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Super Rugby | Pretoria
15:05 (GMT) | 09-07-2016
  • 81
Stay with us as we head straight to our next Super Rugby fixture - The Sharks versus the Cheetahs
  • 80
Line-out at the 22 of the Sunwolves. Paige sends it to Odendaal. The ball is fumbled and Viljoen clears as the hooter sounds. FULL TIME
  • 79
The Bulls still on the attack after getting possession after the reset kick. The final minutes, much like the scoreline, shows a one-sided affair. Penalty to the Bulls and the ball is cleared into touch
  • 77
Schoeman converts from 10 meters out
  • 76
The Bulls take the the scrum with ease and move the ball down field. Marais kicks forward and the chase is on but Viljoen gets it and moves it up field. The Bulls turnover and the ball is lost by the away team and Ulengo kicks forward on the ground and chases himself. Sasakura is there with the cover and the Sunwolves escape. The visitors on the attack making it to the 22 of the Bulls but lose it to Marais who runs through a gap and offloads to Ismaiel just before the opposite side 22. Ismaiel runs to the middle of the posts with no contest. TRY to the Bulls
  • 74
Scrum at the half way after the restart kick
  • 73
Schoeman sets up for his spot kick after the try. whispering words under his breath and it pays off as he secures the 2 points
  • 72
The Bulls in possession after they take their own line-out. They bomb forward and the ball is moved up field methodically until it reaches Labuschagne who gives the final pass to Ismaiel who scores another TRY fro the Bulls
  • 71
Scrum just outside the 5 of the Sunwolves. Sasakura gets it along the wing and runs a fair distance before offloading. The ball is recycled and Yamashita finds an inside pass. He goes forward with a good break but is caught and the attack slows down. The ball is moved down field and then turnover over by the Bulls. Schoeman clears and the referee halts play Medical staff coming onto the field to attend to a Sunwolves player who appears to have a leg injury
  • 70
The Sunwolves holding firm along their 5. Yamashita loses out so close to the goal line after a dodgy pass by Kriel. Jenkins goes over the line to score the TRY but the referee calls for a forward pass by Kriel
  • 67
The ball kicked forward and the bulls chase. They move it up field and the ball is tackled into touch. line-out for the Bulls at the 5
  • 65
The away team move the ball up field and get stuck in the ruck. The referee blows his whistle to stop play again. Scrum at the 22 of the Bulls
  • 64
The Sunwolves get another penalty after fighting to make some ground. Tamura kicks into touch at the 5 of the Bulls. Line-out for the visitors
  • 62
Strauss powering through the visitors defence before he offloads. The referee halts play for a penalty to the Sunwolves and Tamura kicks into touch
  • 61
Schoeman clears after the scrum and the referee blows for a forward pass by Viljoen. Scrum inside the Sunwolves half
  • 60
Scrum reset
  • 59
Moli powering forward and makes a decent carry before the referee blows to halt play. Scrum at the 22 of the Bulls now
  • 58
Tamura gets it from the scrum and he sends it to Viljoen, both players the center of every Sunwolves attack. The referee blows. Scrum at the mid field. The away team playing under advantage and moving forward well.
  • 57
Scrum at the 22 of the Sunwolves now
  • 56
Line-out at the 10 of the Bulls. The ball taken down by the visitors and they send it down field looking to stretch the Bulls. The turnover is there and so is the kick forward. The chase comes from Ismaiel but the bounce doesn't favour him
  • 54
Scrum reset. The Sunwolves move the ball up field after the scrum and almost find space to slip through but it's not enough. The bulls get the ball and clear
  • 53
Scrum at the 5 of the Bulls
  • 52
Tamura kicks into touch at the 22 of the Bulls. The visitors making their way forward now with promise. They line up outside the 5 of the Bulls. The referee blows and the Sunwolves take a quick tap and go. The ball is over the line but the referee is unsure of the situation so calls for the TMO.
  • 51
The clearance is there by Brummer and Viljoen plucks it out of the air and goes himself. Yatomi gets it after Viljoen is brought down and tries for a sneaky play through the middle but he is tackled. The referee blows; penalty to the Sunwolves
  • 49
Scum reset
  • 48
Carpenter gets it and gives it to Yatomi who almost slips through and offloads to Viljoen but the referee blows his whistle. Scrum inside the 10 of the Bulls
  • 47
Brummer gets it from the scrum and clears Line-out at the half way.
  • 46
They move the ball up field but Viljoen loses it forward. Scrum to the Bulls inside their 22
  • 45
The Sunwolves wit ha good reset kick but the ball is cleared. They come again and they make it to the 5 before the Bulls tidy up. The Sunwolves steal possession and start their attack from the 10. Penalty tot he away team and Tamura kickis int touch at the 5
  • 43
Brummer misses his first conversion kick of the half
  • 42
The Bulls moving forward with menace and Vzn Zyl sells a dummy in convincing fashion before handing it to Swanepoel. The ball is lost forward and the referee calls for a scrum inside the visitors' 22. They keep the pressure going and pass back to the captain, Strauss who is brought down inches before the line but reaches and gets the TRY
  • 41
The second half is underway and the Bulls starts it off with Brummer going down the middle

Half Time

  • 40
The horn sounds and the Sunwolves desperate to get a try on the board before the whistle. Inagaki runs along the wing looking to score but is tackled into touch inches before the try line. HALF TIME
  • 39
The cross kick by Tamura while everyone is focused on the maul. Viljoen jumps but he knocks it forward. The referee calls play back for the Bulls collapsing the maul.
  • 38
Tamura again kicking into touch at the 5 this time up field
  • 37
The Bulls turnover in the ruck but the Sunwovles get it back. They restart their attack from the 22 but the referee blows; ruck is full.
  • 36
Line-out to the Bulls inside their own 10. The referee blows for an obstruction and penalty to the Sunwolves. Tamura kicks it into touch at the 5
  • 34
The referee blows for a knock-on just before the 22 of the Bulls. Scrum to the Sunwolves
  • 33
Carpenter in possession fro the Sunwolves now as they find themselves on the attack. The Sunwolves players all stepping nicely but not finding any gaps to slip through
  • 32
Brummer converts again from underneath the post
  • 31
Swanepoel with a good break and carry at the mid field getting to the half way and he offloads it. The ball going up field to Ulengo and he loses it into touch. The line-out sent back and a loose pass picked up by Brummer and kicked forward. He chases it down and makes it over the line to score another Bulls TRY
  • 30
The Sunwolves try for a maul but the Bulls not allowing them forward instead going upwards. The referee blows to halt play. Scrum inside the 22 of the Bulls
  • 28
The reset kick is not too deep and the Sunwolves chase but the Bulls secure possession. A small tussle for the ball inside the Bulls' 10 sees the away team get a penalty. Tamura kicks into touch inside the 22
  • 27
Brummer gets the 2 points from under the poles
  • 26
The Sunwolves with a good defence after the line-out pushing the Bulls back not contesting the throw. The Bulls come again and make it to the 5 shoving Sunwolves players aside. The inside pass is there and Kirsten is the man the reaches over the line to score the TRY
  • 24
The Bulls get a line-out at the 5 of the Sunwolves. The referee blows for a penalty to the Bulls shortly after
  • 23
The Bulls applying heavy pressure after the try and the Sunwolves struggling to keep up with the pace of the hosts.
  • 21
Brummer adds the extras
  • 20
Van Zyl gets it from Kriel who runs a quick break. He dummies and passes three players. The offload is there the Bulls make it over the line. TRY to Swanepoel
  • 19
The Sunwolves get the penalty after the scrum as the Bulls pushed too early in the scrum.
  • 18
The Sunwolves with a good reset kick and they rush to the drop zone. The Bulls organize their defence and hold the Sunwolves back. The referee stops play with a penalty to the hosts. Scrum at the 22 of the Bulls
  • 16
Brummer gets his team into double figures
  • 15
Tamura clears after the reset kick. Line-out to the Bulls at the 10 of the away team. Kriel again in possession for the Bulls looking to make something happen but he is swarmed and brought down. The referee blows to halt play. Penalty to the Bulls and Brummer sets up for a kick of his own
  • 14
He makes the distance and gets the three points
  • 13
Penalty to the Sunwolves after the reset kick, showing good resilience to try and get possession. They get a kick at a decent position. Tamura sets up his spot kick
  • 12
Brummer secures the extras
  • 11
Viljoen clears after the scrum and Ulengo makes a break along the wing. He offloads to Labuschagne who jogs over the line to score the TRY
  • 10
Scrum at the 5 of the Sunwolves in front of the posts.
  • 8
Ismaiel couldn't hang on to the pass after the scrum but the hosts snatch it up and Bothma forces his way forward. The referee blows to halt play
  • 7
The Sunwolves holding a strong line in the early minutes and the kick forward is there and the chase from Ulengo is puts the visitors under intense pressure. The Sunwolves track back and get the ball but the Bulls have the advantage. Scrum at the 5 of the Sunwolves
  • 6
Line -out at the 10 of the visitors and the ruck quite messy but the Bulls get the ball and send it up to Kriel. Van Zyl recycles and sends it down through the middle with Strauss
  • 5
The Sunwolves take their own scrum and clear
  • 4
Line-out for the Bulls at the 5 of the Sunwolves. The away team struggling to hold the Bulls back. The referee calls fro ma scrum to the Bulls at the 5
  • 2
The referee blows for a penalty. Scrum at the 10 of the Sunwolves. The referee refers to the TMO for a potential foul play.Penalty to the Bulls
  • 1
Brummer gets it and clears. Viljoen picks it up and does the same. Brummer finds it and hands it over to Kriel. The Bulls make their way forward now. The Bulls clear again and the Sunwolves start to play from their own 10. Ulengo gets it from Strauss . He is brought down and the Bulls move the ball down field. The Sunwolves holding firm in their defence for now
  • 0
Quinton Immelman blows and the Viljoen kicks it into the 22
  • -1
The teams and crowd now join together for a moment of silence for Kosie Horn (1953-2016)
  • -5
The players now exiting the tunnel
  • -10
The Bulls have won one of their last three games coming into this fixture while the Sunwolves have not managed a win in three games
  • -15
The Sunwolves missed 326 tackles in the tournament thus far while the Bulls missed 192. Both teams conceded a combined 271 penalties - 124 of those going to the Sunwolves. The Sunwolves lead in clean breaks as well with 140 to the Bulls' 90
  • -20
The Bulls took the last fixture between these two sides at Singapore by 3 points
  • -30
The Bulls welcome the Sunwolves to Loftus Versfeld for the first game of the Japanese sides' tour in South Africa
Mc bulls logo 80x50
  • 1 Pierre Schoeman
  • 2 Adriaan Strauss
  • 3 Werner Kruger
  • 4 Marvin Orie
  • 5 Jason Jenkins
  • 6 Pieter Labuschagne
  • 7 Jannes Kirsten
  • 8 Renaldo Bothma
  • 9 Piet van Zyl
  • 10 Francois Brummer
  • 11 Jamba Ulengo
  • 12 Dries Swanepoel
  • 13 Burger Odendaal
  • 14 Travis Ismaiel
  • 15 Jesse Kriel
  • 16 Jaco Visagie
  • 17 Nqobisiwe Mxoli
  • 18 Marcel van der Merwe
  • 19 Grant Hattingh
  • 20 Arno Botha
  • 21 Rudi Paige
  • 22 Tian Schoeman
  • 23 SP Marais
  • 1 Keita Inagaki
  • 2 Takeshi Kizu
  • 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga
  • 4 Hitoshi Ono
  • 5 Naohiro Kotaki
  • 6 Liaki Moli
  • 7 Taiyo Ando
  • 8 Ed Quirk
  • 9 Yuki Yatomi
  • 10 Yu Tamura
  • 11 Yasutaka Sasakura
  • 12 Harumichi Tatekawa
  • 13 Derek Carpenter
  • 14 Hajime Yamashita
  • 15 Riaan Viljoen
  • 16 Futoshi Mori
  • 17 Masataka Mikami
  • 18 Takuma Asahara
  • 19 Fa'atiga Lemalu
  • 20 Yoshiya Hosoda
  • 21 Kaito Shigeno
  • 22 Mifiposeti Paea
  • 23 Shokei Kin
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 pieter labuschagne v sunwolves 800

Bulls ease past Sunwolves

Sat, 09 Jul 2016 16:55

REPORT: The Bulls scored seven tries to comfortably beat the Sunwolves 50-3 at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

The bonus-point win kept the Bulls' play-off hopes alive in this year’s competition, but they will still need the Sharks to slip up in the run in to the quarterfinals.

The Bulls were camped in the Sunwolves' half in the opening 10 minutes of the game, but poor execution let them down on a few occasions in the strike zone. 

However, the home side eventually made the passes stick in the 11th minute when a great break by Jamba Ulengo down the touchline resulted in a try for flank Pieter Labuschagne. Flyhalf Francois Brummer added the extras.

The Sunwolves did not have to wait long to hit back - flyhalf Yu Tamura reduced the deficit to four points four minutes later when he converted a penalty from a tough angle.

The Bulls lead was then stretched to seven once again a few minutes later when Brummer knocked over a penalty as the home side tried to stamp their authority on the game.

Not long after that penalty the Bulls were further in front when centre Dries Swanepoel scored the Bulls second try after a fantastic break by scrumhalf Piet van Zyl. Brummer converted and the home side was leading by 14 points after 20 minutes.

It was all Bulls from then on as the continued to put the visitors under immense pressure. In the 27th minute it was the turn of Jannes Kirsten to dive over for a score after some great build up play.

Things then got worse for the Sunwolves when Brummer captilised on a mistake in the Sunwolves' 22 to race away for a try under the polls. Brummer converted and the score was 31-3 in favour of the home side after 33 minutes.

The Sunwolves finished the first half better than they started it, but they will still unable to cross the whitewash despite stretching the Bulls on defence. In the end the Bulls took their 28-point lead into the break. 

It was more of the same from the Bulls at the start of the second half when captain Adriaan Strauss bulldozed his way over in the 43rd minutes after some good phase play by the home side. Brummer could not convert, but it did not really matter as the Bulls were in full control.

The game then reverted into a bit of an arm-wrestle with both teams testing each other's defences, but with little success. The Sunwolves also started to look more dangerous with ball in hand.

A try eventually came in the 73rd minute when Travis Ismaiel sprinted in after some poor defending by the Sunwolves. 

A few minutes later, Ismaiel was again put into space to run in for his team's seventh try of the game, which was also the final nail in the coffin for the struggling Sunwolves. 

Man of the match: Jamba Ulengo looked dangerous every time he got the ball, while Piet van Zyl kept the Sunwolves defence guessing with his sniping runs. However, the award goes to Pieter Labuschagne who was devastating with ball in hand. He crossed the advantage line on a number of occasions and scored a try as well. 

The scorers:

For Bulls:
Tries: Labuschagne, Swanepoel, Kirsten, Brummer, Strauss, Ismaiel 2
Cons: Brummer 4, Schoeman 2
Pen: Brummer

For Sunwolves:
Pen: Tamura


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)

Pieter Labuschagne (11min), Dries Swanepoel (20min), Jannes Kirsten (26min), Francois Brummer (31min), Adriaan Strauss (42min), Travis Ismaiel (72min), and Travis Ismaiel (76min)
Francois Brummer (12min), Francois Brummer (21min), Francois Brummer (27min), Francois Brummer (32min), Tian Schoeman (73min), and Tian Schoeman (77min)
Francois Brummer (16min)
Yu Tamura (14min)
VENUE Pretoria
REFEREE Quinton Immelman (South Africa)