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Blues

FULL-TIME
24     16

Jaguares

Super Rugby | Albany
06:35 (GMT) | 02-04-2016
  • 80
West kicks the ball out and the ref blows for fulltime! Thank you for joining us at Rugby365.com for this match be sure to join us for the next game as the Brumbies take on the Chiefs
  • 79
Blues win the penalty at the scrum and theres a bit of argie bargie taking place. Tempers flying at the end of this game.
  • 78
Free kick awarded to the Blues at the scrum. They opt to pack down and set up a scrum on their own put in which will chow time and frustrate the Jaguares.
  • 77
Luatua loses the ball forward . Jaguares scrum
  • 76
Lavanini makes a massive hit on Ranger. Hes made about 5 of them today!
  • 75
Blues penalty for Jaguares players being in front of the kicker. West sets up a lineout .
  • 74
Ranger makes a good run and then Guyton clears the ball into touch to relieve pressure. Good play all round
  • 73
Knock on by Lavanini , scrum Blues inside their own 22
  • 72
Bekhuis steals the ball at the lineout and the Blues clear the ball taken well by Boffelli. Iglesias makes a lovely kick that rolls into touch inside the Blues 22.
  • 71
Jaguares win the penalty. They opt to kick for touch to set up the lineout in Blues territory
  • 70
Blues on the attack on the halfway line
  • 69
West slots the penalty
  • 68
MacDonald finds his jumper and the Blues attack through Li. West attempts the cross kick but its ineffective and the ref blows for another penalty to the Blues right in front of the poles.
  • 67
Bertranou clears the ball into touch and the Blues have the lineout inside the Jaguares 22.
  • 65
Boffelli with a dodgy kick as Li busts the line and plays Visinia who offloads to Moala who thinks he has scored. TMO in action once again. It is judged as a knock on and the Jaguares have the scrum put in
  • 64
Jaguares on the attack inside their own half
  • 63
Sanchez adds the extras with a lovely conversion kick
  • 62
Montero makes a good run for the Jaguares as they make it into the Blues 22. Bertranou has a sniping run and crashes over the try line. TMO in action. Decision pending....... Decision is made and its a TRY!
  • 61
Blues on the attack through Bekhuis. Reiko Ioane has a run . Jaguares defend well and force the turnover
  • 60
Iglesias has a run but is bundled into touch. Blues lineout on the half way line.
  • 59
West adds another penalty. Blues extend the lead
  • 58
Luatua makes a good run . Blues 10 meters from the try line and also have the penalty advantage.
  • 57
Blues on the attack near the Jaguares 22
  • 56
Couple kicks back and forth before Moala decides enough is enough and has a go.
  • 55
Penalty to the Jaguares straight from the kick off for obstruction play from Luatua. They choose to have a shot at goal but Iglesias misses
  • 54
Blues opt for a shot at goal. West gets up slots the penalty and the Blues extend their lead
  • 53
West gets smashed ! Jaguares holding on for dear life here . Blues struggling for momentum in attack but win the penalty
  • 52
Montoya throws the ball skew at the lineout and the Blues opt for the lineout. Parsons throws and hits his jumper. Blues back on the attack
  • 51
Faumuina makes a lovely run. The Blues then attack wide through Visinia who throws a loose pass that rolls into touch.
  • 50
Blues still on the attack but the Jaguares defence is solid
  • 49
Parsons finds his jumper and the Blues attack midfield through Li
  • 48
Jaguares on the attack through Baez. Blues win the penalty. West sets up a lineout deep in the Jaguares half
  • 47
Scrum resets
  • 46
Jaguares on the attack again through Matera. The Jaguares lose the ball forward and the Blues have the scrum put in
  • 45
Maul is set by the Jaguares and the Blues are penalized . Iglesias strikes the ball well adds the three points
  • 44
Jaguares force the penalty at the scrum. Sanchez sets up a lineout on the Blues 22.
  • 43
Blues attack through Ranger who loses the ball forward . Scrum to the Jaguares on the halfway line
  • 42
Matera makes a strong run for the Jaguares. The ref blows and awards the Jaguares the penalty and Landajo takes it quickly and makes another lovely run. It all comes to nothing as the Blues win the penalty and West pumps the ball into touch.
  • 41
Second half underway as West kicks off

Half Time

  • 40
Halftime! See you all in a bit for the second half!
  • 39
West adds the extras
  • 38
Blues on the attack again as Francis spots a gap but gets smashed. Rene Ranger , the danger, attacks the line busts the first tackle and offloads to West who scores! Great play by the Blues but particularly Rene Ranger, Ranger DANGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 37
Parsons opts to have a shot at goal. West will be hoping to strike this one better having pulled his first two attempts. He lines the ball up, calms himself down. Strikes the ball well.... AND...... its through the middle! Lovely kick by West as the Blues go ahead.
  • 35
Blues on the attack through Visinia who is tackled by De La Fuente. It all comes to nothing as the ref awards the Blues a penalty for Herrera not rolling away. TMO in action for a possible no arms tackle from Lavanini.
  • 34
Blues scrum on the halfway line. A very stop start half. Not the greatest half of rugby
  • 32
Jaguares with ball in hand as Jerónimo De La Fuente has a run . The second attack results in Iglesias breaking the line and then losing the ball forward . Li cleans up and clears the ball up field
  • 31
West fails to convert the try
  • 30
Blues attack through Visinia who does well, the second wave of attack proves to be too much for the Jaguares as Luatua crashes over and scores the TRY!
  • 29
Jaguares defence solid as a rock. Welcome to the school of hard knocks . Both teams not giving an inch defensively
  • 28
Hall feeds the scrum , then attacks through Francis. Blues just 5 meters from the try line
  • 27
Moroni runs the ball from his own line and loses the ball forward. 5 meter scrum for the Blues , an extremely dangerous position.
  • 26
Cheeky set piece almost results in Parsons crossing the try line but unfortunately the ball is lost forward and the Jaguares have the scrum put-in.
  • 24
Francis makes the break and offloads to Hall who plays Ranger who is shut down. Finally some reward for the Blues. They also win the penalty which West puts into touch. Good play for the Blues.
  • 23
Nothing to get excited about if you are a Blues fan. All Jaguares so far.
  • 22
Iglasias slots a penalty to add another three points to the Jaguares score
  • 21
Jaguares 5 meters from the line and are looking dangerous here as the Blues desperately hold on and give away another penalty. The ref gives Tevita Li a yellow card .
  • 20
Jaguares have the scrum 5 meters from the Blues try line
  • 18
West connects the ball well but the ball is pulled to the right hand side of the upright and the Jaguares have the 22 dropout
  • 16
Blues on the attack through West who makes a good run. The Blues win the penalty for Petti taking out scrumhalf Hall. West will have a shot at goal to level things up
  • 15
Iglesias sets up the lineout from the penalty. Jaguares in a dangerous position once again
  • 14
Jaguares win another penalty and the ref has words with captain James Parsons about the Blues discipline
  • 12
Jaguares 15 meters from the Blues try line. Herrera makes a run, Montero has a go, Lavanini has a go. Defence is solid from the Blues as they force the turnover and Hall clears the ball upfield
  • 11
Lovely 8-9 from the scrum results in Landajo making a lovely run on 15 meters. The Jaguares are awarded another penalty and Iglesias sets up a attacking lineout. Blues discipline extremely poor
  • 9
Knock on in the Jaguares 22 from Ranger results in the away side getting the scrum put in deep in their own territory
  • 8
Iglesias slots the penalty to give the Jaguares the lead
  • 7
Jaguares are awarded the penalty in a kick-able position. Iglesias will have a shot at goal
  • 6
Montero has a run off his wing but is closed down quickly. Blues defence holding strong.
  • 5
Jaguares win the penalty and Landajo takes it quickly and makes 20+ with a lovely run before Ranger forces the turnover for the Blues and Visinia clears the ball into touch
  • 4
Hall clears the ball into touch to relive the pressure for the Blues. Jaguares lineout on the halfway line
  • 3
Jaguares 5 meters from the Blues line as Lavanini has a run. A lovely kick is put through by Iglesias is split forward by Moroni who has butchered a try scoring opportunity. Scrum Blues on their own line.
  • 2
Couple kicks in the early exchanges before the Jaguares decide to crash it up with Julian Montoya. The Jaguares are awarded the penalty and Santiago Iglesias will put the ball into touch to set up the lineout deep in the Blues 22. Montoya finds his jumper and Jaguares are awarded another penalty. They opt to set up a 5 meter lineout.
  • 1
First half underway!
  • -5
Teams going through their last preparations , its almost time for this match to start. It should be a cracker!
  • -10
The Jaguares side will be equally despondent, having also only won their opening match - a fortuitous one-point victory against a Cheetahs team that let a 20-point lead slip.
  • -15
After starting so brightly with a win in the opening week against the Highlanders, the Blues crashed to the Crusaders in Christchurch, lost to the Hurricanes in Auckland and managed an equally disappointing draw with the hapless Reds in Brisbane.
  • -20
Blues coach Tana Umaga admitted his side is down on confidence - following two defeats and a draw in their last three matches, which leaves them well outside the top 10 on the standings.
  • -30
Welcome to this Super Rugby clash between the Blues and the Jaguares at QBE Stadium, North Harbour
Mc blues logo 80x50
Blues
Jaguares
START LINE UP
  • 1 Nic Mayhew
  • 2 James Parsons
  • 3 Charlie Faumuina
  • 4 Patrick Tuipulotu
  • 5 Josh Bekhuis
  • 6 Joe Edwards
  • 7 Blake Gibson
  • 8 Steven Luatua
  • 9 Bryn Hall
  • 10 Ihaia West
  • 11 Tevita Li
  • 12 Piers Francis
  • 13 Rene Ranger
  • 14 Rieko Ioane
  • 15 Lolagi Visinia
RESERVES
  • 16 Quentin MacDonald
  • 17 Sam Prattley
  • 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi
  • 19 Hoani Matenga
  • 20 Akira Ioane
  • 21 Billy Guyton
  • 22 Matt McGahan
  • 23 George Moala
START LINE UP
  • 1 Roberto Tejerizo
  • 2 Julian Montoya
  • 3 Ramiro Herrera
  • 4 Guido Petti
  • 5 Tomas Lavaninni
  • 6 Tomás Lezana
  • 7 Rodrigo Baez
  • 8 Leonardo Senatore
  • 9 Martin Landajo
  • 10 Santiago Iglesias,
  • 11 Manuel Montero
  • 12 Jerónimo De La Fuente
  • 13 Matias Moroni
  • 14 Emiliano Boffelli
  • 15 Ramiro Moyano
  • 20 Pablo Matera
RESERVES
  • 16 Marcelo Bosch
  • 17 Santiago García Botta
  • 18 Enrique Pieretto
  • 19 Juan Cruz Guillemain
  • 21 Gonzalo Bertranou
  • 22 Nicolas Sánchez
  • 23 Joaquín Paz
Mc article christian lealiifano brumbies looks 800

S18 PREVIEW: ROUND SIX, PART TWO

Thu, 31 Mar 2016 22:53

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

Super Rugby's leading scorers Damian McKenzie and Christian Leali'ifano go head-to-head on Saturday when the Chiefs and Brumbies promise a points-laden trans-Tasman showdown in Canberra.

The table-topping clash in the Australasian arm of the championship is only matched for intrigue by the polar opposite game in the African group, where winless newcomers the Southern Kings and the Sunwolves will be battling for their first victory of the season - the odds favouring an historic maiden triumph for the Japanese side.

The Sunwolves are at least on the board after their bonus points for narrow losses against the Cheetahs and Bulls, while the Kings, with no points so far, also have the travel factor against them as they return from their two-match road trip to New Zealand.

New Argentine side the Jaguares open their New Zealand swing resting several big names - including Agustin Creevy, Santiago Cordero and Juan Manuel Leguizamon - for Saturday's match with the Blues.

The Bulls have suffered a setback ahead of their match against the Cheetahs with fullback Warrick Gelant out for at least six weeks after breaking his jaw against the Sunwolves last weekend.

The Cheetahs have just one win so far, but will be feeling good after picking up a bonus point for their close finish against the Brumbies.

In the remaining weekend game the Waratahs are at home to the Rebels who currently lie second in the Australia conference.

We look at the Saturday, April 2,  and Sunday, April 3, matches below!

Blues coach Tana Umaga admitted his side is down on confidence - following two defeats and a draw in their last three matches, which leaves them well outside the top 10 on the standings.

After starting so brightly with a win in the opening week against the Highlanders, the Blues crashed to the Crusaders in Christchurch, lost to the Hurricanes in Auckland and managed an equally disappointing draw with the hapless Reds in Brisbane.

Like all the coaches of losing teams, Umaga was grabbing at straws of positivity.

"For us it's to re-focus on what we're doing," Umaga told the New Zealand Herald newspaper.

"We can't lose sight of that, we must keep faith in it," Umaga said.

"It [Blues game plan] has created a lot of opportunities for us. If we do go back to that Reds game we just missed a lot of opportunities.

"Good sides take those. Being a young side, confidence is a big thing and if we can hold some of those passes and take some of those opportunities our confidence will grow."

They will be up against a Jaguares side equally despondent, having also only won their opening  match - a fortuitous one-point victory against a Cheetahs team that let a 20-point lead slip.

The result was that a host of frontline players were left at home - supposedly 'rested' for the first two matches of their three-match New Zealand tour.

Among those left behind are captain Agustin Creevy, Santiago Cordero and Juan Manuel Leguizamon.

Rodrigo Báez, one of the players who are back in the side after missing the defeats to the Chiefs and Stormers on home soil, said "rotation is a good thing".

The loose forward said this Saturday is a chance for the Argentinean side to get their campaign back on track.

"We are coming off three straight defeats and the team has a great desire to win, "said Báez.

The Jaguares have focussed a lot on turning their defence into attack this week - to make their turnovers count.

"We know we have to score points with each and every opportunity we get," he said.

"We are creating many opportunities on attack, but we are not turning them into points.

Recent results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: The Blues have won three and drawn one of their last five matches against teams from outside of New Zealand. The Jaguares have scored 32 of their 49 points in the opening half when playing away from home and they failed to score a second half point in their last away fixture against the Sharks. The Jaguares beat an average of 29.3 defenders per game so far this season, the most of any team and 9.3 more than the Blues (20). Blake Gibson has made 59 tackles so far this season, the third most of any player, and he's missed just seven further attempts. Matias Moroni has won nine turnovers for the Jaguares so far this season, the third most of any player in the competition and more than any New Zealand-based player. Both teams are due a good performance, but the Blues come off a bye and the Jaguares have travelled. The Blues should the game with a margin in the single digits.

Teams:

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Hoani Matenga, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 George Moala.

Jaguares: 15 Ramiro Moyano, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Santiago González Iglesias, 9 Martín Landajo (captain), 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Rodrigo Báez, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Roberto Tejerizo.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Juan Cruz Guillemaín, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Nicolás Sánchez, 23 Joaquín Paz.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Two of the game's premier playmakers will go head-to-head on Saturday, with Christian Lealiifano and Aaron Cruden set to lock horns.

Lealiifano has been a stalwart of the Brumbies for almost a decade, making his debut for the side in 2007 after moving to Canberra as a teenager from Melbourne.

Since his debut Lealiifano has made 106 appearances, scoring 693 points. He is now becoming the Brumbies seventh most capped player and second highest point scorer.

During his time at the Brumbies, Lealiifano has also made 16 appearances for the Wallabies, scoring 124 points for the national side.

Equally as comfortable at flyhalf or inside centre, Lealiifano's ability to pick a gap or find space with his accurate boot have made him a valuable member of the Brumbies squad.

Lealiifano's opposite number Aaron Cruden has been one of the world's best throughout his career since bursting onto the scene in 2010.

Cruden's Super Rugby debut was met with much fanfare, he was a highly touted prospect having led the Junior All Black's to IRB Junior World Championship in 2009, as well as being named IRB Junior Player of the Year for 2009.

He made his Super Rugby debut for the Hurricanes in 2010, impressing immediately and earning a call up to the All Blacks.

In 2012 Cruden moved to the Chiefs, helping the side win its maiden Super Rugby title after a comprehensive 37-6 victory over the Sharks in the final.

The following year the Chiefs successfully defended their title with Cruden a key cog, defeating the Brumbies at Waikato stadium. On that occasion though, Lealiifano was almost the star of the show - scoring all of his side's 22 points in the narrow 29-22 loss in Waikato.

Lealiifano says the team wants to deliver a performance to make fans proud.

"Hopefully we can get some momentum and get things clicking. We don't need to change our shape or make drastic changes, we just have to stick at it," Lealiifano told the Canberra Times.

"The more we can get a consistent set piece and stay in our shape, the better our attack will be.

"The Chiefs are red hot at the moment, they can punish you from everywhere so we have to control that as best we can.

"Last week was a frustrating one for the backs and it was scrappy, but we've spoken about it as a backline in terms of getting our hands on the footy, especially to our danger men.

"We've got guys who can really light it up, so we have to take opportunities when we get them and make the most of them."

Recent results:
2015: Chiefs won 19-17, New Plymouth
2014: Brumbies won 32-30, Canberra (preliminary play-off match)
2014: Brumbies won 41-23, Canberra
2013: Chiefs won 27-22, Hamilton (Final)
2012: Chiefs won 29-22, Hamilton
2011: Brumbies won 28-20, Canberra

Prediction: The spoils are split at two wins apiece in the last four matches between these teams; of those four matches two have been post-season with each team notching one win. The Brumbies have won eight and drawn one of their last 10 home matches against the Chiefs. The Chiefs have won their last three matches away from home and a fourth straight road win would equal their second longest streak in club history (2007), just one behind the club record (five wins - 2011-12). The Chiefs scored twice from the scrum in Round Four, taking their season tally to six tries from that origin, the most of any team so far this season. Damian McKenzie leads the competition in points (85), tries (six) and goals (24) scored after five rounds; Charlie Ngatai is the second top try scorer (five) after his four tries against the Force. The Brumbies have travelled back from South Africa, so they will need a significant lead going into the final quarter. We feel the Chiefs will edge ahead in the last 20 minutes and win by two tries.

Teams:

Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Joe Tomane, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Ita Vaea, 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 Joe Powell, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Tom Sanders, 5 Taleni Seu, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham.     
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 19 James Tucker, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Seta Tamanivalu, 23 Shaun Stevenson.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

With two teams looking for their first win of the season, this game has a very different feel.

Despite their lowly positions on the standings, there is an edge and an air of expectation to the game that have not been present in any of their previous outings this season.

Kings coach Deon Davids said his team has made significant progress on their just-completed two-match tout of New Zealand - which saw them lose 24-57 to the Crusaders, but then stayed in touch with the Hurricanes for more than an hour before a couple of late scores saw the Kiwi team win 42-20.

"We are also aware that there is a lot for us to work on," Davids told a media briefing in Port Elizabeth this week.

He felt that if they can improve on the weaknesses they identified and add it to what went well the scoreboard will have a positive reflection for the men from PE.

"These Japanese teams always bring something different and our defence is a key component that we worked on," Davids said.

"We definitely want to shut down their space and time."

While the Kings struggled to get any moment in the early rounds of the competition, last week they players like centre Stefan Watermeyer, flank Stefan Willemse and hooker Edgar Marutlulle to get go-forward ball.

"We also have to improve in terms of our discipline and ensure we don't give away kickable penalties."

He said the Sunwolves are a stereotypical side.

"They will change up their tactics, look for space and look for opportunities to isolate your defenders.

"If you are slack in terms of defence and allow the game to become unstructured they will punish you."

Recent results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: The Kings have conceded 157 points combined in their last three matches against teams from outside of South Africa. This will be the Sunwolves first ever match away from home turf in Super Rugby. Both of the Kings two wins at home in Super Rugby history have come against teams from outside of South Africa (Force & Highlanders). The Sunwolves have conceded eight tries on the opening phase of opposition possession, only the Kings (nine) have conceded more. Tusi Pisi kicks at an accuracy of 94 percent, the highest of any player who's attempted at least 15 shots at goal so far this season. Unless it is a draw, one team will finally have a 'W' in their results column and we think - despite travelling back from New Zealand - the Kings will have an edge over a Sunwolves team that travelled from Tokyo. Kings by 10 to 15 points.

Teams:

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

Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 13 Harumichi Tatekawa, 12 Yu Tamura, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Timothy Bond, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Shota Horie (captain), 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Futoshi Mori, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Yoshiya Hosoda, 21 Tomás Leonardi, 22 Yuki Yatomi, 23 Mifiposeti Paea.

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa), Rodney Bonaparte (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)

Expect this to be a typical South African derby - physical and at times brutal. It won't be pretty, but it will be intense.

While the Cheetahs' only win so far has been a one-point victory over the Sunwolves, they showed promise against the Brumbies last week - coming back with a determined second-half showing.

The Bulls have also made steady progress since their opening round defeat to the Stormers, and they have won two matches and drawn one since that defeat.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais said the Cheetahs are a "dangerous" team with good set pieces.

"They have great maul and line-out and an incredible scrum," Marais told rugby365.

"If you give them broken-field [play] they will hurt you badly."

The Cheetahs' biggest problem this season has been that they start slow and then have to come back in the second half.

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith spoke of his side's ability with ball in hand and also reflected on the quality of their set pieces.

"My main aim is to compare us to previous Cheetahs teams," Smith said, adding: "So there is progress and from there we can compete with the rest."

Marais said a big focus for the Bulls this week was to ensure they play from minute one to the 80th to avoid falling prey to the Cheetahs' famous second-half rallies.

Then he also wants his team to work on their "game management" - the ability to close out games.

"[That shortcoming was illustrated] in our last two games," Marais said, adding: "Against the Sharks [in Pretoria] we were leading 13-3 and in then end played to a [16-all] draw and against the Sunwolves [a week later] we were leading 23-10 and made it difficult for ourselves at the end of the day [allowing the Sunwolves back in to win just 30-27].

"We will have to produce an 80-minute performance.

"At least some of our senior guys [like Pieter Labuschagne, Deon Stegmann and Dean Greyling] are returning, so that will help down the line."

Recent results:
2015: Cheetahs won 42-29, Pretoria
2015: Bulls won 39-20, Bloemfontein
2014: Bulls won 26-21, Pretoria
2014: Cheetahs won 15-9, Bloemfontein
2013: Bulls won 30-25, Bloemfontein
2013: Bulls won 26-20, Pretoria

Prediction: The Bulls have won 13 of their last 15 matches against the Cheetahs, though the Cheetahs will be on the hunt for consecutive wins against the Bulls for the first time in history after a 42-29 win in their last encounter. The 16 matches between these sides have seen 56 points scored per game on average. The Bulls have conceded only nine points in the opening halves of their two home matches this season. The Bulls have conceded only one of their 11 tries in the first half of games this season, the fewest of any team in the competition; the Cheetahs have conceded the joint most in that time (12). Francois Uys has won 27 line-outs so far this season, the third most of any player in the competition while he's stolen two more in the process. It is Loftus Versfeld, so the Bulls should be favourites (if only ever so lightly), but this game could go either way. We feel the Bulls will edge it with a late score.

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Pierre Schoeman, 19 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 20 Pieter Labuschagne/Nic de Jager, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Francois Brummer, 23 SP Marais.

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain) , 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Johannes Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Carl Wegner, 20 Hilton Lobberts, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Fred Zeilinga.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Shuhei Kubo (Japan), Ben Crouse (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)

Sunday, April 3

In a week when questions were raised over Australia's ability to sustain five Super Rugby teams, this game may just showcase both the best and worst of Australian rugby at present.

To say the Waratahs have been a disappointment this season would be an understatement.

The Tahs' are barely holding onto a top 10 spot and assistant coach Chris Malone said there are a number of areas they need to improve on ahead of Sunday's match against the Rebels.

"We had a lot more possession last week [a 15-13 win over the Reds], but we didn't take advantage of it," Malone said.

"Taking the opportunities when they're presented in the game whether that's from a scrum, line-out, kick, turnover is important.

"We know that we can get into our game, we just need to be more accurate with our skill execution."

Discipline is another issue the Tahs focussed on this week.

"Discipline is very important," Malone said, adding: "The week before [against the Highlanders] we were really good in terms of our discipline and only gave away four penalties.

"This past week [against the Reds] we gave away quite a few more.

"It just puts you under pressure for longer periods of the game. It means you don't have the football for long periods of time.

"The pleasing thing for us was that we defended our way out of a lot of those situations. So we can take that as a positive moving forward."

The  Rebels feel that despite their loss to the Highlanders last week, they can take some valuable lessons into the all-Australian derby.

"We'll take a look over things like our attack, but our scrum and defence was really good," Rebels prop Laurie Weeks said.

"The Highlanders' tries came off a few freakish little things so we'll take that [positive] going into the Waratahs game.

"The confidence is still here in the team so taking that to the next game is crucial."

Along with local rivalries renewed, the local derby has the added importance of Super Rugby points with the Rebels and Waratahs jockeying for positions in the Australian conference.

Despite last weekend's defeat the Rebels, with three wins and two defeats after their opening five games of the season, remain three points ahead of the Waratahs, who have two wins and two defeats, in second place in the local conference.

"We don't want to struggle at the end of the season to get points so we'll take everything we can get now," Weeks said.

Recent results:
2015: Waratahs won 18-16, Sydney
2015: Waratahs won 38-28, Melbourne
2014: Waratahs won 41-19, Melbourne
2014: Waratahs won 32-8, Sydney
2013: Rebels won 24-22, Melbourne
2013: Waratahs won 31-26, Sydney

Prediction: The Waratahs have won nine of the 10 previous encounters between these teams including a current streak of four wins.
The Waratahs average more points per game against the Rebels (31.8) than against any other team in the Australasian Group. The Rebels have won two of their last three matches away from home and, after a 35-9 win over the Sunwolves in Round Four, will be looking for back-to-back away wins for the first time since Round Five, 2015. At 55 percent the Waratahs goal kicking success is the lowest in the competition, although the Rebels are the fourth worst team (67 percent). Sean McMahon (20) has beaten more defenders than any other forward in Super Rugby this season. Both teams have shown promise this season, but are coming off disappointing performances last week. We will give it to the home team, the Waratahs, but by less than 10 points.

Teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Matt Carraro, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 David Dennis, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 Hugh Roach, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Tom Robertson, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Sam Lousi, 21 Wycliff Palu, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Andrew Kellaway.

Rebels: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Cam Crawford, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Sean McMahon, 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 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Dan Hawkins, 23 Sera Naivalu.

Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Compiled by Jan de Koning, with additional reporting from AFP
@King365ed
@rugby365com

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article blues v jaguares match 800

Blues edge Jaguares in scrappy arm-wrestle

Sat, 02 Apr 2016 08:41

REPORT: The Blues got back on the winning track, their first victory since week one, when they beat the Jaguares 24-16 in North Harbour on Saturday.

The match was a real mixed bag - the occasional moment of magic, some enterprise, but mostly a scrappy fair that turned spiteful in the end.

The Blues outscored the visitors from Argentina by two tries to one, but will know that they have plenty to work on - given the Jaguares fielded mainly fringe players in the first outing on their three-match New Zealand tour.

A yellow card to Tevita Li provided the wake-up call the Blues needed.

In a game that seldom reached great heights, missed tackles and lost possession were the order of the day with only occasional patches of quality as Tana Umaga's Blues snared their second win of the season.

For the Jaguares it was their fourth consecutive defeat since winning their opening game against the Cheetahs, and a late Ihaia West penalty denied them even a bonus point for a narrow loss.

The Argentinean side made nine changes for the game and omitted a host of senior players, including captain Agustin Creevy.

But it was the Blues who were the most disorganised in the opening exchanges which saw the Jaguares up 6-0 midway through the first half from two penalties by Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias.

The Blues continued to do their best to aid the Jaguares when a Lolagi Visinia clearing kick hit teammate Steven Luatua and rebounded over the deadball line.

At the other end of the field, a Luatua pass went behind James Parsons who had an open run to the try-line five metres away.

But after the second penalty for the Jaguares when Li was yellow carded for repeatedly being offside, the Blues started to cut their error rate and put a bit of structure into their game.

"It wasn't pretty," captain Parsons acknowledged, noting the Blues were in trouble early on.

"We reacted well to it, stayed positive then when we got a chance to keep it down here we did."

In the closing 10 minutes of the first half the Blues chalked up 15 points with tries to Luatua and West, with West adding a conversion and penalty.

West's try was the result of a long-range counter-attack and an astute break by Rene Ranger following a misdirected Jaguares clearing kick.

A penalty to Iglesias and two more to West saw the Blues leading 21-9 with 20 minutes remaining before a Gonzalo Bertranou try converted by Nicolas Sanchez cut the margin to five points.

But their hopes of a late comeback were thwarted by West's fourth penalty, which ensured the win for the Blues.

However, scrumhalf Martin Landajo, standing in for Creevy as captain, said despite being on the losing side, his tournament newcomers relished the experience gained from the match

"This is new for us, first tournament here. We are enjoying it, we are learning every match. We enjoy playing with the best teams in the world so we are having fun."

Man of the match: Lock Tomás Lavanini epitomised the Jaguares' effort - resilient on defence, but lacking the subtleties that will make them a special team. Ihaia West was the magic man for the Blues, as displayed in his try, but our award goes to Blues No.8 Steven Luatua, who not only scored a try, but produced an all-round effort that had All Black written all over it.

The scorers:

For the Blues:
Tries:
Luatua, West
Cons: West
Pens: West 4

For the Jaguares:
Tries:
Bertranou
Cons: Sanchez
Pens: Iglesias 3

Yellow card: Tevita Lee (Blues, 22 - repeated infringements, slowing down the ball)

Teams:

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Joe Edwards, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Hoani Matenga, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 George Moala.

Jaguares: 15 Ramiro Moyano, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Santiago González Iglesias, 9 Martín Landajo (captain), 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Rodrigo Báez, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Roberto Tejerizo.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Juan Cruz Guillemaín, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Nicolás Sánchez, 23 Joaquín Paz.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Steven Luatua (30min) and Ihaia West (38min)
TRIES
Gonzalo Bertranou (62min)
Ihaia West (39min)
CONVERSIONS
Nicolas Sánchez (63min)
Ihaia West (37min), Ihaia West (54min), Ihaia West (59min), and Ihaia West (69min)
PENALTIES
Santiago Iglesias, (8min), Santiago Iglesias, (22min), and Santiago Iglesias, (45min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
Tevita Li (21min)
 
 
VENUE Albany
REFEREE Mike Fraser (New Zealand)