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Jacques

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Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"

Sharks sneak win against Stormers in dull affair

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The Sharks got a win finally when they beat the Stormers 24-17 on Saturday.

The Stormers versus Sharks game looked more than two unfit heavyweight boxers than quality Super Rugby teams.

None of the two really could put enough phases together to really threaten the others try line.

The Lineouts and scrums was poor from both teams in the first half and their attacking play not better.

The Sharks did try the high kick which put pressure on the Stormers but could not convert that as well.

The Sharks got on the board after the third try with a penalty to take the lead 3-0.

Just as one thought it could not get any worst the Stormers break away from their own twenty-two with Kolisi that sprinted down the line to give a great pass to Rhule to score the first try of the match just before halftime.

This gave the Stormers the lead at the break with 7-3.

The Second half started with the Sharks that looked like they got something in their oranges as they started very well with a brilliant try from Am after Nkosi did most of the work.

That gave the Sharks the lead 10-7 but it was short lived as the Stormers first got a penalty over to level things and then got Sameuls over for their second try to take the lead again 17-10.

The Sharks then put pressure on the Stormers which also got the Stormers a yellow card for Duvenage. This gave the Sharks that extra effort to get a try back and they did just that with Du Preez going over to level scores again at 17-all.

The Sharks looked like the finally kicked into gear as they showed of the skills we knew they had and score another great try to take the lead again 24-17.

The Sharks were able to hold on to this lead although the Stormers had plenty of opertunities in the final play of the match.

Not a great game but sure the Sharks will take it.

Match Report

Sharks Sharks 24 17  Stormers Stormers
Scorers:

Sharks

 

Tries – Thomas du Toit(73′) Jean-Luc Du Preez(64′) Lukhanyo Am(42′)

Penalties – Robert du Preez(19′)

Cons – Robert du Preez(74′) Robert du Preez(65′) Robert du Preez(43′)

Stormers

 

Tries – Ramone Samuels(52′) Raymond Rhule(39′)

Penalties – Damian Willemse(50′)

Cons – Damian Willemse(53′) Damian Willemse(40′)

 

Bulls get bonus point win

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The Bulls made it back to back win since coming back from their tour when they beat the Rebels 28-10 on Satirday

The Rebels started the better playing in the Bulls half but the Bulls hand to hand was just too much for the Rebels to handle.

It was a team effort from the Bulls that send Strauss over for the first try of the match and for the Bulls which gave them a 7-0 lead.

The Rebels had their chances but could not converted any into points missing two easy penalties as well.

Eventually the Rebels got a penalty over to get 3 points on the board.

The Bulls kicked into gear and got their second try through Kriel who picked up a kick from Odendaal and extend the Bulls lead to 14-3.

The Bulls played in the right areas of the field and put allot of pressure on the Rebels. They had easily left about two tries on the field in the first half through either poor handling and passing.

They did score a third try after the halftime hooter which gave them a 21-3 lead at the break.

The Rebels had the better of the second half start and they finally got over the Bulls defence for their first try of the match.

The middle part of the second half become very scrappy with both teams just making too many mistakes and some off the ball stuff.

The referee also missed a few specially a late tackle on Gelant who kicked forward for a try.

The Bulls finally got over for their forth try after putting allot of pressure on the Rebels in the 72 min of the match.

The biggest problem for the Rebels was their handling. They were poor yet again and seems they struggle against stronger opposition.

The Bulls at the end got what they wanted a bonus point win but not a good second half

Match Result

Bulls Bulls 28 10 Rebels Rebels
Scorers:

Bulls

 

Tries – Andre Warner(72′) Divan Rossouw(41′) Jesse Kriel(23′) Adriaan Strauss(6′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Handre Pollard(74′) Handre Pollard(42′) Handre Pollard(24′) Handre Pollard(7′)

Rebels

 

Tries – Michael Ruru(46′)

Penalties – Jack Debreczeni(20′)

Cons – Jack Debreczeni(47′)

Chiefs get bonus point win

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The Chiefs scored 24 unanswered first-half points to secure a 36-12 bonus-point victory over the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.

The Chiefs move above the Highlanders into third position in the New Zealand Conference while the Reds remain in fourth place on the Australian Conference standings.

The first half was a completely one-sided affair with the Chiefs scoring 24 unanswered points as Tyler Ardron, Charlie Ngatai and Brodie Retallick dotted down for the visitors.

The second half was a bit more of a contest as the Reds showed some fight, Samu Kerevi chipping in with a brace. However, it was still a convincing win for the men from Hamilton as they came back in the end to grab that crucial bonus-point, which could make a big difference to their campaign.

The Chiefs grabbed the early lead with six minutes on the clock, courtesy of a well-struck Damian McKenzie penalty from 40 metres out, after the Reds were caught offside.

The Chiefs enjoyed 80 percent of possession in the opening exchanges and were rewarded with the first try of the match when Ardron burst over after a series of powerful carries from his fellow forwards. It all came from the decision to kick for the corner and set up the lineout driving maul. McKenzie’s penalty made it a 10-0 lead with 13 minutes gone.

It didn’t take long before the Chiefs were camped deep in Reds’ territory again as they continued to string the phases together and heap pressure on the home side. With seemingly no way through, it took a little bit of ingenuity with the delayed pass from McKenzie to unlock the Reds’ defence and set Ngatai through the gap and over the whitewash for the score.

Next it was time for Retallick to showcase his power from close range, burrowing over three phases after a Chiefs’ attacking scrum five metres out. Because Damian McKenzie had failed an HIA on 20 minutes, Marty McKenzie converted for a 24-0 lead.

The line speed in defence from the Chiefs was preventing the Reds from gaining any real front-foot momentum and meant they remained scoreless as the sides went into the interval.

Soon after the break, Chiefs hooker Liam Polwart got himself on the scoresheet when the Chiefs had the advantage as they looked to build after the lineout. Solomon Alamailo played the final pass for Polwart, who beat the defender to dot down as the lead was stretched to 31-0.

The Reds eventually got on the board in the 47th minute when Kerevi scythed through from close range. After a series of phases close to the Chiefs’ try-line, Matt Lucas swung the ball to the blindside for Kerevi, who profited on a two-on-one situation with Izaia Perese on his outside to sneak through a gap and over the whitewash.

Kerevi produced a piece of individual brilliance to break through the Chiefs’ defence to grab his brace and his side’s second to make it 31-12 with five minutes to go.

The Chiefs though would have the last laugh and cap off a fine overall performance when substitute hooker Samisoni Taukei’aho went over at the back of a driving maul to claim the much sought after bonus point.

The scorers:

For Reds:
Tries: Kerevi 2
Con: Lance

For Chiefs:
Tries: Ardron, Ngatai, Retallick, Polwart, Taukei’aho
Cons: D McKenzie 2, M McKenzie 2
Pen: D McKenzie

Saders get past Sunwolves

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The Crusaders produced an underwhelming performance to see off the Sunwolves 33-11 in terrible conditions at AMI Stadium on Saturday.

The game was very scappy, in part due to the torrential rain, with errors aplenty making for a stop-start encounter.

Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown will be delighted with their sides’ defensive resilience in a determined display against the defending champions.

However, there will still be concerns about the line-out, which had seen them win only 79 percent of their own throws prior to the game.

The Crusaders opened the scoring with less than a minute on the clock. After Sunwolves fly-half Hayden Parker didn’t find touch with his clearance kick, the ball was shifted from left to right where Crusaders fly-half Mike Delany made the clean break, thanks to non-existent Sunwolves defending, before spinning the long pass out wide for inside centre Ryan Crotty, who had an easy finish on the overlap. Delany converted for a 7-0 lead.

The second came eight minutes later through an extremely dominant driving maul with flank Matt Todd revealed as the try-scorer after emerging from the pile of bodies. Delany added the extras.

However, the Sunwolves were not going to lie down and started playing some of their best rugby of the season. Winning advantage after advantage and taking the ball through 15 to 20 phases, saw the less-fancied Japanese outfit rewarded with a try in the 14th minute when number 12 Michael Little produced an acrobatic finish in the left-hand corner.

The visitors continued to defy the odds, enjoying 63 percent possession and 68 percent territory in the first 20 minutes, yet could only muster one try for their efforts in the opening quarter.

Normality resumed as the Crusaders gradually began to reassert their control over the game. However, the defending champions were uncharacteristically wasteful, not converting their overwhelming dominance of the territorial stakes in the last 15 minutes of the first half.

This favoured the Sunwolves as the Crusaders were unable to get any momentum going and the visitors would have been delighted that they managed to thwart the Crusaders with some brilliant defending and go in to the interval trailing at just 14-5.

The Sunwolves had the first points of the second half courtesy of a 43rd-minute Parker penalty, reducing the deficit to just six at 14-8. Soon after, the difference was just three after the away side won a penalty at their five-metre attacking scrum straight in front which meant an easy penalty for Parker to make it 14-11 after 50 minutes.

The Sunwolves, however, weren’t able to maintain the same level of intensity. A piece of individual brilliance from Crotty when he stepped back on the inside of a scrambling defence, earned the hosts’ their third try with 56 minutes gone. Delany’s conversion made it 21-11.

The bonus point try came through Manasa Mataele, who grabbed his fifth try of the season, running clean through after Tim Bateman produced a superb inside offload-pass to create the score. This time, Delany pulled his conversion wide as the score remained 26-11 in favour of the Crusaders.

A slightly stuttering victory was finished off with a fluid backline move as Jack Stratton grabbed a try on debut – a moment the young scrum-half will never forget – and a fitting end to the game.

The scorers:

For Crusaders:
Tries: Crotty 2, Todd, Mataele, Stratton
Cons: Delany 3, Hunt

For Sunwolves:
Try: Little
Pens: Parker 2

Ackermann Gloucester reach European Challenge final

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Johan Ackermann Gloucester side has made the final of the European Challenge Cup when they beat Newcastle 33-12 on Friday.

They were a class of their own on the night and scored four great tries with four penalties.

They looked the better side from the start of the game and did not let Newcastle in the game at all.

There defence was great on the night to compliment the total game they played on the night.

Gloucester just had too much pace in the back and their forwards dominated.

Gloucester

 

Tries – Ben Vellacott(75′) Billy Burns(47′) Motu Matu’u(42′) Tom Marshall(21′)

Penalties – Billy Twelvetrees(69′) Billy Twelvetrees(59′) Billy Twelvetrees(59′) Billy Twelvetrees(27′)

Cons – Billy Twelvetrees(76′) Billy Twelvetrees(44′)

Newcastle

 

Tries – Scott Lawson(54′) Scott Lawson(9′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Joel Hodgson(55′)

Ashley Johnson suspended after failing drugs test

1

Wasps forward Ashley Johnson has been provisionally suspended by the RFU after he tested positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition drugs test.

A statement from the club read: “The club is aware that a prohibited substance was reportedly found in an out-of-competition doping control sample provided by Ashley Johnson on February 7, 2018.

“He has been provisionally suspended by the RFU pending final determination of the matter and is therefore currently unavailable for selection.

“Ashley is currently investigating the possible source of the substance and both he and the club are co-operating fully with the RFU in this respect.

“We are fully supportive of him in this process but are unable to comment any further at this stage due to the confidentiality of legal proceedings.”

Lions stun Waratahs

5

The Lions made the perfect start to their tour down under when they beat the Waratahs 29-0.

This gave them a bonus point win on tour which will be golden at the end of the season.

The first half only saw one try from the Lions as they went into the break with a 7-0 lead.

The manage to pick up to get three more in the second half to give them a bonus point win and keep a clean sheet against the Waratahs.

It took 21 minutes for the first points when Tambwe crossed the line after Coetzee and Smith laid the foundation in the build-up.

The first half was evenly match and not much to pick between the two teams.

The Lions took full control of the match after the break scoring two tries.

The first one came four minutes after the restart when, from a line-out deep inside the Waratahs’ 22, flanker Smith broke through the middle of the set-piece before crashing over.

And in the 50th minute, Harold Vorster gathered a loose pass from Lionel Mapoe close to the Waratahs try-line before stepping past a couple of defenders on his way over the whitewash.

The rest of the half was again an even contest until Jantjies slotted a penalty in the 71st minute.

The vLions continued to dominate and sealed their win in the 77th when Marnus Schoeman broke away from a lineout in similar fashion to Smith and like his fellow flanker he too powered his way over the try-line.

The scorers:

For Lions:
Tries: 
Tambwe, K Smith, Vorster, Schoeman
Cons: Jantjies 3
Pen: Jantjies

Highlanders make it two wins over Blues this season

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Frizell hat-trick gave the Highlanders their second win over the Blues when they beat them 34-16 on Friday.

The Highlanders were full value for the win outscoring the Bues with five tries to two scoring five points from the match.

This means that the Highlanders have now moved into the third place in the New Zealand conference.

The Blues never got going and were on the backfoot from the start of the match when a kick in their twenty two was charged down and gave the Highlanders their first try.

The Blues showed considerable improvement on attack during the final quarter but despite being rewarded with a consolation try from Tumua Manu in the 70th minute, the Highlanders held on for the victory and condemned the home side to their 15th successive defeat to a fellow New Zealand side.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries:
 Ruru, Manu
Pens: Gatland 2

For Highlanders:
Tries: 
Hunt, Frizell 3, Hammington
Cons: Sopoaga 3
Pen: Sopoaga

Preview – Super Rugby Round 10

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The time has come for certain teams to either stand up and start winning of they will not make the play-offs this year.

The worrying factor is that almost all the South African teams excluding the Lions are falling in this group of teams.

We have some exiting matches coming up this weekend and in Europe we have the European Cup also playing out.

PosTeamPWLDPts
1963030
2862029
3761027
4863026
5752124
6852124
7844021
8844019

The Blues and Highlanders are both coming of wins last week.

For the Highlanders it was yet again an great win and the Blues struggled past the Sunwolves.

The Blues will want to correct the mistakes from there first match with the Highlanders which they dominated the whole game but lost on the scoreboard.

The Highlanders claimed a 41-3 win in Dunedin early on in the season and they will go as favourites into the match again this weekend.

They have won 9 out of the last 12 matches against the Blues and even if they are away from home we expect another win for Ben Smith team.

This match is normally a close contest and it is definitely a game to look forward to.

Gatland is back for the Blues and he will bring some more stability to the team and backline.

Blues made several changes to their team with Gatland returning to number 10, and Perofeta moving to 15.

 

The tight five remains mostly intact with the versatile Jimmy Tupou moving into the second-row – a role he has played often – alongside the in-form Patrick Tuipulotu who will be honoured after the game having achieved his 50th cap for the Blues in last weekend’s win over the Sunwolves in Tokyo.

Prediction: The will be another close contest but the Highlanders will have to much for the Blues by atleast 11 points.

The teams:

Blues: 15 Stephen Perofeta, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Bryn Gatland, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Jimmy Tupou, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi/Mike Tamoaieta, 2 James Parsons, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds/Leni Apisai, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Mike Tamoaieta/Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Neenee, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Tumua Manu, 23 Matt Duffie

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (cc), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Ash Dixon (cc), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Tyrel Lomax, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes

The Lions are on tour and first up is the Waratahs in Sydney this weekend.

The Waratahs have gone quietly on their merry way this season and got some good wins under the belt and will be a difficult team to beat at home for the Lions.

They have won their last four games but the Lions is the top South African team at the moment.

Both teams are leading their respective conferences and will want to get a win this weekend.

The Waratahs have improved their offload game and are playing with width this season.

They have scored some great tries and are looking like the dangerous team they should be in the Aussie conference.

This game will be the Waratahs toughest yet this season and they will have to proof now that they can also beat the top teams in the competition.

It will be a huge battle upfront with the Lions having dominated most teams for the past few years with their tight five.

There are not many better than the Lions at set pieces and something the Waratahs would have take note off.

The Lions also have a great weapon in the driving maul which Waratahs coach Gibson notice.

“While we are one of the smaller packs going around, we are punching above our weight and we have certainly cleaned up our vulnerabilities in terms of stopping lineout drives. We see that as a real strength the Lions possess, and something we are going to have to be very good in stopping on Friday night,” he said.

Naiyaravoro have been great this season and he is a real treat to the Lions.

The best hooker in the world, Malcolm Marx has been brilliant again this season and will be a marked man.

He has won 12 turnovers this season so far and are deadly on the run as well with skills to back that up.

Tahs have only made one change with Staniforth in the second row

For the Lions Nic Groom will make his debut for the team of the bench.

Mostert will move to flank and captain the team with Whiteley still out injured.

Orie and Ferreira will make up the second row.

Van Rooyen will replace Ferreira at prop.

Prediction: I tend to want to go for the home team but believe the Lions will pull through with 7 points

The teams:

Waratahs: 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Will Miller, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Lalakai Foketi

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Franco Mostert (c), 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sylvian Mahuza

The Crusaders are taking on the Sunwolves this weekend who has not won a game this season so far and it does not look like they will start this weekend.

The Sunwolves look like a team that can only keep up with other Super Rugby side for the best part of forty minutes then slowly fade away.

It is there third season in the competition but the progress has been slow to non existent.

I am not a big fan in the inclusion of this team in Super Rugby and I do not see the benefit in them playing except the money SANZAAR gets out of it.

The Crusaders have started slow this season but have stayed in touch with the top teams.

They are slowly getting their injured All Blacks back and this weekend will see Owen Franks and Israel Dagg back into the starting fifteen.

Can only see one way traffic in this game and another huge loss for the Sunwolves.

Prediction: Saders by 45 +

Teams:

Crusaders – 15 George Bridge, 14. Israel Dagg, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Manasa Mataele, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Ethan Blackadder, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Chris King, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Jack Stratton, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Seta Tamanivalu.

Sunwolves: 15 William Tupou, 14 Hosea Saumaki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Michael Little, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Pieter Lappies Labuschagne (c), 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 James Moore, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Craig Millar
Replacements: 16 Yusuke Niwai, 17 Shintaro Ishihara, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Sam Wykes, 20 Edward Quirk, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Ryoto Nakamura, 23 Semisi Masirewa 

The Reds will be hosting the Chiefs this weekend and will have to make a huge improvement to beat the New Zealanders.

With the Chiefs coming of a lost in their last game they will also be more motivated to beat the Australian side.

With perfect record in the last few years against Aussie sides it will not be easy.

The Reds have shown some good play this year but they are not consistent enough and they give to many penalties away this season.

The Chiefs has a good balanced side and one struggle to see this game going anywhere else than to the Chiefs.

Prediction: Chiefs by 30+

Teams:

Reds – 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Izaia Perese, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper (c).
Replacements 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 George Smith, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Jordan Petaia.

Chiefs – 15 Charlie Ngatai (co-c), 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Fa’auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane (co-c), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Liam Polwart, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Luke Jacobson, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Alex Nankivell.

The Bulls return to Loftus this weekend to face the Rebels with their tails up after giving the Sharks a rugby lesson in the wet last week.

The team has grown under coach Mitch and have shown some great skills this season.

The most impressive aspect of the Bulls side this last couple of games have been their tight five and set pieces.

They are becoming a team with 15 players and not just certain individuals playing in a team.

The Rebels on the other hand had an easy start to their season and came away with great wins but they have not beaten a top team this season which is worrying.

The Waratahs have also not overtaken them on the Aussie log and with them struggling on tour in the past this weekend will be a huge game for them.

This can be the game of the weekend as both teams match up quit well against each other.

With so much on the line we expect a great game and one to be watching this weekend.

Prediction: I have to go Bulls by 12 points

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (c), 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marco van Staden, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Shaun Adendorff, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Duncan Matthews

Rebels – 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman (c), 4 Matt Philip, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Billy Meakes, 23 Sefa Naivalu.

Two teams almost out of the running which means desperation will set in this weekeed as the Sharks host the Stormers on Saturday.

Supporters of both side will be pulling out their hair with the performances these two teams have dished up this season.

With no consistency one almost want to say their is no desire in them to perform.

Just as you think they have turned a corner they come up with a mediocre performance.

Both teams does not look like they have a solid game plan and no Plan B as well.

Although they have the players to dominate scrums and lineouts they have been poor and not much better on the ground.

Both teams defence have been poor and although they can score tries from anywhere on the field if they can hold on to the ball.

Prediction: Sharks by 7, I am just pulling this out of the hat..

Teams:

Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (c), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Juan Schoeman
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Lwazi Mvovo

Stormers: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Craig Barry, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 SP Marais, 23 JJ Engelbrecht

The last game of the weekend is Sunday when the Brumbies host the Jaguares.

With a win last week in their first game on tour against the Rebels the Jaguares will want to keep that momentum while they play Aussie teams.

This is surely a game that the Jaguares will target to win as the Brumbies has also been one of those teams that struggle to keep momentum.

When the Jaguares are allowed to go wide and play their hand to hand game they are able to beat any team on the day but they quickly struggle when teams put pressure on them.

If the Jaguares can get a good start then they will be unstoppable against this Brumbies side.

The Brumbies is and look like a team in a building phase and that is their biggest concern to play a good game for 80 minutes.

Prediction: Jaguares by 6 for me, I believe they will have enough against the Brumbies to squeeze a win

Teams: 

Brumbies – TBC

Jaguares – TBC

Here is the full schedule for the weekend

20 Blues v Highlanders Eden Park 09:35
20 Waratahs v Lions Allianz Stadium 11:45
21 Crusaders v Sunwolves AMI Stadium 09:35
21 Reds v Chiefs Suncorp Stadium 11:45
21 Bulls v Rebels Loftus Versfeld 15:05
21 Sharks v Stormers Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17:15
22 Brumbies v Jaguares GIO Stadium 08:05

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Your Springbok team of the week

3

Said it before the World Cup 2015 that the only person who is not allowed to pick his own Springbok team is the Springbok coach as everyone has his own opinion  laugh

Looking through the suggestions from the week on who we will pick in our Springbok side for the first test against England it is clear that we can agree that there are certain positions that we do not have answers yet.

Upfront it seems that most look at the same tight five if all are fit but problems start with the loose trio and at the back.

We struggle to see eye to eye on a number 9 and the midfield has been a problem for years now.

Out wide we more or less are settle if Rhule is not in the mix  laugh

So here is what you guys have decided our Springbok side should be….

Full Back: Willie Le Roux, Warrick Gelant

Wings: Ruan Combrinck, Aphiwe Dyantyi, JP Pietersen, Travis Ishmael

Midfield: Jan Serfontein, Lukanhyo Am, Frans Steyn, Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Flyhalf: Handre Pollard, Jantjies

Scrumhalf: Ruan Pienaar, Faf De Klerk

Eight-man: Warren Whiteley, Duane Vermeulen

Locks: Lood de Jager, Pieter Steph du Toit, Franco Mostert, Ruan Botha

Loose Forwards: Jean-Luc Du Preez, Kolisi, Phillip van der Walt, Kwagga Smith

Props: Steven Kitshoff, Vincen Koch, Beast, Wilco Louw

Hookers: Marx, Bismark du Plesssis

This is what you guys have decided on for now as the group for that first test.

I see that not much attention went into the flanks which is something we may can look at more next week.

The first problem I see in this group is that we only have 7 players of color in the whole group which is not enough according to what we should have by end of year.

Something to ponder on….

 

SA teams struggle yet again in SR

2

We are over the halfway mark in this year Super Rugby competition and when one look at the overall log it does not make for good reading for us.

PosTeamPWLDPts
1963030
2862029
3761027
4863026
5752124
6852124
7844021
8844019
9934118
10733014
11936014
12831013
13835012
14826012

We only have the Lions that are in the top half of the log and it must be very worrying for Rassie Erasmus.

The Lions have won 5 of their 8 matches so far the season and it just goes downhill for the other teams behind them.

The Bulls have won 3 out of 7, Sharks 2 out of 8 with one draw and the Stormers 3 out of 8.

When you look at the points that our teams letting through it also says allot about our defence.

The Lions have 251 points against them so far with the Sharks at 260, Bulls at 195 and Stormers 256.

There are some positive aspects of our teams with the Bulls dominating lineouts this season in the competition.

The Lions have scored 41 tries this season and are also on top with turnovers won. They have made the most tackles than any other team in the competition and is second of all in most missed.

The Sharks have been great upfront for most of their games and the big men have put in the hard hard work at defence dominating tackles.

They have made more than 103 offloads which points clearly out that they have not been able to finish opportunities presented to them in games.

Another huge problem for the Sharks is handling errors which put them second in the competition and just not good enough at this level.

The Stormers are in the same boat as the Sharks not finishing as they have made the most meters in ball carriers and made the most carriers in the competition (975).

Handling errors the are second behind the Sharks.

It all comes back at this stage that our players skills and taking opportunities is limited to the Lions and in some games the Bulls.

More worrying for all is the way our teams are losing games with no consistency from the one week to the other.

This can be put down to poor coaching and game-plans. I also feel that players need to take more responsibility on the field.

There is allot of work to be done for not just our Super Rugby teams to make it to the play-offs but for Rassie to have a group of players that will be able to face the English in June.

At this stage we can be worried….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mostert lead Lions against Waratahs

1

Nic Groom will make his debut for the Lions this weekend when the face the Warratahs on Friday.

Groom who played for the Stormers at Super Rugby level before moving to Northampton have impresses in the Premiership the last two years.

With Whiteley out injured again Franco Mostert will captain the side again from lock.

 

Team:

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Franco Mostert (c), 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sylvian Mahuza

Whiteley injured again

0

Lions and Springbok captain Warren Whiteley face yet another setback from a recurring knee injury.

Whiteley started training on Monday but felt discomfort and his knee swelled up overnight.

He was supposed to made his comeback against the Waratahs this weekend but he was send for a scan.

 

Although team doctor Rob Collins suggested it was a precautionary measure, it remains to be seen if Whiteley will be able to join the squad later on in their tour.

This is another huge setback not just for Whiteley but also the Lions who are traveling for the next few weeks.

 

Akker, Wright and Du Preez invited to Bok camp

0

Fifteen Cell C Sharks players, including the uncapped Sbu Nkosi, Andre Esterhuizen, Robert du Preez, Cameron Wright, Thomas du Toit and Akker van der Merwe, have been invited to the third and final Springbok alignment camp, in Durban from 22 to 25 April.

The Springbok management are using the three alignment camps to accelerate preparations for the forthcoming international rugby season.

A total of 22 players from the DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions were present at the second camp which took place two weeks ago at the Riverside Resort in Vanderbijlpark situated in the south of Johannesburg, while 12 Vodacom Bulls players attended the first camp at the same venue.

According to Rassie Erasmus, SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, the Springbok management is looking forward to linking up with the Durban-based players at final alignment camp.

“We managed to work through a lot of technical detail during our first two camps and the various sessions with the Cell C Sharks players will be equally intensive,” explained Erasmus.

“We saw during the other two camps that the players appreciate the technical discussions and the clarification of our approach for the forthcoming international season, starting with Wales in Washington and the home series against England. Similar to the Vanderbijlpark camps, we will also have a couple of the Cell C Sharks coaches in attendance over the four days in Umhlanga.”

No on-field activities are planned for the camps and the focus of the various sessions is exclusively on alignment, which will ensure a smooth transition from Vodacom Super Rugby to the Springboks when the squad gets together for the June internationals.

The Springboks start their international commitments with a clash against Wales in Washington DC on Saturday, 2 June. They then return immediately after to South Africa to face England in the Castle Lager Incoming Series, which will comprise three Tests on consecutive weekends.

Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg will host the series opener on 9 June, while the second Test takes place on 16 June at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein, and the final match in the series will be contested a week later at DHL Newlands in Cape Town.

The following Cell C Sharks will attend the third Springbok alignment camp:

Forwards:Tendai Mtawarira (prop), Coenie Oosthuizen (prop), Thomas du Toit (prop), Chiliboy Ralepelle (hooker), Akker van der Merwe (hooker), Jean-Luc du Preez (loose forward), Dan du Preez (loose forward).

Backs: Louis Schreuder (scrumhalf), Cameron Wright (scrumhalf), Robert du Preez (flyhalf), André Esterhuizen (centre), Lukhanyo Am (centre), Lwazi Mvovo (wing), Sbu Nkosi (wing), Curwin Bosch (fullback).

Pick black Boks to beat Wales – Jake

20

If you read between the lines, the 30-cap rule has effectively fallen away and Rassie Erasmus can motivate to pick any South African, anywhere in the world, to play for the Springboks.

Jake White writes for All Out Rugby

That means there’s no excuse for putting out a team that isn’t competitive every single time.

It also seems like the Bok coach will have to meet a 50-percent transformation quota during the season. That is much more realisitic than having to meet a 50% quota in every single Test because injuries, illness and form can disrupt even the best of plans.

The rules that Erasmus will have to play by are based on team performance and the requirements of the Strategic Transformation Plan. I would strive to make the most of those rules to create depth and playing opportunities for black players while trying to win championships along the way – these are the things that the Bok coach is going to get measured on.

The Test against Wales in Washington D.C. falls outside the official window so it’s very unlikely that the overseas-based players will be released for duty. June is the point of the European season where the playoffs take place and teams like Montpellier, Toulon and Saracens won’t release players.

So how can we work the situation to get the most out of that Test while still giving the Boks a chance to make a winning start to the season, and at the same time ensure we’re ready to host England the following week?

If I was the Bok coach, I’d look to pick a team against Wales that is made up of local players with a special emphasis on those that count towards the transformation targets.

Siya Kolisi would potentially captain a side that featured Tendai Mtawarira, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Trevor Nyakane, Marvin Orie, Lood de Jager, Thembalani Bholi, Nizaam Carr, Embrose Papier, Damian Willemse, Raymond Rhule, Damian de Allende, Lionel Mapoe, Ruan Combrinck and Warrick Gelant.

This team would serve the dual purpose of banking transformation credits to create selection breathing room for the England series, and would also give all of these players a chance to put their hand up on the international stage.

Some people might see this as a throwaway selection but I would pick this team to win based on the fact that these players are good enough to battle the best of Australia and New Zealand almost every week during Super Rugby.

Remember, Wales will be coming off a tough Six Nations campaign and European club competitions and the Test is at a neutral venue. One only needs to look at how well South Africa’s next-stringers did at the Hong Kong Sevens with a selection strategy that ticked multiple boxes.

While the one Bok squad is in the USA, a second group that includes SA’s most experienced players is at home preparing for the England series. There, you pick all the veterans that understand the pressures of Test rugby and who have played against the England players in the Aviva Premiership and the Champions Cup.

The team might look something like this: Steven Kitshoff, Malcolm Marx, Vincent Koch, Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Francois Louw, Jean-Luc du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Faf de Klerk, Handre Pollard, Aphiwe Dyanti, Frans Steyn, Lukhanyo Am, Sbu Nkosi and Willie le Roux, with guys like Bismarck du Plessis, Elton Jantjies and Curwin Bosch in the training squad.

This certainly doesn’t mean that those who face Wales won’t be selected the following week – if anyone has a blinder they could definitely force changes and the experience of a player like Mtawarira would make it difficult not to include him against England.

And that’s exactly what you want as a coach (to create a competition for places in the squad) and as a player (to know that you’ve been selected because you’re the best).

Leading up to the first Test against England, you’ve given guys Test match experience at the back end of a Super Rugby campaign, and you’ve spent a week preparing your most experienced squad for the series.

If you win the Test at Ellis Park on June 9, then you would keep the same group for the second Test. Based on what you get out of the first three Tests of the season, you field the side that played against Wales in the third Test against England.

And if all has gone according to plan, you go into the Rugby Championship with the same approach – the team that played against Wales goes against Argentina while you start prepping for Australia and New Zealand with the team that played against England.

That means you could be meeting your transformation objectives while growing a squad capable of winning a series, like the one against England.

The reality for the coach is that, whichever way he does it, he’ll have people questioning his method. If he changes the team every week, they’ll question it, and if he doesn’t, they’ll question it.

But it’s no use being overly sensitive about the transformation requirements or short-sighted about the Test window limitations. It’s a case of understanding that, over a period of four Test matches, there’s enough leeway to give players opportunities and also win an important series against England.

Some good news for struggling Stormers

3

Stormers fans have been hiding for two weeks after the hammering the Lions gave their team two weeks ago but they will be happy to see that Springbok Frans Malherbe is back from a long injury.

They will have to take on an Sharks team who is hurting at the moment after a embarrassing lost against the Bulls last week.

This will be a huge game for both teams who have not even come close to play to the potential we expected from them this year.

The Stormers are also full of confidence that JJ Engelbrecht, Dan Jriel and Duvenage will be ready for the Sharks.

The other good news for the Strormers is that Jean-Luc du Plessis is ready to go.

The Stormers play the Sharks on Saturday at 17;00

Bulls loose Liebenberg

1

Unbelievable how the Bulls has been having problems with their number 8’s over the last couple of years.

They will now be without Hanro Liebenberg for an extended period as well.

He will undergo surgery on Wednesday and is expected to be out for six to eight weeks.

At least the Bulls are getting Ismaiel and Nic De Jager back from injury.

They will play the Rebels this weekend at home.

 

Lions have their captain back for tour

0

The Lions have named a strong squad to tour Australasia with captain Whiteley back fit again to lead the team.

Nic Groom, who has joined the Lions will also make the tour.

The Lions will face the Waratahs (Sydney, April 20), Reds (Brisbane, April 28), Hurricanes (Wellington, May 5) and Highlanders (Dunedin, May 12).

Regular scrumhalf Ross Cronje is still sidelined with a rib injury and will miss the tour, along with promising winger Aphiwe Dyantyi, who is struggling with a pectoral muscle injury.

Lions touring squad: Jacobie Adriaanse, Cyle Brink, Andries Coetzee, Robbie Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Ashlon Davids, Hacjivah Dayimani, Ruan Dreyer, Lourens Erasmus, Andries Ferreira, Nic Groom, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Elton Jantjies, Johannes Jonker, Sylvian Mahuza, Lionel Mapoe, Malcolm Marx, Francois Mostert, Marvin Orie, Marnus Schoeman, Dillon Smit, Dylan Smith, Kwagga Smith, Madosh Tambwe, Jacques Van Rooyen, Harold Vorster, Warren Whiteley

Maties take Varsity Cup 2018

0

The Danie Craven stadium was brought to its feet on Monday evening when FNB Maties finally got the monkey off their back as they clinched their fourth Varsity Cup trophy. It has taken seven years and three consecutive finals for the Maroon Machine to finally break their trophy drought.

The boisterous sell-out crowd at the stadium on Monday sang FNB NWU off the field in the 79th minute when replacement prop Ricky Nwagbara scored for the home team taking the final score to 40-7 with the conversion by flyhalf Chris Smith.

FNB Maties started their third consecutive final on a good note. The home team certainly were looking to catch FNB NWU out wide and they did on numerous occasions but were let down by their composure in crucial areas inside FNB NWU’s territory.

For all their control, it would only be in the 19th minute when FNB Maties would open the scoring. The home team’s dominant scrum, which has been a key feature all season earned them a penalty try. FNB Maties pinned themselves on FNB NWU’s five metre and with three consecutive penalties, referee AJ Jacobs awarded the seven points FNB Maties’ way.

FNB Maties extended their lead in the 31st minute through Smith who slotted a drop goal, yet it would be FNB NWU who would have the last say of the first half as they cut down their deficit to three through via a Tiaan Bezuidenhout try. Schalk Hugo slotted the conversion and the visiting team went into the half time break trailing 10-7.

FNB Maties struck early in the second half. After the kickoff, FNB NWU strung together a couple of phases before a looping pass was well read by winger Edwill van der Merwe who intercepted for a seven point try. Smith added the extras and all of a sudden FNB Maties were 19-7 ahead.

FNB Maties lock Johan Momsen would extend the home side’s lead to 26 points in the 53rd minute when he barged over from close range and from there FNB Maties looked on course to claim the Varsity Cup trophy and claim it they did. From there on, it was a matter of game management for FNB Maties.

The Maroon Machine kept their shape on attack and were equally good on defence. The home team didn’t stop probing though and would get just reward when Munier Hartzenberg sealed the deal for the home team before Nwagbara confirmed the result: FNB Maties – Varsity Cup champions, 2018.

FNB Player That Rocks: Johan van Niekerk (FNB Maties)

Tournament awards
FNB Player That Rocks: Walt Steenkamp (NWU)
FNB Back That Rocks: Duncan Saal (Maties)
FNB Forward That Rocks: Marno Redelinghuys (Maties)

Scores
FNB Maties: 40
Tries
: Edwill van der Merwe; Johan Momsen; Munier Hartzenberg; Ricky Nwagbara
Cons: Chris Smith (4)
Drop goals: Chris Smith

FNB NWU: 7
Tries
: Tiaan Bezuidenhout
Cons: Schalk Hugo

Pick ‘n Bok team

36

With the June test series against England getting closer maybe it is a good idea to start looking at who we think should make the cut for that all important first test.

Rassie Erasmus said that the Wales test will be picked from players that will not be playing in the first test the following week against England so when we look at this test keep that in mind.

I am a sucker but an old sucker so you will not get a team from me, we will put it to you to pick a Ruggaworld team each week as we get to that first test.

On a Thursday we will announce our team which was selected by you all.

So for the England first test I have only two players that are at this stage my automatic selection, you fill in the blanks….

Springbok Team England Test:

15. Warrick Gelant

14.

13.

12.

11.

10.

9.

8.

7.

6.

5.

4.

3.

2. Malcolm Marx

1.

Let’s keep in mind that we only pick players that are fit and playing at the moment.

We will have some spot prizes each month for all that have participate.

 

Ulster, IRFU sack Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding

0

Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding have been sacked by Ulster and the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) following a review of their recent Belfast rape trial.

In a joint statement, the two organisations said: “Following a review, conducted in the aftermath of recent court proceedings, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby have revoked the contracts of Patrick Jackson and Stuart Olding with immediate effect.

“In arriving at this decision, the Irish Rugby Football Union and Ulster Rugby acknowledge our responsibility and commitment to the core values of the game: Respect, Inclusivity and Integrity.

“It has been agreed, as part of this commitment, to conduct an in-depth review of existing structures and educational programmes, within the game in Ireland, to ensure the importance of these core values is clearly understood, supported and practised at every level of the game.”

Last month, fly-half Jackson and centre Stuart Olding, who have both represented Ireland at Test level, were cleared of raping a woman, with two other men also cleared.

The decision to part ways with the players comes after the IRFU and Ulster held an internal review following the duo’s acquittal.

The review focused on several explicit group text messages between the players and their friends, which was also revealed during the trial.

TOP14 Wrap

0

Lyon boosted their play-off prospects by overcoming Stade Francais while there were important wins for Oyonnax and Agen at the bottom.

Saturday
Toulon 32-17 Montpellier
Clermont Auvergne 33-3 Bordeaux-Bègles
Oyonnax 40-17 Brive
Pau 22-33 Agen
Lyon 44-3 Stade Francais

Clermont Auvergne 33-3 Bordeaux-Bègles
Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin

Clermont Auvergne produced an excellent second half as they secured a 33-3 triumph over Bordeaux-Bègles in a match between two sides with nothing to play for.

With neither outfit in the running for the top-six, nor looking over their shoulders at relegation, it was a dull first half epitomised by ill-discipline and errors.

Les Jaunards did manage to control matters, but they could only accrue their points via the boot of Morgan Parra.

The scrum-half kicked four penalties before his opposite number, Baptiste Serin, responded with one of his own as Clermont held a 12-3 advantage at the interval.

Auvergne gradually began to create more opportunities, however, and opened their try-scoring account in 58th minute through John Ulugia.

As a result of that effort, the hosts increased the intensity and sealed the victory, as well as the bonus-point, when Loni Uhila and Jaco van Tonder crossed the whitewash.

The scorers:

For Clermont:
Tries: Ulugia, Uhila, van Tonder
Cons: Parra 3
Pens: Parra 4

For Bordeaux:
Pen: Serin
Yellow Card: Cobilas

 

Oyonnax 40-17 Brive
Stade Charles-Mathon

Oyonnax moved off the bottom of the Top 14 table thanks to an outstanding 40-17 victory over fellow strugglers Brive at the Stade Charles-Mathon.

Nicolas Godignon’s men started the day in 13th position but they produced an abysmal display as they were overwhelmed by the hosts.

They were outplayed throughout, despite Fabien Sanconnie opening the scoring by crossing the whitewash in the ninth minute.

Adrien Buononato’s side were soon into their stride and, after the excellent Ben Botica had reduced the arrears with a penalty, the fly-half touched down for an 8-7 lead.

Oyonnax continued to dominate with Botica kicking successive penalties – the second coming after Julien Ledevedec had been sin-binned. With the lock off the field, Brive’s line was breached for the second time through Valentin Ursache’s first try.

Although Seremaia Burotu briefly reduced the arrears following Ledevedec’s return, quick-fire efforts by Ursache and Patrick Sobela effectively ended the game as a contest.

The hosts then went in search of the bonus-point but that was denied by Samuel Marques’ score, even though Quentin MacDonald crossed the whitewash to give them hope of the full five points going into the latter stages.

The scorers:

For Oyonnax:
Tries: Botica, Ursache 2, Sobela, MacDonald
Cons: Botica 3
Pens: Botica 3

For Brive:
Tries: Sanconnie, Burotu, Marques
Con: Germain
Yellow Card: Ledevedec

 

Pau 22-33 Agen
Stade du Hameau

Agen look to have secured their Top 14 status for another year after Filipo Nakosi’s hat-trick stunned Pau at the Stade du Hameau.

Simon Mannix’s charges went into the contest with an excellent chance of being in the end of season play-offs, but those hopes have diminished after this shock result.

The visitors were exceptional throughout and in Nakosi they have a lethal finisher. He touched down twice in the opening 16 minutes as the strugglers went into a 17-3 lead – Tom Taylor and Thomas Vincent trading penalties for the other scores.

Philippe Sella’s men were in control but then came Pau’s revival when three tries in 11 minutes saw the hosts go into the interval 22-20 ahead. Quentin Lespiaucq, Jale Vatubua and Thibault Daubagna all crossed the whitewash in quick succession to produce an outstanding turnaround.

Agen could have faltered but they simply regrouped and, after Vincent had regained the away team’s advantage, that man Nakosi completed his hat-trick.

Vincent’s missed conversion meant that Mannix’s outfit still had an opportunity to snatch the win, but George Tilsley’s effort took them out of Pau’s reach and duly eight points clear of the bottom two.

The scorers:

For Pau:
Tries: Lespiaucq, Vatubua, Daubagna
Cons: Taylor 2
Pen: Taylor

For Agen:
Tries: Nakosi 3, Tilsley
Cons: Vincent 2
Pens: Vincent 3

 

Lyon 44-3 Stade Francais
Matmut Stadium de Gerland

Lyon moved into fourth position in the table following a dominant 44-3 victory over a Stade Francais side still threatened by the prospect of relegation.

The Parisians were outstanding against Clermont Auvergne the previous weekend, but this was a shadow of the team that put 50 points on last season’s domestic champions.

Ill-discipline was a particular issue and, after Mike Harris had opened his account from the tee, Alexandre Flanquart was sin-binned.

With the man advantage, the hosts scored twice via Baptiste Couilloud and a penalty try – an incident which earned Morne Steyn a yellow card.

To their credit, Stade battled with 13 men and got on the board through Arthur Coville’s three-pointer, but the hosts were comfortable at the interval after Stephane Clement touched down

Xavier Mignot increased Lyon’s buffer early in the second period before Harris opened up a 29-point gap from the tee.

The game was over as a contest but Pierre Mignoni’s team maintained their intensity and Toby Arnold and Jonathan Pelissie completed the rout.

The scorers:

For Lyon:
Tries: Couilloud, penalty try, Clement, Mignot, Arnold, Pelissie
Cons: Harris 2, Michalak
Pens: Harris 2

For Stade:
Pen: Coville
Yellow Cards: Flanquart, Steyn

PRO14 Wrap- Benetton surprise log leader Leinster

0

Benetton produced a hugely impressive performance to defeat Conference B leaders Leinster, while Edinburgh, Zebre and Cardiff Blues also secured fine wins.

Edinburgh 52-14 Scarlets
Murrayfield

A brilliant eight try performance saw Edinburgh win 52-14 at Murrayfield.

It was a thrilling first 40, with Edinburgh bursting out of the blocks against the reigning champions. The first try came on seven minutes, Blair Kinghorn given enough space in the corner to dot down. And just a minute later, the hosts added to that lead. Duhan van der Merwe found enough room to sprint down the wing and over, Sam Hidalgo-Clyde making it a deserved 12-0 lead.

And the Murrayfield crowd saw the hosts create a 19-point advantage before the 20th minute mark. The steal from Jaco van der Walt saw the offload to Hidalgo-Clyne, and his downfield sprint took him home from 50 metres. Scarlets’ horrendous start only continued as Edinburgh secured the bonus-point. Toying with the visitors, possession ended up with Magnus Bradbury, with the lead heading up to 26 points.

Scarlets eventually troubled the scoreboard on the half hour mark though, as part of a much better final 10 minutes. Tom Varndell found the corner in the best move that the Welsh side had formed all afternoon, and it was a try that reignited Scarlets. Dan Jones, having already converted, got their second try and further two points, to give Scarlets hope at 26-14 down at the break.

But there was to be no rejuvenation because Edinburgh started the half the same way they did the first. They added to their try tally through van der Merwe’s second, benefitting from Hidalgo-Clyne’s kick forward and stretching the lead again. Scarlets’ chance of getting anything from the game slipped away on the hour mark, with Luke Crosbie’s try being followed by the conversion to drag the score up to 40-14.

The seventh try arrived late on, following a sustained spell of Scarlets pressure that failed to produce anything. Instead, it was Mark Bennett who finished off a break and sauntered through. And the rout was completed on 80 minutes, with try number eight coming when Nathan Fowles ran through from 20 metres.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:
Tries: Kinghorn, Van der Merwe 2, Hidalgo-Clyne, Bradbury, Crosbie, Bennett, Fowles
Cons: Hidalgo-Clyne 5, Weir

For Scarlets:
Tries: Varndell, Jones
Cons: Jones 2

 

Zebre 34–32 Dragons
Stadio Tommaso Fattori

It was yet more despair for Dragons as they blew a big lead to lose 34-32 to Zebre.

They may not have a better chance anytime soon of ending their wretched away form, having led 26-10 when the sides went into the break. Zebre opened the scoring early on through Marcello Violi, making the most of a counter attack, with Carlo Canna converting. But Dragons bounced back immediately through Jared Rosser, the first of three for the wing. Canna made it 10-5, but the restart immediately brought Rosser’s second.

Zebre failed to deal with a burst forward and the conversion from Arwel Robson made it a 12-10 lead. Before the break, Rosser was celebrating his hat-trick, winning the race for Charlie Davies’ kick through to seal a perfect first 34 minutes. And the half ended on another high for a Dragons side who put in arguably their best 40 of the season. Davies got that fourth try for a 16-point lead at the break, but that’s where it all went downhill.

Dragons’ half-time talk was blown away within the first 10 minutes of the restart, with two quick-fire tries from Tommaso Castello and Tommaso D’Apice turning the game around and narrowing the gap down to seven points. A Robson penalty kept Dragons an arms length away.

Zebre soon had their fourth try though, Johan Meyer making the most of a misplaced pass in the middle. Canna was unable to add the two, leaving a tantalising two-point gap. Robson made that five points but Zebre retook the advantage through Canna, going down by the post. Robson could have seized victory right at the death, but his penalty went wide and extended the winless run away from home to three years.

The scorers:

For Zebre:
Tries: Violi, Castello, D’Apice, Meyer, Canna
Cons: Canna 3
Pen: Canna

For Dragons:
Tries: Rosser 3, Davies
Cons: Robson 3
Pens: Robson 2

 

Southern Kings 12–45 Cardiff Blues
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

A dominant display from Cardiff Blues saw them record a 45-12 win over Southern Kings.

Kings have struggled throughout their debut PRO14 campaign and within two minutes, it was clear tonight would be no easier. Nick Williams pushed for the line and the ball was recycled to Alex Cuthbert, who got the ball rolling on the demolition job. The lead was doubled on just seven minutes from Seb Davies. Having switched play infield, Rey Lee-Lo fed Davies and Jarrod Evans got his second conversion for a 14-0 lead.

Josh Turnbull stretched the lead with the third try on 25 minutes. Olly Robinson picked up possession after a powerful challenge from Williams, with Turnbull going over from a couple of metres. The bonus-point arrived on 33 minutes when Willis Halaholo worked his way through some weak challenges to ground, with a fifth following from Kirby Myhill, leaving it at 33-0 at the break.

Two minutes was all Cardiff needed to break down Kings from the first whistle in the second half, with try number five coming from Blaine Scully. Evans’ kick through bamboozled the hosts backline and Scully darted through to take the lead up to 40 points. Kings offered something though and got their first try, Ntabeni Dusika attacking from 15 metres out and crossing.

Myhill instantly responded though with his second, the finisher of a driving maul that penned Kings all the way back. Kings had the final points with their second try, Lindokuhle Welemu going through for their second try. It was mere consolation though, with Blues seeing out the 45-12 win.

The scorers:

For Kings:
Tries: Dukisa, Welemu
Con: Banda
Yellow Card: Coetzee

For Cardiff:
Tries: Cuthbert, Davies, Turnbull, Halaholo, Myhill 2, Scully
Cons: Evans 5

 

Leinster 15–17 Benetton
RDS Arena

Benetton shocked Leinster with a 17-15 win at the RDS.

Leinster struck first blood early on courtesy of Richardt Strauss, breaking out of the back of a driving maul to get Leinster onto the scoreboard. The two from Joey Carbery made it a seven-point lead, but the Italians hit back five minutes later. A lineout saw Benneton push forward, and Luca Bigi forced himself over, although the conversion didn’t follow.

The hosts struggled to break down the visitors for the remainder of the half but did manage to grab their second try before the sides headed off. A scrum eventually saw possession go wide to Barry Daly, who snuck inside the corner for a 12-5 half-time advantage.

Treviso again levelled though and the gap was back down to just two, with Federico Ruzza the recipient of a Jayden Hayward pass. And a shock was on the cards minutes later when Tommaso Allan took full advantage of Fergus McFadden’s horror offload and kicked his way downfield and over.

But Benneton lost Tito Tebaldi for a stamp with 20 minutes remaining after a Joey Carbery penalty cut the lead to two, and Leinster had the chance to pick up victory. But they were unable to add any extra points, succumbing to a shock 15-17 defeat.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: Strauss, Daly
Con: Carbery
Pen: Carbery

For Benetton:
Tries: Bigi, Ruzza, Allan
Con: Allan
Yellow Card: Tebaldi

 

Rassie and Jurie join PRO14 board

2

South African rugby’s relationship with the Guinness PRO14 has been further reinforced with the inclusion of SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux and Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus on the PRO14 Rugby Board.

The Guinness PRO14’s expansion this season to include the Toyota Cheetahs and the Southern Kings to become the only club championship in world rugby to unite the Northern and Southern Hemispheres has been re-inforced by the appointments.

PRO14 Rugby Chief Executive Martin Anayi, Commercial & Marketing Director Dermot Rigley and Tournament Director David Jordan joined Roux and Erasmus at the match between the Toyota Cheetahs and Munster in Bloemfontein on Friday evening, following a series of productive meetings with local stakeholders.

“To have the CEO and the Director of Rugby of another Tier 1 nation join the Board is another important step forward for the PRO14 Rugby and for the relationship with South African rugby,” said Anayi.

“We have made great strides this season in expanding into a new territory in keeping with the DNA of the championship as a pioneering cross-border competition and these appointments only serve to re-inforce that progress.”

Roux said: “Our expansion into the Guinness PRO14 in 2017 heralded a new era for South African rugby and was one of the most exciting new ventures in a long time in our game.

“I am looking forward to working even more closely together with our friends from Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy as rugby moves closer to a global calendar and the game becomes even more accessible to new and untapped markets.”

Erasmus, who coached Irish province Munster Rugby, said: “I had the privilege of coaching in the Guinness PRO14, and it found it to be very competitive and hugely popular. To serve on the Board will be a great honour and I am looking forward to working with the other directors.

“The competition has opened a new door to South African players and coaches, with our two franchise teams playing against some of the best players in Europe on a weekly basis and in very different weather conditions. We can only benefit from our involvement in this competition.”

Nabetragting – Super Rugby Round 9

4

Few few surprises in Round 9 was the order of the day with the Jaguares that came back against the Rebels to take a away win and the Bulls that outplayed the Sharks in the wet.

Not many would have picked these two teams to take wins but both fully deserved the wins.

Here is the current standings…

PosTeamPWLDPts
1963030
2862029
3761027
4863026
5752124
6852124
7844021
8844019

The Hurricanes confirm that that they are the best team in New Zealand at the moment as they beat the Chiefs 25-13 on Friday.

The Hurricanes put together brilliant second half to get over the Chiefs hurdle.

The first half was a close affair as we expected between these two top sides and it was great defence from the Hurricanes that eventually pulled them through.

It was Ben Lam again that got over for the Hurricanes in the first half as the try-scoring machine got his ninth try of the season.

It was not just the Hurricanes with great defence but the Chiefs also stood up.

The Chiefs only points in the first half came from a couple of penalty kicks.

Barrett was again the man that turned the game for the Hurricanes as he score a solo try and then send Laumape over with a perfect cross-kick.

Those two brilliant plays from Barrett gave the Hurricanes a 22-6 lead which was just too much for the Chiefs to catch u to.

The Chiefs did score a try through Boshier but that was not enough to give the Hurricanes another great win.

Scorers:

 

 

 

Hurricanes – Tries: Ben Lam, Beauden Barrett, Ngani Laumape. Conversions: Jordie Barrett (2). Penalties: Jordie Barrett (2)
Chiefs – Try: Lachlan Boshier. Conversion: Damian McKenzie. Penalties: Damian McKenzie (2).

The Blues finally got back to winning ways when they beat the Sunwolves 24-10 on Saturday.

The Blues had to come back from a five point half time lead by the Sunwolves to turn things around for the struggling New Zealand Franchise.

Both teams have been poor to say the least this year and it was expected from the Blues to take the win but they had to work for it.

The quality of these two teams have not been good this year and the match did not change that as well.

The Sunwolves got into a 10-5 lead and the warning signs started to show for the Blues.

The Blues got an early yellow card for a high tackle from Tuipulo.

The Sunwolves defence was good on the day as they tried to get their first win of the season.

An early lead of 10-0 gave them the believe that they can get that first win of the season and confidance to keep putting in the hits.

It looked like the Sunwolves ran out of steam in the second half as they started to miss tackles to let the Blues back into the game.

It was not a good quality match but one that the Blues would be happy to get a win at last.

Scorers:

 

Sunwolves – Try: Timothy Lafaele. Conversion: Hayden Parker. Penalty: Yu Tamura.
Blues – Tries: Jordan Hyland (2), Akira Ioane, Dalton Papali’i. Conversions: Stephen Perofeta (2).

The Rebels have now gone two weeks without a lost and they will be careful not to start doing as they did in the past with good starts and then just fade away.

All credit to the Jaguares who never gave up and surprise most with a great second half to take a win on their first match on tour.

The Jaguares were 14-3 behind at halftime lead but it was a second half fightback that surprised the Rebels.

The Jaguares were first on the board with a penalty but the Rebels got through the defence.

The Rebels draw some confidence from the score with more ball in hand which resulted in their second try of the match.

The Jaguares struggle on attack with most of the possession in the first half.

They came close at the end of the half but they just could not get through.

The second half was much of the same with the Jaguares with most of the ball bit the Rebels were the team crossing the whitewash.

The Jaguares eventually got through with Cancelliere and it was at this stage that the moment changed.

Rebels also got a yellow card which gave the Rebels the advantage as the rain poured down on the players.

The Jaguares then used this advantage to send Moyano over.

The Rebels had all the changes to take a win but the Jaguares hold on to take the win.

 

Scorers:

Rebels – Tries: Billy Meakes, Marika Koroibete, Dane Haylett-Petty. Conversions: Jack Debreczeni (2). Penalty: Debreczeni.
Jaguares – Tries: Sebastian Cancelliere, Ramiro Moyano, Bautista Ezcurra. Conversions: Nicolás Sánchez (2). Penalties: Sánchez (2).

The Highlanders was just too good for the inconsistent Brumbies when they beat them 43-17 on Saturday.

It was the the Highlanders 10th win at home and it also kept the Highlanders in the run against the other New Zealand teams.

The Brumbies were still in touch with the Highlanders early in the second half but they just could not get pass the Highlanders defence.

The Highlanders also got a try while they had Sopoaga off with a yellow card.

Ben Smith was again brilliant for the Highlanders on attack and were the Highlanders star player of the day.

The Highlanders was just too good for this Brumbies team

Scorers:

 

 

Highlanders – Tries: Lima Sopoaga, Ben Smith (2), Waisake Naholo, Shannon Frizell, Fletcher Smith. Conversions: Sopoaga (4), Ben Smith. Penalty: Sopoaga.
Brumbies – Tries: Isi Naisarani, Joe Powell. Conversions: Wharenui Hawera (2). Penalty: Hawera.

The Waratahs have completely outplayed the Reds to take a great 37-17 win over the Reds.

The Tahs have been going well in the last couple of weeks and are getting closer to the Rebels at the top of the Aussie log.

The Tahs went into the lead with two penalties to get on the board.

The Reds were trying to play positive rugby but one needs to sometimes slow it down and get points on the board before you go full out.

The Waratahs was just too good for the Reds.

Scorers:

 

Waratahs – Tries: Jake Gordon, Taqele Naiyaravoro (2), Harry Johnson-Holmes. Conversions: Bernard Foley (4). Penalties: Foley (3).
Reds – Try: Filipo Daugunu. Conversion: Jono Lance. Penalties: Lance (3).

The Bulls outplayed a out-of-sorts Sharks in Durban on Saturday to get a full points.

The Sharks was outsmart and outplayed by a Bulls team who is playing with allot of confidence.

There was allot that was said about the match-ups between Pollard versus Du Preez and Gelant versus Bosch and the Bulls but at the end the Sharks could not match them.

Pollard played another match which would make Springbok coach Erasmus very happy.

Gelant was the star of the match and played one of the best games we have seen in a long time.

His defence was as great as his attacking play and he produced a all round performance from fullback.

The Sharks problems start upfront with the Bulls winning the small battles on the ground and their lineouts was poor.

The scrums were even but the Sharks can not afford the play average rugby and think they will win.

The Bulls are starting to look like a well coached side and credit must be given to the coaching staff and players who execute the game-plan to perfection.

The Sharks did not help themselves with poor decision making and they were poor in their last line of defence.

Were the Sharks bullied the Hurricanes last week in the contact situations the tables were overturned by the Bulls in this match.

Gelant scored three tries in the match but it was the foundation that gave the backs to changes they got in the match.

The Sharks have again slump after good showing the the last two matches and are leaving supporters yet again with more questions than answers.

Scorers:

Sharks – Try: André Esterhuizen. Conversion: Rob du Preez. Penalty: Du Preez.
Bulls – Tries: Warrick Gelant (3), Adriaan Strauss, penalty try, Johnny Kötze. Conversions: Handré Pollard (3), Manie Libbok.

Here is next week schedule…

20 Blues v Highlanders Eden Park 09:35
20 Waratahs v Lions Allianz Stadium 11:45
21 Crusaders v Sunwolves AMI Stadium 09:35
21 Reds v Chiefs Suncorp Stadium 11:45
21 Bulls v Rebels Loftus Versfeld 15:05
21 Sharks v Stormers Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17:15
22 Brumbies v Jaguares GIO Stadium 08:05

Our weekly preview and review is sponsored by Sekoma Island Lodge the best place to kick back

For more info contact Glen at sekoma.island@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

Swys to assist Boks in June test series

6

Emirates Lions head coach Swys de Bruin will join the Springbok coaching staff on a consultancy basis for the June Tests, SA Rugby confirmed on Friday.The addition of De Bruin is part of the process to involve coaches from all local franchises with the preparation of the Springboks, an initiative by Rassie Erasmus, the SA Rugby Director of Rugby.

De Bruin will link up with the Springboks in the build-up to their first Test of the year, against Wales in Washington DC on 2 June, as well as for the much-anticipated Castle Lager Incoming Series against England, which kicks off on 9 June in Johannesburg.

“I’ve always said that we must improve our communication and cooperation with the local franchise coaches,” said Erasmus.

“They spend much more time with the players, so better cooperation with them can only be a benefit and should be an obvious thing.

“Swys and some of his colleagues from the Emirates Lions joined us at the second alignment camp, as did members of the DHL Stormers coaching team, while a couple of Vodacom Bulls coaches were there for the first camp.

“It was really great to have them with us for those sessions and they played an active part in the various technical sessions.”

Apart from tapping into the knowledge of expert consultants from time to time, Erasmus indicated that he will ask the local franchise coaches to assist the Boks in specific areas.

“I am delighted that Swys, with the blessing of the Emirates Lions, has agreed to accompany us to Washington and also help out during the England series,” added Erasmus.

The final Springbok alignment camp takes in Durban from 22 to 25 April, with players from the Cell C Sharks as they have a bye that week.

Hurricanes goes top of the log

0

The Hurricanes claimed their sixth successive victory when they beat the Chiefs 25-13 in their New Zealand derby in Wellington on Friday.

In a fast-paced encounter, the 2016 champions eventually got the rub of the green and outscored their visitors three tries to one and Jordie Barrett contributed 10 points courtesy of two penalties and two conversions.

The result means the Hurricanes move to the top of the New Zealand Conference table and the overall standings, while the Chiefs are still in third place in their country’s conference and fifth overall.

As expected, both sides gave the ball plenty of air and in the seventh minute, Ngani Laumape set off on a run from the halfway mark. He advanced up up the Chiefs’ 10-metre line where he offloaded to Ben Lam, who beat three defenders before crossing for the opening try.

Jordie Barrett added the conversion before Damian McKenzie reduced the deficit courtesy of a penalty in the 11th minute. In the 15th minute, the Chiefs’ pack were penalised for an indiscretion at a scrum and Jordie Barrett slotted the resulting penalty to give the home side a 10-3 lead.

Shortly afterwards, there was a long stoppage in play for a serious leg injury suffered by Aidan Ross, who was eventually replaced by Karl Tu’inukuafe.

The next 20 minutes was a frantic affair as both teams tried to gain the ascendancy but neither side managed to score points during this period.

The Hurricanes came close to scoring in the 25th minute when from a quick throw-in at a lineout, inside their half, Lam gathered and set off on a 50-metre run before the ball was shifted to Jordie Barrett, who knocked on ten metres from the Chiefs try-line.

The visitors had a chance to narrow the gap in the 25th minute when the Hurricanes were blown up for illegal scrummaging but McKenzie’s penalty attempt was off target.

On the stroke of half-time, he made up for that miss when he landed a three-pointer from the kicking tee after the Hurricanes strayed offside on defence inside their half.

The home side made a terrific start to the second half when, three minutes after the restart, Beauden Barrett left his stamp on this match with a superb try.

This, when he gathered a loose ball midway between the Chiefs’ 22 and the halfway mark and set off towards the visitors’ try-line. He still had work to do but did well to stab a grubber kick through before diving onto the ball behind the whitewash ahead of Brodie Retallick.

And shortly afterwards the older Barrett brother turned provider when he launched an inch-perfect crossfield kick which Laumape gathered deep inside the Chiefs’ 22 before crossing the whitewash.

The Chiefs did not take that lying down and with the Hurricanes leading 22-6, the visitors upped the ante on attack. They were eventually rewarded on the hour-mark when Lachlan Boshier rounded off in the left-hand corner, after the ball went through several pairs of hands in the bulid-up.

McKenzie held his neve to slot the conversion from close to the touchline and although the Chiefs tried desperately to narrow the gap in the final quarter, the Hurricanes did well to keep them at bay with a solid defensive effort.

The Hurricanes eventually sealed their win when Jordie Barrett added his second penalty with the final act of the match.

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: 
Lam, B Barrett, Laumape
Cons: J Barrett 2
Pens: J Barrett 2

For Chiefs:
Try: 
Boshier
Con: D McKenzie
Pens: D McKenzie 2

Ex-Bok, WP prop calls for Wakefield to step down

4

Former Springbok and Western Province prop Keith Andrews has called for Thelo Wakefield to step down from his position as president of WP Rugby.

The WP Rugby Union has well-documented financial issues and with the Stormers struggling in Super Rugby, pressure is mounting on the top brass of the union.

The Stormers’ 52-31 annihilation at the hands of the Lions in Johannesburg last weekend left them in a precarious position.

The Capetonians have won only three of eight games this season and are 11th on the overall standings and 12 points behind the Lions in the South African conference.

In an exclusive interview with Sport24, Andrews said Wakefield should do the honourable thing and resign.

“Wakefield should ultimately be held accountable because he is the head of the organisation. In terms of on the field, the Super Rugby season is effectively over for the Stormers after their hiding against the Lions in Johannesburg last Saturday. I believe it’s back to the drawing board for 2019. It’s time for some changes from top to bottom because the union simply isn’t performing optimally,” Andrews said.

“Off the field, WP Rugby finds itself in a diabolical situation. Rugby in the Western Province is in a drastic state, with crowd attendance figures on the decline and court cases against the union still running. The team is also not winning and, unless you’re winning, the bottom line is that you don’t get bums on seats. Wakefield, the failed president of WP Rugby, needs to step down!”

Andrews also questioned the authority Wakefield exerts over Stormers director of rugby Gert Smal.

“He (Wakefield) does not have the acumen to correct the union and, if he is still there in two years’ time, the union will be in exactly the same position. I can’t see it changing at all. I also wonder how director of rugby Gert Smal feels about not being backed by his president. It really irritated me when Smal selected John Mitchell to succeed Eddie Jones, only for Wakefield to veto the decision after hearing from the likes of Kevin de Klerk and Oregan Hoskins.”

Andrews continued: “The sad thing for me is when a president doesn’t believe in his director of rugby and goes over his head. Smal is technically the man who should be in charge of appointments and player recruitment. However, at WP you have the president stepping on his toes, which is unacceptable. Wakefield hasn’t played rugby at a high level, yet calls all the shots. Owing to the Mitchell non-appointment, there must be a confidence issue between the two men. Gert is an astute rugby man and, still to this day, I feel sorry for him that he was not backed by his president.”

Overcoming adversity

2

Family tragedies have put rugby into perspective for Jaco Kriel, writes CLINTON VAN DER BERG for SARugbyMag

‘I haven’t spoken about this, it’s hard,’ says Jaco Kriel in a modest office at the Lions training facility at Joburg Stadium.

As the sound of players working out nearby thrums through the thin walls, he settles in before revealing that his father, Herman, is fighting motor neuron disease, the affliction that killed Joost van der Westhuizen and Tinus Linee, and has Doddie Weir, the former Scotland lock, in its deadly grip.

The devastation is doubly difficult for Kriel to bear. His father has been an ever-present support, particularly when Kriel lost his mother, sister and brother in an unfathomably wretched three-year period while he was still at high school in Standerton.

‘My dad was so strong for me. Coping, with his help, was a blessing from the top. It was a tough thing to deal with in school. Somehow I got through … we got through.’

Kriel’s honesty is unvarnished, in keeping with his personality. What you see is what you get from the vibrant Lions and Springbok loose forward.

The tragedies aren’t something he dwells on, but you sense that the deaths of mom Jeanette, brother Stanley and sister Elaine give him a grounding that helps anchor him to the ‘real’ world.

He’s modest about his achievements, among them being shortlisted as South Africa’s Player of the Year a few months ago, and feels strongly about being more than just a rugby player.

He’s in the property business with some rugby pals – buying, renting, selling and developing – ever mindful of the need to craft a career that will endure. He knows rugby can end at any moment, especially as he is at the tailend of recovery after the first major surgery of his career.

The injury to his left shoulder provided a stark reminder of his mortality. Until he wrecked himself playing against Australia, he was flying, laying waste to opponents and living the charmed life of an elite player. Rehabilitation, and being away from the heat of action, has since taught him to look inward, to take nothing for granted, which is why he’s more eager than ever to work his way back into contention.

Unaccustomed to injury, he’s not exactly sure how he should feel, but he’s nonetheless energised by the thought of working with an intellectual maverick like Rassie Erasmus.

‘We had a difficult time with the Boks last year, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Rassie brings. It’s exciting,’ he says. ‘I’ve been blessed to work under Johan Ackermann and Swys de Bruin, guys who know him well. He has a real rugby brain.’

Aged 28, Kriel is sharply aware of the need to conserve his body, which is why his dalliance with Japan, where he played three seasons for the Kubota Spears in the off-season, is a thing of the past. He enjoyed the experience, but has learned the need to rest and refresh, even if it means losing out on loads of cash.

Chasing the Bok No 6 jersey last year, Kriel was encouraged by Ackermann to set higher standards. Yet, it was an inauspicious start as the Lions narrowly escaped with a win in their opening Super Rugby match, in Bloemfontein.

Ackermann blasted them and Kriel was discomfited. ‘I decided then to step up; to be the Jaco Kriel I can be,’ he says.

The Lions flourished and although they eventually lost the final at home, it was a remarkable run. Having played flyhalf until Grade 10, he isn’t as natural a six as he sometimes appears. Since school he’s tended to play   a wide game at openside, but has since been drawn to play more towards the ball, spoiling in defence.

Given the way the Lions play, though, the difference between six and seven is less stark, because they haven’t always found it necessary to house a big ball-carrier at blindside.

His versatility is evident when you consider that when he got his first Test start, in his seventh international, against France at Ellis Park in 2017, he packed down at blindside, with Siya Kolisi opposite. And that’s how it stayed until he was injured, in his 11th Test, in Perth a few months later.

He’s heard the talk of Erasmus opting for a Warren Whiteley-Duane Vermeulen combination at eight and seven, which excites him. He’ll muck in anywhere he’s required.

He’s now at an age where life has given him perspective. This explains why he feels so strongly about the need for players to have balance in their lives. Even though Kriel has a girlfriend, a physiotherapist (which must come in handy), he shares a house on Johannesburg’s east side with Andries Coetzee. Former housemate Faf de Klerk recently decamped to the UK, so there’s a little more room nowadays.

He’s especially tight with Coetzee and Whiteley, but reckons the Lions are more a brotherhood than a squad, so friendship and fun comes easily to the group at large.

He plays golf when he can, off a 17, checking out local courses like Kempton Park and Silver Lakes; whichever offers the best deal.

Kriel knows South Africa’s depth at loose forward is formidable, which explains his philosophy of not keeping up, but rather setting the trend.

His goal as a youngster was to play for the Boks, but he ought to have aimed higher.

‘I should have dreamed of 50 caps, maybe even 100,’ he says with a laugh. ‘I want to be the best in my position and when I leave, it must be on my terms. But, more than that, I want a happy wife and kids.

‘Rugby has given me a good foundation. I’m grateful.’

– This article first appeared in the April 2018 issue of SA Rugby magazine. The May issue is on sale 23 April.

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Proudfoot back for Springboks

1

SA Rugby confirmed on Thursday that Matt Proudfoot will resume his role as Springbok assistant coach and will be responsible for scrums and lineouts in the current team setup.

Proudfoot, who was part of the Springbok coaching team the past two years as scrum coach, will take over from Pieter de Villiers.

De Villiers was included in a revamped Springbok coaching team earlier this year under Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus, but the former French international has informed SA Rugby that he can unfortunately no longer continue in that role because of pressing family commitments.

“After my discussions with Pieter, we jointly came to the conclusion that he would unfortunately not be able to give all his attention to the Springboks, which is fully understandable given his current family commitments,” explained Erasmus.

Proudfoot joined the Springbok management team at the national squad’s second four-day alignment camp, which finished in Vanderbijlpark on Wednesday.

“Matt has a good understanding and relationship with the group of players who represented the Springboks the past two seasons and slotted in easily,” said Erasmus.

In terms of his future role at SA Rugby, De Villiers will from now on focus on the various Elite Player Development programmes, assist with the preparations of the Junior Springboks and also the SA Schools team.

Goosen makes PRO14 debut for Cheetahs

3

Former Springbok fly-half Johan Goosen will make his PRO14 debut in this fixture after being named in the Cheetahs’ starting line-up.

Goosen takes over from Niel Marais, who will be wearing the number 12 jersey against the Irish province. Marais replaces Clinton Swart at inside centre. Swart will provide cover on the bench.

These two teams have met once before with Munster winning 51-18 in Limerick in Round 2.

“We’ve grown tremendously as a team since the last time we played against Munster and we are prepared for what lies ahead,” said Cheetahs captain Francois Venter.

Meanwhile, there are nine changes to the Munster side that defeated the Southern Kings 39-22 in George last Saturday.

Simon Zebo, Andrew Conway, Sammy Arnold, Darren Sweetnam, Brian Scott, Billy Holland, Peter O’Mahony, Jack O’Donoghue and Robin Copeland all come into the starting XV.

Zebo starts at full-back with Conway and Sweetnam on either wing as Arnold joins Dan Goggin, who scored his first Munster try last week, in the centres.

JJ Hanrahan moves from full-back to fly-half for the clash with James Hart at scrum-half.

Versatile prop Brian Scott makes his second start of the season, his first at loosehead, as Niall Scannell and John Ryan maintain their places in the front-row with Ryan set to make his 120th appearance for the province.

Holland returns to partner Gerbrandt Grobler in the engine room and it’s all change in the back-row as captain O’Mahony, O’Donoghue and Copeland are all back in the starting XV.

Rhys Marshall, Dave Kilcoyne and Stephen Archer provide the front-row cover with Dave O’Callaghan and Conor Oliver completing the forward replacements.

Conor Murray, Ian Keatley and Rory Scannell are the backline replacements.

The teams:

Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Francois Venter (c), 12 Niel Marais, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Johan Coetzee, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rynier Bernardo, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Zee Mkhabela, 22 Clinton Swart, 23 AJ Coertzen

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Sammy Arnold, 12 Dan Goggin, 11 Darren Sweetnam, 10 JJ Hanrahan, 9 James Hart, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Jack O’Donoghue, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Billy Holland, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 John Ryan, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Brian Scott
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Dave O’Callaghan, 20 Conor Oliver, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Rory Scannell

Preview Super Rugby Round 9

7

Round 9 of Super Rugby sees only the Sharks and the Bulls from a South African point of view playing on Saturday.

Both the Lions and the Stormers have a bye this week and will only get back into things next week in round 10.

The log is starting to take shape and showing us who are the teams that looks like they may be in the playoffs. For some teams it becomes must wins from now on if they want to make it.

PosTeamPWLDPts
1963030
2862029
3761027
4863026
5752124
6852124
7844021
8844019

Hurricanes and the Chiefs will be starting the weekend of rugby for us and it is building up to be a cracker.

Both teams brag with an exciting brand of rugby that they play with the Hurricanes the front runners this year in the New Zealand conference.

Dangerous at counter attacks but they added an extra dimension this year with a solid tight five and have been good in the set pieces.

It always makes for something special on the field, with all the New Zealand teams having the same mindset when it comes to their game-plan.

It is always a tight affair with them and winning derby games will mean playing home playoff games or having to travel.

For the Hurricanes the Barrett brothers are back in the pivot positions of 10 and 15. Lam has also been brilliant this year and are scoring tries at will at the moment.

Make sure you do not miss this one

Prediction: Hurricanes by 12

Teams:

Hurricanes – 15 Jordie Barret, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen.

Chiefs – 15 Charlie Ngatai (co-c), 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Fa’auli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie/Marty McKenzie, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane (co-c), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Tyler Ardron/Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao-Matau, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Luke Jacobson, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Marty McKenzie/Tiaan Falcon, 23 Alex Nankivell.

The first game Saturday morning see the Blues traveling to Japan to face the Sunwolves.

The Blues story seems like a repeat of the past few years as they come so close but can not get those close wins.

It always seems that they just cannot play for that full 80 minutes like the other New Zealand teams or they just don’t pitch up on the day.

The Sunwolves is by far the worst team in the competition this far again but the Blues is not faring much better.

They will want to use this game to start their rebuild but teams can easily under estimate the Sunwolves.

If the Blues play to their potential they will win this by 20 plus points but if they think they will just have to pitch up they will be in for a surprise.

Prediction: Blues by 25.

Teams:

Sunwolves – 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Semisi Masirewa, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Michael Little, 11 Lomano Lemeki , 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare (c), 8 Kazuki Himeno , 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 James Moore, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Craig Millar.
Replacements:16 Jaba Bregvadse, 17 Shintaro Ishihara, 18 Nikoloz Khatiashvili, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Willie Britz, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 William Tupou.

Blues – 15 Michael Collins, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Rieko Ioane,  11 Matt Duffie, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Jonathan Ruru; 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Jimmy Tupou, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Mike Tamoaieta,  19 Ben Neenee , 20 Dalton Papali’i, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 TJ Faiane.

The Rebels were flying high on top of the Log until they met their first New Zealand side and reality set in that they may be on top of the Aussie conference but they are far off the top teams still.

This week see them hosting the Jaguares who is unfortunately still a disappointment in Super Rugby.

They tend to still play a negative brand of rugby when they come up against quality teams but have the potential to win this whole competition.

If one take that their side is almost a international team one need to start thinking they just not good enough.

The Rebels have been brilliant at times but also poor when they did loose the two matches so far this season. In both losses they got hammered and questions needs to be asked when they face better quality tams.

This will be an interesting match to watch as the Jaguares have been poor at home but do run teams close on tour.

Predictions: Going against the grain, Jaguares with 9 points.

Teams:

Rebels – 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Richard Hardwick, 6 Ross Haylett-Petty, 5 Adam Coleman (c), 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner.
Replacements: 16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Michael Ruru, 23 Sefa Naivalu.

Jaguares – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Sebastian Cancelliere, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti Pagadizaval, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.
Replacements: Alemanno, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Bautista Ezcurra, 23 Joaquin Tuculet.

The Brumbies are coming off a good win last weekend and will be up against a Highlanders side that will want to get back to winning ways.

Touring New Zealand is never easy and they will have to step it up a few more gears if they want to upset the Highlanders side at home in front of their passionate crowd.

The Highlanders have surprised us this year with their tight five and their set pieces. They are much better than previous years and the Brumbies will want to target that aspect of the game to get good ball out to their backs.

Both teams can play for long periods at a time with the ball so defensive structures will be important for both.

The Brumbies took some time to get going this year but the win against the Sharks seemed to kick start their season which is great now when they start facing the New Zealand teams.

Prediction: Still believe at home the Highlanders will have to much for the Brumbies by atleast 11 points.

Prediction: 

Teams:

Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith (cc), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Shannon Frizell, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Siate Tokolahi, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Alex Ainley, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Matt Faddes.

Brumbies – 15 Tom Banks, 14 James Dargaville, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Matt Lucas, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Tom Cusack, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Michael Oakman-Hunt, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Kyle Godwin, 23 Andrew Smith

When these two teams meet you usually get a match with some passion almost like the old days the North v South derbies in South Africa.

The Waratahs, although not at their best at all this year has got the wins on the board and can build to be the best Aussie at the en dof the season.

They have most of the international players in their squad and we have been waiting for years now for them to play to their potential.

The Reds have been in a building process and although they are winning some they still not consistent enough.

The Reds have been hot and cold this year and they need to be better this weekend if they want to beat the Waratahs.

Prediction: Waratahs by 15

Teams:

Waratahs – 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements:  16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Cameron Clark.

Reds – 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Izaia Perese, 10 Jono Lance, 9 James Tuttle, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 Liam Wright, 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper (c).
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Adam Korczyk, 20 Angus Scott-Young, 21 Tate McDermott, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Jordan Petaia.

Sharks are back from tour and although they did not achieved the wins they wanted they have been improving the last two weeks from the first two shocking performances.

They will be highly motivated being back at home and it will not be easy for the Bulls to come to Durban and get a win.

The two teams have similar outlook on the game and they have two number 10’s and 15’s who are brilliant players and pushing for Springbok spots.

Although we say it almost every week but this game will be won and lost up front. The Sharks pack have been under-performing from what we expected so far and the Bulls looks like a much better pack than before.

Du Preez has been a monster in the loose and the Bulls will have their hands full with him on attack.

We expect the lineouts to be even but at the back the team that will make use of the space will score the tries. Defence have been a problem for most teams this season and we will see how they fare in this aspect of the game.

The battle with be within and so far this year the Sharks have not perform well at home. They need to step up and have the same mindset as with the game last week against the Hurricanes.

The Bulls is that one team this year that can sprang a surprise in any game so do not count them out.

It is good to see Gelant back with the midfield of Kriel and Odendaal. That is the battle I am really looking forward to between Odendaal – Kriel and Am – Esterhuizen.

Prediction: This one is a lottery for me but I will go with Sharks by 9

Teams:

Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (c), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Daniel du Preez, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Kobus van Wyk.

Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Johnny Kötze, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (c), 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 André Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Duncan Matthews.

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O! Captain my Captain

14

The Lions will go on tour next week with the good news that Warren Whiteley, Ross Cronje, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Aphiwe Dyantyi are all expected to be cleared to play.

Although the Lions got back to the old winning ways against the Stormers last weekend at home they struggled since Whiteley got injured.

He plays a vital role within the team and on the field which was missed by not just the players but also the coach.

The Lions will leave on the 17 April to play the Waratahs, Reds, Hurricanes and Highlanders.

The Lions have a bye this weekend for a well earned rest before the tour.

 

Mitchell draws the line for Bulls

9

According to Super Sport Website John Mitchell has draw the line in the sand for his players and the standard that he expect from the squad.

We all know that Mitchell is a no-nonsense guy and he do not mind to drop players who are not up to standard or fit into the team culture he creates within his team.

Paige and Jenkins are good examples of this and it seems that his squad will either have to shape up or be left behind.

Mitchell has delayed his team announcement internally as some players may have gone a bit wayward in the off-week.

“We weren’t happy with some of the standards set by some of the guys when we went away, so we had some one-on-ones and obviously to get some of the high-speed training up for some of the guys who dropped standards,” Mitchell explained.

“It was a bit disappointing but we made sure we drew a line in the sand because we’re not going to compromise those, and then obviously the guys who have carried the load, on their one-on-ones, and the Boks went out to their camp.

“But it is always nice to freshen people up mentally. We have a good enough process to kick back and work. We will be a bit rusty but by the time we finish on Thursday we will be ready to play rugby again.”

The Bulls will also welcome back Lood De Jager and RG Snyman who both recovered from their injuries and are fit again.

It looks like Ismaiel, Nick De Jager and Ulengo will not be ready.

 

“I haven’t named the team internally today, but I will tomorrow. We just wanted to get through the session. I obviously didn’t want too many guys to eat too much chicken over Easter and too much ice-cream. So we will have a look at their metrics tomorrow and see who delivers and who doesn’t and then make a decision on the right 23.

“I think Travis will definitely be out. We are still looking at the 9s as well and the locking combination, which obviously affects the bench as well.

“We are also mindful of rewarding some guys who played exceptionally well against the Stormers. I’m pretty well concluded. It will be important to see tomorrow who delivers high standards and who doesn’t.”

 

Read the full Story here

Blommetjies join Scarlets

1

Cheetahs utility back Clayton Blommetjies have decided to join the Scarlets team next season.

The 27 year old will follow Cassiem to Scarlets for the 2018/19 season.

Blommetjies made his mark in Varsity Cup and also repesented SA Schools, SA Schools Academy, SA Students, SA Under 20 and SA Sevens sides.

He started his pro career at the Bulls before moving to the Cheetahs.

 

 

 

Commenting on the news head coach Wayne Pivac said: “We’re delighted to be welcoming Clayton to the Scarlets for the forthcoming season.

“He’s a talented player that can play in a number of position across the backline. His flexibility will offer us options, particularly during the international windows. Clayton is an exciting runner with a big kick off both feet and also has match-winning ability.

“With Super Rugby and PRO14 experience Clayton will be an important addition to us going forward.”

Jon Daniels, Scarlets General Manager of Rugby said: “With so many players away during international windows we have been looking closely at the balance of our squad to ensure we are competitive both within and outside international windows. A player of Clayton’s ability and experience gives us greater strength in depth across the whole season.”

Blommetjies added: “This is an exciting new chapter for me and my family and one that I’m really excited for.

“When I met with Wayne and Jon I got a real sense of how professional the club is both on and off the field.

“They’re doing well in both European and PRO14 competitions at the moment and it’s an exciting prospect that we could potentially meet in the quarter finals in a few weeks time.”

Photo: Anne Laing/HM Images

What comes around goes around

19

So WP Rugby president Thelo Wakefield will meet with Stormers coach Robbie Fleck and director of rugby Gert Smal on Monday to discuss the team’s woeful performances in Super Rugby this year.

This is very interesting if you think about it…This is the same Wakefield that with De Klerk and Hoskins decided that Mitchell will not be appointed the Stormers coach after Gert Small wanted him.

This is the same Wakefield that appointed Robbie Fleck as the Stormers coach when Fleck was coaching the U21 and they over looked Dobson for the job.

I am sure that De Klerk is very happy that he convince Wakefield not to appoint Micthell after seeing his Lions side rip the Stormers apart over the weekend.

Wakefield is now unhappy and told Netwerk24 that he will be seeking answers from Fleck and Small.

“We can’t afford empty stands at Newlands. We want to sell suites and tickets and build our support base. And we won’t achieve that with the rugby we’ve been playing.”

Wakefield added that a tough draw and injuries cannot be used as an excuse.

It is a bit think I think that he now wants to ask Gert Small about the state of rugby if the Director of Rugby was not given what he wanted.

It is time that Wakefield gets the boot with all his mate’s

Wins for Leinster, Scarlets, Bennetton, Cheetahs and Munster

0

Leinster kicked off the PRO14 action with a comfortable bonus-point win over Zebre before Scarlets saw off Glasgow in Llanelli.

Elsewhere, Benetton and the Cheetahs left it late to defeat the Dragons and Cardiff Blues respectively while Munster won at the Kings.

Leinster 41-6 Zebre

Conference B pacesetters Leinster made it triumph number 14 in the PRO14 as they easily dispatched Zebre, winning 41-6 at the RDS.

The Irish side had the match sewn up by the break as they crossed three times, with the second-half all about wrapping up the bonus-point.

James Lowe, Rory O’Loughlin and Max Deegan were the try-scorers in the first period, with Carlo Canna’s penalties making it a 17-6 buffer.

And the fourth try arrived on the hour mark for the hosts in Dublin, as number eight Deegan crossed for his brace to complete the maximum.

Leinster weren’t done there though as Lowe also grabbed a second late on before replacement Vakh Abdaladze and Bryan Byrne also scored.

For Zebre this is their 14th negative of this PRO14 campaign as they remain rooted to the foot of the Conference A table after 18 matches.

The scorers:

For Leinster:
Tries: Lowe 2, O’Loughlin, Deegan 2, Abdaladze, B Byrne
Cons: R Byrne 3

For Zebre:
Pens: Canna 2

Scarlets 26-8 Glasgow Warriors

Scarlets inflicted only a third PRO14 defeat on Glasgow as they managed to see off the Warriors 26-8 at the Parc y Scarlets on Saturday.

It was a hard-fought victory for the Welsh region, who have stayed in touch with Leinster at the summit of Conference B with this home win.

A low-scoring first-half saw Scarlets go in 8-0 to the good thanks to Rhys Patchell’s try in the 28th minute and a Leigh Halfpenny penalty.

But in the second period they managed to pull clear as Gareth Davies, the boot of Halfpenny and a second Patchell try saw them prevail.

Glasgow, who remain 12 points clear at the Conference A summit, did give themselves a chance of turning things around when scrum-half Henry Pyrgos crossed on 62 minutes to make it 19-8. But they were well beaten in the end as Scarlets claimed a key victory in Llanelli.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Tries: Patchell 2, G Davies
Cons: Halfpenny
Pens: Halfpenny 3

For Glasgow:
Try: Pyrgos
Pen: Horne

 

Benetton 29-27 Dragons

Benetton’s Tito Tebaldi snatched a 29-27 victory for his side at the Stadio Monigo.

A penalty inside two minutes soon produced the perfect start for Benetton. Winning the line-out, Federico Ruzza was driven over the line for a dream opening. The extras from Tommaso Allan gave the Dragons a challenge from the off, though a quick-fire penalty reduced the lead down to 7-3. A second kick, again from Arwel Robson, left Benetton’s lead down at just a solitary point.

A five-minute spell before the half-hour mark gave the Italian side full control though, with two more tries taking the lead to double figures. The first of the two came from Monty Ioane, coming after Tommaso Benvenuti was held up just short. And five minutes later, Allan got the third. The kicker’s two conversion in the half resulted in a hefty 19-6 before the break. And the bonus point was wrapped up right on 40 minutes, Tebaldi going through for the deserved 26-6 lead.

Dragons had something to cheer 10 minutes into the second half when their first try arrived. Rynard Landman provided some hope by cutting the lead in half, but they still looked well short of building any sort of fightback.

The visitors were improving though and cut the gap down to just six with their second try of the night. Jared Rosser found the space to go through with 20 minutes still to play, Robson again making no mistake with the kick. Dragons then completed the shock turnaround with 15 minutes remaining with a third converted try. Connor Edwards shook the hosts with the third Dragons effort, but that jubilation turned to desperation at full-time.

The 81st minute produced Benetton’s pivotal moment with the final kick of the game. The Dragons were penalised as the Italians piled the pressure on and Tebaldi kept his nerve to record the two-point 29-27 win.

The scorers:

For Benetton:
Tries: Ruzza, Ioane, Allan, Tebaldi
Cons: Allan 3
Pen: Tebaldi

For Dragons:
Tries: Hill, Rosser, Edwards
Cons: Robson 3
Pens: Robson 2

 

Cheetahs 29-27 Cardiff Blues

A last-minute penalty try robbed Cardiff Blues as Cheetahs stole a 29-27 win in Bloemfontein.

A quickfire penalty from Gareth Anscombe was soon equalled by the hosts’ Niel Marais in a first half that Cheetahs were to be the better side. Winger Sibhale Maxane found the line following a disjointed line-out from the Blues, Clayton Blommetjies feeding Maxane for 8-3.

Blommetjies soon found himself in the sin-bin after deliberate knock on, with the subsequent penalty from Anscombe reducing the gap back down to a couple of points. Cheetahs didn’t let the lack of men affect them though as they recorded the second try midway through the half. Francois Venter made the most of an attacking position and capitalised on a slip by Alex Cuthbert, Marais making it 15-6.

Cardiff Blues’ half was to get worse when Owen Lane saw yellow for a push, and the Cheetahs took full control of his indiscretion by sending Maxane through for his second of the match.

The Blues recovered quickly after the break and the returning Lane made up for his yellow card with a try. Steve Shingler added two to cut the lead down to 22-13. And things got even more interesting right on the hour with a second try. Willis Halaholo had just saved the Blues from conceding a fourth, and at the other end he played the major role as he cut the gap down to just two points.

And the turnaround was completed with 10 minutes left to play. Cardiff Blues had come out of the second half rejuvenated, and Halaholo combined with Rey Lee-Lo, the latter finding the line and Shingler adding the two for 27-22. Cardiff lost Cuthbert for the final few minutes to a yellow card, and that almost proved pivotal. A late scare from the TMO produced a penalty from close range, but Cheetahs picked up the penalty try right at the death to break Blues’ hearts and secure a 29-27 win.

The scorers:

For Cheetahs:
Tries: Maxwane 2, Venter, Penalty try
Cons: Marais 2
Pen: Marais
Yellow Card: Blommetjies

For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Lane, Halaholo, Lee-Lo
Cons: Shingler 3
Pens: Anscombe 2
Yellow Cards: Lane, Cuthbert

 

Southern Kings 22-39 Munster

It was a slow opening but Munster took the lead on 17 minutes, with the always reliable boot of Ian Keatley putting Munster three to the good.

But the Kings were the better side in the first half an hour and a yellow card to Gerbrandt Grobler quickly set the hosts on their way to the first try. The extra man allowed Andisa Ntsila to make the most of space out wide and go over. Masixole Banda added two and was soon preparing for another as Kings got their second try.

Stephan Greeff again capitalised only three minutes after the opening try, 12-3 the advantage on the half hour. A Banda penalty stretched that further but Munster’s first try reduced the arrears.

Niall Scannell went through from short after getting the extra man back, and it was quickly followed by a second. Calvin Nash went on a wonderful solo mission, dummying his way around Kings bodies and cutting the half-time score to 15-13 in the hosts’ favour.

Rejuvenated from the late rally, Munster took charge after the break. Their lead came from CJ Stander eight minutes into the half, and try number four saw Kings blown away. Rory Scannell’a pass sent Dan Goggin through for a deserved 25-15 lead.

Rhys Marshall increases the advantage with the fifth try, for a 32-15 the lead. Kilcoyne made the lead even bigger, with a late consolation from Michael Makasa finishing it at 39-22.

The scorers:

For Kings:
Tries: Ntsila, Greeff, Makase
Cons: Banda 2
Pen: Banda

For Munster:
Tries: N Scannell, Nash, Stander, Goggin, Marshall, Kilcoyne
Cons: Keatley 3
Pen: Keatley
Yellow Card: Grobler

Thanks to

Nabetragting: Super Rugby Round 8

5

Round 8 has seen the two finalist from last year move to the top of the log. It has been another exciting weekend of Super Rugby but from a South African point of view we only manage 1 win from a all South African derby.

Here is the current combined log

PosTeamPWLDPts
1963030
2862029
3761027
4863026
5752124
6852124
7844021
8844019
9934118
10733014
11936014
12831013
13835012
14826012
1570702

It was so close but unfortunately not to be for the Sharks as they lost the game in the 85 minute of the game.

The match was a played in quarters as both teams struggle to keep momentum and and pull away from the other.

Although the lost the Sharks will feel that they are busy to get to a place where they play more to their potential.

It was Laumape that broke the hearts of Sharks supporters with West that landed the conversion to seal the win

The Sharks played a powerful game with precision with the forwards dominating for long periods in the game.

With a lead of 27-19 at halftime the Sharks should have closed the game but the Hurricanes just did not give up.

The yellow card in the lead up to that last try of the Hurricanes was the deathblow for the Sharks

At the back Robert Du Preez and Andre Esterhuizen have been in great form. With powerful forwards running direct and getting over the advantage line the Sharks have been playing more on the front foot.

The Hurricanes was not the same side without Beauden Barrett but the Sharks have moved up a notch.

Most of the South African teams need to improve their start of the game and the Sharks also let the Canes get of the mark with an early lead of 12-3.

Dominating the collisions gave the Sharks their way back in the match and something that worked last week as well against the Blues.

In the midfield Am and Esterhuizen are becoming a great combination.

The Sharks made 332 meters in the first half and beaten 13 defenders which was something they struggle to do in their early matches.

Curwin Bosch has become a vital part of this team at fullback and has been improving every game.

He produced a brilliant break to lay the foundation for Paul to get over in the second half.

You cannot move away from this match without given Jean-Luc du Preez the praises he deserved. He is a monster this season and is back to his brilliant best.

The Sharks will be traveling back home this week to face the Bulls at home this coming Saturday

The Sunwolves have not been able to register a win in Super Rugby this year and the Waratahs was the next team to teach them a lesson in the game.

The Tahs got an important away win in Tokoy on Saturday as they got maximum points from the game.

The Sunwolves are able to put teams on the backfoot for the better part of fifteen minuets at the start of the game but fade away as the game go on.

The defence of both side was not great and tries were just scored to easily throughout the match.

The Waratahs was always in front of the match and never really looked that they will lose it.

For the Sunwolves it was just another day at the office with another lost for the season.

 

 

 

The Chiefs had to work hard to get pass a determent Blues side on Saturday.

In a all New Zealand affair the Chiefs just had to much for the Blues as they won the game 21-19.

It was not the normal quality or high scoring match but the intensity was still there.

The Chiefs dominated the second half to be good enough to take the win.

Although the Blues made a good start let the Chiefs back into the game.

 

The Blues led 19-14 at the break but they were not able to stop the Chiefs at the end.

Do not know what was said or given to the Brumbies at halftime but they overturned a 15-point deficit to beat the Reds 45-21 at the end.

The Reds rushed to a 15-0 lead in the first half but then let the Brumbies back into the second half.

With 78% possession the Reds outplayed the Brumbies.

For once the Aussies derby was quite exciting to watch something we not normally get from Oz.

The Brumbies was full value for the win and maybe this is just what they need to kick-start their season.

The game was suppose to be a great clash between the Stormers and the Lions but somehow the Stormers did not get the memo.

As brilliant the Lions were in the match the Stormers showed just why they have never really been a contender in the past.

The Lions were quick out of the blocks as they took full advantage from the poor decision making and defence of the Stormers.

This was a trend that went on throughout the match as the Lions dominated the game throughout.

The Stormers have been poor in defence this season and it reach the pinnacle on Saturday.

They tried to use a rushed defence but that does not work if you cannot make that first tackles.

Their was also not plan on attack again and when they saw that the channel one ball does not work they were unable to switch to Plan B.

This was one of the worst performances I have seen from a Stormers side the last couple of years.

On the other side the Lions were brilliant in all they did and for once the passes stick and they were great in defence.

This will be the perfect  way to go on tour and will give De Bruin and his troops the convenience to get back to winning ways.

There is still some work to do but the Lions showed they are still our best chance to challenge for the trophy.

For the Stormers it is back to the drawing board and figure out how to get better because the way they go on now will make this a nightmare of a season.

Robbie Fleck and his coaching team will also now be under huge pressure.

The Crusaders have shown their quality when they hammer the Jaguares 40-14.

That gave the Crusaders a bonus point win and moving to the top of the New Zealand log.

Two wins on tour just shown what a great team this Crusaders outfit really is.

It was the same old for the Jaguares as they have just not been good enough against quality teams.

This Crusaders team is not at their best yet and that will be a worry for other teams as they still have some quality All Blacks to come back from injury.

Next week schedule see some great matches ups..

13 Hurricanes v Chiefs Westpac Stadium 09:35
14 Sunwolves v Blues Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 05:05
14 Rebels v Jaguares AAMI Park 07:15
14 Highlanders v Brumbies Forsyth Barr Stadium 09:35
14 Waratahs v Reds Sydney Cricket Ground 11:45
14 Sharks v Bulls Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17:15

The Stormers and the Lions have a bye which only see the Sharks and the Bulls in action from a South African point of view.

The Hurricanes against the Chiefs will be another match to look forward to.

With the tournament moving past the halfway mark their are certain teams that will need to step up or be left behind.

Our weekly preview and review is sponsored by Sekoma Island Lodge the best place to kick back

For more info contact Glen at sekoma.island@gmail.com

 

 

Lions humiliate Stormers

2

The Lions demolish the Stormers on Saturday when they beat them 52-31 to earn a bonus point win at home.

The Lions found the type of game that we saw last year when they started the game against the Stormers, running riot with some poor Stormers defence.

They were quick to get on the board after a poor tactical kick from Willemse in the Lions half which gave Michael Tambwe the space to run all the way for his first try.

The second try did not take long with again the Stormers giving away possession and territory to give Tambwe his second try.

With 14-0 lead it looked like the Lions will be running a massive score against the Stormers.

The Stormers did pull one try back which open their scoring but Tambwe scored his hattrick as well which gave them the lead of 19-7.

The Lions was not done and from turnovers the were able to send Mapoe over after a great break from Jantjies on the short side.

The Stormers went over for their second just to be overturned by the TMO after he judge a knock on in the lead up.

The Lions was not done as Kwagga Smith went over just before halftime after again poor tackling especially from SP Marias who has been out of form the whole year.

The Lions went into the break with a lead of 31-10.

The second half was not much different from the first with the Lions dominating the Stormers and when they were on attack they looked like scoring everytime.

When the Stormers had the ball they just went through the motions and never really looked like they could get pass the Lions defence.

The Lions quickly scored again in the second half and before the Stormers could get going again they were seven tries down.

The Stormers did get one back with a try from Willemse which gave the Lions still a lead of 45-17.

The 50 points for the Lions were put on the board in the 62 minute of the game and all the Stormers could do from here on end was to play for a little bit of pride.

The Stormers were able to pull another one back as the got to 24 points against the Lions 52.

The last act of the game was a penalty try for the Stormers which gave them a flattering 31 points at the end, but this an embarrassment handed to them.

Result

Lions Lions 52   31 Stormers Stormers

Lions

 

Tries – Ruan Combrinck(62′) Michael Tambwe(52′) Franco Mostert(46′) Kwagga Smith(41′) Lionel Mapoe(26′) Michael Tambwe(13′) Michael Tambwe(9′) Michael Tambwe(1′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Elton Jantjies(63′) Elton Jantjies(53′) Elton Jantjies(47′) Elton Jantjies(42′) Elton Jantjies(14′) Elton Jantjies(2′)

Stormers

 

Tries – Albertus De Wet(73′) Damian Willemse(59′) Wilco Louw(21′)

Penalties – SP Marais(36′)

Cons – Damian Willemse(74′) SP Marais(60′) SP Marais(22′)

 

Chiefs hold spirited Blues out

0

The Chiefs secured their fifth successive Super Rugby victory when they beat the Blues 21-19 in a hard-fought derby in Hamilton on Saturday.

The result means the Chiefs are undefeated in their last 14 games against the Blues which is the longest unbeaten streak of any team against another in the tournament’s history.

The win also means the Chiefs provisionally move into second position on the New Zealand Conference standings while the Blues, who deserve plenty of credit for a spirited performance, are still languishing at the bottom of the table.

The Blues had the better of the early exchanges and held a 6-0 lead inside the first five minutes thanks to two well-taken penalties from Stephen Perofeta. The Chiefs were soon camped inside their opponents’ 22 and reduced the deficit courtesy of a penalty of their own from Damian McKenzie in the ninth minute.

The home side continued to dominate and three minutes later Solomon Alaimalo made a telling break before he was tackled on the edge of the Blues’ 22 by TJ Faiane. But despite being brought to ground, Alaimalo managed to get a pass out to McKenzie and he did well to offload to Sean Wainui, who crossed for the opening try.

Midway through the half McKenzie extended his side’s lead when he landed another three-pointer off the kicking tee before Perofeta replied with a penalty in the 29th minute which meant the Chiefs led 11-9.

On the half hour-mark, McKenzie added his third penalty but shortly afterwards, he was forced off the field with a hip injury with his older brother Marty coming on as his replacement.

The younger McKenzie’s exit was a setback to the home side and the Blues were soon camped inside their opponents’ half. And after taking the ball through some phases in the Chiefs’ 22, James Parsons barged over from close quarters for the men from Auckland’s first try.

Perofeta added the extras and on the stroke of half-time he succeeded with his fourth penalty which meant the Blues led 19-14 at the interval.

The teams continued to attack during the second half but superb defence and numerous unforced errors from both teams meant that neither side managed to add to their points tally during the first quarter of the half.

The Chiefs came close to scoring on a couple of occasions during that period but poor decision making cost them dearly. In the 56th minute, they launched a drive from a lineout on the Blues’ five-metre line but nothing came from that attack as Lachlan Boshier was blown up for obstruction.

And two minutes later, Anton Lienert-Brown tore the Blues defence to shreds with a brilliant line break before throwing a pass to Toni Pulu, who knocked on with the tryline beckoning.

The Chiefs continued to pile on the pressure and in the 68th minute the Blues suffered a setback when Josh Goodhue was sent to the sin bin for a cynical defensive foul inside his 22.

With 14 men on the field, the Blues battled to contain their hosts and in the 74th minute referee Paul Williams awarded a penalty try to the Chiefs when a scrum collapsed close to the visitors’ try-line.

That seven-pointer proved to be the decisive score in this match and sealed another victory for the hosts over their rivals.

The scorers:

For Chiefs:
Tries:
 Wainui, Penalty try
Pens: D McKenzie 3

For Blues:
Try: 
Parsons
Con: Perofeta
Pens: Perofeta 4
Yellow Card: Goodhue

Brilliant second half seal Brumbies win

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The Brumbies came back from 15-0 down to claim a 45-21 bonus-point win over the Reds in an entertaining derby in Canberra on Saturday.

The home side were under the cosh for large periods early on but took control of proceedings as the match progressed and eventually outscored the Reds seven tries to two with Isi Naisarani leading the way with a deserved brace.

The result is a significant one for the Brumbies as it means they move above the Brisbane-based outfit into third position of the Australian Conference standings, six points adrift of the Melbourne Rebels, who are in first place.

The Reds were fastest out of the blocks and were rewarded as early as the sixth minute when Chris Feauai-Sautia beat a couple of defenders before offloading to Taniela Tupou, who crossed for the first try.

The visitors dominated the possession and territorial stakes for the next 20 minutes and after Jono Lance slotted a penalty in the 17th minute, Feauai-Sautia crossed for their second try five minutes later which gave them a 15-0 lead.

The Brumbies eventually came to life in the 27th minute when, from a lineout drive on the Reds’ five-metre line, Folau Fainga’a barged over for his first Super Rugby try.

Wharenui Hawera converted before Lance succeeded with another penalty which meant the visitors led 18-7 by the half-hour mark.

The Brumbies narrowed the gap in the 34th minute when Naisarani crashed over for his first try, from close range, before Feauai-Sautia was yellow carded for a defensive foul, and although the Reds led 18-12 at half-time, the Brumbies were slowly gaining the initiative.

Naisarani’s try proved crucial as the Brumbies continued where they left off in the first half, when they came out after the break, and they were rewarded with tries from Chance Peni and Rory Arnold soon after the restart.

Arnold’s five-pointer was a memorable one as the big second-row did well to outsprint several defenders before crossing the whitewash. That try was converted by Christian Lealiifano which gave the Brumbies a 22-18 lead before Lance added another penalty in the 61st minute to reduce the deficit to three points.

But despite that penalty, the Reds faded badly and the final quarter was dominated by the home side.

In the 66th minute, the Brumbies took the ball through several phases inside their opponents’ 22 before Sam Carter crossed for their fifth try and Lealiifano’s conversion meant they had a 10-point lead with the clock winding down.

They did not take their foot off the pedal though and late tries from Naisarani and David Pocock sealed an emphatic win for the two-time champions.

The scorers:

For Brumbies:
Tries:
 Fainga’a, Naisarani 2, Peni, Arnold, Carter, Pocock
Cons: Hawera, Lealiifano 4

For Reds:
Tries: 
Tupou, Feauai-Sautia
Con: Lance
Pens: Lance 2, Tuttle
Yellow Card: Feauai-Sautia

Tahs put 50 past Sunwolves

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The Waratahs proved too strong for the Sunwolves as they claimed a deserved 50-29 victory in their Super Rugby clash in Tokyo on Saturday. 

The visitors were full value for their win as they outscored the Sunwolves seven tries to four with Jake Gordon crossing for a brace and Bernard Foley finished with a 15-point haul courtesy of six conversions and a penalty.

The result means the Waratahs are now just a point adrift of the Melbourne Rebels at the top of the Australian Conference standings while the Sunwolves, who have now lost all five their matches in the competition, are still firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.

The Sunwolves did most of the early attacking but it was the Waratahs who opened the scoring in the sixth minute courtesy of a Gordon try after Taqele Naiyaravoro laid the groundwork with a barnstorming run down the left-hand touchline in the build-up.

The home side did not take long to reply and five minutes later Michael Little crossed the whitewash after busting through tackles from Foley and Gordon inside the Waratahs’ 22.

Both tries were converted but the Waratahs regained the lead in the 14th minute when Foley slotted a penalty after Little was blown up for an indiscretion at a ruck.

The Waratahs took control of proceedings as the half progressed and were leading 24-7 midway through the half thanks to well-taken tries from Curtis Rona and Will Miller.

Rona’s effort was particularly impressive as he bamboozled the Sunwolves defence with an audacious dummy before crossing the whitewash.

The Sunwolves needed a response and they did that in style with Little once again prominent. The inside centre launched an attack from inside his 22 and set off on a 70 metre run before throwing an inside pass to Sam Wykes, who crossed for his side’s second try.

That try  reinvigorated the home side and they narrowed the gap in the 28th minute when Yu Tamura added a penalty after the Waratahs were blown up for straying offside on defence.

The visitors would finish the half stronger though and further tries from Gordon and Bryce Hegarty gave them a commanding 38-17 lead as the teams changed sides at the interval.

The Waratahs continued to dominate in the second half and five minutes after the restart Michael Hooper scored their sixth try off the back of a lineout drive deep inside the Sunwolves’ 22.

To their credit, the Sunwolves fought back and in the 53rd minute Little got a pass out to Semisi Masirewa midway between the halfway mark and the Waratahs’ 22 and he did well to beat Kurtley Beale with deft footwork before racing away to score his side’s third try.

The Sunwolves upped the ante on attack but despite spending plenty of time inside the Waratahs’ half, they could not add to their points tally during the next 10 minutes although they received a shot in the arm in the 65th minute when Hooper was yellow carded for a professional foul on defence deep inside his half.

Shortly afterwards, the home side made their numerical advantage count when Kazuki Himeno ran onto a pass from Yutaka Nagare before dotting down but the Waratahs would have had the last laugh as Naiyaravoro secured their bonus point when he crossed for their seventh try in the 73rd minute.

The scorers:

For Sunwolves:
Tries: 
Little, Wykes, Masirewa, Himeno
Cons: Tamura 2, Parker
Pen: Tamura

For Waratahs:
Tries:
 Gordon 2, Rona, Miller, Hegarty, Hooper, Naiyaravoro
Cons: Foley 6
Pen: Foley
Yellow Card: Hooper

Thanks to

Ospreys and Edinburgh with bonus point wins

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Ospreys and Ulster picked up bonus-point victories in the PRO14 on Friday as they overcame Connacht and Edinburgh respectively.

Ospreys 39-10 Connacht

Ospreys eased to a 39-10 victory over Connacht at the Liberty Stadium.

Tries from Jeff Hassler, Dan Evans, Scott Otten, Ashley Beck and Hanno Dirkson saw the Welsh region ease to victory. Craig Ronaldson’s first-half effort was as good as it got for Connacht.

With both sides struggling in the PRO14 this campaign, Ospreys took charge inside two minutes with Dan Biggar nailing the first penalty of the evening. The Welsh international made it two from two before the clock had reached 10 minutes, in a half that the hosts largely controlled. Evans saw yellow for the home side for what looked like a knock-on, but the man disadvantage actually helped them stretch their lead.

The first try came for the 14 men, with Hassler ignoring the other 13. Possession was stolen on half-way and Ospreys’ 14 went the length unchallenged, allowing Biggar to make it a 13-0 lead.

Connacht got themselves back in the game with their first points of the night though on 21 minutes. Ronaldson had only entered the field a couple of minutes prior but he received the pass from Jarrad Butler to sprint through. The try scorer added two to cut the gap down to six.

The returning Evans built the lead back up though with Ospreys’ second try of the night. He found the line following a line-out to restore the advantage just before the half-hour. A kick from Jack Carty reduced the half-time deficit to 20-10.

The Ospreys added to their lead though after the break with try number three. A quick penalty saw Otten find the line, the TMO giving the all clear for a 27-10 lead.

And on the hour mark, Ospreys virtually sealed the win with a fourth try. A line-out caught Connacht napping and Beck went through, 34-10 the ever growing advantage.

Things soon got worse with try five, Dirksen given time and space to ease his way over for 39-10.

The scorers:

For Ospreys:
Tries: Hassler, Evans, Otten, Beck, Dirksen
Cons: Biggar 4
Pens: Biggar 2
Yellow Card: Evans

For Connacht:
Try: Ronaldson
Con: Ronaldson
Pen: Carty

Edinburgh 20-32 Ulster

Ulster picked up a 32-20 win in a thriller at Myreside.

Darren Cave, Charles Piutau, John Cooney and Iain Henderson outscored the hosts efforts from Duncan Weir and a penalty.

It took nine minutes for the scoreboard to get ticking, with Weir’s easy penalty easing the hosts into an early lead. That lasted just a couple of minutes though, with Ulster soon grabbing the first try of the night. Jacob Stockdale found room down the wing to go on a run and he saw Cave in space, with the try swiftly following. Cooney added two to put Ulster into a 7-3 lead.

Weir was again on hand with his second penalty of the night to cut the gap back down to just a point, but Ulster again responded with a try.

Their second of the night came from Piutau, who had found himself in space following the switch of the ball to the wing. Cooney missed his effort this time but soon made up for it.

The Ulster 10 was the next man over the line on 24 minutes, the end man after a slick passing move that cut the hosts backline open. He made no mistake with the conversion either.

Edinburgh responded though before the break. Weir had the pitch to himself after stealing possession and went 60 metres downfield before converting, Ulster’s lead cut to 19-13 at the break.

Cooney added another three following the restart though to put the visitors back in command. But a penalty try brought Edinburgh within a couple of points with the Ulster defence struggling to keep the hosts out. With the gap down to two, a Cooney penalty was vital to take the lead back up to five. And Henderson wrapped up the win in the final moments for a 32-20 win.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:
Tries: Weir, Penalty try
Con: Weir
Pens: Weir 2

For Ulster:
Tries: Cave, Piutau, Cooney, Henderson
Cons: Cooney 3
Pens: Cooney 2

Thanks to

Hong Kong Sevens: Day One, Wrap

0

With just eight pool matches played in the men’s World Series on day one it was Spain who grabbed the headlines with their first victory over Australia since Las Vegas in 2013.

Pablo Feijoo’s side clinched a memorable 17-12 win over Australia, when Ignacio Martin Goenaga’s scored off the last play of the game. It was his second try of the match after Inaki Villanueva had opened their account during the first minute.

Scotland also ran in a last gasp score against England to take a narrow 22-19 victory, following over 70 seconds of phase play ending with Lee Jones going over the whitewash.

Elsewhere Fiji kept their hopes of a fourth consecutive Hong Kong title on track with a convincing 31-12 victory over Samoa, while Kenya’s Willy Ambaka scored his 100th try on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series as they beat Canada 33-10.

South Africa and New Zealand both showcased the strength of their squads with 36-5 and 45-0 victories respectively over Russia and South Korea.

Men’s competition, Day One, results:

Argentina 31-10 Wales
USA 24-24 France
England 19-22 Scotland
South Africa 45-0 South Korea
Australia 12-17 Spain
Kenya 33-10 Canada
New Zealand 36-5 Russia
Fiji 31-12 Samoa

Sharks give it away at the end

1

The Sharks had the perfect opportunity to get a win over the Hurricanes on Friday but gave it away in the 83 minute.

It was West last conversion that gave the Hurricanes the win over the Sharks.

The Hurricanes who lost Barrett just before the match looked out of sorts with West at 10 and the Sharks did everything to win the game except they did not.

West had a mixed game for the Hurricanes but he will walk away the hero.

The Hurricanes made allot of mistakes which is not something we used to.

The Sharks had a brilliant start to the match playing fast and direct which put the Hurricanes off their game.

The Sharks pack ran at the Hurricanes defence and put them on the back foot.

It was the Sharks first on the board with a penalty to open the scoring.

But Jordie Barrett scored the first try soon after and their second try cane not long after that.

That gave the Hurricanes a 12-3 lead early on before the Sharks scored their first try through Am.

The second Sharks try came of a powerful scrum which Schreuder picked up and scored close to the sticks.

This gave the Sharks the lead of 17-12 but they soon gave that it away again 19-17 for the host.

Du Preez landed a penalty to give the Sharks the lead back before Am scored his second try just before halftime

The second half was a more subdued affair as both sides were more resilient on defence. Two further penalties from West early in the half meant the Hurricanes were trailing by two points but Du Preez also added a three-pointer off the kicking tee in the 55th minute which gave the Sharks a 30-25 lead.

West landed another penalty in the 72nd minute but despite holding a slender two-point lead, the Sharks stayed true to their attacking roots and were rewarded a minute later when Tyler Paul crossed for their fourth try, from close quarters.

Du Preez’s conversion made it 37-28 to the visitors but West reduced the deficit when he slotted another penalty in the 78th minute.

The closing stages was a tense affair as the Hurricanes were camped inside the Sharks’ 22 and the visitors’ cause was not helped when Franco Marais was yellow carded for a cynical foul on defence.

The Hurricanes made full use of their numerical advantage and four minutes after the hooter, they managed to create an overlap and Laumape rounded off before West stepped up to slot the match-winning kick.

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: 
Barrett, Laumape 2, Aso
Cons: West 3
Pens: West 4

For Sharks:
Tries:
 Am 2, Schreuder, Paul
Cons: R du Preez 4
Pens: R du Preez 3
Yellow Card: Marais

Preview Super Rugby – Round 8

1

This weekend starts with the Sharks facing the Hurricanes on their last game on tour after a good win over the struggling Blues last weekend.

We have another South African derby with the Lions and the Stormers facing off in Johannesburg after both suffered losses last weekend, with the Bulls having a bye weekend.

Here is the current log standings after round 7…

PosTeamPWLDPts
1963030
2862029
3761027
4863026
5752124
6852124
7844021
8844019
9934118
10733014
11936014
12831013
13835012
14826012
1570702

A 63-40 win over the Blues would have given the Sharks a much needed boost to face the highly rated Hurricanes this weekend but one needs to understand that their is a huge difference between the quality of the Blues and the Hurricanes.

Defence have been a problem for the Sharks this year and even against a poor Blues side they still gave away 40 points on the day.

Against the quality of the Hurricanes they can not afford to give the same defensive display.

The Hurricanes is also one of the better scrumming sides in New Zealand so the Sharks will depend heavily on their pack to win that mini battles.

It is time to step up for the Sharks as they face one of the competition favorites at home.

This game will give a good indication where the Sharks are at the moment.

The Hurricanes have a good set piece brilliant kicking game and one of the best attacking backs in the competition.

The Sharks stayed with the same fifteen that took the field against the Blues last weekend and players like Beast, Du Preez and Esterhuizen needs to step up for this one.

Prediction: Can not see the Sharks beating the Hurricanes at home even after last weeks good win, Hurricanes by 13 points

Teams:

Hurricanes – 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen.

Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (c), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Tyler Paul, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Kobus van Wyk

The Sunwolves are like the lottery, you have any change of winning but the odds are you going to be on losing end of things.

They face the Waratahs at home this weekend and although the Waratahs have been under performing again this year they should be to much for this Sunwolves side.

The Sunwolves can surprise when playing at their Tokyo base, and this should be one of those games, so one never knows.

The Waratahs had a important win over the Brumbies, and will want to take this one which they at the end should.

Prediction: Waratahs by 20 points

Teams: 

Sunwolves – 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Lomano Lemeki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Michael Little, 11 Semisi Masirewa, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Yutaka Nagare, 8 Kazuki Himeno , 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Sam Wykes, 4 James Moore, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Craig Millar.
Replacements:16 Jaba Bregvadse, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Nikoloz Khatiashvili, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Edward Quirk, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Hosea Saumaki.

Waratahs – 15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Ned Hanigan, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Mitchell Short, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Cameron Clark

The Chiefs will be looking at a win and nothing else this weekend when they face the Blues.

Any New Zealand match is a great game of rugga’s but it is difficult to see the Blues surprising a strong Chiefs side here this weekend.

The Blues have been struggling since week one and their defence has been one of the major issues for them.

The Chiefs have been playing some great rugby this year and have been building each game which makes them one of the more silent killers this season.

Confidence plays a major role in and sport and it is something the Blues do not have and something you want to have going into a game like the Chiefs.

Prediction: Chiefs by 14 points

Teams:

Chiefs – 15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 Sean Wainui, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Sam Cane, 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Karl Tu’inukuafe, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Luke Jacobson, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Charlie Ngatai, 23 Marty McKenzie.

Blues – 15 Michael Collins, 14 Matt Duffie/Jordan Hyland, 13 Rieko Ioane, 12 TJ Faiane, 11 George Moala, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Pauliasi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Mike Tamoaieta, 19 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 20 Dalton Papali’i, 21 Sam Nock, 22 Bryn Gatland, 23 Orbyn Leger.

These Aussies games have become the time I give the remote to the kids and wife to watch something before the real games come up.

The past two years I have struggled to find the energy to watch these Aussie derbies which is close to how I will feel just before committing suicide, or that is how it most of the times feel.

The Reds must be the better of the two sides as the Brumbies have struggled this season but if I was a betting man I will not waste my money on this game.

Prediction: I almost want to say who cares? but if I must choose I go with the Reds by 10.

Teams:

Brumbies – 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Matt Lucas, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Lachlan McCaffrey, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Faingaa, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Les Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Sam Carter, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Kyle Godwin, 23 James Verity-Amm.

Reds – 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Adam Korczyk, 6 Caleb Timu, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 JP Smith, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Liam Wright, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Hamish Stewart, 23 Jordan Petaia.

This should have been the game of the weekend but with both teams struggling to put 80 minutes of rugby together one will never know.

The Lions have been disappointing this far and that is putting it lightly. Coach De Bruin have been making so much changes to this side every week which is never good.

The Lions looks like a team without a leader and with the weird tactics from De Bruin and his senior players you now do not know what to expect from this side.

The Stormers is not better with inconsistent performances throughout the season. They seemed to find it hard to play away from home and this week is another away match.

The Lions still lead the South Africans sides but with the poor performances from the Sharks, Stormers and Bulls it is nothing to brag about.

There was some good news for the Lions who have Combrick back in the mix and their captain not far off getting back into things.

Both teams have created enough changes this season but the lack of finishing is one of the major concerns.

The Stormers had to make a couple of injury-enforced changes to their lineup, with scrumhalf Jano Vermaak and lock Chris van Zyl coming in for Justin Phillips (rib) and Cobus Wiese (hamstring).

Pieter-Steph du Toit goes back to blindside flank to accommodate Van Zyl in the second row.

The big battle will be upfront and it will decide the outcome of this match.

The Lions game management have been poor but then again the same can be said about the Stormers.

Prediction: Still give it to the Lions by 6 points

Teams: 

Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert (c), 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Corné Fourie, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.

Stormers – 15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jaco Coetzee, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Craig Barry.

The last game of the weekend sees the Jaguares taking on the Crusaders who beat the Lions last weekend.

The inconsistency of the Jaguares is not a good thing and the Crusaders will be going out the get the full 5 points in this match.

One wants to believe that the Jaguares may stand a chance if they pitch up and play positive rugby but we have seen so far and over the last two years that when the Jaguares play quality sides they play negative rugby which results in cards and huge losses.

The Crusaders is just too much of a qaulity side to give this one away.

Predictions: Saders by 17 points

Teams:

Jaguares – TBC

Crusaders – TBC

You can catch the live interactive chat on the following links this weekend.

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Du Preez stick with same Sharks line-up

0

Sharks head coach Robert du Preez has named an unchanged starting line-up for his side’s Super Rugby clash with the Hurricanes in Napier on Friday.

Ruan Botha captains the side again from the second-row where he packs down alongside Stephan Lewies while Tendai Mtawarira and Thomas du Toit are the starting props and Chiliboy Ralepelle lines up at hooker.

Meanwhile, Jean-Luc du Preez and Philip van der Walt start on the flanks and Tera Mtembu continues at number eight. In the backline, Louis Schreuder and Robert du Preez continue as the half-back pairing and Andre Esterhuizen and Lukhanyo Am are the two centres.

In the back three, Curwin Bosch starts at full-back again while Lwazi Mvovo and Sbu Nkosi are the two wings.

The Durban-based outfit not only came away with a vital win against the Blues in Auckland last week, but a pretty much injury free scorecard, allowing the coach to name an unchanged line-up for Friday’s clash.

“There have been a couple of niggles but nothing serious and everyone was available for selection,” said Du Preez.

The Sharks will go into this match with confidence which is a vital component for teams seeking victory, but it will take more of what was delivered last week against a top class side.

“After the disappointments of the first two weeks on tour, the boys were hurt, but they were desperate to get a first win on tour,” added Du Preez.

“If there had been a lack of effort previously I would have been really worried, but that wasn’t the issue. This time around the boys brought the effort and the accuracy, so it was much better and I was really pleased with that performance.

“Everyone was desperate to put in a good performance, and that aim was achieved. Every player had a part to play, including the bench players when they came on.”

Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (c), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Tyler Paul, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Kobus van Wyk

Hernandez hang up his boots

0

Jaguares and Argentina utility back Juan Martín Hernández has announced his retirement from all forms of the game with immediate effect.

The 35-year-old revealed that the knee injury he suffered in the Round Five Super Rugby match for the Jaguares against the Reds in Buenos Aires had spelled the end.

“The cruciate ligaments aren’t affected but it’s very painful and the demands of Super Rugby don’t allow me to play in this competition diminished,” Hernández told Midi Olympique.

“So I’ve decided to stop playing rugby. There you go, it’s finished.

“I didn’t want to have any regrets, I think I wanted the end to come on a rugby field.”

Hernández was one of the key players in the most successful Argentina Rugby World Cup campaign, in France in 2007, when they finished third, having beaten the host nation in a shock opening result in the tournament. While a utility back capable of playing fly-half, centre or full-back it was the pivot position that he preferred.

He became a key figure in the game in helping Argentina bridge the gap from the previous European connection with their game to their involvement with Sanzaar in southern hemisphere Rugby Championship and Super Rugby competitions.

Hernández played six years for Top 14 outfit Stade Français featuring in 123 games. He had a nine-game stint with the Sharks in Durban before returning to France with stints at Racing Metro (75 games) and Toulon (8) before becoming a foundation player for the Jaguares.

While he made his international debut against Paraguay in 2003, in a 144-0 win, he cemented his place in domestic Test matches before making his mark on the international stage during the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia. He missed the 2011 tournament in New Zealand due to operations on his knee, and he also appeared in the 2015 tournament in England.

Hernández played 74 Tests for los Pumas with his final appearance against Italy in November. He hinted that once he had recovered from his knee injury he might play some games for the club he started out with Deportiva Francisa.

However, he is taking a six month break from rugby and has hinted he may pursue a coaching career.

He had sporting genes: his uncle Patricio Hernández was a member of Argentina’s football team at the 1982 Fifa World Cup while his sister Maria de la Paz Hernández won a silver medal in hockey at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and bronze medals at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

Nabetragting: Super Rugby round 7

1

One want to forgive the bad performances due to the fact it is Easter Sunday. We at least got two wins out of a possible three for the weekend with the Sharks giving the biggest surprise on Friday.

Unfortunately it ended with another poor display from the Lions against the Crusaders on Sunday.

Before we look at the weekend highs and lows here is the current log standings

PosTeamPWLDPts
1963030
2862029
3761027
4863026
5752124
6852124
7844021
8844019
9934118
10733014
11936014
12831013
13835012
14826012

The Sharks finally got a performance together that we have expected from them since the start although it has been against a poor Blues side.

Although it took some time and a little scare the Sharks finally got some good work done with Robert and his brother Jean-Luc at the forefront.

With the disappointment of the Brumbies and the Rebels the Sharks bounce back with passion which was lacking for most of this season so far.

This week the Sharks shown commitment, passion and they were accurate in what they did specially in that second half.

Even Du Toit where better in the scrums but Robert Du Preez had the best game so far for the Sharks this year but his brother where a monster.

Next week will be a huge test when they face the Hurricanes and will make a huge statement that this was not just a once off against a poor team.

The Bulls had a good return to Loftus when they beat the Stormers on Saturday 33-23.

It was not one of the best games this season but it was the Bulls that took control of the match early on and made a huge statement at scrum time.

This was the Bulls best performance from their tight five as well as their loose forwards. The Bulls also were happy to take full advantage on the mistake driven Stormers side on the night.

Handling errors were a big problem from the Stormers which was due to some great line speed from the Bulls on defence.

They put huge pressure on the halfback and Willemse who could not get into his natural game.

He struggled to get his backs away and when he did the midfield made to many wrong decisions and handling errors.

Pollard on the other hand had a good kicking game and when needed got his backs away, He was much better in reading the game.

SP Marais was again not up to it putting pressure on his own team through poor play and game management.

Yellow card cost the Stormers again and although a bit unlucky they can not afford to have a player in the bin.

The worst was left till Sunday when the Lions hosted the Crusaders at home. Although they started the game with some great passion and putting the Crusaders under pressure but their arrogance yet again cost them.

Their game management has been poor all season and it just shown again that their are incapable of managing the game when the chips are down.

They try to play this dream of attacking rugby at all cause, has made them more predictable than our politicians in this country.

There are also certain players that have overstayed their welcome in Andries Coetzee and Kwagga Smith.

Kwagga will be better off playing sevens rugby because his dream of playing for the Springboks in fifteens will not happen.

Coetzee has been the cancer on so many turnover tries for the opposition and his general play is poor and predictable as we know De Allende will not pass 99% of the time.

 

The way the Lions are going now they might win some derby games but they will not make the play-offs.

Serious questions will be asked about De Bruin ability as head coach. He look like he is panicking and cannot get the same out of this team than what Ackers could. He has also make changes almost at every game which does not help with continuity.

Next week is the Stormers and hard work lies ahead for this Lions side.

Other results:

Chiefs 27 – 22 Highlanders

The Chiefs got the better of the Highlanders on Friday in a all New Zealand derby. Like always the match was played at a high tempo and any mistake was punished.

The Chiefs were the better of the two teams over the weekend and deserve the win but it was a tight affair that could have gone either way.

Rebels 19-50 Hurricanes

The top of the log Rebels was given a lesson on Friday when the Hurricanes beat them 50-19.

Starting well in the first half the Hurricanes just switch on 10 minutes before half time and control the match from their on end.

The Rebels was blown of the park and could not put any more points on the board with the Barrett brothers again running the show.

Australian sides will be worried that the first game against New Zealand side came down to fifty points being put over their best side so far.

Brumbies 17-24 Waratahs

The Waratahs came away with a win in another Aussie derby that was difficult to sit through and watch.

The quality of this match was poor and the way these teams are playing they will not be a huge threat this year.

Although the Waratahs won the match they still playing way below the quality we expect from such quality players in this side.

The worst part of Super Rugby yet again is the refereeing that just stay poor throughout. The fact that SANZAAR is keeping quite and letting the same poor referees handling matches week in and week out is not good for the game.

No wonder people do not want to go to stadiums to spend money on referees not even knowing the rules of the game and that includes the TMO’s

Here is next week schedule:

6 Hurricanes v Sharks McLean Park 09:35
7 Sunwolves v Waratahs Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 07:15
7 Chiefs v Blues FMG Stadium Waikato 09:35
7 Brumbies v Reds GIO Stadium 11:45
7 Lions v Stormers Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
7 Jaguares v Crusaders Estadio Jose Amalfitani 23:40

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Saders beat Lions

6

Another weekend of Super Rugby and another disappointing performance from De Bruin Lions side as the Crusaders beat them 14-8 on Sunday.

They look half the side they have been over the last two years and are starting to look like a side struggling.

The Lions started the game with speed running all at the Crusaders which gave them some field position as well.

The scrums look good for the Lions at first and they looked like they had their number in that department.

They were also the first to score points with a great try from Tambwe who got a great pass from Marx down the line.

This gave the Lions a 5-0 lead after 12 minutes.

The teams tested each other for the rest of the half but defence from both sides where solid and they struggled to get through.

The Saders did go over for a try but it was judges by the TMO that there was a forward pass leading up to it.

At the end they went into halftime with the Lions 5-0 in the lead.

It was all Crusaders in the second half as they kept the ball in hand and after sustained pressure in the first 11 minutes they got over for their first try.

It took not long to break the Lions defence again as they got their second try off a lineout.

This gave the Saders a 14-5 lead and the Lions to play catchup rugby.

The Lions tried hard but so many mistakes on attack with bad choices and handling errors stop any momentum they may had.

The once powerful exciting Lions backline as become predictable and unable to get pass defensive system.

They also ran to much sideways not creating space for players.

The Lions got a penalty to reduce the score to 14-8 but could not get anything in the last few minutes as the Crusaders easily stopped a driving maul of the Lions to secure a vital away win.

MATCH STATS

Lions Lions 14  Crusaders Crusaders

Scorers:

Lions

 

Tries – Michael Tambwe(14′)

Penalties – Elton Jantjies(77′)

Cons – None

Crusaders

 

Tries – Jack Goodhue(53′) Sam Whitelock(50′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Mitch Hunt(54′) Sam Whitelock(51′)