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22     40


Super Rugby | Tokyo
05:15 (GMT) | 07-05-2016
  • 80
Sunwolves want one more try to finish this game off on a high as they take play to the Force half and look to play quick and vary the play but they are bundled into touch and that brings an end to a pulsating game of Super Rugby. Both teams were all out attack as the score suggests. FULL TIME: SUNWOLVES 22-40 WESTERN FORCE. Remember to join us for the next game coming up shortly as the Chiefs and Highlanders do battle at FMG Stadium in Waikato.
  • 79
.Yu Tamura converts the try and makes sure that the Sunwolves finish on a high.
  • 78
Good combination play from the back three as John Stewart sends Akihito Yamada over for his second try of the night with a well timed offload close to the line.
  • 77
Sunwolves not short of opportunities this game as they come at the Force again and attack the line inside the Force 22. Defense has let the Sunwolves down this game.
  • 75
Grant sends the ball sailing through the uprights and takes the Force up to forty points.
  • 74
Angus Cottrell with some good vision as he reads the pass intercepts and runs almost the length of the field to score the second intercept of the night.
  • 73
Sunwolves take play up to the Force ten meter line now as they retain possession.
  • 72
Sunwolves take in the line-out inside their 22 and look to play from their own half as they trail by eighteen points with eight minutes remaining.
  • 70
Yu Tamura is unable to add the extra two from the touchline. Score is now 15-33 to the Western Force with ten minutes to go.
  • 69
Scrum goes down again but the Sunwolves manage to come away with it before they bash away at the line, the ball is played to Carpenter who runs a good line into space and dots down for the try.
  • 67
The scrum goes down and the referee asks for a reset.
  • 66
The line-out goes horribly astray for the Force as the ball is thrown over the top and falls right into the hands of the Sunwolves. Sunwolves charge for the line but they are held up. Five meter attacking scrum to the Sunwolves.
  • 65
Sunwolves have numbers on the wing, they need quick hands but the final pass is a bad one as it goes straight into touch and the Force have the five meter defensive line-out.
  • 64
Sunwolves driving away at the line before the ball goes to Pisi on the wing, Pisi almost breaks the line before he is wrapped up.
  • 63
Pisi kicks for the corner and sets the attacking line-out for the Sunwolves on the Force 22 after they are awarded the penalty in the Force half.
  • 61
Dane Haylett-Petty puts a kick in behind the Sunwolves defense but it goes to far for it to be of any danger and the Sunwolves dot down for a 22 meter drop out.
  • 59
The Sunwolves almost score two quick tries in succession as they break up field before the ball goes inside but a handling error brings an end to that attack and the Western Force have the defensive scrum deep in their half.
  • 58
Pisi fluffs the conversion and the score is now 10-33 to the Western Force.
  • 57
Pisi scores the Sunwolves second try of the game after the Sunwolves drive away at the line and look for a pushover try before Pisi puts his shoulders down and goes in low and dots down for the try.
  • 56
Sunwolves take in the line-out and get the drive going before the Force get numbers in the maul and stop the momentum. Sunwolves going through the phases.
  • 55
Pressure at scrum time wins the Sunwolves the penalty. Sunwolves kick for the corner and they have the attacking line-out inside the Western Force 22 lets see what they can do from this.
  • 54
5-33 to the Western Force with fifty four minutes gone, long way to come back for the hosts here as the Force have the defensive scrum on their ten meter line.
  • 53
Prior nails the conversion from just outside the 22 on the touchline.
  • 52
Western Force making the Sunwolves do all the tackling as they draw in the defense and bash it up on the five meter line before the space opens up and Ben McCalman takes a tackler with him as he goes over for the try.
  • 49
Western Force are unable to break through the Sunwolves defense this time, Dane Haylett-Petty puts in a kick behind the defense of the Sunwolves but there is no one chasing and the Sunwolves can counter from here. Sunwolves spill the ball on the counter and Western Force have the scrum on halfway.
  • 48
Mathewson feeds the scrum before Ben McCalman is quickly wrapped up at the back of the scrum.
  • 47
Carpenter throws a loose pass and puts the Sunwolves under all sorts of pressure before a handling error forces the scrum to the Western Force on the Sunwolves ten meter line.
  • 46
Play is slowed down for a second as the Sunwolves have the scrum just outside their 22.
  • 45
Western Force with a good turnover deep in their half they look to break straight away before they are wrapped up by the Sunwolves defense.
  • 44
Sunwolves with the attacking line-out now on the Force 22 after they are awarded the penalty and kick for touch.
  • 43
Sunwolves come away with possession from the scrum and the ball goes straight to the wing before the Force win the penalty and set the line-out deep in Sunwolves territory.
  • 42
Scrum to the Sunwolves deep in their own half. Scrum goes down and the referee asks for a reset.
  • 41
Viljoen gets the second half going as he kicks deep into the Western Force 22. Morahan kicks up field before the Sunwolves return the kick. Western Force are awarded a penalty and set the attacking line-out in the Sunwolves half.

Half Time

  • 40
Western Force looking to go into halftime in the thirties before they play a kick in behind the Sunwolves defense, there is no one chasing the kick and the Sunwolves dot down on their line for a twenty two meter drop out but the referee blows his whistle and signals the end of the first forty. Both teams are all out attack but the Sunwolves seem to be unable to slow the ball down at the breakdown and this is causing them all sorts of problems. HALFTIME: SUNWOLVES 5-26 WESTERN FORCE
  • 38
Sunwolves camped in their half as Pisi clears to their ten meter line from the scrum.
  • 37
Western Force try catch the Sunwolves unaware at the back as they put in a clever kick from the penalty, the Sunwolves can only manage to carry it over and the Western Force have the five meter attacking scrum.
  • 36
Big push at the scrum from the Force but here come the Sunwolves as they break up field from the scrum.
  • 35
Western Force in a good attacking opportunity deep inside the Force half but they knock the ball forward and the Sunwolves come away with the scrum on their ten meter line.
  • 32
Absolutely unbelievable play from Stewart as he is released down the wing before he sprints to the line and offloads to Viljoen at the perfect moment. Viljoen tries to stretch and dot down as he has a tackler on him but he knocks on just as he is about to dot down. Five meter defensive scrum to the Western Force.
  • 31
Play resumes with a line-out to the Sunwolves on their ten meter line.
  • 30
Durutalo being treated by the medics on his upper leg.
  • 27
Prior sends the conversion sailing over the posts the Western Force will be pleased with their efforts thus far as they lead 5-26.
  • 26
Western Force getting extremely quick ball from the breakdown. They get over the advantage line with ease and make meters with every carry before play is taken down the wing and Brynard Stander goes over in the corner.
  • 24
Sunwolves blown up for offside and Western Force set the attacking line-out just outside the Sunwolves 22.
  • 23
Both teams really giving the ball plenty of air here as they throw the ball around from all over the park.
  • 22
Pisi sets the attacking line-out just outside the Western Force 22 after the Sunwolves win the penalty in their half.
  • 19
The ball bounces back off the posts and Prior is unable to add the extra two this time.
  • 18
Incredible line run by Francois Van Wyk sees him run straight through the Sunwolves defense before the ball is quickly played down the wing and Marcel Brache is there to dot down for his hat trick with only eighteen minutes gone.
  • 17
Western Force looking to draw in the Sunwolves defense as they attack the line just outside the Sunwolves 22.
  • 15
Western Force win the penalty on their 22 and set up the attacking line-out on the Sunwolves ten meter line. Sunwolves ill discipline cost them a good attacking opportunity there.
  • 14
Prior makes it two from two as he strikes it well on an angle from right in front and takes the score up to 5-14 to the Western Force.
  • 13
Marcel Brache dots down for his second try of the game after Dane Haylett-Petty breaks through the Sunwolves defense before Brache is put through.
  • 12
Disorganized line-out from the Sunwolves before they chip behind the Force defensive line and the Force break up field before they are wrapped up.
  • 11
Western Force infringe at the line-out and the Sunwolves return the favor as they set up the attacking line-out in the Western Force half.
  • 10
Western Force win the penalty on halfway and they set the attacking line-out on the Sunwolves 22 with the kick to touch.
  • 7
Ian Prior adds the extra two and Western Force lead 5-7 now.
  • 6
The Western Force respond straight away as Marcel Brache intercepts and runs clear through to level the scores. Sunwolves were playing to quick there and didn't clear their lines.
  • 5
Pisi sends the conversion wide score is 5-0 to Sunwolves with that.
  • 4
Sunwolves attack the line off the scrum before Viljoen almost breaks the line and gets them moving forward. The ball is quickly recycled down the wing where Carpenter almost breaks through before the Force run out of numbers and Yamada dots down for the five pointer.
  • 3
Sunwolves with a good attacking opportunity as they have the scrum just outside the Western Force 22.
  • 2
Pisi is unsuccessful with the penalty and the score remains 0-0.
  • 1
Early penalty goes the way of the Sunwolves and Tusi Pisi lines one up from the kicking tee far out on the angle.
  • 0
Referee Mike Fraser blows his whistle and we are underway here in Tokyo as Ian Prior gets the game underway for the Western Force as he puts boot to ball and kicks just short of the Sunwolves 22, Carpenter gathers before Pisi clears up field and here come the Force!
  • -2
The players are on the field. Stay tuned as we await referee Mike Fraser to get us underway.
  • -5
Mike Fraser is our referee. Paul Williams and Aki Aso will assist him. Our TMO is Takashi Hareda.
  • -10
WEATHER: Conditions are perfect for a fast paced game of Super Rugby in Tokyo as sun and clear skies welcome the teams onto the field.
  • -12
HISTORY: With the Suwolves being one of the new teams to this years expanded eighteen team Super Rugby competition this will be the first time that the Sunwolves and the Western Force do battle.
  • -14
FORM, WESTERN FORCE: The Western Force have struggled this season as they find themselves last in the Australasian group with six points from nine games which includes one win and eight losses. The Western Force have now lost seven on the trot with their last victory coming against the Reds in Brisbane earlier in the competition.
  • -15
FORM, SUNWOLVES: The Sunwolves sit in seventh place in the South African group with one win and seven loses from eight games leaving them with seven points to show for the efforts thus far. The team from Japan will come into this game with confidence after recording their first ever Super Rugby victory with a 36-28 victory over the Jaguares at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium on the 23rd of April. The Sunwolves will be refreshed having had the week off with a bye last week and will be looking to follow up that first ever Super Rugby victory with back to back victories by taking down the Western Force.
  • -20
TEAM NEWS, WESTERN FORCE: There are four changes to the Western Force starting team for this clash with the Sunwolves which includes one change to the backline and three changes in the forward pack. Starting with the backs Kyle Godwin is included in the run on team at centre after being on the side-lines since round one with a knee injury. In the forward pack Byrnard Stander will run out at blindside flank while Guy Millar will pack down at tighthead prop and Ross Haylett-Petty takes the number four jersey and partners Adam Coleman at lock.
  • -25
TEAM NEWS, SUNWOLVES: Akihito Yamada is back from injury and starts on the wing while John Stewart will partner Yamada on the opposite wing. In the forward pack Fa’atiga Lemalu is handed the number four jersey and will team up with Hitoshi Ono at lock.
  • -30
Hello and welcome to Rugby 365’s live commentary of Super Rugby round 11 as the Sunwolves host the Western Force at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium in Tokyo.
Mc western force logo 80x50
  • 1 Masataka Mikami
  • 2 Shota Horie
  • 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga
  • 4 Hitoshi Ono
  • 5 Fa'atiga Lemalu
  • 6 Liaki Moli
  • 7 Andrew Durutalo
  • 8 Ed Quirk
  • 9 Kaito Shigeno
  • 10 Tusi Pisi
  • 11 John Stewart
  • 12 Harumichi Tatekawa
  • 13 Derek Carpenter
  • 14 Akihito Yamada
  • 15 Riaan Viljoen
  • 16 Takeshi Kizu
  • 17 Ziun Gu
  • 18 Takuma Asahara
  • 19 Yoshiya Hosoda
  • 20 Taiyo Ando
  • 21 Atsushi Hiwasa
  • 22 Yu Tamura
  • 23 Mifiposeti Paea
  • 1 Francois Van Wyk
  • 2 Harry Scoble
  • 3 Guy Millar
  • 4 Ross Haylett-Petty
  • 5 Adam Coleman
  • 6 Brynard Stander
  • 7 Matt Hodgson
  • 8 Ben McCalman
  • 9 Alby Mathewson
  • 10 Ian Prior
  • 11 Luke Morahan
  • 12 Kyle Godwin
  • 13 Junior Rasolea
  • 14 Marcel Brache
  • 15 Dane Haylett-Petty
  • 20 Angus Cottrell
  • 16 Anaru Rangi
  • 17 Chris Heiberg
  • 18 Tetera Faulkner
  • 19 Steve Mafi
  • 21 Ryan Louwrens
  • 22 Peter Grant
  • 23 Semisi Masirewa
Mc article john plumtree hurricanes 800


Thu, 05 May 2016 20:28

IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Jan de Koning looks at the Saturday matches in Part Two of Super Rugby's Round 11.

The return of try-scoring machine Waisake Naholo has commanded the headlines this week, and has certainly spiced up this weekend's crucial New Zealand conference showdown between the defending champion Highlanders and this year's pace-setting Chiefs.

As the tournament goes into Round 11 of the 17-round regular season, Naholo has been named for his first run since he was injured in the opening game against the Blues at the end of February.

The All Black wing, Super Rugby's top try-scorer last year with 13, injured the same leg that saw him capture world headlines last year when he used a traditional herbal treatment to cure a fracture before the World Cup.

Without him this year the Highlanders have still fashioned an impressive six wins from nine matches, to lie fourth in the tightly-packed New Zealand conference.

The Chiefs have won eight of nine, but they have been off the boil in recent weeks and came close to defeat in their last two outings - edging the Hurricanes (28-27) in controversial fashion, with claims of manipulating the scrum rules, and also just escaping (24-22) against the Sharks last week.

The other BIG game of the weekend will see the Sharks looking to claim top spot in the Africa Two conference, when they host a Hurricanes team looking to back up last week's 50-17 thumping of Africa Two conference leaders the Lions.

And the Hurricanes do have plenty of inside knowledge when they play the Sharks in Durban.

Coach Chris Boyd and assistant John Plumtree have both been involved with the Sharks, with Plumtree sacked as the Durban side's head coach three years ago.

A straight win for the Sharks, after last week's narrow loss to the Chiefs, will see them draw level in their conference with the Lions who have a bye - while a bonus point win will see them go top of the pool.

The Waratahs will also fancy their chances of moving top of the Australia conference - depending on what happens in the encounter between the Brumbies and Bulls on Friday - when they play the Cheetahs in Sydney on Saturday.

The Waratahs go into the weekend equal on points with the Brumbies and only two behind the Rebels, who have a bye.

In the remaining Saturday matches, the Sunwolves are at home in Tokyo against the Western Force, with both sides looking for their second win, while the Southern Kings host the Blues in Port Elizabeth.

We look at the Saturday, May 7, matches below!

It is a historic week for the Western Force, as the team makes the journey to Tokyo to take on competition newcomers, the Sunwolves for the first time.

The Sunwolves, who have been treated like rock stars in Tokyo since their maiden win (36-28) against fellow newcomers the Jaguares a fortnight ago, will pose a massive challenge for the Force.

The plucky Japanese outfit will be fresh heading into this weekend, after enjoying the bye last weekend.

The Force will be just the second Australian team to take on the new Japanese side, after the Rebels defeated the Sunwolves 35-9 in Round Four.

Force coach Michael Foley said the side is looking forward to opportunity they have in front of them in Tokyo.

"Obviously there's always disappointment after a loss," he said of last week's 20-42 defeat at the hands of the Bulls.

"However, the team is more motivated than ever to respond this weekend.

"There's a sense of excitement about the chance to play in Tokyo and we feel we have an opportunity to pick up some wins towards the back end of the season if we attack each game for the 80 minutes without fear."

Although both teams - currently sitting 16th (Sunwolves) and 17th (Force) in the standings - have long since been reduced to also-rans, the match will have one of the tournament's more intriguing head-to-head clashes.

Arguably two of the toughest players in the competition, Ben McCalman and fiery red-head Ed Quirk, will face off at Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium.

Previous results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: The Sunwolves'  only previous experience against Australian opponents was a 26-point loss to the Rebels in Round Four. The Sunwolves, after a 36-28 win against fellow newcomers Jaguares, will now be searching for consecutive wins for the first time in their young history. The Force have won only two of their last 19 matches away from home and outside of Australia the most recent of which came in Round 13, 2014. The Sunwolves have conceded just one penalty goal in the final quarter of matches so far this season; only the Bulls and Lions (nil) have conceded fewer. The Force are one of only three teams in the competition (Sharks and Stormers) to average more penalty goals (2.4) per game than tries (1.2). The Force have been erratic, to say the least, but do have the potential to win. We feel the Sunwolves will be buoyed by their maiden win and should sneak it by a late converted try.


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

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Solomoni Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Ian Prior, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Guy Millar, 2 Harry Scoble, 1 Francois van Wyk.
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Sitiveni Mafi, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Semisi Masirewa.

Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Aki Aso
TMO: Takashi Hareda

There is no doubt this is THE biggest game of the weekend - both in terms of importance and the intensity that the two teams will bring.

Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph had no hesitation in labelling the Chiefs the best team in the competition.

"People start licking their lips over what sort of game it is going to be," Joseph told the Otago Daily Times.

"Both teams like to attack and if guys start slipping off tackles or make mistakes, kick poorly, then guys like Ben [Smith] and [Damian] McKenzie are going to run it,'' he added.

"That opens it up for a really open game of footy.

"But in saying that, it is really hard to play that type of footy for the entire game. So I think they'll have to take a breath of air.

"But for me the Chiefs have been by far the team in form and that is our challenge.''

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie was equally complimentary of the opposition and labelled Saturday's showdown "a massive challenge" for his side.

"The Highlanders are very similar to us, they've got a group of guys who work hard for each other," Rennie told the Waikato Times.

"With game-breakers across the park, they are the type of team that will sting you if you kick poorly or turn the ball over.

"It'll be a hell of a spectacle with two very positive Kiwi teams on display."

Recent results:
2015: Highlanders won 24-14, Dunedin (preliminary play-off match)
2015: Highlanders won 36-9, Dunedin
2015: Highlanders won 20-17, Hamilton
2014: Highlanders won 29-25, Dunedin
2014: Chiefs won 21-19, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 19-7, Hamilton
2013: Chiefs won 41-27, Dunedin

Prediction: The Highlanders' current run of four straight wins against the Chiefs snapped a Chiefs run of four straight victories prior to that. Only two of the last five matches between these teams have been won by the team leading at half-time. The Chiefs have won their last seven matches in a row despite having only led at half-time in three of them (level once, trailing three times). Twelve of the past 16 matches when the Chiefs have hosted a fellow New Zealand team have been decided by fewer than 10 points; of those 16 matches Chiefs have won 12. The Highlanders have kept their opposition scoreless in the opening half of two of their last three matches away from home. No doubt it is going to be a cracker and in the end will be close, very close. The Chiefs to win by five points or less.


Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Charlie Ngatai, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Michael Leitch, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Hiroshi Yamashita, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Mitchell Graham.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Kane Hames, 19 Michael Allardice, 20 Maama Vaipulu, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Anton Lienert-Brown, 23 Sam Vaka.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Matt Faddes, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dan Pryor, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 James Lentjes, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Teihorangi Walden.

Referee: Angus Garner
Assistant referees: Chris Pollock, Angus Mabey
TMO: Shane McDermott

The Waratahs still have aspirations of overtaking the table-topping Rebels and the Brumbies in the Australian conference race.

While travelling back from South Africa, they will no doubt be buoyed by their impressive win over the Africa Conference leaders, the Stormers, last week.

In contrast Cheetahs will be playing in their third away match in a row.

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith certainly has no delusions of grandeur and repeatedly emphasised that his young team - on a massive learning curve - is growing each week.

Smith, speaking to rugby365 from the team's  base in Sydney, said that the first objective is always to win a match.

However, the Sydney encounter is also about continuing the team's growth.

"We will have to dominate the breakdowns and we have to dominate the linespeed," Smith said.

"We also have to ensure we don't get bullied in the set pieces."

The Cheetahs are "grateful" that they finally return home next week.

"We can use that as motivation to give it a full go this week," Smith said, adding: "We do want to improve our defence and look to score more tries.

"However, the key will be for us to retain possession for as many phases as possible and get that confidence that we are capable with ball in hand."

The Waratahs, after a very erratic start to the season, finally won back-to-back matches in the last fortnight - an impressive 49-13 demolition of the Force and last week's nailbiting (32-30) win over the Stormers - both on the road.

However, Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley said those wins don't count for much if they don't back it up Saturday.

"It's great for us to get those wins away, but we really want to come back and make Allianz [Sydney Football Stadium] a bit of a fortress, the way we have the last couple of years," Foley told the Sydney Morning Herald.

After chancing their arm a lot in the early parts of the season, the Waratahs look to have reined it in, in recent weeks - playing a more 'structured' game.

"The opposition are trying to lull us into a false sense of attacking play, so in that sense we have tried to be a bit smarter in our decisions," Foley said.

"I suppose also in the back field sort of thing, having a bit of a kick drill, but always looking to get the ball back when we're kicking. We're not just kicking aimlessly down the field, we actually kicking for a purpose and kicking for an outcome.

"That's really helped and guys have really bought into owning the detail.

"That's been a big focus for us the last couple of weeks is to really know the detail and for everyone in the squad from 1-23 are across what their role is for the team. I think over the last couple of weeks, guys have learned that and been able to go out and execute."
Recent results:
2015: Waratahs won 58-33, Bloemfontein
2013: Cheetahs won 27-26, Sydney
2012: Cheetahs won 35-34, Bloemfontein
2011: Cheetahs won 23-3, Sydney
2010: Waratahs won 40-17, Sydney
2009: Waratahs won 18-10, Bloemfontein

Prediction: The Cheetahs have won three of their last four matches against the Waratahs, though two of those wins were by a single point. The Waratahs have lost their last three matches on home soil, all by less than a converted try, with their last home triumph coming in the opening round of the season. This will be the Cheetahs' third match in a tour of Australia in which they are yet to register a win; they've won only one of their last seven matches away from home against Australian opposition. On average the Cheetahs have seen one of their scrums per game stolen by the opposition, the most of any team in the competition. The Waratahs have scored 13 tries from possession originating within their own half of the field, the most of any Australian team and the third most in the competition. Travel may be a factor counting against the Waratahs, who travelled west to east across the Indian Ocean. However, the Cheetahs have taken baby steps in their growth this season and may find the Waratahs still have the edge - by 15 to 20 points.


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 Dean Mumm, 5 Will Skelton, 4 David Dennis, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan.       
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Matt Carraro.

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Nico Lee, 12 Francois Venter (captain), 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Willie Britz, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Elandre Huggett, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Nicolaas van Dyk, 19 Lodewyk de Jager, 20 Uzair Cassiem, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Niel Marais, 23 Michael van der Spuy.

Referee: Nic Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

The Sharks mark their return from their overseas leg - which yielded one win and two narrow (18-23 to the Blues and 22-24 to the Chiefs) defeats - with a match against the high-flying Hurricanes.

Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold felt the Hurricanes will pose a similar challenge to the three New Zealand teams they faced on tour.

However, the fact that the Hurricanes are fresh from a match where they put 50 points past the Africa Two conference-leading Lions will give added confidence to the New Zealanders.

"We have a massive challenge coming up this weekend, against a star-studded Hurricanes team," Gold said.

"This team is lethal with ball in hand and we have a huge amount of respect for them.

"However, it's fantastic to be back home and to play in front of our home crowd.

"This is the fourth New Zealand team we are playing in succession and we are excited about the challenge that lies ahead.

"We want to build on our courageous performance against the Chiefs last Friday, and our focus is on being accurate and utilising our opportunities."

Gold made no bones about the fact that his team is willing to win 'ugly' if that is what it takes.

"We want to be a team that gets the balance a little bit better," he said, adding: "We are certainly not going to apologise for winning games in any way we need to.

"First and foremost you need to stop New Zealand teams scoring tries against you.

"Then, when you do have the ball, you need to be more clinical in how you look after it."

The Hurricanes are certainly not underestimating the Sharks, despite their massive win last week.

Hurricanes assistant coach Jason Holland said the Lions win was great for morale, but they had wiped that and were now getting ready for a bigger challenge against the Sharks.

"While we did a lot of things well, there are still a lot of things in our game that we know we can get better at," he said.

He felt the Sharks are probably one of the most improved of South African sides and definitely a challenge.

"It's been interesting seeing the Sharks try a bit more in the last couple of weeks.

"The Sharks in New Zealand could easily have come away with three wins.

"They've got their strength up front with their big boys and they've got a good maul and a good kicking game and Willie le Roux's left foot out the back."

Recent results:
2015: Hurricanes won 32-24, Wellington
2014: Sharks won 27-9, Durban
2012: Hurricanes won 42-18, Wellington
2011: Sharks won 40-24, Durban
2010: Sharks won 29-26, Wellington
2009: Sharks won 33-17, Durban

Prediction: The Sharks have won four of their last six matches against the Hurricanes, though the New Zealand side have won two of the last three including an eight-point win in their most recent encounter. The Sharks return home to where they have lost their last two games; the last time they lost more than two consecutive home games was across the 2009 and 2010 campaigns. The Hurricanes have won their last eight games against teams from South Africa, more than double their next longest streak (three games). The Sharks have scored the second fewest tries so far this season (17) behind the Force (11), but they have also conceded the fewest tries (15). Beauden Barrett has converted more tries this season than any other player (27) and is one of only four players so far this season to have scored more than 100 points. The Sharks have showed marked improvement in the last few weeks and also have a more pragmatic approach to games - which may just be to their benefit against the hard-running Hurricanes. It will not be a rout like last week, but the Hurricanes will win a nailbiter - by seven points or less.


Sharks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Garth April, 9 Michael Claassens, 8. Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira (captain).
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Patrick Lambie, 23 Odwa Ndungane.

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 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 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Reg Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ngani Laumape, 23 Jason Woodward.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Rodney Bonaparte (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

The Blues may still fancy themselves, with an outside chance, of making the play-offs.

But it is no surprise that the Kings are propping up the bottom of the table.

Mentally they never switched on against the Jaguares last week and the result was a 73-27 mauling at the hands of the Argentinean side.

Both coach Deon Davids and captain Steven Sykes this week admitted that it is a mindset change that individuals will have to make to avoid another big hiding.

Davids said that from a defensive point of view they really let themselves down.

"The players have taken accountability and they know how they must fix it," the Kings coach said in the build-up to the Blues encounter.

"What is lacking in our game is our ability to dominate contact, especially on defence.

"That is something we need to, continuously, work on."

Davids described the Blues as a very experienced team, with a few All Blacks in the side.

"They have very strong and tall backs, especially the outside backs," the Kings mentor said, adding: "As we all know, New Zealand teams like to play the game at a very high tempo.

"We are expecting a very tough game."

The Blues said their biggest problem this week is guarding against complacency.

Blues assistant coach Glenn Moore said they had addressed the complacency issue with the side after arriving in Johannesburg, where they were based early in the week before heading to Port Elizabeth.

"We're really focused on the job in hand and the boys have been working really hard on their analysis' stuff, we've been really diligent around what we're eating and how we're preparing," he said in an interview on

"Our expectation is that we'll go out there and put out a good performance."

Previous results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: This will be the first Super Rugby encounter between the Kings and the Blues, though the South African side have lost their last three games against opponents from New Zealand, conceding 157 points in the process. The Blues have won only one of their last 26 matches away from home and haven't won in South Africa since Round Three, 2012. The Blues are the only team yet to score a try after forcing a turnover from the opposition so far this season while the Kings have done so seven times. The Kings are the only South African team with more than one player having won more than 10 turnovers so far this season (Cyril-John Velleman 17 and Chris Cloete 12). The Kings have slowly digressed and the Blues have made some progressed. The Kings might be a bit more energetic on home soil, but the Blues should still win by 20 points or more.


Kings: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Luzuko Vulindlu, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 James Hall, 8 Cyril-John  Velleman, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 John-Charles Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (captain), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Martin Ferreira, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Ntando Kebe, 22 Louis Fouche, 23 Leighton Eksteen.

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 George Moala, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Hoani Matenga, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Male Sa'u.

Referee: Federico Anselmi
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Christie du Preez

Compiled by Jan de Koning, with additional reporting from Agence France-Presse

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article marcel brache   brynard stander force 800

Brache hat-trick sets up Force win

Sat, 07 May 2016 07:08

REPORT: Marcel Brache scored a hat-trick inside the opening quarter to set up the Western Force for an impressive 40-22 win over the Sunwolves in Tokyo on Saturday.

Outscoring the tournament newcomers by six tries to four the Force ended a seven-match losing streak and move above the Japanese franchise on the bottom end of the tournament standings.

To their credit the Sunwolves, completely outplayed in the first half and trailing 5-26 at the half-time break, they never gave up and scored some delightful second-half tries.

But ultimately the Force were the better team by some distance and thoroughly deserved their win.

The Sunwolves, who posted a historic first victory in the Southern Hemisphere's premier competition (outside Tests) against Argentina's Jaguares in their last outing, burst from the blocks with a try from Akihito Yamada in the opening moments.

But from the restart a sharp interception from Brache left him an easy run-in, before a spectacular try after a slick move and another bulldozing finish gave the wing his hat-trick inside 20 minutes.

The Force, who had won just one of their previous nine matches, never looked back and further tries from Brynard Stander, Ben McCalman and Angus Cottrell secured a second win of the season for the Perth-based visitors.

"Obviously it wasn't the start we were after but the way we rebounded was superb," said Force captain Matt Hodgson after his side snapped a seven-game losing run.

"I asked the team to be tough in those moments and I was happy we got the momentum back."

Trailing after a low-energy first half, the Sunwolves awoke from their slumber following the break with Samoan flyhalf Tusi Pisi and Kiwi centre Derek Carpenter crashing over.

Yamada, who failed to make an impact at the Force last season, grabbed a late second - his seventh try of the season - to cap an impressive return from injury and deny the Australians a bonus point.

"When their tails are up, they're hard to defend against," Hodgson said of the Japanese expansion side.

"I was just rapt we got away with a win."

However, a plucky second-half display proved scant consolation for Sunwolves captain Shota Horie.

"We started well but then we started giving away penalties and got pushed back," he shrugged as Sunwolves players posed for photographs with Japanese fans.

"We need to be more aggressive in enemy territory. There's a lot of things we have to go away and think about. It's a good lesson for the future," Horie added.

The Sunwolves have endured a torrid first season in Super Rugby, hitting rock bottom in last month's 92-17 humiliation by South Africa's Cheetahs before ending their own seven-match losing skid against the Jaguares.

.Man of the match: Riaan Viljoen had some good moments and a couple of shockers, but was instrumental in much of what was good about the Sunwolves on attack - including the opening try. Akihito Yamada showed his finishing ability and was rewarded with a brace of tries. Tusi Pisi, despite his erratic goal-kicking, Ed Quirk and Liaki Moli also had admirable performances. You can always count on Ben McCalman and Matt Hodgson to put their bodies on the line, while Brynard Stander also made the best of a rare start. However, the American-born, South African raised Western Force wing Marcel Brache produced a blinder on attack and wins our award.

The scorers:

For the Sunwolves:
Yamada 2, Pisi, Carpenter
Con: Tamura

For the Western Force:
Brache 3, Stander, McCalman, Cottrell
Cons: Prior 4, Grant


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

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Solomoni Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Ian Prior, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Guy Millar, 2 Harry Scoble, 1 Francois van Wyk.
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Chris Heiberg, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Sitiveni Mafi, 20 Angus Cottrell, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Semisi Masirewa.

Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant referees: Paul Williams, Aki Aso
TMO: Takashi Hareda

Akihito Yamada (4min), Tusi Pisi (57min), Derek Carpenter (69min), and Akihito Yamada (78min)
Marcel Brache (6min), Marcel Brache (13min), Marcel Brache (18min), Brynard Stander (26min), Ben McCalman (52min), and Angus Cottrell (74min)
Yu Tamura (79min)
Ian Prior (7min), Ian Prior (14min), Ian Prior (27min), Ian Prior (53min), and Peter Grant (75min)
REFEREE Mike Fraser (New Zealand)