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Super Rugby | Hamilton
04:15 (GMT) | 05-03-2016
  • 80
Free kick to the Lions and the pump the ball into touch for a famous victory! Thank you for joining us at for this match. Be sure to join us for the next game as the Highlanders take on the Hurricanes in a mouthwatering clash!
  • 79
Knock on at the lineout by the Chiefs. Lions scrum with a minute on the clock! Great defense!
  • 78
The maul is set by the Chiefs as the Lions defend as if their lives depend on it. Chiefs awarded another penalty as Cruden sets up another lineout.
  • 77
Lions penalized at scrumtime... Strange call there by the referee , Cruden sets up the 5 meter lineout . They have to score now
  • 76
Lions hold up McKenzie in attack and are awarded the scrum put in. Great defence by the Lions.
  • 75
Knock forward by Jaco Kriel gives the Chiefs a scrum just outside the Lions 22 but midfield... Dangerous position
  • 74
Cruden clears the ball which rolls out on the Lions 22. Lovely kick, pressure lineout for the Lions
  • 73
Ball knocked forward by Robert Kruger, scrum to the Chiefs inside their own half.
  • 72
Lions on the attack again inside the Chiefs half, can they see this game out ?
  • 71
McKenzie adds the extras , exciting finish here
  • 70
Scrumhalf Brad Weber has a sniping run , and through he goes as he scores the try for the Chiefs!
  • 68
Cruden sets up a 5 meter lineout, dangerous attacking position for the Chiefs.
  • 67
Jantjies clears his line and sets up a Chiefs lineout on the Lions 22. Chiefs on the attack through Sam Cane before the ref awards the Chiefs a penalty in a kickable position
  • 65
Great play by the Lions as Ruan Combrinck slices through the defence and scores! The wing has has a mammoth game today! Take a bow son!
  • 63
Jantjies pulls the penalty attempt, 22 dropout to the Chiefs.
  • 62
Penalty to the Lions, Jantjies will have a shot a goal to extend the lead. He has been on song with the boot today
  • 61
Lions turn the ball over and are on the attack through centre Mnisi. There is a knock on by James Lowe resulting in the ref calling for a scrum put in for the Lions inside the Chiefs half
  • 60
Chiefs on the attack on the halfway as Mitch Graham has a run.
  • 59
Jantjies adds the extras
  • 58
Lions attacking well inside the 22 as Whiteley takes a short ball from De Klerk and crashes over for the try! The Lions will not give up today! Admirable!
  • 57
Lions awarded a penalty for the Chiefs not rolling away at the breakdown. Jantjies sets up a lineout inside the Chiefs 22. Can the Lions strike back?
  • 56
McKenzie adds the extras as the Chiefs take the lead
  • 55
From the set piece Cruden plays Lowe who slices through the defense and scores! What a try!
  • 54
A lovely flowing game here, play is going back and forth. A great spectacle in a tightly contented match
  • 50
McKenzie adds the extras with a lovely kick from the corner
  • 49
Great counter attack by the Chiefs as Ngatai slices through the gap and plays Mckenzie who scores in the corner!
  • 48
Jantjies pulls the conversion attempt... Mind you, it was a difficult kick. Again, this is extremely impressive from the Lions.
  • 47
What great play by the Lions as Jantjies plays Skosan who finds his jet shoes and skins the defenders and scores a lovely try!
  • 46
Kerr-Barlow clears the ball into touch, Lions lineout kist outside their own 22
  • 45
Lions into the Chiefs 22 again before Jantjies drops the ball resulting in the ref blowing for a Chiefs scrum. The Lions are looking seriously dangerous today! Extremely impressive stuff
  • 44
The Chiefs force the turnover on their try line, Kerr-Barlow clears the ball and Skosan attacks from the halfway for the Lions.
  • 43
The Chiefs force the turnover on their try line, Kerr-Barlow clears the ball and Skosan attacks from the halfway for the Lions.
  • 42
Chiefs attacking from deep before Ngatai puts in a grubber and De Klerk clears the ball out for a Chiefs lineout just inside Lions territory. Marshall fails to find his jumper and the Lions counter through Combrink who slices through the defense like a hot knife through butter . He gets agonizingly short resulting in a intentional foul by Mitch Graham , the ref gives the reserve prop a yellow card!
  • 41
Second half underway! Jantjies kicks off

Half Time

  • 40
Cruden kicks the ball out and the ref blows for halftime, see you all in a bit for the second half
  • 39
McKenzie adds the three points
  • 38
Chiefs on the attack near the Lions 22 as Cruden has a crack, a couple waves of attack result in nothing as the Chiefs win the penalty and opt to go for goal.
  • 37
What a kick from Jantjies, the Lions go further ahead here.
  • 36
Lions win the penalty on the halfway line for the Chiefs defensive line being offside. Jantjies to have another shot at goal from 50 out
  • 34
Lovely penalty kick by Jantjies sails through the middle!
  • 33
Winger Latu Vaeno is penalized for holding on, Jantjies will have a shot from 40 meters out to extend the Lions lead.
  • 32
Jantjies adds the extras
  • 31
Lions on the attack as Vorster does well and offloads to Malcolm Marx scores the TRY! The Lions have come to play today!
  • 30
Lions destroy the Chiefs up front just 5 meters out from the line , referee Lees awards them with another penalty and captain Whiteley chooses to pack down for another scrum.
  • 29
Massive scrum again by the Lions as Whiteley and De Klerk link up and Lionel Mapoe crashes over but is held up. 5 meter scrum to the Lions, great play.
  • 28
Lions have the scrum put in inside the Chiefs 22, dangerous attacking position
  • 26
Lions attack well through Skosan before he is tackled into touch by Ngatai
  • 24
Good scrum by the Lions as they opt to attack from deep. De Klerk has a go down the blindside before being bundled into touch. Chiefs lineout inside their own half.
  • 23
Kerr-Barlow is pinged for feeding the scrum skew for the second time . Short arm penalty to the Lions, they opt to set up a scrum
  • 22
Chiefs lineout on the halfway , hooker Rhys Marshall finds his jumper and Kerr-Barlow hoists the up and under that Lions winger Skosan cannot gather resulting in a Chiefs put in
  • 20
McKenzie pulls the conversion attempt to the left hand side of the upright
  • 19
Straight from the restart the Chiefs regather the ball and Seta Tamanivalu busts three players before offloading to Cruden who plays Tom Sanders in for the TRY!
  • 18
Jantjies adds his second penalty as the Lions take the lead.
  • 17
Fantastic wave after wave of attack by the Lions as the ref awards them with a penalty. Jantjies will have a shot at goal
  • 15
Lions attacking well inside the Chiefs 22. They building phases and are looking dangerous in attack as Mapoe makes a good run
  • 14
Chiefs on the attack inside the Lions 22 before Vorster forces a penalty as prop Hiroshi Yamashita is pinged for holding on and Jantjies will kick for touch to set up a lineout on the halfway line for the Lions
  • 12
Jantjies levels things as the ball sails through the uprights
  • 10
Lions win the penalty inside the Chiefs half for Maama Vaipulu infringing at the breakdown. Jantjies will have a pop at goal to level things up here
  • 9
McKenzie lands his penalty attempt. Chiefs leading 3-0
  • 7
Chiefs on the attack again near the Lions 22 before a kick is put through by Cruden and Combrinck counters from the back for the Lions and makes a lovely run of 20 meters calving the Chiefs defensive line.
  • 6
Fantastic start here as both teams are showing attacking intent. Chiefs have a scrum 5 meters from the Lions line. Kerr-Barlow is penalized for feeding the scrum skew and Jantjies will clear the ball into touch
  • 4
Lions destroy the Chiefs pack at scrum-time and win a penalty that is put into touch to set up a lineout inside Chiefs territory. Malcolm Marx misses his jumper and the Chiefs attack from deep as Ngatai breaks the line and makes 30 meters before there is a knock on. Scrum Lions 5 meters from their line
  • 2
Early scrum to the Lions, at first attempt the big boys up front cant get it right as the referee calls for a reset on the Lions 22.
  • 1
Game underway! We are off here in Hamilton, this should be a cracker!
  • -5
Almost time to get going as the teams come out the tunnel
  • -15
The Lions have won their last three matches outside of South Africa, their longest streak in franchise history, and will be aiming to extend that streak to four matches after a win in Japan in Round One.
  • -20
These sides have faced each other in the second round of the competition once before, in a match that saw 137 points scored (Lions 65-72 Chiefs), the most ever in a Super Rugby match.
  • -30
Welcome to this Super Rugby clash between the Chiefs and the Lions taking place in Hamilton, New Zealand
Mc chiefs logo 80x50
Mc lions logo 85
  • 15 Damian McKenzie
  • 14 Latu Vaeno
  • 13 Seta Tamanivalu
  • 12 Charlie Ngatai
  • 11 James Lowe
  • 10 Aaron Cruden
  • 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow
  • 8 Maama Vaipulu
  • 7 Sam Cane
  • 6 Tom Sanders
  • 5 Brodie Retallick
  • 4 Michael Allardice
  • 3 Hiroshi Yamashita
  • 2 Rhys Marshall
  • 1 Pauliasi Manu
  • 23 Glen Fisiiahi
  • 22 Anton Lienert-Brown.
  • 21 Brad Weber
  • 20 Michael Leitch
  • 19 Taleni Seu
  • 18 Siate Tokolahi
  • 17 Mitchell Graham
  • 16 Nathan Harris
  • 15 Andries Coetzee
  • 14 Ruan Combrinck
  • 13 Lionel Mapoe
  • 12 Harold Vorster
  • 11 Courtnall Skosan
  • 10 Elton Jantjies
  • 9 Francois de Klerk
  • 8 Warren Whiteley
  • 7 Warwick Tecklenburg
  • 6 Jaco Kriel
  • 5 Franco Mostert
  • 4 Andries Ferreira
  • 3 Julian Redelinghuys
  • 2 Malcolm Marx
  • 1 Dylan Smith
  • 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
  • 22 Howard Mnisi
  • 21 Jaco van der Walt
  • 20 Fabian Booysen
  • 19 Robert Kruger
  • 18 Ruan Dreyer
  • 17 Corne Fourie
  • 16 Armand van der Merwe
Mc article juan de jongh stormers huddle 800


Thu, 03 Mar 2016 22:19

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

It is not an exaggeration to call this Super Saturday.

There is a replay of last year's Final, some intriguing domestic derbies and a number of delectable cross-conference games.

First up is the two-time champion Chiefs against the Lions - a game that will test the resolve of the visitors.

They get the first taste of the additional air miles that come with the expansion of Super Rugby to 18 teams - having travelled from Johannesburg to Tokyo for a game against the Sunwolves and then a trip on to New Zealand, a trip of almost 45,000 kilometres, which also included a lengthy delay en route to New Zealand.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann put up a brave front when quizzed about the ridiculous travel schedule foisted upon his charges.

"It is definitely longer," he said, when asked if it is worse than previous seasons when they flew directly to Australasia, adding: "It is a challenge because of the time zones as well.

"We lost almost two days as a result of travelling."

However, he is adamant they will not be a soft touch when they face the Chiefs in Hamilton.

"We have a plan for the Chiefs and the players are excited about the plan, but we must execute it," Ackermann said.

"However, we will never completely change our brand, because we want to make people proud of the way we play."

From that we head into a re-run of last year's Final when the defending champion Highlanders host the Hurricanes in Dunedin.

Then we hop across the Tasman Sea to watch the all-Australian derby between the Reds and Western Force, before crossing Indian Ocean where the Bulls will host the Rebels in Pretoria, followed by a South African derby between the Cheetahs and Stormers, then conclude the weekend's dram with an encounter between the Sharks and tournament newcomers the Jaguares.

We look at the Saturday, March 5, matches below!

(FMG Stadium, Hamilton - Kick-off: 17.15; 06.15 SA time; 04.15 GMT)

Travel schedules aside, this could be one of the most entertaining matches of the weekend.

They have come a long way since their record-break 137-point basketball thriller in 2010, when defence was certainly not at a premium.

The Chiefs have since won two titles and the Lions have become genuine contenders for a play-off spot.

However, both teams still have that attacking DNA that makes them such a joy to watch.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann has no doubt about the enormity of the task awaiting his team.

"We have to look a lot better after our possession," he said, adding: "We conceded far too many turnovers against the Japanese [Sunwolves] team [last week].

"We need to show patience on attack, with ball in hand.

"The Chiefs are one of those teams that fight hard and are known for playing to the end. The opening may only come in the 79th minute, but we have to keep at it till the [defensive] wall breaks.

"And [when they have the ball] we will be tested on defence - it is no secret how dangerous the Chiefs are with ball in hand."

Having deliberately rested his frontline troops the week before the tournament kicked off, he believes they will be up for the intensity that will be required this week.

Chiefs head coach Dave Rennie described it is a "big game" for the home team.

"We play the Curry Cup Champions, a side who were unlucky not to make the Super Rugby play-offs last year," Rennie said.

"While we were happy with the attitude and effort against the Crusaders [last week], we know we can be more clinical and have learnt a lot about ourselves.

"It's nice to get a bit of continuity from a selection point of view for our first outing at home."

Recent results:
2014: Chiefs won 38-8, Hamilton
2012: Chiefs won 34-21, Pukekohe
2011: Chiefs won 34-30, Johannesburg
2010: Chiefs won 72-65, Johannesburg
2009: Chiefs won 36-29, Hamilton
2008: Lions won 33-27, Johannesburg

Prediction: These sides have faced each other in the second round of the competition once before, in a match that saw 137 points scored (Lions 65-72 Chiefs), the most ever in a Super Rugby match. The Chiefs have won 14 and drawn two of their last 18 matches against South African opponents including victories in their last two such clashes. The Lions have won their last three matches outside of South Africa, their longest streak in franchise history, and will be aiming to extend that streak to four matches after a win in Japan in Round One. Charlie Ngatai made four offloads in the opening round, more than any other player in the competition. The Lions were one of only three teams in the competition (Brumbies, Sharks) to score a try in each quarter of their opening round fixture. The travel factor may come into play in the final 20 minutes and the Chiefs should have the legs to secure a win - by at least a converted try.


Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Latu Vaeno, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Tom Sanders, 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 Taleni Seu, 20 Michael Leitch, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, Glen Fisiiahi.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 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 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Fabian Booysen, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nick Brian (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

(Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin - Kick-off: 19.35; 06.35 GMT)

Both teams from last year's Final are coming off opening round defeats - the Hurricanes much more so than the Highlanders.

The home team's 31-33 loss could so easily have been a win.

However, the Hurricanes were a 'no contest' for the Brumbies - who put 50 points past them.

After a week of self-reflection, coach Chris Boyd said the Hurricanes were keen to put their flat opening performance in the rear view mirror.

"We didn't start the season how we intended to and I know the boys are hurting," Boyd said.

"They'll be going out to put in a performance they're proud of.

"We're up against last year's champions on their home ground, so it should be a great occasion."

The Highlanders, who won a thrilling Final 21-14 in Wellington last year, will need to be a lot more clinical than they were against the Blues last week.

Both teams have suffered injury blows in the lead up to Saturday's match - with Hurricanes scrumhalf TJ Perenara continuing to lead his side in the absence of season captain Dane Coles, whose tight calf has again delayed his first appearance of the year.

The Highlanders will be without wing Waisake Naholo, who suffered a fracture in his leg during his side's first up loss to the Blues at Eden Park in Round One.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said he expects an improvement from his side in all areas.

"I thought we were the cause of our own demise last week," he told the Otago Daily Times.

"We gave away far too many penalties in the tackle ball area. Whilst the desire and the attitude was great, we have got to be a lot more accurate in that area. We have been big on that this week.

"We have got an opportunity with the same referee to get it right and I'm looking forward to that. At times last week we felt like we beat ourselves.''

Recent results:
2015: Highlanders won 21-14, Wellington (Final)
2015: Hurricanes won 56-20, Wellington
2015: Hurricanes won 20-13, Dunedin
2014: Highlanders won 18-16, Wellington
2014: Highlanders won 35-31, Dunedin
2013: Highlanders won 49-44, Wellington
2013: Hurricanes won 23-19, Dunedin

Prediction: The meeting between last season's finalists sees the Highlanders aiming for a fifth win in seven matches against the Hurricanes, though none of their previous four wins in that run came by more than seven points. In fact, 14 of the last 15 meetings between these sides has seen the teams separated by seven points or fewer at the final whistle, the only exception being a 56-20 win for the Hurricanes in the penultimate round of the regular season last year. After suffering defeat in the opening round, the Highlanders will be looking to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in a single season since their final game of 2014. Aaron Smith contributed three try assists in Round One, the most of any player and his most in a single match since May 2014 against the Crusaders. The Hurricanes conceded an alarming 31 turnovers in the opening round of Super Rugby 2016, the most of any team and 18 more than the Highlanders. The Hurricanes have looked a pale shadow of the side that topped the standings last year and perhaps it has something to do with the senior All Blacks who departed. And unless something dramatic happened this past week that we are not aware of, the Highlanders should win by 10 to 15 points.


Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Shane Christie (co-captain), 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Jason Emery.

Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder/James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Leni Apisai, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 James Marshall/Jason Woodward, 23 Willis Halaholo.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)

(Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane - Kick-off: 18.45, 08.45 GMT)

Both teams are coming off disappointing defeats, but this week there can be no excuse of 'opening week nerves'.

The Western Force travel east this weekend for their second successive all-Australian derby desperate to avoid their season slipping off the tracks this early in the campaign.

The Reds, just as disappointing last week, will at least have the luxury of being able to look forward to their first home game of the year.

"This is an important game for us and we're pleased it is at Suncorp Stadium," Reds coach Richard Graham said.

"We are continuing to build and the support of our home supporters will be important," he added.

Saturday's clash with the Reds will be somewhat of a homecoming for new Western Force recruit Ben Tapuai, who returns to Suncorp Stadium to take on his old side for the first time.

Having playing seven seasons with the Reds before making the journey west, Tapuai admitted it would be a strange experience playing against his former franchise but is looking forward to the clash.

"Coming up against my old teammates had actually been on my mind a little bit," he said in an interview on the Force website.

"It will be a bit weird running out on to Suncorp Stadium and playing against the Reds, but I can't wait to get out there and compete against them.

"I had some great times with those boys, played some good rugby but when it comes down to the game there are no mates on the opposition, I know I'll be going hard and doing everything I can to help us get the win and I'm sure they won't be taking it easy on me either."

The powerful centre said he is expecting a bit of a hostile reception when he runs out to take the field and is intent on taking the points up against his former franchise.

"The Queensland crowd can be pretty vocal so I'm sure I'll cop it from them a bit but it will all be in good fun.

"We know that getting off to a good start is really important and this is a big game for us. After the Reds lost last week as well, I'm sure both teams will be desperate to get a win on the board on Saturday," he added.

And the Reds will have in their line-up a player they hope could be the catalyst to a successful run - Japan's World Cup star Ayumu Goromaru at fullback.

Recent results:
2015: Reds won 32-10, Perth
2015: Reds won 18-6, Brisbane
2014: Force won 30-20, Perth
2014: Force won 32-29, Brisbane
2013: Reds and Force drew 11-all, Perth
2013: Force won 19-12, Brisbane

Prediction: The Reds were victorious in both matches between these teams in the 2015 season, though they failed to find a win in the five matches prior (lost four and drawn one). Force won their last away game in the competition in the final round of 2015; however they lost six in a row on the road before that. Four of the Force's last six matches against Australian opposition in the Super Rugby have been decided by seven points or fewer. The Reds (19 minutes and 21 seconds) enjoyed almost 20 minutes of time in possession in Round One, the most of any team but only 24 seconds more than the Force managed. The Force were one of only three teams (Stormers and Bulls) to be faultless with the boot in the opening round as they slotted all five of their place kicks in the match (one conversion, four penalties). This is tough to call and will most likely be a dour arm-wrestle. It is about which team can pick themselves up the quickest and the Reds look the most likely - which could see them win by about eight points.


Reds: 15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 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 Junior Laloifi.

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Junior Rasolea, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Angus Cottrell, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 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 Ben McCalman, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Marcel Brache.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

(Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria - Kick-off: 15.00; 00.00 Sunday, March 6 AEDT; 13.00 GMT)

The Rebels are chasing their first ever win on South African soil and many pundits see the Bulls as ripe for the picking.

After recording a six-point victory over the Western Force in last weekend's opening round, the Rebels are looking to break the franchise's South African hoodoo and record back-to-back wins to start their season for the first time.

Rebels captain Sean McMahon said they are optimistic about their prospects, but wary of a Bulls team that is minus a number of key players.

Apart from the Springboks who have moved on, Bok flyhalf Handré Pollard has also been sidelined with a knee injury.

However, McMahon, speaking in a teleconference from Pretoria, said the Bulls may not be as vulnerable as most people think.

"The Bulls are still a strong side and this is their home field," he said.

"The players they have put into the side will step up to the challenge.

"There are some impressive players that are missing, but they have players that can step up."

McMahon said the Rebels showed some promise in their win over the Western Force last week and they will have a "red-hot" crack at the Bulls this week.

"We have never had a win in South Africa and the Bulls are a very physical side, so it is going to be a big test for us.

"However, the team is up for it," he added.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais admitted his team is "under pressure to deliver", but said he is confident that they can turn things around, following last week's heavy loss to the Stormers.

"We performed poorly in some areas of our game and paid the price," Marais said.

"However, I am confident that we can deliver a much better result in our first home match of the season.

"The Rebels will certainly not make it any easier for us.

"They showed against the Force last weekend that they can win tough matches away from home and play for 80 minutes.

"They edged us [in Melbourne] last year, so they will travel here with a lot of confidence. In fact, I think they are the favourites."

Recent results:
2015: Rebels won 21-20, Melbourne
2014: Bulls won 40-7, Pretoria
2012: Bulls won 41-35, Melbourne
2011: Bulls won 47-10, Pretoria

Prediction: This will be the fifth match between these franchises in Super Rugby and after a maiden win in their last meeting, the Rebels will be looking for their first back-to-back victories against the Bulls. The Bulls are now without a win in their last six matches, their longest streak since losing all 12 matches of the 2002 season. The Rebels won 15 turnovers in their opening game, more than any other side in the opening round of fixtures. Jannes Kirsten made 18 tackles in the opening round, the second most of any player behind Michael Hooper (21) and the most of any player who didn't miss a single tackle. Like so many of the day's matches there is no clear favourite. The Bulls are at home and should be able to use that advantage to sneak a win - with a late score and a margin that is in single digits.


Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 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, 23 Dries Swanepoel

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

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

(Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein - Kick-off: 17.10; 15.10 GMT)

The Stormers have emerged as one of the early favourites in the wake of their demolition of the Bulls last week.

However, the challenges will not get any easier, even though Cheetahs captain Francois Venter is happy to pin the underdog tag to his team.

"The Stormers is the South African team everybody is backing in Super Rugby," he said.

"It is a huge challenge for us, but we are looking forward to taking them on."

The Cheetahs know they will have to raise the bar considerably from last week - when they lost 33-34 to the Jaguares of Argentina, after having built up a 24-3 lead inside the first quarter.

"We need to control the game better and maintain our intensity for the full 80 minutes," Venter said of his team's inability to kick on after opening up a big lead.

"We simply dropped off too many one-on-one tackles and we have worked hard on our defence this week," he added.

He said they can certainly take some confidence from those early exchanges against the Jaguares.

The Stormers will look to back up last week's impressive performance against the Bulls, but have to end a four-year drought in Bloemfontein.

"We made a good start against the Bulls, but we need to take that momentum from the second half of that game into this one to keep the ball rolling," co-captain Juan de Jongh said.

De Jongh said he was expecting a fierce onslaught from a Cheetahs side that will be determined to make amends for last week's lapses in concentration.

"They are going to come out firing and we know that, it is not something that is going to shock us.

"It is just important to make sure that we are focused and solid in ourselves because it is going to be a hell of a battle out there," he added.

Recent results:
2015: Stormers won 42-12, Cape Town
2015: Cheetahs won 25-17, Bloemfontein
2014: Stormers won 33-0, Cape Town
2014: Cheetahs won 35-22, Bloemfontein
2013: Stormers won 28-3, Cape Town
2013: Cheetahs won 26-24, Bloemfontein

Prediction: The Stormers have won 10 of their last 13 matches against the Cheetahs though the spoils are split evenly at three wins apiece in the last six iterations of this fixture. The Cheetahs have lost their last four matches at home in Super Rugby, though they've managed to score 66 points over their last two home matches. Francois Venter and Raymond Rhule were the top two metre makers in Round One of this year's competition, both making 141 metres over the gainline in the Cheetahs' loss to new boys, the Jaguares. The Stormers missed only six of their 136 tackle attempts in the opening round, making them the most successful tacklers in the competition (96 percent). The Stormers are favourites for a reason and expect them to close the game out in the final quarter again - although the margin will be substantially smaller - between 10 and 15 points.


Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Boom Prinsloo, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Niel Marais.

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Leolin Zas, 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 Huw Jones.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rodney Bonaparte (South Africa), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)

(Kings Park, Durban - Kick-off: 19.20; 14.20 Argentina time; 17.20 GMT)

The Sharks had far less resistance in their win last week than the Jaguares, who had to come from behind to beat a determined Cheetahs outfit.

Despite dismantling the Southern Kings, Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold was cautious in the build-up this week - pointing to the experience that comes with the visitors from Argentina.

"There were a lot of positives to take away from our match last weekend," Gold said.

"I was happy with our intent, skill level and the way we executed our tries."

However, the Sharks this week are up against a brilliant team full of internationals.  

"Many of these guys are hugely experienced and had good success at the World Cup," Gold said.

"Last week against the Cheetahs, this Argentine side showed that they have adapted well to the competition."

Despite being up against a team of near Test strength, Gold said his charges are up for the challenge ahead.  

"This match is really going to test us to see how far we've come this year.

"The new generation of players we have right now are really putting up their hands.  

"They're bringing an unbelievable enthusiasm and excitement to the team environment.  We can most definitely use this to build on to something big moving forward," he added.

Jaguares rookie Matías Alemanno - set to make his debut in place of the suspended Tomás Lavanini - said the Sharks are a capable outfit that should not be underestimated.

"We knew their potential and after seeing the first match [against the Kings] we know they are dangerous," Alemanno said.

"They have a number of Springboks and look to dominate the contact situation.

"We have to go out and play our game, set the pace of the game and let our defence be our hallmark."

Recent results:
These teams have never played each other before.

Prediction: After opening their 2016 campaign with a win, the Sharks will be aiming for a fifth win in a row for the first time since a run of five on the bounce across the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The Sharks have won 20 of their last 24 matches when hosting a team from outside of South Africa, though none of the last four of those wins have come by more than six points. The Jaguares beat 45 defenders in their historic victory in Round One, 17 more than any other team (Cheetahs, Waratahs). Lwazi Mvovo (4) made more breaks than any other player in the opening round. Santiago Cordero beat a league-best eight defenders on the first weekend of action. The Sharks will have to be at their best, because this Jaguares team can turn the game around in an instant. The Jaguares should sneak a late winner - by five points.


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

Jaguares: 15 Santiago Cordero, 14 Matías Orlando, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Santiago González Iglesias, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Rodrigo Báez, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Santiago García Botta.
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Felipe Arregui, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Javier Ortega Desio, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Joaquín Paz, 23 Lucas González Amorosino.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article lions team huddle in hamilton 800

Lions make history in Hamilton

Sat, 05 Mar 2016 06:02

REPORT: The Lions broke their duck in Hamilton when they beat the Chiefs 36-32 in an eight-try Super Rugby thriller on Saturday.

It is their first win over the Chiefs in New Zealand and the first time since 2011 that they have beaten the Chiefs anywhere.

And the Lions - two from two in this year's Super Rugby season - are now a 17-match unbeaten run - their last defeat having been the loss to the Brumbies on May 16 last year, and includes their 12-match victory run on the way to a Curie Cup triumph last year.

The teams scored four tries each in Hamilton on Saturday, but the Chiefs' discipline let them down and the boot of flyhalf Elton Jantjies prove to be the difference - despite struggling in the windy conditions.

Despite the referee overlooking some blatant obstruction early in the game , the Lions managed to maintain their composure and rook a 19-11 lead into the half-time break.

Despite the Chiefs getting an early try through Tom Sanders, after the Lions' defence was briefly exposed, the men from Johannesburg came back with a well-worked five-pointer through hooker Malcolm Marx.

The Chiefs were down a man early in the second half, as their discipline continued to let them down, and Courtnall Skosan soon made the numerical advantage count as the Lions produced a great blindside move.

However, two sublime tries from Damian McKenzie and Hames Lowe - which exposed the Lions' sometimes brittle defence in a big way - changed the game in an instant.

However, the Lions were not to be outdone and produce a sublime team try, scored by captain Warren Whiteley - after a great run on the angle - as the visitors reclaimed the led.

Further tries by Ruan Combrinck and Brad Weber saw the game go down to the wire - with the Lions holding on in the face of a powerful late surge by the home team.

In the closing two minutes the Chiefs twice won penalties on the Lions' line, but were unable to convert them into points.

Being four points in arrears they were forced to go for line-out drives but they could not break the well-drilled Lions pack.

The Lions led for most of the game, apart from a brief period at the start of the match and in the middle of the second half as they made light of their arduous travel itinerary - almost 45,000 air miles in the last 10 days.

They are the first team in the expanded competition to head from South Africa to Japan where they beat newcomers the Sunwolves 26-13 last week before travelling south to New Zealand.

"I'm a bit speechless at the moment," elated captain Warren Whitely said when the final whistle blew.

"They put so much pressure on us right until the death and we managed to pull it off in the end."

But while forward power ensured the win, Whiteley said it was the backs who deserved the credit.

"We weren't happy with last week's performance, so we worked really hard on our string to spread it from side to side and I think it worked."

With a superior pack and a lethal No.8-No.9-No.10 combination of Whiteley, Francois de Klerk and Jantjies, the Lions dominated territory and flyhalf Jantjies feasted on penalties as the Lions raced to a 19-11 lead by half-time.

Tom Sanders scored a try for the Chiefs and Malcolm Marx scored for the Lions with Jantjies' three penalties and a conversion making the difference in the first half while the Chiefs' extra points came from two Damian McKenzie penalties.

A Courtnall Skosan try early in the second half put the Lions out to a 24-11 lead before the Chiefs struck back to hit the front 25-24 when quick tries by McKenzie and James Lowe, both converted by McKenzie, produced 14 points in two minutes.

However, it was a short-lived advantage with the Lions adding a further two tries of their own by Whiteley and Ruan Combrinck.

With eight minutes remaining, the Chiefs reduced the deficit to four with a Brad Weber try converted by McKenzie but were unable to get any closer.

Man of the match: Seta Tamanivalu and Charlie Ngatai exposed the Lions' defence in a big way at times. Aaron Cruden, while by no means flawless, was the steadying influence. Sam Cane and Tom Sanders did what most loose forwards do - worked tirelessly. However, Damian McKenzie was the spark that repeatedly go the Chiefs on the front foot and back into the game. You can look at the attacking prowess of Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe and Elton Jantjies, but it was up front where the Lions did most of the damage. The loose trio of Warren Whiteley Jaco Kriel and Warwick Tecklenburg were always at the forefront. However, it was the Lions' scrum that set the tone for their outstanding performance and then came their amazing defence late in the game. This is a team award - to all the Lions.

The scorers:

For the Chiefs:
Sanders, McKenzie, Lowe, Weber
Cons: McKenzie 3
Pens: McKenzie 2

For the Lions:
Marx, Skosan, Whiteley, Combrink
Cons: Jantjies 2
Pens: Jantjies 4

Yellow card: Mitchell Graham (Chiefs, 42 - professional foul, offside)


Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Latu Vaeno, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Maama Vaipulu, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Tom Sanders, 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 Taleni Seu, 20 Michael Leitch, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, Glen Fisiiahi.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 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 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Fabian Booysen, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nick Brian (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

Agence France-Presse & @rugby365com

* Pictures courtesy of @LionsRugbyUnion

Tom Sanders (19min), Damian McKenzie (49min), James Lowe (55min), and Brad Weber (70min)
Malcolm Marx (31min), Courtnall Skosan (47min), Warren Whiteley (58min), and Ruan Combrinck (65min)
Damian McKenzie (50min), Damian McKenzie (56min), and Damian McKenzie (71min)
Elton Jantjies (59min)
Damian McKenzie (9min) and Damian McKenzie (39min)
Elton Jantjies (12min), Elton Jantjies (18min), Elton Jantjies (34min), and Elton Jantjies (37min)
Mitchell Graham (42min)
VENUE Hamilton
REFEREE Andrew Lees