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Super Rugby | Port Elizabeth
17:15 (GMT) | 02-07-2016
  • 83
That's it here from PE - the Highlanders brought their A Game in the last 10 minutes and blew the Kings away. Join us in a couple of hours when we head to Buenos Airs for the final match of the weekend - the Jaguares against the Bulls.
  • 82
Fletcher Smith comes on to get two points and finish off the match
  • 81
There is enough time for the Highlanders to go over for the visitors - Aki Seiuli the scorer
  • 80
Sopoaga adds the conversion - 41-18 and in five minutes the game went from close to a rout!
  • 79
Quick hands and the Kings' defebce is nowhere to be found #HAT-TRICK for Faddes
  • 78
Kings looking for another hail mary try, but poor handling hands the ball back to the Highlanders.
  • 77
Sopoaga gets the conversion and the bonus-ppoint is back on the table - 34-18
  • 76
Strong build-up by the Highlanders and Sopoaga puts in a sublime cross-field kick - Osborne strolls over!
  • 75
Fouche clears, but just to his 22m line
  • 74
Highlanders chasing the bonus-point try, but a knock-on hands possession back to the Kings - scrum about eight metres from the Kings' line
  • 73
A shocking kick by Vulindlu and Jaer going offside hands the Highlanders a handy penalty inside the Kings 22
  • 72
Kings looking to build from deep inside their half, but a knock-on ends the move near halfway
  • 70
Lima Sopoaga adds the extras and it is a bibe-point lead
  • 69
Jack Wilson slips over in the right corner, as the Highlanders get their A-game out and some good hands exposes the Kings' defence
  • 68
Kings have their tails up now, but offside at ruck near halfway hands momentum back to the Highlanders
  • 67
There is a charge down and the call goes to the TMO, who rules that Osborne got hands to the ball first.
  • 66
Highlanders looking to increase the tempo, but a knock-on hands the ball back to the Kings - Fouche drives the Highlanders back deep into their own half.
  • 64
Louis Fouche adds the conversion and the Kings are back in the game - just like that!!! 18-20
  • 63
WHAT A TRY!!! The Kings with some sublime interplay and captain Steven Sykes gets the five-pointer to celebrate his last game in PE
  • 61
Sopoaga attempts a grubber into the ingoal area, but the cover is in place. Waste of an opportunity.
  • 60
Kings penalised at the tackle for going off their feet - not the way to get back into the game.
  • 59
Sopoaga spots some space behind the Kings and drive them back deep into their 22.
  • 58
Penalty at the tackle and Louis Fouche kicks the three points!
  • 57
From the restar Faddes goes downfield and Jaer runs into a massive hit from the Highlanders
  • 56
Lima Sopoaga is wide of the mark again - 20-8
  • 55
Dan Pryor gets an armchair ride over the line!
  • 54
Scrum penalty to the Highlanders - Kings have already been warned about deliberately slowing down the game.
  • 53
Some stout defence by the Kings, but a hand at a ruck - a knock-on - fives the Highlanders a scrum feed just outside the Kings 22
  • 52
Kings conceding a penalty for playing the scrumhalf at the ruck.
  • 51
Yet another kick down a Highlanders player's throat - this time by Jaer
  • 50
Highlanders working the ball through the phases, only for the Kings to win a turnover near their 22
  • 48
Kings again cough up easy possession - they clearly have not learnt anything from the first half
  • 47
Lima Sopoaga pushes the conversion attempt well wide - 15-8
  • 46
Matt Faddes stroll over for his second try - a bit of patience and good hands exposes the Kings' defence
  • 45
Great grubber by Jack Wilson puts Kings under pressure and they are forced to hack the ball into touch inside their 22
  • 43
Another kick, but this time flatter by Watts and Am is almost there.
  • 42
Highlanders return the favour - a kick directly into touch
  • 41
Elgar Watts gets the second half underway . Early knock-on by Jaer in a promising move.
  • 41
Elgar Watts gets the second half underway

Half Time

  • 40
Elgar Watts can't add the extras. There is just enough time for the restart, before the HALF-TIME hooter sounds. That's it for the first 40 - a very poor half, with the last 10 minutes by far the most constructive for the home team. See you in 10 minutes.
  • 39
After 20-odd phases Mjekevu slips over on the right wing for a TRY
  • 38
Kings again showing that if they retain possession they can put the Highlanders under pressure.
  • 36
Well, that didn't last long - a few phases and then the Kings cough up possession inside the Highlanders 22 with sloppy handling
  • 34
Finally a bomb that worked - Am's chase forces a mistake and a Highlanders forward plays the ball from an offside position
  • 33
Both teams are very sloppy - first the Kings throw an intercept pass and then the Highlanders a forward pass - and people pay to watch this rubbish
  • 32
Watts kicks another aimless bomb and Am concedes a penalty because he is well ahead of the kicker - amateur hour
  • 30
And after that Gates wastes a great counter-attack by kicking the ball away deep inside the Highlanders half
  • 29
Shane Gates produces a great cover tackle, after Faddes walks throw a very poor attempt or a tackle
  • 28
Highlanders still very sloppy, not that the Kings are asking any serious questions - this game is a snorefest
  • 26
Elgar Watts, from 30m on the angle, slots the penalty - 3-10
  • 25
Kings win a penalty on the Highlanders 22 - straight from the restart
  • 24
Lima Sopogaga adds the conversion - 10-0
  • 23
After 20-odd phases Matt Faddes strolls over for the opening TRY
  • 22
Highlanders working their way towards the Kings' tryline
  • 20
The Kings' tactics are unfathomable - makes no sense to keep kicking the ball away against a team with the runners the Highlanders have. Is this on instruction of the coaches? If so, the coaches are clueless. If the players are doing it on their own accord, they should be yanked from the field.
  • 18
Highlanders very messy - the endevour is there, the execution sadly lacking!
  • 17
Storng phases see the Kings get into the Highlanders 22, only for the home team to xough up possession. Shane Gates in trouble for lifting an opponent and he will spend 10 minutes in the sin bin
  • 16
Kings now holding onto the ball and making good ground with some solid phase play - into the Highlanders' half.
  • 14
Lima Sopoaga, from almost bang in front, scores the op[ening points
  • 12
Now a penalty for a high tackle against the Kings - amateur hour here in PE
  • 11
More possession kicked away by the Kings and this time they concede a penalty on the halfway line for killing the ball in the tackle.
  • 10
Another aimless bomb by Watts - Kings inviting the Highlanders to run at them. Poor tactics.
  • 9
Scrum reset
  • 8
Kigs kicking the ball away needlessly - too many aimless up-and-unders. Big blow to Kings as they lose their best player - CJ Velleman - to injury.
  • 7
Elgar Watts, from just on 40m out, is wide of the mark - wasted opportunity.
  • 6
Highlanders very sloppy and the Kings win the penalty as the scrumhalf is played illegally behind the ruck.
  • 5
Shane Gates wins a good turnover in the tackle and the ball is hacked downfield. Faddes returns the favour.
  • 4
Kings take it through the phases, only for the Highlanders to dominate the ruck and win a turnover inside Kings half.
  • 3
Emery steps, but again the pass goes to the ground instead of to hand.
  • 1
Great chip by Sopoaga, but sloppy hands ends a promising move.
  • 0
Lima Sopoaga gets the game under. Decet touchfinder by Elgar Watts.
  • -2
Steven Sykes leads the Kings out for the last time in PE - he heads to France after the completion of the season
  • -2
Steven Sykes leads the Kings out for the last time in PE - he heads abroad after the completion of the season
  • -5
How will the Highlanders' replacements do? Will they be rusty or bring new energy?
  • -10
Late change for the Highlanders - Marty Banks injured his hamstring and is out - Lima Sopoaga will start and Fletcher Smith comes onto the bench.
  • -15
The Highlanders need the win to stay in touch with the leaders in the New Zealand conference - the table-topping Chiefs, the Crusaders and the Hurricanes.
  • -20
No doubt the Highlanders, even with their 'B-Team' are favourites to record a convincing win. The Kings will disagree, but only because they have to in public.
  • -30
Welcome to Port Elizabeth, where we are gearing up for the encounter between the Southern Kings and the Highlanders.
Mc copy of southernkingslogo
Mc highlanders logo 80x50
  • 1 Schalk Ferreira
  • 2 Edgard Marutlulle
  • 3 Tom Botha
  • 4 Steven Sykes
  • 5 John-Charles Astle
  • 6 CJ Velleman
  • 7 Stefan Willemse
  • 8 Aidon Davis
  • 9 Ntando Kebe
  • 10 Elgar Watts
  • 11 Wandile Mjekevu
  • 12 Shane Gates
  • 13 Stefan Watermeyer
  • 14 Lukhanyo Am
  • 15 Malcolm Jaer
  • 16 Martin Bezuidenhout
  • 17 Sithembiso Sithole
  • 18 Justin Ackerman
  • 19 Schalk Oelofse
  • 20 Jacques Engelbrecht
  • 21 Kevin Luiters
  • 22 Louis Fouché
  • 23 Luzuko Vulindlu
  • 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
  • 2 Ash Dixon
  • 3 Josh Hohneck
  • 4 Mark Reddish
  • 5 Thomas Franklin
  • 6 Gareth Evans
  • 7 Shane Christie
  • 8 Luke Whitelock
  • 9 Te Aihe Toma
  • 10 Lima Sopoaga
  • 11 Ryan Tongia
  • 12 Rob Thompson
  • 13 Jason Emery
  • 14 Jack Wilson
  • 15 Matt Faddes
  • 16 Greg Pleasents
  • 17 Aki Seiulu
  • 18 Siua Halanukonuka
  • 19 Liam Squire
  • 20 Dan Pryor
  • 21 Jamie Booth
  • 22 Patrick Osborne
  • 23 Fletcher Smith
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 lima sopoaga highlanders kicks 800

Highlanders leave it late

Sat, 02 Jul 2016 19:36

MATCH REPORT: The Highlanders scored 28 unanswered points in the final 12 minutes to record a bonus-point 48-18 win over the Southern Kings.

With just over 10 minutes remaining in this Super Rugby encounter in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, the Kings would have thought they were in with a shout - trailing just 18-20.

Then the Highlanders unleashed their A-game on them and the Kings spent more time under their posts and restarting the game than actually playing.

The defending champions started the match sixth in the combined Australasia standings and only the leading five teams, - including the two conference winners - secure quarterfinals places.

However, the triumph over the Kings moved the Dunedin-based outfit into the top five, four points above close challengers the Waratahs of Australia.

Highlanders complete their regular season league schedule with an away game against the Jaguares of Argentina and a home match against New Zealand conference leaders the Chiefs.

It was the 11th loss in 13 matches for the Kings, who prop up the Africa Two standings - with only nine points from a possible 65.

The visiting Highlanders were hard pressed in a tightly contested first-half.

The home side had an opportunity to take an early lead, but flyhalf Elgar Watts pushed it wide of the upright.

The Highlanders picked up their first points through flyhalf Lima Sopoaga, after enjoying most the territory in the opening quarter.

Ten minutes later the visitors penetrated the home side's defence, as fullback Matt Faddes scored their first try, Sopoaga converted to give them a 10-0 lead.

Watts kicked a 25-minute penalty to get the home side on the board, trailing 3-10.

The Kings did most of the attacking play towards the end of the first half and were rewarded with a try of their own, when left wing Wandile Mjekevu sliced through the Highlanders' defence.

Watts missed the conversion as the Kings trailed 8-10 at the break.

The visitors opened the second half with two more tries, with Faddes crossing the whitewash for a second time, while replacement flank Dan Pryor also went over.

Sopoaga missed both conversions as the Highlanders extended their lead to 8-20.

Replacement flyhalf Louis Fouche kicked a 47-minute penalty to edge closer to the Highlanders' score, 11-20.

After an entertaining passage of play, the Kings were rewarded with a try from the captain Steven Sykes, after interplay between backs and forwards.

Fouche added the extras to trail by two, 18-20 - after 64 minutes.

It stayed like that till the 69th minute, before the visitors cut loose and finished the game with four unanswered tries - by Jack Wilson, Patrick Osborne, Faddes (completing his hat-trick) and Aki Seiuli.

"We struggled during the first half and were instructed at half-time to play for territory and to retain possession," said Highlanders hooker Ash Dixon.

"It was not as easy a win as the scoreline suggests. The Kings played with a lot of fortitude and pushed us hard until the closing stages."

France-bound Kings skipper and lock Steven Sykes said: "We conceded 28 points in the final 10 minutes so something went horribly wrong and I blame a lack of attitude.

"We have a young team that is keen to learn, but the players sometimes doubt themselves when things start to go wrong."

Man of the match: Kings captain Steven Sykes got a try to mark his last game in Port Elizabeth, before heading to France in a few weeks. Matt Faddes scored a hat-trick, Patrick Osborne made a bigger impact after coming on late in the second half. Shane Christie, before his injury, was impressive and Ash Dixon was a bundle of energy. However, it was the Highlanders' All Black flyhalf Lima Sopoaga who pulled the string - even when the going was tough - and produced the key plays - winning our award.

The scorers:

For the Southern Kings
Mjekevu, Sykes
Con: Fouche
Pens: Watts, Fouche

For the Highlanders:
Faddes 3, Pryor, Wilson, Osborne, Seiuli
Cons: Sopoaga 4, Smith
Pen: Sopoaga

Yellow card: Shane Gates (Southern Kings, 17 - foul play, tip tackle)


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 Lima Sopoaga, 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 Fletcher Smith, 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)

Wandile Mjekevu (39min) and Steven Sykes (63min)
Matt Faddes (23min), Matt Faddes (46min), Dan Pryor (55min), Jack Wilson (69min), Patrick Osborne (76min), Matt Faddes (79min), and Aki Seiulu (81min)
Louis Fouché (64min)
Lima Sopoaga (24min), Lima Sopoaga (70min), Lima Sopoaga (77min), Lima Sopoaga (80min), and Fletcher Smith (82min)
Elgar Watts (26min) and Louis Fouché (58min)
Lima Sopoaga (14min)
Shane Gates (17min)
VENUE Port Elizabeth
REFEREE Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)