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Super Rugby | Bloemfontein
15:15 (GMT) | 29-04-2017
  • 81
Stay tuned for our next game as the Kings take on the Rebels
  • 80
Marais adds the extras as the hooter goes. Full Time.
  • 79
Cheetahs plays it wide and finds the overlap and it is TRY TIME for Peterson.
  • 78
Blommetjies kicks for touch. Line-out Cheetahs on the Crusaders 5. Maul is formed.
  • 77
Hunts kicks it deep. The home team counters from deep. Yellow card Hunt
  • 76
Penalty Cheetahs and Venter taps and go and gets tackle 3 meters short of the try line. Marais with grubber and it is a 22 restart for the Crusaders
  • 75
Blommetjies kick for touch. ine-out Cheetahs inside the visiting teams 22. Maul is formed. Cheetahs playing it short from the rucks.
  • 74
Line-out Cheetahs inside the Crusaders half. Maul is call. Penalty for collapsing the maul.
  • 73
Cheetahs playing it wide. Playing some switches in the middle trying to create a miss match. Penalty Cheetahs. Blommetjies kick for touch.
  • 72
Line-out Cheetahs on the Crusaders 5. Turnover and Hunt kicks for clearance. Cheetahs with the counter.
  • 71
Yellow card for the Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock. Penalty Cheetahs. Blommetjies kicks for touch
  • 70
Restart is good
  • 69
Hunt misses the extras
  • 68
Penalty Crusaders and Hunt taps and go and play it wide to his winger TRY TIME Bridge for his hat-trick.
  • 67
Line-out Crusaders inside the Cheetahs half
  • 66
Free-kick Cheetahs and Blommetjies kick for clearance
  • 65
Penalty Crusaders. They take the opt to scrum
  • 64
Scrum reset
  • 63
Scrum Crusaders on the home teams 5.
  • 62
Mo'unga kicks for touch. Line-out Crusaders inside the home teams 22. Oupa with line-out steal and it is carried back
  • 61
Crusaders wins the line-out and Mo'unga with a inside ball. Penalty Crusaders for a Deliberate knock down.
  • 60
Cheetahs with a line-out inside the Crusaders 22. Penalty Cheetahs and Blommetjies kicks for touch. Line-out Cheetahs on the Crusaders 5.
  • 59
Restart is good. Cheetahs with a turnover. Penalty and Blommetjies kicks for touch
  • 58
Mo'unga adds the extras
  • 57
Restart is good. Crusaders secure the ball. Crusaders find the space and it is TRY TIME Drummond
  • 56
Mo'unga adds the extras
  • 55
Havili takes it up short after more then 4 phases
  • 54
Restart is good and Crusaders with a turnover.
  • 53
Marais adds the extras
  • 52
Free-kick and the Cheetahs tap and go. Nche with some great hands and scores. TRY TIME Nche
  • 51
Scrum reset
  • 50
Van Jaarsveld with a step and its a turnover. Scrum Crusaders
  • 49
Scrum Cheetahs inside the Crusaders half in the middle of the field. Venter takes it up short
  • 48
Restart is good. Crusaders with ball in hand. Turnover from the home side.
  • 47
Ma'unga adds the extras
  • 46
Ma'unga takes it on himself and beats 3 defenders and it is TRY TIME.
  • 45
Scrum reset
  • 44
Line-out Crusaders. Penalty Crusaders after collapsing the maul. Crusaders take the opt to scrum.
  • 43
Penalty Crusaders. 10 minutes in the sin bin for Koster.
  • 42
Penalty Cheetahs for holding on. Blommetjies kick for touch and does not find it. Crusaders with the counter.
  • 41
Cheetahs with the kick to start the second half and Blommetjies kicks it deep. Hall with a box kick. Penalty Crusaders. Ma'unga kicks for touch. Crusaders secure the line-out inside the Cheetahs 22.

Half Time

  • 40
Restart is good. Crusaders secure the ball and kicks into touch to start Half time
  • 39
Ma'unga adds the extras
  • 38
Crusaders secure the scrum and Ma'unga gives a cross kick to Bridge beats 5 defenders and it is TRY TIME
  • 36
Cheetahs with ball in hand. Nche with a break beathing 2 or 3 defenders offloads to Peterson and it is forward. Scrum Crusaders
  • 35
Restart is good.
  • 34
Ma'unga adds the extras
  • 33
Crusaders trying to beat the Cheetahs defense. Pick up Bridge and it is TRY TIME
  • 32
Crusaders secure the line-out
  • 31
Penalty Crusaders for offside. Ma'unga kicks for touch. Line-out inside the Cheetahs 22.
  • 30
Ma'unga kicks for touch. Line-out Crusaders inside the home teams half.
  • 29
Cheetahs with maul. Peterson with the a outside rounder beating his opponent trying to offload the ball as he is being tackle. Penalty Crusaders
  • 27
A bit of territorial kicking from both sides and Ma'unga kicks into touch. Line-out Cheetahs inside the Crusaders 10
  • 26
Turnover and Meyer with a kick down field and forces the Crusaders to run into touch with the ball. Line-out Cheetahs on the visiting teams 5
  • 24
Crusaders secure their line-out and plays it wide and making meters running into space.
  • 23
Marais kicks for clearance and finds touch. Crusaders line-out inside the home teams half. Cheetahs win the contest. Brilliant clearance kick from Blommetjies and the ball find touch inside the Crusaders 22.
  • 22
Crusaders playing it wide and gets tackle into touch inside the Cheetahs 22. Their line-out
  • 21
Restart is good and the ball gets passed into touch. Crusaders line-out.
  • 20
Marais adds the extras
  • 19
Cheetahs showing some composure playing the ball in space and Rhule finds the right space TRY TIME Rhule. It all started with Blommetjies great vision.
  • 17
Line-out Cheetahs and the Crusaders sack the maul on their 5. Crusaders with possession
  • 15
Line-out Cheetahs inside he Crusaders 10. Cheetahs secure their line-out. Penalty advantage, Blommetjies break through and passes to peterson who makes contact
  • 14
Restart is good. Crusaders showing confidence playing in their 22. Ma'unga kicks through and the ball rolls into touch.
  • 13
Ma'unga misses the extras
  • 12
Crusaders win the scrum and trying to gain the 5 meters for the try and it is # passes wide and it is TRY TIME Havili
  • 10
Crusaders with the break through running it all the way to the Cheetahs 5 and the ball is being knocked after a brilliant tackle from Rhule.
  • 9
Restart is good
  • 8
Ma'unga adds the 3 points with a easy penalty conversion
  • 7
Penalty Crusaders. Crusaders kick for touch. Line-out when and the Crusaders take it wide trying to find the miss match.
  • 5
Scrum Cheetahs inside the Crusaders half in the middle of the field.
  • 3
Marais with a kick through and Havili with the counter. Crotty breaks through and the ball is knocked on and the cheetahs with the advantage and starts to counter.
  • 2
Crusaders playing it wide and the ball gets passed into touch. Cheetahs line-out inside the Crusaders 10.
  • 1
Marais kicks it down field with a return kick from the Crusaders winger. Scrum Crusaders after knock-on.
  • 0
Crusaders with the kick-off. Cheetahs secure the ball. Cheetahs playing it left to right trying to make meters.
  • -5
Beautiful rugby conditions this evening with a light breeze and clear skies.
  • -10
Referee for this evening will be Federico Anselmi (Argentina) and will be assisted by referees: Nic Berry (Australia), AJ Jacobs (South Africa) and TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)
  • -15
Coach Scott said that he will allow his team the same freedom he allowed them against the Stormers last week. The Cheetahs might have their hand full.
  • -25
Cheetahs head coach Franco Smith has included a few big names in his team. The inclusion of Retshegofaditswe Nche and Uzair Cassiem to the starting XV boost the side who have been struggling to stay focus on the field with the constant threat of being axed from Super Rugby hanging over their heads.
  • -30
Welcome to Bloemfontein for the crucial Super Rugby match between the host Cheetahs and the unbeaten Crusaders!
Mc cheetahs logo 80x50
Mc crusaders logo 80x50
  • 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche
  • 2 Torsten Van Jaarsveld
  • 3 Johannes Coetzee
  • 4 Armandt Koster
  • 5 Carl Wegner
  • 6 Uzair Cassiem
  • 7 Teboho Mohoje
  • 8 Paul Schoeman
  • 9 Shaun Venter
  • 10 Niel Marais
  • 11 Raymond Rhule
  • 12 Nico Lee
  • 13 Francois Venter
  • 14 Sergeal Petersen
  • 15 Clayton Blommetjies
  • 17 Charles Marais
  • 16 Elandré Huggett
  • 18 Tom Botha
  • 19 Francois Uys
  • 20 Henco Venter
  • 21 Niell Jordaan
  • 22 William Small-Smith
  • 23 Tian Meyer
  • 24 Clinton Swart
  • 1 Joe Moody
  • 2 Codie Taylor
  • 3 Owen Franks
  • 4 Scott Barrett
  • 5 Sam Whitelock
  • 6 Jordan Taufua
  • 7 Matt Todd
  • 8 Kieran Read
  • 9 Bryn Hall
  • 10 Richie Mo’unga
  • 11 George Bridge
  • 12 Ryan Crotty
  • 13 Jack Goodhue
  • 14 Seta Tamanivalu
  • 15 David Havili
  • 16 Andrew Makalio
  • 17 Wyatt Crockett
  • 18 Michael Alaalatoa
  • 19 Luke Romano
  • 20 Pete Samu
  • 21 Mitchell Drummond
  • 22 Mitchell Hunt
  • 23 Manasa Mataele
Mc article lionel cronje southern kings 800

SR Preview: Round 10, Part Two

Thu, 27 Apr 2017 23:33

IN THE SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Can the minnows upset the pace setters? We have two games where this question will be answered.

The Western Force, well outside the Top 10 and the Super Rugby axe still hovering above their collective heads, host the second-placed Lions. Complacency is a dangerous animal and one the Lions would dearly want to avoid as they start their three-match Australian tour.

The Cheetahs, another team with the Super Rugby axe a constant companion, host the table-topping and unbeaten Crusaders. Avoiding complacency is also the catchphrase for this match.

The Southern Kings, fresh from their Australian tour that ended with a victory, host a Rebels team badly out of form and in dire need of some inspiration.

The Jaguares, who lost all three matches on their South African tour, will hope to exact some revenge when they host the Sharks - one of the three teams that beat them.

Then we end the weekend's action with a trans-Tasman derby on Sunday - the Brumbies at home to the Blues.

In Part Two of the preview, we look at the last five matches of the weekend!

Saturday, April 29:

Western Force v Lions
(nib Stadium, Perth - Kick-off: 19.55; 13.55 SA Time; 11.55 GMT)

The Force is looking to continue their six-game winning streak against the Lions.

There is extra spice to the encounter as South African-born James Verity-Amm - who played Varsity Shield for the University of the Western Cape and Western Province age group teams - is set to make his Super Rugby debut on the right wing.

The Highvelders' only victory over the Force came in their second meeting, back in 2007, while their clash in 2006 ended in a draw.

The men from Johannesburg won their last two matches in Australia and a victory in Perth will give them their best-ever winning streak on Aussie soil.

Force coach Dave Wessels, having also made his coaching mark with the University of Cape Town before his move to Perth, said the Lions are a different animal from past years and another exciting challenge for his side.

"The Lions are obviously a very well balanced side with the ability to mix up their attack," Wessels said.

"They've been together a long time as a team and we'll need to be at our best if we hope to break them down."

Lions coach Johan Ackermann said they will 'respect' the Western Force, despite being name outright favourites by pundits, but they have their goals.

Even though people expects his team to win, it is not just a case of just turning up.

"It is like when Usain Bolt runs a race," Ackermann said, adding: "Everybody expects him to win, but he must still run to the best of his ability, or he will get beaten.

"We need to perform to get the result."

Ackermann said it is "unrealistic" to expect his team to win all three matches on tour.

"To travel and beat teams in their own back yard will take a massive effort," the Lions coach said.

He felt the Lions are also a very different side from 2016, with at least eight players that played in the Final against the Hurricanes last year are not available for the tour.

"It is a different year and a different team, so we can't get ahead of ourselves."

Recent results:
2014: Force won 29-19, Perth
2012: Force won 17-11, Perth
2011: Force won 27-15, Johannesburg
2010: Force won 33-12, Johannesburg
2009: Force won 55-14, Perth

Prediction: The Force have won each of the last six games between these teams, with the Lions' only victory coming in the second meeting between these franchises in Round 4, 2007. The Lions have won on their last two excursions to Australia; a third straight win would be their best ever streak in the country. The Force earned a five-point victory against the Kings in their last fixture against South African opposition, their first such victory since a 29-19 win against the Lions in Round 15, 2014. The Lions have won 15.1 line-outs per game so far this season, more than any other team in the competition. The Force could be without Dane Haylett-Petty who has scored two tries in his last three games for the Western Force, and gained over 100 metres twice in that period. Of course the Force have a chance. But the Lions have too much class and should win by 15 points.


Western Force: 15 Marcel Brache, 14 James Verity-Amm, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Luke Burton, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Ross Haylett-Petty, 4 Lewis Carmichael, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Onehunga Havilli, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Mitch Short, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Peter Grant.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Anthony Volmink.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand), Amy Perrett (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)

Cheetahs v Crusaders
(Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein - Kick-off: 17.15; 15.15 GMT; 03.15 NZ Time Sunday, April 30)

Cheetahs coach Franco Smith has desperately been trying to get his players to break the shackles brought on by the threat of being axed from Super Rugby.

The Cheetahs will have a tough time achieving that against the unbeaten Crusaders.

This may well be the Crusaders last visit to Bloemfontein for a rugby match.

Despite the favourable odds, Crusaders coach Scott Robertson is doing his best to avoid complacency and has sent his big guns into battle.

And he has encouraged his team to play with the same freedom that saw them demolish the Stormers last week.

"We try not to inhibit the guys, and if it is on, to back themselves," Robertson said in reference to some of the spectacular offloads on display in Christchurch last week.

"Probably in the second half we threw a couple that weren't quite earned and we pushed it, but in general they have licence [to throw passes in contact]."

The Cheetahs are having a season to forget.

They have lost six of their eight games.

However, there were glimpses of their potential when the Chiefs beat them 41-27 a fortnight ago - a game in which the Cheetahs held a 24-0 lead in the first half, before the fear of failure choked them up and the got overrun by their New Zealand opposition.

"It has been mentioned," Crusaders flank Matt Todd said in reference to that fast start against the Chiefs.

"They really flew out of the blocks. So we know we have to start well.

"If you give them too much ball in a good position, they will make you pay."

Recent results:
2015: Crusaders won 57-14, Christchurch
2014: Crusaders won 52-31, Bloemfontein
2012: Crusaders won 28-21, Christchurch
2011: Cheetahs won 33-20, Bloemfontein
2010: Crusaders won 45-6, Christchurch

Prediction: The Crusaders have won eight of their past 10 games between these teams, including the last three, and have scored in excess of 50 points in their last two games against the Cheetahs. The Cheetahs have scored just three second-half tries in their last four games on home soil, taking just two wins from four half-time leads in that period. The Crusaders have won their last three regular season games in South Africa, never before have they won more in succession. The Crusaders enjoy 17 minutes 59 seconds with the ball in hand this season, more than any other team in the competition and 109 seconds per game more than the Cheetahs. Fred Zeilinga has scored 72 points this campaign, the third most of any player and the most of any player who is yet to cross for a try. The Cheetahs can upset the Crusaders, but the smart money is on the Crusaders to win by about 20 points.


Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Niell Jordaan/William Small-Smith, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Clinton Swart.

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.   
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele.

Referee: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Southern Kings v Rebels
(Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth - Kick-off: 19.30; 17.30 GMT; 03.30, Sunday, April 30 AEST)

The Rebels will play in Port Elizabeth for the first time in the franchise's history.

The Kings claimed a three-point win in the only previous meeting between the sides, in Melbourne in Round Nine, 2013.

The Rebels have claimed six points in the last two weeks - after their first win of the season against the Brumbies in Melbourne before a penalty after full-time against the Sharks in Durban last week secured the franchise's first draw.

The Kings will play their fourth consecutive Australian team, following their three-week tour of Australia - where they averaged 33.6 points per game against the Force, Reds and Waratahs.

The Kings come off a win over the Waratahs in their final tour match.

Coach Deon Davids said his side was expecting a tough encounter against a Rebels side that has shown some good form in the past fortnight.

"We have been speaking about the Rebels and they are a side we have plenty of respect for," the Kings coach said.

"They played well against the Sharks and the Brumbies. We are expecting a very tough and hard match."
Davids sung the praises of his charges for the manner in which they have played with the ball in hand over the past few weeks.

"We believe that we owe our home crowd a good performance, and that is our biggest drive this weekend - to come out and play some very good rugby," said Davids.

"We enjoy playing with the ball in hand, and I am obviously excited at seeing these guys with the ball in hand. I think the way Louis Schreuder and Lionel Cronje are directing the play at this point in time is very good, and creates opportunities.

"I think with just a bit more better communication and more time with ball in hand, I believe we can strike at any occasion with the pace that we have on the outside.

"It's exciting to see the guys starting to gel and getting a better feel for each other after the past three weeks. Hopefully the ball will stick a bit longer in our hands this weekend."

Previous result:
2013: Kings won 30-27, Melbourne

Prediction: The Kings earned a 30-27 victory in their only previous meeting with the Rebels after the teams were locked at 17-all at the half-time interval. The Kings have conceded 13 tries in their only previous two home games against Australian opposition. The Rebels have earned a win and a draw in their last two Super Rugby fixtures; never before have they gone three games in the competition without loss. The Kings have won 10.6 turnovers per game this season, the only team to average more than 10. Reece Hodge has scored three tries and 50 of the Rebels' 65 points in his last four games for the franchise. It does not happen often, but the Kings go into this game as favourites and we feel they will win by six points.


Southern Kings: 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Wandile Mjekevu, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Luzuko Vulindlu, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Andisa Ntsila, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Justin Forwood.
Replacements: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 19 Mzwanele Zito, 20 Stefaan Willemse, 21 Johan Steyn, 22 Nicolaas Hanekom, 23 Pieter-Steyn de Wet.

Melbourne Rebels: 15 Reece Hodge, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Tom English, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Ben Volavola, 9 Nic Stirzaker (captain), 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga'a, 6 Jake Schatz, 5 Steve Cummins, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Siliva Siliva, 1 Fereti Sa'aga.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Toby Smith, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Will Miller, 21 Hugh Sinclair, 22 Mick Snowden, 23 Jackson Garden-Bachop.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Rodney Boneparte (South Africa)
TMO: Christie du Preez (South Africa)

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

It is a crucial game for both teams - as they chase the one wildcard slot available in the Africa conference.

With just four points separating them, this game could be decisive.

The men from Durban are yet to lose in this fixture, after winning all three previous games between the two sides.

However, the Jaguares have won their last four games on home turf, three of which were against South African opponents.

Sharks coach Robert du Preez has made a number of changes, despite the importance of the match.

"The idea has always been to give the other guys a chance," he said, adding: "I spoke to the guys who didn't start [in the draw with the Rebels last week] and told them they would be getting an opportunity this week.

"It's right to start them and there is very little to choose between the guys on the bench and those who are starting.

"We need to give them a start, it's good for their morale and for their well-being as part of the squad."

Du Preez admitted his team is facing tough odds.

"They [the Jaguares] haven't lost at home this year," the coach said.

"It's going to be a very physical encounter.

"We know that and we know how tough they are at home.

"But having said that, we're going with a very positive mindset.

"We beat them there last year and we want to go there to get the win.

"It's going to require a massive performance from every single Sharks player - from Mo.1 to No.23."
Previous results:
2017: Sharks won 18-13, Durban
2016: Sharks won 25-22, Buenos Aires
2016: Sharks won 19-15, Durban

Prediction: The Sharks have won the three previous meetings between these teams, though each game has been decided by between three and five points. The Jaguares have won their last four games on home turf, three of which were against teams from South Africa; in fact, their last home loss to a South African squad was against the Sharks in Round 12, 2016. A five-point win against the Brumbies in Round Two this season means that the Sharks are aiming for consecutive wins outside of South Africa for the first time since Round 15, 2014. The Sharks have conceded just two tries in the opening quarter of games this campaign, fewer than any other team in the competition. Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias has kicked nine goals so far this season, the most of any player who is yet to miss a single attempt at the sticks. The Jaguares are fancied to win, by nine points.


Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Bautista Ezcurra, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Felipe Ezcurra, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Rodrigo Baez, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Marcos Kremer, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Lucas Noguera.
Replacements: 16 Roberto Tejerizo, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Ignacio Larrague, 20 Benjamin Macome, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Juan Martin Hernández, 23 Matias Moroni.

Sharks: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Johan Deysel.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden (South Africa), Damian Schneider (Argentina)
TMO: Santiago Borsani (Argentina)

Sunday, April 30:

Brumbies v Blues
(GIO Stadium, Canberra - Kick-off: 16.05; 18.05 NZ time; 06.05 GMT)

The Brumbies will be aiming to get their season back on track as they return home, following two tough loses at the hands of the Rebels and Hurricanes.

Rory Arnold insists they need to be "persistent" as look to break that losing streak against the Blues.

It will mean the Brumbies will become the first Australian team to beat a New Zealand team this season.

Arnold admits that it's always a tough ask to beat a New Zealand team, but is adamant that his team has what it takes to get back in the winning circle this Sunday.

"They've just got good skills, they are dangerous when they go to counter attack and have a pretty good set pieces as well," he said in an interview on the Brumbies website.

"We just need to be persistent. We are capable of putting points on we just got to stay confident and back our skills."

The Blues and the Brumbies both have 17 competition points after winning just three of their opening eight games.

Yet the Brumbies sit at the top of the Australian conference whilst the Blues find themselves at the bottom of the New Zealand table - indicative of the cast chasm between the quality of the two trans-Tasman conferences.

With a lot riding on this game, the Brumbies' lock has identified this weekend's clash as one of the biggest games of the season for his franchise.

"It's a massive game for us. We need to bounce back and this weekend is going to be one of our biggest games."

Recent results:
2016: Blues won 40-15, Auckland
2015: Blues won 16-14, Auckland
2014: Brumbies won 26-9, Canberra
2013: Brumbies won 20-13, Auckland
2012: Blues won 30-16, Canberra

Prediction: The Brumbies have won four of their last six home games against the Blues, including a 26-9 win against them when they last met in the ACT in Round Eight, 2014. The side from the Australian capital have lost their last four home games against New Zealand opposition, though; the last and only time they lost more such fixtures was a five-game drought from 1998 to 2000. The Blues have won just four of their last 34 games away from home, though three of those four wins came in Australia. The Brumbies are the most effective tackling team in the competition this season, boasting a tackle success rate of 87 percent. Rieko Ioane scored a hat-trick, gained 144 metres, and laid on a try assist in his last visit to Australia. You know the Blues have a great chance of stretching the New Zealand teams' winning streak over their Australian rivals, but there' this nagging feeling that the Brumbies will sneak a late winner - by three points.


Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Lolo Fakaosilea, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter (captain), 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Aidan Toua.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 George Moala, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Leighton Price, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Melani Nanai.

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ed Martin (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

* Statistics provided by Opta Sports

Mc article george bridge crusaders tackled 800

Bridge stars in Crusaders' unbeaten run

Sat, 29 Apr 2017 06:41

SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Crusaders stretched their winning streak to nine matches with a controversial 48-21 win against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

A controversially disallowed try just before half-time saw a possible one-point gap between the teams at the break had changed to 15 and the home players walked demoralised to the changing rooms.

The Cheetahs believed they scored three minutes before half-time through wing Sergeal Petersen only for the try to be disallowed because of a forward pass.

TMO Johan Greeff said there was "compelling evidence" that prop Retshegofaditswe Nche passed forward to Petersen, but TV replays suggested otherwise. Within two minutes, the Crusaders scored a try to lead 22-7 at half-time at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein.  

The Cheetahs suffered a further blow when lock Armandt Koster was sin-binned four minutes into the second half for a ruck offence.

Tries were scored at regular intervals by the visitors thereafter and they finished with a bonus-point win and four-point lead in the New Zealand conference.

Crusaders captain and lock Sam Whitelock attributed the winning streak this season to hard work on the training ground.

"That is where we lay the foundations for the victories. Honing our skills in training makes it easier for us to perform on matchdays," Whitelock said.

Fullback David Havili, who scored two tries, hailed the pack as the "unsung heroes" of the team from Christchurch.

"Full credit to our forwards for creating the platform. We are enjoying our rugby and there is something special about this group of guys," he stated.

Wing George Bridge (three), flyhalf Richie Mo'unga and substitute scrumhalf Mitchell Drummond were the other try scorers for the visitors. Mo'unga missed only one kick at goal before being benched, slotting five conversions and a penalty.

Wing Raymond Rhule, Nche and Petersen scored tries for the Cheetahs and flyhalf Niel Marais kicked three conversions.

Man of the match: Ryan Crotty was as always in his best form and David Havili proved that he has what is takes to fulfil All Black star Israel Dagg's boots - with his great line-breaks and lethal counter-attack. However, our nod goes to George Bridge - the wing was constantly seeking work and he bagged a hat-trick.  

The Scorers:

For Cheetahs:
Rhule, Nche, Petersen
Cons: Marais 3

For Crusaders:
Havili 2, Bridge 3, Mo'unga, Drummond
Cons: Mo'unga 5
Pen: Mo'unga

Yellow Cards: Armandt Koster (Cheetahs, 43 - repeat offences at the breakdown), Sam Whitelock (Crusaders, 71 - leading with the elbow), Mitchell Hunt (Crusaders, 77 - Not releasing the tackler and sealing the ball)


Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 Nico Lee, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Teboho Mohoje, 6 Uzair Cassiem, 5 Carl Wegner, 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Elandré Huggett, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Niell Jordaan, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Clinton Swart.

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.   
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele.

Referee: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Nic Berry (Australia), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Agence France-Presse

Raymond Rhule (19min), Retshegofaditswe Nche (52min), and Sergeal Petersen (79min)
David Havili (12min), George Bridge (33min), George Bridge (38min), Richie Mo’unga (46min), David Havili (55min), Mitchell Drummond (57min), and George Bridge (68min)
Niel Marais (29min), Niel Marais (53min), and Niel Marais (80min)
Richie Mo’unga (34min), Richie Mo’unga (39min), Richie Mo’unga (47min), Richie Mo’unga (56min), and Richie Mo’unga (58min)
Richie Mo’unga (8min)
Armandt Koster (43min)
Sam Whitelock (71min) and Mitchell Hunt (77min)
VENUE Bloemfontein
REFEREE Federico Anselmi (Argentina)