Kerevi but defense is solid from the Tahs
  • 10
Beale pulls the conversion attempt to the left
  • 9
The maul was set from the lineout and captain Michael Hooper crashes over for a try!
  • 8
Waratahs win the lineout . Skelton has a run. Ref blows his whistle and has a chat to Reds captain Rob Simmons about the increased occurrences of foul play. Waratahs opt to kick the penalty into touch to set up a 5 meter lineout
  • 7
Reds on the attack inside Waratahs 22. Great run by winger Eto Nabuli before the ref gives the Waratahs a penalty for incorrect entry at the ruck by the Reds. Beale puts the ball into touch.
  • 5
Penalty attempt is good by Kurtley Beale! 3-0
  • 4
Another penalty for the Waratahs. This time the skipper Michael Hooper opts to go for the three points.
  • 3
Short arm penalty to the Waratahs , Phibbs takes it quickly and the Waratahs are on the attack. Hooper breaks the line but it all comes to nothing as the ref blows a penalty for the Waratahs for a high tackle. Hooper opts to set up a 5 meter lineout.
  • 2
The Tahs take the kickoff well and David Horwitz clears the ball into touch. The Reds win the lineout and are on the attack inside the Waratahs half. Kerevi getting involved early. Great defence by Will Skelton as he holds up the Reds runner and forces a turnover. Scrum to the Waratahs.
  • 1
First half underway! Jake McIntyre kicks off!
  • -5
Teams come out the tunnel its almost time to rumble!
  • -10
The Waratahs will be looking at star fullback Israel Folau to be their main man in this match! Kurtley Beale will wear the number 10 jersey in the absence of Wallaby flyhalf Bernard Foley.
  • -20
The Waratahs have won four of their last five encounters with the Reds, who have been a pale shadow of their former glory in recent years.
  • -30
Welcome to the all-Australian derby in Sydney - the Waratahs against the reds. It has been an intriguing weekend so far, will this game live up to the pre-match hype?
Mc waratahs logo 80x50
Mc reds logo 80x50
  • 15 Israel Folau
  • 14 Matt Carraro
  • 13 Rob Horne
  • 12 David Horwitz
  • 11 Zac Guildford
  • 10 Kurtley Beale
  • 9 Nick Phipps
  • 8 Jed Holloway
  • 7 Michael Hooper
  • 6 Dave Dennis
  • 5 Will Skelton
  • 4 Dean Mumm
  • 3 Angus Taavao-Matau
  • 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau
  • 1 Paddy Ryan
  • 23 Reece Robinson
  • 22 Bryce Hegarty
  • 21 Matt Lucas
  • 20 Jack Dempsey
  • 19 Sam Lousi
  • 18 Jeremy Tilse
  • 17 Benn Robinson
  • 16 Tola Latu
  • 15 Karmichael Hunt
  • 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia
  • 13 Samu Kerevi
  • 12 Henry Taefu
  • 11 Eto Nabuli
  • 10 Jake McIntyre
  • 9 Nick Frisby
  • 8 Jake Schatz
  • 7 Curtis Browning
  • 6 Hendrik Tui
  • 5 Rob Simmons
  • 4 Cadeyrn Neville
  • 3 Greg Holmes
  • 2 Saia Faingaa
  • 1 Ben Daley
  • 23 Ayumu Goromaru
  • 22 Sam Greene
  • 21 Scott Gale
  • 20 Michael Gunn
  • 19 Ben Matwijow
  • 18 Sam Talakai
  • 17 Sef Faagase
  • 16 Andrew Ready
Mc article tendai mtawarira   steven sykes 800


Thu, 25 Feb 2016 22:44

IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Jan de Koning looks at the Saturday matches in Part One of Super Rugby's Round One.

History will be made in Tokyo on Saturday, when the Sunwolves make their Super Rugby debut against the Lions at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium.

With the focus so heavily on the home team, the visitors from Johannesburg have managed to 'fly under the radar' so far.

But the tranquility will not last long.

In fact Lions coach Johan Ackermann revealed that his team will not just step into the unknown, but are expecting to play on a Tokyo cabbage patch.

The pitch is not in great condition and - unlike their lush home turf at Ellis Park - there is only a smattering of grass on the surface.

However, the Lions mentor is determined that his team avoid getting distracted by external factors and focus on a game against a tricky opponent in their season opener.

The Sunwolves are an unknown quantity to everybody, but Ackermann believes he saw enough of them in their only pre-season game, against a Top League XV, to know that they want to play a high-tempo game.

"However, we are comfortable with such a game," the Lions coach said in a teleconference from Tokyo.

There are five other matches on Saturday - all domestic derbies.

The seven-time champion Crusaders are at home to the two-time champion Chiefs, then the 2014 champion Waratahs play the Reds, the Western Force host the Rebels, before we cross the Indian Ocean to South Africa - where the Southern Kings make their comeback after a two-year absence and play the Sharks, before the weekend's action is concluded with the traditional north-south derby when the Stormers host the Bulls.

We look at the Saturday, February 27, matches below!

Sunwolves v Lions
(Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo - Kick-off. 13.15; 06.15 SA time; 04.15 GMT)

Lions coach Johan Ackermann said they have really flown under the radar since their arrival in Tokyo on Wednesday, with very little attention paid to them.

Whatever focus there has been, has been on the tournament newcomers - the Sunwolves.

And the pressure will be on the home team to produce a surprise equal in magnitude to when Japan beat South African in the World Cup last year.

The media have given limited space to the team and if they hope to raise the game's profile, only victory will suffice.

The Sunwolves' New Zealand coach, Mark Hammett, is confident that they will not just be a novelty and that the Sunwolves are the real deal.

"I'm very motivated by this challenge," Hammett said of Japan's historic entry into Super Rugby.

"Japan has a long history, 125 years in rugby, and now to get to this point, it will be nice to set foot on the Super Rugby fields, probably the hardest competition in the world."

For the Lions it is all about overcoming the external factors - foreign conditions, a poor pitch with very little grass and chilly weather.

"We have to make peace with whatever surface we get," Ackermann said in a teleconference call from Tokyo.

"We have to make sure we don't get distracted by external factors."

He said, despite the presence of a New Zealand coach that will bring a slightly different mentality, the traditional Japanese style is of a fast-paced, expansive game.

"They will come with their low tackles and a loose game," Ackermann said.

"We have to ensure we maintain a tempo with which we are comfortable with. The set pieces, scrums and line-outs, will play a major role.

"We must avoid the trap of throwing the ball around, because they would want an unstructured game."

Recent results.
These teams have never met before

Prediction. The Lions have won eight of their last 11 Super Rugby matches and are undefeated in their last three (two wins and a draw), though seven of those eight victories came by margins of five points or fewer. With wins in their last two matches outside of South Africa the Lions will be aiming for three straight victories outside of their home nation for the first time in Super Rugby history. The Lions conceded only two tries when the opposition went through more than seven phases of play last season, the fewest of any team. The 2015 Super Rugby season saw South African teams travel abroad on 20 occasions of which they won only seven. Of those seven wins, the Lions accounted for three. The Lions starved their opposition of possession more than any other team in the 2015 Super Rugby season, allowing their opponents an average of only 14 minutes and 20 seconds in control. The Sunwolves may cause some early mayhem with their unstructured game, but expect the Lions to take control in the final quarter and easy to a 20-point win.


Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Harumichi Tatekawa, 12 Yu Tamura, 11 Yasutaka Sasakura, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Edward Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Hitoshi Ono, 4 Timothy Bond, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Shota Horie (captain), 1 Keith Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Masataka Mikami, 17 Takeshi Kizu, 18 Koki Yamamoto, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Yoshiya Hosoda, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Derek Carpenter, 23 Hajime Yamashata.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Ruan Ackermann, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Harold Vorster, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Aki Aso (Japan)
TMO: Takeshi Hareda (Japan)

Crusaders v Chiefs
(AMI Stadium, Christchurch - Kick-off. 19.35; 06.35 GMT)

The Crusaders need to overcome their no infamous slow starts to the season if they hope to end a seven-year drought and win their first Super Rugby title since 2008.

And they are looking at seasoned All Blacks like Kieran Read, at No.8, lock Samuel Whitelock and prop Owen Franks to provide the spark.

And then there is their leaky defence that contributed to their humiliation at the hands of the Hurricanes in last week's final pre-season outing.

Crusaders assistant coach Tabai Matson said that much of the focus this week had been on the defence around the set-piece.

"To be honest it was a bit of a shock, the outcome," Matson told

"When you go back and review it there are a couple of key areas we had to tidy up.

"The Hurricanes backline punished us from scrums, fundamentally."

The Chiefs, in contrast, are not reading much into last week's result and are expecting the Crusaders to bounce back strongly in Christchurch.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie feel the Crusaders' All Black-laden pack holds the key.

"We feel that the set-piece is something that the Crusaders will try and attack us in," Rennie told

Recent results:
2015: Chiefs won 26-9, Christchurch
2015: Chiefs won 40-16, Hamilton
2014: Crusaders won 18-17, Hamilton
2014: Chiefs won 18-10, Christchurch
2013: Chiefs won 20-19, Hamilton (semifinal)
2013: Crusaders won 43-15, Christchurch
2013: Chiefs won 28-19, Hamilton

Prediction. The Chiefs have won seven of their last 10 matches against the Crusaders, including wins in three of their last four away games against them. The Crusaders finished their 2015 Super Rugby campaign with three straight wins, scoring above 30 points on each occasion. The Chiefs have won only two of their last seven Super Rugby fixtures, though four of those five losses in that period came against the Final combatants (Highlanders and Hurricanes). The Chiefs conceded the most penalties (12.3), yellow cards (0.8) and turnovers (18.4) in Super Rugby last season. The Chiefs conceded just three tries where possession originated in the opposition half, the fewest of any side, only the Reds (18) conceded more such tries than the Crusaders (14). The Crusaders are notorious for their slow starts and the Chiefs could make them pay. The smart money is on a Chiefs win, by 10 points or less.


Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Jone Macilai, 13 Sean Wainui, 12 Kieron Fonotia, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Tim Boys, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Johnny McNicholl.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Mitchell Graham, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Maama Vaipulu, 20 Johan Bardoul, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Latu Vaeno.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Waratahs v Reds
(Allianz Stadium, Sydney - Kick-off: 19.45; 08.45)

The Waratahs would have gone into this game as favourites, no matter what.

However, the scales tipped even further in their favour this week as the Reds suffered another crucial injury.

Reds coach Richard Graham lost his best player, Liam Gill, for a month - having already been without the Wallabies duo of James Slipper and Kane Douglas.

At least there is the excitement of high-profile Japanese import Ayumu Goromaru to look forward to when he comes off the bench.

Despite all the injury issues, Graham remained adamant that his players are not pushovers.

"We've put in a lot of hard work as a group over the last three and a half months - building a physical foundation, developing our game play and coming together as a squad," he said in a media release.

"We've spent the pre-season focused very much on ourselves and what we want to get out of the new season.

"This Saturday is our first opportunity to demonstrate that and the squad are looking forward to the occasion down in Sydney this weekend.
"While we have four guys making their Super Rugby debut on Saturday, they come with varying experience that has served them well to this point."

Further counting in favour of the home team is that in the last four games between the sides, the Reds have not scored more than five points.

Veteran Waratahs lock Dean Mumm attempted to downplay his side's favourites tag.

"I think coming into a new year it's not super relevant," Mumm said of the Waratahs' recent dominance over the interstate rivals.

"History has gone through periods; the Reds have dominated, then the Waratahs and vice versa.

"At any moment that can change. We're trying to control our own destiny and bring the intensity from the start."

Recent results:
2015: Waratahs won 31-5, Sydney
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

Prediction. The Waratahs have won each of their last four matches against the Reds spanning the last two seasons, and they've restricted them to five points for less in each of those games. The Waratahs have won 10 of their last 12 matches against fellow Australian teams in Super Rugby and not since Round 5, 2014 have they been beaten by an Australian team that wasn't the Force. None of the Reds' last 11 games against fellow Australian opposition have seen a losing bonus point secured by either side (six wins a seven defeats). The Reds had the best line-out success rate in the 2015 edition of this competition (91 percent) winning more line-out per game than anyone else (14.1). Waratahs' Israel Folau made the most carries (231), metres (1,677) and offloads (38) in Super Rugby last season. The Waratahs are favourites and should win by at least 15 points.


Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 David Dennis, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Jeremy Tilse, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Reece Robinson.

Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Curtis Browning, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 Ben Daley.  
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa'agase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Ayumu Goromaru.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nicholas Berry (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Western Force v Rebels
(nib Stadium, Perth - Kick-off: 18.55; 10.55 GMT)

You can get pretty decent odds on either of these teams making it to Super Rugby's play-offs for the first team.

The Force, in 10 years, have had a couple of decent seasons, but seventh remain their best finish.

The Rebels have had the occasional decent run, but last year's 10th-place finish remain their nest performance.

And in recent years their encounters have been as exciting as watching paint dry.

They may have played out intriguing encounters, but they always tend to become ultra defensive when they go head-to-head - a classic case of the fear of failure getting the better of them.

And both teams are based in cities where Rugby League and Australian Rules Football are much bigger codes.

Force captain Matt Hodgson feels the West-Australian franchise will soon begin to reap the rewards of their local player development.

"It's definitely tough," Hodgson told PerthNow, when asked about their the desperation to become competitive in Super Rugby.

"Being those newer teams in the competition - and especially in markets like Melbourne and Perth where rugby isn't the No.1 sport - it's definitely hard to get that foothold.

"But I think after 10 years now we're getting a lot of local talent come through, we're getting our academy stuff right.

"A couple of years ago I would have been able to count maybe four or five West Australian boys in our whole squad, now I can't even tell you because there's that many.

"And also the boys who have flown over and been here for a couple of years really call Perth home now, so we've got that Perth culture really flowing through.

"So I think it's only a matter of time before we make finals and hopefully win the title."

Recent results:
2015: Force won 13-11, Melbourne
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

Prediction. In the 10 previous clashes between these teams the Force have won just three times, however after a 13-11 win in their last encounter they have the opportunity to record consecutive wins against the Rebels for the first time. That win was the Force's last match of the 2015 season and only their third win of that campaign. The Rebels have won only seven of their 40 away fixtures in Super Rugby history, though six of those seven wins came against Australian opposition. The Rebels lost 15 line-outs last season due to not throwing straight, almost double that of any other team (Hurricanes eight). The Force conceded only 13.1 turnovers per game on average last season, the fewest of any team in the competition, though the Rebels weren't far behind, ranked third with 14 turnovers per game. The Rebels should win what is likely to be another arm-wrestle, bit the margin will be in single digits.


Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Angus Cottrell, 7 Matt Hodgson, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Guy Millar, 2 Nathan Charles, 1 Pekahou Cowan.     
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Ross Haylett-Petty, 20 Chris Alcock, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Semisi Masirewa.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Reece Hodge, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Sean McMahon (captain), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Steve Cummins, 20 Colby Fainga'a, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Jonah Placid, 23 Tom English.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)

Southern Kings v Sharks
(Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth - Kick-off: 15.05; 13.05 GMT)

The Kings are back in Super Rugby, but their return is as controversial as their original; entry three years ago.

Only this time they didn't knock a team out in the boardroom. They had to be rescued in the boardroom.

At least the Rebels have home ground advantage, their only advantage over the Sharks.

Coach Deon Davids said he was looking forward to playing the first game of the season at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

"We couldn't have asked for a better draw, to start playing at home," he said.

Despite the pre-season drama that forced the South African Rugby Union to step in and rescue the Kings from a bankrupt Eastern Province Rugby Union, Davids said they are excited to get going.

"The players have worked really hard and we have tried to tick most of the boxes in preparation for this game and are looking forward to this challenge and being able to play Super Rugby," the coach said.

"We have huge respect for the Sharks. If you look at the players involved in their warm up matches, they have a good balanced squad, a mixture of experienced players with one or two youngsters coming through.

"They have a good pack of forwards and an exciting back line. The sharks are a team that wants to dominate opposition with go forward ball from set pieces. It will be a challenge for us, and we will have to ensure that we are defensively organised," he said.

Davids said he was not concerned about the tempo of Super Rugby.

"I am not concerned. We have talked about the intensity and what we can expect. We have tried to simulate that in our training sessions and have trained at a very high intensity.

"It is a case of how well we have done things we could have done up to now," he said.

In contrasts the Sharks' build-up could not have been better.

They warmed up with victories over two French giants - European champions Toulon and an equally impressive Toulouse.

Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold said they are excited to get the competition underway.  

"Our focus over the last week was to concentrate our energies on working on arrears we believed needed work in, after our pre-season tour to France," Gold said.

"Playing the Kings this weekend will be a challenging first task.  

"We believe that they are a team that have gelled well in the last couple of weeks, through adversity.  

"We giving them a lot of respect because they are a very dangerous outfit and we know that throughout this season they'll want to make their mark."

Previous results:
2013: Sharks won 58-13, Durban
2013: Sharks won 21-12, Port Elizabeth

Prediction. This will be only the third meeting between these sides with the Sharks winning both previous matches by an aggregate score line of 79-25. This will be the Kings' first Super Rugby match since 2013, their only season in the competition, and they are yet to claim victory over a fellow South African team. The Sharks finished their 2015 Super Rugby season with three straight victories. A fourth would represent their longest streak since they won five in a row to Round 5, 2014. The Sharks gained the fewest metres per game on average last season (344), while their tackle success was the worst in the league (83 percent). The Kings conceded 564 points in their 2013 Super Rugby campaign, the third most of any team in a season in Super Rugby history. The Kings will tackle their hearts out, but the Sharks have too much class and could win by as many as 20 points.


Southern Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 John Charles Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (captain), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Louis Albertse, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Cyril-John Velleman, 21 Leighton Eksteen, 22 Louis Fouché, 23 Charles Radebe.

Sharks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira (captain).
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Dave McDuling, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Garth April, 23 Sibusiso Sithole.

Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rodney Bonaparte (South Africa), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Stormers v Bulls
(Newlands, Cape Town - Kick-off: 17.15; 15.15 GMT)

This is a match steeped in tradition and history. And it comes as no surprise that there is a certain amount of apprehension on both sides.

Both teams have new coaches and have lost some stalwarts to cash-flush European clubs.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said the players are happy to have put an intense pre-season behind them and can't wait to take on their arch rivals at home.

"There is a lot of hype around the game and I think both teams embrace it and really look forward to the challenge," Fleck said of the big north-south derby.

"It is a massive honour for me and it is humbling to be involved in this match. I can only draw confidence from our preparations and how hard we have worked, and that gives me comfort," he said.

The Bulls have not done well at Newlands in recent times and last won in Cape Town in 2011.

They have also lost six of their last eight matches to their Cape foes.

However, coach Nollis Marais - like Fleck in his first season of Super Rugby - believes a new era is looming.

"We certainly will be up against it and could not have asked for a tougher assignment than this," Marais said.

"This group of players have the talent to become a special team, so if they can find some continuity and momentum in the game, we will be competitive," the coach added.

Fleck admitted to some nerves ahead of his first match as a head coach, having served as an assistant to Allister Coetzee since 2010.

However, he feels the hard work that has been put in and the quality of players and management staff around him have helped keep the butterflies at bay.

"Obviously there are a few butterflies in the stomach and there are some expectations out there, but that is only natural.

"We play for a great franchise and a great union, the players understand it and we are all very excited, I am very excited and I take huge comfort in the way we have prepared ourselves, and the players and the management around me.

"Instead of trying to run away from it, I am really looking forward to getting the season off, and even better that it is against the Bulls," he said.

Bulls captain Adriaan Strauss is no stranger to Newlands and he is confidant the visitors from the north can overcome the odds.

"We have definite goals for the season," Strauss said.

"This is a new team, new era and for that matter, a new competition.

"We have very skilful players and if we can guarantee them enough ball, they will score tries. We need to be competitive up front and if we are, I believe we will be in with a good chance.

"We are playing a very solid team at home though, so does not really have an option to take our best game to Newlands."

Recent results:
2015: Stormers won 15-13, Cape Town
2015: Stormers won 29-17, Pretoria
2014: Stormers won 16-0, Cape Town
2014: Bulls won 28-12, Pretoria
2013: Stormers won 30-13, Cape Town
2013: Bulls won 25-17, Pretoria

Prediction: The Stormers have won six of their last eight matches against the Bulls in Super Rugby, including the last three. The Stormers finished their 2015 Super Rugby season with a home loss in the play-offs and will be aiming to avoid back-to-back losses at home for the first time since the 2011 semi-finals. The Bulls have not managed to win away to the Stormers since 2011, failing to score more than 17 points in any of their four defeats since then. The Stormers had the best goal-kicking success in Super Rugby last season (81 percent), while the Bulls had the third best record off the tee (79 percent) but will be missing sharp-shooting Handré Pollard for the entire 2016 campaign. The Bulls scored 57 percent of their tries (21/37) in the opening half of matches in 2015, the most of any team in the competition. Both teams are looking to play a more expansive game, which could make for an exciting encounter - which the Stormers will win by about 12 points.


Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Leolin Zas.

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, Burger Odendaal.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article waratahs v reds 800

Waratahs ease past rabble Reds

Sat, 27 Feb 2016 10:37

REPORT: The Waratahs got their 2016 Super Rugby campaign off to a winning start, with scrappy 30-10 win over the reds in Sydney on Saturday.

Outscoring a very ordinary Reds outfit by four tries to one, the Waratahs moved into second place on the Australian standings - behind the high-flying Brumbies.

As for the Reds, they have a lot of work to do if they want to avoid a repeat of last year - when they barely avoided finishing last.

The Waratahs looked superior for large tracts of a poor spectacle scoring four tries to one, but failed to build on their 20-0 half-time lead and were held 10-10 by the limited Reds in a dour second half.

The Waratahs, under new coach Daryl Gibson following the departure of Wallabies mentor Michael Cheika, looked lively particularly when flyhalf Kurtley Beale, fullback Israel Folau and new All Blacks winger Zac Guildford got involved.

But alarmingly the Waratahs failed to match the Reds in the set pieces, with the Queensland scrum dominating, even with seven forwards after a yellow card in the final stages of a frustrating contest for the fans.

Beale was eye-catching in the first half with a great pass in the lead up to winger Matt Carraro's 22nd minute try while pulling off a ball-and-all try-saving tackle on winger Chris Feauai-Sautia midway through the opening term.

Wallaby flank Michael Hooper scored a try off the back of a driving maul and promising newcomer David Horwitz scored off a Hooper break sparked by an inside ball from scrumhalf Nick Phipps.

Japanese World Cup star Ayumu Goromaru came on as a 28th-minute replacement for the Reds but saw little of the ball at outside centre, and kicked a long-range penalty and a conversion.

The Reds, on the back of their set piece, wore away in the second half and worked their way back to trail 20-10 after a try by fly-half Jake McIntyre, but Beale finished them off after 62 minutes.

Beale broke clear and kicked ahead for Phipps to win the chase and score under the crossbar to make the game safe for the Waratahs and continue their derby dominance over the Reds.

"The Reds threw a lot at us, particularly in the second half and credit to the guys for sticking in there through a lot of penalties and we managed to stay in the game," Waratahs skipper Hooper said.

"We were comfortably controlling them in the first half, but then some really good one-on-ones from them in the second half caught us off guard and we had to get back in the game and we did that well."

The Waratahs will have to improve for next week's game against the Brumbies, who put 50 points past the Hurricanes in their second opener on Friday.

Man of the Match: Not even the introduction of Japanese superstar Ayumu Goromaru could elevate the Reds above their rabble status. Kurtley Beale revelled in the play-making role, even showing off his impressive defensive skills. However, our award goes to Waratahs captain Michael Hooper, who left a clear impression on an otherwise dull game.

The scorers:

For the Waratahs:
Hooper, Carraro, Horwitz, Phibbs
Cons: Beale 2
Pens: Beale 2

For the Reds:
Cons: Goromaru
Pens: Goromaru

Yellow cards: Rob Simmons (Reds, 13 - repeated infringement, offside), Sam Talakai (Reds, 69 - professional foul, not retreating 10 metres), Jeremy Tilse (Waratahs, 77 - repeated infringements, collapsing scrum)


Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 David Dennis, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Jeremy Tilse, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Jack Dempsey, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Reece Robinson.

Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Curtis Browning, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 Ben Daley.  
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa'agase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Ayumu Goromaru.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nicholas Berry (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia

Michael Hooper (9min), Matt Carraro (23min), David Horwitz (25min), and Nick Phipps (60min)
Jake McIntyre (58min)
Kurtley Beale (26min) and Kurtley Beale (61min)
Ayumu Goromaru (59min)
Kurtley Beale (5min) and Bryce Hegarty (69min)
Ayumu Goromaru (44min)
Jeremy Tilse (76min)
Rob Simmons (12min) and Sam Talakai (68min)
VENUE Sydney