ad link


37     27


Super Rugby | Wellington
07:35 (GMT) | 02-07-2016
  • 80
Thats Full-Time! Thank you for joining us at for this match. Be sure to join us for the next game as the Rebels take on the Stormers!
  • 79
Maul set by the Blues, defended well by the Hurricanes. Guyton has a run, then Namatahi Waa. Blues lose the ball on the Hurricanes line and Barrett clears the ball into touch. Fantastic defensive effort from the home side.
  • 78
Lovely attack from the Blues sees Nanai and Duffie do well before the ref blows for a Blues penalty and McGahan sets up the 5 meter lineout .
  • 77
Gibson-Park clears the ball into touch for the Hurricanes. Blues lineout outside the 22.
  • 75
Pryor loses the ball forward at the lineout and the Hurricanes have the scrum put in
  • 74
Blues on the attack near the Canes 22 before being awarded a penalty. Kaino opts to set up a lineout 6-7 meters from the Canes try line. They have to strike right now if they want to win this match
  • 71
Barrett converts the try
  • 70
Canes steal the ball inside the Blues 22 followed by an attack through Jane down the right wing, the attack then goes the other way and Fifita breaks the line and scores!!!!!!!
  • 69
Canes attack from deep as Marshall puts a lovely chip kick forward and Halaholo hacks the ball through but the ball rolls out on the Blues 22
  • 68
Blues on the attack through Nanai who gets thrown into touch by Barrett. Hurricanes lineout on their own 22. The Blues get a hand involved at the lineout but unfortunately the ball is lost forward and the Canes have the scrum put-in.
  • 67
Fantastic defensive effort from the Canes sees the Blues flank Pryor lose the ball forward. Scrum to the Hurricanes
  • 66
Blues continue to bash at the defense but the Canes defensive line holds strong.
  • 65
Blues have a lineout on the halfway line , Fifita steals the ball for the Hurricanes and Barrett clears the ball to Nanai and the Blues counter attack from deep. Play taking place on the halfway line .
  • 63
Francis pulls his penalty attempt to the right hand side of the uprights. 22 dropout for the Hurricanes.
  • 62
Penalty awarded to the Blues, Captain Kaino opts to have a shot at goal to level things up.
  • 61
Duffie has a run off his wing for the Blues he makes his way into the Hurricanes 22 as the visitors desperately look to strike back after giving up their first half lead.
  • 60
Hall puts in a lovely kick that rolls out 5 meters from the Hurricanes try line. Coles throws for the Canes and finds Vito. Perenara then clears the ball into touch on his own 22 and the Blues have an attacking lineout.
  • 58
Blues with ball in hand once more. Canes defense solid at the moment.
  • 57
Blues on the attack inside the Canes half. Luatua has a run, then Bekhuis, then Tu'ungafasi. West then spots a half gap , backs himself but loses the ball forward and Barrett hammers the ball up field.
  • 55
Barrett adds the extras
  • 54
Canes lineout inside the Blues 22. Coles finds Vito and Aso has a run midfield. Fifita then slices through and scores under the posts! Try time!
  • 53
Canes attack through Savea then Aso, then Marshall who breaks the line. Blues defense buckling .
  • 51
Barrett adds the three points from the tee
  • 50
Canes awarded the penalty on the 10 meter line in the Blues half for Francis not releasing the ball. Barrett will have another shot at goal to chip away at the Blues lead.
  • 49
Blues on the attack from deep through Francis who gets smashed by Goodes. West then puts in a little chip kick which is fumbled by the Hurricanes and the Blues have the scrum put-in.
  • 47
Hall feeds the scrum and plays West who has a run before being penalized. Hurricanes win the penalty and Barrett clears the ball into touch on the halfway line.
  • 46
From the kickoff Jane loses the ball forward and the Blues have the scrum put in on the Canes 22
  • 45
Barrett adds the three points for the Canes.
  • 44
Canes lineout inside the Blues half, Coles finds his jumper and Shields crashes the ball up midfield followed by Aso and Fifita. Canes awarded the penalty and Barrett will have a shot at goal
  • 43
Francis adds the three points for the Blues
  • 42
Blues on the attack in the Canes half. Luatua has a run and does well by offloading to Nanai who slices through. Blues into the Canes 22 now as Parsons has a run followed by Tuipolotu and then Luatua once again. It all comes to nothing as West loses the ball but the ref awards the visitors a penalty and Francis will have a shot at goal
  • 41
Second half underway. West kicks off for the Blues

Half Time

  • 40
Thats Halftime! What a match so far! We cant wait for the second half! Blues go into halftime with a 7 point lead , see you all in a bit !
  • 39
Ardie Savea loses the ball forward and the Blues have the scrum put in just outside their own 22.
  • 38
Hurricanes attack from the back as Aso does well and offloads to Barrett who makes a good run, Canes into the Blues half. Relentless waves of attack
  • 37
Blues on the attack inside the Hurricanes 22 before Parsons loses the ball forward and the Canes have the scrum put in.
  • 36
Canes lose the ball forward and Blues are back on the attack. West does well as he breaks 2 tackles , then puts in a chip cleaned up by Barrett who clears the ball into touch. Blues lineout just outside the Canes 22.
  • 34
Parsons finds Tuipolotu at the lineout and the Blues attack wide through Nanai who gets tackled well . Proctor then makes a huge tackle on Francis who throws a loose pass and the ref judges forward pass and a scrum put in to the Canes.
  • 32
Kaino makes another good run for the Blues from the lineout. West then clears the ball up field and Savea the bus has a run. Perenara puts through a kick and Nanai gets the ball at the back puts in a lovely step and breaks the Canes line , runs 30 meters plays Pryor who gets the ball ripped from him by Jane who gets bundled into touch. This is absolutely sensational attacking rugby here.
  • 30
Canes on the attack 5 meters from the Blues line. Ardie Savea has a run but there is some sensation stuff shown my James Parsons who forces Savea to hold on and the Blues are awarded the penalty. West clears the ball into touch.
  • 28
Canes attack wide from the scrum through Marshall who is taken down 5 meters from the line. Goodes then has another crack but is also chopped down. Canes awarded a penalty and Coles opts to pack down for a 5 meter scrum. Dangerous position for the Canes.
  • 27
Great set piece as Proctor breaks the line and makes 20 meters before being taken down. There is a Blues hand that knocks the ball forward so the Canes have the scrum put in. 7 clean linebreaks within 30 minutes of this match. Absolutely sensational stuff!
  • 25
Hurricanes lineout on the halfway. Coles overthrows the ball and the Blues have possession. West then clears the ball to Marshall who returns the favor , Duffie then kicks the ball out on the full and the Canes have the lineout on the 10 meter line in the Blues half.
  • 24
Francis converts the try!
  • 23
Blues back on the attack as Nanai slices through, danger from the back, Blues just refuse to lay down as Kaino busts through and makes a run of 25 meters and completes it with a lovely try! What a game!
  • 22
Barrett converts the try
  • 21
TMO awards the try ! Coles scores for the Canes
  • 20
Couple kicks back and forth between the two sides before Tevita Li decides enough is enough and has a run. Blues attacking from inside their own 22 before West fumbles the ball Coles hacks through and dives on the ball and thinks he has scored. TMO in action.
  • 19
Francis converts the try
  • 18
Lovely attack from the Blues as Kaino crashes over for the try! Good game we have here
  • 17
Straight from the kickoff Luatua snatches the ball in the air and makes a lovely run! He comes so close to scoring the try but unfortunately is out. Ref blows for a Blues penalty and West sets up the 5 meter lineout .
  • 16
Barrett converts the try!
  • 15
Wave after wave of attack bashes at the Blues defence before Goodes crashes over for the try!
  • 14
Canes on the attack inside the Blues half, Eves breaks the line followed by a lovely run by James Marshall, Canes just 5 meters out
  • 12
Ref blows for a Canes player being in front of the kicker at the restart, midfield scrum to the Blues
  • 11
Francis converts the try from the corner, lovely kick
  • 9
Blues on attack through Tevita Li, then bigman Tu'ungafasi, followed by a massive bust made by Male Sau who plays Kara Pryor who scores a lovely try in the corner. Blues on fire !
  • 8
Blues looking dangerous on attack as they build phases , suck in the Canes defenders and then pierce the defensive line, this time West cut through like a hot knife through butter , put in a kick that rolls over the try line and is cleaned up by Jane who dots down. 22 dropout to the Canes.
  • 7
Canes attack through Julian Savea but the bus gets smashed into touch and the Blues now have the lineout on the 50. Parsons finds his jumper and Hall plays Francis on the crash ball.
  • 6
Blues on the attack again, they swing the ball to Duffie but he gets bundled into touch on the halfway line. Lineout Canes.
  • 5
Francis lands the penalty for the Blues
  • 4
Blues continue their attack inside the Canes 22 before the referee awards them with a penalty and Francis will have the chance to level things up.
  • 3
Blues on the attack near the Canes 22. Francis has a bash, then Bekhuis and Male Sau. Blues looking dangerous
  • 2
Blues take the kick-off well before West clears the ball into touch between the 22 and the 10 meter line inside the Blues half. Coles finds his jumper and the Canes attack midfield through Cory Jane. It comes to nothing as the referee penalizes Piers Francis and the Canes will have a shot at goal for the first points of the game.... Barrett lines up the penalty attempt, strikes the ball well and its over.
  • 1
First half underway, Barrett kicks off for the Canes
  • -5
Teams come out, its almost time to get this match underway
  • -10
Teams will be going through their last match preparations
  • -15
The Blues - who face the Hurricanes, Brumbies and Waratahs - have an outside chance of slipping into one of the wildcard spots.
  • -20
The Hurricanes are still in with a realistic chance of topping the table, as they did last year, but that would mean winning all three their remaining matches - against the Blues, Waratahs and Crusaders.
  • -25
Expect no mercy. Not only is it an all-New Zealand derby - which brings with it a level of physicality that few other games produce - but with just three weeks remaining there is plenty at stake for both teams.
  • -30
Welcome to this Super Rugby clash between the Hurricanes and the Blues coming to you from the Westpac Stadium in Wellington , New Zealand
Mc hurricanes logo 80x50
Mc blues logo 80x50
  • 1 Reg Goodes
  • 2 Dane Coles
  • 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen
  • 4 Vaea Fifita
  • 5 Michael Fatialofa
  • 6 Brad Shields
  • 7 Ardie Savea
  • 8 Victor Vito
  • 9 TJ Perenara
  • 10 Beauden Barrett
  • 11 Julian Savea
  • 12 Vince Tavae –Aso
  • 13 Matt Proctor
  • 14 Cory Jane
  • 15 James Marshall
  • 16 Ricky Riccitelli
  • 17 Chris Eves
  • 18 Loni Uhila
  • 19 Mark Abbott
  • 20 Tony Lamborn
  • 21 Jamison Gibson-Park
  • 22 Willis Halaholo
  • 23 Jason Woodward
  • 1 Sam Prattley
  • 2 James Parsons
  • 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi
  • 4 Patrick Tuipulotu
  • 5 Josh Bekhuis
  • 6 Jerome Kaino
  • 7 Kara Pryor
  • 8 Steven Luatua
  • 9 Bryn Hall
  • 10 Ihaia West
  • 11 Tevita Li
  • 12 Piers Francis
  • 13 Male Sau
  • 14 Matt Duffie
  • 15 Melani Nanai Vai
  • 16 Quentin MacDonald
  • 17 Namatahi Waa
  • 18 Sione Mafileo
  • 19 Hoani Matenga
  • 20 Blake Gibson
  • 21 Billy Guyton
  • 22 Matt McGahan
  • 23 Lolagi Visinia
Mc article jaco kriel lions 800


Fri, 01 Jul 2016 02:02

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Jan de Koning looks at the Saturday matches in Part Two of Super Rugby's Round 15.

Most of the focus on Saturday will be on the all-South African derby between the Lions, on 42 points, and the Sharks (35) - a game that could decide the Africa One conference.

With the Stormers (on 36 points and second on the overall Africa standings) playing the Rebels in Melbourne earlier in the day, the Lions will still top the standings.

However, a win for the Lions - coupled with a defeat for the Stormers - could see the men from Johannesburg wrap up first place in the Africa standings with two rounds of league action remaining.

Sharks are striving to stay ahead of the Bulls in the race for a wildcard entry to the play-offs.

The Bulls, only three points adrift of the Sharks, have what should be an easier assignment against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

A win in Argentina will have the Bulls in line to take over the Africa Two conference should the Stormers - with Schalk Burger taking over the captaincy from co-skippers Juan de Jongh (on Sevens duty) and Frans Malherbe (neck injury) - fall to the Rebels.

In other Saturday matches the Hurricanes face the Blues, the Cheetahs are at home in Bloemfontein to Western Force and the Highlanders are away to the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.

Saturday, July 2:
The challenge for all teams is to get themselves up and running straight away after the four-week June break.

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson admitted it is a 'must win' match for his side as they look to keep their play-off hopes alive.

The determination to get out the blocks quickly is reflected in his team selection.

Wallaby Taqele Naiyaravoro has been injected straight back into the Waratahs starting line-up, following his return from the Glasgow Warriors, for this historic clash against the Sunwolves in Tokyo.

Gibson has also named Wallabies Michael Hooper, Will Skeleton, Dean Mumm, Bernard Foley and Israel Folau in the starting XV.  

"We have the challenge of winning our next three games," Gibson said.

"The formula is very simple - we must win all three our games and then we qualify [for the play-offs] through the conference system. Otherwise we chase a wildcard spot."

He described the Sunwolves as a team that play and "exciting" brand and have performed well at home.

Veteran loose forward Dave Dennis said the players know what they are capable of as team and how they want to play.

"We want to be nice and physical and attack with ball in hand," Dennis said, adding that there is a lot to play for.

"Next week we are back here [Sydney] against a very strong Hurricanes team in our last home match [before the play-offs].

"There is a really good feeling in the group.

"If we play Waratahs rugby and we are positive in the way we want to play, we can get the desired result."

Recent results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: The Sunwolves have conceded a combined 101 points in their last two Super Rugby fixtures, both of which were against Australian opposition. The Waratahs have won three of their last four fixtures away from home, though two of those three wins were by only two points. Israel Folau is the only player in the competition to have gained more than 1,000 metres so far this season and has made 320m more than the Sunwolves' highest gainer Riaan Viljoen (684 metres). Nick Phipps has assisted eight tries so far this season, the most of any Australia-based player and the fourth most in Super Rugby 2016. Akihito Yamada has made 22 clean breaks so far this season, only one shy of league-best Joseph Tomane (23) who remains on the sidelines. The Waratahs will; simply be too good for a hapless Sunwolves team - which may put up some initial resistance and could be on the receiving end of a hiding - 30 points or more.


Sunwolves: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Mifiposeti Paea, 13 Derek Carpenter, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Yasutaka Sasakura, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Edward Quirk, 7 Taiyo Ando, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Naohiro Kotaki, 4 Faatiga Lemalu, 3 Shinnosuke Katinaga, 2 Takeshi Kizu, 1 Masataka Mikami.
Replacements: 16 Futoshi Mori, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Yoshiya Hosoda, 20 Shokel Kin, 21 Yuki Yatomi 22 Ryohei Yamanaka, 23 Hajime Yamashita.

Waratahs: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Rob Horne, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Matt Lucas, 8 Dave Dennis, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan.       
Replacements - from: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Ned Hanigan, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 David Horwitz, 24 Tolu Latu, 25 Matt Carraro.

Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Aki Aso (Japan), Noriaki Hashimoto (Japan)
TMO: Takashi Hareda (Japan)

Expect no mercy. Not only is it an all-New Zealand derby - which brings with it a level of physicality that few other games produce - but with just three weeks remaining there is plenty at stake for both teams.

The Hurricanes are still in with a realistic chance of topping the table, as they did last year, but that would mean winning all three their remaining matches - against the Blues, Waratahs and Crusaders.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd is confident his team is on the right track.

"We felt like we were building some good momentum when the competition stopped for the June internationals and clearly we'll be hoping to pick up where we left off, so continuity is important," Boyd said.

"Our All Blacks have all come back in really good nick and they've slipped right back into our environment which has been great.

"The challenge for everyone is getting back into competition mode after a month off, but we believe we've prepared well over the break.

"We had a good, tough hit out against Melbourne Rebels last week and we've trained well as a group.

"The guys can't wait to get back out on there in front of their home crowd."

Boyd said the Blues presented a significant test.

"They are a quality side with attacking threats right across the park, so we know we will have to be at our best if we want to compete."

Blues captain James Parsons said they had a big focus on the mental side of the game, especially being a young side.

"We need to deal with the pressure of Super Rugby," he said, adding: "We have been training very well, but we are just not getting the finished product."

Like the Hurricanes, the Blues are also getting a few All Blacks back into the fold.

"It [Test rugby] is at a much higher level [than Super Rugby] and they would have gotten a lot of value out of that," Parsons said of the All Blacks' three-nil series weep of Wales.

"Hopefully they can bring back that enthusiasm and energy from the black jersey into the blue jersey.

"Both teams - the Blues and Hurricanes- have a lot to play for."

The Blues - who face the Hurricanes, Brumbies and Waratahs - have an outside chance of slipping into one of the wildcard spots.

Recent results:
2016: Hurricanes won 23-19, Auckland
2015: Hurricanes won 29-5, Auckland
2015: Hurricanes won 30-23, Palmerston North
2014: Blues won 37-24, Auckland
2014: Hurricanes won 39-20, Wellington
2013: Blues won 28-6, Auckland
2013: Blues won 34-20, Wellington

Prediction: The Hurricanes have won their last three games against the Blues but have never won four on the bounce against their conference rivals. The Hurricanes haven't lost a home fixture by more than eight points since their first game of the 2013 season against the Blues (20-34). Only once in their last 24 Super Rugby fixtures have the Blues lost a game after leading at half-time, though that result came in their Round 14 clash against the Crusaders. The Hurricanes have conceded only 19 points in the opening halves of their last four games (4.75 per game), including holding the Highlanders to nil in their last fixture. Eight of the Blues 12 games so far this season have been decided by the value of a converted try or less and only one of the four that hasn't was against a fellow New Zealand opponent. The Hurricanes should have too much firepower for the visitors, but the margin is unlikely to be much more than 12 points.


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), Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Tony Lambourn, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 Jason Woodward.

Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Male S'au, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Namatahi Waa, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti/Hoani Matenga, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Matt Vaega/Lolagi Visinia.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

The Rebels have an outside chance, and rely on other results to go their way, while the Stormers have their play-off prospects in their own hands.

However, that outside chance is enough to ensure the Melbourne-based franchise won't lack motivation.

Apart from the Stormers, the Rebels face the Crusaders and Reds in their final run-in.

"We've got a lot to play for," Rebels coach Tony McGahan said.

"We've got an opportunity over the next three games to do well and have our best ever season in the competition.

"The players have had a really good couple of weeks, had a good hit out against the Hurricanes [in a friendly] last Thursday, and two really good sessions so far this week.

"We're really looking forward to the opportunity to play our last home game of the season this weekend and do well."

Boasting international Test representatives across the field, the dangerous Stormers sit in second place in South Africa when they return to Melbourne for the first time since 2013.

"The Stormers are going really well and have nine guys with Springbok experience," McGahan said.

"The Stormers are one of the top two sides in South Africa in their conference system so they're really gunning for finals.

"With only three games left in the competition, this weekend represents a great one."

Previous results:
2015: Stormers won 31-15, Cape Town
2013: Rebels won 30-21, Melbourne
2012: Stormers won 26-21, Cape Town
2011: Stormers won 40-3, Melbourne

Prediction: The Stormers have won three of their four encounters with the Rebels with their only blemish coming in a 30-21 loss in Round 14, 2013. The Rebels are winless in four straight games, their longest streak since they ended their 2014 season with five consecutive defeats. The Stormers have won on their last two trips to Australia, including a win against the Waratahs in Round Nine when they were trailing at half-time. The Stormers remain as one of only two teams this season (Sharks) who are yet to concede 10 tries in any quarter of games. Sean McMahon has beaten 43 defenders in this campaign, the third most of any player and more than any other forward. It may not be pretty, but the Stormers should sneak a win - certainly by less than 10 points.


Melbourne Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Jonah Placid, 13 Sefa Naivalu, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Ben Meehan, 8 Colby Fainga'a, 7 Sean McMahon (captain), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Toby Smith, 2 James Hanson, 1 Cruze Ah Nau.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Adam Thomson, 21 Mick Snowden, 22 Mitch Inman, 23 Paul Asquith.

Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Daniel du Plessis, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Schalk Burger (captain), 7 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oliver Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 22 Louis Schreuder, 23 Scott van Breda.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Amy Perrett (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

Unlike most of the other games, this match is not about the race for places in the play-offs.

The sideshow to the main competition is that the Force arrived in Bloemfontein with an interim head coach - South African Dave Wessels - after Michael Foley was shown the door during the June break.

His departure was the result of a horror run by the Force, which saw them win only two matches in 12 starts.

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith said this week whenever there is a change in the coaching team it brings new energy to a side.

The new Force mentor, Wessels, acknowledges that there are two main themes heading into the match - the axing of Foley and the next three weeks of league action.

"The players recognise that we have been pretty close to an outcome [win] in the last few games," Wessels said of a 13-17 loss to the Blues and a 22-27 defeat against the Rebels - just before the June break.

"They [the players] are all on board [with the new coaching structure] and are going to fight pretty hard these last three games," Wessels added.

In a huge boost for the Force, the team welcomes back playmaker Jono Lance in the No.10 jersey after a 14 week stint on the sidelines, after tearing his pectoral muscle.

The Cheetahs coach, Smith, admitted that Lance will be a key player.

"It would be interesting to see what impact the flyhalf [Jono Lance] will have on the game," Smith said, adding: "He is certainly one of the players to watch."

The Cheetahs are without two injured players - Springbok lock Lodewyk de Jager and prop Charles Marais.

However, Smith is confident his team will get the desired result - a win.

"What I am looking for is a more mature performance," he said.

"Against the Stormers [a 24-31 loss in Cape Town just before the June break] we showed that we are no longer panicking as much on the field.

"We are looking for more accuracy on attack and to also work hard on the breakdown.

"Our defence has also improved dramatically throughout the competition," Smith said, adding that the break has done the players good.

Recent results:
2015: Cheetahs won 24-15, Perth
2014: Force won 23-16, Bloemfontein
2013: Cheetahs won 19-10, Perth
2012: Cheetahs won 17-13, Bloemfontein
2010: Cheetahs won 29-14, Bloemfontein
2009: Force won 16-10, Perth

Prediction: Despite not scoring more than nine points in an opening half against the Force since 2010, the Cheetahs have won four of their last five games against the Western Australian side. The Cheetahs have won their last two home games by a combined margin of 89 points and a third straight home win would equal the club record in Super Rugby. The Western Force have won on only one of their last nine expeditions to South Africa, though that victory was against the Cheetahs in Round 13, 2014. The Force have the best goal kicking conversion rate (90 percent) of any side in Super Rugby this season. Sergeal Petersen (63 carries) has made an average gain of 11.5 metres per carry, the most of any player in the competition who has made more than 10 carries. It will be closely contested encounter, with the Cheetahs sneaking a late winner - by five points.


Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, (captain),12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Luan de Bruin, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 George Whitehead, 23 William Small-Smith.

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett–Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Solomoni Rasolea, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Angus Cottrell, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Harry Scoble, 1 Pek Cowan (captain).
Replacements: 16 Anaru Rangi, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Rory Walton, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Semisi Masirewa.

Referee: Kubo Shuhei (Japan)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)

Lions coach Johan Ackermann said the biggest positive for his team, going into the day's biggest derby, is that their destiny is still in their own hands.

They top the combined Africa One and Two conference table and even if they lose, they will remain at the top of those standings.

However, the Lions are determined to get back on the heights they were on before the June break.

Apart from captain Warren Whiteley - whose season came to an abrupt end when he injured his shoulder against Ireland - Ackermann was able to call on all his Springboks and South African A team players.

"We had to manage the players that came back, but they slotted back in pretty quickly," the coach said.

"What they achieved [to play for the Boks and the South African A team] was great, but they have a big job to do on Saturday.

"Hopefully everybody's heads are in the right space on Saturday," Ackermann said, adding that as it is a home game, it is vital to win and get the momentum back from where they left off before June.

"We know it will be a massive challenge. The Sharks beat the Hurricanes, who gave us a hiding. The Sharks are still one of the top teams in South Africa and it won't be necessary for me to tell the players how important this game is."

Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold said they hope to "ask some questions" of the Lions, whom he described as a "fantastic" team.

"We have a huge amount of respect for them," Gold said of the table-topping Lions.

"We know how good they are with ball in hand and the questions they ask on defence.

"We want to focus our attention on our own game and our players have returned to training in high spirits with renewed energy and focus.

"It is important for us to utilise our opportunities and ask questions of our own. The set-piece battle is going to be important and it will lay the foundation for us to launch our attacks off.

"It's crunch time in the competition and we are looking forward to the challenge of playing an in-form Lions team. We remain committed to improving from where we left off before the June break."

Recent results:
2016: Lions won 24-9, Durban
2015: Lions won 23-21, Johannesburg
2015: Sharks won 29-12, Durban
2014: Sharks won 25-12, Johannesburg
2014: Sharks won 37-23, Durban
2012: Lions won 38-28, Johannesburg
2012: Sharks won 32-20, Durban

Prediction: The last six games between these sides have seen both pick up three victories, only one of those games has seen a single digit margin of victory however. The Lions have won their last three games each by a margin of 28 points or more, the last time they won more games in succession was in Round 11, 2015 (five games). Not since the opening round of the 2016 campaign has a Sharks away fixture been decided by more than five points. The Sharks have conceded an average of only 7.4 clean breaks per game, the fewest of any team, though they face a Lions team which averages more clean breaks (11.8) than any other South African team. The Lions are only three first-half points away from becoming the first team this season to have scored 200 points in each stanza (197 points in first half, 222 points in second half). It is a tough call, but the Lions may have just too much class and a couple of scored in the second half could see the winning margin creep into double digits.


Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.

Sharks: 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 Jon-Paul Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Garth April, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Philip van der Walt, 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 Thomas du Toit, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Rhyno Smith, 23 Sibusiso Sithole.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Pro Legoete
TMO: Johan Greeff

The Southern Kings promised the Highlanders that they would give them a "run for their money" on Saturday.

Kings coach Deon Davids said their return to Super Rugby has made 2016 a very special year and they are going to "give it a full go" in the last three matches of the season.

"We want to go out there and give everything we have," Davids said, adding: "No doubt the guys will pitch up on Saturday.

"After this match we then go into two tough games - against the Lions at Ellis Park next Friday and the Stormers at Newlands.

"We all understand what awaits us. We've faced a lot of challenges this year and I feel the players stood up in the face of those challenges."

Even though the Highlanders arrived in South Africa without five All Blacks, Davids does not see that as a sign of disrespect.

"They have their own reasons why they did not select their All Blacks, but for us it is all about this [the Kings] team."

Highlanders back Marty Banks also dismissed the notion that the Highlanders are disrespecting a Kings team stuck at the bottom of the table.

"There is no complacency issue around with not having the All Blacks," Banks told the Otago Daily Times.

"There is a new leadership group with the team and they are setting the standards for the team,'' Banks added.

"We want to put in a good performance and be in a good place when they [All Blacks] come back in.''

Previous result:
2013: Kings won 34-27, Port Elizabeth

Prediction: The Kinds earned a 34-27 victory in the last and only time they faced the Highlanders in Super Rugby (Round 13, 2013). A 29-22 win over the Jaguares in their last fixture means that the Kings have a shot at back-to-back wins for the first time in Super Rugby history. A 45-24 victory against the Cheetahs in Round 14 means that the Highlanders will be looking for consecutive wins in South Africa for the first time in over a decade (Round Four, 2006). The Highlanders have conceded only two tries after conceding a turnover so far this season, the equal fewest of any team while the Kings have conceded 17 from the same method, the second most. Cyril-John Velleman has won 17 turnovers this campaign, the most of any South African player and the equal second most of any player in the league. The Highlanders have too much dept and even without their All Blacks should win by 15 points.


Southern Kings: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Cyril-John Velleman, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (captain), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Justin Ackerman, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Louis Fouche, 23 Luzuko Vulindlu.

Highlanders: 15 Matt Faddes, 14 Jack Wilson, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Ryan Tongia, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Te Aihe Toma, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Shane Christie (captain), 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Mark Reddish, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23. Patrick Osborne.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Discipline is going to be key for the Bulls if they are to achieve their goal and keep their play-off dream alive.

The Jaguares have been the most carded (nine yellow and two red) and penalised team in Super Rugby.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais admitted that his team is facing a massive challenge against a near international team.

However, if they put pressure on the Argentineans and force them into errors, that infamous Latin temperament may come to the fore and result in penalties.

"I know they have disciplinary issues," Marais said.

"I hope that Craig [Joubert, the referee] sees that as well.

"They've had some disciplinary issues throughout the season and the past weekend [Argentina's national side] against France they again had some issues."

"Hopefully we can capitalise on their ill discipline.

"However, I am more concerned about what we need to do.

"We know we can't just score from mauls and our intensity needs to improve.

"We also expect it to be a match where the breakdowns are heavily contested, that is why I included Roelof [Smit] in the squad.

"We have Roelof and Lappies [Pieter Labuschagne] who can play towards the [ball on the] ground - that is going to be crucial for us."

The Bulls, who left South Africa on Wednesday, have to overcome a 22-hour marathon trip from Pretoria to Buenos Aires.

They were 12 hours in the plane from South Africa to Sao Palo in Brazil, where they had a five-hour lay-over and then another five-hour flight to Buenos Aires.

Recent results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: The Bulls are the only South African team that the Jaguares are yet to play against, though it's against South African teams that the Argentinian side have earned both of their Super Rugby wins. The Jaguares have won only one of four Super Rugby games on home soil, though they've never lost such a game by more than five points. The Bulls have won only two of their last 15 games outside South Africa, though nine of those 13 losses were by seven points or fewer. The Bulls have missed just 14.8 tackles per game this season, the fewest of any team, and boast the best tackle success rate (88 percent) in Super Rugby 2016. Nicolas Sanchez has scored 45.4 percent (64/141) of the Jaguares' points in their last four fixtures, including 17 points in each of his last two appearances. The Jaguares seem to be easily distracted and the Bulls have a real chance of recording an important away win. However, the margin will be in single digits.


Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Ignacio Larrague, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Matias Orlando, 23 Lucas Gonzales Amorosino.

Bulls: 15 Sarel Marais, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Pieter Labuschagne (captain), 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Pierre Schoeman, 18 Jannes Kirsten, 19 Renaldo Bothma, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Dries Swanepoel, 23 Werner Kruger.

Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Federico Anselmi, Juan Sylvestre
TMO: Santiago Borsani


Compiled by Jan de Koning


* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article hurricanes front page   v blues 2 7 2016 800

Hurricanes survive boisterous Blues

Sat, 02 Jul 2016 09:23

REPORT: The Hurricanes overcame a seven point half-time deficit to claim an important 37-27 victory over a boisterous Blues team in Wellington on Saturday.

The match lasted 80 minutes or so, and every player in the two sides played for every one of those 80 minutes or so. And even at the end of the match the drama and the energy seemed to be mounting. It was an excellent match. The Blues, who won the first half, and were still trying for victory at the end of the second half, deserved more than no log points for the match.

The match started with great intensity as the Blues ran and the Hurricanes rushed up on defence. But as the half wore on, the Hurricanes' defence became less in tense and efficient. But it picked up again in the second half which they won 20-3, keeping the enthusiastic Blues try-less.

The Hurricanes kicked off and the Blues, deep in their own half, ran but Piers Francis was penalised for a high tackle and Beauden Barrett goaled. 3-0 to the Hurricanes after 1 minutes.

The Blues ran at the Hurricanes again with Steven Luatua most prominent. Reggie Goodes was penalised at a tackle and Francis goaled. 3-all after 7 minutes.

The Hurricanes joined the Blues in running the ball but the Blues were doing it better. Ihaia West broke on the right and crosskicked but Corey Jane saved.

Then just inside his own half, Male Sa'u broke through two would-be tacklers and gave inside to Kara Pryor who raced some 30 metres to score. Francis converted and after 11 minutes, the Blues were ahead 10-3.

At a breakdown, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen was in distress holding his right wrist and trying to use his feet to win the ball. Soon he left the field and was taken to hospital where it was found that he had broken his right forearm.

The Hurricanes came back on level terms when Toomaga-Allen's replacement, Chris Eves broke strongly and laid the ball back to James Marshall who was in the scrumhalf position. Marshall went on an arc and soon seemed clean though but stumbled and fell in front of the posts. The Hurricanes bashed and Goodes forced his way over for a try. 10-10 after 16 minutes.

West kicked off to the left where Luatua caught the ball on the run. Luatua gave to Pryor who headed for the corner. Pryor was tackled but Luatua picked up and tried to force is way over but TJ Perenara forced him out on the cornerflag.

But the Hurricanes were penalised and the Blues kicked out for a five-metre line-out. They mauled, theey broke away and Jerome Kaino strode over for the try. 17-10 after 18 minutes.

West had the ball but it went back from his grasp as Eves grabbed him. Dane Coles footed it ahead and raced  after the ball, diving on it just before the dead-ball line. The referee referred the matter to the TMO who decided that West had tried to palm the ball backwards and that Eves had not knocked it on and that Coles had correctly grounded the ball. Barrett converted 17-all after 21 minutes.

There was an innocuous looking tackle near the Hurricanes' 10-metre line when suddenly Kaino burst away. He raced down the midfield as Barrett covered. Kaino scored near the posts in Barrett's vain tackle. 24-17 after 23 minutes.

It seemed that scoring would never cease and that the match was set for record-breaking scoring, but the game became more circumspect and there was no scoring for the next 19 minutes.

Not that there were no close calls.

First Matt Proctor burst down the right and seemed about to score when Melani Nanai felled him. Then from a scrum Marshall was close at the right corner. The Hurricanes opted for a five-metre scrum for a penalty against Kaino. But the ball shot out the back. The Hurricanes bashed but the Blues quickly moved forward and Ardie Savea was penalised for holding on right under the posts.

First Nanai and then West broke, but Barrett saved when West chipped. And then, just before the break, the Hurricanes attacked from deep with Barrett and Coles prominent.

Half-time came and the Blues led 24-17.

The Blues attacked first in the half, Brad Shields was penalised and Francis made it 27-17 after 42 minutes. The Blues did not score again in the match though they had chances.

Barrett then kicked two penalty goals when first Kaino and then Francis infringed at tackles. That made it 27-23 to the Blues after 51 minutes.

The Hurricanes were on the attack and from a line-out on their left a short inside pass to lock Vaea Fifita saw the big man striding through for a try under the posts. Now, after 55 minutes, the Hurricanes led 30-27.

A luta continua. The battle continued. fierce but honourable.

The Blues were on the attack and, on advantage, West kicked a high diagonal to the right where Matt Duffie brilliantly leapt up and caught the ball. He played it back to Blake Gibson on his inside. Gibson tried to play the ball back inside as Barrett tackled him but he was in touch. That took them back to the penalty which the Blues decided to kick at goal, but Francis's kick flew wide right.

The Blues threw into a line-out but Fifita won the ball. The Hurricanes went wide right and then back wide left to Fifita who stepped Matt McGahan and galloped over to score in West's tackle. 37-27 with nine minutes to play.

The Blues turned a penalty in front of the posts into a six-metre line-out but they made a mess of a throw to the front. Then Duffie had an overlap on the other side of the field but Ardie Savea got hold of him. The Blues had a line-out five metres from the line and bashed and bashed till they were under the posts but Victor Vito won a turnover and Barrett cleared.

The Blues tapped a penalty and went through eight phases before conceding a turnover.

Time was up but both teams kept on playing, apparently wishing the excellent match not to end.

Man of the Match: Hard to decide. Both flyhalves, Beauden Barrett and Ihaia West had excellent matches, as did the fullbacks, James Marshall and Melani Nanai. Till he was subbed after 50 minutes Steven Luatua was a brave warrior, Ardie Savea was often in energetic action, such a strong young man. Jerome Kaino and Vaea Fifita each scored two tries. There are lots of candidates but ours is that remarkable hooker, Dane Coles, an excellent hooker and much more besides.


For Hurricanes:
Tries: Goodes, Coles, Fifita 2
Cons: Barrett 4
Pens: Barrett 3

For Blues:
Tries: Pryor, Kaino 2
Cons: Francis 3
Pens: Francis 2


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), Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Tony Lambourn, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Willis Halaholo, 23 Jason Woodward.

Blues: 15 Melani Nanai, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Male S'au, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Namatahi Waa, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti/Hoani Matenga, 20 Blake Gibson, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Lolagi Visinia.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

Reg Goodes (15min), Dane Coles (21min), Vaea Fifita (54min), and Vaea Fifita (70min)
Kara Pryor (9min), Jerome Kaino (18min), and Jerome Kaino (23min)
Beauden Barrett (16min), Beauden Barrett (22min), Beauden Barrett (55min), and Beauden Barrett (71min)
Piers Francis (11min), Piers Francis (19min), and Piers Francis (24min)
Beauden Barrett (2min), Beauden Barrett (45min), and Beauden Barrett (51min)
Piers Francis (5min) and Piers Francis (43min)
VENUE Wellington
REFEREE Chris Pollock (New Zealand)