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Super Rugby | Canberra
06:05 (GMT) | 24-04-2016
  • 81
Thanks and join us for more live commentary of Super Rugby next week Friday with the Force taking on the Bulls. But don't miss the live coverage of the European Champions Cup coming up later today.
  • 80
Brumbies still with the ball but are going backwards. The Crusaders defence is too good. Carter makes some metres but the Crusaders win the penalty and they kick it out to bring the game to full time. Huge win for the Crusaders... poor performance by the Brumbies.
  • 78
Lealiifano has a crack from the scrum and is brought down just short but play is brought back for a penalty which the Brumbies tap and go.
  • 77
Tomane does some good work on the touchline to break through and offload to Kuridrani who finds Dowsett. Brumbies 7m out now and have a scrum on the far side.
  • 75
Brumbies now with a short-arm which they tap quickly... Nigel Ah wong puts a nothing grubber through and its straight into touch.
  • 72
Brumbies secure the set-piece but some sloppy play hands the Crusaders a penalty. McKenzie misses touch though and the Brumbies counter.
  • 70
McKenzie exits and kicks onto Dargeville. Brumbies playing ball but are going backwards. The Crusaders defence is too hot, however they give a penalty away and the Brumbies kick for touch.
  • 69
Brumbies form the maul from the line-out but the Crusaders wrap it up and turn it over for the scrum.
  • 67
Brumbies have a penalty and Lealiifano finds touch 5m out.
  • 65
McKenzie converts his own try.
  • 64
Crusaders use a set-move from the scrum and Havili is straight through. Marty McKenzie dictates some traffic and then Macalai is away busting tackles. Saders 5m out with quick ball and McKenzie throws a dummy and strolls over for a try.
  • 62
The ball squirts out and Ellis picks and goes. Nadolo makes a carry and the Saders are just short. Fonotia has a crack and is just short. Some good rush defence and Tomane picks up a loose ball its a foot race but Tomane spills the ball. Scrum Crusaders.
  • 60
Cursaders win the line-out and play to Nadolo off No.9, Romano comes on the wrap around with a hard run. Brumbies penalised for offsides and the Crusaders have opted for a scrum.
  • 58
Alexander pinged at the scrum for illegal binding. Crusaders kick for touch 10m out for the line-out.
  • 56
Brumbies deep now in their red zone and have a line-out. They exit but don't find touch. Crusaders with a scrum now in midfield.
  • 52
Mo'unga raises the flags from the corner.
  • 51
Brumbies secure the ball and work the short side well. They are making quick metres now. Lealiifano goes wide but Toomu's pass to Kuridrani goes to the ground and the Crusaders hack it through and Havili chases and collects with one hand and passes to Taylor who is sprinting for the line, and he shrugs off Toua and scores the try. What a counter attack!
  • 49
Toua with a beautiful touch finder pinning the Crusaders back, but the Crusaders exit well through Nadolo.
  • 47
Lealiifano curls another over from the corner to add the extra 2 points.
  • 46
Brumbies go wide from the line-out and some good hands by Toua puts Tomane away for a try. Great response by ACT.
  • 44
Good exit by the Brumbies as Toua finds touch with the boot. Good line-out by the Crusaders and they go wide to Dagg. They are already back in the Brumbies 22m, Mo'unga throws and inside ball but it is read like a book by big Ben Alexander who intercepts it, he puts a grubber through and chases well. Cubelli wins the penalty turnover and the Brumbies have a line-out 5m from the Saders line.
  • 43
Crusaders come out firing and are gaining metres easily. Lineout to Brumbies in their own half.
  • 41
Lealiifano gets the second half underway.

Half Time

  • 40
Brumbies win a line-out and go wide to Tomane who busts down the touchline. The Brumbies are 5m and have a line-out, Moore hits his jumper and they turn to their rolling maul but the Crusaders defend it well. The Brumbies have to swing it. They work it one side and move it to the other and Butler makes a half a bust but he loses it just short of the line and that brings us to half-time.
  • 37
Brumbies peel to the open side and Lealiifano stabs a grubber though for Toua to chase but Havili does excellently to dot down for the 22m.
  • 35
Brumbies win the scrum penalty and they pump one down to the 22m to set the line-out. What can they do with the pill here?... They go wide and Kuridrani takes it up. Ball unplayable... scrum to Brumbies on the 22m in the centre.
  • 33
Crusaders set a platform through Dagg and then Ellis puts a high box kick in. Macalai chases well but knocks on... Scrum Brumbies. Great set play by the Saders.
  • 31
Brumbies finally get some go forward through Tomane but the play is ended with a forward pass. Scrum down in midfield.
  • 29
Mo'unga kicks the conversion.
  • 28
The maul is formed again and it rolls over the line... Cody Taylor comes away with the the try.
  • 27
Crusaders form a maul and they have another penalty. They will repeat the process with another lineout.
  • 26
Brumbies secure the line-out and Cubelli box kicks on Nadolo but he is safe. Dagg kicks on to Lealiifano and the Brumbies run it throu Aiden Toua. But the Crusaders win a penalty turnover thtough Read. Mo'unga finds touch 5m out. What a kick.
  • 24
First scrum of the game and its a solid one. Saders go wide immediately and find Nadolo but he is ushered out by Tomane.
  • 22
Its all the Crusaders at the moment can the Brumbies find their feet. David Pocock is still injured and that is hurting them.
  • 20
Mo'unga raises the flags and adds the extra 2.
  • 19
Brumbies llose their line-out and Ellis box kicks and the Crusaders win it back. Fonotia breaks the line and he is through, Nadolo comes in on the switch and it takes 3 players to bring him down but he pulls off a magic offload to Dagg! And Dagg is under the poles... what a TRY.
  • 17
Crusaders up in the Brumbies red zone again and they form a maul. Moody comes away with it and the Ellis play Mo'unga but Smyler turns it over. Fardy clears for touch and its a good one.
  • 13
Mo'unga misses the poles this time.
  • 12
Brumbies trying to play a quick game to combat the Crusaders physicality. Brumbies now on halfway but the ball pops out and Matt Todd is away! He is sprinting down the touchline but he doesn't have the gas and he passes to Macalai who has plenty of that and he sprints to the coner for the try.
  • 10
Lealiifano curls it over in his true style from the corner.
  • 9
Its the Brumbies turn to attack as they bust into the Saders 22m quickly. Cubelli speeding things up as he takes a quick tap penalty. Kuridrani straightens and breaks tackles. Cubellie goes the same side and Moore shows some quick hands putting Robbie Coleman away for the try in the corner.
  • 6
Mo'unga slots the conversion. Crusaders draw first blood.
  • 5
Good D from the Brumbies but the Saders have a scrum in the 22m and in the centre of the park, they split the backline and find Nadolo on a short run who bulldozes his way over the line for the opening try.
  • 4
Crusaders in the 22m of the Brumbies as they attack the flyhalf and centre channel on both sides of the park. Mo'unga go wide left to Nadolo but his offload finds a Brumbie. Cubelli can only box kick into touch but it doesnt go far.
  • 2
Crusaders in the 22m of the Brumbies as they attack the flyhalf and centre channel on both sides of the park. Mo'unga go wide left to Nadolo but his offload finds a Brumbie. Cubelli can only box kick into touch but it doesnt go far.
  • 2
A settled start by both teams... and Ref Jaco Peyper brings play to an end with a penalty Brumbies. Mounga hits touch.
  • 0
KICK-OFF: Crusaders flyhalf Richie Muonga gets the game underway.
  • -5
Conditions are mint in Canberra - clear and sunny, perfect for running rugby. Both teams are on the park as they celebrate ANZAC day just before kick-off.
  • -10
Both teams are extremely physical and it will make the breakdown contest interesting. Scrum time will be an area to watch as well with two experienced and talented front rows. Will the Brumbies turn to their ever reliable weapon - the rolling maul?
  • -15
Plenty of changes for the Crusaders team. Star wing Johnny McNichol misses out and is replaced by Jone Macilai-Tori, Crockett is on the bench and Marty McKenzie finds his way back to the bench after an injury lay-off.
  • -30
Good Morning and welcome to the final match of Round 9 Super Rugby and it should be a humdinger - The Crusaders taking on The Brumbies in their back yard in Canberra.
Mc brumbies logo 80x50
Mc crusaders logo 80x50
  • 1 Scott Sio
  • 2 Stephen Moore
  • 3 Ben Alexander
  • 4 Rory Arnold
  • 5 Sam Carter
  • 6 Scott Fardy
  • 7 Jarrad Butler
  • 8 Jordan Smiler
  • 9 Tomas Cubelli
  • 10 Christian Lealiifano
  • 11 Joe Tomane
  • 12 Matt Toomua
  • 13 Tevita Kuridrani
  • 14 Robbie Coleman
  • 15 Aidan Toua
  • 16 Josh Mann-Rae
  • 17 Allan Alaalatoa
  • 18 Les Makin
  • 19 Tom Staniforth
  • 20 Michael Wells
  • 21 Michael Dowsett
  • 22 James Dargaville
  • 23 Nigel Ah Wong
  • 1 Joe Moody
  • 2 Codie Taylor
  • 3 Owen Franks
  • 4 Luke Romano
  • 5 Scott Barrett
  • 6 Jordan Taufua
  • 7 Matt Todd
  • 8 Kieran Read
  • 9 Andy Ellis
  • 10 Richie Mo’unga
  • 11 Nemani Nadolo
  • 12 David Kaetau Havili
  • 13 Kieron Fonotia
  • 14 Jone Macilai-Tori
  • 15 Israel Dagg
  • 16 Ged Robinson
  • 17 Wyatt Crockett
  • 18 Michael Alaalatoa
  • 19 Sam Whitelock
  • 20 Tim Boys
  • 21 Mitchell Drummond
  • 22 Sean Wainui
  • 23 Marty McKenzie
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 nemani nadolo saders break 800

Ruthless Saders put Brumbies away

Sun, 24 Apr 2016 07:47

REPORT: The Crusaders secured their sixth successive victory over the Brumbies when they cruised to a bonus point 40-14 victory in Canberra on Sunday.

For long periods in the encounter the Brumbies' performance matched their camouflage kit - worn to commemorate ANZAC Day - and the Crusaders made them pay by running in six tries, including a Codie Taylor double.

The Crusaders dominated the opening minutes and placed an immense amount of pressure on the Brumbies' defence lines. An attacking scrum some five metres from the Brumbies' lines saw captain Kieran Read peel off the back before offloading to a flying Nemani Nadolo who could not be stopped as he crashed his way over.

Richie Mo'unga added the easy conversion to hand the Crusaders a 7-0 lead after six minutes of play.

The Brumbies got their hands on the ball in the next period of play and scrumhalf Tomás Cubelli began to dictate the pace of the game. He got his fellow players to follow suit and after a number of patient phases, the ball was flung wide to Robbie Coleman who dotted down in the corner.

Christian Lealiifano split the uprights from the left touchline to level matters at 7-7 after 10 minutes.

The Crusaders dominated the next 19 minutes as they added three tries to race to a 19-point lead after 29 minutes.

First, Matt Todd ripped the ball in a tackle on the halfway line and sent Jone Macilai on his way to score in the corner and the visitors turned on the style from that point, with their offload game being particularly useful.

Israel Dagg benefitted from Kieron Fonotia and Nadolo offloads before Taylor added his name to the scoreboard when he got over the line following a powerful driving maul. Mo'unga added two of the three conversions to ensure the Crusaders had a healthy 26-7 lead.

The Brumbies kept plugging away for the remainder of the half and found themselves in prime attacking positions but had nothing to show for it - the best chance being a number of line-outs five metres from the Crusaders' line, only to be thwarted by some resilient defence.

The home side withstood early pressure before they pounced. An interception, followed by a kick ahead placed the Crusaders under pressure. The Brumbies made the pressure count as a simple backline move saw Joe Tomane get the ball and raced down the line to grab the try.

 Lealiifano's second tricky conversion found its mark as he reduced the deficit to 14-26 after 47 minutes.
The Brumbies began to have the ascendency but had the wind knocked out of them when David Havili pounced on a loose ball close to his 22. He hacked it forward, scooped it up close to the Brumbies' 22 and offloaded to Taylor who had an easy run to grab his second try.

Mo'unga slotted his fourth conversion to restore the Crusaders' 19-point lead after 52 minutes. The one-way traffic continued for much of the second half as Marty McKenzie grabbed himself a debut try.

Relentless pressure on the Brumbies' defence, combined with patience and continuity saw the replacement flyhalf slice through to grab the score. He converted the try himself as the Crusaders' lead stretched to 40-14 after 65 minutes.

The Brumbies ended the match on the front foot as the looked to restore some pride, however, the Crusaders' defence stood firm as they denied the home side a late sc roe to ensure they picked up their third consecutive victory in Canberra for the first time.

Man of the match: Joe Tomane did all he could with his minimal attacking opportunities, although he let himself down with a few handling errors. Tomás Cubelli was lively while Sam Carter, Scott Fardy and Stephen Moore put in the hard yards throughout. Codie Taylor worked hard and was rewarded with a brace, Kieran Read proved why he still has plenty of juice left in the tank, Israel Dagg continued his good form since returning to action and Kieron Fonotia and David Havili were streaks ahead of their opposite numbers. However, after some massive runs and cheeky offloads which got his side over the advantage line more often than not, Nemani Nadolo walks away with the award.


For Brumbies:
Tries: Coleman, Tomane
Cons: Lealiifano 2

For Crusaders:
Tries: Nadolo, Macilai, Dagg, Taylor 2, McKenzie
Cons: Mo'unga 4, McKenzie


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.

Referee: Jaco Peyper

Robbie Coleman (9min) and Joe Tomane (46min)
Nemani Nadolo (5min), Jone Macilai-Tori (12min), Israel Dagg (19min), Codie Taylor (28min), Codie Taylor (51min), and Marty McKenzie (64min)
Christian Lealiifano (10min) and Christian Lealiifano (47min)
Richie Mo’unga (6min), Richie Mo’unga (20min), Richie Mo’unga (29min), Richie Mo’unga (52min), and Marty McKenzie (65min)
VENUE Canberra
REFEREE Jaco Peyper (South Africa)