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17     28


Super Rugby | Sydney
09:40 (GMT) | 09-07-2016
  • 81
Stay with us as we head to Perth. The Force will look for a home victory against the top Africa Conference 1 team, the Stromers
  • 80
The siren sounds and it seems like the Hurricanes takes the game after a good contest. The Tahs get the ball and the ball is knocked on again but the referee blows to end the game. FULL TIME
  • 79
Barrett finds it up field but leaves it behind during the run. The ball is sent down field but it's lost forward. Scrum inside the 22 of the Tahs
  • 78
The scrum by the Canes is good and the ball is kicked forward along the wing by Gibbins. The Tahs turnover in their own half and try to make their way forward looking for a losing bonus point but the Canes are having none of it.
  • 76
The Tahs pushing forward in the maul but the Canes find their feet and hold the line. They try to play it down field but it slips and is lost forward. Scrum close to the 5 of the Canes and Perenara clears
  • 75
Barrett gets it and clears into touch. Line-out at the 22 of the visitors. Lucas trying fit through a gap but he's caught. Dempsey in possession now as he tries to force his way through. Penalty to the Tahs and Foley kicks into touch at the 5 of the Canes
  • 73
Line-out taken sloppily by the Tahs and the ball flies past the Canes defence after a lucky bounce and break. But it goes forward. Scrum for the Canes at their 5
  • 72
Dempsey almost breaking into space but his legs are just clipped. The Tahs showing strong resolve as they enter the 10 of the Canes. Dempsey with the offload to Naiyaravoro along the wing and he is just tackled into touch before the try line
  • 70
A line-out taken quickly by the Canes but the referee calls play back. Line-out at the 22 of the Canes and Barrett clears. The ball is sent back forward by Foley and then back again by Barrett
  • 69
Both teams kicking forward before the ball finds touch at the half way. Line-out to the Tahs. Dennis takes it down without contest and they try to move forward in the maul. The Tahs move the ball up field but the Canes keeping them in their own half
  • 68
The Canes in possession at the mid field and Barrett sees an opportunity for a drop goal and takes it but it's just short despite the angle being right.
  • 67
The ball kicked into touch by the Canes. Line-out at the 5 of the Tahs and now they are under pressure at their 5. They get the ball and Foley clears. Line-out at the 10 of the Tahs
  • 65
The Tahs can't push the Canes back this time. A poor pass that misses three waiting players is scooped up and cleared by the Canes. Line-out at the half way
  • 64
Scrum at the 5 of the Canes and the Tahs will need to be the next team to score. The Tahs push the Canes back and the exert a good amount of pressure. The referee blows for another scrum
  • 62
The ball cleared after the reset kick but then kicked forward again by Foley and Hooper chases. The Tahs make it to the 5 of the Canes in one swift movement, the Canes' defence almost evaporating. The referee blows to stop play
  • 61
Barrett breathes intently at the posts. He boots it and the flags go up
  • 60
Hooper wit ha good tackle on Ardie Savea but the Canes move the ball down field into space where a free man, Julian Savea is waiting and he runs over the line with ease to score the TRY
  • 58
The kick by Barrett after the penalty is sent into touch at the 10 of the Tahs. The Canes flyhalf seems unhurt by the tackle. The Canes now trying to move forward with a maul but the Tahs pushing them back. Perenara with a chip and chase and the Tahs scramble back. The ball is lost into touch by the Canes
  • 57
The reset kick is just short of the 22 and the Tahs make a good chase but the Canes still find the ball first and clear.The Tahs in possession and clear The chase comes from Naiyaravoro who tackles Barrett in the air and the whistle goes immediately. A potential yellow card. The yellow card is presented and Naiyaravoro gets sent to the bin
  • 56
He takes his time and it pays off as he secures the 3 points
  • 54
The ball is sent up field to Jane who finds himself surrounded by Tahs' players. Penalty against the Tahs at their own 10 and Barrett sets up for a penalty kick from some ways out
  • 53
Scrum reset
  • 52
The Canes take the scrum with convincing form. The ball is cleared. The Canes in possession at their own 10 and Barrett kicks forward and chases but the bounce doesn't favour his run. Foley picks it up and goes for a break of his own but is brought down. Scrum at the half way.
  • 51
The reset kick is cleared after a minor tussle for the ball at the 22 of the Canes. Falau gets it after the clearance and he is pushed forward by his team as the Canes struggle to fight back. The referee blows. Scrum in side the 10 of the Canes. Scrum reset
  • 49
Barrett converts from a tricky angle to retake the lead
  • 48
The Canes get forced back but are persistent. Fatialofa slips through and sends it up field to Ardie Savea who finds himself in space. He does the charitable play by giving it to Jane to score the TRY
  • 46
The Canes with a strong maul from the throw making it to the 5 from the 22 as the Tahs stumble on their feet. Ardie Savea trying to force himself through but to no avail
  • 45
The Canes snatch up a loose ball and try to play it but the referee halts play for a penalty to the away side. Barrett kicks into touch at the 22 of the hosts
  • 44
The ball cleared into touch after the reset and it's played quickly. The ball is kicked back and forth by both teams, neither finding touch
  • 43
Foley converts to take the lead for the first time
  • 42
Scrum at the 22 as the referee calls play back after the reset. Barrett gets it again and clears into touch at his own 22. Hooper gets it after the throw and looks to offload but finds no one in support. Foley gets it and sends it down to Falau and he powers through one, slips past another two and forces himself over the line to score the TRY
  • 41
Foley gets the second half underway with a kick into the 22 with a quick cleanup by Barrett

Half Time

  • 40
Foley takes his kick 3 minutes after the horn sounds and he gets the 3 points. HALF TIME
  • 40
The horn sounds for the half way whistle and the Tahs try to make ground in the maul after the line-out. Penalty to the Tahs. Foley kicks into touch at the 22 of the Canes. They move forward in the maul again. They move the ball up field and the Tahs get another penalty for a collapsed maul after no advantage is found. The referee refers to the TMO for a yellow card on a high tackle and the culprit Halaholo is sent to the bin. The referee decides on a penalty to the Tahs after the referall
  • 39
Scrum at the 5 of the Tahs, the pressure still very much on the hosts. They push the Canes back and get the penalty
  • 38
The Canes look for space inside the Tahs 10. Jane kicks forward and the chase is there. Phipps reaches the ball first but slips and his pass back to Foley is fumbled. The Canes pounce on the ball behind the goal line for a try, but the TMO referral shows Perenara knocked it forward
  • 37
After a long TMO refereal on potential dangerous play the referee sees nothing wrong Palu's tackle and a scrum is called. Scrum resets as the Canes front row collapses. Perenara gets it after the scrum and goes down field before the ball goes to Barrett who does another cross field kick but it goes into touch after an unlucky bounce. The referee calls play back for a penalty to the Canes. Barrett kicks into touch deliberately this time
  • 35
Hooper gets it and carries a few meters before being brought down. The ball lost forward again by the Tahs. Both teams struggling to grip the ball as the conditions takes a turn for the worst
  • 34
Penalty to the Tahs as the Canes' front row collapses again. Foley kicks into touch at the 10 of the Canes
  • 33
Scrum reset again
  • 32
Scrum reset
  • 31
Coles whiffs the throw but it's lost forward by the Tahs and the referee calls for a scrum
  • 30
Line-out at the 22 of the hosts. The Canes disregard the maul and try to look for the angle from a ruck. The Tahs turnover and Foley clears into touch
  • 29
The reset kick puts the Tahs on the defence but they turnover and Kellaway tries the chip and chase but Perenara catches and he moves forward. The referee blows as he gets to the 22
  • 27
Foley converts and the Canes lead by 4 points now
  • 26
The Tahs move the ball up field in a quick team motion. They press on with Hooper and Skelton causing issues for the defence. Naiyaravoro finally breaks through to score the TRY
  • 24
A bad pass backwards by Perenara causing all sorts of problems for the leading team. The Tahs apply the pressure and get a scrum after the ball is lost forward by the Canes
  • 23
Scrum at the 22 of the Canes after a knock-on
  • 22
The Tahs in possession now and they fumble the ball among themselves trying to get forward and the kick over the top by Phipps sends it into touch
  • 21
The Canes movethe ball up field and the break is there. The referee blows and Foley clears.
  • 20
Scrum at the half way
  • 19
Foley sends his reset kick close to the 5 of the Canes but it's too deep to chase and Barrett clears. Hooper brings it down and the Tahs move forward in their own attack at last. The ball is knocked forward and the referee blows
  • 18
Barrett with all the points for his team thus far, he fails to add another 2
  • 17
Line-out at the 10 of the Tahs. The Canes move the ball down field and a kick forward by Jane sees Barrett break through the defence grabbing the ball at the five after a lucky bounce to score the TRY
  • 15
Fifita trying to bomb through the Tahs defence forcing three players onto him. The ball is moved up field and the Canes make it to the 5 but the Tahs turnover and Foley clears into touch
  • 14
Barrett clears into touch after Foley's reset kick. The Tahs take their own line-out this time and Foley kicks it forward and the ball is fumbled but the Canes still find possession
  • 12
Barrett kicks forward and the chase is on but the referee blows again; offside against the Tahs and Barrett sets up again for his third penalty. He finds the middle of the sticks
  • 11
Foley with a reset kick into the 22 and the Canes control it nicely and clear. into touch at their own 10. The ball stolen by the Canes in the throw and they move the ball up field then they do a cross field kick back down to Coles. He rushes into the 22 but it's knocked-on and the Tahs play advantage with a counter attack. They make it to the opposing side 22 but the referee halts play. Tempers flaring as the teams collide aggressively at the touch line. The referee calms the players down. Line-out to the Canes
  • 8
Barrett sets up for his second kick of the game and this time he gets it
  • 7
The make it into the 22 of the Tahs but the turnover is there and Foley clears. The Canes come again trying an inside ball with Savea. The referee stops play for a high tackle
  • 6
Foley sends the reset kick into the Canes 10 meter. The Canes move the ball down field with Coles then up field again. The Canes moving forward aggressively now
  • 5
The kick from the 22 goes wide
  • 4
The Tahs pushing the Canes back in the scrum but Phipps played the ball back into the scrum illegally. The referee blows for an infringement. Barrett sets up for a penalty kick
  • 3
Scrum at the halfway
  • 2
The Canes take the scrum and Barrett clears. Kellaway returns the favour and the Canes start their attack from their 10 meter. Savea looking to play Coles into space but the defence is there. The referee blows to halt play
  • 1
The ball is cleared into touch by the Tahs. Line-out for the Canes at the half way. The Canes move the ball up field after the throw but it's stolen. The Tahs on the break with Hooper and he sends it down to Foley but he loses it forward at the 22 of the Canes. Scrum
  • 0
Chris Pollock blows and the game is underway with a deep kick into the 22 by Barrett
  • -2
The players exiting the tunnel. The crowd cheering as Dane Coles leads the the Canes onto the pitch
  • -5
Both Openside Flanks, Savea and Hooper performed well in the International Tests and will undoubtedly be coming into this fixture with good mental form
  • -7
The Waratahs are tied on 39 points with the Brumbies in the Australian Conference while the Hurricanes sit 7 points behind the New Zealand Conference leaders, Chiefs
  • -10
Waratahs have won 4 of the last 6 engagements between these two sides
  • -20
Welcome to the Sydney Australia where the Hurricanes blow in to take on the Waratahs
Mc waratahs logo 80x50
Mc hurricanes logo 80x50
  • 1 Paddy Ryan
  • 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau
  • 3 Tom Robertson
  • 4 Dave Dennis
  • 5 Will Skelton
  • 6 Dean Mumm
  • 7 Michael Hooper
  • 8 Wycliff Palu
  • 9 Nick Phipps
  • 10 Bernard Foley
  • 11 Matt Carraro
  • 12 Rob Horne
  • 13 Israel Folau
  • 14 Taqele . Naiyaravoro
  • 15 Andrew Kellaway
  • 16 Hugh Roach
  • 17 Jeremy Tilse
  • 18 Angus Taavao-Matau
  • 19 Sam Lousi
  • 20 Jack Dempsey
  • 21 Matt Lucas
  • 22 David Horwitz
  • 23 Reece Robinson
  • 1 Reg Goodes
  • 2 Dane Coles
  • 3 Chris Eves
  • 4 Vaea Fifita
  • 5 Michael Fatialofa
  • 6 Brad Shields
  • 7 Ardie Savea
  • 8 Victor Vito
  • 9 TJ Perenara
  • 10 Beauden Barrett
  • 11 Julian Savea
  • 12 Willis Halaholo
  • 13 Matt Proctor
  • 14 Cory Jane
  • 15 James Marshall
  • 16 Ricky Riccitelli
  • 17 Ben May
  • 18 Loni Uhila
  • 19 Mark Abbott
  • 20 Callum Gibbins
  • 21 Jamison Gibson-Park
  • 22 Ngani Laumape
  • 23 Jason Woodward
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 waratahs v hurricanes match 800

Hurricanes edge spiteful arm-wrestle

Sat, 09 Jul 2016 11:49

MATCH REPORT: The Hurricanes hung on to record a hard-earned 28-17 win over the Waratahs in a spiteful Super Rugby encounter in Sydney on Saturday.

The tension in the match was evident from the first whistle till the last as there was so much riding on the outcome for both sides. Victory has left the Hurricanes with the hope of a play-off place whereas the Waratahs look to have lost their chance.

With so much tension there were more handling errors than usual by both teams and there were fractious outbursts.

The tension lasted the full 80 minutes and there is no doubt that the Waratahs could have won the match - could have if they had had the Hurricanes' ability to finish, making the best of their opportunities.

The tension made both defences intent on stopping opponents.

In the second half the Waratahs dominated territory and did not score a point in the last 37 minutes of the match. When they got to 28-17 down and time was marching on, three-pointers became less and less helpful and so they went for tries. They had problems with first-phase possession, as they lost three line-outs and battled at times in the scrums where they were twice penalised.

A lot of the match was error-ridden, almost certainly because hands were tense, but it remained an absorbing encounter.

For Dean Mumm it was a milestone - his 100th match for the Waratahs. For the referee, Chris Pollock it was also a milestone - his last match as a referee in an exceptional career. It was a tough way to complete a milestone for both player and referee as it was a demanding  match.

The Hurricanes kicked off and when they got possession they signified their intent to move the ball wide. And when the Waratahs got possession, they, too, ran. This early promise of an open, creative match did not materialise as defence stopped attack again and again.

The Hurricanes scored first - two penalties by Beauden Barrett, the first when Wycliff Palu tackled high, the second against Andrew Kellaway, that silly penalty for being in front of a team-mate who dropped the ball. That made the score 6-0 after 12 minutes.

There was a delicious moment between the two penalties when the Hurricanes went wide left after winning a Waratahs' line-out, and Barrett kicked a long diagonal to the right which Dane Coles caught. The hooker beat a man and went scurrying down the touchline but the Hurricanes lost the ball.

From a line-out on their left, the Hurricanes went wide right where Cory Jane chipped ahead. Shoulder to shoulder he and Barrett raced after the ball. Barrett got it and scored. Jane could just as well have scored. 11-0 after 18 minutes, but it was never going to be a runaway and it took the Hurricanes a half an hour before they got their next score.

After some broken play the Waratahs attacked and Nick Phipps was close, but from close by massive Taqele Naiyaravoro powered over despite the efforts of Reggie Goodes and TJ Perenara to stop him. Bernard Foley converted. 11-7 after 27 minutes as the drizzle started.

A penalty gave the Hurricanes a line-out from which they bashed till the Waratahs won a turnover and survived, but back came the Hurricanes for a remarkable law tangle in the Waratahs' in-goal. Jane again chipped and Phipps got the ball just short of the goal-line. He went over in his impetus and there, under pressure from TJ Perenara he popped the ball to Foley just in from the dead-ball line. Foley dropped the ball and did not ground it but Perenara did. A careful consultation with the TMO showed that Perenara had knocked the ball from Foley's grasp and so it was a scrum to the Waratahs five metres from their line. They were penalised at the scrum and the Hurricanes kicked out for a line-out which they mauled but at which they were penalised and the Waratahs were relieved.

Two more penalties at mauls set them attacking but now it was the Hurricanes' turn to stand firm.

Willis Halaholo was penalised and yellowcarded for a tackle on Foley. Foley recovered and goaled and it was half-time with the score 11-10 to the Hurricanes.

The Waratahs kicked off to start the second half and attacked. From a line-out on their left, they went right and suddenly there was Israel Folau in all his glory as he stepped one and beat six defenders, including two hanging onto him, as he scored a brilliant, individual try. Foley converted and after 43 minutes the Waratahs led for the first time, 17-11.

But the Hurricanes were not slow in coming back on the attack. They mauled at speed from a line-out on their left and then went right where lock Michael Fatialofa (great rugby name) burst straight ahead. He was tackled and the Hurricanes went wide right to Jane who had an overlap and scored. Barrett converted and the Hurricanes were back in the lead at 18-17 after 49 minutes.

Halaholo returned to the field and the Hurricanes celebrated his return when Barrett goaled a penalty, 21-17 after 56 minutes.

Soon afterwards Naiyaravoro of the Waratahs was yellowcarded for an air tackle on Barrett. Just after he went off the Hurricanes won a Waratahs' line-out  and the ball went wide left with two perfect passes by Barrett and Halaholo to Julian Savea who beat two covering defenders to score in the left corner. Barrett converted. 28-17 after 61 minutes.

There was no more scoring but lots of activity in the last quarter of the match.

The Hurricanes kicked and Folau and then, with a long run, Michael Hooper countered. Foley and Jack Dempsey were close to scoring as the Waratahs bashed. They had a five-metre scrum and bashed to the line where Barrett was penalised for a high tackle. The Waratahs opted for another five-metre scrum but their handling failed them and Barrett flykicked clear.

Naiyaravoro came back from the sin bin and charged for the line on the left but Barrett tackled him into touch just short of the cornerpost.

The Waratahs turned a penalty into a five-metre line-out and mauled, but the Hurricanes got close together and repelled them.

The Hurricanes relieved the pressure when Jason Woodward ran down the left and footed ahead. They went right and Halaholo broke but Barrett did not hold onto his short inside pass which would surely have produced a try.

Lots of disgruntled supporters left the stadium after the match. Sadly for them, the Waratahs did not get a single point from the match.

Man of the Match: Both half-back pairs, Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps for the Waratahs, Beauden Barrett and TJ Perenara for the Hurricanes) were greatly influential in the match, and we have chosen Beauden Barrett as the most influential of them all - and for not 'milking' the air tackle on him.

The scorers

For the Waratahs:
Naiyaravoro, Folau
Cons: Foley 2
Pen: Foley

For the Hurricanes:
Barrett, Jane, J Savea
Cons: Barrett 2
Pens: Barrett 3

Yellow card: Willis Halaholo (Hurricanes, 40 - foul play, high tackle), Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs, 58 - foul play, playing a man in the air)


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)

Taqele . Naiyaravoro (26min) and Israel Folau (42min)
Beauden Barrett (17min), Cory Jane (48min), and Julian Savea (60min)
Bernard Foley (27min) and Bernard Foley (43min)
Beauden Barrett (49min) and Beauden Barrett (61min)
Bernard Foley (40min)
Beauden Barrett (8min), Beauden Barrett (12min), and Beauden Barrett (56min)
Taqele . Naiyaravoro (57min)
Willis Halaholo (40min)
VENUE Sydney
REFEREE Chris Pollock (New Zealand)