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Super Rugby | Christchurch
05:15 (GMT) | 16-07-2016
  • 80
Conversion is good by Barrett and the ref blows for Full-time! Thank you for joining us at for this match. Be sure to join us for the next game as the Chiefs take on the Highlanders
  • 79
Canes still with ball in hand as the clock runs down. The second half has been all Hurricanes. Gibson-Park has a run, Abbott has a go, Shields picks and goes followed by Cory Jane having a run off his wing.Crusaders turn the ball over throw a long 50-50 ball intercepted by Barrett who scores under the poles for another try! What a win by the Canes!
  • 78
Gibson-Park feeds the scrum and the Canes then attack through Jane and Mark Abbott. Into the 22 the Canes go as Ardie Savea has another run in an impressive performance once again.
  • 77
Short arm penalty awarded to the Hurricanes for a early engagement. Barrett clears the ball for touch and Dagg takes it quickly. Crotty has a run from the back but gets smashed by Halaholo and loses the ball forward. Scrum Hurricanes
  • 76
Crusaders continue to bash at the defense before Dagg knocks the ball forward. Scrum Hurricanes inside the their own 22. Plenty errors coming from the Crusaders, understandable considering they are chasing the game.
  • 74
Ardie Savea forces the turnover and Barrett clears the ball into touch. Frustration for the Crusaders
  • 73
Crusaders on the attack in the Hurricanes 22 as Read tries to provide some much needed inspiration. Crusaders then awarded the penalty 5 meters from the Canes try line , Read chooses to pack down for the scrum.
  • 72
Conversion is good by Barrett
  • 71
Canes attack through Marshall who breaks the line and plays Gibbins who crosses the line and scores the try! As they say, goodnight irene! This game looks to be over.
  • 70
Fukofuka clears the ball into touch. Hurricanes lineout outside the Crusaders 22.
  • 68
Canes on the attack again inside the Crusaders 22 before Goosen gets tackled into touch 5 meters from the try line. Lineout Crusaders .
  • 67
Scrum resets at the first attempt. When it comes right Fonotia has a run at the Canes midfield but is shut down quickly. Dagg is then forced to clear the ball up field.
  • 66
Hurricanes lose the ball at the lineout as Read has a run from deep for the Crusaders. Mo'unga then clears the ball up field to Jane who runs it back, next wave of attack sees Ardie Savea have a run, then Halaholo. Into the 22 the Canes go before there is a small knock on from Gibson-Park and the Crusaders have a scrum put in inside their own 22.
  • 65
Hurricanes win the penalty on the halfway line . Barrett kicks for touch to set up a lineout deep inside the Crusaders 22.
  • 64
Hurricanes attack from deep through Cory Jane who throws a lovely "out-the-backdoor" pass to Shields who steps into touch. Crusaders lineout on the halfway line.
  • 62
Hack kick put through from the Canes as the Crusaders are forced to attack from deep through Dagg who throws a loose pass that goes into touch. Hurricanes lineout just outside the Crusaders 22. Barrett gets the ball from the lineout and throws a forward pass to Halaholo. Scrum Crusaders outside their own 22.
  • 59
Mo'unga clears the ball, but it doesnt go out , Hurricanes run it back and the Crusaders force the turn over and attack wide through Havili .
  • 58
Shields wins the ball at the lineout and the maul is set before Woodward throws a loose pass Crusaders turn the ball over and somehow the Hurricanes get it back. Perenara puts through a grubber kick and Julian Savea loses the ball forward with the try line in sight. Scrum Crusaders on their line.
  • 57
Hurricanes awarded the penalty and Barrett sets up a lineout inside the Crusaders 22.
  • 56
Conversion is good by Barrett
  • 55
Attack after attack from the Hurricanes finally sees some reward as Halaholo slice through the line and scores the try! Massive bust up takes place after the try and the TMO is in action for potential foul play . Theres nothing in it so the try stands
  • 54
Canes still on the attack as Vito has a run, followed by Uhila who is having a blinder so far. Shields then comes close. Hurricanes 5 meters from the Crusaders try line. Referee awards the Hurricanes a penalty and Uhila takes it quickly. The reserve prop is hungry!
  • 53
Hurricanes on the attack through Perenara followed by Shields. Crusaders defense holds strong.
  • 52
Mo'unga clears the ball into touch and the Canes have the lineout on the 10 meter line inside the Crusaders half. Coles finds his jumper and Julian Savea crashes it up midfield.
  • 51
Crusaders win the penalty at the scrum. Mo'unga kicks for touch.
  • 50
Canes still on the attack inside the Crusaders 22 as Barrett has a run, then Uhila, then Ardie Savea , then Julian Savea with the line in sight coughs up the ball. Crusaders scrum on their own try line.
  • 48
Hurricanes on the attack near the Crusaders 22
  • 47
Hurricanes lose the ball forward and Romano throws a lovely dummy , puts the grubber kick through but its dotted down by Julian Savea. 22 dropout Hurricanes.
  • 46
Julian Savea loses the ball forward and the Crusaders have the scrum put-in just inside their own half. Drummond feeds the scrum, and the Hurricanes win the ball against the head.
  • 45
Barrett clears the ball into touch. Lineout Crusaders just outside the Hurricanes 22
  • 43
Drummond feeds the scrm and McNicholl breaks the line like a hot knife through butter then plays Dagg with the try line in sight, but the fullback loses the ball forward. Scrum Hurricanes
  • 42
Crusaders with ball in hand near the 50 as Havili has run before a lovely cross kick is put in for Read who does well in the air . Barrett then tries the intercept but knocks the ball forward. Scrum Crusaders just inside the Hurricanes half.
  • 41
Second half underway. Mo'unga kicks off for the Crusaders

Half Time

  • 40
Barrett converts the try . Referee blows for halftime. What a great half of rugby that was. See you all in a bit for the second half
  • 39
Taylor finds his jumper and the maul is set by the Crusaders , Drummond attempts the clearance kick but its charged down by Perenara , he regathers the ball and scores the try!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 38
Perenara feeds the scrum and the Crusaders destroy the Hurricanes pack and win a penalty 5 meters from their own line. Going to be a long day at scrum time for the visitors. Mo'unga kicks for touch for some much needed relief for the Crusaders.
  • 37
Canes bashing at the Crusaders line before a grubber kick is put through, McNicholl cleans up and is tackled backwards and forced to take the ball back and dot down the ball. 5 meter scrum to the Hurricanes. Can they get some reward before half time?
  • 36
Perenara feeds the scrum and the Canes attack wide but a loose pass is thrown by Barrett as the Crusaders turn the ball over and Dagg pumps the ball into touch that goes out on the 10 meter line inside the Crusaders half.
  • 34
Lineout is set once again as Coles crashes over from the maul, but Mo'unga somehow got underneath the hooker to hold the ball up! Great play from the Flyhalf. Scrum Hurricanes 5 meters out.
  • 32
Hurricanes on the attack inside the Crusaders 22 and are then awarded the penalty for Franks pulling down the maul from the resulting lineout. Coles opts to set up another 5 meter lineout
  • 30
Canes awarded the penalty for Matt Todd slowing the ball down. Coles rejects leveling the scores up and opts for the lineout 5 meters from the Crusaders line.
  • 29
Mo'unga converts the try
  • 28
Dagg hoists the up and under regathered by Read. Nadolo busts the line , plays Crotty who gets bundled into touch and the Canes take the lineout quickly, get the ball stripped off them as McNicholl does well, offloads to Crotty who scores a great try for the Crusaders!
  • 27
Mo'unga hooks his penalty attempt to the left of the uprights. 22 drop-out Hurricanes.
  • 26
Mo'unga attempts the drop goal, but its wide... Referee goes back for a Crusaders penalty and Mo'unga will have a shot at goal.
  • 25
Crusaders attack from deep inside their own half before McNicholl clears the ball up field, Jane cleans up the ball and kicks it out. Lineout Crusaders just outside the Hurricanes 22.
  • 22
Crusaders penalty from the lineout. Read opts to have a shot at goal. Mo'unga lines up his kick , strikes the ball well and its over!
  • 21
Nadolo recovers and we have a lineout for the Crusaders 10 meters from the Hurricanes line.
  • 20
Hurricanes clear the ball into touch , Nadolo plays the lineout quickly and the Crusaders on back on the attack. A chip kick is put through for Read by Dagg but it comes to nothing. Nadolo goes down clutching his knee, worrying signs for the Crusaders as their star player looks in trouble...
  • 19
Crusaders keep bashing at the line. Into 15 phases of attack we go before Scott Barrett loses the ball forward. Scrum Canes- top defensive effort from the visitors
  • 18
Crusaders 5 meters from the Hurricanes line. Read has a run, then Todd followed by Scott Barrett. Canes manning up in defence.
  • 17
McNicholl breaks the line then throws the 50-50 ball that is regathered by Marshall who plays Barrett and the ball is cleared to Nadolo who runs it back but is chopped down with a high tackle. Penalty Crusaders.
  • 16
Crusaders turn the ball over inside the 22, Mo'unga throws the hail mary ball over the top Havili who does well and makes 20 meters then throws the ball to McNicholl who steps into touch. Lineout Hurricanes
  • 14
Canes on the attack inside the Crusaders 22 through Ardie Savea, Fatialofa yet again along with Goodes.
  • 13
Crusaders on the attack on the halfway line before Shields does some great work at the breakdown and forces the penalty. Barrett kicks for touch and sets up a lineout inside the Crusaders 22.
  • 11
Barrett adds the extras
  • 10
Canes continue to bash at the defence as Woodward sliped through the line from a great pass by Barrett and scores under the sticks
  • 9
Perenara feeds the scrum plays Barrett who plays Woodward on the crash ball. Canes 2 meters from the try line
  • 8
Coles finds his jumper in Fatialofa 5 meters from the Crusaders line. Maul is set but sacked well. Canes continue to bash at the line pick and go after pick and go , before Fatialofa crashes over for the try..... or is it?..... TMO in action... it is judged that Matt Todd had his hand under the ball and saved a try. 5 meter scrum to the Hurricanes
  • 7
Hurricanes on the attack through Goodes on the Crusaders 22, Barrett puts in a cheeky chip kick, Nadolo cleans up but is isolated so the ref awards the Canes the penalty, Coles rejects going for the points and sets up a 5 meter lineout.
  • 6
Crusaders attack 5 meters from the Canes line before Read gets the ball stripped off him and the Hurricanes decide to throw the ball around a bit from deep inside their own 22 before Barrett clears the ball up field Dagg returns the favor but puts the ball out on the full. Lineout Hurricanes deep inside Crusaders territory.
  • 5
Hurricanes with ball in hand on their own 22 before Barrett pumps the ball up to Nadolo who runs it back, but slips just as the crowd were getting excited. Crusaders looking dangerous so far.
  • 4
Crusaders demolish the Hurricanes scrum and are awarded the penalty. Mo'unga will have a shot at goal for the first points of the encounter. He lines up his kick , strikes the ball but the ball is away to the right. 22 drop-out to the the Hurricanes.
  • 2
Drummond hoists the up and under and Nadolo regathers busts the first defender and attempts the offload to Todd who loses the ball forward. We go back for the first knock on from the Canes. Scrum Crusaders. They attack midfield through Crotty who is held up in the tackle and the Canes are awarded the scrum put in.
  • 1
First half underway, Barrett kicks off for the Hurricanes
  • -5
Almost time for this match to kick off- this should be an absolute cracker of a game
  • -15
The Hurricanes have won five of their last seven games against the Crusaders, though none of their wins have come by more than the value of a converted try.
  • -20
Hurricanes captain Dane Coles said his team is not going to get caught up the play-off hype that is surrounding Saturday's two Kiwi derbies.
  • -25
Given what is at stake, it is not surprising there is a Test atmosphere in the build-up and the accompanying nerves.The winners - with or without a bonus point - will have given themselves a chance of finishing first in the New Zealand conference and perhaps even the global standings.
  • -30
Welcome to this Super Rugby clash between the Crusaders and the Hurricanes
Mc crusaders logo 80x50
Mc hurricanes logo 80x50
  • 1 Wyatt Crockett
  • 2 Codie Taylor
  • 3 Owen Franks
  • 4 Scott Barrett
  • 5 Luke Romano
  • 6 Jimmy Tupou
  • 7 Matt Todd
  • 8 Kieran Read
  • 9 Mitchell Drummond
  • 10 Richie Mo’unga
  • 11 Nemani Nadolo
  • 12 David Kaetau Havili
  • 13 Ryan Crotty
  • 14 Johnny McNicholl
  • 15 Israel Dagg
  • 16 Ben Funnell
  • 17 Alex Hodgman
  • 18 Michael Alaalatoa
  • 19 Jordan Taufua
  • 20 Peter Samu
  • 21 Leon Fukofuka
  • 22 Mitchell Hunt
  • 23 Kieron Fonotia
  • 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 Jason Woodward
  • 13 Willis Halaholo
  • 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 Otere Black
  • 23 Wes Goosen
Mc article mat as orlando jaguares 800

S18 Preview: ROUND 17, PART TWO

Thu, 14 Jul 2016 23:42

IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Jan de Koning looks at the Saturday matches in Part Two of Super Rugby's Round 17 - the final round of league action.

The Jaguares may have been a major disappointment in their debut year, but they could still have a decisive say in Super Rugby's final league standings.

The pace-setting Lions have left 15 star players at home to freshen up before the play-offs, but it is a gamble that could cost them dearly if the Argentine franchise take offence to having been sent a B-Team to play against.

Travelling has proven to be notoriously difficult in the 20-year history of the Southern Hemisphere championship, where the Final is hosted by the team finishing highest in the regular season.

The visiting side has only won five times, and only once, when the Crusaders beat the Brumbies in Canberra in 2000, did the winner travel overseas to claim the trophy.

The Lions go into the final round on 52 points, closely followed by the Chiefs (51), Crusaders (50), Highlanders (48) and Hurricanes (48).

By the time the South Africans and the Jaguares take the field in Buenos Aires late on Saturday for the closing match of the regular season, the four New Zealand contenders will have sorted out who most needs the South Americans to win.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows the risk he is taking in gambling on his B-team keeping them at the top of the ladder, but believes the risk is worth it.

The Jaguares, a shadow Argentine national side, are not happy with only three wins so far and want to close their first year of Super Rugby with a victory.

Before the Jaguares and Lions take the field, the Crusaders play the Hurricanes and the Highlanders take on the Chiefs.

In such a packed points table, the winners of the two New Zealand derbies are in line to overtake the Lions and will then have a nervous wait to see what transpires in Argentina.

On overall points, the New Zealand sides go into the final round filling second to fifth positions, but only the conference winner will get a home play-off berth.

The Stormers, as winners of the Africa One conference, and the yet-to-be-determined top Australian team also get home berths in a bid to keep interest alive as long as possible in all three countries.

The Stormers, who did not have to play any New Zealand sides, finish off their regular season against the luckless Southern Kings.

The Brumbies are best placed to take the Australian conference with their final game at home against Western Force.

Saturday, July 16:
Given what is at stake, it is not surprising there is a Test atmosphere in the build-up and the accompanying nerves.

The winners - with or without a bonus point - will have given themselves a chance of finishing first in the New Zealand conference and perhaps even the global standings.

Obviously what happens in the other all New Zealand derby straight afterwards will ultimately decide the final standings.

However, these two teams can only control what is within their grasp and that is winning this encounter.

Crusaders captain Kieran Read spoke of the importance of discipline in a game that has a knock-out flavour to it.

"There are a few nerves floating around, which is great from my point of view," Read told

And the quality of the opposition ensures the Crusaders will be even more on edge that usual.

"They are a tough team, they are well led up front up there," Read said.

"We will just go out there and we will do our bit.

"We are confident in our abilities, as a forward pack, to go out there and dominate this game - certainly through the set-piece."

Hurricanes captain Dane Coles said his team is not going to get caught up the play-off hype that is surrounding Saturday's two Kiwi derbies.

"We talked about it [all the hype] at the start of the week, and our focus was the Crusaders," Coles told

"There are a few [quarterfinal] options going round and we'll know [which one we have] after our last game on Saturday," Coles said.

He too felt that set pieces will be crucial.

"Their scrums and line-outs are pretty good, so it's going to be a massive battle for us," the Hurricanes captain said.

"It's always been a good game between the Crusaders and Canes in previous years, so we're looking forward to the challenge," said Coles.

Recent results:
2015: Crusaders won 35-18, Christchurch
2015: Hurricanes won 29-23, Wellington
2014: Hurricanes won 16-9, Wellington
2014: Hurricanes won 29-26, Christchurch
2013: Crusaders won 25-17, Christchurch
2013: Hurricanes won 29-28, Wellington

Prediction: The Hurricanes have won five of their last seven games against the Crusaders, though none of their wins have come by more than the value of a converted try. After a 35-18 win in their last game against the Hurricanes, the Crusaders will be hunting for back-to-back wins against them for the first time since 2012. The Crusaders have now conceded in excess of 20 points in each of their last three Super Rugby games; the last time they went on a longer such streak was from 2010-11 when they conceded over 20 points in six straight games. The Crusaders have won six straight home games, their longest streak since a run of 11 between 2012 and 2013, though they've won only three of their last six home games against the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are on the cusp of a five-game winning streak for the second time this season, and they've won four of their last five fixtures away from home. Tough to predict and given what is at stake expect a real physical, even brutal, contest. The Crusaders may just have the edge, but their winning margin will be in the lower single digits.


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

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Willis Halaholo, 12 Ngani Laumape, 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 Wes Goosen, 23 Jason Woodward.

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

The 'house full' signs have gone up, with 23,000 fans expected to pack the stands - with good reason.

Like the other New Zealand game a couple of hours earlier it is a straight shoot-out - a MUST WIN scenario.

The Chiefs - who played in Brisbane last week and had just a short hop across the Tasman Sea - have a very simple scenario.

A win will keep them at the top of the New Zealand conference.

The Highlanders - who only returned to Dunedin on Tuesday after a three-week road trip that saw them cover more than 36,500km and were in the air for more than 50 hours - not only need a win, but need some other results to go their way as well.

It could be the final game at home for coach Jamie Joseph, who is off to Japan at the end of the season.

While the Chiefs appear to have the advantage - even on the Highlanders' home turf - midfield back Anton Lienert-Brown said there is still the hard work to do.

"It's going to be huge and we've talked a lot about the passion and mana we play with," he told

"In the past they [the Highlanders] have been able to out-passion us, but this week that's going to be our main focus.

"Obviously we also need a good game plan, but we're going to have to match the physicality and the passion they bring and we're hoping to better that and if we can do that we'll go good."

Lienert-Brown said while it was hard with all the travel the Highlanders have done, they will have lots of time to work on their game.

"We talk about when we come back from trips that we are actually better for it," the midfielder said.

"Obviously you're tired and fatigued, but if you don't talk about it and get your recovery right we find we're actually better for it so I don't think that's any excuse really. They won't be fatigued and they'll definitely be up for that game," he added.

Recent results:
2016: Highlanders won 26-13, Hamilton
2015: Highlanders won 24-14, Dunedin
2015: Highlanders won 36-9, Dunedin
2015: Highlanders won 20-17, Hamilton
2014: Highlanders won 29-25, Dunedin
2014: Chiefs won 21-19, Hamilton

Prediction: The Highlanders have won their last five games against the Chiefs, their longest ever winning streak against the franchise, though that run was preceded by four consecutive victories for the Chiefs. The Highlanders have won their last three home games against the Chiefs, two of which came after trailing at the half-time break. The Highlanders will be playing at home for the first time in over two months; they've won 18 of their last 23 home games, with their five losses in that run all coming by seven points or fewer. Despite losing their last game against fellow New Zealand opposition, the Highlanders have won nine of their last 12 games against New Zealand sides without ever losing consecutive games in that streak. The Chiefs have won each of their last six games immediately after scoring 50 points or more in the round before in Super Rugby. It will be tight, very tight, but the travelling of the last few weeks may catch up with the Highlanders in the last quarter and the Chiefs should sneak a win - by a converted try or less.


Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Matt Faddes, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Alex Ainley, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Dan Pryor, 22 Te Aihe Toma, 23 Fletcher Smith.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Seta Tamanivalu, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Tom Sanders, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 18 Hiroshi Yamashita, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Stephen Donald, 23 Sam McNicol.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
TMO: Chris Wratt (New Zealand

It is not complicated. A bonus-point win for the Brumbies will ensure a spot in next week's Super Rugby play-offs.

The Brumbies go into their last round with a slight advantage over the New South Wales Waratahs who sit closely behind the Brumbies in the Australian Conference.

The Brumbies have won eight and drawn one of their last 10 games against the Force, including a current winning streak of five games.

However, they desperately need to turn it around from last week's bitterly disappointing loss to the Blues at Eden Park.

Brumbies prop Scott Sio believes the side is purely focussed on putting in the best performance possible against the Western Force, and not pondering too much about last week's loss.

"It's a week by week prospect," the 24-year old said in an interview on the Brumbies' website.

"In this competition we can definitely turn things around in a week's time and all the teams can move forward.

"At the end of the day, you're going to have to beat all the other teams in the competition so it doesn't really matter who you play in the finals, it's just about whether you turn up."

Sio says the Brumbies are ready for a tough encounter.

"The Force are a quality side, they've shown that they can pull off some quality wins this year as well and if we don't turn up especially this weekend it could be the end of it for us.

"They're a very strong piece side and they're very good defensively so we're going to have to make sure that our execution across the board is good."

Recent results:
2016: Brumbies won 31-14, Perth
2015: Brumbies won 33-20, Perth
2015: Brumbies won 27-15, Canberra
2014: Brumbies won 47-25, Canberra
2014: Brumbies won 27-14, Perth
2013: Force won 21-15, Perth
2013: Brumbies won 41-7, Canberra

Prediction: The Brumbies are aiming to become the first Australian team in the Super Rugby era to win all of their conference matches. The Brumbies have won eight and drawn one of their last 10 games against the Force including a current winning streak of five games. The Brumbies have won their last six games against Australian opposition, a seventh straight win would represent their longest such streak in Super Rugby history. The Force have lost their last three Super Rugby fixtures against Australian opposition, not since the opening round of the 2013 season have they lost more (four). The Force have averaged just 6.2 clean breaks per game this season, fewer than any other side, while only three teams have conceded more clean breaks than the Western Australia side (12.5). The Force (83 percent) and the Brumbies (78 percent) are two of just five sides to maintain a kick success rate of over 75 percent this season; the Force sit top of the rankings and are the only side to average fewer than one miss per game (0.7). The Brumbies will take this one easily - by 15 to 20 points.


Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Nigel Ah Wong, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Blake Enever 21 Joe Powell, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Lausii Taliauli.

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Marcel Brache, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Luke Morahan (captain), 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Richard Hardwick, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Brynard Stander, 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 Kane Koteka, 21 Ryan Louwrens, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Semisi Masirewa.

Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)

This is nothing that a training run for the Stormers - who will finish third on the standings, regardless of the result in this encounter.

Coach Robbie Fleck said their focus is solely on gaining as much momentum as possible ahead of the knock-out phase of the competition.

"It is great that we have won our conference before the last game of the regular season, but that does not mean we will compromise on intensity against the Southern Kings this weekend," Fleck said.

"We need to play our best rugby in order to take some meaningful momentum into the play-offs, so this is a vital match for us," he added.

Fleck felt that it remains an extremely important game for them, because previous campaigns they took their foot off the throat in the final week.

"This time we wanted to keep the momentum going that was created on tour and we want to increase the intensity in the team, we want to be nice and physical," the coach said.

"We want to play finals rugby and it is important that we choose our strongest squad available, barring certain players being rested.

"It was important this week that we are at our best and we play at our best for the momentum next week."

The Stormers know that they will face a New Zealand side in the quarterfinals next week, but they don't know which one yet.

"The New Zealand sides are playing well, they are playing at a different level and we certainly need to get up to that level," the coach said.

"We need to find the intensity that we had at the beginning of the season."

Kings coach Deon Davids said the team had enjoyed the season and were looking forward to the last game.

"We are going to enjoy ourselves and are looking forward to the challenge," he said.

Davids said he had been heartened by the performance of the Kings against the Lions last week, and the improvement of the players week on week, but would be looking for a full eighty minutes from his team this weekend.

"We knew from the start it was going to big season for us, especially due to the challenges of not having a proper pre-season to assist with conditioning," he said.

Davids said he had spoken to the team about remaining focused after the half time break, and the expectations on the reserves to make an impact in the game.

Previous results:
2013: Stormers won 24-12, Port Elizabeth
2013: Stormers won 19-11, Cape Town

Prediction: There have been only two previous encounters between these teams in which only 66 points were scored in total, though the Stormers emerged victorious from both fixtures. The Stormers come into this game on the back of a three-game winning streak, the last time they won four in a row was the opening four rounds of the 2015 season. The Kings have lost their last 11 games away from home and have conceded an average of 46.5 points per game in that run. The Kings have boasted a 90 percent line-out success rate this season, the fifth best in Super Rugby. However, the Stormers have stolen 44 opposition line-outs in 2016, 15 more than any other side. The Kings have gained just 312 metres per game on average this season, fewer than any other side, while they have conceded 604 per game, over 60 metres more than any other team. Expect a competitive first half and a blowout after the break - with the Stormers winning by 20 points or more.


Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Schalk Burger (captain), 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 John Schickerling, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 JP Smith, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Scott van Breda.

Southern Kings: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Dewald Human, 9 James Hall, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 John-Charles Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (captain), 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Schalk Oelofse/Sintu Manjezi, 20 Aidon Davis, 21 Kevin Luiters, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Jeremy Ward

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Rodney Bonaparte (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

The Bulls are not completely out of the play-off picture yet, but they rely on a shock result in Durban on Friday.

The Pretoria-outfit must however depend on the Sunwolves upsetting the Sharks, while they must beat the Cheetahs in their crunch encounter in Bloemfontein.

Bulls coach Nollis Marais said they have spoken about the play-offs prospects, but they are focussed more on finishing the season on a winning note.

"Funny things can happen, but I feel the Sharks will take it," Marais told a media briefing in Pretoria.

"The guys have been positive this week. However, we will only know Saturday [what the players' mental state is]."

He said they have worked hard this season and there is a lot of pride in this team.

"We want to finish this phase with some momentum," Marais said.

"This group developed nicely this season and I am happy about the progress we have shown. It may very well be a final opportunity for a number of players to represent the Bulls and I expect a very positive effort from them."

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith said there is also a lot of pride for his team at stake.

In fact they are on a three-match winning streak at home, a run they hope to maintain against the Bulls.

"It is an important game for us, as we are looking to take some momentum into the Currie Cup competition," he said of South Africa's premier domestic competition - which gets underway next month.

"This game will be good preparation for the Currie Cup competition.

"We are expecting the Bulls to be at their best and it will be a very competitive game - even if there isn't much for either team to play for.

"No doubt the Bulls will be physical and looking to take us on in the set pieces."

Recent results:
2016: Bulls won 23-18, Pretoria
2015: Cheetahs won 42-29, Pretoria
2015: Bulls won 39-20, Bloemfontein
2014: Bulls won 26-21, Pretoria
2014: Cheetahs won 15-9, Bloemfontein
2013: Bulls won 30-25, Bloemfontein

Prediction: The Bulls have won 14 of their last 16 games against the Cheetahs, though five of the last seven encounters between these teams have been decided by margins of fewer than seven points. The Cheetahs have won five of their last nine home games against South African opposition, with a win and a loss against the Bulls in that span. The Bulls haven't come back from a half-time deficit to win a game since Round 12, 2014 - against the Cheetahs. The Cheetahs have the worst scrum success in Super Rugby this season (77 percent), while the Bulls have the third worst (85 percent). No side has conceded more penalties this season than both the Bulls (169) and the Cheetahs (158). It is tough to predict, as the Bulls' state of mind could be influenced by the result in Durban on Friday. We feel the Cheetahs may just sneak a win - by eight points.


Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Teboho Mohojé (captain), 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nché, 18 Johan Coetzee, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 George Whitehead, 23 Ryno Benjamin.

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

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)Date: Saturday, July 16

The spotlight on this match, all week, has been about the Lions' team selection.

The arduous travel schedule and the looming play-offs saw the coaching staff of Johan Ackermann and Swys de Bruin opt to leave 15 of their frontline players behind.

Only five players from the Lions' starting XV and three replacements remain from the side that beat the Jaguares 52-24 two months ago in Johannesburg.

The Highvelders are one point in front of the Chiefs, who are leading a pack of New Zealand sides still in contention for places in the play-offs.

Scrumhalf Ross Cronje will captain the side and the experienced centre Howard Mnisi is his deputy.

Despite the much-changed team, De Bruin said they are confident of getting the win that will see them finish on top of the standings.

And they will do it by playing the same high-paced game that has served them so well all season.

"I know it is a cliche, but we are absolutely process driven," De Bruin told rugby365.

While the Lions have already qualified for the play-offs and will finish first or second, they are determined come away from Buenos Aires with a win.

"The biggest mistake any team or individual can make in sport is to get ahead of yourself," he said.

"We simply can't afford to think of the quarterfinals.

"As management we can start planning, but the players are very process driven."

While it appears there will not be a repeat of the monsoon-like conditions the Bulls experience in Argentina a fortnight ago, the Lions are prepared for anything.

"It doesn't look like it will rain," De Bruin said, adding: "We will do what we normally do, but we do have the ability to adjust should the circumstances require."

Jaguares centre Matias Orlando described emotions as running high in their camp with the prospect of toppling the leading side.

"We want to close this first season well and because we cannot forget what happened in Johannesburg [we] want revenge," he said.

Previous result:
2016: Lions won 52-24, Johannesburg

Prediction: There were 76 points scored the only time these teams met in Super Rugby with the Lions coming away 52-24 victors. The Jaguares have led at half-time in four of their last seven Super Rugby games, though they've gone on to win only twice. The Lions have won their last five games, a sixth straight win would be their longest streak in Super Rugby history. Only the Reds (10 yellows, no reds) have been shown as many cards this season as the Jaguares (nine yellows, two reds), who are the only side to have been given more than one red card this campaign. Jaco Kriel (47) has beaten the most defenders of any forward this season, and the fifth most overall. The Lions have gambled and it may just pay off, but they are unlikely to win by more than 10 points.  


Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 12 Juan Martin Hernández, 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martin Landajo (captain), 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Javier Ortega Desio, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Julián Montoya, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Replacements: 16 Facundo Bosch, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Marcos Kremer, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Santiago Gonzales Iglesias, 23 Matias Orlando.

Lions: 15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Koch Marx, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronjé (captain), 8 Cyle Brink, 7 Robert Kruger, 6 Stef de Witt, 5 Lourens Erasmus, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Corné Fourie.
Replacements - from: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Clinton Theron, 18 Pieter Scholtz, 19 Fabian Booysen, 20 Ruaan Lerm, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Shaun Reynolds, 24 Bobby de Wee, 25 Ashlon Davids.

Referee: Rohan Hoffman
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner, Federico Anselmi
TMO: Santiago Borsani

Compiled by Jan de Koning

* Statistical information provided by Opta Sports

Mc article tj perenara v crusaders 800

'Canes reign supreme in Christchurch

Sat, 16 Jul 2016 07:09

REPORT: The Hurricanes boosted their chances of winning the New Zealand Conference when they thumped the Crusaders 35-10 in Christchurch on Saturday.

The visitors outplayed their opponents with a superior attacking game and outscored the Crusaders five tries to one to secure a vital bonus point.

There were some late changes before the game with Jason Woodward coming into the Hurricanes' midfield in place of Ngani Laumape, while on the Crusaders side, Luke Romano replaced Samuel Whitelock and Mitchell Drummond coming in for Andy Ellis.

The Crusaders started well and were awarded a penalty early on, however, flyhalf Richie Mo'unga could not convert to put his team in the lead.

Instead it was the Hurricanes who slowly gained the ascendency and they eventually took the lead in the 12th minute. After sustained pressure in the Crusaders' 22, the ball eventually found its way to Woodward who ran in under the polls for the first score with Beauden Barrett converting.

The Crusaders finally got their first points of the game in 24th minute via a Mo'unga penalty. The flyhalf could have reduced the deficit further in the 28th minute, however he missed a regulation kick.

The visitors then played right into the home side's hands when they attempted to run out of their own 22, only for the ball to be turned over by Kieran Read. The loose ball found its way to Johnny McNicholl, who passed on the inside to Ryan Crotty for an easy score. Mo'unga converted and the Crusaders led by three on the half-hour mark.

Just when it looked like the Crusaders will go into the break with the lead, Hurricanes scrumhalf TJ Perenara silenced the home crowd. Perenara charged down Mitchell Drummond's kick in the home side's 22 and then regathered after the bounce evaded Mo'unga to score his team's second try. Barrett converted for a 14-10 score in favour of the Hurricanes.  

The Crusaders had a golden opportunity to get the first points of the second half when McNicholl found himself in space out wide - he passed to Israel Dagg in space, but the All Black fullback dropped the ball with an overlap.

It was then the Hurricanes' turn to put pressure on the Crusaders and the visitors nearly extended their lead in the 50th minute. After sustained pressure in the home side's 22, Julian Savea had a chance to score in the corner, but his handling also let him down at the crucial moment.

However, the Hurricanes did not have to wait long before they got their third try. After dominating possession and territory and after some fantastic running rugby in the final third, it was centre Willis Halaholo who broke through some poor defending to score. Barrett once again converted and after 57 minutes the 'Canes were leading by 11 points.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes it was all Hurricanes. The visitors superior ball handling on attack was causing the Crusaders all sorts of problems.

After another attacking foray inside the Crusaders' half, James Marshall went the through the home side's defence before putting Callum Gibbins into space to sprint in for his team's fourth try of the game. After Barrett's conversion, the 'Canes had an 18-point lead going into the final eight minutes.

The Crusaders tried the best to get back in the game, but instead it was the Hurricanes who ended the game on a high when Barrett intercept on the Crusaders tryline to score his team's fifth try to secure a bonus-point win. 

Man of the match: We could give have given the award to a number of Hurricanes players. TJ Perenara had a brilliant all-round game, while Julian Savea and Brad Shields were quite phenomenal on attack and defence. However, the award goes to flyhalf Beauden Barrett, who controlled the game from start to finish and gave his team some fantastic direction out wide. 

The scorers:

For Crusaders:
Try: Crotty, 
Con: Mo'unga
Pen: Mo'unga

For Hurricanes:
Tries: Woodward, Perenara, Halaholo, Gibbons, Barrett
Cons: Barrett 5


Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 David Havili, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Luke Roman0, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19  Jordan Taufua, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Mitch Hunt, 23 Kieron Fonotia.

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Jason Woodward, 12 David Havili, 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 Wes Goosen, 23 Otere Black.

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser (New Zealand), Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Ryan Crotty (28min)
Jason Woodward (10min), TJ Perenara (39min), Willis Halaholo (55min), Callum Gibbins (71min), and Beauden Barrett (79min)
Richie Mo’unga (29min)
Beauden Barrett (11min), Beauden Barrett (40min), Beauden Barrett (56min), Beauden Barrett (72min), and Beauden Barrett (80min)
Richie Mo’unga (22min)
VENUE Christchurch
REFEREE Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)