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Highlanders

FULL-TIME
15     24

Chiefs

Super Rugby | Dunedin
06:35 (GMT) | 24-02-2017
  • 81
Thank you for joining us for this exciting encounter! Remain glued to rugby365.com as we head to Queensland next for the next one between the Reds and the Sharks!
  • 80
Chiefs win the ball and are happy to keep it tight. PENALTY! Highlanders are caught offside as the hooter sounds. Cruden taps it and puts it into touch for the bonus-point victory! FULL-TIME!
  • 79
The Highlanders have the ball. PENALTY! Excellent work by the Chiefs once again at the breakdown sees them win back possession! Cruden boots the ball into touch on his 10-metre line and the Chiefs are taking their time to reach the setpiece!
  • 78
Fekitoa gets it at first receiver and gains some metres but the Chiefs turn it over! It's shovelled to McKenzie who boots it into touch on his 22
  • 77
Chiefs have it but lose it forward in the tackle and the Highlanders will now have the scrum feed about 7-metres from the Chiefs' try-line.
  • 76
They set the maul and it rumbles forward before going to ground. The ball fails to emerge and the Chiefs have turned it over! They will have the scrum feed on their 5-metre line
  • 75
TURN OVER! Fekitoa gets it and boots it up-field. It's a foot race between Lowe and Noholo but Lowe wins the race. PENALTY! The Chiefs are penalised on their 22 and Sopoaga pops the ball into touch to set up up an attacking platform.
  • 74
The Chiefs have it and are back on the attack as they begin to find openings. Into the 22 they go as they spread the ball wide.
  • 73
Sopoaga gets the ball at first receiver and puts in a high ball. The Chiefs secure it though and look to run it but are bundled into touch on half-way.
  • 72
Chiefs probe for a gap but lose the ball forward as they enter the Highlanders' 22. Highlanders will need to go coast-to-coast with this play to keep their hopes alive.
  • 70
The Chiefs have it and are into the 22 but the Highlanders have it back thanks to a loose offload. The home side have it on their 10-metre line but a forward pass hands possession back to the Chiefs through a scrum feed.
  • 69
McKenzie secures the restart. PENALTY! Highlanders are penlised for entering the breakdown from the side. Cruden misses touch and the Faddes kicks it away, to find touch just outside his 22.
  • 68
It's simple enough for the kicker as he stretches the lead back to nine points.
  • 67
PENALTY! Highlanders are penalised for playing the ball off their feet at the breakdown and Cruden will have a shot at goal.
  • 66
The Chiefs have secured the restart and are on the attack just outside the Highlanders' 22. They maintain possession as they take it through the phases.
  • 65
Sopoaga will have a shot at goal and makes no mistake to reduce the deficit to six!
  • 64
PENALTY! It's the Chiefs' turn to be penalised and the Highlanders have taken it quickly. The ball is recycled to Naholo who breaks the line. Highlanders seem out of sorts once again as they fling a wild pass! PENALTY! Fortunately for the home side, the Chiefs are penalised for an infringement at the breakdown.
  • 62
Cruden sends it high and deep. The Highlanders have secured it before a high ball is sent. McKeznie gets it and sets off on a run but he runs into a teammate to hand possession back to the home side via a scrum feed on half-way.
  • 60
Sopoaga adds another penalty from about 30 metres to land his fourth penalty of the game
  • 59
The Highlanders are taking it through the phases and have worked their way close to the Chiefs' 22. PENALTY! Chiefs are caught offside and Sopoaga will have a shot at goal
  • 58
They remain in possession as some big carries gets them to the Highlanders' 22. PENALTY! The home side is offside and McKenzie takes it quickly. Highlanders turn it over at the breakdown and boots it up-field. The kick is returned and the Highlanders have found some space.
  • 57
The Chiefs have it and spread the ball which gets them over the half-way line.
  • 56
PENALTY! The Highlanders collapse the scrum and are once again pinned. Cruden releases some pressure by popping the ball into touch to set up a line-out on their 10-metre line.
  • 54
Highlanders have lost a bit of ground but remain in possession. PENALTY! Chiefs are penalised for being offside and Smith takes it quickly. KNOCK-ON! The Highlanders lose possession once again and the Chiefs are off the hook for the umpteenth time in the match.
  • 53
Highlanders still have it as they edge their way closer to the 5-metre line. Chiefs are holding firm in defence though as the Highlanders probe for a gap.
  • 52
Chiefs has it and makes their way to the half-way line but they lose it forward and the Highlanders are on the attack. Tevita Li shows plenty of strength as he gets them into the Chiefs' 22.
  • 51
PENALTY! It's the Highlanders' turn to lose their bind. Cruden releases the pressure by finding touch just inside his 10-metre line
  • 50
The restart is deep and the Chiefs knock it on just outside their 22. Scrum feed to Highlanders as they use Naholo as first receiver. It's quick ball but Coltman loses it forward and the Chiefs are let off the hook.
  • 48
Cruden lines up from next to the touchline and he curls it in beautifully!
  • 47
It's a simple move. Elliot throws it to the front, gets the ball back and he races down the touchline to score in the corner! TRY TIME CHIEFS!
  • 46
The Highlanders have it and Smith puts in a high ball. PENALTY! Coltman is penalised for being in front of the kicker and the Chiefs look to run it. They spread the ball wide. PENALTY! Cruden is tackled without the ball and he will look to setup an attacking platform by popping the ball into touch just inside the Highlanders' 22
  • 44
Chiefs are taking it through the phases but are not making any metres. TURN OVER! Highlanders have it but lose it again as they reach the Chiefs' 10-metre line. They hand the ball to McKenzie who boots it into touch just inside the Highlanders' 10-metre line
  • 43
Cruden gets the ball at first receiver and pumps it into the Highlanders' 22. The ball is kicked back and the Chiefs go on an attack as they find themselves just outside the home side's 22.
  • 42
They maintain possession as they edge their way closer to the 22 but a forward pass kills their momentum once again. That has been the story of the Highlanders thus far in the game. Scrum feed to the Chiefs just outside their 22
  • 41
KICK-OFF! Cruden gets the second half going. The Highlanders secure it and are in possession on their 10-metre line. One phase of running gets them inside the Chiefs' half.

Half Time

  • 40
We have a restart and the Highlanders knock it on inside their 22. The Chiefs are in possession in a dangerous area but some excellent defence sees the Highlanders turn the ball over and knock it into touch! HALF-TIME!
  • 40
Sopoaga knocks it over from close range to reduce the deficit to just five points as half-time approaches.
  • 39
Smith takes it quickly and the forwards are put to work. The Chiefs remain solid in defence as they continue to snub the Highlanders. PENALTY! Chiefs are once again pinned at the breakdown. Highlanders need to score from this but they opt to have a shot at goal
  • 38
The Highlanders have it and passes it to Li who spots a gap and has a run. He is brought down but the Highlanders keep it going as they get close to the Chiefs' 5-metre line. PENALTY! Chiefs are pinned at the breakdown.
  • 37
Kerr-Barlow has the ball at the back of the scrum and boots it into touch on half-way. Highlanders to throw-in.
  • 36
The Highlanders look good again as they break the line but as we have become accustomed to, they lose the ball in the offload to hand possession back to the Chiefs via a scrum feed on the visitors' 22
  • 35
Ben Smith will not return to the match after failing the concussion test.
  • 34
The Chiefs has the ball but Kerr-Barlow kicks it away. The Highlanders have it and Sopoaga opts for a high ball, looking for Naholo. Chiefs contest it though but lose it forward. The home side will have the scrum feed on the half-way line.
  • 32
Both sides are kicking the ball, looking for territory until Faddes gets the ball and sets off. He gets close to the half-way line before throwing an erratic pass which is knocked on. Chiefs will have the scrum feed.
  • 31
It's a 48-metre attempt and Sopoaga kicks it sweetly. It flies straight through the uprights to reduce the deficit.
  • 30
PENALTY! Chiefs are pinned at the scrum for losing their bind. Sopoaga will have another shot at goal
  • 29
Cruden pumps it into the Highlanders' half and Sopoaga returns the favour. Ben Smith goes up to challenge McKenzie. Fair contest in the air and Smith hits the ground hard. The medics are on the field as they tend to Smith, who is responsive. Play will resume with a scrum to the Highlanders just inside the Chiefs' half.
  • 28
Sopoaga pushes his attempt wide. Chiefs will restart the game with a 22 drop out.
  • 27
PENALTY! Chiefs are penalised for tackling a player without the ball. Sopoaga will have a shot at goal from about 40 metres
  • 26
They secure the ball and Naholo gets the ball and spots a gap. He gets the home side into the 22 and after a recycle, the Chiefs win it back. But they kick it away and the Highlanders are back on the attack.
  • 25
Solid scrum allows the ball to be shovelled to Lowe. The wing boots it away and the Highlanders have the line-out on the Chiefs' 10 metre line
  • 23
The Highlanders secure the ball and are on the attack on the Chiefs' 22. They making metres with each carry but Slate Tokolahi spills the ball to kill the momentum. Scrum feed to the Chiefs just inside the Chiefs 22
  • 22
Cruden gets the ball and pops a chip kick out wide to Pulu. But the Highlanders have the ball back and are on the attack. It's now the turn of Sopoaga to put in a cross kick, looking for Naholo. Taleni Seu is there as cover but both players slip. Seu wins the battle though and the Chiefs have the 22 drop out
  • 20
Chiefs are looking to run the ball from inside their 22. The Highlanders have somehow managed to steal the ball but a knock-on stops their momentum. Scrum feed to the Chiefs just outside their 22
  • 19
Cruden lines it up from close to the touchline and the flyhalf sends it down the middle!
  • 17
The Chiefs secure the ball but they kick it forward into the hands of Naholo. The flyer attempts a dummy pass and hands the ball straight to Lowe. There's no-one in front of him and it's TRY TIME Chiefs!
  • 15
A solid scrum and the Highlanders keep it simple this time. The recycled ball is booted forward by Smith, only to have it booted back. The Highlanders are in possession and have made their way to the half-way line but Fekitoa loses the ball forward. Chiefs will have the scrum feed
  • 14
The Highlanders are able to scramble back though and on the attack. They get into the Chiefs' half but quick thinking by the Chiefs sees them win back possession and launch a counter-attack. Lowe knocks the ball on though and the Highlanders escape with a scrum feed on their 22
  • 13
STOLEN! Excellent work at the line-out sees the Chiefs steal back possession and they spread the ball wide. TURNOVER! The Highlanders have it back and are in possession on the Chiefs' 22. But they too cough up possession and the Chiefs are able to boot it up-field
  • 12
PENALTY! Ben Smith secures the ball and goes on a run from the restart. He makes his way to the half-way line before the ball is recycled. The Chiefs are pinned at the breakdown for not releasing and the home side sets a line-out on the Chiefs' 22
  • 10
Cruden adds the extras and the Chiefs are ahead by 4!
  • 9
Highlanders secure the ball but a wayward pass is picked up by James Lowe and the flyer goes all the way for a 40-metre sprint to grab the opening score! TRY TIME!
  • 8
Chiefs have won their own throw and are looking to run it. Huge defence by the Highlanders sees them force the turnover on the Chiefs' 10-metre line. Scrum feed to the Highlanders
  • 7
PENALTY! Highlanders are penalised for taking out the Chiefs' jumper in the air. Cruden boots the ball up-field to set up a line-out on half-way
  • 5
The ball is recycled and quick hands from the backline sees them stretch the Chiefs' defence. The final pass fails to go to hand though and the Chiefs will have the first line-out throw-in of the encounter just outside their 22
  • 4
Highlanders retain the ball from the restart and Smith kicks it upfield. McKenzie spills the high ball and the home side are once again on the attack as they enter the Chiefs' half
  • 3
Sopoaga slots his first kick of the season to hand the home side the early lead
  • 2
The ball is sent to Rob Thompson who spots a half gap and makes some metres, into the Chiefs' 22 they go. PENALTY! The Chiefs are pinned for being offside. Sopoaga will have a shot at goal
  • 1
The Chiefs receive the ball and work it up to the half-way line but possession switches hands and the Highlanders are on the attack on Chiefs' 10-metre line.
  • 0
KICK-OFF! Lima Sopoaga gets the match underway
  • -5
Here come the teams to a rapturous applause!
  • -10
Both sides will most certainly be looking to make a fast start and if the way the Blues played against the Rebels is anything to go by, we will most certainly see an exciting game.
  • -20
The Highlanders start the season with a brand new coaching panel - headed by Tony Brown, who has taken over from Jamie Joseph. The Chiefs will be in their last season under Dave Rennie.
  • -30
Welcome to the LIVE coverage of the MASSIVE New Zealand derby between the Highlanders and the Chiefs!
Mc highlanders logo 80x50
Highlanders
Mc chiefs logo 80x50
Chiefs
START LINE UP
  • 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
  • 2 Liam Coltman
  • 3 Slate Tokolahi
  • 4 Alex Ainley
  • 5 Tom Franklin
  • 6 Gareth Evans
  • 7 James Lentjes
  • 8 Liam Squire
  • 9 Aaron Smith
  • 10 Lima Sopoaga
  • 11 Tevita Li
  • 12 Rob Thompson
  • 13 Malakai Fekitoa
  • 14 Waisake Naholo
  • 15 Ben Smith
RESERVES
  • 16 Adrian Smith
  • 17 Craig Millar
  • 18 Guy Millar
  • 19 Jackson Hemopo
  • 20 Elliot Dixon
  • 21 Kayne Hammington
  • 22 Fletcher Smith
  • 23 Matt Faddes
START LINE UP
  • 1 Kane Hames
  • 2 Hika Elliot
  • 3 Nepo Laulala
  • 4 Dominic Bird
  • 5 Brodie Retallick
  • 6 Taleni Seu
  • 7 Mitchell Karpik
  • 8 Liam Messam
  • 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow
  • 10 Aaron Cruden
  • 11 James Lowe
  • 12 Johnny Faauli
  • 13 Anton Lienert-Brown.
  • 14 Toni Pulu
  • 15 Damian McKenzie
RESERVES
  • 16 Samisoni Taukel'aho
  • 17 Siegfried Fisiihoi
  • 18 Atunaisa Moli
  • 19 Mitchell Brown
  • 20 Lachlan Boshier
  • 21 Jonathan Taumateine
  • 22 Tim Nanai-Williams
  • 23 Shaun Stevenson
Mc article tom english rebels 800

SR PREVIEW: Round One, Part One

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:09

LET THE GAMES BEGIN: It is with great excitement that we await the opening salvos of the 2017 Super Rugby season - which, for the first time, includes a Thursday game.

While the Rebels and Blues will get the action underway with that historic first Thursday match, it is followed by two very intriguing Friday matches - the all-New Zealand derby between the Highlanders and Chiefs, as well as the Reds hosting the Sharks in Brisbane.

It is these three match we pay attention to in Part One of our preview!

Thursday, February 23

Melbourne Rebels v Blues
(AAMI Park, Melbourne - Kick-off: 19.45; 21.45 NZ time; 08.45 GMT)

The Melbourne Rebels host the Blues in a game that will give us an early glimpse into their prospects for 2017 - two teams who have promised so much last year, only to drop out the race.

The Blues campaign could hit an early speed bump, with several leading players missing the opening round.

Co-captains Jerome Kaino and James Parson, along with fellow All Black, lock Patrick Tuipulotu, and as expected Sonny Bill Williams, will all miss the Blues' first match.

It is part of the agreement with the New Zealand Rugby Union to 'manage' key All Blacks.

Charlie Faumuina, carrying a leg complaint, George Moala and Rene Ranger have been named to come off a powerful bench - all making graduated returns from injury.

Blues coach Tana Umaga said they are "very happy" with where they are at.

"The group are committed to starting well," he told stuff.co.nz.

"They know there is a lot of competition and a lot of people coming back that have got some reputations so they want to stay where they are.

"We learnt last year the Rebels didn't do so well in the preseason but won three out of their first four games so we're under no illusions how tough it is going to be for us over there."

The Rebels will kick off their seventh Super Rugby season at home for the first time since their 21-point victory over the Cheetahs in 2014.

The previous two years the Rebels have started the year on road to the Crusaders and Western Force respectively.

The Rebels have historically enjoyed their first game of the year - winning their last four season openers against Force (2013), Cheetahs (2014), Crusaders (2015) and Force (2016).

Home field advantage made all the difference in previous encounters between the Blues and Rebels, but will that trend continue in the first Super Rugby clash of 2017?

If history is any guide we can expect a high-scoring affair.

The Blues and Rebels first met on Good Friday in 2011, with the Auckland-based side winning a little more easily on the scoreboard than on the field, as it took a late burst to first secure the bonus point and then pad out the margin to 40-23 in front of a home crowd.

In 2012, the Rebels triumphed 34-23 in Melbourne, but we got our revenge in a try-fest at Eden Park the following year, winning 36-32 and scoring six tries to five.

More recently, the 2015 match against the Rebels was one to forget as the Blues went down 42-22 away from home, and the 36-30 victory last year was one to remember, especially as it was James Parsons' first match as captain.

Both teams scored roughly the same amount of points last season (Blues 374 v Rebels 365) but the Australian side conceded over 100 points more during the course of the season. That's 18 more tries over 15 games, plus conversions.

So expect the Rebels to focus their efforts on containment, as our boys look to light up AAMI Park in Melbourne.

Recent results:
2016: Blues won 36-30, Auckland
2015: Rebels won 42-22, Melbourne
2013: Blues won 36-32, Auckland
2012: Rebels won 34-23, Melbourne
2011: Blues won 40-23, North Harbour

Prediction: The bookmakers may fancy the Blues, but the home factor and depleted Blues line-up make us think the Rebels have more than just an even shot. We suggest the Rebels will win by five points or less.

Teams:

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Tom English, 10 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga'a, 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Cruze Ah-Nau.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Tom Moloney, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Jake Schatz, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Sione Tuipulotu, 23 Jonah Placid.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Jimmy Tupou, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Matt Moulds, 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Sam Nock, 22 George Moala, 23 Rene Ranger

Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Will Houston (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

Friday, February 24

Highlanders v Chiefs
(Forsyth Barr Stadium Dunedin - Kick-off: 19.35; 06.35 GMT)

The Highlanders start the season with a brand new coaching panel, in contrast to the Chiefs that will be in their last season under Dave Rennie.

Highlanders assistant coach Scott McLeod made it clear the likes of new head coach Tony Brown and forwards coach Mark Hammett will play a key role.

Brown has taken over from Jamie Joseph, now the Japan coach.

"The coaching styles are different," McLeod told the Otago Daily Times.

"That is not a good or a bad thing.

"We just have to find ways to be effective with that.

"Maybe more of us have to step up to do the things that maybe Jamie [Joseph] would have done in the past. And that is a good thing as well.''

The new forwards coach, Hammett, was showing his worth.

"There is a lot of big picture thinking from him and also a lot of details to our forwards.''

The Chiefs mentor, Rennie, does not believe that the changes in the Highlanders coaching panel will make the home team any more vulnerable.

"New Zealand games are so tough and you have good runs against certain sides. Other sides may have the wood on you," Rennie told the Waikato Times.

"Every game we've got into [against the Highlanders], we've been in the arm wrestle and they've been tight affairs.

"We certainly won't be reflecting on history because it really counts for nothing. We certainly won't be going down there without throwing everything at it."

McLeod said pre-season had been different from others for the Highlanders, but he is confident the side is fit and ready to go for Friday's opener.

"It was a different challenge for us in December," the Highlanders' assistant coach said.

"We had 17 guys out and 17 new guys in - with four boys from school, which was really different for us. We have had not had that in the past. We got through that well; the boys put in a great effort,'' he said.

"Lately it has been about integrating our All Blacks back in. It was a large number again and getting them up to play.

"They are getting there. They are available [to play]. For some of them, we just don't think we can play them all at once. So we just have to work out how to manage that and integrate that.''

Recent results:
2016: Highlanders won 25-15, Dunedin
2016: Highlanders won 26-13, Hamilton
2015: Highlanders won 24-14, Dunedin (first round play-offs)
2015: Highlanders won 36-9, Dunedin
2015: Highlanders won 20-17, Hamilton

Prediction: The smart money is on the home team and we also think that is a safe bet - the Highlanders to win by about seven points and the Chiefs to get a losing bonus point.

Teams:

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Liam Squire, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Smith, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Mitchell Karpik, 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Tuake'iaho, 17 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Mitchell Brown, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams, 23 Shaun Stevenson.

Reds v Sharks
(Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane - Kick-off: 19.00; 11.00 SA time; 09.00 GMT)

The Sharks can expect 'all-out war' from the Reds when the two sides meet up in their opening 2017 Super Rugby match in a blistering hot Brisbane on Friday.

The Reds have talked themselves up, in the wake of some astute off-season signings - which include Wallaby legend George Smith and veteran Wallaby captain Stephen Moore.

Despite being 36, it is expected Smith's experience - 111 Test caps and almost 150 Super Rugby appearances - will bring that steely resolve that lacked so often in the Reds of recent vintage.

The Reds are determined to improve on last year's 15th place, but so are the Sharks keen on going better than being losing quarterfinalists in 2016.

Sharks backline coach Sean Everitt was under no illusion that the visitors were expecting a "total onslaught" from the Reds.

"They have a transformed squad, headed by a born-and-bred Brisbane man in hooker Stephen Moore [the current Wallabies captain], who has returned home from the Brumbies," Everitt said.

"Then they also have [veteran loose forwards] George Smith and Scott Higginbotham back in Brisbane.

"However, as a backline coach the player I have identified as being a major threat is centre Samu Kerevi."

The giant Fijian (at 108kg and 1.86m) will have an equally physical Andre Esterhuizen (1.94m and 112kg) to contend with in what will be a brutal midfield battle.

Another appetising contest will be between Pat Lambie and Quade Cooper, the respective flyhalves.

Everitt said that captain Patrick Lambie has been walking around with a smile on his face all tour.

"He has mentioned that he has not made a Sharks Super Rugby tour since 2013 because of injury," Everitt said, adding: "He is just so pleased to be here and the players are feeding off his enthusiasm. He is a really popular captain.

"We know how clever Cooper can be, and he has a new scrumhalf partner in Nick Frisby [succeeding Will Genia], who has a beautiful pass, so we have to get up quickly on defence [to shut down Cooper and Kerevi]."

Recent results:
2015: Sharks won 21-14, Brisbane
2014: Sharks won 35-20, Durban
2013: Reds won 32-17, Brisbane
2012: Sharks won 30-17, Brisbane (first round play-offs)
2012: Sharks won 27-22, Durban

Prediction: Home ground advantage and a massive off-season recruitment drive mean there is justification in making the Reds six-point favourites. However, we believe it will be much closer and a late Pat Lambie penalties will win it for the Sharks.

Teams:

Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Chris Kuridrani, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia'aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Markus Vanzati, 18 Sef Fa'agase, 19 Izack Rodda, 20 Hendrik Tui, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Izaia Perese.

Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie (captain), 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Clement Poitrenaud.

Compiled by Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

Mc article highlanders v chiefs 800 Mc article damian mckenzie chiefs run2 800

Chiefs get bonus-point winning start

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 06:03

SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Chiefs recorded a 24-15 bonus-point win over the Highlanders to get their 2017 season underway in perfect fashion.

 

The Chiefs made the error-prone Highlanders pay dearly, outscoring them by three tries to none - the first two tries both came from opposition mistakes.

The Chiefs result means the Chiefs ending a six-game losing streak against their New Zealand rivals - dating back to 2014.

"It was a really polished team performance," captain Aaron Cruden said.

The Highlanders drew first blood with a Lima Sopoaga try but then conceded two easy tries off loose balls, both to Chiefs' wing James Lowe.

The first came when Malakai Fekitoa tried a spectacular back pass to get out of trouble, then Lowe swooped on the ball and evaded a tackler before dotting between the posts.

Waisake Naholo then gifted Lowe another, sending the ball straight to the wing, who gratefully darted down the sideline for another five-pointer.

After going into the break 14-9 up , the Chiefs extended their lead by a converted try when Hika Elliot made a cheeky run from a line-out to again embarrass the Highlanders' defence.

The Highlanders managed some penalties from there, but it was a lost cause.

Man of the match: As you have come to expect, Damian McKenzie showed his brilliance in bucketloads. However, our award goes to the Chiefs' Al Black lock Brodie Retallick - who showed an amazing workrate, more evidence as to why he is rated as the premier second row forward in the world.

The scorers:

For the Highlanders:
Pens: 
Sopoaga 5

For the Chiefs:
Tries: 
Lowe 2, Elliot
Cons: Cruden 3
Pen: Cruden

Teams:

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Liam Squire, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Smith, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Guy Millar, 19 Jackson Hemopo, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes.

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Mitchell Karpik, 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Tuake'iaho, 17 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Mitchell Brown, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Tim Nanai-Williams, 23 Shaun Stevenson.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
TMO: Aaron Paterson (New Zealand)

 
TRIES
James Lowe (9min), James Lowe (17min), and Hika Elliot (47min)
 
CONVERSIONS
Aaron Cruden (10min), Aaron Cruden (19min), and Aaron Cruden (48min)
Lima Sopoaga (3min), Lima Sopoaga (31min), Lima Sopoaga (40min), Lima Sopoaga (60min), and Lima Sopoaga (65min)
PENALTIES
Aaron Cruden (68min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
 
DROP GOALS
 
 
 
VENUE Dunedin
REFEREE Mike Fraser (New Zealand)