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Kings

FULL-TIME
8     43

Sharks

Super Rugby | Port Elizabeth
13:00 (GMT) | 27-02-2016
  • 81
Join us again shortly for the crunch match between the Stormers and Bulls. We also have Six Nations action on the goal with Scotland against Italy and later England will be up against Ireland!
  • 80
The Kings have a penalty and Fouche gives his team a line-out in the Sharks' 22. The home side forms the maul before going wide. The Sharks are tackling the back and the ball goes loose. There is knock on and that is FULL-TIME! Southern Kings 8-43 Sharks.
  • 79
Pietersen adds the extras and the Sharks leads 43-8!
  • 78
Coetzee is nearly through a half gap before the ball goes wide to Ndungane who sprints down the touchline and then stretches over for the try!
  • 77
This time the Kings get a scrum free-kick and they take it quickly. They make their way into the Sharks' half before they lose the ball. The Sharks go in search of another try now before the home side turn it over again.
  • 75
The Kings just have no imagination in their backline and lose the ball forward again. The Sharks will have a scrum near the Kings' 10m line.
  • 74
The Kings go wide from a line-out in their own half and they win a penalty. Fouche is unable to find touch and Pietersen puts the ball out near halfway.
  • 73
The Sharks form the maul again and this time it is a good one with Coetzee getting over the tryline for the score! However, after a TMO referral, the try is disallowed.
  • 71
The Sharks form a maul in the Kings' 22 and they get a penalty after the Kings collapsed it. The visitors opt for another 5m line-out.
  • 70
The Kings steal the ball on the Sharks' throw in and the kick downfield. Coetzee takes a few defenders with him and the visitors get a penalty after the Kings were found to be offside.
  • 68
The Sharks are dominating possession now and after a good kick, they will get a line-out in the Kings' 22.
  • 67
The Sharks take a quick tap after a free kick and are just 5m from the Kings' tryline before they lose the ball once again..
  • 66
Coetzee carries the ball with intent from the line-out in the Kings' 22. The home side turns it over, but they are tackled into touch. The Sharks get another opportunity.
  • 65
Coetzee breaks away from the line-out and makes a few metres. The Kings are offside and the Sharks get the penalty.
  • 64
The Sharks win a scrum penalty and Pietersen finds touch near the Kings' 10m line.
  • 63
From a line-out in the Sharks half, the Kings go wide, but there is a forward pass and the Sharks will have a scrum on their own 10m line.
  • 61
Pietersen converts the try and the Sharks lead 36-8!
  • 60
The Sharks go short side from the scrum and and after a few phases it is Jordaan who finds himself in space. He passes to Mvovo on his outside and the wing sprints in for the try!
  • 58
Le Roux kicks deep from a scrum and the Kings have a line-out near the Sharks' 10m line. Eksteen sends the ball wide, but the ball is lost forward and the visitors have a scrum on their own 10m line
  • 56
Franco Marais snaps up the loose ball from a Kings line-out and the ball is sent wide. The Sharks make their way back inside the Kings' 22 before the Kings turn it over. They spread the ball wide and Jaer has the tryline ahead of him. He is tackled 15m short. The ball is eventually lost forward and the Sharks will have a defensive scrum.
  • 55
The Kings get a scrum penalty and Watts gives his team a line-out near their own 10m line.
  • 54
the Sharks push the Kings back in the scrum and are now in a good position to get a fifth try. Mvovo is tackled 5m from the Kings tryline atfer a good build up. The visitors get the penalty but they take it quickly an lose the ball forward.
  • 52
The Sharks get a free kick after a skew put by Eksteen at the scrum. They kick the ball downfield. The Sharks get the ball back and run it back with intent. They lose the ball forward and the Kings will have a defensive scrum.
  • 50
The Kings, from a scrum deep in the Sharks' half, go wide and they are met with some stern defence. Play is topped after a serious injury to one of the KIngs' players
  • 48
Pietersen adds the extras and the Sharks lead 29-8!
  • 47
Watts sends the ball high and the Sharks get it and run it back. They get the penalty and Pietersen gives his team a line-out in the Kings' 22. The Sharks form the maul and they make some metres before they have too use it. The ball goes wide and Paul Jordaan breaks through the defence for the try!
  • 45
The Kings have the ball in the Sharks half, but they cannot find a way through the visitors defence. They get the penalty and they will go for the three points, Visser, from 40m out, misses the penalty and there is no change to the score.
  • 43
Pietersen adds the extras and the Sharks lead 20-8
  • 42
Reinach kicks downfield from the restart and the Kings run it back. The Sharks turn it over and they go wide to Willie le Roux who beats two defenders to score a great try!
  • 41
SECOND HALF: Kings' flyhalf Elgar Watts gets the second half underway!

Half Time

  • 40
Pietersen is looking creative in the flyhalf position, but the Sharks lose possession again with Watts kicking downfield. The ball is dotted down by the Sharks in their own in-goal area and it is a 22m restart. The Kings go on one last attack and they get the penalty! Watts, from 40m out, misses the penalty and that is HALF-TIME: Southern Kings 8-15 Sharks.
  • 39
Pietersen kicks deep before Visser sends the ball high. The Sharks get the ball back and they go wide, but Jordaan is well marked. Dan du Preez beats a few defenders before the ball finds its way to Mvovo. His kick is charged down.
  • 37
the Kings steal the ball at the line-out and they go wide, but Du Plessis loses the ball forward and the Sharks get the scrum just outside their own 22.
  • 36
Dan du Preez takes the ball up from the scrum - loses the ball forward and the ball is kicked ahead by Jaer. The Sharks will have a line-out in their own 22
  • 35
Marais has a skew throw in the line-out and the Kings will now have the line-out on halfway. Martin Ferreira also has a skew throw and the Sharks will have the scrum on halfway.
  • 32
Pietersen adds the extras and the Sharks lead 15-8!
  • 31
The Kings form the maul from the line-out before Kebe sends the ball high. The Sharks get the ball and they go wide with Le Roux nearly through a gap. The Sharks get a penalty and Reinach takes it quickly. The visitors make their way into the Kings' 22 and Jean-Luc du Preez stretches over for the try!
  • 30
Kings get another penalty after the restart and Watts relieves the pressure.
  • 28
Watts converts the penalty and we are all level! 8-8.
  • 27
The Sharks push the Kings back in the scrum and they turn the ball over. However, they did it illegally and Watts will go for the three points.
  • 26
Shane Gates looks dangerous in the Sharks' 22 but runs into his own player. However, play is brought back for a Kings' scrum after a Sharks' knock on at the line-out.
  • 25
Bholi takes the ball up from the line-out and after a few phases the Kings are awarded a penalty. The Kings will have a line-out in the Sharks' 22.
  • 24
Willie le Roux relieves the pressure for the Sharks and finds touch towards halfway.
  • 23
The kings form the maul from the line-out before the ball goes wide to JP du Plessis who is in space. He lose the ball forward in the Sharks' 22 and the visitors will have a defensive scrum.
  • 22
From a scrum on their own 10m line, Engelbrecht takes the ball up. The sharks get the penalty after some obstruction. However, the penalty is turned around after some dangerous play bu Etienne Oosthuizen.
  • 20
Jaer charges down Pietersen's kick from the restart and the Sharks will have a line-out just outside their own 22. The Sharks form the maul and make good ground before Daniel du Preez is in space down the touchline. the ball goes to Ndungane who loses the ball forward.
  • 18
Pietersen cannot add the extras, but the Sharks lead 8-5
  • 17
Esterhuizen takes the ball up before Le Roux is in space. The Sharks get another penalty at the ruck and Pietersen gives his team a line-out in the Kings' 22. The Sharks form the maul before Mvovo is put through a gap. The ball goes wide to Ndungane who sprints in for the try!
  • 16
The restart is scrappy by both teams and the Sharks will get a scrum just outside their own 22.
  • 15
The Kings are playing with a lot of confidence now with Watts relieving the pressure again. The Sharks come back with the ball and Jean-Luc du Preez shows his strength in the tackle. The Sharks have a penalty straight in front of the polls. Pietersen converts the penalty!
  • 12
The game restarts with a Sharks penalty and the visitors will have a line-out on the Kings' 22m line.
  • 10
Watts cannot add the extras, but the Kings lead 5-0!
  • 9
The Kings form the maul again and they get the try! The scorer is Chris Cloete after a TMO review!
  • 8
The Kings forms the maul from the line-out and they make their way inside the Sharks' 22. They get the penalty and the Kings opt for the line-out in the Sharks' 22.
  • 7
Esterhuizen takes the ball up from the line-out, but loses the ball forward and the Kings get a penalty after some rough play by Reinach. Watts gives his team a line-out near the Sharks' 22.
  • 6
Pietersen sends the ball high, but Vulindlu takes it well. Both teams decide to give the ball some air before a penalty is awarded to the Sharks. Pietersen gives his team a line-out 15m from the Kings' 22.
  • 3
Bholi takes the ball up for the Kings before Engelbrecht tests the Sharks' defence. The ball is lost forward and the Sharks will have a scrum near their own 10m line.
  • 2
The Sharks cannot get the ball cleanly away and the hold on to give the Kings a penalty. The Kings will have an attacking line-out near the Sharks' 10m line.
  • 1
Elgar Watts finds touch with a good kick and the Sharks will have a line-out on the Kings' 10m line
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Sharks flyhalf Joe Pietersen gets the game underway!
  • -10
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.
  • -20
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.
  • -30
Welcome to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth for this Super Rugby match between the Southern Kings and the Sharks.
Mc copy of southernkingslogo
Kings
Mc sharks logo 80x50
Sharks
START LINE UP
  • 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 JC Astle
  • 4 Steven Sykes
  • 3 Tom Botha
  • 2 Martin Ferreira
  • 1 Schalk Ferreira
RESERVES
  • 22 Charles Radebe
  • 21 Louis Fouché
  • 20 Leighton Eksteen
  • 19 CJ Velleman
  • 18 Louis Albertse
  • 17 Sithembiso Sithole
  • 16 Edgar Marutlulle
START LINE UP
  • 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
RESERVES
  • 23 S'bura Sithole
  • 22 Garth April
  • 21 Michael Claassens
  • 20 Philip van der Walt
  • 19 David McDuling
  • 18 Lourens Adriaanse
  • 17 Juan Schoeman
  • 16 Kyle Cooper
Mc article tendai mtawarira   steven sykes 800

S18 PREVIEW: ROUND ONE, PART TWO

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.

Teams.

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 Stuff.co.nz.

"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 stuff.co.nz.

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.

Teams.

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.

Teams.

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.

Teams.

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.

Teams.

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.

Teams.

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
@King365ed
@rugby365com

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article sharks v kings 800

Sharks feast on hapless Kings

Sat, 27 Feb 2016 15:04

REPORT: The Sharks were far from outstanding, but still too good for a very ordinary Southern Kings team.

The men from Durban, after a slow start, eased to a 43-8 win over their rivals from Port Elizabeth at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.

The six tries to one victory saw the Sharks move to the top of the South African conference, but they have plenty to work on in the coming weeks.

For the Kings there await a long and painful season if this is the standard they are going to produce.

A moment of brilliance from Sharks fullback Willie le Roux set up the bonus-point triumph.

The Springbok, Le Roux, spotted a midfield gap, cut through and used pace, balance and a swerve to dot down.

The converted try stretched a 15-8 half-time lead to 14 points and there was no stopping Sharks from then as they cruised to success in the expanded 18-team championship.

Beset by pre-season problems that saw unpaid players strike and a coach quit, Kings fought bravely during the opening half in warm, clear conditions.

A penalty from Kings flyhalf Elgar Watts brought the home team level at 8-8 after 28 minutes, but that proved their final score.

Jean-Luc du Preez, a son of Sharks assistant coach Robert du Preez and playing beside twin brother Daniel in the back row, put the visitors ahead again before half-time with a converted try.

After Le Roux scored, the Sharks took territorial control with the enthusiastic but outplayed Kings rarely leaving their half.

Centre Paul Jordaan and wingers Lwazi Mvovo and Odwa Ndungane crossed the try-line to emphasise the superiority of the visitors from Durban.

Flyhalf Joe Pietersen, a close-season signing from fellow Super Rugby franchise Central Cheetahs, kicked five conversions and a penalty from seven shots at goal for a 13-point personal haul.

Veteran Ndungane also scored a first-half try for former runners-up Sharks, whose impressive pre-season build-up included victories in France over Toulon and Toulouse.

Kings, back in the competition after a two-season absence to give South African six representatives, started promisingly with flanker Chris Cloete scoring a pushover try.

But a lack of class and depth gradually told and a long, hard season looms for the team from the Eastern Cape coastal city.

Man of the match: Chris Cloete was often a ray of bright light for the Kings, but mostly they were outclassed - willing, but just not good enough. The Du Preez twins were good value, as was to be expected, with Dan better than brother Jean-Luc. Marcell Coetzee was also impressive, although not flawless. Odwa Ndungane had his moments and Joe Pietersen was steady. Our vote goes to Springbok Willie le Roux, who seems to be revelling in the freedom afforded to him by the Sharks.

The scorers:

For the Southern Kings:
Try:
Cloete
Pen: Watts

For the Sharks:
Tries:
Ndungane 2, JL du Preez, Le Roux, Jordaan, Mvovo
Cons: Pietersen 5
Pen: Pietersen

Teams.

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)

@rugby365com

Chris Cloete (9min)
TRIES
Odwa Ndungane (17min), Jean-Luc Du Preez (31min), Willie le Roux (42min), Paul Jordaan (47min), Lwazi Mvovo (60min), and Odwa Ndungane (78min)
 
CONVERSIONS
Joe Pietersen (32min), Joe Pietersen (43min), Joe Pietersen (48min), Joe Pietersen (61min), and Joe Pietersen (79min)
Elgar Watts (28min)
PENALTIES
Joe Pietersen (15min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
 
 
 
VENUE Port Elizabeth
REFEREE Jaco van Heerden