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Super Rugby | Pretoria
17:10 (GMT) | 02-04-2016
  • 81
Stay with us for all rugby updates and analysis. Join us tomorrow when the Waratahs tackle the Rebels
  • 80
van Zyl misses the kick and the horn goes before the whistle. FULL TIME
  • 79
The Bulls making plenty of ground in the maul and now inside the 10 meter. The advantage then penalty is there for the Bulls. Piet van Zyl steps up to see the game to a close with the possible final kick
  • 78
The Cheetahs give away a foul at the line-out, the throw not being straight
  • 77
The Bulls shift in the scrum and the referee gives awards a penalty to the Cheetahs. They clear the ball into touch at their own 10 meter
  • 76
Scrum reset
  • 75
The Bulls inside the 5 meter now and the kick forward gives an awkward bounce for Blommetjies who gets jumped inside his 5 meter line. Scrum to the Bulls at the Cheetahs' 5 meter
  • 74
The Bulls find space wide on their right wing. The Cheetahs trying prepare for a counter attack but the Bulls not giving up possession.
  • 73
Scrum now at the center field for the Bulls. The Cheetahs pushing them back but the Bulls get the ball out quickly and try to make it into the away team half
  • 72
Medical staff on the field now during the short intermission. The Bulls start again with a line-out but the Cheetahs steal it and try for a quick break.
  • 71
Kriel with a strong run but is brought down on the Bulls right wing, center field. Both teams' defence working hard. The referee blows for a penalty to the Bulls; tackler not rolling away in the ruck
  • 70
The Cheetahs undeterred by the miss and press forward again now inside the 10 meter of the Bulls. They lose possession and the Bulls try to play it out of their own half
  • 69
Marais misses the penalty from 22 meters out
  • 68
The Cheetahs with wonderful movements bring the ball from up field down to Petersen on their right wing. They stop in the ruck and move it up field again to Schoeman who almost reaches the try line. Penalty to the Cheetahs
  • 67
Scrum reset
  • 66
Blommetjies gives a short kick forward and both sets of players fumble it before the Bulls get control of the ball. Another pause in play as a penalty is awarded to the Cheetahs. Scrum at the home team 10 meter
  • 65
Schoeman steps up for the kick at the 10 meter. The ball is just wide of the posts
  • 63
The referee blows after the line-out. Foul against the Cheetahs and Schoeman boots it into touch at the away team 10 meter down field. They go back and try to enter the 10 meter again but the Cheetahs give away another penalty
  • 62
Schoeman sends the ball into touch at his own 10 meter. The Cheetahs making their way forward and the referee blows. Blommetjies kicks it into touch at the 5 meter of the home team
  • 60
Line-out for the Bulls and Paige clears the ball after picking it out from the ruck
  • 59
The Cheetahs with high confidence plays now as the move forward with fluid passing from their own half to the 10 meter of the Bulls
  • 58
Blommetjies is there after the restart to find a good break into the 22 but the defence is there. The Bulls scramble back and stop his progress
  • 57
Schoeman trying to add any points available; looking at the stick over the ball and he secures the penalty kick
  • 55
The Bulls marching forward into the 10 meters of the Cheetahs but the referee blows his whistle. Penalty to the Bulls
  • 54
The Cheetahs win a scrum at their own 10 meter and clear the ball into touch at the Bulls' 22. The Bulls try to get forward in the maul but play it back for the clearance
  • 51
Marais misses his first kick of the evening
  • 49
Van Jaarsveld manages the try after the maul at the 5 meter of the Bulls
  • 47
The Bulls try to increase their lead quickly after the reset but the Cheetahs are organized after the break. scrum at the 22 of the home team. They win the scrum and move the ball down field Petersen missing the final pass that was a bit short
  • 45
Marais gets into position and makes them 3 points nearer to the Bulls
  • 44
The Cheetahs looking to break into the 22 now after the line-out. Venter leading his team forward but the whistle is blown for an offside. Penalty to the Cheetahs
  • 42
Scrum reset.
  • 42
They gather themselves and the Bulls give away a penalty for illegal scrummaging. Blommetjies sends it to the 22 for a line-out
  • 41
Schoeman gets the second half going with a short kick. The Cheetahs play from out of their own 10 meter but the referee blows for a knock-on. Scrum at the 10 meter of the Cheetahs down field

Half Time

  • 40
Scrum reset. The Cheetahs win the scrum but passions escalate as shirts are tugged aggressively. The referee refers to the TMO for potential foul play. Penalty to the Cheetahs; the referee saying that Strauss pushed first. Blommetjies kicks it out into touch at the 5 meter. The line-out is wasted. HALF TIME
  • 39
They come again and the away team felling the pressure now as the half comes to a close. Scrum at the 22 of the Cheetahs
  • 38
The Bulls driven away from the 22 of the Cheetahs with a clearance
  • 37
The Cheetahs trying to break through the mid field but the Bulls not having any of it. The get possession and move the ball up field.
  • 36
Schoeman sends the ball into touch after the reset at his own 10 meter
  • 35
Schoeman misses another opportunity to add the 2 extra points
  • 34
Both teams showing the ball their boots. Cheetahs decide to make good of the possession but lose it at the home team 10 meter to find the Bulls on the break. TRY to Ulengo
  • 32
Marais assuming the prayer position it's answered. He adds the 2 points
  • 31
The Cheetahs change direction of play and send the ball far down field, meters from the try line and then send it up field again. Petersen finds some space and gets the TRY after the TMO decision
  • 30
The Cheetahs with a good driving maul. They use it and move the ball up field to the 5 meter but the Bulls stop the progress
  • 23
Blommetjies with another deep kick on the reset. They try to move forward after the ruck but the clearance comes
  • 22
Schoeman secures the points this time around
  • 21
The Bulls in the 5 meter now after the line-out and the Cheetahs can't hold them any longer. Another TRY. Credited to Jenkins
  • 20
The bulls trying to make ground in the maul but the Cheetahs hold firm. The referee blows and they try to take it quick but the referee calls them back. They opt for another line-out
  • 19
Schoeman sends the ball to the 5 meter area into touch
  • 18
The line-out is snatched by the Bulls and they move forward in the maul. They move the ball u field but the whistle sounds
  • 17
The clearance is there and so is the chase. Ismaiel snatches the ball from Blommetjies mid air. The ball is eventually cleared. Line-out at the 22 of the away team
  • 16
Line-out for the Cheetahs at the 22 after a desperate clearance. Marais sends a ball over the top down field but the Bulls are prepared
  • 15
The home team playing with fire as they fight for possession at their 5 meter after the reset trying to play their way out instead of clearing
  • 14
Schoeman fails to add the 2 extra points
  • 13
The Bulls right on the try line in their eighth phases and they finally pull through with Snyman just reaching over the line for the TRY
  • 12
Schoeman gets sent to the bin
  • 11
The Bulls snatch the ball off the 5 meter to break away with Smit but his pass is lacking and they lose the opportunity. They come again down field and are stopped inches from the try line
  • 10
Blommetjies sends the ball into touch at the 22 of the home team. Cheetahs moving forward in the maul now as the referee calls them to use it
  • 8
Marais and Petersen trying to link up and break through but the defence of the Bulls is strong. de Jager now trying to enter the 10 meter line up field
  • 6
Schoeman lines up for the penalty to give his team an equal footing int the game. He converts
  • 5
The Bulls now breaking into the 10 meter line of the Cheetahs with an advantage. The referee blows for a penalty
  • 4
Both teams trying to gain territory by clearing. The ball finally goes into touch at the Cheetahs 10 meter
  • 3
Niel Marais gets the first points of the game.
  • 2
Bulls get desperate in defence and transgress at the breakdown. Niel Marais going for goal
  • 1
Bulls don;t find touch and the Cheetahs look to counter from near halfway
  • 0
Clayton Blommetjies gets the game underway
  • -5
Teams are going through their final pre-match routines - almost game time. Nice crowd in tonight.
  • -10
It is a clear and warm evening, with the temperature still in the mid-20s
  • -15
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).
  • -20
The 16 matches between these sides have seen 56 points scored per game on average.
  • -25
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.
  • -30
Welcome to Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria where we are prepairing for the all-South African derby between the Bulls and Cheetahs.
Mc bulls logo 80x50
Mc cheetahs logo 80x50
  • 1 Lizo Gqoboka
  • 2 Adriaan Strauss
  • 3 Marcel van der Merwe
  • 4 Jason Jenkins
  • 5 Rudolf Snyman
  • 6 Roelof Smit
  • 7 Jannes Kirsten
  • 8 Arno Botha
  • 9 Rudi Paige
  • 10 Tian Schoeman
  • 11 Jamba Ulengo
  • 12 Burger Odendaal
  • 13 Jan Serfontein
  • 14 Travis Ismaiel
  • 15 Jesse Kriel
  • 17 Bandise Maku
  • 18 Trevor Nyakane
  • 19 Pierre Schoeman
  • 20 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg,
  • 21 Pieter Labuschagne
  • 22 Piet van Zyl
  • 23 Francois Brummer
  • 24 SP Marais
  • 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche
  • 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld
  • 3 Johannes Coetzee
  • 4 Lodewyk de Jager
  • 5 Francois Uys
  • 6 Boom Prinsloo
  • 7 Uzair Cassiem
  • 8 Paul Schoeman
  • 9 Shaun Venter
  • 10 Niel Marais
  • 11 Raymond Rhule
  • 12 Nico Lee
  • 13 Francois Venter
  • 14 Sergeal Petersen
  • 15 Clayton Blommetjies
  • 16 Jacques du Toit
  • 17 Charles Marais
  • 18 Maks van Dyk
  • 19 Carl Wegner
  • 20 Hilton Lobberts
  • 21 Henco Venter
  • 22 Tian Meyer
  • 23 Fred Zeilinga
Mc article christian lealiifano brumbies looks 800


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article bulls v cheetahs match 800

Bulls edge Cheetahs in battle of Loftus

Sat, 02 Apr 2016 19:08

REPORT: The Bulls held on in the face of a powerful second-half onslaught to beat the Cheetahs 23-18 in their Super Rugby derby on Saturday.

This was a certainly an exciting match, the excitement born of the intensity of the conflict, a changing score and unpredictability.

There was an abundance of good will and energy in the match and the intensity lasted till the final whistle, but the unpredictability came more from errors and turnovers  than from skill and cunning.

The Bulls made fewer mistakes than the Cheetahs who lost the ball to easily at the tackle and made inadequate decisions when they were in promising positions.

Late in the match the Cheetahs' goalkicker, normally the most reliable of men, Niel Marais missed an easy conversion and an easier penalty which would have earned a draw and then right on full time the Cheetahs were penalised and Francois Brummer, also a reliable goalkicker, missed. Had it succeeded it would have blotted out the Cheetahs' bonus point.

One of the strangest sights in the match was seeing the Bulls' scrum destroyed by the Cheetahs - destroyed and humiliated. Scrum dominance was for decades on the other foot. And then, too, in this match it was the Cheetahs who mauled well, not the Bulls. That's not the way rugby has been in Pretoria.

The Bulls changed their usual blue to pink - pink jerseys, shorts and hose - in an attempt to raise R500 000 for cancer.

It was a balmy autumn evening with the temperature starting at 24°C.

The Cheetahs kicked off and attacked first when Super Rugby newboy Nico Lee broke. The Free Staters attacked with zeal and when the Bulls were penalised Marais made it 3-0 after 2 minutes. Tiaan Schoeman levelled the scores five minutes later when it was the Cheetahs turn to be penalised.

In this early period the Cheetahs had far more possession than the Bulls but it was the Bulls who went ahead. A penalty gave the Cheetahs an advancing maul but when they went wide right, their hands were awry and after some chaotic play the Bulls ran out of their 22 with Jesse Kriel racing down the left touchline. Again the hands went wonky but the Bulls won a turnover off Raymond Rhule and from his own half Tian Schoeman kicked a long grubber kick to the right. Travis Ismaiel got the bouncing ball and seemed certain to score till Paul Schoeman hauled him down from behind. A ruck formed at the Cheetahs' line and then Paul Schoeman was  penalised and yellowcarded. The Bulls kicked out for a five-metre line-out, mauled and then bashed till  massive RG Snyman ran onto Rudy Paige's pass and scored a try. 8-3 to the Bulls after 14 minutes.

The Bulls came back on the attack and twice they used kickable penalties to produce attacking line-outs. They bashed and eventually Nic de Jager, a late replacement for Arno Botha scored. Tian Schoeman converted. 15-3 after 22 minutes, and the Bulls seemed the livelier, more committed side.

Then the Cheetahs came back, mauling well and attacking with Paul Schoeman and then Lood de Jager close. Then Sergeal Petersen, unmarked, just got over in the corner in Paige's tackle. Marais converted and it was 15-10 after 32 minutes.

From the kick-off the Cheetahs ran but lost the ball. They got into the Bulls' half and lost the ball. The second time the Bulls gratefully accepted the gift and went wide left where Jamba Ulenga and Serfontein combined well and gave inside to De Jager but Marais caught him at the line. Ulenga got the ball and forced his way over for a try. 20-10 after 35 minutes.

By now the Cheetahs had changed their props, bringing on Charles Marais and Maks van Dyk, two products of Paarl Boys' High, and at the first opportunity they destroyed the Bulls' scrum.

Clayton Blommetjies kicked a brilliant touch-finder for a line-out but the Cheetahs overthrew the line-out and half-time was taken at 20-10.

 The Cheetahs  scored first in the second half, first when Marais kicked a penalty. Then the Cheetahs destroyed another Bulls' scrum and kicked the ball down for a line-out about 12 metres from the Bulls' line. They formed a maul and with great cohesion rushed it down over the Bulls' line for a try credited to Torsten van Jaarsveld. That made it 20-18 to the Bulls after 51 minutes.
 Tian Schoeman kicked a second penalty to make it 23-18 with 23 minutes to go. There was no further scoring in the match but they were 23 minutes of rising intensity building to a frantic finish.
 Man of the Match: Candidates would include Jan Serfontein, the Bulls' halfbacks and RG Snyman as well as Francois Venter, Lood de Jager, Paul Schoeman and our choice, those two props Charles Marais and Nicolaas van Dyk, who gave their team a chance to change the game and come to the brink of victory.

The scorers:

For Bulls:
Snyman, Jenkins, Ulengo
Cons: Schoeman
Pens: Schoeman 2

For the Cheetahs:
Petersen, Van Jaarsveld
Cons: Marais
Pens: Marais 2

Yellow card: Paul Schoeman (Cheetahs, 12 - professional foul, kicking the ball out of a ruck)


Bulls: 15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Nic de Jager, 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, 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)

Rudolf Snyman (13min), Jason Jenkins (21min), and Jamba Ulengo (34min)
Sergeal Petersen (31min) and Torsten Van Jaarsveld (49min)
Tian Schoeman (22min)
Niel Marais (32min)
Tian Schoeman (6min) and Tian Schoeman (57min)
Niel Marais (3min) and Niel Marais (45min)
Paul Schoeman (12min)
VENUE Pretoria
REFEREE Craig Joubert (South Africa)