ad link


57     24


Super Rugby | Christchurch
06:35 (GMT) | 19-03-2016
  • 82
Stay with us as the next game gets underway shortly! It's the colour battle as the Reds host the Blues
  • 81
Kings spread the ball to the backline but the Crusaders wrap them up int he tackle. The maul is forced and the ref blows the whistle! FULL-TIME!
  • 80
Crusaders on the defence in the final moments of the encounter. Kings with a line-out throw in on the Crusaders' 22
  • 79
Volavola pops over the extras
  • 78
Crusaders gets possession back through a Kings knock on outside their 22. Nadolo goes on a run but is quickly brought down. He offloads and Samu gets his hands on it to break straight through the middle for another score!
  • 75
Crusaders secures the ball and sends it left. Nadolo has a go for the line but is brought down inches short. The recycle is quick but they knock the ball on just before the line. Scrum to the Kings, 5 metres from their try line
  • 74
It's taken some time for the scrum to get going. Massive shove by the Kings but the Crusaders still have it. The ball is thrown to the backline. PENALTY! Cloete is sent to the bin for playing the scrumhalf without the ball at the breakdown
  • 72
Both sides remain content with scoring as many points as they can and the Crusaders find themselves with an excellent attacking chance. They set a maul from a 7 metre line out and it surges to wards the line! PENALTY! Kings are penalised for collapsing the maul. Crusaders opt for a scrum
  • 70
Kings secure possession and set the maul. It goes rolling forward but collapses under the pressure. The ball fails to emerge and the Crusaders will have the scrum feed on the half-way line
  • 69
The Kings stand firm in defence and the Crusaders are blown for obstruction. Fouche finds touch close to his 10 metre line
  • 68
Crusaders back in possession and the Kings give away a penalty at the breakdown. Volavola pops it into touch to set up an attacking line out
  • 67
Fouche remains deadly from the tee
  • 66
Kings are certainly not giving up the fight and remain full of running as they enter the Crusaders' 22. After a few phases, Chris Cloete using his strength to get himself over the line! TRY!
  • 62
Volavola slots another conversion!
  • 61
Pete Samu makes a brilliant steal at the breakdown and hauls it up field! Two passes later, Jone Macilai gets his hands on the ball and it's TRY time!
  • 60
Kings holding onto plenty of possession at this stage as they build up the phases. They have lost ground though as the Crusaders have pushed them back to the 22
  • 59
Kings remain threatening inside the Crusaders' 5 metre line
  • 57
The maul is set and inches its way towards the line. PENALTY! Crusaders enters the maul from the side and the ref is having a word with Whitelock about their ill-discipline
  • 56
Kings have plenty of momentum at this stage and are back on the attack with a line-out 5 metres from the Crusaders' line
  • 53
Fouche makes no mistake with the conversion
  • 52
Kings are on the attack from the restart and after a number of phases, they finally find a gaping hole in the Crusaders' defence! Replacement Edgar Marutlulle gets the score!
  • 50
Volavola adds the extras with his first kick of the match
  • 49
Here come the Crusaders. A simple move sees McNicholl break the line. He is tackled just short of the line but Drummond is in support to get the pass and the easy score
  • 48
Kings look dangerous as they throw the ball around. PENALTY! Crusaders come away with possession after the Kings are pinned for a neck roll at the breakdown
  • 47
Kings gain a penalty from the restart for obstruction. Fouche pops the ball into touch to set up a line-out about 10 metres from the Crusaders' try line
  • 46
Mo'unga converts his try with ease
  • 44
Here come the Crusaders as Nadolo gets them on the front foot. Havili with a break of his own, he hands it off to Mo'unga and it's an easy run in! Try number 5 for the Crusaders
  • 43
Kings gift possession back to the Crusaders with an early shove at scrum time. Crusaders are happy to run the ball from their 22 before a kicking battle breaks out
  • 41
KICK-OFF! Mo'unga gets the second half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
David Havili lines up a penalty from about 57 metres. He strikes it well and has the distance but it slides past the right upright. HALF-TIME!
  • 39
Just not going the Kings' way. A knock on at the breakdown helps the Crusaders regain possession close to the half-way line
  • 37
Kings building up a head of steam now as they take the ball through a few phases. A kicking battle ensues and ends with the Crusaders finding touch on the halfway line. Kings with the throw-in
  • 35
The flyhalf misses the shot to the left
  • 34
Kings with a brief spell of possession now as they build up a head of steam. PENALTY! Crusaders fail to release the tackled player at the breakdown. Fouche will have a shot at goal
  • 32
Mo'unga makes no mistake this time and the lead is now 29-10
  • 31
It seems like the Crusaders will score everytime they are in possession. Easy passing game, superb offloads and excellent running lines sees them tear the Kings' defence apart. Nadolo is the last to touch the ball this time. TRY TIME!
  • 29
Kings are certainly not going to be taking this lightly as they throw numbers forward looking for more points. Handling errors continue to plague them though as the Crusaders come away with a scrum inside their territory
  • 27
Crusaders are loving life but it's a miserable time for the Kings. Not only are they behind on the scoreboard but their players are falling like flies. Quite a few replacements are on the field already
  • 26
Mo'unga uses the wind and splits the uprights to extend the lead to 22-10
  • 25
It's all going the Crusaders' way at the moment. Excellent work at the breakdown sees the home side being given a penalty! Mo'unga will have a shot at goal from about 38 metres
  • 24
Kings are doing well on defence but can't handle the Crusaders' offloading in the tackle area.
  • 22
Home side secures the ball and another free-flowing move with plenty of offloads finds Funnell, who crosses over!
  • 21
PENALTY! The Kings concede a penalty for collapsing the scrum Mo'inga kicks the ball into touch close to the halfway line
  • 20
Kings in a good position for an attack with the scrum feed on the Crusaders' 22, in the centre of the field
  • 19
Mo'unga easily adds the conversion
  • 18
The Kings are patient in their build up and are taking the ball through the phases. A missed catch from a pass if picked off by Johnny McNicholl and he goes racing up-field to grab the score!
  • 15
Mo'unga calmly slots the extras
  • 14
Here come the home side as they throw the ball around with confidence. Every player getting a feel of it! TRY!!! After sustained pressure, Nadolo grabs he score in the left corner!
  • 12
Fouche makes no mistake with the extras
  • 11
TRY!!!! Luzuko Vulindlu picks off an interception and sprints 50 metres for the score! What a start by the Kings
  • 10
Crusaders probing for a gap. The ball finds Nadolo who gives a great offload. The ball is kicked forward but Jaer puts in an excellent cover defence effort to stifle the attack
  • 9
Fouche strikes it well and slots the tricky kick
  • 8
PENALTY! Crusaders once again caught in an offside position. Fouche will have a shot at goal
  • 7
The maul is set and it goes charging for the line. It goes to ground and the forwards continue to look for the opening
  • 6
PENALTY! The Crusaders are caught in an offside position. Fouche finds touch close to the Crusaders' 5 metre line. Excellent attacking opportunity
  • 5
Crusaders looks to place a grubber in but the Kings grab it and are on the attack. They have made their way onto the Crusaders' 10 metre line
  • 4
A wayward line-out throw in hands the Crusaders the feed to the first scrum of the game just inside the Kings' 10 metre line
  • 2
Crusaders have the wind at their backs and after a bit of a kicking battle, find themselves in possession close to the Kings' 22. Turnover! Great defence by the Kings sees them get the chance to kick the ball up-field
  • 0
KICK-OFF! The Kings gets the match underway
  • -2
Here come the teams. Conditions are dry but there is a stiff breeze
  • -5
The Crusaders have kept their opponents to fewer than 10 points in the opening half of four of their last five Super Rugby matches.
  • -10
This will be the Kings first foray away from home since their 2013 season - which saw them accrue just one win and one draw on the road, both of which came in Australia.
  • -20
The only previous match between these sides saw 75 points scored with 55 of those points scored by the Crusaders in Round Six, 2013.
  • -30
Welcome to the next Super Rugby encounter and this is sure to be a try fest! The Crusaders are at home to the struggling Kings
Mc crusaders logo 80x50
Mc copy of southernkingslogo
  • 1 Wyatt Crockett
  • 2 Ben Funnell
  • 3 Owen Franks
  • 4 Luke Romano
  • 5 Sam Whitelock
  • 6 Jordan Taufua
  • 7 Matt Todd
  • 8 Jimmy Tupou
  • 9 Mitchell Drummond
  • 10 Richie Mo’unga
  • 11 Nemani Nadolo
  • 12 David Havili
  • 13 Kieron Fonotia
  • 14 Johnny McNicholl
  • 15 Ben Volavola
  • 16 Ged Robinson
  • 17 Alex Hodgman
  • 18 Michael Alaalatoa
  • 19 Tim Boys
  • 20 Pete Samu
  • 21 Leon Fukofuka
  • 22 Ryan Crotty
  • 23 Jone Macilai-Tori
  • 1 Schalk Ferreira
  • 2 Martin Ferreira
  • 3 Jacobie Adriaanse
  • 4 Steven Sykes
  • 5 JC Astle
  • 6 Chris Cloete
  • 7 Thembelani Bholi
  • 8 Jacques Engelbrecht
  • 9 Kevin Luiters
  • 10 Louis Fouché
  • 11 Malcolm Jaer
  • 12 Shane Gates
  • 13 Stefan Watermeyer
  • 14 Luzuko Vulindlu
  • 15 Jurgen Visser
  • 16 Edgar Marutlulle
  • 17 Sithembiso Sithole
  • 18 Tom Botha
  • 19 Schalk Oelofse
  • 20 CJ Velleman
  • 21 Ntando Kebe
  • 22 Elgar Watts
  • 23 JP du Plessis
Mc article agust n creevy   ra l p rez jaguares 800


Fri, 18 Mar 2016 01:01

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

There are two significant matches on Super Saturday - both historical events.

First there is Japan newcomers the Sunwolves, who host the Rebels at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium - the first Australian team to play a Super Rugby match in Tokyo.

The next two matches may well both be blow-outs - the Crusaders at home to the Southern Kings in Christchurch and the Reds under pressure to follow last week's maiden win for the season with a second triumph against a desperate Blues outfit.

Then there is the all South African derby between the Lions and Cheetahs in Johannesburg - with both teams having travelled back home this week after two early tour, the Lions from Dunedin in New Zealand and the Cheetahs from Singapore.

After that follows one of the matches of the weekend - the unbeaten Brumbies head to Newlands full of confidence after three rounds that have seen wins  over 2015 beaten finalists the Hurricanes and 2014 champions Waratahs.

The Stormers last week suffered their first loss of the year to the Sharks - the only other unbeaten side in the expanded 18-team competition this year.

The New Zealand conference leaders, the Chiefs, feature in Super Rugby's debut appearance in Argentina - where they play the Jaguares.

We look at the Saturday, March 19, matches below!
Japan's Sunwolves will continue to make history, this week by hosting the Melbourne Rebels in Tokyo.

The Sunwolves might be Super Rugby's newcomers, but there will be some familiar faces at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Rebels foundation player Laurie Weeks said the Japanese side will be an "exiting" team.

"Their games have been close, especially the one-point [loss] against the Cheetahs," Weeks said in an interview on the Rebels website.

"I know personally up front that I've got a battle against two very good international front row forwards in Shota [Horie] and Gaki [Keita Inagaki], good friends of ours so it will be very interesting."

Sunwolves captain Horie, who scored his new franchise's first ever Super Rugby try against the Lions in the opening round, made 18 appearances for the Rebels in 2013 after becoming the first Japanese international to sign with an Australian Super Rugby franchise.

Horie quickly became a fan favourite in Melbourne, going on to win the Rebels' People's Choice award in 2014.

"He's an excellent player, if you watch any of his games he's one of the best players on the field and Gaki is very physical and strong in the scrum so it's going to be a big challenge but looking forward to it.

"Shota is a very dynamic player, strong leader and one of those hookers you'll see very comfortable in the backline.

"He had the silkiest hands in our team when he was here and he doesn't mind a little kick or two so he's a very dangerous and exciting player."

Rebels coach Tony McGahan also struck a cautionary note ahead of Saturday's historic outing.

"We're expecting a very passionate, fast paced and technical game from the Sunwolves on Saturday," McGahan said.

"For a new side, they continue to impress with their development, and we expect nothing less again this weekend, so we're prepared for a difficult challenge in a new environment for many of the players."
Recent results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: The Sunwolves' 28 first half points against the Cheetahs in Round Three was the equal most points scored by any team in the opening half of any match across the first three weekends of Super Rugby. This will be the Sunwolves' first Super Rugby encounter with a team outside of South Africa. The Rebels become the first Australian team to travel to Japan to face the Sunwolves, though they've won only one of their 21 matches away from home outside of Australia. Mitch Inman has made 35 carries this season, the third most of any Australian player and the sixth most in the competition. The Sunwolves have won the fewest total line-outs (11) and have the lowest line-out success (73 percent) of any team in the competition so far this season. It is likely to be a close contest for at least the first hour, with the Rebels to sneak a win with a couple of late scores - by 10 to 15 points.


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

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 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Dan Hawkins, 23 Stone Tuipulotu.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Noriaki Hashimoto (Japan)
TMO: Takashi Hareda (Japan)
The Kings will feel insulted that the Crusaders are sending a team with a decidedly fringe feel to it into battle.

Nine changes, including 'resting' All Black Kieran Read, says it all.

Coach  Todd Blackadder has also given several other internationals - like Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Andy Ellis - a break ahead of the more demanding road trip to South Africa and Perth.

Like his coach injured fullback Marty McKenzie took the diplomatic route when fronting up to the media this week.

"We have tried to put the Kings' poor form in the back of our minds," McKenzie said - who withdrew from the team, after initially being named at fullback - on the advice of the medical team.

McKenzie had a tight hamstring after training on Thursday and has been withdrawn as a precautionary measure.

"We are really looking to have a massive game," the injured back said.

Kings coach Deon Davids produced the expected list of cliches when asked about his team of underdogs.

"The Crusaders are a well-balanced team and we are expecting this match to be an exceptional challenge for us as a team," he said.

Davids said the team was focused on improving on their performance game by game.

"We have only had one practice session so far this week, due to the long trip, so we have tried to cover some of the issues we identified from the last game.

"We have also spoken a lot about concentration, specifically in the 10 minutes before and after half time," he said.

Kings captain Steven Sykes also spoke about a "tough game" against the Crusaders.

"I told the team that this is probably going to be the toughest game of the competition," Sykes said.

"The Crusaders are a great team, In all my years playing, I have never played against a weak Crusaders team," he said.

Sykes said the forwards were confident in their set piece, having held their own in the first two games of the season.

"I think the guys are ready for the match, we just need to focus on cutting out some of the soft moments in the game and making less errors," he added.

Previous result:
2013: Crusaders won 55-20, Christchurch

Prediction: The only previous match between these sides saw 75 points scored with 55 of those points scored by the Crusaders in Round Six, 2013. The Crusaders have kept their opponents to fewer than 10 points in the opening half of four of their last five Super Rugby matches. This will be the Kings first foray away from home since their 2013 season - which saw them accrue just one win and one draw on the road, both of which came in Australia. Nemani Nadolo averages four defenders beaten per game so far in 2016, the third most of any New Zealand-based player behind Chiefs duo Damian McKenzie and Charlie Ngatai. Kings flank Chris Cloete has won six turnovers so far this season, the equal most of any player in the competition from only two games. It would be a surprise if the Crusaders do not put 50 points past the Kings.


Crusaders: 15 Ben Volavola, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 David Havili, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jimmy Tupou, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Jone Macilai.

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

Referee: William Houston (Australia)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand)
It has been a season of disappointment for both teams.

The Blues started off like a house on fire - winning all their pre-season matches and the first match of the season proper. However, they have since gone off the boil.

The Reds lost their first two matches and then axed coach Richard Graham. They lost last week, but finally showed some grit against the Rebels.

Reds co-interim coach Matt O'Connor said they took some steps forward last week, but there's still a lot to work on.

"The two things we can address immediately are our discipline and how we start the game," O'Connor said.

"That let us down last week. We've certainly got some concrete elements we can improve on as continue to develop.

"We decided it was important to stick with the team, as combinations are important and we thought there was a marked improvement last week.

"We're trying to get the most mileage out of the combinations we've had.

"The players are really excited about being back at Suncorp Stadium and putting out a performance they're proud of."

Forwards coach Glenn Moore felt the conditions - as much as the opposition - is what could trip the visitors up.

The forecast for Brisbane is a hot and humid 31ºC on Saturday.

"We know it's going to be hot and that there is going to be high humidity over there," Moore told the NZ Herald.

As a result the Blues have loaded their bench with forwards.

"The forwards have had high workloads in those games and we want to have those options open to us to us that bench," Moore added.

Recent results:
2014: Blues won 44-14, Auckland
2013: Reds won 12-11, Brisbane
2012: Reds won 23-11, Auckland
2011: Reds won 30-13, Brisbane (semifinal)
2011: Reds won 37-31, Brisbane
2010: Blues won 27-18, Brisbane

Prediction: The Reds have won four of their last five matches against the Blues, including a 30-13 semifinal triumph in 2011. The Reds have won only one of their last nine matches against New Zealand opponents. The Blues have won twice in Australia since the beginning of the 2011 season, though their last win against the Reds across the Tasman Sea came in Round 3, 2010. The Reds (13) have conceded the most penalty goals of any team so far this season and have kicked fewer than half that many (6) in reply. George Moala made eight offloads for the Blues in Round Three, double that of any other player over the weekend to leapfrog straight to the top of the season table for offloads. It will be an arm-wrestle, with the Blues edging it - the margin in single digits.


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 Pettowa Paraka, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Ayumu Goromaru.

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Male Sa'u, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino (captain), 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Hoani Matenga, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Akira Ioane, 22 Billy Guyton, 23 Matt McGahan.

Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)
There were contrasting scenes as the Lions and Cheetahs faced the media during their build-up to Saturday's derbies.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann was confronted with questions over his decision to play his son Ruan and the Golden Lions Rugby Union hit back at 'unfounded' reports of a threatening player exodus.

This comes against the background of the Lions' first loss of the season - to the Highlanders last week.

The Cheetahs, who edged the Sunwolves for their first win of the season, were in a far more jovial mood.

The GLRU said it "took notice" of a article doing the rounds about the exodus of Lions players - which include stars like Warren Whiteley, Franco Mostert and Ross Cronje.
"The GLRU was not approached for comment on the story and is appalled that information is distributed without clearing the facts with the union," the GLRU hit back in a statement.

"Although some of the players mentioned in the article have asked to play overseas during the 2016 Currie Cup season, no contracts have been signed and we are still in negotiations."

Ackermann, who said his son Ruan deserves his chance on merit, is confident the off-field sideshows will not distract his charges.

Both teams have travelled back from aboard - the Lions from Dunedin in New Zealand and the Cheetahs from Singapore.

"Hopefully we have enough left in the tank, because the Cheetahs are a quality side," Ackermann told a media briefing.

He said they won't use the travelling as an excuse - despite having flown over 50,000 kilometres from Johannesburg to Tokyo, then to Hamilton, on to Dunedin and back to Johannesburg in just over two weeks.

"There is a bye next week where they can relax and recover - ahead of the next part of the campaign," the Lions coach said.

Cheetahs captain Francois Venter said the Lions can be beaten at Ellis Park, even though they have build an impressive record on their home ground in the last couple of years.

Venter said for the Cheetahs it is vital that they maintain the momentum they gained from the come-from-behind, one-point win over the Sunwolves in Singapore last week.

"Our defence will have to improve dramatically," Venter said of a match in which they leaked four tries before securing the late win.

"The soft moments that cost us last week can't be afforded this week," he added.

Recent results:
2015: Lions won 40-17, Bloemfontein
2015: Lions won 34-29, Johannesburg
2014: Lions won 60-25, Johannesburg
2014: Lions won 21-20, Bloemfontein
2012: Cheetahs won 26-5, Welkom
2012: Lions won 27-25, Johannesburg

Prediction: The Lions have won their last four matches against the Cheetahs and have scored 134 points in their last three encounters. After falling to the Highlanders in Round Three the Lions will be looking to avoid back-to-back defeats for the first time since the corresponding round last season. The Cheetahs finished their 2015 season with an away win against the Bulldogs and will now be looking to back that win up for consecutive away victories against South African opponents for the first time since Round 15, 2013. The Lions have starved their opposition of possession allowing them an average of just 12 minutes and 15 seconds of time in possession, the least of any team. The Cheetahs have the lowest scrum success rate so far this season (76 percent), they also had the lowest rate last season (73 percent). The Lions were not as bad as last week's scoreline suggest - given that two crucial tries by the Highlanders just after halftime were both illegal. And the Cheetahs have struggle with their defence all season. The Lions should win by 10 to 15 points.


Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 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 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Dillon Smit, Jaco van der Walt, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg.

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Neil Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Henco Venter, 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 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Hilton Lobberts, 21 Johannes Prinsloo, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Fred Zeilinga.

Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand), Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck identified the breakdown as the area where his team's encounter with the Brumbies is likely to be decided.

The Canberra-based Brumbies have made an impressive start to the season.

The Australian outfit is equal top of the try-count with 15, the same as the Chiefs, and much of their success has originated from winning the battle of the breakdown.

"We understand that we are going to be under pressure in terms of our exits, at set-piece and at the breakdown," Fleck said.

"We have spoken about it for a number of weeks. It is the breakdown with [David] Pocock, [Scott] Fardy and Stephen Moore where they put teams under massive pressure."

Fleck made no secret of the fact that they have focussed on aspects like the breakdown in training this week.

"We have identified one or two things we need to work on this week, both in terms of ourselves and the Brumbies," the coach said.

The Brumbies are looking to continue their undefeated start to the Super Rugby season.

"This weekend will be another difficult game and will pose its own challenges," coach Brumbies Stephen Larkham told a media briefing in Cape Town.

"Things have worked out pretty well for us so far, but I expect from here on teams will start to challenge us more."

Larkham said that while the Stormers have been trying to "throw the ball around a little more", their defence remains the hallmark of their game.

Recent results:
2015: Brumbies won 39-19, Cape Town (preliminary play-off match)
2015: Stormers won 25-24, Cape Town
2014: Brumbies won 25-15, Canberra
2013: Stormers won 35-22, Cape Town
2011: Stormers won 16-3, Canberra
2010: Brumbies won 19-17, Cape Town

Prediction: The Stormers have won three of their last four regular season encounters with the Brumbies and haven't lost to them on home soil in the regular season since Rd 3, 2010. The Stormers have won five and drawn one of their last eight matches at home in Super Rugby but after defeat in Round Three will be aiming to avoid consecutive losses at home for the first time since the 2011 semifinals. The Brumbies will be looking to start a Super Rugby campaign with three straight home wins for the fourth time in the last five seasons. The Brumbies have scored 15 tries in their opening three matches this season, the equal most of any team in the competition (Chiefs). The Stormers' three tries conceded this season is the fewest of any team and they've not conceded more than one try in any single quarter. The Stormers can never be written off, but the Brumbies appear to have too much class and should win by at least seven points.


Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 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 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Leolin Zas.

Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jordan Smiler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Robbie Coleman, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)
The two-time champion Chiefs may just walk into an ambush in Buenos Aires.

The Jaguares - who are coming off a bye following their two games in South Africa, where they beat the Cheetahs (34-33) and then lost to the Sharks (15-19) - have named a shadow Test team.

There are six changes to the side that lost to the Sharks - with players like Thomas Lavanini, Juan Manuel Leguizamón, Juan Martin Hernández, Jeronimo de la Fuente and Joaquin Tuculet all back.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie has also made six changes, but did not have the class of players to call on that the homes side brought into the selection frame.

The key for the Chiefs is 20-year-old unflappable fullback Damian McKenzie, who heads the individual points scoring list with 57 and tops the try-scoring list with three.

Jaguares Martin Gaitan, a member of the Jaguares' coaching staff, warned of the threats posed by a "good" Chiefs team.

"They look break you down all the time, in different ways - with the ball in hand, through kicking or on defence," Gaitan said.

"They are a team with great offensive intent and always play with great pace."

He said the key to denying the Chiefs those attacking opportunities is to dominate the set pieces.

"The Chiefs are good at creating opportunities by building momentum and winning the collisions," Gaitan added.

Recent results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: The Jaguares head home for the first time in their Super Rugby history and will also face their first ever New Zealand opposition after a win and a loss against South African opponents. The Chiefs' 58 point haul against the Kings last weekend was their fourth most points ever in a Super Rugby match and their most since the highest scoring match in Super Rugby history in Round 2, 2010. The Chiefs have won their last two away matches outside of New Zealand by a combined score line of 82-27. The Jaguares are one of only two teams (Sharks) in the competition who are yet to concede a try in the second half of a match. James Lowe has made seven offloads this season, the equal second most of any player and one more than Chiefs teammate Charlie Ngatai who is ranked equal fourth. This is one of the most talked about games of the season and certainly the game of the weekend. The Chiefs may just run out of energy in the final quarter, which could see the Jaguares sneak a late winner - five points or less.


Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 12 Juan Martin Hernández, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Santiago García Botta.
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Roberto Tejerizo, 18 Felipe Arregui, 19 Matías Alemanno, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Matías Moroni.

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

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Santiago Borsani (Argentina)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article wyatt crockett crusaders run 800

Crusaders run riot over the Kings

Sat, 19 Mar 2016 08:33

REPORT: The Crusaders ran in eight tries, including a Nemai Nadolo brace, to overwhelm the Southern Kings 57-24 in an 11-try fest in Christchurch on Saturday.

The huge Fijian wing was the battering ram who paved the way for several other tries as the Kings' defence fell apart.

It was a game the Crusaders, coming off the bye, were expected to win with ease and coach Todd Blackadder used the occasion to make nine changes and blood several fringe players.

But with the rearrangement, which included resting incoming All Blacks captain Kieran Read, it was not a promising start for the Crusaders who found themselves down 10 points down after 11 minutes.

"There was a bit of rust there. The boys were pumped up and really wanted to play so we had to try and keep them back and play with a bit of structure," captain Sam Whitelock said, adding the new combinations took time to settle in.

Louis Fouche opened the scoring for the Kings with a handy penalty and then converted Luzuko Vulindlu's run away after the right wing intercepted a loose Wyatt Crockett pass.

However, once the seven-times champion Crusaders settled down, their dominance could not be denied as they ran in four tries before half-time to lead 29-10 at the turn.

Nadolo was primed to charge at the Kings, drawing in defenders to open gaps wide out. He bulldozed his way to the line twice, while Ben Funnell touched down at the end of a long-range build up, Johnny McNicholl matched Vulindlu's runaway effort and Richie Mo'unga added nine points off the boot.

The Crusaders continued to pile on the pressure at the start of the second half, sweeping the field with multiple passing movements resulting in tries to Mo'unga and Mitchell Drummond to extend the lead to 43-10.

Despite the lopsided scoreline, the Kings continued to battle away and Edgar Marutlulle, who scored twice against the Chiefs last week, came off the bench to touch down.

Further sustained pressure from the Kings, however, was met with determined Crusaders defence until an eventual turnover produced another length-of-the-field move which ended with a try to Jone Macilai-Tori.

Chris Cloete scored a third try for the Kings before replacement Pete Samu scored the Crusaders eighth try after another Nadolo drive at the line.

Man of the match: Captain Steven Sykes led from the front while Kevin Luiters' service was swift and effective. Louis Fouche's boot kept the kIngs' points ticking over but it was replacement hooker Edgar Marutlulle and John-Charles Astle who were the stand-outs for the South African side. Any of the Crusaders' 23 players could bag the award and it would be easy to select Nemani Nadolo for his massive effort. However, our pick goes to someone who flew under the radar but his impact at the breakdowns and his effort in feeding off offloads sees No.8 Jimmy Tupou claim this one.


For the Crusaders:
Tries: Nadolo 2, McNicholl, Funnell, Mo'unga, Drummond, Macilai, Samu
Cons: Mo'unga 4, Volavola 3
Pen: Mo'unga

For Southern Kings:
Tries: Vulindlu, Marutlulle, Cloete
Cons: Fouche 3
Pen: Fouche

Yellow card: Chris Cloete (Southern Kings, cynical play - 74)


Crusaders: 15 Ben Volavola, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 David Havili, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jimmy Tupou, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Tim Boys, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Ryan Crotty, 23 Jone Macilai.

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

Referee: William Houston (Australia)

Nemani Nadolo (14min), Johnny McNicholl (18min), Ben Funnell (22min), Nemani Nadolo (31min), Richie Mo’unga (44min), Mitchell Drummond (49min), Jone Macilai-Tori (61min), and Pete Samu (78min)
Luzuko Vulindlu (11min), Edgar Marutlulle (52min), and Chris Cloete (66min)
Richie Mo’unga (15min), Richie Mo’unga (19min), Richie Mo’unga (32min), Richie Mo’unga (46min), Ben Volavola (50min), Ben Volavola (62min), and Ben Volavola (79min)
Louis Fouché (12min), Louis Fouché (53min), and Louis Fouché (67min)
Richie Mo’unga (26min)
Louis Fouché (9min)
VENUE Christchurch
REFEREE William Houston (Australia)