ad link


36     28


Super Rugby | Tokyo
05:15 (GMT) | 23-04-2016
  • 81
Thank for joining us! Join us again for more Super Rugby and Champions Cup semifinal action!
  • 80
Pisi adds the extras as the Sunwolves record their first-ever Super Rugby win!
  • 79
They have a 5m scrum and Pisi works his magic again as he dummies and offloads to Sasakura who is over for the try!
  • 77
They take the ball up and have another scrum on Jaguares 22. They retain possession and Sasakura snipes through after in inside pass from Pisi. He passes to blinsider Andrew Durutalo who threatens the tryline but is held up.
  • 74
Play is becoming increasingly scrappy now and it's clear that both sides are desperate for the win. The Jaguares' ill-discipline at the breakdowns give the opposition the turnover after a lineout on Sunwolves 10.
  • 72
The Sunwolves are calling the shots and the Jaguares are penalised yet again, this time at the scrum. Pisi takes the kick from an angle and puts the Sunwolves in the lead again
  • 69
Hernandez gets to respond and put the visitors in command again with an easy kick. He gets it over to regain the lead
  • 66
He gets it over to put the Sunwolves in the lead for the first time in this match
  • 65
He's up and good to go. Tatekawa breaks through after the scrum and another intercept-attempt by the Jaguares sets Pisi up for the obstruction penalty
  • 64
Sunwolves are doing well to hold onto the ball as the Jaguares desperately try to keep them out of their 22 with solid defence. Augustin Creevy is down and receiving medical attention
  • 61
The score is a good reflection of the tight game. The intensity building as the game progresses
  • 58
Pisi's boot is on form as he narrow on the gap on the scoreboard with the conversion
  • 57
A bit of aerial ping pong as both sides keep the ball on the boot. The Sunwolves have a lineout on Jaguares 10 and the Argentinians capatilise on an overlap but lose the ball forward. Sunwolves scrum on the Jaguares 22 and backline interplay puts Carpenter in space for try!
  • 53
The Jaguares will be looking to hold onto the ball a bit more and build the pressure. They lose possession after not rolling away and the Sunwolves have the scrum in midfield
  • 50
Hernandez adds the extras
  • 48
Play is restarted and an inside pass by the Sunwolves is intercepted in midfield by No.8 Facundo Isa who rnakes his way to an open tryline and is over for the try!
  • 46
Sunwolves midfielder Derek Carpenter makes a beautiful break but he is taken down just shy of the 22. The whistle goes and the Sunwolves get a shot at goal. Viljoen gets it right to add three for the home team
  • 43
Great competing at the lineout on the halfway line by the Sunwolves sets them up and they btake the ball into Jaguares half, but their momentum is halted just outside the 22. They visitors turn it over and try to get out of their own half, but the ball is passed forward and the Sunwolves will feed the scrum just outside Jaguares 10
  • 41
Hernández gets the second half underway

Half Time

  • 40
Hernández now gets to answer with a penalty kick and he makes no mistake with this one as he gets it over to put the Jaguares in the lead with 18-13 on the stroke of halftime
  • 37
The Jaguares are guilty of not releasing the tackled player after the restart and Pisi sets up for the kick. He misses out on an opportunity to give his side the lead just before halftime as he sends this one just wide from midfield
  • 34
The Jaguares' kicking is making the scoreline much tighter than what it should be as Hernández misses yet another shot
  • 33
The Jaguares attack from the restart and are really testing the Sunwolves' defence. Ramiro Moyano chips the ball out wide inside Sunwolves 10 and Boffelli wins the sprint to dive over for their third try of the match!
  • 31
Both sides are creating a lot of opportunities. The Jaguares are trying to get out of their own half but they infringe at the breakdown again and Pisi sets up to take his third kick of the game from halfway
  • 31
It has the distance and he adds three more to put the Sunwolves in the lead
  • 27
The Sunwolves are getting some really good ball from the set-pieces today. We have a short injury time-out as Sunwolves lock Liaki Moli is getting his hand checked out by the medics
  • 25
The Sunwolves are getting into the game now as they're enjoying much more possession and territory. They get into Jaguares 22 but possession is turned over. A rushed pass by the Jaguares sees the ball lost forward and the home side have a scrum on the 10
  • 23
A Sunwolves fumble in midfield gives the Jaguares possession and they run the ball before Ramiro Moyano chips it forward. Jaguares incide centre Santiago González Iglesias and outside centre Harumichi Tatekawa sprint after the ball and Iglesias knocks on as he tries to ground the ball. Sunwolves get the penalty and Pisi clears
  • 22
They add the extras to level the score
  • 22
They retain possession and launch an attack that gets them into the Jaguares red zone. Quick recycling and a nifty through-the-legs pass from Tusi puts replacement fullback Yasutaka Sasakura in space and he's over for the try!
  • 20
The lineout favours the Jaguares and they set up a few phases as they gain metres up field. The whistle goes again as the visitors are off the feet at the ruck and Atsushi Hiwasa will feed the scrum for the Sunwolves on the halfway line
  • 18
The Jaguares are doing all the attacking so far and threaten the Sunwolves in-goal area again, but they're penalised 10 metres out for offside and Viljoen does well to find touch on opposition 10
  • 17
Boffelli is taken off the field to have a concussion test
  • 15
Boffelli now receiving medical assistance after another aerial takedown in the first quarter of the game. The Sunwolves seem to be having a real timing issue
  • 13
The Jaguares are missing out on the extras as they miss the second conversion
  • 12
The Jaguares gain good ground after a driving maul in midfield and beautiful distribution is finished off with an outside pass from Emiliano Boffelli to left wing Lucas González Amorosin who sprints down the left touch and is over for the try!
  • 8
Hernández misses an easy conversion and keeps their lead narrow
  • 7
Nothing wrong there and the try is awarded!
  • 7
The Jaguares answer with fierce attacking that gets them into opposition 22. Hooker Agustín Creevy powers through to dot the ball down, but we have a TMO referral for possible obstruction
  • 5
Flyhalf Tusi Pisi gets a penalty shot after the Jaguares have their hands in the ruck. He sets up 30 metres out from a slight left angle and slots it through to give the Sunwolves the early lead.
  • 4
Play is restarted with a Jaguares scrum on own 10. They find touch and have the throw-in on the 10. The visitors come away with it and take the ball up before possession is turned over. The home side now have a lineout in midfield and gain a few metres with quick recycling
  • 2
An early awkward aerial contest sees Jaguares fullback Joaquín Tuculet taken down in mid air. Sunwolves right wing Viliami Lolohea is also receiving medical assistance after the tackle attempt and both backs are escorted off the field.
  • 1
Riaan Viljoen gets the game underway and the Jaguares gather before returning with a kick into Sunwolves 22
  • -2
The teams are on the pitch! They have a moment of silence for the victims of the Kumamoto earthquake
  • -5
Jamie Nutbrown is our referee and Chris Pollock and Noriaki Hashimoto will be assisting him, while Takashi Hareda is in charge of referrals as our TMO.
  • -10
Jaguares boss Raul Perez made five changes to the pack and four in the backline. In a new-look Jaguares outfit, Agustin Creevy returns to the team at hooker instead of Julian Montoya, and also reclaims the captaincy armband. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro replaces Ramiro Herrera at tighthead prop and Matias Alemanno comes into the side in place of Thomas Lavanini at lock, while Juan Manuel Leguizamón and Facundo Isa replace Pablo Matera and Leonardo Senatore in the back row. Scrumhalf Gonzalo Mendoza Bertranou will make his starting debut and Juan Martin Hernández returns to the matchday 23, taking over from Nicolas Sanchez. At centre, Matías Moroni makes way for Jeronimo de la Fuente, while Joaquin Tuculet returns at fullback in the last of nine changes.
  • -20
Sunwolves head coach Mark Hammett has made three changes and one positional shift, with Atsushi Hiwasa starting in the No.9 jersey in place of Yuki Yatomi in the only change to the backline from the team that lost 17-92 to the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last week. Midfielders Derek Carpenter and Harumichi Tatekawa switch positions and there are two changes to the pack, with Yoshiya Hosoda replacing Tomás Leonardi on the side of the scrum, while Shinnosuke Kakinaga comes into the front row to replace Takuma Asahara.
  • -30
Welcome and thanks for joining us for our live coverage of the Round Nine meeting between the Sunwolves and Jaguares in Tokyo!
  • 1 Masataka Mikami
  • 2 Shota Horie
  • 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga
  • 4 Hitoshi Ono
  • 5 Liaki Moli
  • 6 Yoshiya Hosoda
  • 7 Andrew Durutalo
  • 8 Ed Quirk
  • 9 Atsushi Hiwasa
  • 10 Tusi Pisi
  • 11 Mifiposeti Paea
  • 12 Harumichi Tatekawa
  • 13 Derek Carpenter
  • 14 Viliami Lolohea
  • 15 Riaan Viljoen
  • 16 Takeshi Kizu
  • 17 Ziun Gu
  • 18 Takuma Asahara
  • 19 Fa'atiga Lemalu
  • 20 Taiyo Ando
  • 21 Kaito Shigeno
  • 22 Yu Tamura
  • 23 Yasutaka Sasakura
  • 2 Augustin Creevy
  • 3 Nahuel Chaparro
  • 4 Juan Cruz Guillemain
  • 5 Matias Alemanno
  • 6 Pablo Matera
  • 7 Juan Manual Leguizamon
  • 8 Facundo Isa
  • 9 Gonzalo Bertranou
  • 10 Juan Martin Hernandez
  • 11 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino
  • 12 Santiago Iglesias,
  • 13 Jerónimo De La Fuente
  • 14 Ramiro Moyano
  • 15 Joaquin Tuculet
  • 1 Felipe Arregui
  • 16 Facundo Bosch
  • 17 Facundo Gigena
  • 18 Enrique Pieretto
  • 19 Guido Petti Pagadizaval
  • 20 Rodrigo Baez
  • 21 Felipe Ezcurra
  • 22 Joaquín Paz
  • 23 Emiliano Boffelli
Mc article aaron cruden chiefs ball 800


Thu, 21 Apr 2016 22:09

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

Aaron Cruden and Beauden Barrett go head-to-head in the battle to succeed Dan Carter as All Black flyhalf in the weekend's main match - when the when the Hurricanes host the Chiefs in Wellington on Saturday.

Carter's mastery in the No.10 jersey made him a three-time world player of the year and his departure from the international scene has created intense competition in New Zealand - with Cruden and Barrett the front-runners.

The Chiefs have been the pace-setters in Super Rugby this year and with Cruden returning to his peak, after missing last year's World Cup through injury, the Hamilton-based unit have won six out of seven matches.

Barrett's Hurricanes have also recovered from a woeful start to the season to win five consecutive games after losing the first two.

Sandwiched between the two in the New Zealand conference are the Crusaders, who are in Canberra on Sunday to play old Australian rivals the Brumbies.

The Stormers and Lions, who lead the two African conferences, play the lowly Reds and Southern Kings respectively.

The Jaguares, following a disappointing three-loss swing through New Zealand, will be looking to notch their second win when they play fellow Super Rugby newcomers the Sunwolves in Tokyo.

In the other match on Saturday the Western Force host the Waratahs in Perth.

Saturday, April 23

This is truly a basement battle - the Sunwolves in last place, winless and with just three losing bonus points from sevens starts; the Jaguares in 15th place with just one win from seven outings and a handful of losing bonus points.

For the Sunwolves the match represents a chance to regain some lost pride after their embarrassing 17-92 loss to the Cheetahs last week.

The biggest loss for the Jaguares, whose only win was a one-point squeaker over the same Cheetahs in Round One, was a 22-40 defeat at the hands of the Hurricanes a fortnight ago.

The Argentinian players took some time out this week to take in the sights and sounds of Tokyo, a place were very few had visited before.

"However, we quickly moved on and started to focus on the match this coming Saturday," captain Agustín Creevy said.

"We are aiming to improve significantly on out recent performances," he said of the defeats to the Blues, Hurricanes and Crusaders.

"We are looking to cut down on the unforced that cost us so dearly in those games.

"Obviously we are striving for the win, but also to play our own game."

They have had "to good sessions" this week, according to the skipper.

"We have a lot of confidence in ourselves and as long as we execute out game plan, we can win."

Previous results:
These teams have never met in Super Rugby before.

Prediction: These two competition newcomers will meet for the first time in Super Rugby with only one win between them so far this season. Only once in their last four matches have the Jaguares been outscored in the second half (against the Hurricanes in Round Seven). The Sunwolves come into this match on the back of the third biggest loss in Super Rugby history (75 points) have conceding the joint second most points (92) in the competition. The Jaguares have turned the ball over more than any other side so far this season, conceding an average of 19.7 per game. Of the 14 players to have attempted 25+ kicks at goal this season, Tusi Pisi (85 percent - 22/26) has the best success rate. The Sunwolves seem a disjointed and discouraged bunch, lacking motivation and direction. The energy from the opening weeks are gone and the lack of skills have been cruelly exposed. The Jaguares should win comfortably, by about 20 points.


Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 13 Harumichi Tatekawa 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Mifiposeti Paea, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Yoshiya Hosoda, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Shota Horie (captain), 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Faatiga Lemalu, 20 Taiyo Ando, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Yasutaka Sasakura.

Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 12 Santiago González Iglesias, 11 Lucas González Amorosino, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Juan Cruz Guillemaín, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Felipe Arregui.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Rodrigo Báez, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Joaquín Paz, 23 Emiliano Boffelli.

Referee: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock, Noriaki Hashimoto
TMO: Takashi Hareda

The Chiefs head to Wellington refreshed after a bye and with Aaron Cruden commanding the competition's most potent backline, where he is developing a strong partnership with fullback Damian McKenzie.

The pair mix their roles on the field in a way that has helped McKenzie become the tournament's top try-scorer and overall leading points-scorer.

"Our game plan allows us to both get into first receiver and jump around a bit so I think it's going well," said McKenzie, whose flyhalf skills have also been rated highly by All Black coach Steve Hansen.

With the departure of veteran All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith at the end of last year, Beauden Barrett does not enjoy the same level of support as Cruden.

But he has been able to keep the Hurricanes competitive as evidenced by his two tries and four conversions last week, when he oversaw a 38-13 win against the Rebels.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said there was no doubt the Chiefs represented a significant step up for the squad

"I won't have to say a lot this week," Boyd said.

"The team knows this is a big match and the Chiefs form and team sheet speak for themselves.

"They are a well-coached side that poses threats across the park.

"We will have to be at our best at both ends of the park if we want to compete."

Recent results:
2015: Hurricanes won 21-13, New Plymouth
2015: Hurricanes won 22-18, Wellington
2014: Chiefs won 24-16, Hamilton
2014: Hurricanes won 45-8, Wellington
2013: Chiefs won 34-22, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 17-12, Wellington

Prediction: The Hurricanes have won nine of their last 10 home matches against the Chiefs, with the Chiefs' only victory in that run coming in a 17-12 tussle in Round 14, 2013. The Hurricanes have won their last five matches; the last time they recorded more consecutive victories was when they won seven on the bounce at the start of the 2015 season. The Chiefs have also won their last five matches, their longest streak since winning six in a row across the 2013 and 2014 campaigns, including their final win against the Brumbies in 2013. The Chiefs have scored 98 points in the final quarter of matches so far this season, the most of any team, and they are just two points away from becoming the first team this season to score 100 points in any single quarter of matches. Aaron Cruden has assisted nine tries so far this season, three more than any other player in the competition and the only player to average more than one assist per game. The biggest game of the weekend and probably also the toughest to call. Home ground advantage will count for something, but the Chiefs' greater try-scoring ability will see them score a couple of late tries for a 12-point win.


Hurricanes: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Reg Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 James Marshall.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 Sam McNicol, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Tom Sanders, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Mitchell Graham.   
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siate Tokolahim, 18 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Andrew Horrell, 23 Glen Fisiiahi.

Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Nick Briant, Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Glenn Newman

Both teams have disappointing and well below the expected standards - especially the Wallaby-laden Waratahs, who are sitting well outside the top 10 with just two wins in six starts.

Waratahs captain Michael Hooper is hoping for a less physical encounter, as the Waratahs have been beaten in every arm-wrestle they have been dragged into this year.

With the Waratahs' backline showing some promise in recent weeks, an open game might just suit them.

"They've played some great strategy against us," Hooper told the Sydney Morning Herald, when asked about the Force.

"They made us play a lot of rugby in our own half and put us under pressure.

"We haven't cracked them yet. They're good players, they really stuff your ball up.

"We've talked about playing an attacking game, an attacking brand of rugby and they're good at shutting that down."

Having had a bye Western Force coach Michael Foley said the side is well rested and looking forward to the challenge the Waratahs pose.

"We took some time to recover during the first part of the bye week and began preparing for this match last Thursday," Foley said.

"The break has allowed us to address some key areas that we're looking to improve for the next three games before our next bye.

"While the Waratahs have a number of strike weapons that we need to pressure,  we're looking forward to the challenge of playing one of the leading teams in the competition," Foley added.

Recent results:
2015: Force won 18-11, Perth
2015: Force won 25-13, Sydney
2014: Force won 28-16, Perth
2014: Waratahs won 43-21, Sydney
2013: Waratahs won 28-13, Perth
2013: Waratahs won 23-19, Sydney

Prediction: The Force have won their last three matches against the Waratahs, more wins than they accrued in the 12 prior iterations of this fixture. The Force haven't won a home match since Round 13, 2015, however that was the last time they faced the Waratahs. The Waratahs have won two of their last three matches away from home and have not trailed at the break in any of those matches (leading twice, level once). The Force have kicked eight penalty goals in the 20 minutes immediately after half-time, the most of any team. Matt Hodgson has averaged 14.7 tackles per game this season while Michael Hooper has averaged 12.7, the most and third most of any players in the competition respectively. The lack of form from both teams make this a tricky call, but the Waratahs may just sneak a late winner - by seven points.


Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Solomoni 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  Mafi, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Francois van Wyk
Replacements: 16 Harry Scoble, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Rory Walton, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Kyle Godwin, 23 Albert Nikoro

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

Referee: Rohan Hoffmann
Assistant referees: Will Houston, Michael Hogan
TMO: Peter Marshall

The Stormers are somewhat apprehensive and with good reason - as the Reds' only win in the first half of the season was against the defending-champion Highlanders.

The Capetonians are leading the African Conference at the moment, but they are aware that the men from Brisbane can be more than a handful when they get it right.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said his team would look to "keep growing and learning" from their experiences - which include a disappointing loss to the Lions last week.

"It is important that we make another step up against a competitive Reds side," Fleck said.

"They are certainly a dangerous side.

"They were very structured early in the season and the change in management [coach] has freed them up a bit.

"Now, in broken play, they are extremely dangerous and that is where we need to watch them."

The Stormers' set pieces have been solid all season, but Fleck was wary about the Reds' scrum.

"They have gained the most penalties at scrum time," the Stormers coach said, adding: "They are a very good scrum, but we faced a very good scrum last week as well and I felt that we started gaining ascendancy in the last quarter."

Reds co-interim coach Matt O'Connor said his team understand the challenge in front of them.

"There will be no hiding places, but there is an opportunity to come up with an historic victory," O'Connor said.

"We need to make it hard for the Stormers to get over the gainline.

"If we can disrupt their possession it should be an entertaining fixture.

"The Stormers have been the most consistent South African team over the last couple of years and we know how good we'll have to perform to get the result at Newlands on Saturday."

Recent results:
2014: Reds won 22-17, Brisbane
2013: Stormers won 20-15, Cape Town
2012: Stormers won 23-13, Brisbane
2011: Reds won 19-6, Cape Town
2010: Reds won 16-13, Brisbane
2009: Stormers won 27-24, Cape Town

Prediction: The Reds have won three of their last five matches against the Stormers, including the most recent iteration, though neither team has scored more than 23 points in any of the last five of these clashes. The Stormers have won five of their last seven matches, though a three-match winning streak was brought to an end in the last round in a seven-point loss to the Lions. The Reds' only win in their last nine matches in South Africa was a one-point victory against the Cheetahs in Round 10, 2015. The Stormers are one of three teams (Crusaders, Rebels) who are yet to concede a try after defending for seven or more phases while the Reds have conceded six tries after seven or more phases, the most of any team. Only Damian McKenzie (96) has made more carries than Samu Kerevi this season who has carried 89 times in total. The Reds do have a realistic chance of a win, but the smart money will be on the Stormers to win by 15 points.


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

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 Curtis Browning, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ben Matwijow, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Saia Fainga'a, 17 Sef Fa'agase, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Duncan Paia'aua, 23 Ayumu Goromaru.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Shaun Veldsman

It was not a week of celebrations for the Lions, despite the significance of their victory over the Stormers last week.

Coach Johan Ackermann started the week on a cautious note, warning his team against complacency.

However, the news became increasingly negative as they not only lost two key players to injuries suffered in the victory over the Stormers - prop Julian Redelinghuys (wrist) and hooker Malcolm Marx (neck) - for the next few weeks, but then suffered a further setback when fullback Andries Coetzee (ankle) was ruled out of action for six to eight weeks after a training ground mishap.

Still, most pundits would fancy them in their first Super Rugby encounter with the Southern Kings.

The two sides did meet in a promotion-relegation series back in 2013 - which the Lions won by a two-point aggregate score - but Kings will be aiming for their first-ever win against South African opposition in the competition.

Both teams made numerous changes - Kings coach Deon Davids making nine of them to his starting XV.

Like the Lions the Kings lost a key front row player when Edgar Marutlulle was ruled out with a knee injury, while Sithembiso Sithole is batting with an elbow injury.

The return of veteran lock and captain Steven Sykes is a big boost for the home team.

The Lions coach, Ackermann, on Thursday repeated his statement from earlier in the week - when he suggested it would be the team's biggest mental challenge.

He said they tried to ensure that, despite the lowly position of the opposition, the week was no different to any other week.

"We've prepared the same and the intensity of our training was the same," he said.

The coach made it clear that his team could not afford to ease up and said they must "respect" the opposition.

"You don't want to be that team that allows them to get going and fall behind. We must maintain the same high standards we have all season.

"Although we have made changes to the team, the players in the starting XV must play with the same passion and pride."

Previous results:
These teams have not met in an official Super Rugby match before. They met in a two-match promotion-relegation series in 2013.
2013: Lions won 26-19, Port Elizabeth
2013: Kings won  23-18, Johannesburg
* Lions reclaimed their Super Rugby status with a 44-42 aggregate score.

Prediction: The Kings will face the Lions for the first time in Super Rugby and will be aiming for their first ever win against South African opposition in the competition. The Kings have lost five of their last six at home with their only positive in that run being a 33-28 win against the Sunwolves in Round Six. The Lions have won four and drawn one of their last six matches away from home with the full-time result mirroring the half-time result on all six occasions. The Kings have scored all but one of their tries from possession originating from either a line-out (six) or after winning a turnover (five). Elton Jantjies has kicked 34 successful goals so far this season, the most of any player, with an accuracy of 77 percent. Complacency is indeed the Lions' biggest enemy and they should win by 20 points or more.


Southern Kings: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Shane Gates, 11 JP du Plessis, 10 Louis Fouche, 9 James Hall, 8 CJ Velleman, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Steven Sykes (captain), 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Tom Botha, 18 Justin Ackermann, 19 JC Astle, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Ntando Kebe, 22 Stefan Watermeyer, 23 Leighton Eksteen.

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

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, AJ Jacobs
TMO: Christie du Preez

Sunday, April 24

The Brumbies will provide a measure of where Australian rugby is at when they host a Crusaders side brimming with confidence after posting six wins on the trot.

The Brumbies and Crusaders were the competition's leading rivals in the early 2000s, but it has been nine years since the Australians last tasted success.

Co-captain Christian Lealiifano is looking forward to the challenge and hopes to gain momentum through the season starting with this game.

The Crusaders are in excellent form and the 28-year-old is aware of their positive performances.

"We know how big this game is for us against the Crusaders and they're in red hot form, they've won six straight so they've got all the momentum," Lealiifano said in an interview on the Brumbies website.

"We've got a little bit [of momentum] coming off the win on the weekend so we've just got to try to build on that."

The New Zealand teams have been extremely difficult to beat - with the Chiefs, Crusaders, Hurricanes and Highlanders all having won five or more of their games.

Only two Australian sides have beaten New Zealand opposition and the Brumbies are one of them, with their win over the Hurricanes in Round One.

"For the team, the focus is playing well in front of our home fans and putting on a good performance."

"They've been the best New Zealand franchise for a long time, they've won the most championships and they keep breeding some good depth.

"When they lost Richie McCaw and Dan Carter everyone thought they'd probably drop a little bit and they've just gone into another gear."

Recent results:
2015: Crusaders won 37-24, Canberra
2014: Crusaders won 40-20, Christchurch
2013: Crusaders won 30-23, Canberra
2011: Crusaders won 52-10, Nelson
2010: Crusaders won 40-22, Christchurch
2009: Brumbies won 18-16, Canberra

Prediction: The Crusaders have won their last five matches against the Brumbies, scoring an average 39.8 points per game in the process. The Crusaders have won their last six matches, not since 2008 have they strung together more wins. The Brumbies have led at half-time in four of their seven matches so far this season (level once), although they have not led at the break in consecutive matches since Round 17, 2015. The Brumbies have conceded just one try this season when the opposition has obtained possession by winning a turnover, the joint fewest of any team (level with Sharks and Stormers). Nemani Nadolo has made 15 offloads this season, more than any other player, while his 15 clean breaks are the second most this season. The Brumbies are Australia's best team by some distance, but they are also way behind the pace being set by the New Zealand franchises. The Crusaders will win by 10 to 15 points.


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 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.

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

Compiled by Jan de Koning, with additional reporting by AFP

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article sunwolves players general 800

Pisi boots Sunwolves to historic win

Sat, 23 Apr 2016 07:14

REPORT: Samoan international Tusi Pisi produced a masterclass that saw the Sunwolves record their first ever win in Super Rugby, beating the Jaguares 36-28 in Tokyo on Saturday.

The historic win marks one of the most remarkable comeback, after the Sunwolves were hammered 92-17 by the Cheetahs just a week ago.

The Argentinean side outscored their Japanese counterparts by four tries to three.

However, the boot of Pisi not just kept the Sunwolves in the game, he kicked them ahead and set up a match-clinching try in the dying stages.

The Sunwolves' win came after a miserable start to their debut season - a run of seven successive defeats.

"To get this historic win in Japan is very special," Sunwolves captain Shota Horie told reporters.

"We had to try to forget what happened in our last game and put everything on the line and luckily we did that."

The Sunwolves have endured a torrid first season in Super Rugby, with last week's humiliating 17-92 defeat to the Cheetahs marked yet another low.

The Jaguares, who boast 13 of the Argentina side that reached last year's World Cup semifinals, looked set to snap a six-match losing streak as they opened a 13-8 half-time lead.

Captain Agustin Creevy crashed over early before Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino and Emiliano Boffelli added brilliant tries, but Juan Martin Hernández missed all three conversions - which was to prove costly.

A converted try from Facundo Isa gave the visitors a 25-16 advantage before the Sunwolves, roared on by their army of howling fans, came storming back, sparked by a slashing try from New Zealander Derek Carpenter.

Pisi, who is set to join English second-tier club Bristol at the end of the season, held his nerve to fire the Sunwolves back in front 29-28 before Harumichi Tatekawa burst over with the final play to trigger wild scenes at the buzzer.

Before the match, the teams observed a minute's silence for the victims of last week's deadly earthquakes in southern Japan.

"We were deeply sorry not to be able to bring the people of Kyushu any relief in our last game," said Horie.

"I would be very happy if this win can offer them some small hope at this difficult time."

Two teams who have been criss-crossing the globe in recent weeks wilted as the second half wore on but Amorosino refused to blame fatigue.

"That's the not the reason," he said.

"This tournament is very hard for everyone. We have to look at the video and start again."

Man of the match: The Jaguares were mostly pedestrian, although players like Juan Martin Hernández and Juan Manuel Leguizamon had their moments. For the Sunwolves Riaan Viljoen, Derek Carpenter, Ed Quirk, Liaki Moli and captain Shota Horie all produced outstanding performances. However, our man of the match is Sunwolves flyhalf Tusi Pisi - who not only produced a superb kicking performance, both out of hand and at goal, but directed the show and had a massive hand in his team's three tries.

The scorers:

For the Sunwolves:
Sasakura, Carpenter, Tatekawa
Cons: Viljoen, Pisi 2
Pens: Pisi 4, Viljoen

For the Jaguares:
Creevy, Amorosino, Boffelli, Isa
Cons: Hernández
Pens: Hernández 2


Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Viliami Lolohea, 13 Harumichi Tatekawa 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Mifiposeti Paea, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Ed Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Yoshiya Hosoda, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Shota Horie (captain), 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Kizu, 17 Ziun Gu, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Faatiga Lemalu, 20 Taiyo Ando, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Yasutaka Sasakura.

Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 12 Santiago González Iglesias, 11 Lucas González Amorosino, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Juan Cruz Guillemaín, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Felipe Arregui.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Facundo Gigena, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Rodrigo Báez, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Joaquín Paz, 23 Emiliano Boffelli.

Referee: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock, Noriaki Hashimoto
TMO: Takashi Hareda

Yasutaka Sasakura (22min), Derek Carpenter (57min), and Yasutaka Sasakura (79min)
Augustin Creevy (7min), Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino (12min), Emiliano Boffelli (34min), and Facundo Isa (48min)
Riaan Viljoen (23min), Tusi Pisi (58min), and Tusi Pisi (80min)
Juan Martin Hernandez (50min)
Tusi Pisi (5min), Tusi Pisi (31min), Riaan Viljoen (46min), Tusi Pisi (66min), and Tusi Pisi (72min)
Juan Martin Hernandez (40min) and Juan Martin Hernandez (69min)
REFEREE Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)