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Super Rugby | Perth
11:00 (GMT) | 08-04-2016
  • 81
Join us later for the Stormers and Sunwolves clash at Newlands Stadium, Cape Town
  • 80
Game Over! Crusaders walking away with a nail-biting win on the road. 20-19 to the man from New Zealand!
  • 79
Richie Mo'unga converts and adds the extra points.
  • 78
Jordan Taufua has his try adding vital points the Crusaders and safe the Crusaders
  • 76
Penalty to Crusaders and they opt for the line-out.
  • 75
5 minutes to go in this game. The game still hangs in the balance with the crowd cheering on the home team.
  • 74
Crusaders scrum hopefully they use this possession as an advantage.
  • 72
Ellis with a poor pass, this really sums up the Crusaders' day at the office
  • 70
Force's scrum, Lourens with the put-in. Grant with clearance.
  • 68
Johnny McNicholl knocks the ball behind the try-line. Crusaders fails to convert the advantage into points.
  • 62
The Australian team is really taking on the Crusaders
  • 61
Peter Grant adds the extras.
  • 60
Try! Ryan Louwrens adds the try to his team score.
  • 56
Force taking on the Crusader's defense. There is only one point separating these two teams.
  • 53
Some replacements on the field just to add some fresh legs Andy Ellis on for Mitchell Drummond
  • 50
Peter Grant steps up and its over! he adds to Force points! 12-13
  • 47
Knock-on by Crusaders! Force opt for a scrum on the 5 meter.
  • 45
Force won the ball. Scrum with a Force put-in. Force is deep in the Crusaders 22.
  • 43
The line-out by the Force is good, and as they work the ball upfield they are awarded a penalty, once again within kicking distance for Peter Grant, who ably slots it.
  • 42
An uncharacteristic error by Crusaders fullback Volavola gifts the Force a line-out put-in just inside the Saders' half.
  • 41
We're back, and the second half is underway in Perth, with a Crusaders kick-off to the Force, who absorb the initial pressure pretty well, and Peter Grant boots the ball downfield.

Half Time

  • 40
Play carries on after the half time hooter blows, but it's brought to a grinding halt by another knock-on. The handling in this game hasn't been the greatest. Let's hope for an improved 2nd half.
  • 39
A comedy of errors and some miscommunication between the Force players at a line-out, gives the Saders the put-in at yet another scrum. They win it, boot it upfield, and benefit from a net gain with a line-out just inside the Force's half as the half time hooter blows.
  • 36
Some back and forth between both sides doesn't amount to much, and results in a scrum to the Crusaders in a good attacking position. They retain their ball from the back of the scrum and attempt to launch an attack, but the ball is turned over by Mafi for the Force.
  • 32
There's a slight lull in play as Crusaders set up another line-out after being awarded a penalty, and Kieran Read takes the opportunity to have a quick word with the referee on the side.
  • 29
Richie Mo'unga edges another conversion attempt to the left of the posts, and misses.
  • 28
Try time! Johnny McNicholl crosses the whitewash for the Saders after some good offloads, and shoddy defence from the Force.
  • 26
Crusaders' handling lets them down again, and another knock-on just inside the Force's 22 gives them the feed at the scrum. It's picked up by McCalman at the back, but he's put under pressure and a very shoddy clearance gives the Saders the line-out on the 22 of the Western Force.
  • 23
The Crusaders put up a nifty display of ball-handling ability and spread the ball up and down the field, but all good things come to an end and the ball is knocked on, gifting the Force a scrum, and some breathing room for everyone as players are being attended to by the on-field medics.
  • 20
We're halfway through the first half and the encounter is a bit tougher and way more bruising than expected. Bodies are clashing and the claret is already flowing on some players' faces.
  • 19
The Force snag the ball against the run of play and work it upfield with intent, but they relinquish possession and the pill is once again in the hands of the Saders, who boot it downfield and chase. Force return it with some interest and regather their own ball, but there's some fumbling and the handling lets the boys down.
  • 15
Looks like we might be in for a battle of the boot here, with Peter Grant taking his second shot at the posts off the back of a penalty. It's well within his range, and he easily slots it.
  • 12
Off the back of a successful line-out for the Crusaders deep inside Force territory, they work their way upfield and eventually get the rub of the green with a penalty inside the Force's 22. Mo'unga makes good, and it's 3-8 to the Saders.
  • 8
The Saders get pinged their own half, and it's within kicking distance for Peter Grant, as Force opt for the penalty shot at goal... and it's good! The unerring boot of Grant gets his team on the board. 3-5
  • 6
Crusaders in their pitch black away kit for this game, in stark contrast to their usual red jerseys.
  • 5
Richie Mo'unga fails to add the extras, as his conversion attempt edges to the side of the posts. He'll be hoping to fix that soon enough.
  • 4
Possession still with the Saders and they charge upfield to get the first try of the game through the young scrumhalf Mitchell Drummond! Force could be in for a long day at the office, here.
  • 3
Three minutes in and we see our first scrum of the game, with a Crusaders put-in. This should set the tone for the rest of the front row battles in the match, and Kieran Read picks it up from the base and makes a break, but he's brought down.
  • 0
Game on! As Peter Grant gets us underway with the kick-off into the hands of the Crusaders, who ably absorb the initial pressure to return the kick and chase. Force punts it back, the Crusaders run the ball up, and win a penalty at the breakdown. They opt for the line-out that takes play into the Force's half of the field.
  • -1
Late change for the Force, as Ian Prior moves into the starting scrumhalf position, with Alby Mathewson sitting this one out after succumbing to illness.
  • -5
The skies over the Perth Oval seem to have cleared up nicely, so no threat of rain at this point, however it still is rather humid out there. Players are all clearly fired up for the contest though, which is all that matters.
  • -10
All eyes will be on the head-to-head clash between All Blacks No. 8 and skipper Kieran Read, and incumbent Wallabies eighth man, Ben McCalman. It will also be interesting to see how SA's own Peter Grant, at flyhalf for the Force, weighs up against Crusaders pivot Richie Mo'unga.
  • -20
It's a bit of a balmy evening in Perth at 24 degrees, with a very slight chance of showers. Factor in the slight humidity, and we may be dealing with a slippery ball if the heavens do decide to open. If that does happen, it could mean a tight, close game - not the type of rugby the Crusaders will be hoping for, when one considers their try-fest against the Lions last weekend.
  • -30
We shift our gaze Down Under to Perth, as we prepare for the clash between the Western Force and the Crusaders at the Perth Oval. Pundits are backing the boys from Christchurch to take this one, and keep up their winning streak.
Mc western force logo 80x50
Mc crusaders logo 80x50
  • 1 Pek Cowan
  • 2 Heath Tessmann
  • 3 Tetera Faulkner
  • 4 Steve Mafi
  • 5 Adam Coleman
  • 6 Angus Cottrell
  • 7 Matt Hodgson
  • 8 Ben McCalman
  • 9 Ian Prior
  • 10 Peter Grant
  • 11 Semisi Masirewa
  • 12 Junior Rasolea
  • 13 Ben Tapuai
  • 14 Luke Morahan
  • 15 Dane Haylett-Petty
  • 16 Nathan Charles
  • 17 Francois Van Wyk
  • 18 Jermaine Ainsley
  • 19 Rory Walton
  • 20 Richard Hardwick
  • 21 Ryan Louwrens
  • 22 Kyle Godwin
  • 23 Albert Nikoro
  • 1 Wyatt Crockett
  • 2 Codie Taylor
  • 3 Owen Franks
  • 4 Luke Romano
  • 5 Sam Whitelock
  • 6 Jordan Taufua
  • 7 Matt Todd
  • 8 Kieran Read
  • 9 Mitchell Drummond
  • 10 Richie Mo’unga
  • 11 Nemani Nadolo
  • 12 Ryan Crotty
  • 13 Sean Wainui
  • 14 Johnny McNicholl
  • 15 Ben Volavola
  • 16 Ged Robinson
  • 17 Joe Moody
  • 18 Michael Alaalatoa
  • 19 Scott Barrett
  • 20 Jimmy Tupou
  • 21 Andy Ellis
  • 22 Kieron Fonotia
  • 23 Jone Macilai-Tori
Mc article aaron cruden chiefs hands on hips 800


Wed, 06 Apr 2016 23:26

IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Jan de Koning looks at the Friday matches in Part One of Super Rugby's Round Seven.

The burning question in Super Rugby is: 'Who can stop the Chiefs?'

Since their Round Two slip to the Lions, a 32-36 loss in Hamilton, they have looked almost unstoppable - scoring more than 50 points in two of their four matches and 48 in another.

The Blues have the unenviable task of taking on the two-time champions, when they go head-to-head in the weekend's opening match.

The Crusaders, one of New Zealand's other form teams, head to Perth to take on  the hapless Western Force for the conclusion of a three-match road trip - which saw them beat the Sharks and Lions.

The final match on Friday sees the Stormers host tournament newcomers the Sunwolves ion a historic match at Newlands - the Japanese outfit's first visit to South Africa.

We look at the Friday, April 8, matches below!

There is something special about domestic derbies - always full of energy and always brutal.

You can expect much of the same when these rivals on either side of the Bombay Hills go head-to-head,

Chiefs assistant coach Andrew Strawbridge does not see his team as outright favourites, despite their impressive form of the past month - in which they passed the 50-point mark twice and scored 48 points in another match.

"It is a derby game, because we have a huge history with the Blues and Auckland rugby," Strawbridge said.

"It is always a passionate affair and always a tough game to win."

He described the Blues a team of "powerful athletes" and a side that loves it when a game gets unstructured.

"We going to try and nullify those strengths," he added.

Blues No.7 Steven Luatua also spoke of the physicality that these games produce.

"We are looking forward to this challenge against the Chiefs," Luatua said.

"They put a number on the Brumbies last week," he said of the 48-23 win.

"The Chiefs definitely the hot team, the form team.

"We are looking forward to some big collisions and looking forward to some expansive rugby."

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie also spoke of the big rivalry between the two North Island franchises.

"Our guys know a lot of the opposition and have a lot of friends in the opposition, but we'll put that aside for 80 minutes," the Chiefs head coach said.

"It's normally pretty brutal, so it's great to be playing at home."

Blues coach Tana Umaga said the key to victory was denying the Chiefs the ball for 80 minutes.

"If we don't run out of puff, that is probably a big thing," Umaga said.

"They're very good at looking after the ball and they can sustain that throughout the game."

Recent results:
2015: Chiefs won 23-16, Hamilton
2015: Chiefs won 23-18, Albany
2014: Chiefs won 11-8, Auckland
2014: Chiefs won 32-20, New Plymouth
2013: Chiefs won 26-16, Auckland
2013:  Chiefs won 23-16, Mount Maunganui

Prediction: The Chiefs have won their last nine matches against the Blues, their longest winning streak against any opponent in Super Rugby. The Chiefs have won only one of their last three matches on home soil against fellow New Zealand teams, though they've not lost consecutive home matches against NZ squads since Round 9, 2011. The Blues are undefeated in their last two matches, they've not gone three matches without loss in a single season since Round 12, 2011. The Chiefs have scored 12 tries in the first half so far this season, the most of any team in the competition, while the Blues have conceded seven tries in the same period, the equal most of any New Zealand team. James Lowe (128) made more metres than any other player again in Round Five and became the first player this season to make more than 500 metres over the gain line. The Chiefs will not have it all their own way, but should have just enough in the tank to sneak the win - by less than 10 points.


Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 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 Maama Vaipulu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Sam Henwood, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Seta Tamanivalu, 23 Sam McNicol.

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 Hoani Matenga, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Namatahi Waa, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 George Moala.

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

History will suggest that the Force have always troubled the Crusaders in Perth, but history will count for nothing on Friday.

Their last meeting in Perth, back in 2013, resulted in an upset 16-14 win for the hosts.

However, the Force are nowhere near the quality side of three years ago and their form this season will ensure the Crusaders enter the game as outright favourites.

The Crusaders have just completed a two-match road trip to South Africa, where they overpowered the Sharks and Lions - leaving them in sixth place on the standings.

Without a doubt the one of the biggest match-ups for Friday's clash will see incumbent Wallaby No.8 Ben McCalman come up against newly appointed All Black captain and one of the best No.8s in the world, Kieran Read.

Both men provide incredible go forward for their sides and a strong performance from the international No.8s will go a long way to deciding the result.

Force coach Michael Foley said the side is looking forward to playing at home.

"It's always good to come home and play in front of our supporters after time away," he said of their loss to the Highlanders in Dunedin.

"We set about changing the way we play this season by being more dynamic with ball in hand and while we haven't got the wins we'd all like, we will persevere.

"Our fans are incredibly passionate and the team is looking forward to running out at home and giving it their all for the full 80 minutes on Friday."

Recent results:
2014: Crusaders won 30-7, Christchurch
2013: Force won 16-14, Perth
2012: Crusaders won 38-24, Christchurch
2011: Crusaders won 42-30, Perth
2010: Force won 24-16, Perth
2009: Force and Crusaders drew 23-all, Christchurch

Prediction: The Crusaders have won three of their last four matches against the Force, though have been victorious in only one of their last three trips to Western Australia. A win for the Crusaders would be their fifth in succession, their longest streak in Super Rugby since they won five on the bounce by Round 13, 2014. The Force haven't hosted and defeated a New Zealand team since the corresponding round two seasons ago (18-15 - Round Six, 2014 v Chiefs). The Crusaders are one of only two teams (Stormers) to have a positive points differential in each of the four quarters of matches so far this season. The Force have conceded 80 points in the final quarter of matches so far this season, by far the most of any team and exactly four times as many as they've been able to score in reply. It will not be easy, but the Crusaders will win by 10 to 15 points.


Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Solomoni (Junior) Rasolea, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sitiveni (Steve) Mafi, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pekahou Cowan
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Rory Walton, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Ian Prior, 23 Albert Nikoro

Crusaders: 15 Ben Volavola, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Sean Wainui, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Jimmy Tupou, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Kieron Fonotia, 23 Jone Macilai.

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

The Sunwolves are still searching for their first win, with most pundits believing that last week's outing against the Southern Kings had presented their best opportunity to break that duck.

The Stormers, in contrast, are the bestr among the South African teams in the competition.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck is determined to keep his charges' feet firmly planted on the ground.

"Every week we speak about focussing on what we have to do and if we lose focus on that then we will face trouble," Fleck said.

"For us, it is only about improving our game from the things we have identified in the Jaguares match.

The Stormers m,entor said the Japanese outfit will present different challenges.

"They are a good attacking side, they ask different questions, their basics are good, they play at a high tempo.

"There will certainly not be any complacency from our side.

"We know they are desperate for a win and are certainly looking to grab a win in South Africa."

Previous results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: The Sunwolves' last three games against South African opposition have been decided by five points or fewer and they've scored 55 points in their last two games against teams from South Africa. The Stormers are the only South African team who are yet to trail at the half-time break so far this season. The Stormers have won six of their last seven regular season matches at home when hosting a team from outside of South Africa. Eben Etzebeth has stolen nine lineouts so far this season, the most of any player in the competition, while having won an additional 22 on his side's throw. Sunwolves lock Tim Bond made 14 carries in his side's Round Five loss to the Kings, the equal second most of any player across the round, and teammate Tusi Pisi (13) was just one behind. The Stormers' solid set pieces and famed defence will ensuire they win by about 20 points.


Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 19 Rynhardt Elstadt, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Huw Jones, 23 Damian de Allende.

Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 13 Mifiposeti Paea, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Akihito Yamada, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yuki Yatomi, 8 Tomas Leonardi, 7 Ed Quirk, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Timothy Bond, 4 Shinya Makabe, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie (captain), 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Andrew Durutalo, 21 Atsushi Hiwasa, 22 Harumichi Tatekawa, 23 Yasutaka Sasakura .

Referee: Nicholas Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article richie mo unga crusaders kicks 800

Crusaders steal it at the death

Fri, 08 Apr 2016 12:57

REPORT: Richie Mo'unga slotted a 79th-minute conversion as the Crusaders stole a one-point victory against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday.

The 20-19 (three tries to one) triumph gave the Crusaders a three-match clean sweep on their tour of South Africa and Australia.

It was not a convincing performance.

In fact it was the New Zealand franchise's worst performance of the season - an error-riddled, scrappy affair.

However, like all good teams, they found a way to win and will be happy to take home 12 log points from the trip.

The visitors were the dominant side for most of the match, but found themselves staring down the barrel of a shock defeat when they trailed 13-19 with just two minutes of play remaining - against a side with only one win from its previous six outings.

Costly mistakes were hurting the visitors in the second half, as the toll of their road trip appeared to catch up.

The Crusaders led 13-6 at half-time, with an early try to Mitchell Drummond and a second to Johnny McNicholl in the 26th minute, but the Force hung in there due to penalties.

The Force then grabbed the lead with their only try - through Ryan Louwrens, who came off the bench, to stun the Crusaders.

Down 13-19 going into the last 10 minutes, the Crusaders rallied to press strongly for the match-winning try.

But they wasted their own hard work through uncharacteristic errors, with a couple of knock-ons and Johnny McNicholl failing to catch the ball when he was on the end of a high kick and had an open try line a stride away.

Codie Taylor was also denied by just centimetres, when he was shunted into touch by the Force.

But just when all seemed almost lost Jordan Taufua was able to barge over close to the posts and narrow the margin to one point.

It left Richie Mo'unga, who had earlier missed two relatively easy conversions, with an easy kick to snatch the lead.

Crusaders captain Kieran Read was more relieved than elated after the win.

"I don't think it was a good performance to be honest, we made far too many errors," he said.

"Certainly not what we wanted to come here and do, but we'll take the win and get back to the drawing board next week when we get home.

"We're in a good place now in terms of results, but there is a lot of work to do."

Force skipper Matt Hodgson said his side let itself down in the dying minutes.

"The boys played well, but we gave them too many opportunities at the end," he said.

"They are a quality side and they took them – we gave them that many opportunities in our 22 in that last 10 minutes and they are going to come up with a result."

Man of the match: Mitchell Drummond was doing a fine job, until he was replaced by Andy Ellis early in the second half. Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua, Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano took it in turns to torment the Force. However, No.8 Kieran Read was the most steady player for his team in an unconvincing performance. Flyhalf Peter Grant kept the Force in the hunt with his accurate kicking and directed the show in the second half, while fullback Dane Haylett-Petty had his moments. You can always bank on Western Force loose forwards Ben McCalman and Matt Hodgson and they get our award - despite the defeat.

The scorers:

For the Western Force:
Con: Grant
Pens: Grant 4

For the Crusaders:
Drummond, McNicholl, Taufua
Con: Mo'unga
Pen: Mo'unga


Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Solomoni (Junior) Rasolea, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sitiveni (Steve) Mafi, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Pekahou Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Rory Walton, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Ian Prior, 23 Albert Nikoro.

Crusaders: 15 Ben Volavola, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Sean Wainui, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ged Robinson, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Jimmy Tupou, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Kieron Fonotia, 23 Jone Macilai.

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

Ryan Louwrens (60min)
Mitchell Drummond (4min), Johnny McNicholl (28min), and Jordan Taufua (78min)
Peter Grant (61min)
Richie Mo’unga (79min)
Peter Grant (8min), Peter Grant (15min), Peter Grant (43min), and Peter Grant (50min)
Richie Mo’unga (12min)
REFEREE Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)