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Highlanders

FULL-TIME
34     15

Lions

Super Rugby | Dunedin
06:35 (GMT) | 12-03-2016
  • 80
FULL-TIME! The Highlanders win this one! Be sure to join us for the next match as the Rebels take on the Reds in about half an hour!
  • 79
Chip kick put through and Mostert regathers but unfortunately the ball is held up and the ref blows to conclude the game.
  • 78
Lions turn the ball over and are on the attack through Dillon Smit who steps three players. Lovely run by the replacement halfback
  • 77
Highlanders on the attack through Fekitoa . He has been fantastic today
  • 76
Jantjies adds the extras
  • 75
Lions 5 meters from the Highlanders line as Ruan Ackermann crashes over for a try!
  • 74
Julian Redelinghuys has a run for the Lions 5 meters from the line,Ruan Ackermann then has a go. Defence by the Highlanders is stubborn and will not give an inch
  • 73
Lions awarded the short arm penalty, they opt to scrum again. They will be looking for a pushover try
  • 72
Lions awarded a penalty , they opt to scrum 5 meters from the Highlanders try line
  • 71
Lions on the attack through Whiteley. They make their way into the Highlanders 22.
  • 70
Lions have a scrum just inside the Highlanders half
  • 68
Lions win the penalty at the scrum. Jantjies kicks the ball into touch to set up an attacking lineout for the Lions.
  • 67
Lions attack from deep through Combrinck but unfortunately the winger loses the ball forward and the Highlanders have the scrum put - in
  • 65
Highlanders on the attack inside the Lions 22 before there is a knock on by Ben Smith. Lions scrum
  • 64
Highlanders win a penalty on the halfway line for the Lions forwards going off their feet. Sopoaga will put this into touch.
  • 63
Jantjies misses the conversion attempt
  • 62
Lions strike back straight away as Rohan Janse van Rensburg crosses the line and the Lions finally get some reward!
  • 60
Sopoaga with the drop goal! Pure class!
  • 59
Lovely kick by Sopoaga pins the Lions into their 22
  • 58
Armand van der Merwe loses the ball forward and the Highlanders have the scrum put in near the halfway
  • 57
Lions on the attack but there is just no venom
  • 56
Another lovely kick by Sopoaga who adds the extras from the tee
  • 55
WHAT A TRY! The counter attack is potent as Evans makes a great run, offloads to Ben Smith who plays Fekitoa in for the try! Great play!
  • 54
Lions on the attack on the halfway line before Mnisi loses the ball and the the Highlanders are back on the attack
  • 53
Lions penalized at the scrum, Sopoaga will put it away into touch.
  • 52
Break in play as there are a couple changes made
  • 50
Lions on the attack inside the Highlanders half. Whiteley has a run, Fekitoa makes another big hit. Lions continue to build the phases near the 22
  • 48
Lions have the scrum put in on their 22. They have been rocked so far in the second half
  • 46
Sopoaga adds the extras
  • 45
INTERCEPTION! Matt Faddes intercepts the ball and scores the try! Two quick tries by the Highlanders
  • 44
A lovely conversion kick by Sopoaga
  • 43
Quick lineout! Ben Smith plays the ball to Aaron Smith who draws the last defender and plays Ben Smith who runs 80+ meters and scores a magnificent try in the corner!
  • 42
Lions on the attack through Dreyer followed by Mnisi near the Highlanders 22. They continue to attack before Combrinck gets bundled into touch
  • 41
Second half underway . Elton Jantjies kicks off

Half Time

  • 40
Halftime , see you all in a bit for the second half.
  • 39
Jaco Kriel loses the ball forward and the ref blows the whistle for half time
  • 38
Robbie Coetzee finds his jumper and the maul is set by the Lions. It all comes to nothing as a kick is put through that is easily dotted down by Osborne, 22 dropout to the Highlanders
  • 37
Penalty to the Lions for Dan Pryor coming in the side. Elton Jantjies puts the ball into touch on the halfway line
  • 35
Combrinck clears the ball into touch to relieve the pressure for the Lions
  • 34
The Highlanders attack from the scrum before there is a knock on and the Lions have the scrum on their 22.
  • 33
Highlanders scrum inside the Lions half
  • 32
Elton Jantjies lands the penalty for the Lions
  • 31
Penalty to the Lions, Elton Jantjies will have a shot at goal
  • 30
Lions win the penalty at the scrum and Combrinck puts the ball into touch. An entertaining first half even though there has been minimal reward for both sides
  • 29
Aaron Smith throws a forward pass . Scrum Lions 5 meters from their own line
  • 28
Kriel has a run but is isolated in the tackle and the Highlanders turn the ball over and attack through Ben Smith. Great counter attack
  • 27
Lions on the attack but the defence is rock solid by the Highlanders
  • 26
Lions on the attack on the halfway line
  • 25
Sopoaga adds the extras
  • 24
A lovely grubber is put in by Sopoaga and Fadden regathers and scores the opening try of the match . Great play by the Highlanders number ten.
  • 23
Ben Smith with a massive run, he makes it into the Lions 22
  • 22
A couple kicks exchanged all results in nothing as we have a 22 dropout now for the Lions.
  • 21
Highlanders win the penalty inside their own 22 for Jacques van Rooyen going off his feet at the breakdown. Sopoaga will put the ball into touch.
  • 19
Lions on the attack inside the Highlanders 22 , Janse Van Rensburg gets smashed again by Fekitoa before Rob Thompson hacks the ball into touch and the Lions have another lineout in an attacking position
  • 18
Lions win the penalty for obstruction from the Highlanders. Jantjies sets up the lineout inside the Highlanders half.
  • 17
Big hit by Fekitoa on Rohan Janse van Rensburg. Lions getting no momentum here and seem to be trapped inside their own 22
  • 15
Highlanders still on the attack near the Lions 22 before Sopoaga puts in a kick and Combrinck responds with his own kick that goes into touch
  • 14
Highlanders attack from deep through Fekitoa before Ben Smith hoists the up and under taken by Combrinck who gets bundled into touch.
  • 13
Lions penalized at the scrum. Sopoaga will clear the ball into touch to set up a lineout
  • 11
TMO judged that Fekitoa held the ball up. 5 meter scrum to the Lions
  • 10
Jaco Kriel with a massive run , he gets shut down by Osbourne before the second wave of attack comes through Combrinck who thinks he has scored in the corner , TMO in action.
  • 9
Lovely run by Fekitoa as the Highlanders make it into the Lions 22 again. There is a cross kick put in by Sopoaga for Fadden but unfortunately the winger stepped out and the Lions have the lineout throw
  • 7
Sopoaga strikes the ball well and it sails through the middle for the first points of the game
  • 6
Highlanders win the penalty at the scrum. Sopoaga will have a shot at goal
  • 5
Liam Coltman finds his jumper and the Highlanders attack wide but there is a poor pass by Sopoaga which results in Ben Smith knocking the ball forward. Scrum Lions
  • 4
Whiteley picks up from 8 and has a run before Elton Jantjies clears the ball into touch to relieve pressure for the Lions
  • 3
Highlanders inside the Lions 22 they play the ball through the hands before Matt Fadden drops the ball and the ref calls for a scrum to the Lions.
  • 2
Highlanders retain the ball from the kickoff. They attack through lock Alex Ainley who gets shut down quickly. The Lions defend well before there is a small knock on from Warwick Tecklenburg hand and the ref calls for a scrum to the Highlanders in a dangerous attacking position.
  • 1
First half underway. Sopoaga kicks off for the Highlanders
  • -5
Teams come out , its almost time to get this game underway
  • -15
The Lions have won five of their last eight matches against the Highlanders
  • -30
Welcome to the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin for this Super Rugby clash between the Highlanders and the Lions
Mc highlanders logo 80x50
Highlanders
Mc lions logo 85
Lions
START LINE UP
  • 15 Ben Smith
  • 14 Matt Faddes
  • 13 Malakai Fekitoa
  • 12 Rob Thompson
  • 11 Patrick Osborne
  • 10 Lima Sopoaga
  • 9 Aaron Smith
  • 8 Liam Squire
  • 7 Dan Pryor
  • 6 Luke Whitelock
  • 5 Joe Wheeler
  • 4 Alex Ainley
  • 3 Siua Halanukonuka
  • 2 Liam Coltman
  • 1 Brendon Edmonds
RESERVES
  • 23 Jason Emery
  • 22 Hayden Parker
  • 21 Josh Renton
  • 20 Shane Christie
  • 19 Gareth Evans
  • 18 Ross Geldenhuys
  • 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown
  • 16 Ash Dixon
START LINE UP
  • 15 Jaco van der Walt
  • 14 Ruan Combrinck
  • 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
  • 12 Howard Mnisi
  • 11 Courtnall Skosan
  • 10 Elton Jantjies
  • 9 Francois de Klerk
  • 8 Warren Whiteley
  • 7 Warwick Tecklenburg
  • 6 Jaco Kriel
  • 5 Franco Mostert
  • 4 Andries Ferreira
  • 3 Ruan Dreyer
  • 2 Robbie Coetzee
  • 1 Jacques van Rooyen
RESERVES
  • 23 Andries Coetzee
  • 22 Jacques Nel
  • 21 Dillon Smit
  • 20 Ruan Ackermann
  • 19 Robert Kruger
  • 18 Julian Redelinghuys
  • 17 Corne Fourie
  • 16 Armand van der Merwe
Mc article singapore national stadium 800

S18 PREVIEW: ROUND THREE, PART TWO

Thu, 10 Mar 2016 21:10

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

Another piece of Super Rugby history will be written when the competition makes its first stop in Singapore this weekend.

Despite fears over extended travel times, tropical heat and a questionable pitch, the Japanese newcomers the Sunwolves - who have played only once so far - have made the nearly eight-hour trip from Tokyo to face the Cheetahs, who have flown 11 hours from Bloemfontein.

Saturday's game is one of three "home" fixtures in Singapore for the Sunwolves.

Brendan Morris, operations manager for Super Rugby organisers SANZAAR, admitted the shift to steamy Singapore wasn't easy for the teams, but he was confident the venture would be a success.

"Any expansion comes with both challenge and opportunity," Morris said.

"One of the biggest challenges is a little bit more travel into new markets and the teams will adapt to that.

"You've got to look at the commercial opportunities, the rugby opportunities and the logistical challenges around expansion. The combination of Japan and Singapore was very attractive."

Elsewhere the top-of-the-table clash in South Africa pits the Stormers against the Sharks, with both teams gunning to stay unbeaten.

The Lions, who have started with away wins in Japan and New Zealand, face reigning champions the Highlanders in Dunedin to get Saturday's action underway.

Then we hop across the Tasman Sea for an all-Australian derby between the Rebels and Reds in Melbourne.

It is off to Singapore next, Sunwolves versus Cheetahs, before we head to South Africa for a double header - the Southern Kings hosting the Chiefs in Port Elizabeth and the Stormers at home to the Sharks in Cape Town.

We look at the Saturday, March 12, matches below!

There is no doubt the Lions' character is going to be tested to the extreme this weekend.

The Lions have not had the most pleasant of travel schedules this season - over 40,000 kilometres from Johannesburg to Tokyo and then on to Hamilton in just over a week.

What was meant to be a short hop from the North Island to the South Island turned into another delayed, extended trip - as severe gales battered Otago - which left thousands of residents in the dark and numerous flights cancelled.

The Lions were eventually forced to sleep over in Wellington on Thursday and only flew out to Dunedin on Friday morning.

"We had a good week in Rotorua, it is just a pity about our travelling that was affected by the weather," Johan Ackermann said.

"We again spent many hours on the plane and we arrived in Dunedin later than planned.

"Although the weather is bad on the south island at the moment, the Dunedin stadium has a roof and I believe it will be an exciting game against the defending champions - with a lot of All Blacks in their side.

"We must just recuperate from the travel and give our best."

They may be left with limited preparation time, but there is no doubting the Highlanders are wary of a team that has already shown their ability to overcome the odds.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph said the encounter with the Lions - to be played in controlled conditions under the stadium's closed roof - is likely to be "another hectic one".

"Last year when they played us, they came back from 20-odd points down within 40 minutes," he told the Otago Daily Times.

"It is going to be another quick game.

""I would like to see the early-season stats, especially here in this stadium, where you get an extra five minutes of play.

"So when you get two teams together like the Lions and Highlanders, you are going to get some good, quick rugby.''

The Lions pulled off what was arguably one of the best wins of Round Two when they beat the Chiefs on New Zealand soil for the first time in their history.

It gave them a perfect two-from-two start to the season.

However, the already testing tour became even more complicated and the men from Johannesburg will have to dig deep.

Recent results:
2015: Lions won 28-23, Johannesburg
2014: Highlanders won 23-22, Dunedin
2011: Lions won 26-22, Dunedin
2010: Highlanders won 39-29, Dunedin
2009: Lions won 27-22, Johannesburg
2008: Highlanders won 29-20, Dunedin

Prediction: The Lions have won five of their last eight matches against the Highlanders, though at no point in the last six matches between these sides has either team won back-to-back games. The Highlanders have won their last six matches on home soil, their longest such streak since they won 13 consecutive home matches from 2000 to 2002. Having dispensed of the last two New Zealand teams they've faced the Lions will now be hunting for three straight wins against NZ opponents for the first time. The Lions are undefeated in their last four matches away from home, double the length of any other such streak in their history. The Highlanders haven't lost a home match against a South African side since a 19-36 loss to the Cheetahs in Round Four, 2013. This will be an entertaining contest that is likely to go down to the wire. Given their additional travel hours, the Lions could run out of gas in the final quarter and allow the Highlanders to sneak a win by seven points or less.

Teams:

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

Lions: 15 Jaco Van Der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois De Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques Van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Armand Van Der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Ruan Ackermann, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Andries Coetzee.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

This will be the first match under the new coaching regime for the Reds - Matt O'Connor and Nick Stiles taking over in the wake of the axing of Richard Graham.

The talk in Brisbane all week has been about the new set-up and whether it could end the dour run that has enveloped the Reds.

Stiles played down their role, saying it is about the players.

He added that the transition had been "seamless" and they now have just have one less member on the coaching panel.

It is not just on the coaching panel where the deck has been shuffled.

They have made significant changes to their team, including dropping high-profile Japanese import Ayumu Goromaru to the bench.

"We felt it was time for a change," Stiles said, adding: "We needed to get a bit of freshness in the squad to get a bit of a performance."

He suggested it will all start up front.

"We're all very proud Queenslanders and we let the players know we were disappointed," he said about the winless start to the season.

"We have drawn a line in the sand."

The Rebels will host their first match for 2016 and are looking to bounce back following their loss to the Bulls in South Africa.

Recent results:
2015: Reds won 46-29, Brisbane
2015: Rebels won 23-15, Melbourne
2014: Reds won 36-20, Melbourne
2014: Rebels won 30-27, Brisbane
2013: Reds won 33-20, Brisbane
2013: Reds won 23-13, Melbourne

Prediction: The Reds have won eight of the 10 clashes between these teams since the Rebels admission to Super Rugby, though the Melbourne outfit have recorded their two wins in their last four encounters against the Reds. The Rebels have led the Reds at the half-time break on four occasions, winning none, though both their wins against the Reds have come after being level at the major interval. The Reds have won only two of their last eight away matches within Australia, though the first of those two wins was a 36-20 defeat of the Rebels in Round 17, 2014. The Reds boast the best line-out success so far this season (97 percent) and are one of three teams yet to lose a scum on their own feed so far. The Rebels win an average of 12 turnovers per game, the most of any team in the competition. The Reds may well be sparked by the upheavals and the Rebels have travelled back from South Africa. The Reds may just edge the Rebels - by 10 points or less.

Teams:

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

Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Waita Setu, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 Sef Fa'agase.
Replacements: 16 Matt Mafi, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Ayumu Goromaru.

Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)
With Super Rugby set for its Singapore debut Saturday, the hosts admitted the pitch of the city-state's National Stadium was "not perfect" - but insisted it was ready for the rough-and-tumble of the competition just days after a Madonna concert at the venue.

The head of the stadium complex said the playing surface, which was slammed by visiting soccer teams before undergoing a revamp last year, was "extremely playable" ahead of the clash between Japanese newcomers Sunwolves and the Cheetahs from South Africa. 

Saturday's match is one of three "home" fixtures in Singapore for the Sunwolves as rugby continues its bid for Asian fans, especially in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Chief Operating Officer of Singapore Sports Hub Oon Jin Teik told AFP: "Because this stadium is multi-use and multi-purpose, it will undoubtedly be exposed to all the possible hazards.

"We have that assurance right now that we have a team of professionals working on it."

He said it was "extremely safe and extremely playable" before cautioning: "But, it's not perfect."

The Sunwolves have made the nearly eight-hour trip from Tokyo to face the Cheetahs, who have flown 11 hours from Bloemfontein.

The previous pitch drew flak from visiting soccer teams such as Italian heavyweights Juventus and five-time world champions Brazil, whose coach Dunga complained that "most of it is sand" and warned it could injure his players.

In late 2014, a match pitting the Maori All Blacks against Asia Pacific Dragons was also scrapped over the poor state of the playing surface.

A brand new pitch was unveiled just in time for the 28th Southeast Asian Games, which kicked off in June 2015.

Brendan Morris, operation manager for Super Rugby organisers SANZAR, expressed his confidence that the "world-class facility" will live up to expectations.

Morris told AFP: "I think it has been well documented, the troubles that the pitch has had.

"We've been conscious in the background that a first-class surface will be provided and it's been guaranteed by the Sports Hub."

He added: "The pitch looks in pretty reasonable condition, the big test will be Saturday night, but things look pretty good at the moment."

Recent results:
These teams have never met before!

Prediction: The Sunwolves first and only previous match in Super Rugby was a 13-26 loss to another South African side, the Lions. The Cheetahs have won only one of their last eight matches against teams from outside South Africa. The Cheetahs ended their 2015 campaign with an away win against the Bulls and will now be looking to score back-to-back away wins for the first time since Round 15, 2013. The Cheetahs have scored all five of their tries so far this season in the first half, no team has managed to cross the line more often in the opening stanza. The Sunwolves are the only team so far in 2016 yet to concede a penalty goal, though they've kicked two of their own. This marks the first ever Super Rugby match played in Singapore. The stadium's roof will be closed for the game. The Sunwolves are likely to give the Cheetahs a good run for their money, but the South African outfit should win by 15 to 20 points.

Teams:

Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Harumichi Tatekawa, 12 Yu Tamura, 11 Yasutaka Sasakura, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Edward Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Hitoshi Ono, 4 Timothy Vond, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Shota Horie (captain), 1 Keith Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Yoshiya Hosoda, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Derek Carpenter, 23 Mifiposeti Paea.

Cheetahs: 15 Sias Ebersohn, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Hilton Lobberts, 21 Johannes Prinsloo, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Fred Zeilinga.

Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo, Aki Aso
TMO: Takashi Hareda

Kings coach Deon Davids said his team is on a "massive learning curve", given the limited pre-season preparation time and rag-tag nature of the squad assembled for him by the South African Rugby Union.

In their first outing, a heavy loss to the Sharks, 15 players in the matchday squad of 23 made their Super Rugby debut.

It was thus not a surprise to see SARU's mobi unit putting in some extra work to try and get the Kings up to par ahead of the encounter with the visitors from New Zealand.

Having coughed up six tries against the Sharks, SARU defence guru Jacques Nienaber was a prominent figure in Port Elizabeth this week.

He worked intensely with the Kings on Tuesday and Thursday.

Kings captain Steven Sykes said he expects a "quick" game from the Chiefs.

"They don't enjoy to have set pieces in their own half and don't kick the ball out," Sykes told a media briefing.

"They opt to kick downfield or attack as long as they can.

"That is why we have been working very hard with Jacques [Nienaber] on our defence  this week."

The coach, Davids, admitted his team lacks the experience of the opposition, with a team made up largely of Super Rugby rookies, but said they will grow with every outing.

"This is the situation we are in and we have to deal with it," Davids said, adding: "We learnt a lot from that game [against the Sharks], but each game will bring something different.

"We know New Zealand sides play the game at a very high tempo.

"It is going to be another massive learning cure for the boys," he said, adding they also need to ensure their set pieces are solid.

Previous result:
2013: Chiefs won 35-24, Port Elizabeth

Prediction: This will be just the second meeting between these teams after the Chiefs defeated the Kings 35-24 in Round Five, 2013. The Kings are hunting for their first win since Round 13, 2013, though two of their three wins have come when playing at home. The Chiefs have won seven and drawn two of their last 12 matches in South Africa, though after losing their last such match they'll be aiming to avoid consecutive defeats in South Africa for the first time since 2008. The Chiefs have averaged 15 offloads per game so far this season, the most of any team and triple the Kings average (five). CJ Velleman has won four turnovers to date this season, the equal fifth most in the competition despite his side only having played one fixture; no player has won more than four in a single game this year. This game may well get ugly for the home team. The Chiefs should win by at least 20 points.

Teams:

Southern Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Louis Fouche, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 John-Charles Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (captain), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Sithembiso Sithole, 17 Martin Bezuidenhout, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Cyril-John Velleman, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Jaco van Tonder.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Glen Fisiiahi, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Johan Bardoul, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Mitchell Graham.    
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Atu Moli, 19 James Tucker, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Sam McNicol.

Referee: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Rodney Bonaparte (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

The plaudits flew thick and fast between Durban and Cape Town this week, but the fake cordiality will fly out the window at Newlands on Saturday.

Derbies between the Stormers and Sharks are always testy, often spiteful.

The Stormers are among four unbeaten teams, with two wins from two starts - the others being the Brumbies, Lions and Sharks, all on nine points.

Sharks Director of Rugby said this is a significant game, the pecking order in the South African conference will sort itself out in the next few weeks.

"We believe this will be our sternest test," Gold told a media briefing.

He spoke of having lost key individuals like Patrick Lambie and Jean Deysel to injury.

However, he is confident the Sharks have the dept to deal with the disruptions.

"This weekend will be another step up, at a packed Newlands.

"We will have to play the right game and be on it for the full 80 minutes."

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck, who was in an equally magnifying mood, said that the Durban side should prove a good test for his team - as they have raised their game defensively, and will provide the usual physical challenge up front.

"I think they are a much-improved side, certainly defensively they are a much better outfit," Fleck said at his media briefing in Cape Town.

"They are looking well organised and well drilled in that regard.

"They have got a strong scrum, they have got a strong maul and they are looking to back themselves a bit more," he added.

Recent results:
2015: Sharks won 34-12, Durban
2015: Stormers won 29-13, Cape Town
2014: Sharks won 34-10, Cape Town
2014: Stormers won 21-19, Durban
2013: Stormers won 22-15, Cape Town
2013: Sharks won 12-6, Durban

Prediction: The spoils are split at three wins apiece in the six games since the Sharks beat the Stormers 26-19 in the 2012 semifinals. Four of the Stormers' last five home matches have seen the losing side in the fixture being held to single figures in the opening half. The Sharks are aiming for a sixth consecutive win in Super Rugby; the last time they went on a longer run was between 2006 and 2007 when they won a club record eight straight games. The Stormers have missed an average of only eight tackles per game so far this season and enjoy a tackling success of 92 percent, making them the best tackling team in the competition. The Sharks have averaged 550 metres over the gainline this season, the most of any team and one of only two teams (Lions) to average more than half a kilometre. These are two teams with similar styles - relying on solid set pieces and determined defence. The Stormers have looked just a bit more clinical and should win at home - by eight points.

Teams:

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi , 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Huw Jones.

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 Andrew, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Garth April, 23 Sibusiso Sithole.

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

Compiled by Jan de Koning and additional reporting by AFP
@King365ed
@rugby365com

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article matt faddes highlanders celebrate 800

Highlanders bring Lions down to earth

Sat, 12 Mar 2016 08:18

REPORT: The Highlanders brought the Lions down to earth with a massive bang at Dunedin's indoor stadium on Saturday - the defending Super Rugby champions claiming a 34-15 win over the visitors from South Africa.

The Lions were undefeated in their previous four matches away from home. In contrast the Highlanders maintained their three-year unbeaten run against South African teams in Dunedin.

Don't believe the score. Believe that the team that won the match deserved to do so but not by that points' difference. The match was closer than that.

The Highlanders deserved their win because they defended with force, won the scrum battle when it still mattered, won the telling turnovers and finished off their chances. The Highlanders made one try and then used Lady Luck for three others. The Lions scored two tries of their own making, were held up over the line twice and bungled a golden chance. Mind you, the Highlanders also bungled a try.

All that said, it was a great match. The first half taught us an old lesson - that tries are not the be-all and end-all of good rugby. The contest makes the game, that and the skill of the players in the contest. It was a wonderful half that ended 10-3 to the resilient Highlanders - powerful in the tackle and scoring a try of exquisite delicacy.

The Lions battled in the first half's scrums as they did in the second half's line-outs. The Highlanders destroyed the Lions in the very first scrum, shoving the Lions off their ball and setting up an attack that should have ended in a try had unmarked Matt Faddes on the right wing not knocked on a simple pass from Malakai Fekitoa.

When the Lions were penalised for collapsing a scrum Lima Sopoaga goaled as he did his next five kicks at goal, not missing one. This one was far out and at an angle. 3-0 after 8 minutes.

Jaco van der Walt raced on counterattack but Rob Thompson ripped the ball from his grasp and Highlanders attacked down the right. Faddes latched onto a diagonal kick but just put a foot on the touchline as he flung the ball infield.

The came the Lions' golden moment. Elton Jantjies kicked downfield, Faddes misjudged everything about the kick and there was Jaco Kriel charging down for the line. He had speedster Courtnall on his inside but preferred to get tackled. The Lions went wide right and Ruan Combrinck stepped and plunged for the line but Fekitoa got him and the powerful Tongan kept the ball off the ground.
 
The Highlanders were on attack when Elliot Dixon, brought into the side because of Liam Squire's stomach problems, burst through and played inside to Ben Smith. The Smiths combined and then came a delicious rugby moment as Sopoaga, going right, put through a perfect, delicate grubber. The ball obligingly stood up for Faddes who came through at an angle to score. 10-0 after 25 minutes.

When the Highlanders were penalised at a tackle, Jantjies goaled. 10-3 after 32 minutes.

There were not many points in the half but great skill, endeavour and courage from both sides as they went at each other with zest.

There were six tries in the second half, the first two of which set the Highlanders up for victory, the first with an element of doubt in its origin.

The Lions were attacking down the right where Patrick Osborne tacked Combrinck into touch. From just inside his 22, Ben Smith grabbed the ball and sneaked a quick throw-in to Aaron Smith who raced downfield and then gave back to Ben Smith who raced over for a try in the left corner. Sopoaga converted from touch.

There may well have been queries about the quick throw-in - the place of the throw-in, whether the ball was touched only by the thrower and whether the thrower did not have a foot in the field of play at the time. But that was academic. The Highlanders led 17-3 after 43 minutes and two minutes later they were leading 24-3.

Van der Walt threw a long, looping pass to his left. Just outside his 22 Faddes intercepted the pass and raced away some 75 metres through empty acres to score. 24-3 after 46 minutes.

It seemed that the Highlanders were on the way to scoring again when Howard Mnisi again did not control the kick-off and Thompson went racing away but Mnisi got back to bring him down.

Dixon tackled Mnisi and went on his knees to play the ball back to his side inside the Highlanders' half. The Highlanders went right and substitute Gareth Evans raced away with the ball. He gave inside to Ben Smith who gave inside to Fekitoa who scored the 60-metre try. 31-3 after 57 minutes.

Armand van der Merwe replaced Robbie Coetzee at hooker but the Lions lost his first throw into the line-out and Sopoaga used the bonanza to drop a goal.

The end game belonged to the Lions with the Highlanders defending with determination as they led 4-0 in tries and were in line for a bonus point.

The Lions used their forwards to bash on pick-'n-go as their forwards got on top. Centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg ended one set of bashing phases but forcing his way over for a try. 34-8 after 63 minutes.

Now the Highlanders' bonus point was in jeopardy. They ere under pressure as the Lions sought another try, opting for five-metre scrums in their quest. They bashed and bashed. Then from an attacking line-out on their left, they formed a maul and went right where teenager Ruan Ackermann bashed through two tackles to score near the posts. 34-15 with 4 minutes to play.

the Lions attacked again and Franco Mostert actually bashed his way over the line. The referee saw that he was held up and the final whistle went.

Man of the Match: The candidates at Highlanders - Ben Smith with a productive hand in so much that his team did, Elliot Dixon with his running and tackling, Aaron Smith, calm, effient Laim Sapoaga and our choice - Malakai Fekitoa. He led the Highlanders on their relentless defence that won the match for the side and he was such a handful with the ball in hand.

The scorers:

For the Highlanders:
Tries:
Faddes 2, B Smith, Fekitoa
Cons: Sopoaga 4
Pens: Sopoaga
DG: Sopoaga

For the Lions:
Tries:
Janse van Rensburg, Ackermann
Cons: Jantjies
Pens: Jantjies

Teams:

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

Lions: 15 Jaco Van Der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois De Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques Van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Armand Van Der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Ruan Ackermann, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Andries Coetzee.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

@rugby365com

Matt Faddes (24min), Ben Smith (43min), Matt Faddes (45min), and Malakai Fekitoa (55min)
TRIES
Rohan Janse van Rensburg (62min) and Ruan Ackermann (75min)
Lima Sopoaga (25min), Lima Sopoaga (44min), Lima Sopoaga (46min), and Lima Sopoaga (56min)
CONVERSIONS
Elton Jantjies (76min)
Lima Sopoaga (7min)
PENALTIES
Elton Jantjies (32min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
Lima Sopoaga (60min)
DROP GOALS
 
 
 
VENUE Dunedin
REFEREE Chris Pollock (New Zealand)