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Super Rugby | Sydney
06:05 (GMT) | 03-04-2016
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Join us for more live coverage as Super Rugby continues next week.
  • 80
Skelton makes a bust to halfway and the Waratahs have penalty. The hooter has gone but they are allowed to kick for touch. Line-out on the 22m... It is scrappy but the Waratahs get it back but there is a knock-on and Andrew Lees blows the final whistle. What a finish!
  • 79
Debreczeni is going to have a crack at goal. its 40m out and to the left. He misses and the Waratahs run it back. They have to go 100m.
  • 78
And its a scrum penalty to the Rebels. This could be enough to see out the game.
  • 77
Folau makes good yards from the line-out but the Rebels have pounced on a loose ball. Hodge puts it to boot and there was a communication breakdown between Foley and Kellaway. Scrum to Rebels on the Tahs 10m. This should suck up some minutes.
  • 75
Rebels secure the scrum and run it from their half. Building the phases as Debreczeni directs play but they are not gaining metres. Meehan eventually box kicks and Folau returns the favour, Debreczeni then kncoks it out into the cheap seats. Line-out Tahs.
  • 73
Waratahs have their tails up and have the ball in midfield. They looking much more dangerous but Skelton knocks-on to hand the Rebels a scrum.
  • 71
Foley clots the kick from in-front... GAME ON.
  • 70
Lucas makes a break but is brought down just on the 22m. foley puts a cross-kick in for Robinson and he collects on the bounce, plays inside to Carraro who jolts over the line for a try.
  • 69
Roach finds his jumper and Lucas comes on the wrap around. Waratahs lose some ground but still have the ball. Skelton makes some yards but the Rebels steal the ball and Debreczeni hacks it down field.
  • 66
Waratahs turn it over and receive a penalty for a Rebel not rolling away. Foley punts down for touch.
  • 65
Debreczeni clears for touch and they secure the line-out. Rebels building a platform in midfield.
  • 63
Waratahs win the ball back and coutner-attack well. Kelleway gets his first touch of Super Rugby and he makes good metres. Tahs up in the Rebel territory but some good breakdown work from Adam Thompson again wins a penalty for the Rebels.
  • 62
Waratahs run again from the line-out but are pinged for hands in the ruck. Debreczeni goes down town with a punt.
  • 61
Waratahs run it from the scrum and find some space but a pass comes off a Rebel and into touch.
  • 60
Debreczeni runs direct from the scrum but Foley clips his legs. Rebels knock-on and it is a scrum to the Tahs. Both sides ring the changes.
  • 57
Rebels exit but can't find touch, Folau runs it back but he loses it and the rebels have a scrum on halfway.
  • 55
Waratahs use a maul from the line-out but it is defended well by the Rebels and they force the knock-on. Scrum Rebels deep in their 22m.
  • 54
Foley stabs a kick into the corner and Meehan can only run it out. huge gain for the Tahs and a slight momentum shift.
  • 52
Foley converts the 2 points and this is the start the Waratahs needed.
  • 51
Rebels make a hash of the line-out and the Tahs quickly pounce on it. Runners lining-up for the Tahs and Dempsey is over for the TRY.
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Waratahs scrum 10m out in the centre. They have a split backline and they break left... It is on and they have numbers but a loose pass goes a stray. Line-out Rebels.
  • 48
Rebels making easy metres but the Warathas have won a penalty. Phipps takes it quickly speeding up the game. Waratahs make their way into the 22m through some nuggety play but a kncok on kills the play.
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Rebels quickly back in play but Debreczeni knocks on.
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Debreczeni shows and goes from the set-piece and makes some ground. Rebels pick and go through Reid and then McMahon makes good metres. Quick ball goes wide but Crawford cant finish. Weak attempt from Crawford... he looked scared.
  • 44
Rebels set for the line-out as Folau makes his way back from the sin-bin. Waratahs win the ball and swing it wide but again an unforced error hands the Rebels a scrum on the 22m.
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Rebels win the scrum penalty and Debreczeni kicks for the corner.
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Waratahs build some phases but again it comes to an end with a silly error. Scrum Rebels on their 10m.
  • 41
Foley gets the second-half underway.

Half Time

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Debreczeni drills it over to put an end to a great first-half for the Rebels.
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Rebels quickly make their way into Tahs territory and they receive a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
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Foley strikes it well but it is wide...
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Foley launches it high and and the Rebels give an offside penalty. Foley will have a shot.
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Rebels swing it wide again testing the Waratahs backline with a man-down. Timani eventually spill the ball and the Tahs have a scrum.
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Rebels with a scrum near touch and they run it from their 22m. Crawford gets the ball out wide and nudges a grubber... Robinson can't collect and he knocks on. Scrum Rebels on halfway... a 50m territory gain for the Rebels.
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Debreczeni adds insult to injury as he slots the 3-pointer for the Rebels.
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Debreczeni punts for touch. Rebels win the line-out and box kick. Folau makes a hash of it at the back and then makes a professional foul and he is shown the yellow card.
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Waratahs 5m out... but Adam Thompson is straight over the ball and wins the penalty turnover.
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Waratahs have a penalty on halfway for a high tackle. Foley kicks for touch and it is a good one.
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Debreczeni converts the extras and extends the Rebels lead.
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Debreczeni launches an up and under but Guildford is safe as houses. Foley returns the favour with a chip and the Rebels have a chance out wide... Debreczeni switches play and Timani takes a short ball, he bounces one and is straight through, he shows some skill to make a well weighted pass to the loose head Toby Smith who canters under the poles for a TRY!
  • 23
Waratahs cough up the ball in midfield and the Rebels have a scrum in midfield.
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Debreczeni can't add the extras.
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Rebels using the direct route and are inches out, eventually Debreczeni throws the dummy and and hustles over the line for the TRY.
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Waratahs with a schoolboy error hands the Rebels the ball and they move it up the park quickly. Debrezceni is through a gap and he offloads but Robinson gets a hand in the way. Rebels line-out and they are in the Tahs 22m.
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Foley opts for touch and the Waratahs form a maul. Phipps dictating traffic now and play ends with a scrum to the Waratahs.
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Waratahs regain possession and build some phases. Rebels are pinged for not releasing the tackler and it is in Foley's range.
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Debreczeni with an amateur mistake as his kick-off rolls too far. You just can't be doing that at Super Rugby level. Waratahs scrum on halfway and they go blind, Carraro makes a break and looks for support but his pass is intercepted by Crawford.
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Foley raises the flags and the scores are level.
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Referee Andrew Lees pins Toby Smith for being offsides and Bernard Foley will have a chance to level the scores.
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Waratahs showing some promise when they shift the ball wide. Guildford finding space easily but he chips into touch. Rebels receive a penalty at the ruck giving them some breathing space - ill-discipline costing the Tahs again.
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Rebels exit well from their 22m as Debreczeni punts to halfway - Waratahs line-out.
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Tahs turn it over and immediately counter on the short side and Guilford is away. He offloads to Holloway but he can't hold on... scrum Rebels in their own 22m.
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Another silly penalty from the Tahs off the kick-off hands the rebels a line-out in midfield... Rebels playing ball on halfway. Ellison makes some yards and the Rebels displaying good continuity.
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It's a good one from the Rebels flyhalf and the away-side strikes first blood.
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Early penalty for the Rebels and Debreczeni will have a shot at goal.
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Kick-off: Rebels flyhalf Debrczeni gets the game underway.
  • -5
The weather is clear and sunny - mint conditions for running rugby.
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The Rebels have welcomed a boost to their backline with their No.1 scrumhalf returning from injury - Nic Stirzaker. He is also the captain of the side and should help to steady the ship.
  • -20
The Rebels are sitting above the Tahs on the log, however the Sydney outfit have a game in-hand. There is big pressure on the Australian teams as none of them hold any wild card spots at present. This is a must win for both teams.
  • -30
Good Day and welcome to rugby365's live commentary feed all the way from Sydney Australia. It's the final fixture of of the weekend and it is an Aussie derby - Waratahs taking on the Rebels at home.
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  • 1 Benn Robinson
  • 2 Hugh Roach
  • 3 Angus Taavao-Matau
  • 4 Dean Mumm
  • 5 Dave Dennis
  • 6 Jack Dempsey
  • 7 Michael Hooper
  • 8 Jed Holloway
  • 9 Nick Phipps
  • 10 Bernard Foley
  • 11 Zac Guildford
  • 12 David Horwitz
  • 13 Matt Carraro
  • 14 Reece Robinson
  • 15 Israel Folau
  • 16 James Hilterbrand
  • 17 Paddy Ryan
  • 18 Tom Robertson
  • 19 Will Skelton
  • 20 Sam Lousi
  • 21 Wycliff Palu
  • 22 Matt Lucas
  • 23 Andrew Kellaway
  • 1 Toby Smith
  • 2 James Hanson
  • 3 Laurie Weeks
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  • 5 Lopeti Timani
  • 6 Jordy Reid
  • 7 Sean McMahon
  • 8 Adam Thomson
  • 9 Nic Stirzaker
  • 10 Jack Debreczeni
  • 11 Cam Crawford
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  • 16 Pat Leafa
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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 rebels celebrate 800

Rebels hang on for historic win

Sun, 03 Apr 2016 07:59

REPORT: The Melbourne Rebels recorded their first-ever win in Sydney when they beat the Waratahs 21-17 at the Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Both teams scored two tries in a physical match, but it was the team from Melbourne who did just enough to walk away with the four points.

The visitors led 21-3 at half-time, but were unable to add to their tally in the second half. However, some stern defence in the final third helped them survive a Waratahs' comeback.

The Rebels were first on the board in just the third minute of the game when flyhalf Jack Debreczeni slotted a penalty to give his team a 3-0 lead.

The home team started to have more of the ball and dominated territory for the next ten minutes and were rewarded when Bernard Foley levelled the scores with a penalty of his own.

With a vast amount of possession the Tahs were starting to find little holes in the Rebels defence, but the team from Melbourne were scrambling well to keep them at bay.   

Despite lagging in the possession stakes, it was the Rebels who got the game's first try when Debreczeni dived over for a score after sustained pressure inside the Tahs' 22. 

The Rebels then went further in front a few minutes later when big lock Lopeti Timani crashed through the Waratahs' defence to send prop Toby Smith away for a try. Debreczeni converted and the Rebels had a 12-point lead after 25 minutes.

The Waratahs were then dealt a further blow on the half hour mark when fullback Israel Folau was yellow carded for cynical play after playing the ball on the ground just outside the home team's 22. From the resulting penalty, the Rebels went further in front when Debreczeni sent the ball through the uprights for a score of 18-3.  

Foley had a chance to reduce the deficit two minutes before half-time, but his penalty went well wide. Instead it was the Rebels who stretched their lead before the hooter sounded when Debreczeni added another three points. At the break it was 21-3 to the Rebels.

The Rebels continued where they left off in the first half and nearly extended their lead five minutes into the second half when wing Cam Crawford was tackled into touch before he could get the ball down over the Waratahs' tryline . 

It was the home side who would eventually get the first points of the half after flank Jack Dempsey scored his first try in Super Rugby when he crashed over in the 52nd minute. Foley converted to reduce the deficit to 11 points.

The Waratahs continued to get more of the ball in the second half, but had to wait until the 70th minutes to score their next try. After a sustained attack in the Rebels half, Foley sent a crosskick to Reece Robinson who gathered and then past on the inside to centre Matt Carraro who cantered in for his team's second try. Foley converted and home side were just four points behind with less than ten minutes to go. 

The home side tried desperately to get another try in the final minutes, but it was not to be as the Rebels held on for a historic win.

Man of the match: There were few contenders on the side of the Rebels. Their two locks, Lopeti Timani and Luke Jones, played their best games of the season in open play, while flyhalf Jack Debreczeni controlled the flow game of the game nicely. However, our award goes to Jordy Reid for his work rate in defence and on attack.

The scorers:

For Waratahs:
Tries: Dempsey, Carraro
Cons: Foley 2
Pen: Foley

For Rebels:
Tries: Debreczeni, Smith
Con: Debreczeni
Pens: Debreczeni 3

Yellow card: Israel Folau (Waratahs, 30' - cynical play, playing the ball on the ground)


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)

Jack Dempsey (51min) and Matt Carraro (70min)
Jack Debreczeni (20min) and Toby Smith (24min)
Bernard Foley (52min) and Bernard Foley (71min)
Jack Debreczeni (25min)
Bernard Foley (11min)
Jack Debreczeni (2min), Jack Debreczeni (31min), and Jack Debreczeni (40min)
Israel Folau (30min)
VENUE Sydney
REFEREE John Lacey (Ireland)