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Super Rugby | Christchurch
07:35 (GMT) | 09-07-2016
  • 80
Fulltime! Nadolo adds the extras ! Thank you for joining us at for this match be sure to join us for the next game as the Waratahs take on the Hurricanes
  • 79
McNicholl scores another try for the Crusaders!!!!!!!!!!
  • 78
Debreczeni adds the extras
  • 77
Naivalu does extremely well to break the Crusaders line from the back and finish a absolutely fantastic try for the visitors
  • 76
Rebels inside the Crusaders 22 now. Debreczeni has a go but is isolated . Crusaders win the penalty .
  • 74
Rebels still with ball in hand . They are awarded the penalty and tap and go quickly . Up to the halfway the Rebels go...
  • 72
Crusaders attack through Dagg who does well initially before losing the ball. Rebels attacking from their own line
  • 71
From the restart the Rebels knock the ball forward and the Crusaders have the scrum put in on the Rebels 22.
  • 70
Debreczeni adds the extras
  • 69
Meehan feeds the scrum then plays Naivalu who has a run . Rebels continue to bash at the defense and finally are rewarded as Retallick crashes over for the try!
  • 67
Naivalu has a go for the line but is also held up by Nadolo. We pack down for another 5 meter scrum.
  • 66
Crusaders penalized at the breakdown. Rebels tap and go quickly and are just 5 meters from the Crusaders line. Meehan has a go but it appears he has been held up. TMO in action for a potential try... Decision is made and the ball is judged to be held up. Five meter scrum to the Rebels
  • 65
Nadolo converts the try
  • 64
Crusaders attack from the restart. Todd gets the ball throws the dummy and runs 50 meters to score a magnificent try!!!!!!!
  • 63
Nadolo converts the try
  • 62
Samu collects the loose ball , runs 40 meters and throws the basketball pass over the top to McNicholl who scores for the Crusaders!!!!!!!!!
  • 61
Leafa fails to find his jumper as the Crusaders turn the ball over and Drummond clears the ball into touch on the 22. Rebels then win their lineout and attack on the Crusaders 22.
  • 60
Rebels bash at the Saders defense , they are awarded another penalty and opt to set up another lineout 5 meters from the Crusaders try line.
  • 59
Rebels on the attack 5 meters from the Crusaders line. They win the penalty and decide to set up the lineout
  • 57
Rebels still with ball in hand as Debreczeni throws the dummy breaks the line , puts in a grubber that rolls into touch 5 meters from the try line.
  • 56
Thomson turns the ball over for the Rebels . They decide to run it back but without much venom
  • 55
Rebels attack from deep through Tuipolotu followed by Jefferies before the Crusaders turn the ball over and are back on the attack
  • 53
Havili loses the ball forward for the Crusaders. Scrum Rebels on their own 22.
  • 52
Debreczeni fails to add the extras
  • 51
Rebels attack from the back and there is some sensational class shown by Hodge who chips chases and regathers and scores for the Rebels!
  • 49
Mo'unga converts the try!
  • 48
Crusaders with ball in hand on the halfway line as Mo'unga does well and the Crusaders break through with Taylor again who plays Samu who scores!!!!!!!!!!
  • 47
Mo'unga converts the try... As they say in the old school break time game called Red Rover... This is OPEN GATES!
  • 46
Dagg slices through the Rebels line followed by Whitelock then Ellis who does well to offload to Taylor who runs through and scores his second try!!!!!!!!
  • 45
Dagg clears the ball up field and Naivalu has a run from the back but is shut down quickly. Rebels awarded the penalty and Debreczeni clears the ball into touch inside the Crusaders half.
  • 44
Mo'unga converts the try
  • 43
Taylor finds his jumper at the lineout and the Crusaders set the maul that rumbles forward at a rapid speed and Taylor crashes over for the try!!!!!!
  • 42
Nadolo busts through once again and offloads. Crusaders on fire here. Crusaders 5 meters from the try line before Taufua gets the ball stripped off him and Stirzaker clears the ball into touch.
  • 41
Mo'unga kicks off for the second half

Half Time

  • 40
Halftime! Mo'unga fails to add the extras as the referee blows the half. See you all in a bit for the second half
  • 39
Ellis feeds the scrum plays Mo'unga who busts through then swings a long pass to Todd who draws the last defender and plays Crotty in for the TRY!
  • 38
Crusaders on the attack through Nadolo who does well. The second wave of attack sees a Rebels hand knock the ball forward and the Crusaders have the scrum put in on the Rebels 22.
  • 36
Rebels on the attack inside the Crusaders half as Thomson has a run followed by Debreczeni breaking the line before losing the ball
  • 35
Debreczeni converts the try
  • 34
Naivalu does well from the back and breaks the Crusaders line, makes 30 meters and plays Stirzaker in for the TRY!
  • 33
Crusaders destroy the Rebels scrum and win the penalty , Ellis taps quickly and the Crusaders attack through Dagg who throws a ball into touch. Lineout Rebels.
  • 32
A little bit better from the Rebels as they string together 4 phases before losing the ball . Scrum Crusaders on their own 22.
  • 30
Hodge puts in a lovely kick that bounces into touch outside the Crusaders 22. From the lineout Ellis clears the ball and Naivalu runs the ball back at the home side.
  • 29
Nadolo clears the ball up field and Debreczeni returns the favor. Crusaders then attack from deep through Taufua who does well but then throws a loose pass resulting in a knock on from Dagg. Rebels scrum inside their own half
  • 28
Mo'unga fails to convert the try
  • 27
Rebels somehow manage to get the ball out the scrum. Clearly the Crusaders pack are dominant. Debreczeni clears the ball into touch and the Crusaders attack from the lineout through McNicholl who slices through from the right wing and scores!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 26
McNicholl coughs up the ball 5 meters from the Rebels try line. Scrum Rebels
  • 24
Stirzaker clears the ball out on the 22 , Crusaders win their lineout and attack inside the Rebels 22 once again.
  • 23
Dagg puts in a lovely grubber that is regathered by Nadolo who coughs the ball up inches from the line. Good tackle from English on the big Fijian.
  • 22
Rebels cough up the ball once again and the Crusaders have the scrum put in on the halfway line. Dark days for the visitors.
  • 20
Mo'unga fails to add the extras
  • 19
Crusaders attack wide though Dagg and McNicholl, the second wave of attack is too much as Taufua does well and plays Nadolo in for another TRY!
  • 18
Rebels with ball in hand but they are met with solid defense from the Saders. Reid loses the ball forward and the Crusaders have the scrum put in inside their own half.
  • 17
Rebels lose the ball forward and Havili steps Naivalu and tries to find Nadolo who loses the ball forward. Scrum Rebels near the halfway line
  • 15
Taufua loses the ball forward on his 22. Scrum Rebels in a dangerous attacking position
  • 14
Mo'unga converts the try
  • 13
From the lineout , Crotty slices through the line like a hot knife through butter once again he then plays Alex Hodgman who crashes over for another try!
  • 12
Crusaders on the attack on the halfway through Dagg followed by Franks and Taylor. Crusaders awarded a penalty for a high tackle and Mo'unga clears the ball into touch to set up a lineout inside the Rebels 22.
  • 10
Mo'unga converts the try
  • 9
Crusaders on the attack again as Nadolo busts through the line draws the last defender and plays in Scott Barrett for the TRY!!!!
  • 8
Great work at the breakdown from Thomson , who forces the penalty for the Rebels. Harris clears the ball into touch on the halfway line.
  • 7
Toby Smith coughs up the ball on the halfway line, scrum Crusaders. Ellis feeds and plays Mo'unga who plays Crotty on the crash ball . Rebels get their hands on the ball from a average grubber put in from Dagg.
  • 6
Mo'unga converts the try
  • 5
Crotty breaks the line and scores for the Crusaders under the poles! Great play!
  • 4
Rebels on the attack inside the Crusaders half, they attack through Mike Harris and Tom English before the Saders turn the ball over and Nadolo pumps the ball downtown.
  • 3
Mo'unga converts the try
  • 2
Crusaders straight onto the attack through Crotty and then McNicholl. It all comes to nothing as Todd throws a loose pass that rolls into touch . Rebels lineout just outside their 22. From the resulting lineout Debreczeni kick is charged down and big Sam Whitelock dives on the ball and slides over the line for a TRY!
  • 1
First half underway , Rebels kick off
  • -5
Teams will be going through their last match preparations- this should be a great clash!
  • -10
The Rebels have scored 12 tries after holding possession for seven phases or more this season, more than any other team and eight more than the Crusaders.
  • -15
This will be the fifth meeting between these sides in Super Rugby, they have won two apiece from their first four meetings.
  • -20
The Rebels won the last encounter between the sides and will be aiming to become the first non-New Zealand team to record back to back away wins against the Crusaders, and just the third team overall after the Chiefs (2014-16 - three wins) and the Blues (1996-98 - two wins).
  • -25
A statistically dominant performance against the Stormers last week saw the tenacious Rebels go toe-to-toe with the second best team in South Africa for 65 minutes.
  • -30
Welcome to this Super Rugby clash between the Crusaders and the Rebels coming to you from Christchurch, New Zealand
Mc crusaders logo 80x50
Mc rebels logo 80x50
  • 1 Alex Hodgman
  • 2 Codie Taylor
  • 3 Owen Franks
  • 4 Scott Barrett
  • 5 Sam Whitelock
  • 6 Jordan Taufua
  • 7 Matt Todd
  • 8 Jimmy Tupou
  • 9 Andrew Ellis
  • 10 Richie Mo’unga
  • 11 Nemani Nadolo
  • 12 David Kaetau Havili
  • 13 Ryan Crotty
  • 14 Johnny McNicholl
  • 15 Israel Dagg
  • 16 Ben Funnell
  • 17 Wyatt Crockett
  • 18 Michael Alaalatoa
  • 19 Luke Romano
  • 20 Peter Samu
  • 21 Mitchell Drummond
  • 22 Mitchell Hunt
  • 23 Kieron Fonotia
  • 1 Toby Smith
  • 2 James Hanson
  • 3 Laurie Weeks
  • 4 Sam Jeffries
  • 5 Culum Retallick
  • 6 Jordy Reid
  • 7 Colby Faingaa
  • 8 Adam Thomson
  • 9 Nic Stirzaker
  • 10 Jack Debreczeni
  • 11 Tom English
  • 12 Reece Hodge
  • 13 Sione Tuipolotu
  • 14 Sefanaia Naivalu
  • 15 Mike Harris
  • 16 Pat Leafa
  • 17 Cruze Ah-Nau
  • 18 Jamie Hagan
  • 19 Steven Cummins
  • 20 Robert Leota
  • 21 Ben Meehan
  • 22 Paul Asquith
  • 23 Jonah Placid
Mc article waratahs with super rugby logo 800

S18 Preview: ROUND 16, PART TWO

Thu, 07 Jul 2016 22:31

IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Jan de Koning looks at the Saturday matches in Part Two of Super Rugby's Round 16.

Moving on from Friday's drama in each of Saturday's six matches the result is crucial for at least one of the teams.

It starts when the Crusaders - desperate to get back first place in the ultra-competitive New Zealand conference, which they conceded in the loss to the Chiefs last week - host the unpredictable Rebels in Christchurch.

It gets even more intense when we then hop across the Tasman Sea to Sydney, where the Waratahs (locked in a desperate battle with the Brumbies for top spot in the Australian conference) host the Hurricanes - another team scrambling for the limited number of places in the combined Australasian conference.

Such is the nature of the table that the side that finishes second in the Australia half on the Australasian conference could miss the play-offs.

We then head west to Perth, where the Force host the Stormers - the latter anxiously looking over their shoulder at a Bulls team still ion with an outside chance of catching the in the Africa One conference.

And, to add further spice to an already intriguing day, the Bulls host the Sunwolves in Pretoria just a few hours after the end of the encounter in Perth.

Defeat for the Stormers and a win for the Bulls could close the gap between the two right up and leave the Stormers under pressure.

In fact the Stormers could even be overtaken on the combined Africa table by the Sharks, who host the Cheetahs in Durban later in the day.

Then it all concludes in Buenos Aires, where the vastly improved Jaguares are planning to ambush the Highlanders - the fourth of the Kiwi teams that are separated by just three points in the New Zealand conference.

Saturday, June 9:

Such is the nature of the New Zealand conference that the Crusaders went from a table-topping team to one who not only slipped back into the congested pack, but could become also-rans in a week.

That is why the Crusaders are desperate to avoid a repeat of the flop from last week, when they went down (13-23) to the Chiefs in their showcase fixture in Suva, Fiji.

The Crusaders are truly in danger of missing the play-offs, given that they face the Hurricanes next week.

One of the key aspects of the game - as was the case in Suva last week - will be how the Crusaders deal with the predicted wet weather.

When players ignored coaching staff instructions to play a structured game, it backfired.

Brave and honourable as their intentions may have been, Saturday in Christchurch will not be a time for foolishness.

Crusaders assistant coach Dave Hewett admitted the instructions will be loud and clear this week.

"There was a little bit of getting into the red, and not thinking straight and that didn't help," Hewett told the Christchurch-based The Press newspaper.

"Messages were going out and whether they were heeded, and whether they weren't, is a discussion that we have had.

"But we also need to make sure that the guys that are on the field are making the correct decisions.

"And as you say, they are experienced players so there should be an element of that coming from them."

Rebels coach Tony McGahan wants his side to continue their "fighting spirit" on Saturday.

A statistically dominant performance against the Stormers last week saw the tenacious Rebels go toe-to-toe with the second best team in South Africa for 65 minutes.

A flurry of tries in the final 15 minutes sealed the result for the visitors.

McGahan was pragmatic in his assessment of the performance and confident his side will continue to learn from the basic errors that saw the South Africans claim the bonus point victory.

"I thought the playing group showed spades of tenacity last weekend to really stay in there and we'll look for the same [against the Crusaders]," McGahan said.

"A lot of those [tries we conceded to the Stormers] are solvable and as a result of our mistakes and we need to own that.

"If we don't give up some soft points, stay in the game until the end and fight on every point and action, you give yourself a very good chance of getting a result away from home.

"I thought while we fought and did a lot of those hard things, the aim is to win games and we didn't do that and we need to make sure we address that this week."

Previous results:
2015: Rebels won 20-10, Christchurch
2014: Crusaders won 25-19, Melbourne
2013: Crusaders won 30-26, Christchurch
2012: Rebels won 28-19, Melbourne

Prediction: This will be the fifth meeting between these sides in Super Rugby, they have won two apiece from their first four meetings. The Rebels won the last encounter between the sides and will be aiming to become the first non-New Zealand team to record back to back away wins against the Crusaders, and just the third team overall after the Chiefs (2014-16 - three wins) and the Blues (1996-98 - two wins). However the Crusaders have won their last five at home since losing their opening home game of the season; each of those five victories have come by 15+ points. The Crusaders' run of five consecutive home victories is their longest streak since winning their last two home games of 2012 before a clean sweep of home victories in 2013 (11 wins in total). The Rebels' victory away to the Crusaders stands as their only win on New Zealand soil, losing their remaining 11 games away to New Zealand sides in Super Rugby. In contrast, that win for the Rebels marks the Crusaders' only defeat at home to an Australian side since February 2004, winning 25 and drawing one of 27 matches when hosting teams from across the Tasman since then. The Rebels have scored 12 tries after holding possession for seven phases or more this season, more than any other team and eight more than the Crusaders. Kieran Read has assisted 5 tries so far this season; while it's only the 15th most of any player, it's more than any other forward in the competition. The Rebels enjoy the greatest ruck success (96%) of any team in the competition, losing a league low 3.3 rucks per game. Sean McMahon has beaten 43 defenders so far this season, the most of any forward in the competition and 27 more than the best Crusaders forward. The Rebels are likely to experience the same disappointment as last week - being in the game for an hour or so, just to be pipped at the post by a late flurry - the Crusaders to win by 10 to 15 points.


Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 David Havili, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Jimmy Tupou, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitch Hunt, 23 Kieron Fonotia.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Sione Tuipulotu, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Colby Fainga'a, 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Sam Jeffries, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Steve Cummins, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Paul Asquith, 23 Jonah Placid.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

Neither of these teams can afford another defeat, as the defeated may well lose ground they are unable to make up in the final round.

Obviously a win will have the direct opposite result, pushing the visitors a step closer to play-off qualification.

The Hurricanes, third in the New Zealand conference and sixth overall, finish against the Crusaders next week - making this a 'must-win' encounter.

The Waratahs, second in the Australian conference, but ninth overall, face the Blues in Auckland next week.

Wallaby lock Will Skelton put it succinctly when asked about the scenario facing the Tahs.

"We've got two win games," he told reporters in Sydney this week, adding: "It's not a place we like being in, but we're trying to control our own destiny here.

"That's by winning and trying to win comfortably [and] we know if we play our attacking footy, they'll come."

The Hurricanes need at least six points (a win and a couple of bonus points) from their last two outings if they are to go past the magical 50-point mark - which looks set to be the requirement for a top-eight finish.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd also did not mince his words, saying the players were fully aware of the importance of the Waratahs match.

"They're desperate, we're as keen as," Boyd told the Wellington-based Dominion Post.

"It's fairly obvious the points table is very tight in the New Zealand conference.

"I think a lot of teams know every point will be important from here on."

Last time the Hurricanes played the Waratahs was in Wellington last season, with the visitors winning a high scoring match 29-24.

The 'Tahs hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau said they will need maximum points from their remaining games.

"We come in with a goal of getting the full five points [against the Hurricanes], but at the end of the day if it doesn't pan out then so be it and we just have to make sure that we can follow that up the week after against the Blues."

Recent results:
2015: Waratahs won 29-24, Wellington
2014: Waratahs won 39-30, Sydney
2013: Hurricanes won 41-29, Wellington
2012: Hurricanes won 33-12, Sydney
2010: Waratahs won 32-16, Sydney
2009: Waratahs won 26-22, Wellington

Prediction: The Waratahs have won six of the last eight meetings between these two sides, this after winning just four of the first 12. The Waratahs have won each of their last three home games, each by margins of 15 points or more, this after losing three on the bounce in New South Wales before that. The Tahs have won seven of their last eight regular season home games against sides from New Zealand, the last four wins in that run all coming by 10+ point margins. The NSW side have scored 20 tries from possession originating within their own half, the second most of any team and more than any other Australian team. They've also conceded the fewest (three) from the same distance. Beauden Barrett has made 126 kicks in general play so far this season, more than any other player and 26 more than Waratahs' best Bernard Foley (100). This is probably the toughest match to call. The Waratahs may just win an intriguing arm-wrestle by five points.


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

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Willis Halaholo, 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 Chris Eves, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Reg Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Ben May, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Ngani Laumape, Jason Woodward.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Andrew Lees (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)
The Stormers have become the 'French team' of South African rugby.

You do not know what you are going to get from one week to the next - from the sublime to the ridiculous.

There is no doubt they have a host of very talented players.

However, they don't always arrive mentally prepared for the game - as was evident against the Sunwolves before the June break.

However, now that they are in a 'must win' scenario, we may just see the real Stormers team in action.

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said the biggest threat is that the Force have nothing to lose, having already been knocked out of the play-off race.

"The Force are a different team now, they've got a lot more freedom," Fleck said in a teleconference from the team's base in Perth.

"They got a new coaching staff, so there is no pressure on the players or management and it certainly showed in that second half against the Cheetahs [last week].

"We are going to face a similar situation where we are going to be stretched and be put under pressure if the weather holds out.

"If it is raining it is going to be a different story," he said, hinting that the Stormers' renowned set pieces will come into play.

Although "structure" will be key on Saturday, Fleck said he is not going to put the shackles in rookie flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis.

"He is a work in progress and we can't get ahead of ourselves with him," the coach said, adding: "The way he performed in the second half [against the Rebels last week] was exactly what we were looking for in terms of a flyhalf."

However, conditions will dictate terms for the South African franchise.

"With the weather that is predicted, it is important that he keeps it really simple and he keeps our forwards moving forward.

"We want him to make good solid decisions all the time and when it is time to run, he must run and when it is time to find space he must do that.

"In the first half he did it in stages, but he certainly in that second half it was a very good performance from him."

Recent results:
2015: Stormers won 13-6, Perth
2014: Stormers won 24-8, Cape Town
2012: Stormers won 17-3, Perth
2011: Stormers won 51-16, Cape Town
2010: Force won 16-15, Perth
2009: Stormers won 25-24, Cape Town

Prediction: The Stormers have won seven of the nine meetings between these sides in Super Rugby, including the last four in a row. The Force have lost 13 of their last 14 home games, including the last nine in a row. The Western Australia side have lost their last three home games against South African opposition. However, they have never lost four such games on the bounce. The Stormers have conceded only nine tries when the opposition begins possession within the Stormers 22-metre zone, the equal fewest of any team in the competition (Highlanders). Dane Haylett-Petty (1,0620m) joined Israel Folau (1,090m) and Damian McKenzie (1,052m) as one of only three players to gain in excess of 1,000 metres so far this season. It may well be tight for the first hour, but the Stormers have too much class and should ease clear in the final quarter - winning by 15 points.


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

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 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, JP Smith, 18 17 Wilco Louw, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Huw Jones, 23 Scott van Breda.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper (Australia), Michael Hogan (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)

The Bulls know what is required of them - two wins and a couple of bonus points are the requirements.

With the Cheetahs awaiting them in Bloemfontein next week, this encounter has added significance.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais admitted that their loss to the Lions before the June break and last week's loss to the Jaguares, combined with the Stormers' victory against the Rebels last week, has left them playing for a wildcard slot.

The Stormers are nine points clear in the Africa One conference, with two rounds remaining and only a series of extraordinary results will allow the Bulls to overtake the Stormers.

Marais admitted there is "huge pressure" on his team to produce a special performance in their last home game of the league phase of the season.

"The expectation was always for us to reach the play-offs," Marais told a media briefing at Loftus Versfeld.

"We had a great opportunity [against the Jaguares in Buenos Airs] last week to win the game, then come back here [to Pretoria], beat the Sunwolves and get into a play-off situation.

"However, now the pressure is definitely on.

"Whether the Sharks beat the Cheetahs [later on Saturday] or not, we must ensure we play two good matches in the next fortnight.

"The players know what they have to do."

Marais said if they want to beat the Sunwolves, they can't a conservative game.

For that reason he is hoping that Jessie Kriel, a regular at centre in the Springbok team last year, will provide that attacking option from fullback.

Captain Adriaan Strauss echoed similar sentiments, saying it is a "massively important" game for the Bulls.

"We are not out of it, but we can only deal with what is within our own hands to control," Strauss told the media briefing, when asked about the team's dire position in the play-off race.

"We need to go out there and play a good game," he said, adding that they are under no illusion that this will be an easy game.

"We know they can be very dangerous if you allow them to play.

"We need to control the game and play the way we want to.

"If we let them into the game, by giving them opportunities and space, they will punish us."

Previous result:
2016: Bulls won 30-27, Singapore

Prediction: This will be the second meeting between these two sides; the Bulls won the first clash 30-27 in Round Five. The Bulls suffered their second heaviest home defeat in their last such game. However they were unbeaten in five at home before that . The Sunwolves are yet to win away from home (L5), conceding over 30 points in each away game and an average of 54 per game on the road. The Sunwolves have conceded only six second-half penalty goals so far this campaign, only the Chiefs and Lions (five) have conceded fewer. Pieter Labuschagne has made 133 tackles, missing a further eight, which is the fifth most of any player in the competition and the most of any South African-based player. Expect the Bulls to cut lose in a game where defence may not be at a premium and win by about 30 points.


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

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

Referee: Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden  (South Africa), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)

The Cheetahs are determined to play party poopers in the next fortnight - when they play the Sharks and Bulls, two teams in a desperate struggle for the wildcard spot in the Africa conference.

Sharks Director of Rugby Gary Gold is well aware of the threat the Cheetahs pose to his team's aspirations.

"We let ourselves and our fans down against the Lions [in Johannesburg last week] and we have worked incredibly hard this week to rectify our mistakes," Gold said.

"We are up against a very competitive Cheetahs side that have come off a nail-biting win against the Force."

Gold said the important aspect is that they still have their fate in their own hands.

"We are very much in contention for a qualifying spot," the Sharks boss said, adding: "Our players are committed to raising their game on Saturday and to once again make our the Kings Park faithful proud."

However, they are up against a Cheetahs team who has also made victory is a "priority".

"We are looking to improve on last week," Cheetahs coach Franco Smith said of a 30-29 nailbiter against the Western Force in Perth, after taking a commanding first-half lead.

"We are looking to put two quality halves together.

"One of our goals for these last two matches [the Sharks this week and Bulls next week] is to produce a good 80-minute performance.

"We have shown progress, but we have to start building on that - especially against South African teams."

The Cheetahs coach said the Sharks will be tough to overcome, because not only are they at home, but they have a chance to advance to the play-offs.

"They have some unpredictable players," Smith said, adding: "I have a lot of respect for [rookie fullback] Rhyno Smith as a player.

"[Flyhalf] Garth April is also very good with ball in hand."

He said the breakdown will be important for both teams and they will have to be solid on defence.

Recent results:
2015: Sharks won 27-10, Bloemfontein
2015: Cheetahs won 35-29, Durban
2014: Cheetahs won 27-20, Bloemfontein
2014: Sharks won 19-8, Durban
2013: Cheetahs won 12-6, Durban
2013: Sharks won 29-22, Bloemfontein

Prediction: Six of the last nine meetings between these sides have been won by the away team on the day, including each of the last two. The Cheetahs have lost their last six away from home, with four of those defeats coming by more than 12 points. Despite winning three of their last five at home to fellow South African teams, the Sharks haven't won consecutive home games against teams from South Africa since 2014. The Sharks have conceded only five tries on the opposition's first phase of possession, though the Cheetahs have crossed for 19 first-phase tries this season, the most of any South African team. Francois Uys won a league-high 10 line-outs in Round 15 to take his season tally to 70, more than any other player. It is on their home ground and they have more to play for, which means the Sharks will sneak a late winner - less than 10 points.


Sharks: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Sibusiso Sithole, 13 Jon-Paul Pietersen, 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 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira (captain).
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Ruan Botha, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 Curwin Bosch.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 George Whitehead, 23 William Small-Smith.

Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Archie Sehlako (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

It will be a very different Highlanders team that will feature in Buenos Airs, from the one that fumbled its way through the first 70 minutes - before a late flurry (28 points in the final 12 minutes) saw them dismiss the Southern Kings.

The return of All Blacks Ben Smith, Waisake Naholo, Malakai Fekitoa,  and Aaron Smith ensures the Jaguares will be tested to the full.

The Jaguares, who have not coped with rigours of Super Rugby as well as pundits expected, showed glimpses of their ability when they outmuscled the Bulls in monsoon-like conditions last week.

It was a performance - and tactics - that made the Highlanders sit up and take note.

"They're a good unit and they played well against the Bulls," Highlanders assistant coach Scott McLeod told Fairfax Media.

"Their set piece was outstanding and they play a really fast game so we know where the challenges are."

The Highlanders know they will have to shore up their defence - especially against the powerful Jaguares maul.

The Highlanders need a win, and perhaps even a bonus point, if they hope to stay in contention for the Super Rugby play-offs.

Travelling is not an issue for the New Zealand franchise, with six wins in their last seven starts abroad.

Their successes this year have been based on their blistering counter attacks and a sound kicking game.

The Dunedin-based franchise kicks the most from hand, but those are mostly well-executed tactical kicks.

That is why defence has been such a big part of their game.

Despite the kicking statistics, the Highlanders' classy back Matt Faddes is equal top try scorer with nine five-pointers.

Also sitting on nine tries this season are Aki Yamada (Sunwolves), Israel Folau (Waratahs), Lionel Mapoe (Lions) and Sergeal Petersen (Cheetahs).

Recent results:
These teams have never met before.

Prediction: This will be the first meeting between the Jaguares and the Highlanders; the Jaguares have faced the four other New Zealand sides, losing to all four. The Jaguares snared their third win in the last round and will now be hunting for their first ever back-to-back wins in Super Rugby as a result. The Highlanders have won six of their last seven away games outside of New Zealand. The Highlanders (99.4) are the only team outside of South Africa who average fewer than 100 carries per game this season. Agustin Creevy became the seventh hooker to score a brace of tries this season after only five hooker scored twice in a match from 2011 to 2015. The Highlanders are unlikely to fall into the same trap as the Bulls last week and will be tactically far more astute - which should see them win by about 12 points.


Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 12 Juan Martin Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Javier Ortega Desio, 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 Marcos Kremer, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Matias Orlando, 23 Lucas Gonzales Amorosino.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joseph Wheeler, 4 Thomas Franklin, 3 Siua Halanukonuka, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Replacements: 16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Te Aihe Toma, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes.

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Santiago Borsani (Argentina)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article ryan crotty crusaders v rebels 800

Crusaders race clear in 13-try rout

Sat, 09 Jul 2016 09:10

MATCH REPORT: The Crusaders cemented their place in Super Rugby's top eight with a demoralising 85-26 rout of the Rebels in Christchurch on Saturday.

From the opening try in the second minute of the match to the 13th five-pointer - which completed a hat-trick for Johnny McNicholl - the seven-time champion Crusaders were simply too good for the visitors from Australia.

Only momentary lapses in concentrations allowed the Rebels get their four tries.

The lop-sided encounter kept the Crusaders one point behind the Chiefs, who also collected maximum points when they whipped the Reds 50-5 on Friday - and ensured the New Zealand conference will go down to the wire.

Had Richie Mo'unga been at his kicking best the Crusaders would have been nudging 50 points by half-time, as they scored seven tries in the first 40 minutes to turn with a 43-7 lead over the injury hit Rebels.

They added a further six tries in the second half and were threatening competition records until their relentless scoring pace tapered off in the final quarter.

The Crusaders set the record for the highest score in Super Rugby when they beat the Waratahs 96-19 in 2002.

They scored a record 14 tries in that match, which was equalled by the Cheetahs earlier this year when they beat the Sunwolves 92-17.

Stung by their loss to the Chiefs last week, and losing their place at the top of the ladder, the Crusaders were determined to make amends as they thrived on audacious offloads against a brittle defence.

Sam Whitelock, in his 100th Super game and captaining the side in the absence of Kieran Read, set the tone when he scored the opening try after 90 seconds.

"We weren't happy after last week and we wanted to start well and the boys did that, spot on," Whitelock said.

Although the Rebels ranks were decimated by injury and flank Colby Fainga'a was converted into a back to plug a hole in the second half, captain Nic Stirzaker made no excuses.

"It was a pretty rotten start, a charge down and a try early and then it was tough to stop the rot once it set in. We were pretty dreadful and they were exceptional," he said.

In addition to McNicholl's triple, Ryan Crotty and Codie Taylor both scored two tries, while Whitelock, Scott Barrett, Alex Hodgman, Nemani Nadolo, Pete Samu and Matt Todd also crossed the line.

Mo'unga landed seven conversions and Nadolo two.

Nic Stirzaker scored the Rebels only try in the first half with Reece Hodge, Culum Retallick and Sefa Naivalu scoring after the break.

Jack Debreczeni landed three conversions.

The Crusaders finish off the regular season next Saturday hosting the Hurricanes in a rare afternoon match and just ahead of the Chiefs' clash in Dunedin against the defending champion Highlanders.

The Rebels, who are well out of contention in the Australian conference, play the Reds on Friday.

Man of the match: Picking out an individual in such a lopsided display is very tough - not just because so many players stood out, but also because this was indeed a team performance. However, Ryan Crotty, missing from last week's loss to the Chiefs, showed again why his stocks are rising rapidly in New Zealand. Matt Todd also deserves a mention for doing the hard yards and Johnny McNicholl, who got a hat-trick.

The scorers:

For the Crusaders:
Whitelock, Crotty 2, Barrett, Hodgman, Nadolo, McNicholl 3, Taylor 2, Samu, Todd
Cons: Mo'unga 7, Nadolo 3

For the Rebels:
Stirzaker, Hodge, Retallick, Naivalu
Cons: Debreczeni 3


Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 David Havili, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Jimmy Tupou, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitch Hunt, 23 Kieron Fonotia.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Sione Tuipulotu, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Adam Thomson, 7 Colby Fainga'a, 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Culum Retallick, 4 Sam Jeffries, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah Nau, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Steve Cummins, 20 Rob Leota, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Paul Asquith, 23 Jonah Placid.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

Sam Whitelock (2min), Ryan Crotty (5min), Scott Barrett (9min), Alex Hodgman (13min), Nemani Nadolo (19min), Johnny McNicholl (27min), Ryan Crotty (39min), Codie Taylor (43min), Codie Taylor (46min), Peter Samu (48min), Johnny McNicholl (62min), Matt Todd (64min), and Johnny McNicholl (79min)
Nic Stirzaker (34min), Reece Hodge (51min), Culum Retallick (69min), and Sefanaia Naivalu (77min)
Richie Mo’unga (3min), Richie Mo’unga (6min), Richie Mo’unga (10min), Richie Mo’unga (14min), Richie Mo’unga (44min), Richie Mo’unga (47min), Richie Mo’unga (49min), Nemani Nadolo (63min), Nemani Nadolo (65min), and Nemani Nadolo (80min)
Jack Debreczeni (35min) and Jack Debreczeni (70min)
VENUE Christchurch
REFEREE Glen Jackson (New Zealand)