ad link


27     28


Super Rugby | Wellington
07:35 (GMT) | 23-04-2016
  • 80
Thank you for joining us at for this match! The Chiefs win this one 28-27 in an absolutely spectacular match! Be sure to join us for the remaining fixtures today with the Force taking on the Waratahs next!
  • 79
Hurricanes have the scrum and one last chance at winning this game. Perenara to Barrett who breaks the line and plays Woodward , with the tryline in sight the fullback loses the ball forward! Scrum Chiefs, but its non contested, thats the game folks.
  • 78
Golden oldies non contested scrums , a coach killer for the dominant Hurricanes pack.
  • 77
Canes on the attack through Woodward , followed by Eves who is pinged for holding on and the Chiefs win the penalty. Cruden will put the ball into touch to set up a lineout just his own half. Hurricanes win the lineout and Eves makes a lovely run before Perenara loses the ball forward.
  • 76
Chiefs down to 14 for a technical issues with injuries up front. Extremely technical but the Chiefs have to play the last 5 minutes with one man down.
  • 75
Canes on the attack before the ball is lost forward again this time by Fifita. Scrum Chiefs. Time is running out for the Canes.
  • 74
Kerr-Barlow clears the ball into touch. Canes have the lineout on the Chiefs 22
  • 73
Canes almost steal the lineout but unfortunately Dane Coles lost the ball forward. Scrum Chiefs.
  • 71
Chiefs with the ball on the halfway before the Canes turn the ball over. Perenara puts in a lovely kick that rolls out 5 meters from the Chiefs try line. Pressure lineout for Elliot.
  • 69
Woodward converts the try!
  • 68
Tighthead at the scrum , Canes back on the attack through Barrett followed by lock Fatialofa who bursts through the line and plays Barrett who scores a magnificent try! Game on!
  • 67
Coles puts through a grubber cleaned up by McKenzie. The Chiefs then clear the ball to Julian Savea who bounces McNicholl out the way but then loses the ball forward. Scrum Chiefs.
  • 66
Canes on the attack inside the Chiefs half but they are being met by some thumping tackles.
  • 65
Forward pass thrown from the Canes, Chiefs have the scrum put in .
  • 64
Canes on the attack inside the Chiefs 22
  • 63
Tamanivalu busts though the line again but is isolated in the tackle as the Canes turn the ball over and are back on the attack before being awarded the penalty. Barrett kicks for touch.
  • 62
Cruden clears the Chiefs line and the Canes have a lineout on the 22. Vito loses the ball forward and the ref calls for a Chiefs scrum .
  • 60
From the lineout TJ Perenara gets the ball and offloads to Ardie Savea who makes a super run and gets rid of McKenzie , he is agonizingly short as the flank gets bundled into touch. Super play
  • 59
Chiefs on the attack on the halfway through Elliot and then McKenzie before the Canes counter ruck the Chiefs off the ball forcing the turnover but then Perenara kicks the ball out on the full.
  • 57
Canes win the penalty , they opt to kick for touch but Barrett fails to find touch kicking the ball dead and the Chiefs will have the scrum. Basic error from the Canes number 10.
  • 55
Chiefs turn the ball over and clear the ball upfield taken well by Barrett who throws the speculator offload that comes off well and the Canes attack from deep. Fantastic match here
  • 53
Canes scrum inside the Chiefs half. They attack through Woodward followed by Shields. The ref penalizes Sam Cane and the Canes opt to kick for touch to set up an attacking lineout in the Chiefs 22 .
  • 51
McKenzie adds the extras with a lovely kick
  • 49
Barrett clears the ball into touch, taken quickly by Leitch. McKenzie hoists the up and under and regathers in, Chiefs on the attack in the Canes 22 before Seu crashes over! Just too hot in attack!
  • 48
Barrett pulls the conversion attempt
  • 46
Chiefs attack from deep before losing the ball , Coles picks up runsa t McNicholl and offloads to TJ Perenara who scores!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 45
McKenzie adds the extras
  • 44
Weber plays Leitch from close and the number 8 crashes over for the try! Great play from the Chiefs
  • 43
Woodward puts the fend on Cruden but the Chiefs turn the ball over and McKenzie slices through the line and is taken 5 meters from the Canes try line. The Hurricanes force the turnover and Perenara clears the ball upfield. Leitch makes a good run , followed by Cruden who shows some fancy footwork. What a start to the half
  • 42
Couple kicks in the early exchanges before Woodward puts his head down and makes a good run. Canes up to the halfway line as Goodes has a run followed by Blade Thomson. Good patience in attack from the home side.
  • 41
Second half underway as Cruden kicks off

Half Time

  • 40
Halftime , see you all in a bit for the second half.
  • 39
Canes on the attack , they win the penalty and Barrett will have a shot at goal, he lines up his kick but he pushes it wide.
  • 38
Hurricanes win the penalty . Barrett rejects the three and sets up a lineout 10 meters from the Chiefs try line . Brave call...
  • 37
Julian Savea finally sees some ball and gets rid of Cruden who's tackle is bust by the winger. A grubber is then put in by Jane but the ball rolls into touch and the Chiefs have the lineout 5 meters from their own line.
  • 36
Hurricanes win the penalty at the scrum. Canes showing real dominance up front. Barrett clears the ball into touch. Canes lineout inside the Chiefs half
  • 34
Chiefs attack through Tamanivalu who throws a loose pass that is fumbled by Damien McKenzie , Hurricanes awarded the scrum put in near their 22.
  • 33
Chiefs win a penalty from a scrum and Cruden pumps the ball into the Hurricanes half once again to set up an attacking lineout on the 22.
  • 31
Hurricanes on the attack on the halfway line through Brad Shields, who is met by solid defence, the game has slowed down a bit after a frantic first 20.
  • 30
From the lineout Michael Leitch is penalized for being offide . Hurricanes penalty. Barrett clears the ball into touch to set up a lineout on the halfway line
  • 29
Savea penalized for being offside for the Canes, Cruden pumps the ball into touch to set up an attacking lineout on the Canes 22. Good attacking position
  • 28
Hurricanes attack through Proctor followed by Woodward who clears the ball upfield to McKenzie who has a crack from deep for the Chiefs.
  • 27
Chiefs on the attack inside the Chiefs 22 as Sam Cane does well before Michael Leitch coughs up the ball and the Hurricanes have the scrum put in.
  • 26
Chiefs lineout inside their own half, Marshall finds his jumper in Retallick and the maul is set before the Chiefs win another penalty for Toomaga-Allen infringing at the maul. Cruden will put this ball into touch deep inside the Canes half
  • 24
Barrett converts the try. What a game we have here!
  • 23
Dane Coles picks the ball up from the base and crashes over for the TRY!
  • 22
Hurricanes attacking inside the Chiefs 22 as Aso has a go and offloads to Barrett who does well. Great game so far. Perenara does well and offloads to Vito who is stopped 5 meters from the line.
  • 21
Fantastic conversion from Damien McKenzie
  • 19
Horrell slices through the the Canes defense and offloads to Tamanivalu who gallops up field for 50 meters , plays in Pulu who makes a lovely offload back to Tamanivalu who scores an absolutely stunning try for the Chiefs!
  • 18
Barretts penalty attempt doesnt have enough distance on it, McKenzie clears the ball up field and the Canes are back on the attack through Jane , Aso and Thomson. Great play.
  • 17
Canes on the attack through Matt Proctor , they milk the penalty and Barrett will have a long range attempt at goal. It appears there is a lot of wind at the venue- making this kick that much tougher.
  • 16
Perenara puts in a lovely kick that rolls out 5 meters from the Chiefs line . At the lineout Marshall finds his jumper and Cruden clears the ball into touch on the ten meter line inside his own half.
  • 14
Barrett lines up his penalty attempt , he hooks his attempt to the left of the upright . 22 dropout to the Chiefs
  • 12
Hurricanes attack from the scrum through Cory Jane followed by Woodward who gets tackled high and the Canes are awarded the penalty in a kick-able position. A couple handbags are being thrown as the game intensifies .Pure passion.
  • 11
Extremely fast paced start here. Play going from side to side. We have a Hurricanes scrum on the halfway line.
  • 10
Great start to this match as both teams show attacking intent. Hurricanes have a penalty advantage and Barrett has a drop goal attempt that sails through the middle. Good kick.
  • 9
McKenzie adds the extras as the Chiefs take the lead
  • 8
Second wave of attack sees Seta Tamanivalu crash over the line, TMO in action, the try is awarded for the Chiefs!!!
  • 7
Chiefs on the attack as Cruden slices through the line and plays Horrell in, Chiefs 5 meters from the try line
  • 6
Hurricanes win the penalty at the scrum, a big statement from the home side at scrumtime. Barrett clears the ball into touch.
  • 5
Barrett gets tackled in his in goal area by Sam Cane who makes a massive hit, it is judged to be a 5 meter scrum to the Chiefs. An attacking opportunity for the visiting side.
  • 4
Barrett fails to add the extras
  • 3
Hurricanes have the scrum put in just outside the Chiefs 22. Perenara feeds , Barrett has a go and breaks the line before playing Cory Jane in for the TRY!
  • 2
Chiefs take the kick off well and set the maul which is going forward before Weber has a go , McNicholl has a go off the wing but is shut down quickly . Cruden puts a lovely kick into touch taken quickly by Barrett and Perenara kicks the ball out. Lineout Chiefs just inside the Canes half.
  • 1
First half underway, Barrett kicks off for the Hurricanes
  • -5
Teams will be going through their last preparations for this match. Its almost time to get this game underway.
  • -10
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.
  • -15
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd said there was no doubt the Chiefs represented a significant step up for the squad following their 38-13 victory over the Rebels last week.
  • -25
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.
  • -30
Welcome to this Super Rugby clash between the Hurricanes and the Chiefs from the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand.
Mc hurricanes logo 80x50
Mc chiefs logo 80x50
  • 1 Reg Goodes
  • 2 Dane Coles
  • 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen
  • 4 Blade Thomson
  • 5 Michael Fatialofa
  • 6 Brad Shields
  • 7 Ardie Savea
  • 8 Victor Vito
  • 9 TJ Perenara
  • 10 Beauden Barrett
  • 11 Julian Savea
  • 12 Vincent Tavae-Aso
  • 13 Matt Proctor
  • 14 Cory Jane
  • 15 Jason Woodward
  • 16 Motu Matu'u
  • 17 Chris Eves
  • 18 Loni Uhila
  • 19 Vaea Fifita
  • 20 Callum Gibbins
  • 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi
  • 22 James Marshall
  • 23 Willis Halaholo
  • 1 Mitchell Graham
  • 2 Rhys Marshall
  • 3 Atunaisa Moli
  • 4 Michael Allardice
  • 5 Brodie Retallick
  • 6 Tom Sanders
  • 7 Sam Cane
  • 8 Michael Leitch
  • 9 Brad Weber
  • 10 Aaron Cruden
  • 11 Sam McNicol
  • 13 Seta Tamanivalu
  • 14 Toni Pulu
  • 15 Damian McKenzie
  • 12 Andrew Horrell
  • 16 Hika Elliot
  • 17 Siate Tokolahi
  • 18 Siegfried Fisiihoi
  • 19 Taleni Seu
  • 20 Maama Vaipulu
  • 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow
  • 22 Stephen Donald
  • 23 Glen Fisiiahi
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 damian mckenzie chiefs ball 800

Chiefs hold on in Wellington thriller

Sat, 23 Apr 2016 09:26

REPORT: The Chiefs, reduced to 14 men in the latter stages, held on for a nailbiting win over the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

The teams scored four tries each, but the Chiefs won 28-27 on the back of a sublime Damien McKenzie performance.

It doesn't get much better than this. Rugby doesn't get much better than this.

Excitement, unpredictability, ebb and flow, courage, strength and controversy - this match had it all. What a marvellous game rugby is! When it's played like this, there is no game to equal it.

Describing it is beyond words. Detail would kill it, and so we shall confine ourselves to the highlights of a match that was itself a highlight.

In the first 10 minutes of the match the referee hardly had to intervene. In those 10 minutes there were two tries, a conversion and a dropped goal, two childish squabbles and a quick throw-in from touch.

Play went this way and that as the teams took turns in attacking, their minds set on all-out attack.

The 22 232 crowd had a thrill a minute and it lasted till the end of the game when their team strove to get past a one-point deficit

The Hurricanes were playing into the deceitful wind and scored first but after nearly four minutes of nonstop action there was a scrum on the Hurricanes' left. They went right and flyhalf Beauden Barrett  raced straight through a yawning gam. With his left had he threw a long, perfect pass to Cory Jane on the right wing and Jane scored in the corner. 5-0 to the Hurricanes after four minutes after Barrett missed the conversion on his offnight with the boot.

The Chiefs kicked off and attacked. From the kick-off they put pressure on the Hurricanes who tried to run out of trouble, Barrett from his in-goal till Sam Cane slammed him to ground for a five-metre scrum to the Chiefs. The Hurricanes destroyed the Chiefs in that scrum and a penalty relieved the pressure but then the Hurricanes knocked on in the line-out and the Chiefs grabbed the advantage to attack. They bashed and Seta Tamanivalu was over for the try which the TMO confirmed as a try. Damian McKenzie converted. 7-5 to the Chiefs after 9 minutes.

The Hurricanes kicked off and attacked. On advantage Barrett kicked a dropped goal. 8-7 to the Hurricanes after 10 minutes.

You knew you could not blink.

The Chiefs kicked off. The Hurricanes attacked and a high tackle on Jason Woodward gave them a chance at a penalty goal. At the high tackle there was the third push-squabble, for which the referee moved the Chiefs on 10 metres and the squabbling ceased for the duration of the match. But Barrett missed the kick.

The Chiefs got the ball and, going right, 10 metres inside his 22, Andrew Horrell broke and gave to Tamanivalu who raced ahead and gave to Toni Pulu who headed for the right corner. He was being tackled when he managed to bundle the ball back to Tamanivalu who dived for the line, the lower half of his body over the touchline but in the air as he grounded the ball for the try. McKenzie converted brilliantly. 14-8 to the Chiefs after 21 minutes.

The Highlanders attacked through advancing phases till they were bashing at the line and Dane Coles was over for the try. This time Barrett converted. 15-14 to the Hurricanes after 24 minutes.

That was the half-time score.

As happened in the first half, the second half had an all-action start.

The Hurricanes went through 13 phases  but the Chiefs won a turnover and from 12 metres inside his half McKenzie started sprinting. He was tackled three metres from the Hurricanes' line where the Hurricanes won a turnover and ran, but the Chiefs got the ball, went through advancing phases till Michael Leitch plunged over and McKenzie converted. 21-15 to the Chiefs after 44 minutes.

The Chiefs started passing from the kick-off but the ball fell loose near the half-way line. Vince Aso picked up and gave to Jane, who ran and gave inside to Coles who gave outside to TJ Perenara who raced away for a try. 21-20 after 48 minutes.

That had been eight minutes of non-stop running and on it went. Barrett kicked out from the kick-off and the Chiefs threw in quickly. Aaron Cruden kicked high and chasing McKenzie leapt and caught it in the air. McKenzie was back in action to take a pass from Tamanivalu who gave to Pulu who was tackled just short of the line but  Taleni Seu was on hand to pick up and plunge over tor the try and after 52 minutes, the Chiefs led 28-21. On 52 minutes 52 seconds there was a scrum to allow players to catch their breath.

After a knock-on by the Chiefs in a line-out Perenara broke and gave to Ardie Savea who ran 40 metres before the combined efforts of McKenzie and Tamanivalu forced him out at the corner.

The Hurricanes won a Chiefs' scrum, Barrett went though a half-gap and backhanded the ball to  Michael Fatialofa who gave beck to Barrett who scored. Woodward took over the kicking and goaled. 28-27 with 10 minutes to play.

With five minutes to play Chiefs prop Mitchell Graham went off injured and could not be replaced. This meant that the last four scrums of the match were uncontested, thus removing a weapon from the Hurricanes' armoury for three of the scrums were the Chiefs' put-in, the last one after the worst knock-on of the match.

Again Barrett broke and he passed to his right, a good pass in front of unmarked Woodward, but Woodward knocked on with a short way to run to the corner. The Chiefs got the ball from their uncontested scrum and kicked out  to win the match by a point.

The Chiefs had 63% of possession in this match and the territory that went with it, but the Chiefs won the turnovers - and then the match.

Man of the Match: For his running Beauden Barrett would be a candidate. But there were also Chiefs' candidates - Seta Tamanivalu, Andrew Horrell, Michael Leitch, Sam Cane and our obvious choice - exciting, daring skilful Damian McKenzie.

The scorers:

For the Hurricanes:
Jane, Coles, Perenara, Barrett
Cons: Barrett 2
DG: Barrett

For the Chiefs:
Tamanivalu 2, Leitch, Seu
Cons: McKenzie 4


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 Andrew Horrell, 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 Stephen Donald, 23 Glen Fisiiahi.

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

Cory Jane (3min), Dane Coles (23min), TJ Perenara (46min), and Beauden Barrett (68min)
Seta Tamanivalu (8min), Seta Tamanivalu (19min), Michael Leitch (44min), and Taleni Seu (49min)
Beauden Barrett (24min) and Jason Woodward (69min)
Damian McKenzie (9min), Damian McKenzie (21min), Damian McKenzie (45min), and Damian McKenzie (51min)
Beauden Barrett (10min)
VENUE Wellington
REFEREE Craig Joubert (South Africa)