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Highlanders

FULL-TIME
17     16

Hurricanes

Super Rugby | Dunedin
06:35 (GMT) | 05-03-2016
  • 80
THATS FULL-TIME! The Highlanders take this one 17-16 in a fantastic match. Thank you for joining us at Rugby365.com for this match. Be sure to join us for the next game as the Reds take on the Force
  • 79
Pick and go play from the Highlanders inside the Canes 22. Ardie Savea turns the ball over and Woodward boots the ball away and it goes out! Hes not happy about that ... Poor decision making in the dying moments of the game
  • 78
Ben Smith has a go for the Highlanders. They are running the clock down now. Frustration for the Hurricanes
  • 77
Eves coughs up the ball and the Highlanders have the scrum put-in on the Hurricanes 22
  • 75
Parker lands the penalty and the Highlanders take the lead
  • 74
Highlanders on the attack inside the Canes 22 before Faddes makes a lovely run. We go back for the penalty to the Highlanders and Parker will have a shot at goal
  • 72
Fekitoa has another run but is wrapped up quickly this time. I chip kick is put in by Osbourne but the ball rolls over the touchline 5 meters from the Canes try-line
  • 71
Perenara clear the ball into touch, lineout Highlanders on the halfway line
  • 69
5 meter scrum to the Highlanders , Smith has a go and throws a inside ball to Squire who crosses the line but the ref has called a forward pass. Scrum to the Canes on their own line
  • 68
Highlanders attack through Fekitoa ho smashes through the defence and plants the ball against the padding on the post . TMO in action , seems that it was a clear try but it the TMO has made a terrible decision and robbed the Highlanders
  • 67
Cheeky kick put through by Smith but Marshall cleans up the ball and kicks the ball into the stands
  • 66
Highlanders attacking on the Canes 22 before Savea rips the ball away but then loses the ball forward . Scrum to the Highlanders
  • 65
Highlanders scrum just outside the Hurricanes 22. Smith ready to feed
  • 64
Penalty to the Highlanders on their own 22 for foul play at the lineout by Blade Thomson
  • 63
Canes attacking without much venom near the halfway line. Highlanders defence holding strong
  • 62
Couple kicks back and forth before Marshall decides enough is enough and has a run from the back for the Canes
  • 60
It is judged to be held up, we go back for a penalty to the Hurricanes , they opt to go for goal and Barrett adds the three points
  • 59
Perenara feeds the scrum, he plays the ball to Barrett who cross kicks for Savea ,he gathers and thinks he has scored. TMO in action
  • 58
5 meter scrum to the Hurricanes , they are in a dangerous attacking position.
  • 56
Barrett adds the extras
  • 55
Perenara has a go and scores for the Canes!
  • 54
Hurricanes inside the Highlanders 22 , relentless waves of attack keep bashing at the Landers defence
  • 53
Highlanders clear the ball into touch. Lineout to the Canes on the halfway line. Leni Apisal finds his jumper and Ngani Laumape busts through the line with a great run
  • 52
Highlanders lineout throw inside their own 22. Scrappy second half so far
  • 50
Break in play as the medics attend to a couple injuries
  • 49
Sopoaga adds another penalty
  • 48
Penalty to the Highlanders , they opt to have a shot at goal to extend their lead
  • 47
Highlanders 5 meters from the try line
  • 46
Emery breaks the line for the Highlanders. Lovely run .
  • 45
Highlanders on the attack on the halfway line before there are a couple kicks back and forth. Perenara's kick rolls over the deadball line and we go all the way back for a Highlanders scrum inside the Hurricanes half
  • 44
Barrett busts through the line and almost scores, he offloads to Marshall who gets tackled into touch by Faddes. Lovely play by the Canes
  • 43
Hurricanes scrum just outside the Highlanders 22. Good attacking position
  • 42
Hurricanes on the attack before the ref blows for a penalty for Josh Hohneck being offside. Barrett will have a shot at goal. He lines up his kick, strikes the ball well but the ball is pulled to the left hand side of the upright. 22 dropout to the Highlanders
  • 41
Second half underway. Barrett kicks off

Half Time

  • 40
Perenara boots the ball into touch and the ref calls for halftime! See you all in a bit for the second half. A lovely game of rugby so far.
  • 39
Highlanders attack through Fekitoa who does well . Faddes knocks the ball forward. Scrum Hurricanes near their own try line.
  • 38
Highlanders attack through Wheeler, 5 meters from the line Ngani Laumape forces the turnover and Barrett clears his line.
  • 36
Hurricanes on the attack before there is a loose pass and a hack kick through. Barrett has no option but to gather the ball and run it out 5 meters from the Hurricanes line
  • 34
Play becomes a bit scrappy , ref calls for a Highlanders scrum deep inside their own half.
  • 33
Sopoaga hits the ball well and the ball sails through the middle. Good kick
  • 32
Highlanders destroy the Hurricanes scrum and are awarded the penalty. Sopoaga will have a shot at goal
  • 31
Fekitoa knocks the ball forward. Hurricanes scrum near their 22. An explosive first half, great entertainment for the spectators
  • 30
Highlanders scrum inside their own half, Smith feeds and Sopoaga hoists the up and under which Ben Smith regathers!
  • 29
Canes on the attack still but Highlanders defence is holding strong
  • 28
Overthrow at the lineout results in Toomaga-Allen making a lovely run ! Highlanders eventually win a penalty but Sopoaga misses his touch finder and the Canes attack from deep through Vince Tavae –Aso
  • 25
Couple kicks back and forth result in nothing as the ball rolls over the touchline for a Highlanders lineout on their 22
  • 24
Penalty at the lineout awarded to the Highlanders. Sopoaga clears for touch again to set up another lineout, this time, in Canes territory
  • 23
Sopoaga puts the ball into touch to set up a lineout just outside their own 22.
  • 22
Abbott breaks the line or the Canes, they make their way into the Highlanders 22. Great play here as Vito has a crack, Savea has a go. 5 meters from the try line Luke Whitelock forces a penalty to the Highlanders. Good defence
  • 20
Play goes back and forth as the Hurricanes attack well before the Highlanders turn the ball over and Sopoaga puts the ball into touch. Entertaining game so far
  • 19
Barrett lines up a long range penalty, he strikes the ball well and .......... Its Over! Great kick!
  • 18
Penalty to the Hurricanes for Shane Christie being offside.
  • 17
Couple kicks back and forth as Barrett puts the ball into touch. Lineout to the Highlanders on the halfway line
  • 15
Canes still on the attack before Blade Thomson coughs up the ball and the ref blows for a scrum to the Highlanders in their own 22
  • 14
Hurricanes 10 meters from the Highlanders line. They looking dangerous in attack, particularly through Ardie Savea
  • 12
Sopoaga drills the ball through the middle of the poles
  • 11
Penalty to the Highlanders in range. Sopoaga will have a shot at goal from 35 out
  • 10
Sopoaga hits the post with the conversion attempt.
  • 9
Highlanders on the attack as Fekitoa busts though the line. 5 meters from the Hurricanes try line. Sopoaga offloads to Fekitoa for the second time in the attack and he scores the try!
  • 7
Scrum to Highlanders inside the Canes half, they attack wide through Osbourne who gets bundled into touch. Canes lineout
  • 5
Penalty is good by Barrett
  • 4
Hurricanes win a penalty as Aaron Smith gets penalized for holding on. Barrett will have a shot at goal for the first points of the game
  • 3
Highlanders attack wide before Cory Jane intercepts the ball and makes a lovely run of 40 meters before being hunted down by Fekitoa. Great tempo to the game so far.
  • 2
Canes with a couple early runs near their own 22 before Perenara clears the ball but it goes out on the full. Lineout to the Highlanders on the Hurricanes 22.
  • 1
Sopoaga gets us underway!
  • -5
Teams come out the tunnel, its almost time to get this match underway
  • -15
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.
  • -20
Both teams from last year's Final are coming off opening round defeats - the Hurricanes much more so than the Highlanders.
  • -30
Welcome to the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin for this Super Rugby clash between the Highlanders and the Hurricanes. This should be a cracking match
Mc highlanders logo 80x50
Highlanders
Mc hurricanes logo 80x50
Hurricanes
START LINE UP
  • 15 Ben Smith
  • 14 Matt Faddes
  • 13 Malakai Fekitoa
  • 12 Teihorangi Walden
  • 11 Patrick Osborne
  • 10 Lima Sopoaga
  • 9 Aaron Smith
  • 8 Luke Whitelock
  • 7 Shane Christie
  • 6 Elliot Dixon
  • 5 Joe Wheeler
  • 4 Thomas Franklin
  • 3 Josh Hohneck
  • 2 Liam Coltman
  • 1 Brendon Edmonds
RESERVES
  • 23 Jason Emery
  • 22 Hayden Parker
  • 21 Josh Renton
  • 20 Dan Pryor
  • 19 Liam Squire
  • 18 Siua Halanukonuka
  • 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown
  • 16 Ash Dixon
START LINE UP
  • 15 James Marshall
  • 14 Cory Jane
  • 13 Vince Tavae –Aso
  • 12 Ngani Laumape
  • 11 Julian Savea
  • 10 Beauden Barrett
  • 9 TJ Perenara
  • 8 Victor Vito
  • 7 Ardie Savea
  • 6 Brad Shields
  • 5 Mark Abbott
  • 4 Blade Thomson
  • 3 Jeff Allen
  • 2 Leni Apisal
  • 1 Reg Goodes
RESERVES
  • 23 Willis Halaholo
  • 22 Jason Woodward
  • 21 Jamison Gibson-Park
  • 20 Callum Gibbins
  • 19 Vaea Fifita
  • 18 Loni Uhila
  • 17 Chris Eves
  • 16 Ricky Riccitelli
Mc article juan de jongh stormers huddle 800

S18 PREVIEW: ROUND TWO, PART TWO

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.

Teams:

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.

Teams:

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.

Teams:

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.

Teams:

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.

Teams:

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.

Teams:

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
@King365ed
@rugby365com

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article highlanders v huricanes indoor stadium 800

Late Parker strike steals it for Highlanders

Sat, 05 Mar 2016 08:22

REPORT: Hayden Parker kicked a pressure penalty five minutes from time as the defending champion Highlanders edged the Hurricanes 17-16 in Dunedin on Saturday.

Last year in Wellington, this year in Dunedin - and both times the matches were exciting and the Highlanders won. Last year it was the final match of 2015 Super Rugby. This was just the second match of 2016 Super Rugby. Last year the Highlanders scored two tries to one. This year it was one try each - though the Highlanders came as close to scoring on two other occasions as close can be really close.

At half-time the Highlanders led 11-6. With 19 minutes to play, the Hurricanes led 16-14. For 13 minutes they held onto that lead as the Highlanders attacked again and again. Twice they thought that had scored a the winning try but twice the TMO's advice dashed their hopes. Then with five minutes to play substitute flyhalf Hayden Parker kicked the winning penalty goal.

Back came the Highlanders on the attack as they had done for most of the half. but the Hurricanes won a turnover and they started running.  But then - major blunder - Jason Woodward kicked the ball into touch.

There were some 15 000 spectators in Forsyth Barr Stadium, including a zoo packed with cheerful scarfies, as is the Otago way. They had a whale of a time on the warm evening.

The Highlanders attacked first but Cory Jane intercepted a pass by Matt Faddes and raced away from his 22 - but Malakai Fekitoa stopped the ageing legs from behind. Still the Hurricanes were first to score when, after Aaron Smith had made a mess of a drop-out, Beauden Barrett goaled a penalty. 3-0 after five minutes.

Fekitoa broke inside Ngani Laumape and rushed at the line. He was tackled but the Highlanders bashed at the line till Lima Sopoaga made a hole for Fekitoa who finished off what he had started with a try. 5-3 to the Highlanders after 9 minutes. Sopoaga's conversion attempt hit the upright and stayed out but four minutes later the Hurricanes were offside and the flyhalf made it 8-3.

Barrett goaled another offside penalty and when the Highlanders destroyed a Hurricanes' scrum Sopoaga made it 11-6 after 33 minutes. The Highlanders were close when the Hurricanes handling went awry and Ben Smith kicked downfield. Jason Emery chased and put pressure on Barrett which led to a five-metre line-out for the Highlanders. Emery was close but Laumape won a turnover and the Hurricanes prevented any further scoring in the half.

Early in the second half Barrett missed a penalty but then went speeding through a gap which set the Hurricanes attacked. The men form the south and then an Emery break set them attacking, their reward a third Sopoaga penalty. 14-6 after 49 minutes.

Laumape broke but his pass went astray. Still the Hurricanes attacked and were bashing at the line when captain TJ Perenara picked up and scored in Emery's attempted tackle. That made it 14-13 after 57 minutes.

The tension in an already thrilling match mounted.

The Hurricanes attacked on the left and then right for a five-metre scrum. On advantage when Aaron Smith had gone offside Barrett kicked a high diagonal to the far left where Julian Savea caught the ball and went to ground in in-goal but the TMO's advice was that Fekitoa and Sopoaga had conspired to hold the ball up off the ground. But they went back to the penalty which Barrett goaled. 16-14.

Now the Highlanders attacked for all their worth.

From a line-out Dan Pryor bashed his way forward and the next moment Fekitoa was surging at the posts, tackled but stretching for the upright's padding. The Highlanders claimed a try but the TMO's advice was that there was no clear grounding. That produced a five-metre scrum. Aaron Smith went wide and passed inside to Liam Squire who swept over - but the TMO was able to confirm that the pass from Smith to Squire was forward. That meant a scrum to the Hurricanes near their line against a stronger-scrummaging Hurricanes but they managed to work their way clear, and there were just eight agonising minutes to play.

Patrick Osborne's attacked down the left and kicked ahead of the line-out. The Hurricanes survived the immediate threat but then, with five minutes left, the Hurricanes were penalised and Parker calmly goaled the angled kick.

And even those last five minutes were thrilling even though dominated by the Highlanders.

Man of the Match: In a great game of this kind there were often great player performances - on both sides. There were Malakai Fekitoa, Ben Smith, Aaron Smith, Patrick Osborne, Liam Sopoaga, Elliott Dixon and Liam Coltman of the Highlanders, and elegant Beauden Barrett. TJ Perenara, James Marshall, Brad Shields and Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes. Our choice is creative but faultless Ben Smith.

The scorers:

For the Highlanders:
Try:
Fekitoa
Pens: Sopoaga 3, Parker

For the Hurricanes:
Try:
Perenara
Con: Barrett
Pens: Barrett 3

Teams:

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 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 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)

Malakai Fekitoa (9min)
TRIES
TJ Perenara (55min)
 
CONVERSIONS
Beauden Barrett (56min)
Lima Sopoaga (12min), Lima Sopoaga (33min), Lima Sopoaga (49min), and Hayden Parker (75min)
PENALTIES
Beauden Barrett (5min), Beauden Barrett (19min), and Beauden Barrett (60min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
 
 
 
VENUE Dunedin
REFEREE Glen Jackson