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Stormers

FULL-TIME
40     22

Reds

Super Rugby | Cape Town
13:00 (GMT) | 23-04-2016
  • 81
The final score here at Newlands is 40-22 to the home team. Thank you so much for joining Rugby365.com Join us as we focus our attention to the Super Rugby clash between the Kings and the Lions up Next!!!
  • 80
Debutant Brandon Thomson adds the two extras, to give the home team the victory of 40-22.
  • 79
Frisby with a clearance, but fails to make the touch line. Schalk Burger send it to Louis Schreuder, but is looks really messy. Vincent Koch guy add the final try to the Stormers score.
  • 78
Stormers scrum inside they own 22. Stormers opt to run the ball and knocks it forward.
  • 76
Reds is on the attack. Reds goes wide and Eto Nabuli runs hard. Huw Jones with a huge try saving tackle on Nabuli as he steps on the touch line.
  • 73
Stormers opt for the penalty and Brandon Thomson is successful. Leading this match 33-22
  • 72
Stormers is on the attack. Sam Talakai is offside and is shown a yellow card
  • 70
Brandon Thomson kicks the ball to touch from his own 22 for a line-out.
  • 68
Brandon Thomson make no mistake and slots the ball over to give his team an 8 point lead.
  • 66
Stormers scrum, Nizaam Carr make the run but have no support runners. Stormers is on attack with a penalty advantage inside the 5 meter.
  • 63
Stormers scrum, the scrum is reset yet again. The Reds is penalize and Stormers opt to kick at goal. Brandon Thomson kicks it though the middle to add the three points.
  • 62
Scrum and the Stormers kick it down field. The Reds collect and the ref plays the advantage. Some changes to both teams.
  • 60
Kerevi sets up the attack. Reds opt to kick and Cheslin Kolbe collects it. An aerial battle between the two teams.
  • 58
Reds opt to kick at goal, distance is 41 meter and miss the poles completely. Score remains 24-22 to the home side.
  • 57
Reds creating chances inside the Stormers' 10 meter. Hendrik Tui is tackle by Siya Kolisi who fails to roll away.
  • 56
Stromers scrum on the 50 meter line. Lost forward it is a turnover ball and Reds is on the attack. Karmichael Hunt fails to release the ball.
  • 53
Jean-Luc du Plessis adds the extra two points!!
  • 52
The Stormers on the attack, Cheslin Kolbe with the take. Stormers in the 5 and Nic Groom stretch to go over the white line.
  • 50
McIntyre converts from a difficult position
  • 49
Line-out to the Reds' on the 50 meter line. The Reds is on the attack. They go wide with three quick passes and Eto Nabuli goes down in the corner to give the visitors the lead
  • 48
Stormers penalize and McIntyre kick to touch just on the half
  • 45
McIntyre fails to add the extras
  • 44
Damian de Allende kick is charged down by Curtis Browning, he pass to Karmichael Hunt who has nothing to do but to beat De Allende to the try line.
  • 43
Reds on the attack, a great kick into space by Anthony Fainga'a, as he gathers the ball and pass to Kerevi. The Reds attack is stop and it a scrum in Stormers' 22
  • 42
Groom hoist the ball up in the air but lost forward by Pieter-Steph du Toit. Some medical attention to Kobus van Wyk puts a hold to the game.
  • 41
Jean-Luc du Plessis get the second half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
Stormers line-out and the ball is kick out to end the first half of this evenly pose game. The home side lead 17-10.
  • 39
Stormers' scrum and Cheslin Kolbe kicks to touch. Line-out to the Reds on the 50 meter line.
  • 38
Jean-Luc du Plessis getting some medical attention.
  • 37
Kobus van Wyk penalize. A Reds' scrum on the 22 meter. Knock on by Frisby
  • 35
Reds' scrum on the 10 meter, Frisby with a pass to McIntyre.
  • 34
Reds attack and the replacement Junior Laloifi pass to Nick Frisby who has no support.
  • 32
Referee send it to the TMO, who want to check if it was an deliberate knock on by the Reds, it is ruled not. Stormers opt for the scrum on the 50 meter line.
  • 29
Reds is offside and Stormers opt for the kick at goal. Jean-Luc du Plessis is successful and adds the three points
  • 28
Stormers looking to break though the defense. Johnny Kotze with a nice pass to Damian de Allende who fails to collect it and knocks it forward.
  • 26
Line-out to the Stormers, the maul is called and Stormers is on tha attack. Kolbe puts a grubber in and Johnny Kotze collect he is tackled high
  • 24
Reds is building momentum, and Nizaam Carr wins the ball. Jean-Luc du Plessis kicks it downfield to give his team time to regroup.
  • 22
Jake McIntyre convert to make it a four point game
  • 21
Reds' scrum in the Stormers' 5. The home side defense looks shaky and Liam Gill goes over to score the try.
  • 20
Nic Groom pass to Cheslin Kolbe who just took his eye off the ball and knocks it forward.
  • 17
Jean-Luc du Plessis adds the points.
  • 16
Kotze with a quick tap-and-go. Ruck is form. Leolin Zas gathers the ball and stretch over the line he scores.
  • 14
Cheslin Kolbe on the attack and is tackled high by Eto Nabuli.
  • 13
Both teams playing running rugby and with one giving as good as its gets.
  • 12
Reds' scrum, the visitors is on the attack in the Stormers' 22, Kerevi lost the ball forward
  • 10
Jean-Luc du Plessis adds the extras.
  • 8
Stormers is on the attack. Jean-Luc du Plessis breaking two tackles. Stormers are building momentum, ref plays advantage and Kobus van Wyk goes over the try line to register the first try of the game!!!
  • 6
Jean-Luc du Plessis try to kick to touch but is goes pass the try line. Reds restart from the 22 meter.
  • 5
Jean-Luc du Plessis with a clearance giving his team space to breath.
  • 4
Reds is on the attack, breaking through the 50 meter line.
  • 2
Reds' line-out. Jean-luc du Plessis gets penalize and the Reds opt to kick at goal. Jake McIntyre puts the firts points on the board for the visitors
  • 0
Kick-off!! Jake McIntyre gets the game underway.
  • -5
Nic Groom making his 50th appearance.
  • -10
Referee Marius van der Westhuizen will take control of the match, while Quinton Immelman, Cwengile Jadezweni will assist him and TMO duties will be executed by Shaun Veldsman
  • -20
Late Reds change as well, Chris Feauai-Sautia will be replace by Junior Laloifi.
  • -25
There is a late change to the Stormers team - captain Frans Malherbe has been ruled out with flu, with Vincent Koch starting and JP Smith coming oto the bench. Damian de Allende takes over the captaincy armband.
  • -30
Welcome to Newlands, where we await the Super Rugby encounter between the Stormers and the Reds.
Mc stormers logo 80x50
Stormers
Mc reds logo 80x50
Reds
START LINE UP
  • 1 Oliver Kebble
  • 2 Bongi Mbonambi
  • 3 Vincent Koch
  • 5 Rynhardt Elstadt
  • 6 Pieter-Steph du Toit
  • 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe
  • 8 Siya Kolisi
  • 9 Nizaam Carr
  • 10 Nic Groom
  • 11 Jean-Luc du Plessis
  • 12 Leolin Zas
  • 13 Damian de Allende
  • 14 John-Ben Kotze
  • 15 Kobus van Wyk
  • 16 Cheslin Kolbe
  • 25 JP Smith
RESERVES
  • 17 Michael Willemse
  • 18 JC Janse van Rensburg
  • 19 JP Smith
  • 20 JD Schickerling
  • 21 Schalk Burger
  • 22 Louis Schrueder
  • 23 Huw Jones
  • 24 Brandon Thomson
START LINE UP
  • 1 James Slipper
  • 2 Andrew Ready
  • 3 Greg Holmes
  • 4 Ben Matwijow
  • 5 Rob Simmons
  • 6 Hendrik Tui
  • 7 Liam Gill
  • 8 Curtis Browning
  • 9 Nick Frisby
  • 10 Jake McIntyre
  • 11 Eto Nabuli
  • 12 Anthony Fainga'a
  • 13 Samu Kerevi
  • 14 Junior Laloifi
  • 15 Karmichael Hunt
RESERVES
  • 16 Saia Fainga'a
  • 17 Sef Faagase
  • 18 Sam Talakai
  • 19 Cadeyrn Neville
  • 20 Michael Gunn
  • 21 James Tuttle
  • 22 Duncan Paia'Aua
  • 23 Ayumu Goromaru
Mc article aaron cruden chiefs ball 800

S18 PREVIEW: ROUND NINE, PART TWO

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.

Teams:

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.

Teams:

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.

Teams:

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.

Teams:

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.

Teams:

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.

Teams:

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
@King365ed
@rugby365com

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article jean luc du plessis strmers v reds 800

Stormers leave it late against Reds

Sat, 23 Apr 2016 14:59

REPORT: The Stormers managed to secure a 40-22 Super Rugby win over the Reds at Newlands on Saturday, but they left it rather late.

With 20 minutes remaining the Reds still held a five-point lead - before three penalties by rookie replacement flyhalf Brandon Thomson and a try by prop Vincent Koch on full-time hooter took the home team clear.

Despite the sloppy nature of the win, it cemented the Stormers' place at the top of the African conference - with their sixth win in their eighth matches.

The visitors struck early with a penalty from flyhalf Jake McIntyre after his opposite number Jean-Luc du Plessis was blown up for not rolling away in the tackle.

It did not take long for the Stormers to respond, and an extended period of pressure in the Reds 22 wing Kobus van Wyk pounced on a loose ball to go over unopposed for the try which put them 7-3 up once converted by Du Plessis.

The Stormers kept the pressure on, and after a few searching runs from the likes of Cheslin Kolbe and Nic Groom they were able to score their second try as Leolin Zas forced his way over from close range to take their lead out to 14-3 after 20 minutes.

The Reds hit back with a try of their own from flank Liam Gill who scored under the poles from close range to cut the Stormers' lead to 14-10.

The Stormers responded by camping in opposition territory, and the Reds eventually strayed offside which resulted in a penalty from the boot of Du Plessis which put them 17-10 up at the half-time break.

The visitors scored two tries early in the second half - as first fullback Karmichael Hunt finished off a counter-attack from a charge down, before Eto Nabuli added to that shortly afterwards to give them the lead.

However, that lead did not last long as Stormers scrumhalf Nic Groom scored next to the poles shortly afterwards to put his side 24-22 up.

That left the game right in the balance with 25 minutes to play, and Stormers coach Robbie Fleck made a number of changes as Schalk Burger, JC Janse van Rensburg, Huw Jones, JD Schickerling and debutant Brandon Thomson all took to the field.

Thomson slotted three penalties after coming on to close out the game, with the third penalty also resulting in a yellow card for Reds prop Sam Talakai after repeated infringements from his side.

The Stormers had the final say as Vincent Koch crossed for a try after the hooter following a searing run from Jones, to put the seal on a comfortable victory in the end.

Man of the match: You can always count on Liam Gill to put his body on the line, while Curtis Browning provided great support to his fellow loose forward. Samu Kerevi also asked some questions of the Stormers' defence. Nizaam Carr and Siyamthanda Kolisi were both very energetic, but also made a number of unforced errors. Rynhardt Elstadt and Pieter-Steph du Toit were both physical, while Mbongeni Mbonambi was also busy at times. In a game of few real highlights - which at times resembled a comedy of errors - Stormers flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis produced some of the best gems. However, it was the replacements who saved the day for the Stormers - especially veteran loose forward Schalk Burger's leadership. Rookie flyhalf Brandon Thomson kicked three penalties on debut and producing some crucial plays to win our award.

The scorers:

For the Stormers:
Tries:
Van Wyk, Zas, Groom, Koch
Cons: Du Plessis 3, Thomson
Pens: Du Plessis, Thomson 3

For the Reds:
Tries:
Gill, Hunt, Nabuli
Cons: McIntyre 2
Pen: McIntyre

Yellow card:  Sam Talakai (Reds, 72 - cynical foul, offside close to his line)

Teams:

Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Damian de Allende (captain), 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 Vincent Koch, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Jean-Pierre Smith, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Huw Jones, 23 Brandon Thomson.

Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Junior Laloifi, 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

Kobus van Wyk (8min), Leolin Zas (16min), Nic Groom (52min), and Vincent Koch (79min)
TRIES
Liam Gill (21min), Karmichael Hunt (44min), and Eto Nabuli (49min)
Jean-Luc du Plessis (10min), Jean-Luc du Plessis (17min), and Brandon Thomson (80min)
CONVERSIONS
Jake McIntyre (22min), Jake McIntyre (50min), and Jake McIntyre (53min)
Jean-Luc du Plessis (29min), Brandon Thomson (63min), Brandon Thomson (68min), and Brandon Thomson (73min)
PENALTIES
Jake McIntyre (2min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
 
Sam Talakai (72min)
 
 
VENUE Cape Town
REFEREE Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)