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Super Rugby | Brisbane
08:45 (GMT) | 11-03-2017
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Join us later as we continue our Super Rugby action
  • 80
He takes his time for the final kick of the game. He takes his shot and adds the 3 points winning his team the game. FULL TIME
  • 79
Hunt sets it up as the horn sounds
  • 78
The Reds opting to play the ball out as opposed to clearing it. They give away a penalty and Hunt gets a shot at goal from an angle he is not likely to miss from
  • 77
The Crusaders on the attack again now, looking to maintain the win streak they have against the Reds. They build from the half way and Ioane loses it forward for a scrum to the Reds
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Hunt adds the extras
  • 75
The Crusaders pushing forward and make it to the 5 of try line of the Reds. They make it to the middle of the sticks and the ball is placed on the padding by Hall. The referee refers to the TMO to confirm the TRY
  • 74
The Crusaders fumble the ball after a pass and the ball is kicked forward then chased by Nabuli. The referee calls play back for a knock-on by the Reds
  • 72
The Reds on the attack again now at the half way. The Crusaders showing their defensive worth in the final minutes. The away team turnover and the visitors on the attack. They win a scrum outside the Reds' 5
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The Reds on the attack now inside the 22. The Crusaders trying to hold the score as is until they make their attack. The referee blows for a penalty as Tui loses the ball forward.
  • 68
The Crusaders win the scrum and get a penalty. The players tussling again, Taufua in the midst of it, throwing a punch and missing. The referee calls the guilty party over awards him a yellow card
  • 67
Scrum for the Reds at the half way
  • 66
The Reds with some crunching carries forward. Cooper gets it and sends it down into the 22. The bounce is tricky and Hunt fumbles it backwards. He kicks into touch and the Reds fumble their line-out
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The reset kick is cleared by and the Reds come from their half making a break but the referee stops their run for a forward pass. Scrum around the half way
  • 63
Hunt with a kick from wide out. He doesn't make the angle
  • 62
Scrum reset. The Crusaders get the ball after the scrum, catching the Reds sleeping. Mitch Hunt gets it and sets up a good ball for Hall who is there in support and makes it over the line to score the TRY
  • 61
The Crusaders on the attack now but they lose the ball forward and the Reds get themselves a scrum inside their own half.
  • 59
The Crusaders making some good ground forward after the throw as they play the ball up field. The Reds manage to turnover and Frisby clears
  • 58
Frisby with a strong tackle after the kick forward by his team. The referee blows for a penalty to the Crusaders and Hunt kicks into touch around the 10 of the hosts
  • 57
Cooper fails to add the 3 points with his first miss of the night
  • 55
The Reds win a penalty in the scrum and Cooper steps up for a kick at the posts
  • 54
The Res on the attack again but it's lost forward. The Crusaders play advantage then lose it after the advantage and the Reds get themselves a scrum as the ball is lost forward
  • 53
The ball kicked forward buy the Reds after the scrum and they have a line-out at the 22 of the visitors. Higginbotham gets it and finds the gap. He makes a good 15 meters before being tugged at the legs. The Crusaders with some desperate defending and they manage to clear
  • 51
Both sets of players intervening as tensions rise. The referee refers to the TMO to ensure that no punches were thrown as the teams collide. The referee decides it's just push and shove and awards a scrum to Crusaders
  • 50
The referee calls for a penalty against Higginbotham for holding a player back. Crusaders kick into touch and take a 10 meter line-out. The ball is loose and it's kicked forward by Smith. The Crusaders rush forward but the ball is cleared.
  • 48
The Reds on the attack now building from the half way. The ball is passed into touch and the Crusaders get a line-out. The ball is moved up field and then goes into touch for a Reds' throw in
  • 46
The referee says the ball was knocked forward first and the Reds get a scrum.
  • 45
Th Crusaders get the ball after the throw and kick into forward for a chase. The Reds get it and Frisby clears to The Crusaders' Hunt. Taufua gets it and makes a break along the wing but loses the pass into touch
  • 43
Line-out for the visitors and they try to move forward but a big tackle by Paia'Aua stops the visitors. Cooper gets it an clears into touch
  • 42
The Crusaders win a penalty after trying to shove forward. They kick into touch around the 22 of the Reds. The Crusaders get awarded a penalty around the half way and kick into touch at the 22
  • 41
The second half is underway

Half Time

  • 40
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The Crusaders getting some momentum after being on the defence during the final minutes of the half. The hosts have a scrum inside their half. The ball is cleared into touch as the hooter sounds
  • 37
Cooper with one of the most sneaky kicks forward you'll see and Karmicheal Hunt chased it but the bounce didn't go in his favour and the Crusaders get lucky. They clear and the Reds come again from the line out
  • 35
The Reds on the attack again after the reset and Kerevi again the man at the center of it, finding a gap but his pass making the way forward more difficult. The Reds get a line-out and the Reds try to edge into the 22
  • 34
The Reds get a penalty after an infringement in the scrum. Cooper converts the kick for 3 points
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Scrum reset
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Kerevi hands Paia'Aua a pressured pass and he loses it forward. Scrum to the Crusaders around the half way
  • 31
Cooper clears after the Crusaders make their way forward and lose it
  • 30
The referee blows for a penalty after the Reds try to move the ball up field. Knock-on by the Reds and the Crusaders have a scrum inside their half
  • 29
The Reds on the attack now after the reset. Working their way forward from the 10 of the Crusaders. Parese on the end of a cross kick and almost breaks through on the wing but the Crusaders defence is there. Good kick from Cooper
  • 28
Hunt lines it up and adds the extras
  • 27
The referee blows refers to the TMO for a potential knock-on while the on field decision is a try for Drummond. The referee awards the TRY
  • 25
The Crusaders get the ball and Frisby clears after the ruck. The away team come again but they give away a penalty inside the 10 of the hosts
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Cooper makes no mistake with the conversion
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The Reds now in possession at the visitors' 10 meter line and Kerevi gets it and makes a dash for the try line. He does a little hip swiggle losing his man and offloading to Nabuli who goes over the line and scores the TRY
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The visitors have a throw at the Reds 10 and they get driven back but build from the half way. The ball passed forward during the attack and the Reds get a half way line scrum
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The Reds defend after the reset kick and the ball goes into touch. The Crusaders come again and Cooper puts it into touch again
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Barrett trying to carry forward but he is stopper. The Crusaders move the ball up field and make it into the 22 then the ball is booted forward and Bedwell-Curtis chases but it goes into the dead ball zone
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The Crusaders take their scrum and make it to the 22 of the Reds but the hosts turnover; Cooper putting in the work. The ball sent back to Karmichael Hunt and he clears. Line-out for the away team outside the 22
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Scrum reset again
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Scrum reset
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Kerevi finds some space after the reset kick and was on his way to the try line but the referee calls play back for a scrum to the Crusaders
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Cooper makes no mistake and adds the 2 extras
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The Reds play the ball up field after the throw. Cooper with the final pass to a quick-moving Kerevi who doesn't miss his opportunity this time around and stumbles over the line to score the TRY
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The ball kicked forward and Dagg tries to scoop it up but pulls something and is down in a heap on the ground, medical staff escorting him off. Penalty to the Reds at the location of the spill. The ball kicked into the corner and the Reds have a 5 meter throw
  • 8
Paia'Aua gets it and clears. Line-out to the Crusaders and they make some ground froward from a half way line maul. The referee blows to halt play. Scrum around the half way
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Hunt sets up his ball from roughly 35 meters out. Looking to maintain his perfect record from last week. It hits the upright
  • 5
The Crusaders on the attack after the reset kick and they get a penalty inside the 10 of the hosts
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Cooper takes the kick and starts the scoring with 3 points
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The Reds inside the 22 of the visitors now. Cooper with an inside ball. The ball is played down field then up again and Cooper gets his hands on it a second time during the attack. He falls short of the try line and leaves it for his team mates in the ruck. The ball is played up field for a certain try but Kerevi fumbles it and the Reds get a penalty
  • 1
William Houston the referee for this fixture awarding an early advantage to the Reds after the kickoff. Play continues for a bit and the Reds win a penalty around the 10 of the Crusaders. The Reds kick into touch at the 22 of the away team
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The Reds get the game underway
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The players readying themselves to leave their respective lockers
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The Reds have an average of 14 penalties conceded per fixture, while the Crusaders average half of that
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The Crusaders have won the last five encounters between these two sides
  • -30
Welcome to the Suncorp Stadium, home of the Reds, who'll be facing off against the Crusaders
Mc reds logo 80x50
Mc crusaders logo 80x50
  • 1 James Slipper
  • 2 Stephen Moore
  • 3 Sam Talakai
  • 4 Rob Simmons
  • 5 Izack Rodda
  • 6 Hendrik Tui
  • 7 George Smith
  • 8 Scott Higginbotham
  • 9 Nick Frisby
  • 10 Quade Cooper
  • 11 Eto Nabuli
  • 12 Duncan Paia'Aua
  • 13 Samu Kerevi
  • 14 Izala Perese
  • 15 Karmichael Hunt
  • 16 Andrew Ready
  • 17 Sef Faagase
  • 18 Taniela Tupou
  • 19 Kane Douglas
  • 20 Adam Korczyk
  • 21 James Tuttle
  • 22 Jake McIntyre
  • 23 Chris Kuridrani
  • 1 Joe Moody
  • 2 Codie Taylor
  • 3 Michael Alaalatoa
  • 4 Scott Barrett
  • 5 Sam Whitelock
  • 6 Pete Samu
  • 7 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis
  • 8 Whetu Douglas
  • 9 Mitchell Drummond
  • 10 Mitchell Hunt
  • 11 Digby Ioane
  • 12 Ryan Crotty
  • 13 Jack Goodhue
  • 14 Seta Tamanivalu
  • 15 Israel Dagg
  • 16 Ben Funnell
  • 17 Tim Perry
  • 18 Oliver Jager
  • 19 Luke Romano
  • 20 Jordan Taufua
  • 21 Bryn Hall
  • 22 Marty McKenzie
  • 23 George Bridge
Mc article sr preview  round three  part two 800


Thu, 09 Mar 2017 22:51

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: It may be the early rounds, but already there are a few matches that will give us some pointers as to where the season is heading.

Yes, all teams still have plenty of time to make up ground.

However, injuries - there are already plenty of those - and back-to-back defeats means some teams are getting nervous.

The Highlanders, who get Saturday's action underway when they face the Blues in Auckland, is one of five teams yet to win a match.

This is followed by the Reds, fortunate to win in Week One and very poor last week, are up against the Crusaders - the latter one of five teams who are still unbeaten

The Southern Kings had a good win last week, against the hapless Sunwolves, but they will face a stern test against the Stormers.

The Cheetahs, after last week's impressive win over the Bulls, host the Sunwolves; the Sharks (another team who had an encouraging result last week) host the Waratahs and the weekend's drama come to a conclusion when the Jaguares host the Lions in Buenos Aires.

We look at all the Saturday matches!

Saturday, March 11:

Blues v Highlanders
(Eden Park, Auckland - Kick-off: 19.35; 06.35 GMT)

Two years ago the Highlanders were Super champions, but this year they have been hard hit by injuries, are winless after two games and will be hard pressed to get on the board against the Blues.

Much was also expected of the Blues at the start of the season, but some old habits crept in during the opening weeks.

They had hoped that Ihaia West would finally live up to the promise he showed a few years ago.

He has been erratic at best and not the playmaker they had hope.

However, the biggest disease was their lack of discipline last week.

Coach Tana Umaga did not pull any punches this week and made it clear his forwards must step up.

"They [the Chiefs] put pressure on us in the forward pack and we can't get our game going if we can't get set-piece, so that's been a big work-on for us," Umaga told the NZ Herald said.

"We have to get into our structures that we want to play but depending on the weather, that could be different to what the tactics are."

Injuries have played some cruel tricks on the Highlanders - All Black fullback Ben Smith still suffering the effects of concussion from an opening loss to the Chiefs. Loose forward Liam Squire was a casualty in last week's loss to the Crusaders.

That is why Highlanders coach Tony Brown is looking to players like Aaron Smith, Lima Sopoaga and Malakai Fekitoa to provide the stability that is lacking.

"I think everyone can see that they're not quite on the money at the moment," Brown said of his senior players.

"In the Chiefs game, the execution was really poor and then, against the Crusaders, we were awesome for 50 minutes and then fell off the pace a bit and made a few uncharacteristic errors.

"I think, naturally, they will be able to go longer now, because they've got two games under their belts.

"The problem we've had with our All Blacks is asking them to win us games of rugby, when they've only played 40 minutes in the pre-season.

"That's just game-time, for me, and this week, they'll be better for those two runs and we've still got enough quality to do well in this competition."

Recent results:
2016: Blues won 33-31, Auckland
2015: Highlanders won 44-7, Auckland
2015: Highlanders won 30-24, Dunedin
2014: Blues won 30-12, Auckland
2014: Highlanders won 29-21, Dunedin

Prediction: The Blues won their last game against the Highlanders and will be aiming to win consecutive games against the Dunedin side for the first time since a run of six wins in a row between 2007 and 2011. The Blues have lost 16 of their last 17 against New Zealand sides including the last six in a row. This will be the Blues' first home game this season, they ended 2016 with a run of five wins in their last six games at home; four of those victories came by eight points or fewer, though. The Highlanders have won their last two regular season games away from home but have not won more consecutive away games since a run of four victories in 2005. Ben Smith has scored seven tries in his last seven games against the Blues, including three in his last two and a brace when these teams met in Round One last season. The Highlanders will come good, eventually. However, this game is in Auckland and the adverse weather sweeping across the North Island means it will be an arm-wrestle the Blues will win by five points.


Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 George Moala, 11 Rene Ranger, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Murphy Taramai, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Patrick Tuipulotu, 4 Jimmy Tupou, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Akira Ioane/Kara Pryor, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Piers Francis, 23 Melani Nanai.

Highlanders: 15 Richard Buckman, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Elliot Dixon (captain), 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Sekonia Pole, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Jackson Hemopo, 21 Dillon Hunt, 22 Kayne Hammington, 22  Marty Banks.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)

Reds v Crusaders
(Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane - Kick-off: 18.45; 21.45 NZDT; 08.45 GMT)

Most pundits expect the Crusaders to be too strong for the Reds in Brisbane.

The test for the Reds, up against an All Blacks-laden pack, is how they bounce back from their surprise loss to the Western Force last week.

"Every player should be highly motivated to compete for every minute of this game," Reds coach Nick Stiles said.

"It's what you have to do against the Crusaders, because if you are not as relentless as they are, you are going to pay."

Stiles admitted some harsh word were spoken this week.

"None of us was happy with last week's performance," he said of the loss to the Western Force.

"We addressed it and moved on and are looking forward to the opportunity to test ourselves against a difficult opponent this weekend.

"We knew there would be setbacks along the way as this group continued its development.

"The setback isn't as important as how we respond to it. That's the challenge presented to the team this weekend."

The Crusaders - despite being in a confident frame of mind after coming back from 21 points down to beat the Highlanders last week - are mindful that they leaked some easy tries from the set-pieces.

"We had a couple of miscommunications and we have worked on it," said Crusaders coach Scott Robertson.

"Our back three will be a lot tighter now," he added.

Recent results:
2016: Crusaders won 38-5, Christchurch
2015: Crusaders won 58-17, Christchurch
2014: Crusaders won 57-29, Brisbane
2013: Crusaders won 38-9, Christchurch (first round of play-offs)
2012: Crusaders won 15-11, Christchurch

Prediction: The Crusaders have won the last five meetings between these sides with the most recent four wins in that run all coming by 28+ points. Before that run the Reds had won three on the bounce between the sides; their last victory over the Crusaders came in the 2011 Super Rugby Final. The Reds have lost three of their last five at home against New Zealand sides more than they had lost in their previous 13 such games. The Crusaders have made an average of 159 carries per game this season, 26 carries more than any other team in the competition and 49.5 more than the Reds. Quade Cooper has made five offloads so far this season, the equal third most of any player and more than any other scrumhalf in the competition. There is nothing to suggest the Reds should win this one - unless the Crusaders arrive in a complacent mood. The Crusaders should win by at least 15 points.


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

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Mitchell Hunt, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Whetu Douglas, 7 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.  
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 George Bridge.

Referee: William Houston (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nicholas Berry (Australia), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Southern Kings v Stormers
(Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth - Kick-off: 15.05; 13.05 GMT)

The Stormers are looking to continue their impressive early season form, as they go hunting a third consecutive win.

The Capetonians travel to Port Elizabeth for their clash against the Southern Kings with a new captain - Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth, the first time he will lead the Stormers.

Etzebeth will lead the side at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in the absence of regular captain Siya Kolisi, who is being rested for this match, while wing Bjorn Basson will also make his debut for the Cape side on the wing.
Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said that his team is focused on building on the two victories that they have earned this season.

"This will be our first away game of the campaign after two good wins at Newlands and we would like to see further improvements in our game this weekend," Fleck said.

"We always get great support as a team in Port Elizabeth, so we are looking forward to the challenge on Saturday," he added.

Kings coach Deon Davids said they are not concerned about being branded underdogs in this all-South African derby.

"I have not concentrated on their team," Davids said, adding: It is all about and see where we can improve.

"We understand the Stormers are a quality side with a number of Springboks - it is going to be a huge challenge.

"However, it would be a mistake to focus just on the Stormers and forget about what we must bring to the game."

The Kings coach said it is important to retain the momentum they gained from last week's win over the Sunwolves.

"Winning is a culture, but losing can also become a culture."

Kings captains Schalk Ferreira said they are aware of the threats posed by the Stormers.

"They like to counter attack and run the ball," Ferreira said. adding: "Technically they are quite good."

Previous results:
2016: Stormers won 52-24, Cape Town
2013: Stormers won 24-12, Port Elizabeth
2013: Stormers won 19-11, Cape Town

Prediction: The Stormers have won all three meetings between these sides including a 28 point victory in their last meeting. In fact, the Kings have never beaten a fellow South African team, losing all 15 such meetings and failing to pick up even a losing bonus point. The Stormers have won their last two away games but haven't won three road games on the bounce since the beginning of 2015. The Stormers have scored six tries after four or more phases of play so far this campaign, more than any other team in the competition. Chris Cloete has won five turnovers so far this season, only one player has won more; Cloete is also yet to concede a turnover. The Stormers should win by at least 20 points - anything less will be a disappointment.


Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Rick Schroeder, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Irne Herbst, 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (captain).
Replacements: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Chris Heiberg, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Andisa Ntsila, 21 Johan Steyn, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Berton Klaasen.

Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Chris Van Zyl, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Damian Willemse.

Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Referee: Shuhei Kubo (Japan)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Cheetahs v Sunwolves
(Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein - Kick-off: 17.15; 15.15 GMT;  Sunday, March 12 Japan time)

The Cheetahs will be fancied to put a big score past the hapless Sunwolves, who have travelled to Bloemfontein on the back of two defeats.

The match will also see the return of former Cheetahs loose forward Willie Britz to the Free State capital.

After more than 100 first-class games for the Cheetahs and Lions in various competitions, he is now on a two-year contract with the Sunwolves.
Cheetahs coach Franco Smith, who spent a substantial amount of time on Springbok duty in the last fortnight, said all the South African teams have bought into the new 'ball-in-hand' expansive philosophy sweeping the country.

It means the Sunwolves will be forced to make bucketloads of tackles on Saturday.

If they again struggle to maintain their enthusiasm and intensity, they will be on the wrong side of a 50-point-plus result.

Smith said the Sunwolves' biggest threat is their "unpredictability".

"They take quick line-outs, deliver cross-field kick for their wings and have an x-factor which teams don't always recognise>'

Sunwolves coach Filo Tiatia said the team has "worked extremely hard" on making adjustments after the heavy defeats in the opening rounds.

"Representing the Sunwolves and Japan means a lot to these guys and they will do us all very proud," Tiatia said.

"South Africa is a wonderful place to tour and a wonderful place to play rugby.

"The Cheetahs must be respected and a team that play an aspiring brand of rugby.

"We will take the field on Saturday in true Sunwolves attacking spirit."

Previous results:
2016: Cheetahs won 92-17, Bloemfontein
2016: Cheetahs won 32-31, Singapore

Prediction: This will be the third meeting between these sides after the Cheetahs won both encounters last season in contrasting styles; the Bloemfontein outfit recorded a -one point win away to the Sunwolves in Round 3 before winning by 75 points in Round Eight, the third-biggest margin of victory in Super Rugby history. The Sunwolves are still searching for their first away victory in Super Rugby; they lost all seven away games last year, conceding 52 points per game on average.  The Cheetahs have won their last two games when hosting a team from outside South Africa, they haven't won three such games in a row since 2012 to 2013 when they beat the Force, the Waratahs and the Rebels. The Sunwolves have scored four tries in the final quarter of their games this campaign, the equal most of any team in the competition. Fred Zeilinga (34) has scored more points than any other player in the competition so far, and has missed just two of 15 goal attempts. The Cheetahs will win by 50 points or more.


Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Zee Mkhabela, 13 Ryno Benjamin, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Neill Jordaan, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld (captain) , 1 Charles Marais.
Replacements: 16 Danie Mienie, 17 Elandre Huggett, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Armandt Koster, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Niel Marais, 22 Ali Mgijima, 23 Ruan van Rensburg.

Sunwolves: 15 Shota Emi, 14 Takaaki Nakazuru, 13 William Tupou, 12 Derek Carpenter, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hayden Cripps, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Willem Britz, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Edward Quirk, 5 Uwe Helu, 4 Liaki Moli, 3 Yasuo Yamaji, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Koki Yamamoto.
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Sam Wykes, 20 Shokei Kin, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 Jamie-Jerry Taulagi.

Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Sharks v Waratahs
(Kings Park, Durban - Kick-off: 19.30; 17.30 GMT;  04.30 AEDT Sunday, March 12)

The Sharks will be looking to build on last week's impressive come from behind win when Pat Lambie's team face the Waratahs in their first home game of the season - following two away games in Australia, which produced five important league points.
Sharks coach Robert du Preez named the same 23-man squad that beat the Brumbies in Canberra last weekend.

The Waratahs, with Wallaby flyhalf Bernard Foley still sidelined with concussion symptoms, are will be looking to bounce back after last week's loss to the Lions.

The Waratahs have not lost consecutive games in South Africa since 2013.

The Sharks coach, Du Preez, spoke of the "character" shown by the players against the Brumbies.

"That win has definitely motivated us, however it is important that we build on that momentum this week," he said.
"We arrived back home this past Sunday and despite the jet lag, there have been no excuses from the guys.

"As a coaching unit, we cannot fault their commitment and work ethic, which has been amazing."
He said the Waratahs will be a "difficult prospect", despite some patchy form this season.

"We are looking forward to playing at home and the support and backing of our fans will give us added motivation."

Former Sharks player David McDuling said he was pleased to return home to Sydney to play with Tahs this season and is looking forward to running out against his former teammates in Durban.

"They [the Sharks] will be confident after winning that game last week against the Brumbies on tour," the lock said.

"I always look forward to playing, especially with my ties to Durban and the Sharks it does make it a little bit special.

"Everyone enjoys playing against people they know, which is the same in the Australian derbies - you want to get one up over your mates.

"For me, it is another great opportunity to pull on a Waratahs jersey, play at a great stadium against a great team," he added.

Recent results:
2015: Waratahs won 33-18, Sydney
2014: Sharks won 32-10, Durban
2012: Waratahs won 34-30, Sydney
2011: Sharks won 26-21, Durban
2010: Waratahs won 25-21, Sydney

Prediction: The last five meetings between these sides have been won by the home side on the day with the 2009 Waratahs being the last team to win away in this fixture. The Sharks have won their last four home games; not since a run of eight wins on the bounce in Durban from 2013 to 2014 have they won more consecutive matches at home. Despite a 19 point loss to the Lions in the last round, the Waratahs have still won four of their last seven games in South Africa and have not suffered consecutive defeats there since 2012-2013. The Sharks have slotted nine penalty goals so far this season, more than any other team in the competition, while the Waratahs (2) have conceded the equal fewest. Andrew Kellaway has recorded an average gain of 15.5m per carry this campaign (170m from 11 carries), the most of any player to have made more than two carries. It will be a real arm-wrestle, but the Sharks should win by a converted try.


Sharks: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 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 Stephan Lewies, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Curwin Bosch.

Waratahs: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 David McDuling, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 David Lolohea, 19 Senio Toleafoa, 20 Maclean Jones, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Cameron Clark

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)

Jaguares v Lions
(Velez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires - Kick-off: 16.40; 21.40 SA time; 19.40 GMT)

Buenos Aires hosts the final game of the weekend when the Jaguares entertain the high-flying Lions, who are hunting their third successive win of the season.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann named a very experimental side, saying it is important to back the entire squad.

Former Junior Springbok and Bulls lock Marvin Orie will make his debut for the visitors, replacing Springbok Franco Mostert (one of a handful of senior players being rested).
Hurricanes head coach Chris Boyd believes the complicated Super Rugby draw - which sees the Lions avoid all the New Zealand sides during the conference phase - should see the South Africans top the regular season and be set to host the Final.

It was the banana-skin game for them last year when they were also under-strength and lost to the Jaguares in the final pool match, costing them first place in the standings and resulting in them having to travel to New Zealand for the Final/.

"It will be a huge challenge," Ackermann said of the trip to Buenos Aires, via Sao Palo in Brazil.

"It is the Jaguares' first home game of the season. They are a very passionate team and will be charged up to win at home.

"In all fairness, it is Argentina's national team," Ackermann said of the Jaguares, adding: "You don't get a much bigger challenge than this."

He said the Lions also have a target on their backs, having played in the Final last year.

"They would like to prove a point.

"We are also in the same pool and chasing the same qualifying spot for the play-offs."

Despite resting some Springboks and starting other senior players off the bench, he described the Lions as a "well-balanced team".

"Some of the guys who worked hard in the off-season are getting a chance," Ackermann said.

"It also gives us a chance to freshen up a few of the other players.

"We are also very excited about our bench, which is very strong and hopefully they can make a big difference.

"We always said we must trust our squad."

Previous results:
2016: Jaguares won 34-22, Buenos Aires
2016: Lions won 52-24, Johannesburg

Prediction: This will be the third meeting between these sides, both fixtures last season were won by the home side on the day. The Jaguares won their last home game - against the Lions - but have not won back-to-back home games in Super Rugby so far. The Lions have lost their last three away trips outside of South Africa, including last year's Final; this comes after a run of four wins in a row in such fixtures, their best ever run outside of the country. The Lions have won 34 line-outs (including steals) across the opening fortnight, more than any other team in the competition. The Jaguares have conceded 26 turnovers in their opening two games, no team has conceded fewer (level with the Brumbies). The Jaguares must e favoured, given the experimental nature of the Lions, but if the Lions get their high-paced running game going and hold onto the ball they could sneak it - by less than 10 points.


Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Santiago Cordero, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Tomás Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Felipe Arregui, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Santiago García Botta.
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera Paz, 18 Cristian Bartoloni, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Juan Martín Hernández, 23 Matías Moroni.

Lions: 15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Francois de Klerk, 22 Andries Coetzee, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Damian Schneider (Argentina)
TMO: Santiago Borsani (Argentina)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

* Statistics provided by Opta Sports

Mc article reds v crusaders 2017 800

Crusaders steal it at the death in Brisbane

Sat, 11 Mar 2017 07:17

SUPER RUGBY REPORT: Crusaders flyhalf Mitchell Hunt kicked a penalty right on full-time to give the Crusaders a 22-20 win over the Reds in their Super Rugby match in Brisbane on Saturday.

Trailing 7-20 at halftime, the Crusaders scored 15 unanswered points in the second half, despite playing the final 10 minutes with only 14 men after Jordan Taufua was shown a yellow card for foul play.

It was the Crusaders' second comeback win in succession and follows their 30-27 victory over the Highlanders last weekend.

"I am really proud that even though we were down a few points we came back," Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock said.

"It would be nice not to do that - it would be nice to get a few points early."

Reds, the rank outsiders going into the match, started strongly and opened the scoring with an early Quade Cooper penalty.

Cooper, who was involved in almost every Queensland attack, had the home fans worried when he needed treatment on his left leg but he was able to carry on.

However, the Crusaders weren't so lucky when All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg went down clutching his right knee and had to be replaced after just 10 minutes.

Soon after Dagg left the field the Reds scored the opening try when Sami Kerevi steamed onto a short ball from Cooper and ran over the top of Jack Goodhue. 

Cooper's conversion gave the home side a surprising 10-0 lead after only 10 minutes.

The Reds went further ahead when hooker Stephen Moore threw a superb pass to Kerevi, who burst through the Crusaders defence before finding wing Eto Nabuli, who crossed untouched to give the home side a 17-0 lead.

The Crusaders finally got on the scoreboard when former Reds wing Digby Ioane kicked ahead for scrumhalf Mitchell Drummond to score his seventh Super Rugby try.

Hunt's conversion made it 17-7 to the Reds, but a second Cooper penalty gave the Reds a 20-7 lead at halftime.

The Crusaders had slightly the better of the play in the second half but were let down by a series of handling errors and some strong Reds defence.

They finally broke through midway through the second period, Hunt breaking the line and feeding Marty McKenzie, who found Bryn Hall to score out wide and make it 20-12.

The Reds appeared to tire towards the end of the match and the Crusaders began to make easy ground up the middle.

Hall scored his second with only three minutes left when he crashed over under the posts to close the gap to 20-19.

The Reds tried desperately to hold on but when Kerevi was penalised for going off his feet in a ruck, Hunt calmly stepped up to give the visitors the win.

Man of the match: George Smith and Samu Kerevi were standout performers for the Reds. However, the award goes to Crusaders' replacement scrumhalf Bryn Hall for scoring two crucial tries in the second half. 

The scorers:

For Reds:
Tries: Kerevi, Nabuli
Cons: Cooper 2
Pens: Cooper 2

For Crusaders:
Tries: Drummond, Hall 2
Cons: Hunt 2
Pen: Hunt

Yellow card: Jordan Taufua (Crusaders, 68 - foul play, punching)


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

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Mitchell Hunt, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Whetu Douglas, 7 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.  
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 George Bridge.

Referee: William Houston (Australia)
Assistant referees: Nicholas Berry (Australia), Damon Murphy (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

AFP & @rugby365com

Samu Kerevi (11min) and Eto Nabuli (23min)
Mitchell Drummond (27min), Bryn Hall (62min), and Bryn Hall (75min)
Quade Cooper (12min) and Quade Cooper (24min)
Mitchell Hunt (28min) and Mitchell Hunt (76min)
Quade Cooper (4min) and Quade Cooper (34min)
Mitchell Hunt (80min)
Jordan Taufua (68min)
VENUE Brisbane
REFEREE William Houston