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Super Rugby | Johannesburg
15:00 (GMT) | 10-03-2018
  • 80
Stephen Perofeta adds the extras for the win!
  • 79
The Blues have the scrum feed Michael Collins can sniff the try line but he is tackled just short of the paint - however, the ball is still available for the visitors. They recycle the ball and Murphy Taramai steams over the line
  • 78
Aphiwe Dyantyi lunges desperately at the ball that is bobbling around inside the in-goal area - the on-field decision is a try however the video replay shows the winger did not have control of the ball.
  • 76
Stephen Perofeta adds the extras
  • 75
The Blues will simply not go away! Jimmy Tupou cannot be stopped from close range and he smashes his way over the line to drag the visitors back within a converted try - what a finish in Johannesburg!!!!
  • 73
Jantjies converts!!
  • 72
Maul is set and the Lions drive and they rumble forward as Marx breaks away and is just short and Dylan Smith is over for the TRY!!
  • 70
Dyanti's kick comes off the side of the boot and the Blues take it quickly as they look to strike the lead but Marx is over the ball and win the penalty for the Lions and Jantjies finds a great touch from 10m's out!
  • 69
Perofeta converts!! Game on!!
  • 68
Blues up the tempo and after some sloppy play again Ioane goes over for his second of the TRY of the GAME!!
  • 65
Blues attacking from inside their own half and they work it up to halfway!!
  • 64
Lions scrum after some sloppy play from both sides on the Lions 10 line.
  • 63
Conversion is good!
  • 62
Ruru takes and goes on a run and the Blues look to score as they are centimetres short and the long ball to Rieko Ioane sees him go over in the corner for the TRY!!
  • 60
Blues get a good ball off the scrum and straight into attack mode and they get a penalty as Smith is penalized at the breakdown and the Blues opt for a scrum 5ms from the Lions line.
  • 58
Lions on the counter but the pass went forward and the fans through the Lions have scored but they have to come back for the scrum!
  • 57
Blues lineout inside the Lions half and they set it up in midfield as they attack as Ioane bumps off a few defenders but they fail to get over the advantage line but Ioane makes a good break and the Blues are in the Lions 22 and 5ms out but the ball is lost and the Lions look to run it out!!
  • 56
Jantjies converts!!
  • 54
Scrum to the Lions on their 10m line 15ms in from touch and the Lions win the Ball as Cronje makes a good break and Parsons turn it over for the Blues and it is very sloppy from them as they fail to get over the advantage line and Dyanti intercepts a pass and scores the TRY!!!!
  • 52
Missed again and the Blues make life tough for themselves at the moment. Duffie takes the restart of Jantjies and the Blues go on the attack again and Akira Ioane throws a speculative offload into touch!
  • 50
Andries Coetzee gains some valuable ground as he steps a few defenders and the Lions look to strike again but the Blues win the breakdown turnover and Gatland points to the posts for a 50m penalty kick!
  • 47
Cronje feeds and this time the Blues get the penalty at the scrum!!
  • 46
Free kick to the Lions at the scrum and the long ball to Dyannti is knocked on and the Blues almost capitalize and they will have an attacking scrum in the Lions half.
  • 44
Gatland kicks across and Coetzee has it covered but then it is lost and the Blues are on the attack 5ms out and a loose pass sees Mostert kick it ahead and the Blues have to start from halfway and then it is lost so they come back for the scrum.
  • 42
Cross kick from Gatland and it is gathered by Duffie but then he runs into touch! Marx finds Mostert but referee brings them back as the throw wasn't straight and the Blues opt for the scrum.
  • 41
Second half underway through Gatland and Dyanti takes it as Jantjies clears up to Duffie and the Blues are on the attack inside the Lions half

Half Time

  • 40
Gatland converts and that will be halftime!! See you back for the second half!!
  • 39
Lions look to run it from their 22 and the Blues turn it over and Akira Ioane breaks away and scores the TRY for the Blues!!
  • 38
Jantjies converts his own TRY!!
  • 36
Cronje feeds again and he gives it to Janse van Rensburg as the referee calls an advantage but they won't need it as Jantjies crashes over for the TRY!!!!
  • 34
Power shove by the Lions and they win the penalty!!
  • 33
Mostert takes and the maul is set ass they drive forward to the Blues line and the Blues collapse it but illegally so and the ball is held up as they come back for the penalty and the Lions call the scrum from 5ms out!!
  • 32
Cronje feeds the scrum and the Blues get a good shove on but the Lions get the ball back and the win the penalty for kicking the ball in the ruck and Jantjies with a magnificent kick finds touch 5ms from the Blues line!!
  • 30
Blues win the scrum and Gatland finds a great touch just inside the Lions 22. Orie takes it and they set it up for Jantjies who clears to just inside his half.
  • 28
Lions win the lineout through Mostert just inside their half and they go on a run and the pass to Coetzee is knocked on and the Blues have scrum just outside their 10m line as the first reset is called again
  • 26
Williams breaks the line and offloads but the ball doesn't go to hand but the Blues keep possession and they are back on the attack about 8ms from the Lions line and it is that man Malcom Marx who win the breakdown penalty again!!
  • 23
Blues run it out of their 22 and work it up to halfway as they build some momentum in attack but the Lions defence holds out well so far and then Manu knocks it on and Janse van Rensburg scoops it upas they play it wide and then Mahua knocks on! Scrum Blues inside the Lions half
  • 21
Gatland lineup the penalty kick to get the Blues on the board and it is good!
  • 20
Great Lions scrum but the Blues get away with possession as they work their way into the Lions 22 as a long pass by Williams sees Nanai makes a break and the Blues are 8ms out from the Lions line as referee signals an advantage as they come back for it as Marx didn't support his own bodyweight at the breakdown
  • 18
Scrum to the Blue as the Lions attack was stopped by a knock by Whiteley and then a bit of sloppy play as the ball is stripped in the tackle but then lost forward and the Blues have another scrum.
  • 16
Conversion is good by Jantjies!
  • 16
Blues on the attack and throws a loose offload which is intercepted and Jantjies makes a break and sends it down the wing to Rohan Janse van Rensburg and he scores the TRY!!
  • 15
Marx throes in and taken by Ferreira and Mahuza makes a good break as the Lions get their attack on as they link well between forwards and backs and they find themselves 5m's out but the Blues win the turnover and Dyanti gathers it at the back as they start again!!
  • 13
Kaino takes the ball and sends it back to Parsons but he is tackled and they go wide before Williams kicks through but Dyanti have it covered and the Lions take the 22m drop out quickly and Nanai kicks back and finds touch on halfway
  • 12
Blues win the lineout and Gatland gets a good long ball away and Collins get them to 8mss out and now the Blues are attacking 5ms from the Lions line and it is sloppy as the ball is loose, but they come back for an offside penalty against Lionel Mapoe Blues go for the corner again
  • 10
Parsons with the throw and the ball is stolen at the lineout as Mapoe makes a good half break and they play it back to the blindside as Whiteley kicks and chase but the ball goes into touch!
  • 9
Cronje feeds the scrum and its solid from both sides as they get it out and Jantjies clears to just over halfway! Lineout to the Blues
  • 7
Blues attacking in the Lions half and wins a penalty at the breakdown as Gatland go for touch 8ms out from the Lions line as Kaino takes and sets the maul and they drive forward up to the 5m line before being told to use it and they fail to do so and the ball is turned over, 5m defensive scrum to the Lions.
  • 5
Blue attacking but they lose momentum due to loose pass but keeps possession before Gatland kicks deep and finds Coetzee and then Cronje finds a good touch on halfway
  • 3
Jantjies converts!!
  • 2
Cronje feeds and the Blues get a good shove on but the Lions get the penalty and Conje taps and gives a long ball to Mahuza who runs in at the corner for the TRY!!
  • 1
Early touch for Kaino and they look to run it out their 22 and Sonny Bill Williams spills it and the Lions have a good attacking scrum inside the Blues 22!!
  • 0
Nicholas Berry blows his whistle and it is Elton Jantjies who gets us underway!!
  • -15
Despite not getting the wins, the Blues have come close to getting the results and if the Lions are not careful this Blues backline could cause havoc for the Lions defenders
  • -20
The Blues are yet to win a game and haven’t been very successful on their trips to South Africa in recent years so they will look to rectify that and also get their season on track
  • -25
The Lions haven’t always had it all their way so far in the competition but got good wins so far and lead the SA conference and this will be their toughest assignment yet to date in the 2018 competition!
  • -30
Welcome to the clash between the Lions and the Blues LIVE from Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg!!
Mc lions logo 85
Mc blues logo 80x50
  • 1 Dylan Smith
  • 2 Malcolm Marx
  • 3 Jacobus Adriaanse
  • 4 Lourens Erasmus
  • 5 Marvin Orie
  • 6 Albertus Smith
  • 7 Franco Mostert
  • 8 :\Len Massyn
  • 9 Ross Cronje
  • 10 Elton Jantjies
  • 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi
  • 12 Harold Vorster
  • 13 Lionel Mapoe
  • 14 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
  • 15 Andries Coetzee
  • 16 Robbie Coetzee
  • 17 Sithembiso Sithole
  • 18 Johannes Jonker
  • 19 Robert Kruger
  • 20 Marnus Schoeman
  • 21 Marco Jansen van Vuuren
  • 22 Howard Mnisi
  • 23 Shaun Reynolds
  • 1 Pauliasi Manu
  • 2 James Parsons
  • 3 Ofa Tuungafasi
  • 4 Patrick Tuipulotu
  • 5 Gerald Cowley-Tuioti
  • 6 Jerome Kaino
  • 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri
  • 8 Akira Ioane
  • 9 Sam Nock
  • 10 Bryn Gatland
  • 11 Melani Nanai Vai
  • 12 Sonny Bill Williams
  • 13 Rieko Ioane
  • 14 Matt Duffie
  • 15 Michael Collins
  • 16 Leni Apisal
  • 17 Ross Wright
  • 18 Sione Mafileo
  • 19 Michael Tamoaieta
  • 20 Jimmy Tupou
  • 21 Murphy Taramai
  • 22 Jonathan Ruru
  • 23 Stephen Perofeta
  • 24 George Moala
Mc article super rugby round four   saturday matches 800

Preview: Super Rugby, Round Four - Part Two

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 22:27

HURRICANE WARNING: The Hurricanes, the last team to beat the Crusaders, will have to overcome a  farcical travel schedule if they are to be victorious in the opening match on Saturday.

The Crusaders' only loss in their last 20 Super Rugby outings was against the Hurricanes in Wellington last year.

However, the Hurricanes had to fly from Wellington to Pretoria (13400km), then from Pretoria to Buenos Aires (8130km), before heading home to Wellington (9980km).

After losing 19-21 to the Bulls in Pretoria, they beat the Jaguares 34-9 in Buenos Aires.

It will take something special to overcome the defending champions after such a schedule.

After that, we head across the Tasman Sea where the Reds host the Bulls, before a long trip across the Indian Ocean where the Sharks face the Sunwolves in Durban.

That is followed by the Lions against the Blues in Johannesburg. The weekend's schedule is concluded when the Jaguares host the Waratahs in Buenos Aires.

We look at the Saturday matches!

Saturday, March 10:

Hurricanes v Crusaders
(Westpac Stadium, Wellington - Kick-off: 19.35; 06.35 GMT)

The spotlight has been shining on brightly on Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett.

Not only is he just the 12th player to bring up 100 games for the Hurricanes, but pundits have suggested Barrett could be even better than All Black legend Dan Carter.

Barrett has been playing down the occasion and how quickly he has reached the milestone.

"I'm certainly proud of it but it's gone so quick," he said.

"I feel like I'm probably halfway through my career and I've had a good run of being injury free for a lot of it, hence why it's happened reasonably fast."

Barrett, 26, made his debut for the Hurricanes against the Cheetahs in 2011 as a substitute.

It is fitting that Barrett will get to bring up his 100th match in the very stadium where he helped lift the Super Rugby trophy when the side meets the Crusaders on Saturday.

"It will be a great occasion regardless of it being my 100th," he insisted.

"My focus is to go out there and play well for the team. Ultimately it's about winning on Saturday in front of our own fans in our first home game of the season, that's what I'm most excited about."

Crusaders assistant coach Ronan O'Gara was equally lavish with the praise, but was adamant that as a team the Crusaders can cope with the threat Barrett poses.

"You can have all the plans in the world for Beauden Barrett, but yet he could rip you apart, that's what he's good at," the former Irish flyhalf said.

"You've got to have a focus on him, but you've got to have a team focus.

"That's the strength of the Crusaders - they're very good on bigger picture stuff.

"We have a competitive squad, we have a hungry squad and we have a seriously hungry coach," he said.

"Sport is about what you can control and what we can control is our preparation for the Hurricanes. Whether it will be good enough we don't know but if it isn't you go back and retry the following week."

Recent results:
2017: Hurricanes won 31-22, Wellington
2017: Crusaders won 20-12, Christchurch
2016: Hurricanes won 35-10, Christchurch
2015: Crusaders won 35-18, Christchurch
2015: Hurricanes won 29-23, Wellington

Prediction: The Hurricanes have won seven of their last 10 games against the Crusaders, though only two of those 10 games were decided by double-digit margins. The Hurricanes have won their last four games at home against the Crusaders, previously they had won just two of 10 home games against them. The Crusaders will be looking to avoid back to back losses on the road in the regular season for the first time since May 2015. The Hurricanes have conceded just 15 points per game this campaign, the fewest of any team; the Rebels (18 points) are the only other team to have conceded fewer than 20 points per game. Julian Savea beat seven defenders last round, the equal second most of any player; the last time he made more in a single game was in Round Two, 2017 against the Rebels (eight). The Hurricanes are a real threat, but their travel schedule will count against them and the Crusaders could sneak ahead in the final quarter and win by 12 points.


Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara. 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Marcel Renata, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Blade Thompson, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Vince Aso.

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Mitchell Hunt, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Samuel Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Chris King, 18 Oliver Jager, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Billy Harmon, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mike Delany, 23 Manasa Mataele.

Referee: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Paul Williams (New Zealand), Cam Stone (New Zealand)
TMO: Glenn Newman (New Zealand)

Reds v Bulls
(Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane - Kick-off: 18.45; 08.45 GMT; 10.45 SA Time)

The Bulls were brought back down to earth with a bang by the Lions last week, but it is with a real belief that they arrived in Brisbane this week.

Bulls coach John Mitchell admitted his team has a "long way" to go still - following a win over the Hurricanes to open their season and then last week' comprehensive loss.

"There are good fundamentals in place at this stage of the race," Mitchell said in Brisbane.

"We have not played in Brisbane since 2013, so it will be a new experience for most of the team.

"That should create some energy, but I have no doubt that the importance of a good start to our tour will also perk up the players," Mitchell said.
"We have done very well in certain areas of the game so far, but the reality is that our away record is poor. This is something we need to change if we want to become the team we want to be."

Reds assistant coach Tony McGahan confirmed that they are relying on the "new and improved" passing game of Samu Kerevi to shine - following his shift to inside centre.

There has always been a school of thought that Kerevi's best position may, in fact, be inside centre, despite the man himself "having previously said he prefers playing at No.13.

"We have a young group coming together and we are trying to find the best positions," McGahan said at Ballymore on Thursday.

"He's had a couple of weeks with Duncan and we will see where he fits.

"He has worked on his passing, he's keen to get the ball in hands and he's a great communicator.

"With the competition, we will see how he goes this week."

Reds coach Brad Thorn said that while the Bulls will be a "tough challenge", the team is looking forward to running out in front of their home fans again this weekend.

"Hopefully the team can go out and make everyone proud."

Recent results:
2016: Bulls won 41-22, Pretoria
2015: Bulls won 43-22, Pretoria
2013: Reds won 23-18, Brisbane
2012: Bulls won 61-8, Pretoria
2011: Reds won 39-30, Brisbane

Prediction: Each of the last 11 meetings between the Reds and Bulls has been won by the home team on the day; though, this will be the first meeting in Queensland since 2013. The Reds will be hunting for consecutive Super Rugby wins for the first time since May-June 2014. The Bulls have won just two of their last 19 games outside South Africa, with their last international win coming in Round 10, 2016. The Bulls have won 16 line-outs per game with a line-out success rate of 9 percent, the best of any team in either category this campaign. Lukhan Tui has crossed for a try once in each of his last two games at home for the Reds. There is a travel factor, but the Bulls should have just enough in the tank to sneak a late winner - by seven points or less.


Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jono Lance, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper (captain).     
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Sef Fa'agase, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Duncan Paia'aua.

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Duncan Matthews, 10 Handre Pollard (captain), 9 Andre Warner, 8 Nick de Jager, 7 Hanro Liebenberg, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Divan Rossouw.

Referee: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: William Houston (Australia), Graham Cooper (Australia)
TMO: Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)

Sharks v Sunwolves
(Kings Park, Durban - Kick-off: 15.05; 13.05 GMT; 22.05 Japan Time)

Most, if not all, teams start as favourites against the Sunwolves.

Injuries make the Japan franchise even more vulnerable.

However, the Sharks have been vulnerable themselves and after three weeks (which included a bye for the Durban-based outfit) they are still looking for their first win.

Utility back Lwazi Mvovo, who was dropped to the bench after two starts, said there was no underestimating the Sunwolves.

"They play a pretty expansive game," Mvovo said.

"Last year we had to dig in and play right to the end when we scored a few points in the last 15 minutes.

"They're a very good side, especially with the New Zealand influence in their coaching team.

"They're going to play and we're not underestimating their ability."

Sharks coach Robert du Preez was stating the obvious when he said last week's draw with the Waratahs was disappointing.

"As I said before, we are just lacking patience," the Sharks mentor said of his team's winless start to the season.

"We are on the cusp of playing a really good game.

"It is just a matter of time."

He said it is important they have a "really good game" before they head off on a tough four-match tour - that will see them face the Brumbies in Canberra, the Rebels in Melbourne, the Blues in Auckland and the Hurricanes in Napier.

Du Preez added that it is important for his team to build pressure by "putting the phases together".

Mvovo also spoke of moving forward and not getting hung up on the poor start to the season.

"While we can't change what's in the past, our attitude going forward is very important," Mvovo said.

He admits that the players have looked deep within and acknowledged that they must put their hands up.

Previous results:
2017: Sharks won 38-17, Singapore
2016: Sharks won 40-29, Durban

Prediction: The Sharks have won each of the previous two meetings between these teams, scoring no fewer than 38 points on each occasion. The Sharks are now winless in three games at home; the last time they went longer without a home win was a stretch of four defeats across the 2009 and 2010 campaigns. The Sunwolves are yet to win on the road in Super Rugby and have conceded 146 points in their last two games away from home. The Sunwolves are yet to lose a scrum on their own feed this campaign, one of just three teams yet to do so (Highlanders, Rebels). Robert du Preez has scored a try in each of his two games for the Sharks thus far, pulling in a points tally of 23 across those games. It might not be the margin most expect, but the Sharks should still win easily - by 15 points.


Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Wian Vosloo, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Armand van der Merwe/Mahlatse Ralepelle, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.        
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe/Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Keegan Daniel, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.

Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Lomano Lemeki, 13 Sione Teaupa, 12 Michael Little, 11 William Tupou, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Willem Britz (captain), 7 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Kazuki Himeno, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Craig Millar.         
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Shintaro Ishihara, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Pieter Labuschagne, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Ryoto Nakamura, 23 Robbie Robinson.

Referee: Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds (South Africa), Archie Sehlako (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Lions v Blues
(Ellis Park, Johannesburg - Kick-off: 17.15; 15.15 GMT; 04.15 NZ Time Sunday, March 11)

The Blues may have lost their first two games of the season, but the fact that they collected losing bonus points against the Highlanders (34-41) and the Chiefs (21-27) make it clear they are no pushovers.

In fact, they are a team loaded with All Blacks and individual stars.

That is why the Lions need to ensure they get their own game right.

Lions flank Cyle Brink said you never know what you will get from the New Zealand visitors.

"If it becomes a scrappy game, it will be a hard day at the office for us," Brink said.

"They are never an easy side to play.

"The best way for us to approach the game is to stick to our structures."

Blues coach Tana Umaga admitted his team is facing a tall order against a confident and settled Lions outfit.

"The Lions are a formidable team," Umaga said.

"We remember our last time here, two years ago, and we are keen to put that right," said Umaga said.

"They have scored a lot of tries this season off their line-out drive so we have worked hard on this aspect.

We need to be disciplined and not give them attacking chances from penalties although at the same time we need to be our usual aggressive selves at the breakdown.

"This [Ellis Park] is a magnificent stadium and conditions should be great, so if we can do well at set-piece, then we have plenty of attacking ability to enjoy the occasion."

Umaga said the travel delays were far from helpful but no excuse, while going with six forwards in the reserves is needed to cope with the altitude factor at Johannesburg.

Recent results:
2016: Lions won 43-5, Johannesburg
2015: Lions won 13-10, Albany
2014: Lions won 39-36, Johannesburg
2012: Blues won 25-3, Auckland
2011: Blues won 41-32, Johannesburg

Prediction: The Lions have won their last three games against the Blues, though they were defeated in their seven meetings prior. The Lions have won four of their last six games against New Zealand opposition; however, all but one of those games came in the post-season. The Blues have won only one of their last 10 games in South Africa, letting two half-time leads slip in that period. The Lions have scored eight tries on the back of a line-out win this season, only three other teams in the competition have scored more than eight tries overall (Crusaders, Rebels, Stormers). Melani Nanai has an average gain of 12 metres per carry this season, the best of any player (with a minimum of 10 carries). It will be tighter than most pundits expect, but when the travel factor and altitude kick in, in the final quarter, the Lions should ease ahead and win by about 16 points.


Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Francois Mostert, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacobus Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Ashlon Davids, 22 Harold Vorster, 23 Hacjivah Dayimani.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Ross Wright, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Michael Tamoaieta, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Jimmy Tupou, 21 Murphy Taramai, 22 Jonathan Ruru, 23 Stephen Perofeta.

Referee: Nicholas Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Jaco Pretorius (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)

Jaguares v Waratahs
(Estadio José Amalfitani, Buenos Aires - Kick-off: 18.40; 21.40 GMT; 08.40, Sunday, March 11 AEDT)

The Waratahs are looking to break a seven-game winless streak overseas.

It has been 88 weeks since the Waratahs last won a match abroad, with their last successful outing coming against the Sunwolves in July 2016.

Since that 57-12 victory, the Waratahs have lost on the road to the Blues, Lions, Sharks, Hurricanes, Highlanders and the Chiefs, to go with last week's draw in Durban.

However, the Tahs are up against a team desperate to break their own duck - having lost all three their matches this season - against the Stormers and Lions in South Africa, as well as the Hurricanes in Buenos Aires.

Prop Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro said the key will be the set pieces and defence.

"We are a team that never gives up," Chaparro said.

It will be the Waratahs' first trip to Argentina.

Waratahs assistant coach Simon Cron said the team had done their homework on their South American rivals.

"The key thing for us against a team like them is to play structure, so to build pressure," Cron told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Last week against the Sharks we probably let the pressure valve off at times through our own errors or trying to offload or going that one step too far.

"I don't think we can afford to do that against these guys otherwise they'll counterattack and run it from anywhere.

"The Jaguares love unstructured ball. They'll play from anywhere, they love an offload and they're high on energy on the field.

"We want to put pressure on that guy on the ground so he can't offload but then it's about our defensive connections so when they do offload, we can shut it down. What we don't want to do is have a disconnect in our defensive line so that when they offload we leave a hole."

Previous result:
2017: Jaguares won 40-27, Sydney

Prediction: The Jaguares ran out to a 40-27 win in their only previous encounter with the Waratahs. The Jaguares have lost their last four games in a row at home; they had previously never lost more than two games in a row on home turf. The Waratahs are winless in their last seven games outside Australia, failing to pick up a single competition point in five of those matches. The Jaguares have missed 109 tackles in just three games so far this campaign, more than any other team. Michael Hooper has crossed for a try in each of his two games for the Waratahs this season, and has missed just three of 25 tackle attempts in that time. It is a tough call as neither team has been consistent, so you don't really know what to expect. We feel the Waratahs might sneak this one - by five points.


Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Felipe Arregui.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 19 Guido Petti Pagadizaval, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere.


15 Israel Folau, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Curtis Rona, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Michael Wells, 5 Tom Staniforth, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Kalivati Tawake, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Will Miller, 21 Nick Duffy, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Pablo Deluca (Argentina)
TMO: Santiago Borsani (Argentina)

Compiled by Jan de Koning

* Statistics provided by Opta Sports

Mc article blues v lions .800

Blues end singing

Sat, 10 Mar 2018 15:00

SUPER RUGBY MATCH REPORT: Murphy Taramai's dramatic last-gasp score made sure the Blues produced a remarkable 38-35 win over the in-form Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The better side won but they left it as late as one could leave it. And they did it with a try, not a kick.

In fact when they got the lead for the first time in the match, time was up. In the last ten minutes, four tries were scored, three by the Blues and so worth 21 points.

There were many surprises in the match.

The Lions were unbeaten, the Blues winless. The Lions lost; the Blues won.
By recent reputation, the Lions had a powerful scrum. The Blues outscrummed them.
The Lions' handling and interpassing  was of the highest order. The Blues was of a higher order, as they kept and used the ball better.
The visitors would fade as the altitude got to them. The Blues were much stronger in the second half when they scored 28 points to 14.

Turnovers counted in this match. A turnover set up the match's first try and also its last. Both were turnovers from knock-ons.

The Lions kicked off to start the match. Sonny Bill Williams knocked on and the Blues were penalised at the scrum. Ross Cronje tapped and ran and then threw a long pass - a great pass - to the right wing, Sylvain Mahuza, who scored in the corner. From their Elton Jantjies, who had a magnificent game, converted from touch. 7-0 after 2 minutes.

But then, early in the game, the Blues attacked. From a line-out they manufactured and overlap for Michael Collins and Rieko Ioane was close. They then kicked a kickable penalty out for a line-out but Jantjies got to a grubber into in-goal first and the attack was broken.

The Lions won a turnover and launched an all-out attack with their best handling of the match. Mahuza had another electric run and, when Williams knocked the ball up, Jantjies grabbed it and set of running. He gave inside to Rohan Janse van Rensburg who scored. 14-0 after 15 minutes./

When Malcolm Marx was offside, Bryn Gatland goaled a penalty. This, in terms of the final score, proved invaluable. He later missed two long penalties in front of the posts and was replaced. 14-3 after 21 minutes.

At this stage a blow struck the Lions. Warren Whiteley had treatment on the field for a painful knee and then went off the field, replaced by Kwagga Smith. In the match interview he suggested that the injury might not be too serious. The Lions and all South Africa will hold its breath.

The Blues were penalised and Jantjies kicked a brilliant long ball out for a five-metre line-out. The Lions bashed and bashed at the stubborn Blues defence till Jantjies flew over for a try that he converted. 21-3 with two minutes to half-time.

Perhaps the Lions relaxed but the Blues certainly did not. The Lions were careless at a messy tackle and suddenly Akira Ioane, the tall, rugged No.8, sprinted to the posts. Gatland converted and the half-time score was 21-10.

At the start of the second half and in fact for most of the half, the Blues were well on top, though the game was messy at times. And it was Lions who scored first. Near the half-way line, substitute scrumhalf Jonathan Ruru passed to his left and Aphiwe Dyantyi intercepted and raced 50 empty metres to score at the posts. 28-10 after 55 minutes.

Dyantyi seemed about to score another try from far out but the pass to him from Cyle Brink was forward.

From a scrum, Gatland's replacement, Stephen Perofeta had a strong run to set the Blues on close attack. Ruru lobbed a long pass to Rieko Ioane who caught the ball and dropped to ground for the try in the left corner. Perofeta converted from touch. 28-17 with 13 minutes to play.

The Lions had a line-out well in their own territory. Marx and Kwagga Smith did clever things but Smith lost the ball. The Blues snapped it up and went wide left where Rieko Ioane stepped inside and was over at the posts. 28-24 with 10 minutes to play.

For the second time in the match Jantjies kicked a brilliant touch from a penalty. The Lions mauled from the line-out, getting closer and closer to the line till sturdy prop Dylan Smith battered his way over for the try. 35-24 with 7 minutes to play.

Right from the kick-off the Blues attacked and Jimmy Tupou forced his way over for a try at the posts. 35-31 with 5 exciting minutes to play.

From the kick-off, Ruru kicked but Dyantyi charged the kick down. The ball was skidding off in in-goal and Dyantyi was ;leading the race for it. He dived, the ball did a tiny hop and Dyantyi just missed scoring a try - a try which may well have won the match.

With two minutes to play Marx had the ball but as he was tackled he lost it forward to grateful Blues' hands. Down the field they went. Collins was close as was Rieko Ioane and then with 11 seconds to play Murphy Taramai burst ahead and over the line near the posts. Perofeta converted and the final whistle sounded for a famous Blues victory.

Man of the Match: Elton Jantjies, who took mover the captaincy when Whiteley went off was brilliant. It may have been his best match for the Lions, He is our man of the Match, despite the heroics of the Ioanes, Rieko and Akira and the effective scrummaging of Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

The scorers:

For Lions:
Mahuza, Janse van Rensburg, Jantjies, Dyantyi, D Smith
Cons: Jantjies 5

For Blues:
A Ioane, R Ioane 2, Tupou, Taramai
Cons: Gatland, Perofeta 4
Pen: Gatland


Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Francois Mostert, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacobus Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Ashlon Davids, 22 Harold Vorster, 23 Hacjivah Dayimani.

Blues: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Melani Nanai, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Sam Nock, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Ross Wright, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Michael Tamoaieta, 19 Scott Scrafton, 20 Jimmy Tupou, 21 Murphy Taramai, 22 Jonathan Ruru, 23 Stephen Perofeta.

Referee: Nicholas Berry (Australia)
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs (South Africa), Jaco Pretorius (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)

Rohan Janse van Rensburg (14min), Elton Jantjies (36min), Aphiwe Dyantyi (54min), and Dylan Smith (72min)
Akira Ioane (38min), Rieko Ioane (63min), Rieko Ioane (69min), Jimmy Tupou (75min), and Murphy Taramai (79min)
Elton Jantjies (2min), Elton Jantjies (16min), Elton Jantjies (37min), Elton Jantjies (56min), and Elton Jantjies (74min)
Bryn Gatland (40min), Stephen Perofeta (56min), Stephen Perofeta (64min), Stephen Perofeta (70min), Stephen Perofeta (76min), and Stephen Perofeta (80min)
Bryn Gatland (22min)
VENUE Johannesburg