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Super Rugby | Cape Town
15:05 (GMT) | 27-02-2016
  • 81
The Super Rugby action might be done for the day, but you can follow our live coverage of the Six Nations match between England and Ireland!
  • 80
The Bulls have the ball inside the Stormers 22, but they lose the ball. The Stormers run the ball out of their 22 and end up in the Bulls' 22. The home side gives away a penalty and the Bulls go on one last attack. They lose the ball again and the Stormers kick head - Schoeman gathers and takes the ball into touch! FULL-TIME!!! The home side gets five points!!! Stormers 33-9 Bulls
  • 79
Du Preez converts the try and the Stormers lead 33-9!
  • 78
The Stormers form the driving maul and the shove the Bulls back 20m for Ntubeni to score the try!
  • 77
From a scrum on halfway, Groom goes wide with Kolbe looking for work. There is a high tackle from Hattingh and the Stormers have the penalty. Du Preez gives his team a line-out inside the Bulls' 22.
  • 75
Carr takes the ball up from a scrum. as the Stormers look to close out the game. After a fe phases the ball is turned over twice and the Stormers have the ball on halfway again.
  • 73
The Stormers form the driving maul in the Bulls' 22, but it comes to nothing after they give away a penalty. Schoeman gives his team a line-out on the Bulls' 10m line. Etzebeth does not give the Bulls clean ball and their is a knock on,
  • 71
The Stormers have the ball on halfway and Du Preez kicks. The Stormers will have a line-out inside the Bulls' half after a poor kick by Basson.
  • 70
The Stormers drive the Bulls back in the scrum and they win a penalty. Du Preez gives his team a line-out on halfway
  • 69
The Bulls forms the maul inside the Stormers' 22 and they get the penalty. They opt for a 5m line-out. The Bulls are just metres short of the tryline after that line-out, but the lose the ball forward and the Stormers get the scrum.
  • 66
Du Preez adds the extras and the Stormers lead 26-9
  • 65
The Bulls, from an attacking line-out, loses the ball and Pieter-Steph du Toit takes the ball up. The ball goes wide and Kolbe is in space. The ball goes wide from a line-out and Zas shows his speed by beating a defender. Etzebeth then gets the ball and drives over for the try!
  • 63
Van Zyl sends the ball high for the Bulls and they get the ball back on halfway. Brummer finds touch with a good kick near the Stormers' 22.
  • 62
The Stormers get a scrum penalty after a massive shove and Du Preez find touch near the Bulls' 10m line.
  • 61
Van Wyk gets a pass in an awkward position and he kicks out and gives the Bulls an attacking line-out. However, the Bulls lose the ball forward after the throw in and .the Stormers' will get a defensive scrum just outside their own 22.
  • 58
Serfontein kicks downfield and Kolbe dots the ball down in his own in-goal area. There is some scrappy play by the Stormers after the restart, but they get a scrum after a Bulls' knock on.
  • 57
The Stormers forms the maul on the Bulls' 10m line and they make some ground. Burger takes it up before it goes wide. Du Preez attempts the drop but its way short.
  • 55
Arno Botha takes the ball inside the Stormers' 22. However, it is slow ball for them and they are tackled back. The ball goes wide and Brummer tries his luck. It is Carr who wins the penalty for the Stormers on the ground.
  • 52
Du Preez converts his own try and the Stormers lead 19-9!
  • 51
After a Brummer kick, the Stormers will have an attacking line-out just outside the Bulls' 22. They form the maul and make some good yardage. De Jongh takes the ball up before it goes wide to Du Preez who goes over for the try!
  • 49
Etzebeth steals the Bulls ball at the line-out and the ball is kicked downfield. The Bulls run it back and they win a penalty. Brummer will go for polls from 43m out. He converts the penalty and the score is 12-9!
  • 47
Vermaak goes wide on halfway and after a few phases the ball is lost and the Bulls get a penalty. Brummer gives his team a line-out inside the Stormers' 22.
  • 46
Carr takes the ball up in the Stormers' 22 and the Bulls give away a penalty. Du Preez gives his team a line-out in the Bulls' half.
  • 45
Etzebeth gives the Stormers some momentum before Vermaak kicks deep. Serfontein kicks and he finds touch inside the Stormers' 22.
  • 43
Du Preez, from just outside the Bulls' 22, kicks for goal and the decision goes to the TMO to see if the ball went through the uprights. IT IS OVER!!
  • 42
The Stormers gets the ball back after kick-off and are in a good position to launch an attack. The ball goes wide and Oli Kebble makes some good ground into the Bulls' 22. The Bulls are offside and the Stormers get a penalty.
  • 41
SECOND HALF: Stormers flyhalf Robert du Preez starts the second half!

Half Time

  • 40
After a couple of scrum resets Vermaak boots the ball into touch and that is HALF-TIME! Stormers 9-6 Bulls.
  • 38
The Bulls run the ball back after the restart, Brummer kicks and the ball goes dead, The Stormers will have a scrum on halfway.
  • 37
The Stormers form a driving maul on their 10m line before going wide. Koch takes his team over the advantage before the ball is kicked downfield. Gelant's kick goes into the Stormers' in-goal area and there will be a 22m restart.
  • 35
the Stormers go wide from the line-out and they get a penalty! Du Preez lines up the kick for polls from just outside the Bulls' 22 and converts the penalty. The Stormers lead 9-3
  • 33
The Bulls give away a penalty at the scrum and Du Preez gives his team a line-out a few metres outside the Bulls' 22.
  • 32
The Bulls, from a line-out on halfway, lose possession after a teal from Etzebeth. The home team goes wide, but are finding no space. Du Preez kicks the ball downfield. and the Bulls have the ball. Brummer sends high one and Ismaiel nearly gathers! Scrum to Stormers near halfway.
  • 29
A poor kick from Kolbe puts the Stormers under pressure before Du Preez kicks deep. Both teams are just kicking possession away in this game.
  • 27
The Stormers are put under pressure in the scrum and the Bullls come away with the ball. They are back inside the Stormers' half and they get a penalty after the home side failed to roll away from a tackle. Brummer converts the penalty and we are level again!
  • 25
The Bulls have the ball on halfway before Jenkins gets the ball from a poor kick. the visitors make their way past the Stormers' 10m line before they are tackled again and Van Wyk wins his team a scrum in the Bulls half after attempting an intercept.
  • 23
The Bulls go wide from the line-out before Gelant kicks. Paige was in front of his kick and the Stormers get the penalty. Du Preez, from 34m out, converts the penalty and the Stormers lead 6-3!
  • 21
Vermaak goes wide from the scrum, but there is a foot in touch by Van Wyk and the Bulls will have a defensive line-out just outside their own 22.
  • 20
Vermaak sends the ball high in to the Bulls half, but that just gave the ball back to the Bulls. Paige sends a high ball himself and Kolbe gathers and steps his way past a defender. The ball goes wide and looses and the Bulls loses the ball forward, Stormers have a scrum in midfield.
  • 18
The Stormers try and run the ball out from deep inside their own half, but the Bulls' defence is strong and Du Preez kicks the ball away. The Bulls counter, but the ball ends up into touch after a miscommunication amongst the Bulls' back three.
  • 17
Kolbe kicks deep from his own half and the Bulls runs the ball back. There are a few kicks now - then Kolbe decides to run and he makes a few metres. Du Preez grubbers, but it is easily gathered by Gelant.
  • 15
Du Preez converts the easy penalty and the scores are all level her in Cape Town!
  • 14
The Stormers, from an attacking line-out, forms the maul before Burger takes the ball up. The Cape side are now deep inside the Bulls' 22 - Vermaak goes wide but the ball goes into touch. Stormers get a penalty.
  • 13
The Bulls, from a line-out in their own half, forms the maul before Paige sends the ball high. Leyds gathers well and Du Preez relieves the pressure. Gelant runs it back, but he hold onto the ball and the Stormers get the penalty.
  • 11
The Bulls have the ball deep in their own 22 and they get a penalty. Brummer gives his team a line-out, near halfway.
  • 10
Brummer, from 37m out, converts the penalty and the bulls lead 3-0!
  • 9
The ball is turned over by the Stormers and they go wide in their own half. there is some obstruction and the Bulls get the penalty!
  • 8
It is a messy line-out from the Stormers in the Bulls half and they have to start again after the ball is kick into their own half. After a kick exchange, the Stormers will have a line-out near their own 10m line.
  • 7
The Bulls just about keep possession from a line-out deep in their own half. Paige sends the ball high and the Stormers get the ball back. They kick it and Ismaiel sends a poor kick into the touch.
  • 5
The Stormers go to their midfield from the line-out and De Jongh is nearly through a gap. The ball goes wide again and the Cape side are pushed into touch.
  • 4
The Bulls go on the attack again with captain Strauss taking the ball up. After a few phases, Vincent Koch wins a penalty for the Stormers and Du Preez gives his team a line-out near the Bulls' 10m line.
  • 3
The Stormers form the maul from the line-out. De Jongh takes the ball up before Du Preez relieves the pressure for the Cape side.
  • 2
The Bulls get the ball from the Kick-off before losing the ball forward. The Stormers go wide with Johnny Kotze taking the ball up well. Robert du Preez kicks downfield. Gelant returns and Kolbe is on the attack. Hattingh steals the ball from a Kolbe and after a few phases Basson is tackled into touch
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Bulls flyhalf Francois Brummer gets the game underway!
  • -10
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.
  • -20
The Stormers have won six of their last eight matches against the Bulls in Super Rugby, including the last three.
  • -30
Welcome to Newlands in Cape Town for this crunch Super Rugby match between the Stormers and Bulls.
Mc stormers logo 80x50
Mc bulls logo 80x50
  • 15 Cheslin Kolbe
  • 14 Kobus van Wyk
  • 13 Johnny Kotze
  • 12 Juan de Jongh
  • 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 Bongi Mbonambi
  • 1 Oliver Kebble
  • 23 Leolin Zass
  • 22 Kurt Coleman
  • 21 Nic Groom
  • 20 Siya Kolisi
  • 19 JD Schickerling
  • 18 Frans Malherbe
  • 17 JC Janse van Rensburg
  • 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni
  • 15 Warrick Gelant
  • 14 Travis Ismaiel
  • 13 Jesse Kriel
  • 12 Jan Serfontein
  • 11 Bjorn Basson
  • 10 Francois Brummer
  • 9 Rudi Paige
  • 8 Arno Botha
  • 7 Jannes Kirsten
  • 6 Nick de Jager
  • 5 Grant Hattingh
  • 4 Rudolf Snyman
  • 3 Marcel van der Merwe
  • 2 Adriaan Strauss
  • 1 Trevor Nyakane
  • 23 Burger Odendaal
  • 22 Tian Schoeman
  • 21 Piet van Zyl
  • 20 Roelof Smit
  • 19 Jason Jenkins
  • 18 Lizo Gqoboka
  • 17 Hencus van Wyk
  • 16 Jaco Visagie
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 stormers v bulls 800

Stormers outmuscle bumbling Bulls

Sat, 27 Feb 2016 17:03

REPORT: The Stormers dismissed the Bulls 33-9 at Newlands on Saturday to go top of the South African conference after the opening round of the Super Rugby season.

The French say that the more things change, the more they are the same. This does not apply to the Bulls' front row.

In the intense first half, the Bulls stood up to the Stormers and it was a battle for superiority, a raging battle but then the visitors changed the front row and that changed the game and ended with a try against the Bulls' pack that must make their great ancestors glad that they are not alive to see such humiliation.

The change put the Stormers on top. Oh, they also changed but on came two powerful props in JC Janse van Rensburg and Frans Malherbe and an strong hooker in Scarra Ntubeni. From then on only one side would win and they did by a vast margin in terms of the history of these two old foes.

The first half was not dour. Both sides ran from the start. There was the unusual sight of the Bulls running from their own 22. But by and large it was a match of thrust and parry. But if you wanted to gauge the intensity you had just to look at what happened in and after tackles. That was certainly hard.

In many ways it was a great day to be at Newlands. There were 40 129 in the ground and the people who go to rugby at Newlands are participants rather than spectators. And for the most part they were clothed in Stormers' blue.

The Bulls scored first when Dillyn Leyds ran with the ball but a tangle on his left produced a penalty for obstruction and flyhalf Francois Brummer goaled., 3-0 after 9 minutes. Five minutes later an eager Stormers' attack ended in an easy penalty for Robert du Preez. Brummer then kicked another one and Du Preez another two to make the score 9-6 to the Stormers at the break. No tries but lots of interest, at least when the kicking was better controlled. There was no profit for the Stormers to hoof the ball straight to Warrick Gelant or Bjorn Basson. The Bulls' kicks were better in that they were recoverable and instruments of pressure.

There was much less kicking in the second half and a lot more of an effort to create an opportunity for the man next to you.

Each side scored a penalty kick early in the second half. Then a penalty enabled the Stormers to have a line-out and a maul on their right. They went wide left and Du Preez dummied and accelerated to score a try in Brummer's tackle, the tall flyhalf's first Super Rugby try, which he converted. 19-9 after 51 minutes, but the Stormers knew that they could not trust the Bulls to lie down.

The Bulls won a turnover off Juan de Jongh and went on a multiphased attack but when they got to 13 phases, they were penalised. That was the last time they looked as if they could score a try. That is not entirely true because a penalty and a great kick gave them a five-metre line-out, but they knocked on and the Stormers destroyed their scrum

The Stormers on the other hand had a strong, well directed attack as newboy Leolin Zas raced at the Bulls' line and the Stormers bashed at the line till Pieter-Steph du Toit picked up and passed the Eben Etzebeth and then watched his lock partner power through four Bulls to score at the posts. 26-9 with 15 minutes to play.

The crowd was now in thoroughly enjoying the later summer afternoon and urging their team to get more. One more would mean a bonus point under the new system of awarding bonus points for tries.

When Grant Hattingh tackled high, the Stormers kicked out on the Bulls' 22. They formed a maul in the line-out and then scored the most remarkable try ever produced by a 'rolling maul'. This one did not roll. It raced and over they went for a try at the North Stand. They could have scored it in Salt River or Sea Point if they had needed to, such was their power and thrust and the absence of any Bulls' resolve. There were just two minutes to play and the Stormers and their supporters were left to drift off in a happy mood.

Man of the Match: Apart from Warrick Gelant, the Candidates are all Stormers - energetic Cheslin Kolbe, calm points' machine Robert du Preez, unrelenting Schalk Burger, Eben Etzebeth and our choice, Nizaam Carr who won line-outs, defended - with efficiency and carried strongly.

The scorers:

For the Stormers:
Du Preez, Etzebeth, Ntubeni
Cons: Du Preez 3
Pens: Du Preez 4

For the Bulls:
Brummer 3


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 Siyabonga 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)


Robert du Preez (51min), Eben Etzebeth (65min), and Siyabonga Ntubeni (78min)
Robert du Preez (52min), Robert du Preez (66min), and Robert du Preez (79min)
Robert du Preez (15min), Robert du Preez (23min), Robert du Preez (35min), and Robert du Preez (43min)
Francois Brummer (10min), Francois Brummer (27min), and Francois Brummer (49min)
VENUE Cape Town
REFEREE Craig Joubert