ad link


8     34


Super Rugby | Buenos Aires
21:40 (GMT) | 09-07-2016
  • 81
The final score 34-8 to the Highlanders!!! Thank you so much for tuning in! Until next time when we bring all the actions of the Super Rugby: Road to the finals!!!
  • 80
Line-out to Jaguares on the Highlanders' 10 meter. The home sides wins another penalty and have a line-out but the ball is snatch by the Highlanders and Ben Smith kicks the ball out and that is it for the match.
  • 79
Highlanders scrum inside their own 5 meter. Highlanders retain the ball and kicks it down field.
  • 78
Jaguares with a quick attack, but the defense of Highlanders just proves too strong for the home side.
  • 77
Matt Faddes gets a yellow card for high tackle.
  • 76
A scrum inside the Highlanders' 5 meter. Highlanders with a clearance as they kick it down field! Jaguares again on the attack
  • 73
Loads of handling errors by both sides. A scrum on the the 50 meter and Santiago Cordero makes a nice break but Elliot Dixon is there to clean up and its a line-out near the Highlanders' 5 meter.
  • 72
Jaguares scrum inside their 22. Manage to retain the ball and they attack the defensive line. a pass reach the touch and Highlanders have a line-out on the Jaguares' 10 meter. Highlanders are on the attack Malakai Fekitoa make some ground and gives an offload to Patrick Osborne goes down in the corner but ref goes upstairs. TMO along with Angus Gardner determines it is not a try. Santiago Cordero with a nice try saving tackle.
  • 69
Highlanders line-out inside the Jaguares' 22. Highlanders retain the ball and shifts it wide, but gets penalize for obstructions.
  • 67
Its a Jaguares scrum near their 10 meter line. Jaguares retain the ball and Nicolas Sanchez gives a chip but Waisake Naholo collects it. Ref comes back for the penalty and Highlanders opt for the kick to touch.
  • 65
Lima Sopoaga adds the extras for the visitors!!! 34-8 to the defending champs!
  • 64
Highlanders retain the ball from the line-out and they make some ground. Highlanders shift it wide and Aaron thinks of going himself but gives it to Elliot Dixon who goes down for a try!!!!
  • 60
A Highlanders scrum on the Jaguares 10 meter line. The home side retain it and is on the attack, Highlanders manage to win it back but a huge tackle by Facundo Isa gives the home side the ball. Knock on by Jaguares and Highlanders kick to touch for a line-out.
  • 58
Awful passes by the home side inside their half puts them under all sorts of pressure as they manage to retain the ball. Its a line-out for the Jaguares on their 10 meter but its knocked on Martin Landajo ends up in a scrum.
  • 56
From the scrum Aaron Smith kicks the ball downfield and its a line-out on the halfway. Jaguares wins the line-out.
  • 54
Jaguares kicks the ball behind the try-line and Lima Sopoaga kicks it down field. Jaguares on the attack and their win a penalty. With a quick tap-and-go the Jaguares makes some meters. But lost is forwards and its a scrum near Highlanders 5 meter.
  • 53
Highlanders retain the ball from the line-out on their 22. The Highlanders with a great counter attack but Highlanders with a knock on gives Jaguares time to clear the ball.
  • 50
The game is getting really ugly as both teams fails to control their tempers. Jaguares wins a penalty for a hightackle on Tomas Lavanini. They opt to kick to touch.
  • 49
Home side retain the ball from the scrum and is on the attack. A nice cross kick is kept in by Santiago Cordero his pass is picked up Malakai Fekitoa, who tries to burst through some defenders. A little bit of pushing by both sides.
  • 47
Highlanders wins the ball from the restart, they are on the attack Elliot Dixon with pass to Thompson who fails to hold onto the ball. A scrum in the Jaguares 10 meter line.
  • 45
Highlanders retain the ball and making some ground. They get a penalty on the Jaguares' 10 meter line. Angus Gardner again having a word with the captains about the off-the-ball incidents. Highlanders kicks to goal and Lima Sopoaga extend his teams lead to 27-8!!
  • 43
Line-out secured by Highlanders and they shift it wide, but lost it forward. Jaguares on the attack and wins a penalty they opt for a line-out on the Highlanders' 22.
  • 41
Juan Martin Hernández, gets the second half underway! Highlanders with a nice break but Elliot Dixon lost it and its a turnover. Jaguares is on attack and a kick gives them a line-out on the half time. Jaguares penalize.

Half Time

  • 40
Last change for the home side as they seeks to add some points before the end of the first half. A knock on by Jaguares as the half time hooters goes off. Waisake Naholo with a late tackle but the ref feels it is perfectly fine and blows his whistle for half time. The half time score 24-8 to the visitors!
  • 38
Jaguares with a turnover. A huge tackle by Waisake Naholo gives his team a penalty. Jaguares penalize for not releasing the ball near their 10 meter line. Highlanders opt to kick to poles and Lima Sopoaga has no problem slotting it over!!!
  • 35
The Jaguares keep their heads as they put on an attack. Some great passes from one side to another of the field as Juan Martin Hernández goes down in the corner for the home side first try!!!
  • 33
Lima Sopoaga with his third successful kick of the match!!!
  • 32
A turnover by the Highlanders, and they are on the attack. Nice offload and quick hands by the Highlanders inside the Jaguares' 22 sends Elliot Dixon over for the third try of the match.
  • 30
From the line-out Highlanders secure the ball. Aaron Smith feeds the back-line. Some great passes down the line and a late tackle on Aaron Smith gives Highlanders a penalty. They opt secure the ball in the line-out but the home side with turnover clear the line
  • 28
Scrum on the halfway line. Lima Sopoaga with a nice kick and gets a line-out near the Jaguares' 22.
  • 26
Highlanders scrum on their own 22 meter line. A kick to touch results in a Jaguares line-out in the 50 meter. Ball overturn and the Highlanders are on the attack but lost it in a knock on.
  • 24
Scrum is reset inside the Highlanders' 5 meter. Jaguares with a solid scrum as Aaron Smith motivates his players to keep form. Jaguares force to use it and its lost forwards in a tackle.
  • 22
Highlanders snatch the line-out, but a forward pass gives the Jaguares a scrum inside the Highlanders' 5 meter.
  • 21
Ref comes back for the offside penalty inside the Highlanders' 5 meter. Some pushing from both sides, and Angus Gardner gives a stern word to the captains. Jaguares opt for the line-out again.
  • 19
Highlanders knocks it on in their 10 meter line. Jaguares have the advantage, the homeside opt to kick to touch and its a line-out on the Highlanders 5 meter. Jaguares retain the ball from the maul. The home side have advantage as they build some phases.
  • 17
Jaguares have the ball from the restart, and the team is on the attack but Juan Martin Hernández with an drop goal attempt and he pushes it wide.
  • 15
Lima Sopoaga slots it over and gives his team the 14-3 lead!!!
  • 13
Nice box kick by the Jagueres but are unable to collect it, evetually fall into the hands of the homeside. Jaguares on the attack but a loose pass is snatch up by Rob Thompson who ran 70 meters to go down for the second try!!!
  • 11
Highlanders kicks it out on the full, and its a line-out on the Highlanders' 22. Jaguares wih a nice maul. Ref penalize Highlanders for crossing on their 22. Nicolas Sanchez steps up and has no problem slotting in the 3 points for the homeside.
  • 9
First scrum of the match just outside the Jaguares' 22. Scrum is reset. Jaguares with a solid scrum secure the ball and gives a nice kick down field.
  • 7
Lima Sopoaga kick fails to make the touch and its return its a line-out and Highlanders secure the ball. Highlanders with a knock on, followed by Jaguares knock-on.
  • 5
Jaguares secure the ball from the restart. A turnover ball inside the Highlanders' 22 while Pablo Matera is laying on the floor. The game is put on hold as Pablo Matera gets some medical attention. Game resume with an line-out on the Highlanders' 10 meter.
  • 3
Lima Sopoaga with a kick and it over!! Highlanders lead 7-0!!
  • 1
Highlanders on the attack and nice passes by the visitors sends Ben Smith over the line for the first try of the match.
  • 0
Lima Sopoaga gets the game underway. Straight away the Highlanders have a penalty advantage, as they break through the Jaguares' 22.
  • -3
Referee is Angus Gardner (Australia). Assistant referees are Rohan Hoffmann (Australia) and Federico Anselmi (Argentina) while TMO is Santiago Borsani (Argentina).
  • -5
This will be the first meeting between the Jaguares and the Highlanders as the teams make their way to field. A really special occasion as Argentina celebrates 200 years of independence. The teams line-up to sing the National Anthem of Argentina, very rare for a Super Rugby match.
  • -10
No sign of rain just clear weather conditions for some great running rugby.
  • -15
The Jaguares are playing for pride only, having been knocked out of the play-off race some time ago. However, the Highlanders are still in with a chance to make the play-offs, as they are currently fourth in the New Zealand conference - just three points outside a quarterfinal spot.
  • -20
The defending champs the Highlanders have the privileged of welcoming back All Blacks to the side. While Patrick Osborne will play his 50th Super rugby game for the visitors.
  • -25
Coming from a victory over the Bulls the Jaguares will be full of confidence heading into this encounter. The hosts have made just two changes to the starting XV. Juan Martin Hernández comes into the midfield - with Jerónimo de la Fuente shifting to outside centre, Hernández playing at No.12 and Matias Moroni dropping out of the matchday 23. In the second row Javier Ortega Desio takes the place of Guido Petti.
  • -30
Welcome to the live coverage of the Super Rugby clash between the Jaguares and Highlanders at Velez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires.
Mc highlanders logo 80x50
  • 1 Nahuel Chaparro
  • 2 Augustin Creevy
  • 3 Ramiro Herrera
  • 4 Javier Desio
  • 5 Tomas Lavaninni
  • 6 Pablo Matera
  • 7 Juan Manual Leguizamon
  • 8 Facundo Isa
  • 9 Martin Landajo
  • 10 Nicolas Sánchez
  • 11 Manuel Montero
  • 12 Juan Martin Hernandez
  • 13 Jeronimo De La Fuente
  • 14 Santiago Cordero
  • 15 Joaquin Tuculet
  • 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
  • 1 Josh Hohneck
  • 2 Ash Dixon
  • 3 Siua Halanukonuka
  • 4 Thomas Franklin
  • 5 Joseph Wheeler
  • 6 Elliot Dixon
  • 7 James Lentjes
  • 8 Luke Whitelock
  • 9 Aaron Smith
  • 10 Lima Sopoaga
  • 12 Rob Thompson
  • 13 Malakai Fekitoa
  • 14 Waisake Naholo
  • 15 Ben Smith
  • 11 Patrick Osborne
  • 16 Greg Pleasents
  • 17 Aki Seiulu
  • 18 Ross Geldenhuys
  • 19 Mark Reddish
  • 20 Dan Pryor
  • 21 Te Aihe Toma
  • 22 Fletcher Smith
  • 23 Matt Faddes
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 jaguares v highlanders 800

Highlanders tame feisty Jaguares

Sat, 09 Jul 2016 23:32

REPORT: The Highlanders showed just why they are defending Super Rugby champions when they thrashed the Jaguares 34-8 in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

The team from New Zealand produced fantastic rugby throughout the 80 minutes. They scored four tries to the Jaguares' three to secure a vital bonus point and secure their place in the top eight. 

The Highlanders made a blistering start to the game when fullback Ben Smith went over for a try in just the second minute of the game. Smith's try came after 12 phases in which flyhalf Lima Sopoaga was the chief orchestrator on attack.

It took the home side some time to settle in the game, but when they did they put the Highlanders under some pressure.

The Jaguares eventually opened their account in the 12th minute when Nicolas Sanchez converted a penalty to give his team three points.

The Argentinians seemed to have a spring in their step after that score, but they were soon on the back foot again when Highlanders centre Rob Thompson snatched onto a loose Jaguares' pass to sprint in for his team's second try of the game. 

The Jaguares did have a period of sustained pressure with ball in hand in the Highlanders half, however, the visitors rush defence stifled the home side out wide.

With less than ten minutes left in the first half, it was all Highlanders. The visitors started to look more and more comfortable with ball in hand then came on of the tries of the tournament.

The ball went through so many hands from halfway until it finally found Elliot Dixon who dotted the ball down for his team's third try. Lima Sopoaga converted and the Highlanders found themselves 21-3 in front.

However, the Jaguares did show what they were capable soon after when some swift handing saw Juan Martin Hernández run in for a try.

The Highlanders did have the final say however, with a Sopoaga penalty to give the visitors a 16-point half-time lead. 

It was more of the same in the second half with the Highlanders getting the first points in the 46th minute via Sopoaga again.

The game then went into a scoring drought, despite both teams playing some enterprising rugby. There was also a bit of frustration creeping into the Jaguares team as they struggled to execute in the strike zone.

Instead it was the Highlanders who basically put the game to bed in the 64 minute when Elliot Dixon went over for his second try of the game. Sopoaga converted to push the Highlanders lead to 26 points.

Man of the match: A number of the Highlanders' players produced some fantastic performances in this game. Rob Thompson showed what a talent he is in the midfield, while flyhalf Lima Sopoaga was again central to everything that Highlanders did on attack. However, the award goes to Elliot Dixon for his all-round performance. He was a monster on defence and showed some fantastic skills with ball in hand. Dixon also won a few turnovers and scored two brilliant tries as well.

The scorers:

For Jaguares:
Try: Hernández  
Pen: Sanchez

For Highlanders:
Tries: B Smith, Thompson, E Dixon 2
Cons: Sopoaga 4
Pens: Sopoaga 2

Yellow card: Matt Faddes (Highlanders, 78 - dangerous play, high tackle)


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)

Juan Martin Hernandez (35min)
Ben Smith (1min), Rob Thompson (13min), Elliot Dixon (32min), and Elliot Dixon (64min)
Lima Sopoaga (3min), Lima Sopoaga (15min), Lima Sopoaga (33min), and Lima Sopoaga (65min)
Nicolas Sánchez (11min)
Lima Sopoaga (38min) and Lima Sopoaga (45min)
Matt Faddes (77min)
VENUE Buenos Aires
REFEREE Angus Gardner (Australia)