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Super Rugby | Johannesburg
15:10 (GMT) | 02-07-2016
  • 81
Stay with us as we head to our next Super Rugby fixture when the Kings take on the Highlanders
  • 80
Mvovo gets the ball after the line-out but sees no available gaps to exploit. The horn sounds as he is brought down. Van der Merwe gets it and gives it back to Combrinck who boots it into the stands to end the game. FULL TIME
  • 79
Penalty to the Sharks and April clears into touch at the 10 of the Lions
  • 78
The Lions with an astounding break started by Cronje after a pass from De Klerk. The Sharks scramble back while the Lions rush forward. The home team fumbles it and the referee blows for a scrum inside the Sharks 22
  • 76
April trying to make another run but is brought down. The referee blows for another offside from the Lions. The Sharks take it quick and Smith looks for space along his right wing. The ball is lost forward. Scrum at the 22 of the Lions
  • 75
Scrum at the half way line for the Sharks
  • 74
The Sharks more resolute now in the closing minutes of the game. Classens gives it down and Pietersen looks fro the ball but doesn't find it. April gets it and tries to step but the referee blows. The Sharks take a quick tap and they make it inside the 5 of the Lions. Van der Merwe steals the loose ball from the ruck and makes a break for it. The referee blows to cut his run short
  • 72
The Sharks finally pushing the Lions back in the scrum and Classens sends it down. He gets it back and sends it up field but the referee blows for offside. April kicks into touch at the 5
  • 71
Scrum reset
  • 70
Line-out for the Lions after the reset kick. Scrum at for the Sharks
  • 69
April misses the conversion
  • 68
The Sharks trying to move forward with the maul and they find the pace they need. They manage to make it into the 5 and power through to score the TRY. Credited to Ralepelle
  • 67
The Sharks showing a renewed spirit after their try. Penalty to the away team and April kicks into touch. Line-out at the 5 of the Lions for the Sharks
  • 65
Classens clears and Coetzee carries forward for his team before De Klerk sends it down from the ruck. The Lions dominating play in the second half as well. The Sharks turnover and Du Toit is brought down by van der Merwe
  • 64
The lions on the attack again moving the ball with blinding speed. The ball is cleared by April and De Klerk takes it down. He kicks it forward and the ball finds touch at the Sharks 22
  • 63
April fails to add the extras
  • 62
Scrum at the 22 of the Sharks. April gets it and gives it to Ndungane. The ruck sees them reform and the ball is sent down to Mvovo again who slips through to score the TRY
  • 60
The Sharks carrying the ball forward with Du Preez now but the Lions pushing them back. The Sharks win a penalty. Medical staff on the field attending to various knocks the different sets of players have
  • 58
Jantjies to kick from a difficult angle. His last involvement for this fixture is to add the 2 points.
  • 57
The Lions again making ground in the maul and the ball is moved down field. De Klerk sends it to Kriel who brushes two defenders aside to the score the TRY
  • 56
Van der Merwe picked up and dropped. The referee blows for a kick to the Lions and Jantjies kicks into touch at the 5 of the Sharks.
  • 55
The Lions push the Sharks back again in the scrum but the visitors still manage to get the ball. April clears into touch. Line-out for the Lions at the 22 and they push forward in the maul
  • 54
Scrum at the 5 of the Sharks
  • 53
De Klerk sends it down and Mapoe makes a break past 3 players. Combrinck gets it and falls short at the 5. The Sharks move forward but the Lions turnover and Jantjies kicks forward. The chase is there but Mapoe can't catch the slippery ball. He loses it forward and the referee blows
  • 52
Scrum reset
  • 51
Pietersen carrying for the Sharks now and the ball is kicked forward by Classen and the chase is there but the ball goes into touch but the referee calls play back for a scrum around the Lions' mid field
  • 50
Scrum at the 10 of the Sharks for the Sharks. April clears and Combrinck takes it down and De Klerk pounces on the loose ball. The ball is moved up field
  • 49
Scrum to the Lions at their 22 and they over power the Sharks in the scrum. The ball is moved down to Skosan and then to Mapoe. They make it over the half way line with a good break but Mvovo makes a buffalo tackle to take out Mapoe
  • 48
Pietersen with some good steps along the touch line at the Lions 22. The referee blows for a penalty to the Lions and Pietersen shakes his head in disagreement
  • 47
Mostert gets a steal from the line-out but the Sharks turnover. Ndungane trying to force his way closer to the 5 meter. April sends the ball up field but De Klerk intercepts. Jantjies clears and Ndungane returns the favour. The Sharks start their attack from their half
  • 45
Line-out to the Sharks at the half way. Penalty to the Sharks again and April kicks into touch at the 5 of the Lions
  • 43
The Lions kick the ball into touch after the reset kick. Line-out to the Sharks. The Lions turnover and they move forward with menace. De Klerk runs the ball into touch. Line-out to the Sharks and then a penalty . April kicks into touch
  • 42
Combrinck kicks it back and the ball goes into touch in the Sharks half at the 10. Line-out for the visitors and van der Walt moves the ball forward a few meters. April kicks the ball straight up. The referee blows for a penalty to the Lions and Jantjies sets up for his first kick of the second half. He gets the 3 points
  • 41
The second half underway and the Sharks will look to turnover the deficit they procured int the first half. April kicks it deep with little chase

Half Time

  • 40
Jantjies with an easy kick from 10 meters out. He secures the 2 points. The horn sounds after the reset kick and the ball is sent into touch to end the half. HALF TIME
  • 39
Mostert carries forward this time in front of the 5. The Sharks finding it hard to organise their defence and the Lions cross the line again this time with Ackermann who scores his TRY between the sticks
  • 37
Scrum at the half way. The Lions with some swift inside passes confusing the Sharks. De Klerk moves it down and Tecklenburg carries forward assisted by Mostert.
  • 36
Scrum at the 22 of the Lions and Jantjies clears after they get possession. Daniel carrying forward for the Sharks now. The ball stuck in the ruck and the referee blows for a penalty to the Lions
  • 35
Lions hold the Sharks back after an enthusiastic attempt to get some points before the half time whistle. The referee blows for a penalty to the Lions an Combrinck kicks into touch. The Lions now at the 22 of the Sharks looking for more. They edge closer to the 5 but the Sharks turnover for Mvovo and he runs down his left wing into the 10 of the Lions. Mvovo gives it to Ndungane but he kncoks it forward.
  • 32
Jantjies converts the most difficult his kicks thus far
  • 31
Combrinck with a chip over the top and chases. The ball bounces in the worst possible position for the Sharks and Marx gets and slides over the line to score the TRY
  • 29
Kriel gets it and makes a solid few meters with 2 players hanging onto him. April tries to catch the loose ball but the bounce is awkward. Line-out for the Lions at the 22 of the Sharks. April clears to try and relieve some pressure
  • 28
The Sharks concede a penalty straight from the restart and the Lions kick into touch. Line-out at the 22 and De Klerk moves it up field to Combrinck
  • 27
Jantjies fails to add the extras
  • 25
Lions pushing the Sharks back in the scrum and Combrinck tries to go through the middle. mostert makes it to the 5. De Klerk sends it down to Skosan. Janse van Rensburg takes it from Skosan and slips around the defence to score the TRY
  • 24
Scrum reset
  • 23
The ball lost in contact by the van der Walt. Scrum inside the 22 of the Sharks for the Lions.
  • 22
The ball is kicked down field by Jantjies looking for Skosan but the ball bounces into touch. Line-out for the Sharks at their own 5
  • 21
Lions looking for the maul after Mostert brings it down. Faf tries to send it down field but the Sharks turnover with a good counter ruck and clear. The Lions come again
  • 20
Jantjies kicks forward into touch at the 5 of the Sharks who have been under pressure from the Lions for most of the opening minutes
  • 19
The Sharks attempting to break through the Lions defence but are not able to as the turnover comes from the hosts. Pietersen gets it back and tries to break through on his left wing but finds three players hanging onto him. Line-out around the half way. Penalty to the Lions afterwards
  • 17
The ball is moved up field. April kicks forward looking for territory but perhaps a bit too far forward as Jantjies takes it down with trouble. Line-out to the Sharks
  • 16
The reset kicks sees both team clear into safety. The Sharks in possession now with April
  • 15
Jantjies misses the conversion
  • 14
The turnover ruck sees the ball cleared and Skosan rushes forward to challenge. Faf moves it up field to Mapoe and the passes flow nicely as Kriel gives it to Combrinck who jogs over the line with some space to spare.
  • 12
The Lions moving the ball up field in their attack now but Mvovo intercepts and the ball is moved forward by the Sharks. The Sharks lose it at the 10 of the Lions
  • 11
April clears. The Lions in possession now again at their own 10. The referee blows for another penalty to the Lions. Combrinck kicks into touch at the 5 of the Sharks
  • 10
The Lions over running the Sharks in the run. Jantjies gives it to De Klerk who sends it to Combrinck. He doesn't manage to break away on this occasion. Line-out at the 22 of the Sharks
  • 9
Scrum reset
  • 8
Scrum at the half way after the restart. April kicking into touch
  • 7
He secures the first points of the game
  • 6
Lions in possession now and the ball is intercepted but the referee blows for a penalty to the Lions. Jantjies lines up the ball for a kick
  • 5
April looses the ball after a pass from Classens and the ball is turned over by the Lions. The referee blows his whistle for a penalty to the home team. Jantjies kicks into touch. Jordaan makes an early exit as he is in more than a little discomfort
  • 4
De Klerk kicks forward from the ruck instead of playing it back. Play stops momentarily as both sets of players look to the referee for a possible foul but no signal is forthcoming. The ball is kicked forward by the Sharks and goes behind the dead ball line. Sharks get the ball after the reset and now have an attacking throw
  • 2
The ball is cleared by the Sharks and Kriel makes a break for it on his right wing but he is brought down. Sharks on the defence now in their own half. April clears
  • 1
Daniel drops the catch but the Sharks get a penalty. April kicks it into touch at the half way. Sharks on the attack now after the throw. The visitors enter the 10 and Ackermann turns over the ball. The Lions clear but the ball doesn't find touch
  • 0
Jaco Peyper blows and the game is underway. Jantjies starts it off with deep kick into the 22
  • -3
The players exiting the tunnel now. Lions are 7 points ahead of the Sharks coming into this fixture in the Africa Conference 2
  • -5
Lions captain Warren Whiteley is not in the squad for this fixture. The Sharks backline has had a late shuffle. JP Pietersen moving to right wing while Paul Jordaan takes the outside centre.
  • -20
The Sharks won 4 of the last 7 games against the Lions, but have not won the Lions this year
  • -30
Welcome to Johannesburg. Another exciting Super Rugby fixture awaits us: The Lions vs The Sharks
Mc lions logo 85
Mc sharks logo 80x50
  • 1 Dylan Smith
  • 2 Malcolm Marx
  • 3 Julian Redelinghuys
  • 4 Andries Ferreira
  • 5 Franco Mostert
  • 6 Jaco Kriel
  • 7 Warwick Tecklenburg
  • 8 Ruan Ackermann
  • 9 Francois de Klerk
  • 10 Elton Jantjies
  • 11 Courtnall Skosan
  • 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
  • 13 Lionel Mapoe
  • 14 Ruan Combrinck
  • 15 Andries Coetzee
  • 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
  • 1 Tendai Mtawarira
  • 2 Franco Marais
  • 3 Lourens Adriaanse
  • 4 Ettienne Oosthuizen
  • 5 Stephan Lewies
  • 6 Keegan Daniel
  • 7 Jean-Luc Du Preez
  • 8 Phillip van der Walt
  • 9 Michael Claassens
  • 10 Garth April
  • 11 Lwazi Mvovo
  • 12 Paul Jordaan
  • 13 JP Pietersen
  • 14 Sibusiso Sithole
  • 15 Odwa Ndungane
  • 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle
  • 17 Thomas Du Toit
  • 18 Coenraad Oosthuizen
  • 19 Ruan Botha
  • 20 Lubabalo Mtembu
  • 21 Stefan Ungerer
  • 22 Rhyno Smith
  • 23 Heimar Williams
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 lionel mapoe lions v sharks 800

Lions go top after Sharks rout

Sat, 02 Jul 2016 16:43

MATCH REPORT: The Lions, despite being without captain Warren Whiteley, showed their championship qualities, in a 37-10 demolition of the Sharks.

It is a result that saw the Lions go to the top of the Super Rugby standings and securing first place in the Africa Two conference with two rounds to go.

They are also just one win away from first place in the combined Africa conference.

And they thoroughly deserve to be where they are.

Their hour of real play was excellent, and their crowd turned up to enjoy it with them - 33 862 of them.

That it was a derby helped and so did the five o'clock kick-off. But above all it was testimony to how well they have been playing and to the part their players played  in getting the Springboks a victory in the Irish series.

In that first hour, the Lions never looked harassed, under any sort of pressure, even when they were. On the other hand the Sharks always looked under pressure, even when they weren't. As a result the Lions stayed calm and creative, playing quickly, passing with skill at a sympathetic height and in front of the man they were passing to while the Sharks' passing was erratic.

The Sharks competed well at the breakdown but their scrums were a mess. The starting Lions' pack destroyed them. But with nearly an hour gone the Lions started giving all of their bench players a game, satisfied that the victory was in the bank. Then the Sharks dominated the scrums, their confidence rose and they scored two tries, just one short of denying the Lions a bonus point.

The Sharks suffered late changes in the centre. Injury forced André Esterhuizen out on Thursday and inside five minutes of the match Paul Jordaan injured a hamstring and went off to be replaced by Heimar Williams.

At the kick-off both sides ran in a remarkably energetic period of play that lasted nearly four minutes and was stopped only by a drop-out.

The Lions played on like that while the Sharks gave it up for kicking here and there without any profit at all.

The second penalty of the match was against Franco Marais for playing a man who did not have the ball, and Elton Jantjies goaled. 3-0 after 7 minutes.

The first try was astonishing. Inside his own half Faf de Klerk kicked high downfield where Michael Claassens waited for the ball with plenty of time to do so. But Courtnall Skosan chased the ball and was getting closer to Claassens. Claassens did not touch the ball which landed next to him. The Lions moved right - Lionel Mapoe with an underarm offload to Jaco Kriel who burst free and passed to Ruan Combrinck who had an easy jog to the line. 8-0 after 15 minutes.

From a penalty Jantjies kicked a long and brilliant kick to his right for a line-out five metres from the Sharks' line. The Sharks weathered the initial storm but then the Lions attacked at speed from a scrum on their left. Mostert charged to within four metres of the goal-line. Malcolm Marx got even closer and Skosan closer still. Ruan Ackermann got right to the line where he was held up but Rohan Janse van Rensburg grabbed the ball off him, whirled round and scored. 13-0 after 27 minutes.

The Lions were able to attack at speed and so advancing their phases because of the speed with which De Klerk got to the ball and distributed right and left without crabbing across the field.

Not long afterwards Combrinck chipped. The ball hit the ground and the mischievous thing bounced away from Lwazi Mvovo. Ackermann was on hand to pick up the ball and pass to Marx who score in the right corner. From far out Jantjies converted. 20-0 after 31 minutes.

When Julian Redelinghuys lost the ball, the Sharks sent Mvovo flying down the left. His pass inside to Odwa Ndungane was high and Ndungane could not catch it. But the Lions got hold of it and advanced 50 metres down the field in fast phase. This time Ackermann powered his way over for a try under the posts. 27-0, which was the half-time score.

When the Sharks were penalised for being within 10 metres of a landing kick, Jantjies goaled. 30-0 after 42 minutes.

A penalty gave the Sharks an attacking line-out but Mostert won it, and Skosan and Mapoe broke out down the midfield. Sibusiso Sithole tacked Mapoe and the Sharks ran. The Lions came back on the attack and the Sharks ran from their own goal-line. The Lions regained possession and Jantjies chipped but Mapoe knocked the bouncing ball on at the line. It was lively and exciting.

A penalty gave the Lions a five-metre line-out on their left. The Sharks collapsed the maul and the referee played advantage. The Lions went right where De Klerk gave Kriel a long pass. The ran through Claassens and Rhyno Smith. Mvovo could not stop him and the Lions' captain of the day scored far out.  From far out Jantjies converted. 37-0 after 58 minutes.

For the next 22 minutes the Lions did not score a point but they did give their substitutes a chance to enjoy the occasion, starting with the whole front row. The Sharks also made changes and they then got the better of the scrums.

From a scrum the Sharks went left. Smith came into the line and Mvovo stepped inside Combrinck to score. 37-5.

In this period of the game the Lions were repeatedly penalised. The Sharks turned one into a six-metre line-out  and mauled successfully, the try going to Chiliboy Ralepelle. 37-10 with 11 minutes to play..

In those 11 minutes the Sharks had a five-metre line-out which the Lions repelled. They also had a five-metre penalty which they tapped but lost the ball to a turnover. In this period, too, Ross Cronje, playing flyhalf, broke from a scrum and raced a long way down the midfield. But there was no further scoring.

Man of the Match: There were obvious candidates in Elton Jantjies, Warwick Tecklenburg, Courtnall Skosan and Ruan Combrinck and more obvious ones in Franco Mostert, Jaco Kriel and our choice, Faf de Klerk whose skill and speed of action and thought gave so much life to what was best in the match.

The scorers:

For the Lions:
Combrinck, Janse van Rensburg, Marx, Ackermann, Kriel
Cons: Jantjies 2
Pens: Jantjies 3

For the Sharks:
Mvovo, Ralepelle


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 Sibusiso Sithole, 13 Jon-Paul Pietersen, 12 Paul Jordaan, 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 Heimar Williams.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Lesego Legoete
TMO: Johan Greeff

Ruan Combrinck (14min), Rohan Janse van Rensburg (25min), Malcolm Marx (31min), Ruan Ackermann (39min), and Jaco Kriel (57min)
Lwazi Mvovo (62min) and Chiliboy Ralepelle (68min)
Elton Jantjies (32min), Elton Jantjies (40min), and Elton Jantjies (58min)
Elton Jantjies (7min) and Elton Jantjies (42min)
VENUE Johannesburg
REFEREE Jaco Peyper (South Africa)