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Super Rugby | Pretoria
13:00 (GMT) | 05-03-2016
  • 81
We are now heading directly to Bloemfontein where the Cheetahs play the Stormers - this should be a good one!
  • 80
Rebels take the ball up-field but are forced into touch. The siren sounds and the game is closed off. The Bull WIN BY 45 POINTS TO 25. It's their first win of the season.
  • 77
Rebels penalised for hands on the ball but Bulls get possession and take it out wide. de Jager's run takes him into touch and it's a line out
  • 76
The Bulls have it and are fighting their way towards the line. Rebels defending well but penalty for off side called and Bulls go for the scrum in front of the posts
  • 74
A period of scrappy play results in a penalty for off feet to the Bulls who clear well up-field
  • 73
Both teams seem to have a new lease of life! Fast handling and the Rebels win a penalty which is cleared by Debreczini who is then replaced by Hawkins
  • 67
Conversion missed again.
  • 66
Rebels take a mark and boot it up-field into touch. More replacements. Bulls throw in and again take it up field. Penalty ti the Rebels, they move it up well - and Meehan takes it over the line for a try
  • 64
Cruz Ah-Nau comes on for the Rebels and Jenkins for the Bulls replacing Snyman. Bulls have possession but are clumsy They do however continue to make ground but slowly!
  • 62
Bulls knock on and its a scrum to the Rebels. Feed is clean and the Rebels take it up-field. Bulls take possession and Brummer kicks up-field
  • 61
Brummer takes the kick and SCORES
  • 60
Line out to the Bulls. Playing free kick advantage but ball lost forward and free kick to the Bulls who go for posts
  • 59
Brummer kicks downfield and achieves a penalty which is kicked into touch close to the Rebels line
  • 56
Debreczeni misses his second conversion attempt
  • 55
TRY!!! Hanson goes over in the corner for a 5 pointer.
  • 54
Momentum is clearly with the Rebels now as they continue with attacking moves
  • 51
A quickly taken penalty by Meehan sees the scrumhalf snake his way over the line
  • 50
Rebels with some good momentum are back on the attack inside the Bulls 22
  • 49
Debreczeni slots the conversion and makes no mistake with the extra points
  • 48
Rebels find themselves with a rare attacking opportunity and some quick hands finds Placid who shrugs off a defender and grabs the try
  • 46
Brummer adds easy two points
  • 45
Rebels maintain a brief spell of possession before a loose pass is picked up by Basson who races away and scores
  • 43
Brummer once again on target with another successful conversion
  • 42
Basson scores - after a line out and collection of a grubber by Gelant sees the wing grab his second of the match
  • 41
Bulls start the second half with a kick downfield Penalty for offside against the Bulls

Half Time

  • 40
Brummer slots the conversion from the left touchline to maintain his 100 percent record! HALF-TIME!
  • 40
The Bulls are back on the attack from the restart. Neat interplay and passing by the forwards and backline sees them go from inside their half, all the way over the Rebels' try line. Gelant sprints down the left touchline, passes it on the inside and Jannes Kirsten is on hand to collect the ball and grab TRY number 4!
  • 39
Brummer once again makes no mistake with the extra points
  • 38
The Bulls have stolen a Rebels throw-in and are in possession on their visitors' 10 metre line. Marcel van der Merwe picks up a lose ball and gives a nifty offload to Travis Ismaiel on the Rebels' 22 and the wing speeds away for the Bulls' third TRY of the game
  • 35
Bulls are once again in possession close to the Rebels' 22 as their forwards plug away. PENALTY! Thomson arrives first at the breakdown and forces the turnover!
  • 34
He pushes it slightly to the right and the scores remain the same
  • 33
The Rebels are in possession close to the halfway line. PENALTY! Great work at the breakdown sees the Bulls force the turn over. Brummer will have a shot at goal from 53 metres
  • 31
He pulls it horribly and play will restart with a Bulls 22 drop-out
  • 30
It's messy by the Rebels and they have been pushed back to the Bulls' 10 metre line. PENALTY! The Bulls are penalised for being in an offside position. Debreczeni will have a shot at goal
  • 29
The pace of the match has taken a bit of a dip but a mistake by the Bulls inside their 22, which sees Gelant kick Serfontein's backside with the ball, allows the Rebels an attacking scrum 8 metres from the Bulls' try line
  • 27
The Bulls have secured it but kick the ball away. Te Rebels secures the ball but the Bulls knocks it on in their attempt to steal it at the breakdown. Play resumes with a Rebels scrum feed on their 10 metre line
  • 26
The Rebels are patient in their build up and with no other options at his disposal Meehan opts to kick the ball into touch just inside the Bulls' 22
  • 24
Possession has changed hands on a number of occassions but it's the Rebels who has the possession through a line-out on the halfway line
  • 22
PENALTY! Just as it seems like the Bulls would make their way through the Rebels' defence once again, they are penalised for sealing the ball off at the breakdown. Rebels find touch on the halfway line
  • 21
Momentum is with the home side at the moment as they find themselves with an attacking line-out inside Rebels territory, just outside the 22
  • 20
Brumme makes no mistake with his second conversion of the match
  • 19
The Bulls show exactly what they can do with ball in hand. A brilliantly patient team effort sees Nick de Jager get the ball 7 metres before the line and goes over with ease! TRY!
  • 17
Both sides seem happy to put foot to ball in search of territory and it ends with the Rebels finding touch just inside Bulls territory
  • 14
The Rebels have front foot ball and some brilliant hands sees them split the Bulls defence open. Adam Thomson finds himself with acres of space but HE LOSES THE BALL over the line! Scrum to the Bulls on their 5 metre line
  • 12
Brummer slots the conversion from close to the left touchline to add the extras
  • 11
Bulls are using their forwards to power their way over the advantage line and it has gained them momentum into the Revels' 22. The ball is flung wide into the hands of Basson who speeds away into the corner for the first TRY of the match!
  • 10
The Rebels are under all sorts of pressure and are forced to boot the ball away onto their 10 metre line. Bulls throw-in
  • 9
Gelant gets the ball and places a kick up field that rolls into touch just before the corner flag
  • 8
The Bulls are in possession on the halfway line and are probing for a gap as they fling the ball through the hands
  • 7
It's taken some time for the scrum to settle. PENALTY! The Bulls are penalised for collapsing the scrum. The Rebels finds touch on their 10 metre line to set up the line-out
  • 5
It is very scrappy by the Rebels and a lose ball is knocked on. Bulls will have the scrum feed on the Rebel's 5 metre line
  • 4
Basson goes charging after the restart but he knocks the ball into touch. Rebels have opted for a scrum just outside their 22
  • 3
He strikes it well and it splits the uprights! Rebels have the early lead
  • 2
Debreczeni spots an opening and takes it but his pass to Meehan fails to go to hand and the Bulls are back in possession on their 10 metre line. PENALTY! Snyman seals the ball off at the breakdown and allows Debreczeni to have a shot at goal from about 41 metres
  • 1
The Rebels collects a Paige box kick and are in possession on the halfway line as they take the ball through a number of phases
  • 0
KICK-OFF! Rebels gets the match underway with a deep kick into the Bulls' 22
  • -4
A late change for the Rebels sees Jonah Placid take the place of Reece Hodge at fullback
  • -5
Sunshine, blue skies and warm weather awaits the sides as they get ready to make their way onto the park
  • -20
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.
  • -30
Welcome to Round Two of the 2016 Super Rugby! First up in three back-to-back fixtures sees the Bulls host the Rebels in Pretoria!
Mc bulls logo 80x50
Mc rebels logo 80x50
  • 15 Warrick Gelant
  • 14 Travis Ismaiel
  • 13 Jan Serfontein
  • 12 Burger Odendaal
  • 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 Dries Swanepoel
  • 22 Tian Schoeman
  • 21 Piet van Zyl
  • 20 Roelof Smit
  • 19 Jason Jenkins
  • 18 Hencus van Wyk
  • 17 Lizo Gqoboka
  • 16 Jaco Visagie
  • 15 Jonah Placid
  • 14 Dominic Shipperley
  • 13 Tamati Ellison
  • 12 Mitch Inman
  • 11 Tom English
  • 10 Jack Debreczeni
  • 9 Ben Meehan
  • 8 Lopeti Timani
  • 7 Sean McMahon
  • 6 Adam Thomson
  • 5 Steven Cummins
  • 4 Luke Jones
  • 3 Laurie Weeks
  • 2 James Hanson
  • 1 Toby Smith
  • 23 Kotaro Matsushima
  • 22 Dan Hawkins
  • 21 Mick Snowden
  • 20 Jordy Reid
  • 19 Sam Jeffries
  • 18 Jamie Hagan
  • 17 Cruze Ah-Nau
  • 16 Pat Leafa
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 adriaan strauss bulls charge 800

Bumbling Bulls trample hapless Rebels

Sat, 05 Mar 2016 14:48

REPORT: The Bulls eased past the Rebels to record a 45-25 Super Rugby win over their Australian rivals in Pretoria on Saturday.

Whatever this was it was not worthy of Super Rugby - Super with a capital S or with a small s. It was bizarre, at times farcical. It's only value to the competition was that it underlined the value of the change to 'three tries more' criterion for a bonus point. The Bulls got what they deserved, no more.

There was just a sprinkling of spectators at the ground which in days of yore would have been packed for such an occasion. Whether this funny win will encourage people to come back remains to be seen.

After 45 minutes, the Bulls had scored six tries to nil. In the next 35 minutes they scored just one lame-duck penalty while the Rebels scored four tries, largely thanks to their opponents' feebleness.

Just one little stat is worth noting. In this match the Bulls were penalised 15 times for tackle-related  infringements - 15 times to the four times of the Rebels. Either the Bulls were wrong - ignorant, willful or careless - or the referee was wrong. It makes no sense, certainly not if this is touted as the best competition for professional rugby players in the world. It can't be, unless rugby really is sick at heart.

Just passing a rugby ball does not mean that the rugby is good and creative, nor does a plethora of tries mean that a match was good. In this match the Bulls had forwards pretending they were backs and the backs hiding away. That was not good rugby. It was a match of 10 tries, but it was not a good rugby match. Earlier in the day the Highlanders played the Hurricanes and just two tries were scored but the standard of rugby in that match was much, much higher.

But enough said for now. Maybe it was the fault of the great heat as rugby becomes a summer sport.

Almost certainly the most memorable happening in the match was when Warrick Gelant kicked the ball into Jan Serfontein's backside. People will see that all over the world. They may as well enjoy it because it will not happen again - at least not in serious, professional rugby.

The details of the match follow.

The Rebels threatened first when lanky Jack Debreczeni broke clean through with Ben Meehan on his right but just when a try looked certain the pass went astray. But when young RG Snyman was penalised at a tackle, Debreczeni goaled. 3-0 after 3  minutes. The next time the Rebels scored, 42 minutes later, the score was 42-3.

The first Bulls' try came when they went right and then left with Burger Odendaal getting outside his marker and sending Bjorn Basson over in the left corner. As he usually does Francois Brummer converted. 7-3 after 11 minutes.

The Rebels could have gone ahead. They attacked the hesitant Bulls' defenders and Adam Thomson was free to score in the left corner. The veteran All Black bent down over the line, dropped the ball and kicked it into touch-in-goal.

It was that sort of game.

The Bulls again went right and then left where Basson drew his man and sent flank Nic de Jager racing down the left. He swerved inside Jonah Placid and was over for the try. 14-3 after 19 minutes.

The most delightful part of the whole of the match was a single pass. The Bulls were shuffling right when prop Marcel van der Merwe got the ball and with Davis Campese skill and nonchalance he lobbed a pass over his shoulder to Travis Ismaiel who scored. 21-3 after 38 minutes.

There was just time for the Bulls to score another. From their right they attacked down the left and as he was being bundled into touch at the cornerflag Warrick Gelant flicked a one-handed pass infield which Jannes Kristen caught as he fell over in the corner. 35-3, which was the half-time score.

In the first minute of the second half the Bulls attacked down the left and Gelant sent a delicate grubber infield. Basson chased and snatched the ball in front of the nose of reluctant Tom English, spun round and scored his second try. 35-3.

Some 11 metres inside their half, the Rebels went right and Tamati Ellison passed to his right - straight to Basson who ran to score his hat-trick try under the crossbar. 42-3.

The Rebels were looking pedestrian but a penalty gave them a line-out on their left. They moved the ball to the far right where Jonah Placid ran past  Basson, who made little attempt to stop him, and scored a try. 42-10 after 49 minutes.

This score seemed to give the Rebels a bit of life while the Bulls persisted in indifference.,

Serfontein was penalised. He found it amusing and passed the ball to Meehan who was standing on the five-metre line to take a tap kick. Meehan took the tap and scored. 42-15 after 52 minutes.

Another penalty gave the Rebels another attacking line-out and hooker James Hansen got over for the try. 42-20 after 56 minutes.

The Bulls kicked a penalty out for a five-metre line-out, their first attempt to protect their three-try advantage but they overthrew the line-out and the Rebels got away.

With 18 minutes to go, Brummer goaled a penalty. 45-20. Presumably the Bulls felt in danger of losing the match.

After many passes, met by feeble defence, Meehan scored his second try and removed a bonus point from the Bulls. 45-25 with 11 minutes to go.

The last act of the match was a twinkletoed break by Pretoria-born Japanese threequarter Kotaro Matsushima. He raced for the line and looked likely to score till Gelant flung him into touch near the cornerflag.

Man of the Match: Marcel van der Merwe for that opass, the best rugby moment of the match.

The scorers:

For the Bulls:
Basson 3, De Jager, Ismaiel, Kirsten,
Cons: Brummer 6
Pens: Basson

For the Rebels:
Placid, Meehan 2, Hanson
Cons: Debreczeni
Pens: Debreczeni


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 Jonah Placid, 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 Kotaro Matsushima, 23 Dan Hawkins.

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



Bjorn Basson (11min), Nick de Jager (19min), Travis Ismaiel (38min), Jannes Kirsten (40min), Bjorn Basson (42min), and Bjorn Basson (45min)
Jonah Placid (48min), Ben Meehan (51min), James Hanson (58min), and Ben Meehan (66min)
Francois Brummer (12min), Francois Brummer (20min), Francois Brummer (39min), Francois Brummer (40min), Francois Brummer (43min), and Francois Brummer (46min)
Jack Debreczeni (49min)
Francois Brummer (61min)
Jack Debreczeni (3min)
VENUE Pretoria
REFEREE Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)