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Crusaders

FULL-TIME
25     22

Highlanders

Super Rugby | Christchurch
02:35 (GMT) | 03-06-2017
  • 80
Crusaders with ball in hand inside the Highlanders half. They build many phases but without much go forward ball. A absolute stunner of a drop-goal from Mitchell Hunt goes through the middle from 40m out! What a kick, what a kick! , what a kick!!!! Referee blows for Full-time and the number 10 has sealed the game for the Crusaders! Thank you for joining us at Rugby365.com for this match! Be sure to join us for the rest of the Super Rugby matches this weekend.
  • 79
Hunt's penalty is unsuccessful. 22 drop-out Highlanders
  • 78
Funnell finds his jumper at the lineout and the maul is set by the Crusaders. It rumbles forward and the penalty is awarded to the Crusaders . Mitchell Hunt steps up to have a shot at goal and a potential game-breaking penalty kick.
  • 77
Dagg clears the ball up to Sopoaga who returns the favor, but with a dreadful kick that goes into touch on the full. Lineout Crusaders on the halfway line.
  • 76
Mitchell Hunt's penalty attempt is over, 22 all with a couple minutes to play
  • 75
Penalty Crusaders, the option is to have a shot at goal. Hunt steps up to the tee...
  • 74
Crusaders get awarded the short arm penalty, taken quickly by Hall who plays Tamanivalu who makes a good run . Up to the Highlanders 22 the home side go .
  • 73
Aaron Smith feeds the scrum, plays Sopoaga who attacks wide to Buckman. It is judged that a forward pass was thrown by Fekitoa. Scrum down, Crusaders put in.
  • 69
Crusaders with ball in hand on the halfway line before Fekitoa forces the turnover. Aaron Smith hoists the up and under and Bridge fumbles the ball in the air . Scrum down Highlanders put in.
  • 68
Funnell finds his jumper at the lineout before obstruction is called from ref Jackson, penalty Highlanders, a really harsh call against the Crusaders it must be said. Sopoaga kicks for touch from the penalty
  • 67
Hall feeds the scrum, demolition job takes place as the Crusaders win the penalty up front. Hunt kicks for touch. Crusaders lineout inside the Highlanders 22.
  • 65
Unintentional knock down from Tom Franklin results in a scrum put in for the Crusaders close to the halfway line.
  • 64
Grubber put through from Sopoaga pinning Dagg into the left hand corner. He does well to clean the ball up but he doesn't have much support nor space. Hall clears the ball but it slices off the side of his boot. Highlanders lineout outside the Crusaders 22.
  • 62
Crusaders attack from their own line through Goodhue who throws a dodgy offload to Todd who cleans up well. Dagg then clears the ball up field and Naholo runs it back at the home side
  • 60
Highlanders turn the ball over from a loose pass, Fekitoa hacks the ball through, Bridge cleans the ball up for the Saders and Naholo rips the ball off winger. Naholo then offloads to Thompson but its a forward pass and a Crusaders scrum is called. Super game today from Highlanders Fekitoa and Naholo. The difference between the two teams so far.
  • 59
Sopoaga clears the ball and the Crusaders attack through Bridge and then Dagg. Up to the Highlanders 22 the home side go as Crockett has a bustling run followed by fellow front ranker Funnell.
  • 58
Crusaders on the attack inside the Highlanders half, the attack seems to be rather static and easy to defend . Long ball is thrown to Tamanivalu , he is tackled easily into touch. Lineout Highlanders on their own 22.
  • 57
Scrum resets ..
  • 56
Pile up of bodies forces the referee to blow his whistle and call for a Crusaders scrum put-in
  • 55
Crusaders on the attack on the halfway as Taufau, Goodhue and Bridge all have a go. Highlanders defense holds strong.
  • 54
Crusaders with ball in hand on their own 22. Long pass thrown by Goodhue , Naholo smashes Whitelock. Crusaders refusing to put the ball on the boot.
  • 53
Aaron Smith box kicks but the ball goes out on the full. Crusaders lineout just inside their own half
  • 52
Crusaders pinged at the breakdown. Penalty Highlanders, Banks kicks for touch and sets up a lineout on the halfway line.
  • 50
Banks converts the try !
  • 49
Taylor finds his jumper in Romano , Bridge then has a crack off his wing. Taylor throws the long ball and Naholo intercepts the ball runs 80 meters and scores!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 48
Crusaders win the penalty on the halfway, Mounga kicks for touch. Crusaders lineout outside the Highlanders 22.
  • 47
Banks shanks his conversion attempt, very rarely seen from the number 10
  • 46
Fekitoa with a super chip kick put through,Bridge fumbles the ball and Naholo hacks the ball through , pounces on the ball and scores for the Highlanders!
  • 45
Lentjes knocks the ball forward for the Highlanders. Scrum Crusaders just outside their own 22.
  • 44
Taylor finds his jumper in Whitelock. Mounga then clears the ball into touch. Lineout Highlanders on the 10 meter line inside Crusaders territory. Naholo has a run midfield then Fekitoa once again. Banks then clears the ball up field and Bridge cleans the ball up at the back.
  • 43
Interception from Rob Thompson, he gets taken down 5 meters from the line then offloads to Aaron Smith who crosses the line in the corner. TMO in action... It is judged that Thompson's foot went into touch. Crusaders lineout 5 meters from their own line.
  • 42
Mounga clears the ball and Naholo runs it back at the Crusaders. Banks and Fekitoa have a go , up to the Crusaders 22 the Highlanders go before Tokolahi knocks the ball on. Scrum down , Crusaders put in.
  • 41
Second half underway, Banks kicks off

Half Time

  • 40
Crusaders opt to run it out from deep once again. Owen Franks then loses the ball and the Highlanders get the scrum put in. Whitelock, Fekitoa, ,Coltman all have a go before the ball is lost forward and the ref blows for halftime. See you all in a bit for the second half
  • 39
Mounga converts the try
  • 38
Crusaders opting to run the ball from deep inside their own half , often getting them into a bit of trouble. Drummond finally opts to clear the ball. Highlanders then lose the ball, the Crusaders attack through Goodhue he plays Bedwell-Curtis who crosses the line for a super try!
  • 36
Marty Banks lands the penalty for the Highlanders . 2 point ball game.
  • 34
Banks with the grubber kick , cleaned up by Bridge. Crusaders opt to attack from their own 22 before Crotty is penalized for holding onto the ball just outside their own 22. The option is to have a shot at goal, money in the bank, Marty Banks steps up...
  • 33
Highlanders penalty as Havili is penalized for playing the ball on the ground. Banks kicks for touch.
  • 32
Crusaders scrum on the Highlanders 22 as Ben Smith is held up in the tackle.
  • 31
Banks converts the try! What a game we have on our hands here
  • 30
Great pass from Banks puts Ben Smith into space he draws Tamanivalu and plays the barracuda, Richard Buckman in for a well deserved try!!!
  • 29
Highlanders scrum inside the Crusaders 22
  • 28
Chip from Mounga, Fekitoa cleans up the ball then makes a inspirational run which breaks the Crusaders line. He makes 30 meters with a great run. Into the Crusaders 22 the Highlanders go.
  • 27
Highlanders on the attack as Luke Whitelock gets absolutely hammered by Romano, Ben Smith has a go next but the Crusaders defense just wont crack. Taylor forces the Highlanders player to hold on and wins the Crusaders a penalty on their own goal line. Mounga kicks for touch.
  • 25
Highlanders opt to set a 5 meter scrum from the penalty.
  • 24
Highlanders win another penalty and this time Bedwell-Curtis gets a yellow card
  • 23
Coltman finds his jumper then the Highlanders attack through Fekitoa and then Naholo. Crusaders defending extremely well it must be said
  • 22
Crusaders attack up to the halfway line before the Highlanders win the penalty . Banks kicks for touch to set up a lineout inside the Crusaders 22 .
  • 21
Inside the Crusaders 22 the Highlanders go before there is a loose pass by Thompson , Bridge then cleans it up for the Crusaders.
  • 20
Highlanders win the penalty on the halfway line for Owen Franks being penalized for obstructive play. Banks kicks for touch to set up the lineout outside the Crusaders 22.
  • 19
Naholo has a run off his wing, great wok from Matt Todd forces the penalty for the Crusaders. Mounga kicks for touch.
  • 18
Highlanders win the penalty , the option is to reject the three points and set up a lineout inside the Crusaders 22.
  • 17
Faddes attempts the chip cleaned up by the Crusaders. Taufau then throws a loose pass that rolls into touch. Highlanders lineout just outside the Crusaders 22.
  • 16
Naholo makes a run from the Highlanders but is wrapped up quickly. Fekitoa then has a bash but the Crusaders defense holds strong.
  • 15
Mounga fails to add the extras
  • 14
Crotty breaks the line for the Crusaders, desperate tackle is made from Naholo, Goodhue throws the long ball to Tamanivalu who crosses the line in the corner. Great try!
  • 12
Todd breaks the Highlanders line and makes 30 meters, up to the Highlanders 22 the Crusaders go. Super play from the All Black flank. Highlanders then turn the ball over and Ben Smith clears the ball into touch.
  • 11
Simple error as Aaron Smith knocks the ball on at the base of the scrum. Crusaders scrum...
  • 10
Crusaders turn the ball over once again inside their own 22. Havili has a run from his own 22 refusing the option of simply clearing the ball, it proves to be a poor decision as he coughs up the ball. Scrum Highlanders just outside the Crusaders 22.
  • 9
Drummond hoists the up and under , great work in the air from Faddes in the air before Taufau is penalized and the Highlanders win the penalty. Banks kicks for touch. Lineout Highlanders outside the Crusaders 22.
  • 8
Tokolahi penalized at the breakdown. Crusaders penalty. Mounga fails to find touch and Banks pumps the ball into touch. Lineout Crusaders on the 10 meter line inside their own territory.
  • 6
Highlanders 5 meters from the Crusaders line . Coltman has a go then Leinert-Brown who gets the ball stripped off him, Crusaders attack wide through Tamanivalu who breaks the line then loses the ball forward.
  • 5
Banks puts Lentjes into the gap, the flank makes 30 meters with a great run. Next wave of attack sees Faddes put through a grubber that rolls dead. From the 22 dropout, Mounga kicks the ball out on the full, scrum on the Crusaders 22, Highlanders put in....Dangerous position
  • 4
Mounga converts the try
  • 3
Crusaders continue to attack the Highlanders line, Drummond with the show and go.... and.... he over for the TRY!
  • 2
Fekitoa gives away a penalty in the early exchanges, from the penalty Mounga kicks for touch and its a Crusaders lineout inside the Highlanders 22. Taylor finds his jumper and Bridge has a bash before Todd makes a mini break. Crusaders just 5 meters from the Highlanders line.
  • 1
First half underway , Mounga kicks off for the Crusaders
  • -3
Almost time for kick off, this match should be a cracker
  • -5
Each of the last four games between the two have been decided by margins of eight points or fewer, with both teams sharing two wins apiece in that run. Crusaders have won their last 13 matches, only the Crusaders themselves have gone on a longer winning run in Super Rugby (twice), last doing so in 2006 when they set the Super Rugby record of 16 consecutive victories. However, the Highlanders come into this game on the back of a nine match winning run, their best such run in Super Rugby.
  • -10
The Crusaders have won seven of the last nine meetings between these sides, however the Highlanders two victories in that run both came in the last three meetings between the sides. The Highlanders won the last time they faced Crusaders away from home, however they've never won consecutive away games against the side from Christchurch.
  • -15
When they last met 13 weeks ago the Crusaders piled on 24 points in the final 25 minutes to pull off a dramatic 30-27 victory.
  • -20
With several injured players, including captain Kieran Read, in a race against time to be fit for the first Test against the British and Irish Lions in three weeks, Hansen can ill-afford any more carnage despite New Zealand derbies being renowned for their physicality.But the Highlanders have a score to settle with the Crusaders and will not hold back.
  • -25
The Crusaders, led by Sam Whitelock, are under pressure to keep their unbeaten record and stay ahead of the Lions at the top of the table.The Highlanders, captained by younger brother Luke Whitelock, need the win to have any chance of overtaking the Hurricanes, who are second in the New Zealand conference.
  • -30
Welcome to this Super Rugby clash between the Crusaders and the Highlanders coming to you from Christchurch, New Zealand
Mc crusaders logo 80x50
Crusaders
Mc highlanders logo 80x50
Highlanders
START LINE UP
  • 1 Joe Moody
  • 2 Codie Taylor
  • 3 Owen Franks
  • 4 Luke Romano
  • 5 Sam Whitelock
  • 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis
  • 7 Matt Todd
  • 8 Jordan Taufua
  • 9 Mitchell Drummond
  • 10 Richie Mo’unga
  • 11 George Bridge
  • 12 Ryan Crotty
  • 13 Jack Goodhue
  • 14 Seta Tamanivalu
  • 15 David Havili
RESERVES
  • 16 Ben Funnell
  • 17 Wyatt Crockett
  • 18 Michael Alaalatoa
  • 19 Quinten Strange
  • 20 Jed Brown
  • 21 Bryn Hall
  • 22 Mitchell Hunt
  • 23 Israel Dagg
START LINE UP
  • 1 Daniel Leinert-Brown
  • 2 Liam Coltman
  • 3 Siate Tokolahi
  • 4 Alex Ainley
  • 5 Tom Franklin
  • 6 Gareth Evans
  • 7 James Lentjes
  • 8 Luke Whitelock
  • 9 Aaron Smith
  • 10 Marty Banks
  • 11 Richard Buckman
  • 12 Rob Thompson
  • 13 Malakai Fekitoa
  • 14 Waisake Naholo
  • 15 Ben Smith
RESERVES
  • 16 Ash Dixon
  • 17 Aki Seiulu
  • 18 Siua Halanukonuka
  • 19 Joe Wheeler
  • 20 Elliot Dixon
  • 21 Kayne Hammington
  • 22 Lima Sopoaga
  • 23 Matt Faddes
Mc article tana umaga blues h s 800

SR Preview: Round 15, Part One

Thu, 01 Jun 2017 12:59

IN THE SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: It is a weekly refrain: Can anybody stop the marauding Crusaders?

This week - in a split round that sees only New Zealand and Australian teams in action - the Highlanders get a crack

A no-holds barred showdown is expected when Crusaders defend their unbeaten record in a grudge match against the Highlanders on Saturday.

The Highlanders are themselves on a hot streak, a nine-game victory run.

The Highlanders have a score to settle with the Crusaders and will not hold back.

When they last met 13 weeks ago the Crusaders piled on 24 points in the final 25 minutes to pull off a dramatic 30-27 victory.

Only Australian and New Zealand teams are involved this weekend, as Super Rugby winds down for the June international season.

Teams in the African conferences - including the Lions, who are the Crusaders' nearest rivals to top the overall competition - are sitting out the round as the Springboks prepare for their Test series against France.

Only the Chiefs and Hurricanes play next week, with the competition to resume on June 30 - when the South African sides complete Round 15 and the Australian and New Zealand teams return over the following two weeks.

The Hurricanes travel to Perth to face the Western Force on Saturday, before a tough close to the regular season when they play the Chiefs next weekend and the Crusaders after the June break.

The Brumbies, with three games to play and nine points clear of the Waratahs in the Australian conference, are at home to the hapless Melbourne Rebels, while the Waratahs cross the Tasman to play the Chiefs.

Sonny Bill Williams, another All Black under an injury cloud with a knee issue, will miss the Blues match against the Reds when Super Rugby makes its debut in Samoa on Friday.

In Part One of the preview we look at this weekend's matches!

Friday, June 2:

Blues v Reds
(Apia Park, Apia - Kick-off: 20.35; 19.35 NZ time; 17.35 AEST; 07.35 GMT)

With both teams effectively out of the play-off running, this game is all about the historical appeal - the first-ever Super Rugby encounter in Samoa.

With a big Samoan heritage, including Blues coach Tana Umaga, the talk all week has been about the venue - rather than the quality of the two teams.

The Blues coach, Umaga, admitted the Polynesian factor is the 'main attraction'.

"It is a home game for us and we are going over there with that mindset," Umaga said about his team's trip to Apia.

"We have a lot of connections as a franchise with Samoa, obviously with myself being Samoan," he added.

"It is important for us to respect that with a strong performance.

"It means a great deal to go back there.

"We want to make sure we do it right, because it is good taking something back to the [Pacific] Islands.

"We have two games left in the Super Rugby season and we desperately want to continue our progression."

Reds captain Samoa Kerevi admitted that the Polynesian boys are "bursting at the seems" to get going and play in this historic match.

However, they also hope to become the first Australian to beat a New Zealand side this year.

It will be a tall order, a fact acknowledged by Reds coach Nick Stiles.

We know the strength of the New Zealand conference," Stiles said.

"It has been an exceptionally difficult year for all the Australian sides.

"We know that against New Zealand sides 79 minutes won't do it, you have to play for the full 80 minutes."

For the Blues it is all about the venue.

Blues lock Patrick Tuipulotu, whose family migrated yo New Zealand few years ago, said to "go back home and give back" is great.

"You see a lot of Polynesian boys play for top teams like the All Blacks and other teams around the world and we want to give back to [to the Island nation," said the lock, whose father has chieftain status in Samoa.

Recent results:
2016: Blues and Reds drew 25-all, Brisbane
2014: Blues won 44-14, Auckland
2013: Reds won 12-11, Brisbane
2012: Reds won 23-11, Auckland
2011: Reds won 30-13, Brisbane (semifinal)

Prediction: The Blues are unbeaten in their last two games against the Reds, this after enduring their worst losing streak against the Queensland side immediately before that run (four consecutive defeats). The Blues will be hosting the Reds for the first time since 2014; the Auckland based side have lost just two of their nine Super Rugby matches at home to the Reds. The Blues have won their last 11 designated home games against sides from outside of New Zealand, including six wins against Australian opposition in that run. The Reds won their last away game and now have the opportunity to win consecutive away matches for the first time since winning three on the bounce in 2013, a run that included two wins against New Zealand opposition. The Queenslanders have scored four-plus tries in four of their last five matches, more than they had done in their previous 24 games (three times). The Reds will think they have a chance, but that will only become a reality if the Blues have a bad day. The Blues should win by 12 points.

Teams:

Blues: 15 Melani Nanai,14 Declan O'Donnell, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 Tinoai Faiane, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons (captain),
1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Hame Faiva, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 19 Akira Ioane, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Stephen Perofeta, 23 Jordan Trainor.

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

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Will Houston (New Zealand), Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)

Saturday, June 3:

Crusaders v Highlanders
(AMI Stadium, Christchurch - Kick-off: 14.35; 02.35 GMT)

The Crusaders, led by Sam Whitelock, are under pressure to keep their unbeaten record and stay ahead of the Lions at the top of the table.

The Highlanders, captained by younger brother Luke Whitelock, need the win to have any chance of overtaking the Hurricanes, who are second in the New Zealand conference.

Like most New Zealand derbies, this South Island derby could get brutal.

"Both teams are going to go hell for leather and throw the ball around and be really physical. It's going to be an intense match," warned Highlanders coach Tony Brown, a prediction that will send chills down the spine of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen.

With several injured players, including captain Kieran Read, in a race against time to be fit for the first Test against the British and Irish Lions in three weeks, Hansen can ill-afford any more carnage despite New Zealand derbies being renowned for their physicality.

But the Highlanders have a score to settle with the Crusaders and will not hold back.

When they last met 13 weeks ago the Crusaders piled on 24 points in the final 25 minutes to pull off a dramatic 30-27 victory.

The meltdown still haunts the Highlanders, who say it is payback time.

"You prepare every game to win so if you call that payback, then so be it," Highlanders assistant coach Mark Hammett said.

"It was a tough one to swallow last time."

Recent results:
2017: Crusaders won 30-27, Dunedin
2016: Highlanders won 34-26, Dunedin
2015: Highlanders won 25-20, Christchurch
2015: Crusaders won 26-20, Dunedin
2014: Crusaders won 34-8, Christchurch
2014: Crusaders won 32-30

Prediction: The Crusaders have won seven of the last nine meetings between these sides, however the Highlanders two victories in that run both came in the last three meetings between the sides. The Highlanders won the last time they faced Crusaders away from home, however they've never won consecutive away games against the side from Christchurch. Each of the last four games between the two have been decided by margins of eight points or fewer, with both teams sharing two wins apiece in that run. Crusaders have won their last 13 matches, only the Crusaders themselves have gone on a longer winning run in Super Rugby (twice), last doing so in 2006 when they set the Super Rugby record of 16 consecutive victories. However, the Highlanders come into this game on the back of a nine match winning run, their best such run in Super Rugby. The Highlanders will run them close, but we feel the Crusaders will remain unbeaten - with a winning margin of five points.

Teams:

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.  
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Israel Dagg.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Richard Buckman, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Matt Faddes.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: James Doleman (New Zealand), Michael Winter (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Chiefs v Waratahs
(FMG Stadium, Hamilton - Kick-off: 17.05; 15.05 AEST; 05.05 GMT)

The Chiefs know that with just three matches remaining, they can afford any slip-ups.

Last week's draw with the Blues left them vulnerable in the play-off race.

However, Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said his team has not been performing badly and had a few things gone their way, they could even have knocked over the Crusaders - which was a 24-31 loss in Round 13.

"[It just requires] some simple shifts we can make this weekend, that will make a difference," he said.

"We lost the penalty count four to 11 [in the 16-all draw with the Blues last week]. Four of those were 50-50 [calls], but seven were silly [penalties].

"We have to take the referee out of the game."

He described the Waratahs as a "pretty good side" and pointed out they gave scored 16 tries in their four games against New Zealand teams this season.

"We will have to be a lot better [than last week], especially defensively."

Waratahs and Wallaby flyhalf Bernard Foley believes the right mind-set is what will turn the Waratahs from a struggling outfit (just four wins in eight starts) into an effective unit that can knock over the Chiefs and end Australian franchises' lengthy losing streak to their Kiwi counterparts.

The Waratahs went down to the Highlanders last week and according to Foley that loss has contributed to their fiery preparation for their encounter with the Chiefs this weekend.

"We were so disappointed with last week's result," said Foley.

"Knowing how well we competed for that first 40 minutes and how we were able to score tries in that second half, yet we weren't able to maintain [the lead].

"That probably inspired or fuelled a lot more guys [for the coming weekend].

"We've been trying to unleash our potential, what we can achieve, how we can get better and as we've seen, we can do it in patches but it's about trying to get that 80 minute performance."

Recent results:
2016: Waratahs won 45-25, Sydney
2014: Waratahs won 33-17, New Plymouth
2013: Waratahs won 25-20, Sydney
2012: Chiefs won 30-13, Hamilton
2011: Waratahs won 23-16, Sydney

Prediction: The Waratahs have won six of the last seven meetings between these sides including each of the last three in a row. The Waratahs' six victories in that run have come by an average margin of 13 points, including a 27-point win in Waikato in 2010, the Tahs' biggest win in New Zealand, and the Chiefs third heaviest home defeat. Despite losing the last time the Chiefs hosted the Waratahs, they've won four of their last six home games against the New South Wales side and haven't lost consecutive home matches against them since 2002. The Chiefs lost their last home game (v Crusaders), but haven't lost back to back home matches in a single season since 2011. The Waratahs have lost their last four games in New Zealand, three of those defeats coming by 10-plus points. The Chiefs are in an angry mood and the Waratahs may well be on the receiving end of a big backlash. The Chiefs to win by at least 15 points.

Teams:

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Stephen Donald, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (co-captain), 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Mitchell Brown, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Siegfried Fisi'ihoi, 18 Atu Moli, 19 Taleni Seu, 20 Mitchell Karpik, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22  Tim Nanai-Williams, 23 Solomon Alaimalo.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Cameron Clarke, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Angus Ta'avao, 19 David McDuling, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Jack Dempsey, 22 Matt Lucas, 23  Bryce Hegarty.

Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Richard Kelly (New Zealand), Mike Lash (New Zealand)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

Brumbies v Rebels
(GIO Stadium, Canberra - Kick-off: 19.45; 09.45 GMT)

The Brumbies could effectively secure top spot in the Australian conference and book their place in the play-offs.

However, Brumbies wing Henry Speight insists the side will be switched on when they host the Rebels.

The ACT side are coming off an impressive tour of South Africa and Argentina, bringing home with them nine points from a possible 10.

In playing the Rebels, they face a side rooted to the bottom of the conference and with a decision over the future looming over them.

However, their only previous win came against the Brumbies in Melbourne and Speight said the side was wary of playing against a fired-up opposition.

"They're always dangerous," Speight said in an interview on the Brumbies website.

"The last time we played them they hadn't won a game and there was lot of emotion. We need to make sure we nail this game before going into the June break."

The Rebels match-up will serve as the Brumbies' last home game of the regular season with trips to Brisbane and Hamilton lying in wait after the June Test matches.

For Speight though the attention will turn to the international side of things after being once again named in the Wallabies squad.

The powerful wing has enjoyed another strong season, scoring seven tries and earning 15 line breaks so far.

In typically humble fashion Speight played down his own form, saying his teammates deserve the credit for his impressive figures.

"I think a lot of that [personal form] comes down to how the team is playing this year and the confidence that we are showing in each other.

"I was pretty happy, very happy actually.

"At the start of the year I was just focused on giving my all for the Brumbies and enjoying my footy. Last night when it [the call-up] came through it felt like all that hard work had come to fruition."

Recent results:
2017: Rebels won 19-17, Melbourne
2016: Brumbies won 30-22, Melbourne
2015: Rebels won 13-8, Canberra
2015: Brumbies won 20-15, Melbourne
2014: Brumbies won 37-10, Canberra
2014: Rebels won 32-24, Melbourne

Prediction: The Rebels won the Round 8 clash between these sides earlier this season, however they've never won consecutive games against the Canberra outfit, losing eight of their 12 encounters overall. The Rebels have lost their last five matches; the last time they endured more consecutive defeats was a run of 12 losses from 2011 to 2012. The Brumbies have lost their last two home games; they've not lost three on the bounce at home since 2011. The Rebels have been held tryless in three of their last five games away from home, though they've scored a total of 16 tries in their last five away games within Australia. Henry Speight has scored three tries in his last two games against the Rebels, including a brace when these teams last met in Round 8 this season. The Brumbies will be in a merciless mood and should win by 20 points.

Teams:

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Aidan Toua, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 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 Faalelei Sione, 18 Leslie Leulua'Iali'I-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Andrew Muirhead, 23 Nigel Ah Wong.

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 Hugh Sinclair, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Steve Cummins, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 James Hanson, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Laurie Weeks, 19 Culum Retallick, 20 Will Miller, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Jonah Placid.

Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy (Australia), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

Western Force v Hurricanes
(nib Stadium, Perth - Kick-off: 19.55; 23.55 NZ time; 11.55 GMT)

While the Hurricanes are desperate to keep alive their slim hopes of catching the table-topping Crusaders, the Western Force continue to fight with the dark cloud of Super Rugby exile hovering over them.

The Hurricanes, with a game in hand, are 11 points behind the Crusaders.

It does mean they will rely on somebody else to know over the seven-time champions.

If that happens the Hurricanes cane overtake the Crusaders when the two sides meet in Round 17.

The Canes were given a healthy boost - with Beauden Barrett, Ardie Savea, Nehe Milner-Skudder and Mark Abbott all in the squad to meet the Force.

Barrett, Savea and Abbott have all shaken off concussion symptoms, while Milner-Skudder will come off the bench for his first Super Rugby appearance since fracturing bones in his right foot back on March 10.

Western Force coach Dave Wessels said his team - rather than trembling with fear - is looking forward to taking on the Hurricanes.

"Our biggest challenge is to learn how to back-up performances," he said of last week's win over the Reds.

"We didn't play well in our last home game. It's important that we address that this weekend.

"We want to play the way the people of Western Australia will be proud of."

Wessels saw some reward for his team - despite having won just four wins from 12 starts this season.

The Force have four men in the Wallabies squad for the June Test window.

Wessels said that it's a testament to Richard Hardwick, Adam Coleman, Dane Haylett-Petty and Tatafu Polota-Nau, who have worked hard for the Force this season and Wallaby selection is just reward for their efforts.

"We're delighted for the guys who've been selected," he said.

"There's no greater honour than to get the opportunity to represent your country.

"I also know that we have a number of other players who are very close to selection, which is fantastic! One of our goals is to grow the number of Test players in our group."

Recent results:
2016: Hurricanes won 41-6, Palmerston North
2015: Hurricanes won 42-13, Perth
2013: Hurricanes won 22-16, Wellington
2012: Hurricanes won 46-19, Perth
2011: Hurricanes won 34-28, Palmerston North

Prediction: The Hurricanes have won nine of the 10 games between these sides, including the last eight in a row by an average margin of 17.5 points. The Force have lost their last seven games when hosting New Zealand opposition, including a record home defeat in their last match in Perth (49 points v Highlanders). The Hurricanes have won their last 12 games in a row against non-New Zealand opposition, with those victories coming by an average margin of 30.5 points. The Hurricanes have conceded just one try this season after their opposition forced a turnover, fewer than any other team in the competition. Marcel Brache has scored in each of his last two games for the Force, though each of his five career Super Rugby tries have come when playing away from home. It is not a case of 'if', but rather by how much the Hurricanes will win by. We feel it will be 25 points - if not more.

Teams:

Western Force: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 James Verity-Amm, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Heath Tessmann, 1 Francois van Wyk.
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Pek Cowan, 18 Tetera Faulkner, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Mitchell Short, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Marcel Brache.

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara (captain), 8 Brad Shields, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Vaea Fifita, 4 Sam Lousi, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Loni Uhila.    
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Graham Cooper (Australia), Jordan Way (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)

Compiled by Jan de Koning
@king365ed
@rugby365com

* Statistics provided by Opta Sports & sportguru.info

Mc article crusaders v highlanders 2017 800

Hunt's magical drop goal sinks Highlanders

Sat, 03 Jun 2017 02:30

SUPER RUGBY REPORT: A magical drop goal by Mitchell Hunt after the full-time hooter sounded gave the Crusaders a thrilling 25-22 win over the Highlanders in Christchurch.

It was the second heart-break finish for the Highlanders against the only unbeaten side in the competition after the Crusaders produced a stunning fightback to turn a 6-27 deficit into a 30-27 victory when they met in Round Two. 

This time the Highlanders were up 22-19 with four minutes to go after a pair of Waisake Naholo tries early in the second half lifted them from a 10-19 deficit at the turn. 

But in the fallout from the frenetic, physical battle, key All Blacks Ben Smith and Ryan Crotty were injured and unable to play out the game. 

Three weeks out from the first Test against the British and Irish Lions, Highlanders fullback Ben Smith failed a concussion test and influential centre Ryan Crotty of Crusaders left the field with rib damage.

As they watched on from the sideline, the Highlanders looked to have laid their early season meltdown to rest until Crusaders replacement flyhalf Hunt took the field.

With four minutes remaining he landed one penalty to tie the scores. When he missed a another shot the referee said there were only 10 seconds remaining. 

Crusaders forwards fielded the restart and drove their way up field, making a metre at a time for nearly three minutes after the final hooter until Hunt banked over the match-winning drop goal. 

Hunt said the tiring pack really gave him no choice. 

"Wyatt Crockett turned around and said 'do something with it' and there's wasn't anything else I could do," he said, admitting he was surprised the kick went over. 

"For a short player I can hardly punt it that far so I was pretty lucky with that kick."

It was the Crusaders' 14th consecutive victory, breaking the previous Super Rugby record of 13 set by the 2002 edition of the Crusaders.

The Highlanders, with their nine-match winning streak coming to an end, now almost certainly face a lengthy journey to South Africa. 

The Crusaders started at a relentless pace, with the first try on the board after three minutes by Mitchell Drummond before Crotty put Seta Tamanivalu away for the second for a 12-0 lead after 15 minutes. 

But when Crusaders flank Heiden Bedwell Curtis was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate foul, the Highlanders bounced back with a try to Richard Buckman and a conversion and penalty by Marty Banks while they had a one-man advantage. 

Bedwell-Curtis marked his return to the field with a try for the Crusaders to hold a 19-10 at half-time. 

The game turned in the space of five minutes after the resumption with Naholo's double and the game became an arm wrestle until Hunt's heroics at the close.

Man of the match: Samuel Whitelock had another industrious performance up front, while Ryan Crotty's skills shone in the backline. Waisake Naholo's two tries gave the Crusaders some headaches. However, the award goes to Crusaders centre Jack Goodhue for his impressive showing on defence and creating one of his team's tries.

The scorers:

For Crusaders:
Tries: Drummond, Tamanivalu, Bedwell-Curtis
Cons: Mo'unga 2
Pen: Hunt
DG: Hunt

For Highlanders:
Tries: Buckman, Naholo 2
Cons: Banks 2
Pen: Banks

Yellow card: Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (Crusaders, 25 - deliberate foul)

Teams:

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.  
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Jed Brown, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Israel Dagg.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Richard Buckman, 10 Marty Banks, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Gareth Evans, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosuia Halanukonuka, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Matt Faddes.

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: James Doleman (New Zealand), Michael Winter (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

AFP

 

Mitchell Drummond (3min), Seta Tamanivalu (14min), and Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (38min)
TRIES
Richard Buckman (30min), Waisake Naholo (46min), and Waisake Naholo (49min)
Richie Mo’unga (4min) and Richie Mo’unga (39min)
CONVERSIONS
Marty Banks (31min) and Marty Banks (50min)
Mitchell Hunt (76min)
PENALTIES
Marty Banks (36min)
 
PENALTY TRIES
Mitchell Hunt (80min)
DROP GOALS
Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (24min)
 
 
VENUE Christchurch
REFEREE Glen Jackson (New Zealand)