ad link


17     43


Super Rugby | Bloemfontein
17:10 (GMT) | 16-07-2016
  • 81
Thank you for joining us, stay with for another cracker encounter, Lions against Jaguares. Stay tuned.
  • 80
Brummer converts for two points.
  • 80
It's all over! The referee has blown his whistle to end the game.
  • 79
Brilliant skill shown there by Jamba Ulengo as he goes over the white wash for a try.
  • 74
converted by Zeilinga for two points.
  • 74
Wegner gets a try for Cheetahs
  • 72
The Cheetahs are unable to retain possession and test the Bulls defence as they win the turnover at the breakdown and the Bulls are awarded the scrum just outside their own 22 metre line.
  • 71
The Bulls concede the penalty for an infringement at scrum time but Whitehead sends the ball over the dead ball line with the attempted touch finder and the Bulls will restart with a 22 metre drop out.
  • 69
Bulls make a substitution with Grant Hattingh coming on.
  • 67
SP Marais comes on for Bulls.
  • 66
Schoeman missed to add another two points.
  • 65
Another TRY for Bulls, Travis Ismaiel gets his second of the match.
  • 64
Rudy Paige makes his way in for Piet van Zyl.
  • 63
It's the scrum to Bulls, penalty awarded to home side, visitors Cheetahs are penalised for offside.
  • 60
Another beauty for Schoeman, to add extra three points to the scores. Bulls are playing good rugby, keeping the possession.
  • 58
Schoeman adds extra two points.
  • 57
From a great by Schoeman to space. A very good chasing by who gets an easy try for the Bulls.
  • 53
And Zeilinga does the job for two points.
  • 53
Try time for Cheetahs, Clayton Blommetjies gets the ball from his forward and dives for a TRY.
  • 50
Bulls on the attack, but Cheetahs are off side. Cheetahs are penalised for being off side, the Bulls decides to go on posts. Tian has a kick, easy and he gets 3 points.
  • 47
Line out to the Bulls. The visitors on the attack. Cheetahs are penalised.
  • 45
Cheetahs are getting another scrum, Shaun Venter with the ball. The ball is out and Zeilinga made a kick.
  • 43
From the scrum, penalty awarded to Cheetahs, Bulls made a illegal scrummaging. Cheetahs on the attack but penalised for knock on. Scrum to the Bulls.
  • 41
Welcome back to the second stanza of the match between Cheetahs and the Bulls in Bloemfontein, the visitors are still leading the home side 18-3.

Half Time

  • 40
Times up, Cheetahs on the attack, but penalised for being off side in the ruck, Craig Joubert blow the whistle for the end of the first half. Bulls are leading Cheetahs by 18-3.
  • 39
Seconds remaining in the first stanza, Cheetahs on the attack. Turn over by the Bulls, another turn over but ref give penalty to Cheetahs, Bulls didn't release the ball.
  • 38
Cheetahs kick to the corner for line-out.
  • 37
Referee talking to players, scrum keeps collapsing. Cheetahs scrum. Advantage to Cheetahs but Craig Joubert goes back to penalty.
  • 36
Bulls nicely driving forward but lost the ball to Cheetahs, scrum awarded to home side.
  • 34
Bulls managed to steal Cheetahs ball from the scrum, ref penalised home side for illegal scrummaging.
  • 32
Penalty awarded to Cheetahs and gets a good kick that gives them line-out in Bulls 5'.
  • 30
Cheetahs are trying but Bulls defence is strong. Bulls are 18 and home side 3.
  • 29
Schoeman adds two points.
  • 29
Bulls wins penalty for off feet by the Cheetahs. The went for kick and gets the touch in Cheetahs. From the line-out, Bulls get try number 2.
  • 26
Bulls conversion, missed.
  • 25
In 22' in home side, Bulls wins throw in. The is out in Bulls, they pass it nicely to Travis Ismaiel who runs to the corner for a good TRY.
  • 23
So far when ever Jesse Kriel gets the ball he runs so fast and amazingly. Bulls are trying to keep the possession.
  • 21
Cheetahs kick, easy, flags are high. 3 points to home side.
  • 21
Illegal scrummaging by the Bulls and penalty to Cheetahs who going to posts looking for first points.
  • 20
20 minutes gone, both sides are still playing safe rugby. Scrum to Bulls. Cheetahs are still leading the Bulls in possession.
  • 18
Cheetahs wins the throw and made a kick to the visitors. Bulls makes a back kick to the Cheetahs.
  • 16
Cheetahs attacking, trying to unblocked Bulls defence. Torsten van Jaarsveld trying to crack Bulls but tackle down. Home side lost the ball to Bulls and Van Zyl makes the kick out side.
  • 14
Bulls again go for posts, Tian Schoeman made it easy. Bulls 6 and Cheetahs 0.
  • 13
Now scrum Bulls scrum, Ismaiel with the ball. Penalty awarded to Bulls - Cheetahs collapsed the scrum.
  • 11
Cheetahs line out, opportunity for the home team to get a score, lost the ball to Bull who kick it back to Cheetahs. Home side knocked on the ball, scrum to Bulls.
  • 9
Scrum to Cheetahs, Bulls penalised for illegal scrumming. Home side will look for a touch.
  • 7
Penalty to Cheetahs for off feet by the Bulls, they go for line out.
  • 6
The home team gets line out, Bulls wins the throw. Visitors nicely attacking Cheetahs but lost the ball.
  • 4
The Cheetahs gets penalty in Bulls 5' metre side. The go for line-out. Ref penalised Cheetahs for not releasing the ball.
  • 2
Tian Schoeman's kick, its beautiful - flags are high.
  • 1
First few minutes the Bulls are attacking, and getting first penalty of the game. They decided to go to the posts.
  • 0
Here we go! Referee Craig Joubert blows his whistle and the Bulls gets the game underway.
  • -5
Chilly in Bloemfontein, no rain expected. Stay tuned for full match coverage. Enjoy.
  • -10
Match officials tonight, referee Craig Joubert, assisted by AJ Jacobs and Lourens van der Merwe. Johan Greeff is our TMO.
  • -15
The Cheetahs have the worst scrum success in Super Rugby this season with (77 percent), while the Bulls have the third worst in (85 percent).
  • -20
Even if the Bulls claim a bonus-point win against the Cheetahs tonight, they will fall short of playoff qualification, because of the Sharks win against Sunwolves in Durban on Friday.
  • -25
The Bulls have won 14 of their last 16 games against the Cheetahs. However, 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.
  • -30
Hello and welcome to live commentary of this final round of 2016 Super Rugby league clash between the Bulls and Cheetahs from Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.
Mc cheetahs logo 80x50
Mc bulls logo 80x50
  • 1 Charles Marais
  • 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld
  • 3 Maks van Dyk
  • 4 Armandt Koster
  • 5 Francois Uys
  • 6 Uzair Cassiem
  • 7 Teboho Mohoje
  • 8 Paul Schoeman
  • 9 Shaun Venter
  • 10 Fred Zeilinga
  • 11 Raymond Rhule
  • 12 Michael van der Spuy
  • 13 William Small-Smith
  • 14 Sergeal Petersen
  • 15 Clayton Blommetjies
  • 16 Joeseph Dweba
  • 17 Ox Nche
  • 18 Johannes Coetzee
  • 19 Reniel Hugo
  • 21 Carl Wegner
  • 22 Tian Meyer
  • 23 George Whitehead
  • 24 Rayno Benjamin
  • 1 Pierre Schoeman
  • 2 Adriaan Strauss
  • 3 Marcel van der Merwe
  • 4 Jason Jenkins
  • 5 Marvin Orie
  • 6 Pieter Labuschagne
  • 7 Jannes Kirsten
  • 8 Renaldo Bothma
  • 9 Piet van Zyl
  • 10 Tian Schoeman
  • 11 Travis Ismaiel
  • 12 Burger Odendaal
  • 13 Dries Swanepoel
  • 14 Jamba Ulengo
  • 15 Jesse Kriel
  • 16 Bandise Maku
  • 17 Nqobisiwe Mxoli
  • 18 Werner Kruger
  • 19 Grant Hattingh
  • 20 Arno Botha
  • 21 Rudi Paige
  • 22 Francois Brummer
  • 23 SP Marais
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 ronaldo bothma bulls v cheetahs 800

Bulls finish strong, but fall short

Sat, 16 Jul 2016 19:09

MATCH REPORT: The Bulls finished their Super Rugby season on a high, with a comprehensive 43-17 win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

However, the bonus-point win was too little, too late - as the Sharks had already claimed the Africa conference wildcard in the play-offs with their win over the Sunwolves a day earlier.

The Bulls, although far from the finished product, showed glimpses of their potential - especially in a dominant second half.

As for the Cheetahs, their lack of experience showed in an error-riddled game that often handed possession to the Bulls.

Both teams were playing for pride only - the Bulls finishing the season with nine victories from 15 starts, the Cheetahs just four victories.

The Bulls took control early on, with flyhalf Tian Schoeman slotting two penalties in the second and 14th minute.

However, the Bulls' wonky scrum continued to cost them and Fred Zeilinga got the Cheetahs on the board at the end of the first quarter - after yet another set piece penalty against the visitors.

The Bulls persisted with their ball-in-hand game and it brought them reward when wing Ismaiel powered over the top of Cheetahs fullback Clayton Blommetjies.

Flyhalf Schoeman couldn't add the extras - 11-3.

On the half-hour mark Bulls No.8 Renaldo Bothma raced over from a great line-out move and a good angle. Schoeman's conversion made it 18-3 - which is how it stayed till half-time.

Tian Schoeman stretched the Bulls' lead to 21-3 with a penalty in the 50th minute.

However, the Cheetahs were given a glimmer of hope of a comeback when a flat pass sent fullback Blommetjies over for a converted try. Zeilinga added the conversion to narrow the gap to 10-=21.

However, a turnover, a kick downfield and some great chasing by Ismaiel saw Blommetjies being caught in possession inside his 22. Bothma was the first to arrive on the scene, powered over the two backs, picked up the loose ball and strolled over for his second try.

Schoeman kicked the conversion and a penalty soon afterwards, as the Bulls stretched their lead to 31-10.

They were not done there as Ismaiel crossed for his second with 15 minutes left - 38-10.

The Cheetahs got a consolation score when replacement Carl Wegner powered over, before Bulls wing Ulengo had the final say with a late try.

Man of the match: Clayton Blommetjies had his moments, Raymond Rhule had a few good runs, Teboho Mohojé tried hard and Paul Schoeman was the Cheetahs' most productive player. Jesse Kriel again showed he is a better fullback than centre, Travis Ismaiel showed great finishing for two fine tries and Pieter Labuschagne was all over the place with another energetic performance. However, our award goes to Bulls No.8 Renaldo Bothma - who not only scored two tries, but had an enormous workrate that set him apart from the rest.

The scorers:

For the Cheetahs:
Blommetjies, Wegner
Cons: Zeilinga, Whitehead
Pen: Zeilinga

For the Bulls:
Ismaiel 2, Bothma 2, Ulengo
Cons: T Schoeman 2, Brummer
Pens: T Schoeman 4


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 Carl Wegner, 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

Clayton Blommetjies (52min) and Carl Wegner (74min)
Travis Ismaiel (25min), Renaldo Bothma (28min), Renaldo Bothma (57min), Travis Ismaiel (65min), and Jamba Ulengo (79min)
Fred Zeilinga (53min) and George Whitehead (75min)
Tian Schoeman (29min), Tian Schoeman (58min), and Francois Brummer (80min)
Fred Zeilinga (21min)
Tian Schoeman (2min), Tian Schoeman (14min), Tian Schoeman (50min), and Tian Schoeman (60min)
VENUE Bloemfontein
REFEREE Craig Joubert (South Africa)