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Bulls

FULL-TIME
41     22

Reds

Super Rugby | Pretoria
15:05 (GMT) | 16-04-2016
  • 81
Thank you for joining us. Be sure to join us for the next Super rugby match between the Lions and Stormers!!!
  • 80
That will be the last of the game. Bulls walk away with a 41-22 victory over the Reds.
  • 79
Advantage to the Bulls as Saia Fainga'a is penalise. The Bulls is the hunt for the bonus opt for the lineout but is overturned and Liam Gill kicks the ball out.
  • 78
Marvin orie has a poor first touch, awarding a scrum to the Reds on the 10 meter.
  • 77
Sarel Marais kick to touch creating a line out on his 10 meter line.
  • 75
Line out for the Reds near they 10 meter. Bulls with a great run Ismail has had a great game, but knocked on but Piet van Zyl and Reds get some breathing space
  • 74
There is currently two twin pair on the field the Kriels and Fainga'as.
  • 72
The Reds with ball in they hand opt to go wide Saia Fainga'a, loose the ball forward, to give Bulls the advantage.
  • 70
Brummer make no mistake to convert
  • 69
Piet van Zyl under the poles for the try.
  • 68
Line out to the Bulls. Travis Ismail with a great take and pass to Strauss. The Bulls is on the attack in the 5 meter line of the Reds
  • 66
Scrum is reset and the ref has a chat with teams front row. Steady scrum and Anthony Fainga'a is stop by Serfontein
  • 64
The game has really open up. Scrum for the Reds on the Bulls 5 meter.
  • 62
Brummer converts to add to the score
  • 61
Try time to Travis Ismaiel with a great finish as he run pass the rush defense of the Reds. Pure pace
  • 59
Conversion is good and McIntyre adds
  • 58
Try!!!! Off load from Anthony Fainga'a send Kerevi with for his second one, with one guy to beat Kerevi makes it as pie for his flyhalf
  • 57
Brummer kicks the ball to touch, a line out on the 10 meter of the Reds.
  • 55
Lineout for the Reds, opt to go wide but a knock on from Curtis Browning give the Bulls a scrum on they 22.
  • 54
Deon Stegman to take over from Botha.
  • 53
McIntyre with the conversion to add the extras
  • 52
Reds win the line out and they are on the attack in the 22. Kerevi pass Kriel and Serfontein to score the try.
  • 50
Conversion is good and Brummer adds the extras
  • 49
Line out for the Bulls, Paige pass to Jessie Kriel with an a offload Brummer to send Pieter Labuschagne over for his try.
  • 48
Some replacement as Lizo Gqoboka makes his appearance for the Bulls
  • 47
Serfontein with an up and under but finds the touch
  • 44
Offside by Karmichael Hun and the Bulls opt for an attempt at goal just inside the Reds 50 meter. Brummer add 3 points
  • 43
Jake McIntyr find the touch. The Reds is on the attack on the 10 meter.
  • 42
Bulls line out on the Reds' 22. Reds desperate in defense, but the Bulls is still on the attack. Turnover to the Reds and Bulls is penalised
  • 41
Welcome to the second half! Francois Brummer gets the second half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
The Reds not finding anything and Gill decides to go for a drop goal as the horn sounds and he finds the away team something before the whistle. HALF TIME
  • 39
The Reds moving forward again now with Kerevi and McIntyre. The Bulls holding a tight line not allowing space for any Red breaks
  • 38
The squander possession with a poor pass and the Bulls get a line-out in their own half. They clear.
  • 37
The Bulls find their aggression paying off. The clearance is there after the reset kick. The Reds trying to get one back before the half time whistle now inside the 10 meter of the home team
  • 36
Brummer ensures another 2 points for his team
  • 35
The Reds holding firm at their try line but the Bulls push hard, again only centimeters from the try line. The referee blows and refers to the TMO for a possible knock-on. No knock-on and the TRY is awarded to Strauss
  • 34
Ismaiel trying to squeeze through on the wing but is brought down. They move the ball up field and van der Merwe bombing forward again.
  • 33
The Bulls with a safe clearance after the reset. Line-out at the 10 meter of the away team and Frisby's pass is intercepted after the line-out. The Bulls moving forward just outside the 22 now
  • 32
Brummer secures the extras
  • 31
Centimeters away from the line and Marcel van der Merwe helps his team muscle his their way over the line for a TRY
  • 30
Line-out at the 22 and the Bulls move forward with a solo effort by Kriel and he makes it tot he 5 meter on his own twisting and turning
  • 29
The Bulls push forward after the scrum but the Reds come away with the ball. They look to move forward into the home team's half but the referee blows for a penalty to the Bulls
  • 28
The turnover is there to the crowds delight. The whistle is blown for an advantage to the Bulls. Scrum to the home team
  • 27
Brummer with the clearance and his kick finds touch in a good area. Line-out at the 10 meter of the Reds. The Bulls find themselves locked in their own half now as the Reds press forward
  • 26
The Reds holding firm in their defence still. Scrum at the 10 meter of the away team and the Reds start their counter attack
  • 24
Penalty to the Bulls; tackler not releasing. Brummer kicks the ball into touch at the 22 and the Bulls don't go for the maul
  • 23
The Reds holding firm with all the pressure the Bulls have been applying. The Bulls moving forward now at the 10 meter of the away team
  • 18
Brummer takes a penalty from far out and gets it
  • 14
The Bulls looking to work the Reds on the blindside as Paige finds some space but the Reds defence is equal to the task as they close down the space.
  • 10
The Bulls are looking to up the tempo, but their ball control lets them down and McIntyre comes up with some good defensive work as he rushes in and makes the intercept. McIntyre gets wrapped up, Reds still with possession inside their own half.
  • 8
The driving maul is there and the Bulls make good ground. They're inside the 5 meter and the referee blows for the TMO; try or no try. The referee decides no try awarded. Scrum at the 5 meter
  • 7
Penalty to the Bulls; offside in the line-out. The ball is booted into touch and the home team move forward for a line-out in a more offensive position
  • 6
The clearance is there after the reset. Line-out at the half way line for the home team
  • 5
McIntyre sends the ball way wide.
  • 4
Scrum at the 22 again in favour of the Reds. They come away with the ball after the scrum and move the ball up field to Hunt who offloads to Feauai-Sautia who secures the TRY
  • 3
Scrum at the 22 of the home team for the Bulls. The Reds with a good scrum and get the advantage.
  • 2
The referee calls for a penalty on the half way line. McIntyre sends the ball into touch at the 22. The Reds finding it tough to get through the Bulls defence. The referee blows for a knock-on
  • 1
The Bulls showing good tempo in the opening minutes. They find themselves outside the 22 but the ball is knocked-on. The referee refers to the TMO for a possible neck role
  • 0
Angus Gardner blows and the game is underway
  • -2
The teams now readying up on the field
  • -5
The last six fixtures between these two sides have been evenly split; both teams being three of six
  • -13
The Reds haven't won at Loftus Versfeld for 15 years
  • -20
The last time the Reds visited Loftus, the home team ran out victors beating 43-22.
  • -30
Welcome to Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria for the Super Rugby match between the Bulls and Reds
Mc bulls logo 80x50
Bulls
Mc reds logo 80x50
Reds
START LINE UP
  • 1 Trevor Nyakane
  • 2 Adriaan Strauss
  • 3 Marcel van der Merwe
  • 4 Jason Jenkins
  • 5 Rudolf Snyman
  • 6 Pieter Labuschagne
  • 7 Jannes Kirsten
  • 8 Arno Botha
  • 9 Rudi Paige
  • 10 Francois Brummer
  • 11 Bjorn Basson
  • 12 Jan Serfontein
  • 13 Jesse Kriel
  • 14 Travis Ismaiel
  • 15 SP Marais
RESERVES
  • 16 Jaco Visagie
  • 17 Lizo Gqoboka
  • 18 Werner Kruger
  • 19 Marvin Orie
  • 20 Deon Stegmann
  • 21 Piet van Zyl
  • 22 Tian Schoeman
  • 23 Dan Kriel
START LINE UP
  • 1 James Slipper
  • 2 Andrew Ready
  • 3 Greg Holmes
  • 4 Cadeyrn Neville
  • 5 Ben Matwijow
  • 6 Hendrik Tui
  • 7 Liam Gill
  • 8 Jake Schatz
  • 9 Nick Frisby
  • 10 Jake McIntyre
  • 11 Eto Nabuli
  • 12 Anthony Fainga'a
  • 13 Samu Kerevi
  • 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia
  • 15 Karmichael Hunt
RESERVES
  • 16 Saia Fainga'a
  • 17 Sef Faagase
  • 18 Sam Talakai
  • 19 Lukhan Lealaiauloto
  • 20 Curtis Browning
  • 21 James Tuttle
  • 22 Sam Greene
  • 23 Ayumu Goromaru
Mc article ackermann v fleck 800

S18 PREVIEW: ROUND EIGHT, PART TWO

Thu, 14 Apr 2016 21:25

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

Allister Coetzee's appointment as the new Springbok coach has certainly added spice to Saturday's Super Rugby showdown between South African glamour sides the Stormers and the Lions.

The two African conference leaders - Stormers in Africa One and the Lions in Africa Two - will battle it out at Ellis Park in what could be a thrilling finale to a gripping weekend of Super Rugby.

It is already being billed as a Springbok trial, with Coetzee set to take a keen interest in the first weekend since his appointment (done some weeks ago) was made public.

A week ago, the Stormers and Lions knew they were battling for South African supremacy as the leading sides in the two Africa conferences.

Now they have the added pressure of impressing the new Bok coach, who has laid out his blueprint for reviving South Africa's fortunes and needs the backing of the Super Rugby franchises.

With Coetzee preaching an attacking philosophy - and with only seven weeks before their first Test against Ireland - the game will offer him a glimpse of the Stormers' famed defence against the Lions' exciting attack.

"It is great to see that all coaches at Super Rugby level have this awareness that we need to brush up on our attack," he said, while adding that did not mean an end to South Africa's trademark physical game.

The Stormers, with five wins from six games, remain strong defensively - having leaked only eight tries this year compared to 18 by the Lions, who are four from six.

Attacking statistics favour the Lions, who have scored 21 tries to 17 by the Stormers.

The day's action starts when the Sharks, beaten at home in the past two weeks by the Crusaders and Lions, head to New Zealand to face the Blues - who put on a much improved display last weekend when they went close to upsetting the Chiefs.

Next we have the Brumbies, fresh off a bye and a thrashing by the Chiefs the week before that, facing the Waratahs in Sydney.

The Bulls, second to the Stormers in the Africa One conference, are at home to the Reds - who knocked over defending champions the Highlanders last weekend for their first win of the season.

The Chiefs, Force, Highlanders and Southern Kings have byes this weekend.

We look at the Saturday, April 16, matches below!

The Blues have turned back the clock 20 years in the hope of getting their campaign back on track.

They are stuck outside the top 10, with just one win and a draw in their last five matches.

Captain James Parsons spoke of how the original Blues team, that beat the Sharks (then still Natal) in the inaugural Super 12 Final, has inspired a new generation of Blues players - especially in the lead-up to this week's Blues versus Sharks encounter.

"A lot of our franchise is built around those 1996 and 1997 seasons," Parsons said of the back-to-back Super Rugby victories.

"It is something we strive towards.

"If we can go half as good as those blokes, we can go deep into the competition," he said.

Sharks coach Gary Gold sees the match-up as ideal for his side to unleash their attacking credentials, in a season where they - just like the Blues - showed early promise before losing their way.

The Sharks, who are in 10th place on the standings just one above the Blues, have a draw and two defeats in their last three matches.

"When we have possession, it's for us to make the very best of it, to build the phases and put them under pressure," Gold said.

"One thing about the New Zealand teams is that they don't want to come out and defend, they prefer being on the attack."

"It's vital for us it to try get some parity at scrum time," the Sharks mentor said, adding: "It's really important from that point of view to give ourselves enough opportunity to be able to launch attacks against them.

"We need to be a lot neater and accurate at set-piece time, we need to get a lot more set-piece ball.

"And we've spoken long and hard about our discipline, we can't give penalties away.

"The Blues have some massive ball carriers up front, a good set-piece and some electric backs who are renowned steppers who use the width of the field very well.

"They will pose a massive challenge for us and we'll have to have our wits about us to be able to deal with their attacking game."

"The players are upbeat and are excited as well as optimistic about this three-week tour.

"We are confident that we will tour well and hoping we can really surprise a few people with some improved performances."
 
Recent results:
2014: Sharks won 29-23, Albany
2013: Sharks won 22-20, Durban
2012: Sharks won 29-23, Auckland
2011: Sharks won 26-12, Durban
2010: Sharks won 23-10, Durban
2009: Sharks won 35-31, Auckland

Prediction: The Sharks have won their last 10 matches against the Blues, though six of those 10 wins have been by seven points or fewer. The Sharks are undefeated in their last four matches away from home in Super Rugby. However, the Sharks have lost on each their last three trips to New Zealand with two of those defeats coming by more than 30 points. The Blues have averaged 17 minutes and 54 seconds in possession of the ball so far this season, the most of any team and over four minutes more than the Sharks (13:51). The Sharks have conceded just two second-half tries this season, three fewer than any other team. This is tough to call, as it is literally a case of who wants it most. We think the Blues will sneak this by five or sevens points - with a late score.

Teams:

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Tanerau Latimer/Kara Pryor, 6 Jerome Kaino, 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 Kara Pryor/Joe Edwards, 20 Akira Ioane, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 George Moala.

Sharks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Daniel du Preez, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira (captain).
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Keegan Daniel, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Garth April, 23 Odwa Ndungane.

Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert, Paul Williams
TMO: Ben Skeen

After forcing their way to the semifinals in 2015 - after a stellar season which saw them accrue 52 competition points, the third most of any team - the Waratahs have started their 2016 campaign disappointingly slow.

Both of their wins this campaign have been against the Reds and the New South Wales side will be looking to buck a string of tight results when they host the Brumbies.

The Waratahs opened their campaign with a convincing 30-10 win against the Reds on home turf, but have struggled from then on.

They were beaten 15-32 by the Brumbies in the nation's capital in Round Two and have won just one match since. They have struggled so far to impose themselves in the opening halves of games, forcing themselves to chase leads and fall agonisingly short.

This has not gone smoothly for the Brumbies either - having been forced to reorganise their back row, following the two-match suspension of David Pocock and the retirement of Ita Vaea over a life-threatening blood clot condition.

Brumbies prop Scott Sio said the side is confident they can return to form ahead of Saturday's Australian Conference blockbuster.

The Brumbies are coming off a 23-48 loss to the Chiefs two weeks ago.

Despite the defeat Sio says he is looking forward to an intense local derby.

"They'll come out firing this week. They'll be up for it," Sio said in an interview on the Brumbies website.

"They're back at home and they'll be wanting to put on a good show for their crowd.

"It's a big game obviously, but all the games are big for us. From now on, it's just ‘must win' every week so that's the approach we're taking into it."

Another player desperate to overcome a disappointing run in the season is the Waratahs' Wallaby lock Will Skelton. He was instructed by coach Daryl Gibson to go back to club rugby, to regain his fitness and recapture form.

"I had a slow start to the season and I don't think I was efficient enough with my ball carrying, defence and ruck stuff," Skelton told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"I wasn't really using my strengths to my advantage. He [Gibson] thought a week or two in club rugby would freshen me up and hopefully it pays dividends this weekend.

"I didn't see it coming," he said of his axing, adding: "Hopefully this week I can really put my hand up for the team and really lead in that physicality front and be dominant with my carries and defence."

David Pocock will miss the Waratahs clash as part of his three-week suspension and Sio says it will be a chance for some of the other players to shine.

"He's a massive loss for us. One, being a world-class player, but he provides a lot of leadership in what he does," Sio said.

"What that means now is there's an opportunity for a lot of the guys to step up. Jarrad [Butler] has been hard away at his rehab and Wellsy's [Michael Wells] been doing well.

"We've got capable guys to come on and fill that void that he's left."

Recent results:
2016: Brumbies won 32-15, Canberra
2015: Waratahs won 13-10, Canberra
2015: Waratahs won 28-13, Sydney
2014: Waratahs won 26-8, Sydney (semifinal)
2014: Waratahs won 39-8, Sydney
2014: Brumbies won 28-23, Canberra

Prediction: The Waratahs have won four of their last five matches against the Brumbies, though the ACT side snapped that streak with a 32-15 win in their last encounter. The Waratahs have won nine of their last 11 home matches against teams from within Australia, keeping their opponents to eight points or fewer in five of those matches. In the Brumbies' last 12 games, the side leading at half-time has gone on to win each time (excluding one tied game at half-time). The Brumbies have conceded only 14 points in the opening quarter of matches so far this season, only the Stormers (nine) have conceded fewer. Waratahs' Nick Phipps and Brumbies' Tomas Cubelli have each assisted three tries this season, the joint most of any players in the Australian Conference. This will probably not be very pretty, perhaps brutal - given how much is riding on the result. We think the Brumbies will win a close contest - the margin in single digits.

Teams:

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

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

Referee: Nick Briant
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill, Michael Hogan
TMO: Ian Smith

The Reds have been at the receiving end of a couple of big hidings at Loftus Versfeld and it has been 15 years since the Reds last won in Pretoria.

However, they may find a different animal opposing them this week - a Bulls team in the process of evolving from a one-dimensional bash-it-up side, to a team determined to play an expansive game.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais said despite the Reds' obvious threats - a team playing with good width - they will continue to evolve their own game and not retreat into their shells.

"They knocked over the defending champions last week, so will have faith in their game plan and structures," Marais said, adding: "We need to be ready."

Marais feels that the Reds will pose a different threat to what the team were exposed to in their last two matches.

"Local derbies are just different. It is a more physical match-up with lots of collisions.

"It is no co-incidence that people talk about a typical derby match.

"Playing a team from Australia will present challenges elsewhere to what we were used to and we need to be ready to embrace them."

Reds scrumhalf Nick Frisby said playing the Bulls at Loftus is probably one of the hardest assignments in Super Rugby.

"You can't want to go to Loftus with any doubts in your mind, because they [those doubts] will be exposed," Frisby said.

"It is another good opportunity this week for the team against the Bulls, following last week's win over the Highlanders.

"Just like last week we are coming up against quality opposition."

However, for many in the Reds team this is their first visit to South Africa.

"Youngsters can get caught up in the excitement of coming to South Africa for the first time and playing at Loftus ," he said of the intimidating Pretoria venue.

"Obviously altitude is a factor, but you just have to put that to the back of your mind.

"It is an interesting one for the kickers, especially if you haven't been here before - the ball tends to hang in the air.

"You just have to judge and get used to. Then the back three have to be on their toes, as there will be a lot of high balls and long kicks coming.

"If you play the Bulls you know they will be big and physical, that's their strength. Our forwards must front up and deal with the big boys."

Recent results:
2015: Bulls won 43-22, Pretoria
2013: Reds won 23-18, Brisbane
2012: Bulls won 61-8, Pretoria
2011: Reds won 39-30, Brisbane
2010: Reds won 19-12, Brisbane
2009: Bulls won 33-20, Pretoria

Prediction: The Reds have won three of their last five matches against the Bulls, though the South African side earned victory with a 43-22 win when they last met in Round Nine, 2015. The Bulls have won seven and drawn one of their last nine matches at home in Super Rugby. The Reds have won just two of their last 11 matches away from home, though one of those two wins came in South Africa against the Cheetahs in Round 10, 2015. Samu Kerevi made 164 metres over the gainline in the last round, the most by any player in a Super Rugby match this season. SP Marais made a competition-high six offloads in Round Seven, while it was the second most in a single game this season (George Moala - eight, v Hurricanes). Another tough one to call and rather than sit on the fence we are leaning towards the home team. The Bulls will do well if they win by more than 10 points, so we think it will be by eight points.

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Sarel Marais, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Deon Stegmann, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23  Dan Kriel.

Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Ben Matwijow, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Sef Fa'agase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Ayumu Goromaru.

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

The two form teams in South Africa go head-to-head in what most pundits see as a 'conference decider'.

Yes, we are only approaching the halfway stage of the league action, but there is no doubt the winner could take a significant psychological advantage into the second half of the season.

The Stormers, currently second on the global standings, head the Africa One conference and is five log points clear of the Lions, the leaders of the Africa Two conference.

Unlike last week - when both came away with comfortable wins - this is set to be desperate battle between two teams with vastly different philosophies.

While the Stormers are trying to change from a defensive-minded culture to a more expansive game, they have long way to go before they are as creative as the Lions.

The difference may well be found at flyhalf. The Stormers have for years relied on a player like Demetri Catrakilis and while Kurt Coleman is somewhat more creative, it was only last week when young Jean-Luc du Plessis started in the No.10 jersey that they had a clear vision of what an expansive game can look like when it comes off.

The Lions, with Elton Jantjies now a fixture at flyhalf, have been patiently evolving their game for the past three years and are finally beginning to reap the rewards.

The question is, in a crunch game - when the pressure is really on - will the Stormers revert to what their instinct tells them?

Lions coach Johan Ackermann believes defence is still the Stormers' most effective tactic.

"Defensively you always have to praise the Stormers," Ackermann said, adding: "They've done well this whole season.

"If you look at points difference on the standings, they have given away less points than anyone."

The Lions mentor admitted there has been a shift in the Cape Town outfit's approach.

"They will take more risks with those x-factor players they have.

"They also have those structures in place that have been there for a number of years.

"Their scrums are strong, the line-outs are strong and they are a good mauling side - as well as defence."

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said that his team is determined to build on the winning momentum they have gathered so far this season - with five wins in six starts.

"We know that every game is an opportunity to improve on what we have done before, and that is our aim up in Johannesburg," Fleck said.

"We have prepared well for this match and the players are focused on giving their best for 80 minutes this weekend," he added.

The Stormers' Springbok centre Damian de Allende pointed to shutting down Jantjies as the key to stopping the Lions' attack.

"He is a good player and when he gets on the front foot he can be devastating," De Allende said, when quizzed about the Lions' Bok flyhalf.

"Hopefully our loose trio can sort out their rucks and we can slow down their ball a bit - that is where we can expose him.

"It is tough to defend against, especially if they have guys with skills running off him and running short angels.

"It is just about how we manage our defence against that."

Recent results:
2015: Lions and Stormers drew 19-all, Cape Town
2015: Stormers won 22-19, Johannesburg
2014: Stormers won 18-3, Cape Town
2014:  Lions won 34-10, Johannesburg
2012: Stormers won 27-17, Cape Town
2012: Stormers won 24-19, Johannesburg

Prediction: These teams have faced each other 13 times with the Stormers winning on 11 occasions and the Lions just once; the two played out a 19-all draw in their last encounter. The Lions have won six of their last eight matches at home, while they haven't lost a home match to a South African team since they last hosted the Stormers in Round Three, 2015. The Stormers have won their last two matches away from home, although they have lost two of their last three matches away to South African teams. The Lions have scored nine of their tries after gaining possession from a line-out win, the second most of any team in the competition (Brumbies 11). This is a game that will be decided by one incident - a missed tackle, a skew or stolen line-out, a collapsed scrum, a penalty at the breakdown or even a refereeing call. We think the Lions will sneak it with a late score - five points or less.

Teams:

Lions: 15 Jaco Van Der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Francois de Klerk, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Andries Coetzee.

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

Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Lesego Legoete (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)

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

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article bulls v reds match 800

Bulls trample Reds on Loftus turf

Sat, 16 Apr 2016 16:53

REPORT: The Bulls continued their evolution into a more dynamic team with an emphatic 41-22 win over the Reds in Pretoria on Saturday.

It was by no means flawless - in fact their tendency to go off the boil at times is what cost them a bonus point.

However, they were more than good value for the five tries to three victory.

A brilliant Travis Ismaiel try set up the Bulls for the triumph and stretched an unbeaten Super Rugby run to six matches.

Seemingly without an attacking option when he received possession by the touchline just inside Reds' territory, wing Ismaiel found a way past fullback Karmichael Hunt.

He then outpaced flyhalf Jake McIntyre to dot down for a try flawless goal-kicker flyhalf Francois Brummer converted to give the hosts a 34-22 advantage.

Another try, from substitute scrumhalf Piet van Zyl, nine minutes later, which Brummer converted from in front of the posts, completed the scoring at Loftus Versfeld stadium.

With a 5-3 try advantage as time ticked away, the South Africans sought another to secure a bonus point and had a great chance after the full-time siren sounded.

Awarded a penalty, the three-time Super Rugby champions found touch five metres from the Australians' try-line and the expectation was that they would go for driving maul off the line-out.

But substitute hooker Jaco Visagie badly misjudged his throw, which flew past the last Bull in the line, and a hurried Reds kick into touch ended play.

It was a game of three phases with Bulls building a 27-8 lead after 51 minutes, followed by a period of Reds' dominance that trimmed the deficit to just five points.

Ismaiel then struck and the Reds were unable to stage another fightback in the first of two matches on a South African tour.

Since suffering a heavy opening-round loss to fellow South Africans Western Stormers in Cape Town, Bulls have won five matches and drawn one

Former champions Reds made an even worse start and fired coach Richard Graham, bringing in Nick Stiles as an interim replacement.

Improved form culminated in a shock 28-27 triumph over title-holders Otago Highlanders of New Zealand in Brisbane last weekend.

They have been a bogey side for Bulls, winning 10 of 17 previous clashes, but can have no complaints about losing as they were second best for much of the match, especially at scrum time.

Reds did provide an usual moment in first half stoppage time as flank Liam Gill  landed a 40-metre drop goal, only the sixth in Super Rugby this season and the first not scored by a flyhalf.

Prop Marcel van der Merwe, hooker and skipper Adriaan Strauss, flank Pieter 'Lappies' Labuschagne, Ismaiel and Van Zyl scored a try each for Bulls. .

Brummer succeeded with all seven kicks at goal for a 16-point haul from five conversions and two penalties.

Centre Samu Kerevi scored two tries and wing Chris Feauai-Sautia one for Reds and flyhalf Jake McIntyre kicked two conversions and Gill a drop-goal.

Man of the match: Liam Gill at times tried to do it all by himself, even slotting a drop-goal. Young Jake McIntyre produced a composed performance in the No.10 jersey, while Samu Kerevi was their most potent attacking weapon. Pieter Labuschagne is fast regaining his best form, while Adriaan Strauss and Trevor Nyakane had some strong bursts. Francois Brummer was hot and cold, but had some sublime moments. Jesse Kriel also looked to be regaining some form. However, the most productive player for the Bulls was flank Jannes Kirsten, who put in some monster hits on defence to complement his enormous workrate - winning our award.

The scorers:

For the Bulls:
Tries:
Van der Merwe, Strauss, Labuschagne, Ismaiel, Van Zyl
Cons: Brummer 4
Pens: Brummer 2

For the Reds:
Tries:
Feauai-Sautia, Kerevi 2
Cons: McIntyre 2
DG: Gill

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Sarel Marais, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Werner Kruger, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Deon Stegmann, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23  Dan Kriel.

Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Anthony Fainga'a, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Ben Matwijow, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Sef Fa'agase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Curtis Browning, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Ayumu Goromaru.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Marcel van der Merwe (31min), Adriaan Strauss (35min), Pieter Labuschagne (49min), Travis Ismaiel (61min), and Piet van Zyl (69min)
TRIES
Chris Feauai-Sautia (4min), Samu Kerevi (52min), and Samu Kerevi (58min)
Francois Brummer (32min), Francois Brummer (36min), Francois Brummer (50min), Francois Brummer (62min), and Francois Brummer (70min)
CONVERSIONS
Jake McIntyre (53min) and Jake McIntyre (59min)
Francois Brummer (18min) and Francois Brummer (44min)
PENALTIES
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
Liam Gill (40min)
 
 
 
VENUE Pretoria
REFEREE Angus Gardner (Australia)