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Super Rugby | Bloemfontein
15:05 (GMT) | 05-03-2016
  • 82
We head straight to Durban for the final match of the round between the Sharks and Jaguares
  • 81
The match comes to a close with the Stormers pulling away with a win 20-10
  • 80
Stormers comfortably maintaining possession while the match clock ticks down. One last ditch attempt at a line out inside the Stormers' half
  • 77
Cheetahs manage a line out just outside the Stormers 5 metre area. After squandering possession in the maul the ball is cleared by the visiting team.
  • 76
Coleman converts another penalty for the Stomers
  • 75
The visitors maintaining the pressure while also maintaining the lead. Stormers now find themselves with another opportunity to add 3 points to their lead
  • 73
Both teams reaching exhaustion as the final minutes ensue. Stormers win a convincing scrum inside the Cheetahs half.
  • 71
PENALTY against Cheetahs for illegal scrummaging. Near the 10 metre mark and 3 points is secured by Coleman for the Stormers
  • 68
Zelinga converts the PENALTY
  • 66
The Cheetahs now showing aggression to the delight of the home fans. Stormers holding firm just outside their own 5 metre area. PENALTY for Cheetahs
  • 63
Zeilinga converts the PENALTY
  • 63
A steady contest by both teams in the maul just outside the Cheetahs' 10 metre. Stormers now with possession bombing forward with good resolve. PENALTY against Stormers and the ball is out for a line out at the Stormers 5 metre area
  • 60
Both teams squandering possession by kicking the ball away almost aimlessly. Cheetahs finally manage to get it out for a line out close to the Stormers 5 metre
  • 58
The referee breaking up a tussle between the teams and attempts to calm things down. PENALTY to the Cheetahs as the scrum collapses
  • 55
The conversation is easily secured.
  • 54
Cheetahs holding firm in their 10 metre area. STormers finding it troublesome to progress. A quick change of pace sees Stormers Break through to score the try
  • 52
Scrum breaks down. PENALTY to Stormers for illegal scrummaging
  • 50
Plenty of handling errors by both sides, struggling to hold possession while making ground.
  • 48
De Jager sent to the sin bin for a high tackle
  • 47
Cheetahs showing more resilience in the opening minutes of the second half. De Jager on the ground with a look of displeasure after receiving a knock in the mau
  • 45
Du Preez limping and will be substituted by Coleman. Play is resumed with a Cheetahs line-out. They lose possession at the visiting teams' 5 metre line but resume the pressure immediately after the clearance
  • 43
A Cheetahs somewhat promising attack halted and the ball is subsequently booted out for a line-out. The home side regroup and press almost convincingly
  • 41
The Stormers get the second half going kicking the ball close to the Cheetahs' 5 metre. PENALTY against Cheetahs.

Half Time

  • 40
Stormers enjoying some good possession and seems to have the momentum but they are bundled into touch. Cheetahs sets the maul and choose to pop the ball into touch! That's HALF-TIME!
  • 38
The Stormers are in possession on the Cheetahs 10 metre line after Etsebeth stole the line-out. The vistors' backline is probing for a gap
  • 36
Stormers secures it but du Preez places a poor clearance kick and the Cheetahs are back on the attack on the Stormers' 22 but the visitors wins the ball back and are able to find touch on the halfway line
  • 35
The promising attack comes to nothing though as their momentum is stopped by a handling error. Scrum feed to the Stormers on their 5 metre line
  • 34
Touch is found just outside the Stormers' 22 and the Cheetahs sets a massive rolling maul that takes them to the Stormers' 5 metre line
  • 33
TIGHTHEAD! The Cheetahs shove the Stormers over! PENALTY! The visitors crumbles under the pressure
  • 31
A kicking battle breaks out and a mistake by Blommetjies sees the Stormers being awarded a scrum close to the Cheetahs' 22 after his kick rolled over the dead ball line
  • 30
Its a horror show from the Stormers thus far as a simple box kick goes directly into touch. Cheetahs will have the throw in on the halfway line. Etsebeth steals it for the visitors
  • 28
It's a kicking battle now and ends with Kolbe finding touch on the halfway line. Cheetahs will have the throw-in
  • 27
Scrappy play leads to a Cheetahs scrum feed
  • 25
The Cheetahs certainly have the upper hand at line-out time as de Jager once again steals possession for the Cheetahs. PENALTY! Stormers ill-discipline allows Blommetjies to clear the ball onto the Stormers' 22 for an attacking line-out
  • 23
Zeilinga makes no mistake with the extra points
  • 22
Cheetahs secure the ball and two sharp passes finds captain Francois Venter who runs a straight line through the Stormers' defence to grab the TRY!!!
  • 21
The Stormers kick it deep. PENALTY! Burger is penalised for a high tackle and referee Craig Joubert hands both sides a warning. Zeilinga finds touch on the Stormers' 22 to set up an attacking platform
  • 20
He certainly has the distance from about 42 metres but he fails to find the target
  • 19
PENALTY! A moment of confusion sees the Cheetahs awarded a penalty after Etsebeth was in an offside position from a charge down. Zeilinga will have a shot at goal
  • 18
Cheetahs have secured possession and are looking to hit back immediately with possession inside the Stormers' 22. PENALTY! Carr reacts quickly at the breakdown and forces the turnover
  • 16
Du Preez makes no mistake with the extra points
  • 15
Momentum is certainly with the Stormers as they edge their way into the Cheetahs' 22. A quick recycle and quick passes between de Jongh, Kolbe and Zass sees the wing race down the touchline and grab the opening score! TRY!!!
  • 13
The visitors are building up a head of steam as they throw the ball through the hands. Zass gets the ball on the left touchline but he runs out of space and is bundled into touch inside the Cheetahs' 22
  • 11
Stormers are enjoying a brief spell of possession and some ill-discipline by the Cheetahs allows the visitors to gain a penalty and find touch on the Cheetahs' 22
  • 9
PENALTY! The Stormers come away with a penalty after the Cheetahs failed to roll away at the breakdown. Du Preez fails to find touch though and Rhule shows him how to do it. He finds touch on the Stormers' 10 metre line
  • 8
Handling errors are plaguing the Stormers' attacks
  • 7
Cheetahs secures the ball and fling it wide to Rhule who sprints away. He looks to pass it inside but the Stormers intercepts and they have now made their way onto the Cheetahs' 10 metre line
  • 5
TIGHTHEAD!!! Stormers win the ball and are on the attack but once again, they lose the ball forward. Cheetahs will have the feed on their 10 metre line
  • 4
De Jager steals the Stormers' line-out and the Cheetahs clear the ball as far as the halfway line. The visitors look to launch an attack but a knock on stops them in their tracks. Cheetahs will have the feed on the Stormers' 10 metre line
  • 3
De Jager secures the line-out and the Cheetahs are on the attack outside the Stormers' 22. PENALTY! Stormers force the turnover
  • 2
Cheetahs apply the pressure but Vermaak is there to clean up and boot the ball into touch on his 10 metre line
  • 1
A poor clearance is charged down and the Cheetahs are in possession inside the Stormers' 22. Nothing comes of it though as they knock the ball on. Scrum feed to the Stormers
  • 0
KICK-OFF! Zeilinga gets the match underway with a deep kick inside the Stormers' 22
  • -5
Clear skies greets the players as the bikes roar to welcome the home side
  • -10
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.
  • -20
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.
  • -30
Our next match is in Bloemfontein where the Cheetahs host the Stormers in a South African derby
Mc cheetahs logo 80x50
Mc stormers logo 80x50
  • 15 Clayton Blommetjies
  • 14 Sergeal Petersen
  • 13 Francois Venter
  • 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 Maks van Dyk
  • 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld
  • 1 Charles Marais
  • 23 Niel Marais
  • 22 Tian Meyer
  • 21 Henco Venter
  • 20 Boom Prinsloo
  • 19 Francois Uys
  • 18 Luan De Bruin
  • 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche
  • 16 Jacques du Toit
  • 15 Cheslin Kolbe
  • 14 Dillyn Leyds
  • 13 Johnny Kotze
  • 12 Juan de Jongh
  • 11 Leolin Zass
  • 10 Robert du Preez
  • 9 Jano Vermaak
  • 8 Nizaam Carr
  • 7 Schalk Burger
  • 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe
  • 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit
  • 4 Eben Etzebeth
  • 3 Vincent Koch
  • 2 Bongi Mbonambi
  • 1 Oliver Kebble
  • 23 Huw Jones
  • 22 Kurt Coleman
  • 21 Nic Groom
  • 20 Siya Kolisi
  • 19 JD Schickerling
  • 18 Frans Malherbe
  • 17 JC Janse van Rensburg
  • 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni
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 cheetahs v stormers 800

Stormers edge desperate Cheetahs

Sat, 05 Mar 2016 16:56

REPORT: The Stormers did enough to beat the Cheetahs 20-10 in a disappointing Super Rugby match in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

However, the Stormers will be concerned about the fitness of young flyhalf Robert du Preez, who hobbled off in the 44th minute with a knee injury - later being observed with an ice pack on a medial ligament area.

The Stormers edged ahead on the scoreboard with just over half-an-hour to go - after the teams were deadlocked at 7-all for almost 40 minutes - when the Cheetahs' star lock Lodewyk de Jager was sin-binned for a high tackle.

Try as they might, the Cheetahs could not close the gap and in becoming ever more desperate they created opportunities for the Stormers to close out the game through penalties.

Springboks Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit dominated the line-outs to set up the triumph for the Stormers.

Despite opposing 2015 South African Player of the Year Lodewyk de Jager, the Stormers duo stole numerous Cheetahs throws at Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.

De Jager, who starred for the Boks at the 2015 World Cup, was sin-binned on 48 minutes for a high tackle and Stormers took advantage of the numerical superiority to score a crucial second try.

"It is awesome playing with Pieter-Steph," said Etzebeth of Du Toit, a close-season signing from fellow Super Rugby franchise the Sharks.

"We are really enjoying ourselves playing under new coach Robbie Fleck. There is freedom to express yourself and I enjoy that."

The teams were level at 7-all going into the break during a typical South African derby saturated with physicality and strong defending.

Stormers regained the lead on 55 minutes when sustained ball-in-hand pressure brought the visitors steadily closer to the try-line before loose forward Sikhumbuzo Notshe barged over.

Kurt Coleman, an early second-half substitute for injured flyhalf Robert du Preez, converted from in front of the posts to give Stormers a 14-7 advantage.

Rival playmaker Fred Zeilinga trimmed the deficit to four points via a penalty before Coleman slotted two of his own to earn Stormers a second successive success at the start of the season.

It was the fifth consecutive loss suffered by Cheetahs against Stormers and left them, Queensland Reds and Wellington Hurricanes nursing the disappointment of two straight losses.

Although outplayed at the line-outs, the Bloemfontein outfit excelled in the scrums with new loose-head Charles Marais outstanding.

"It is never easy playing in Bloemfontein so we are happy with the win," said Stormers co-captain and centre Juan de Jongh.

"Eben and Pieter-Steph were outstanding in the line-outs, but we have some work to do on our scrummaging.

"Our policy this season is to attack and we tried to do that whenever possible tonight," added the Springbok.

Cheetahs centre and skipper Francois Venter said: "We were great in the scrums and struggled in the line-outs. The team needed more front-foot ball."

Stormers broke the deadlock after 16 minutes of the first half with a superb try by winger Leolin Zas, who played only because Kobus van Wyk was injured.

Quick handling in midfield delivered the ball to Zas, who gave the Cheetahs defence no chance with a blistering break down the left wing. Du Preez converted the try.

Erratic goal-kicker Zeilinga missed a penalty before converting a superb try by Venter, who finished off slick handling from a line-out.

Man of the match: Lodewyk de Jager, before his yellow card, was definitely the Cheetahs' most productive player and his duel with fellow Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth was the highlight of an otherwise disappointing game. Raymond Rhule also had his moments, but the Cheetahs' most consistent player was captain Francois Venter - both with and without the ball. Robert du Preez was impressive enough before his injury-enforced departure early in the second half, rookie Leolin Zass had his moments, while Nizaam Carr and Sikhumbuzo Notshe were a constant presence at the breakdown ad on defence. However, the man who gad the biggest impact on the Stormers' performance was Bok lock Eben Etzebeth - with his numerous line-out steals and physical presence around the park. There was some valuable help for Pieter-Steph du Toit, but Etzebeth gets our award.

The scorers:

For the Cheetahs
Con: Zeilinga
Pen: Zeilinga

For the Stormers:
Zass, Notshe
Cons: Du Preez, Coleman
Pens: Coleman 2

Yellow card: Lodewyk de Jager (Cheetahs, 48 - foul play, high tackle)


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 Zass, 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)

Francois Venter (22min)
Leolin Zass (15min) and Sikhumbuzo Notshe (54min)
Fred Zeilinga (23min)
Robert du Preez (16min) and Kurt Coleman (55min)
Fred Zeilinga (68min)
Kurt Coleman (71min) and Kurt Coleman (75min)
Lodewyk de Jager (48min)
VENUE Bloemfontein
REFEREE Craig Joubert (South Africa)