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Sharks fell short against Jaguares

6

The Jaguares put together another win, this time against the Sharks on Friday when they beat them 29-13.

With the win the Jaguares have closed the gab between them and the log leading Lions.

It has been an impressive six wins in so many weeks for the Jaguares who has come out as real contenders for the title this year.

The Jaguares next goal will be against the struggling Stormers at the end of June.

With the lost the Sharks have dropped out of the top eight which means no play-off spot for the side from Durban.

The Jaguares was full value for their win as they dominated the first half that gave them the 17-7 lead at the break.

The second half the Sharks were better but mistakes just gave the Jaguares opportunity which gave them more points.

The Sharks captain Botha also received a Red Card for a shoulder charge in the ruck. This sums up the Sharks night and from that point the Sharks took themselves out of the contest.

The Jaguares sensed blood and were pushing for the bonus-point try, which came at the death as Moyano completed his hat-trick to put further pressure on the Lions top spot.

The scorers:

For Jaguares:
Tries: Moyano 3, Delguy
Cons: Sanchez 3
Pen: Sanchez

For Jaguares:
Try: Botha
Con: Du Preez
Pens: Du Preez 2
Red Card: Botha

Saders outclass Hurricanes

0

The Crusaders are still on their merry way to defend their Super Rugby title with an impressive win over the Hurricanes on Friday.

They won the derby game in the wet 24-13 and it was an impressive win as well.

It was a typical top of the log clash from the two leading sides in the competition and in Super Rugby.

The heavy rain did take away from an even bigger clash which saw allot of play being done by the forwards.

The Crusaders were full value for the win outscoring the Hurricanes with three tries to one.

The win also moved the Crusaders five points clear on top of the log standings.

The opening 20 minutes was an arm wrestle with few point-scoring opportunities and neither side troubled the scoreboard during that period.

At the end the Crusaders showed why they are the most successful team in the competition and that any team that want this title will have to improve a hell of allot.

The scorers:

For Crusaders:
Tries: Barrett, Alaalatoa, Bedwell-Curtis
Cons: Mo’unga 3
Pen: Mo’unga

For Hurricanes:
Try: Prinsep
Con: B Barrett
Pens: J Barrett, B Barrett

Super Rugby Preview – Round 15

10

Last week for the South African teams before the international break and it is tight in the South African conference at the moment.

The Sharks play away this weekend against the much improved Jaguares with the Bulls hosting the Brumbies at Loftus.

In Cape Town the Stormers will be coming off a poor performance against the Sunwolves to host the Lions at Newlands.

Here is the current log standings…

PosTeamPWLDPts
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034

The weekend rugby will kick off with the all New Zealand derby when the Crusaders and Hurricanes face off on Friday.

It does not really matter if there is rain, sunshine, wind or a storm, this will be a cracker.

The two top sides in New Zealand this year and the two teams that are also the front runners to win this whole thing as well.

Not that both teams have not struggled this season but they just find ways to get wins more often than not.

The Crusaders sits nicely on top of the log and will want to get this game done and dusted with a win as every point becomes important for that home play-off spots.

Traveling in Super Rugby has never been great although New Zealand sides have manage the wins when it matters.

Despite being in second place in their country’s table, the men from Wellington have played one match fewer than the champions which highlights the importance of this fixture to both teams.

Playing at home will help the Crusaders but we know to well that the Canes can win away from home.

The Crusaders have won their last six New Zealand derbies at home – their last loss in such a fixture was in Round 17, 2016 against the Hurricanes.

For the Crusaders Richie Mo’unga will have to be at his best. He is a player with playmaking skills and accurate goal-kicking but in games like this you show what you are made off.

Hurricanes Brad Shields returns after coming on as a replacement in last weekend’s triumph over the Reds. Much will be expected from the captain this week.

Prediction: This will be a cracker and I tend to go with Hurricanes by 5

Teams:

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Chris King, 18 Donald Brighouse, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor

Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Finlay Christie, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Jonah Lowe

Although the Sunwolves are coming off two back to back wins against the Reds and Stormers it will be difficult for them to beat the Rebels away from home this weekend.

They only retained four players that beat the Stormers as many of their players was finish with their stints at the Sunwolves.

The Rebels have been disappointing after a good start to the season and even leading the overall log at one stage.

The wheels definitely came off when they started to face the better teams in the competition.

It is a building phase for the Rebels with new coaches and players but to unfortunately they have been poor this year.

They are coming of a win last week and will want to keep building as a team. They will be going into this match as favorites but the Sunwolves can not be taken lightly.

Predictions: Rebels by 16 points

Teams:

Rebels: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Jack Maddocks, 13 Tom English, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Reece Hodge, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman (c), 4 Matt Philip, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Fereti Sa’aga
Replacements: 
16 Jordan Uelese, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Pone Fa’amausili, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Tayler Adams, 23 Sefa Naivalu

Sunwolves: 15 Jason Emery, 14 Lomano Lemeki, 13 Michael Little, 12 Ryoto Nakamura, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Keisuke Uchida, 8 Edward Quirk, 7 Shunsuke Nunomaki, 6 Grant Hattingh, 5 Shinya Makabe, 4 James Moore, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 1 Craig Millar
Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Keita Inagaki, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Sam Wykes, 20 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Harumichi Tatekawa, 23 Semisi Masirewa

The Sharks are back to winning ways after last weeks win at home against the Chiefs.

It was not perfect but it was a much improved performance from the Sharks and the only question now is which Sharks team will pitch up this Friday in Argentina.

Still in with a shout for play-offs the Sharks cannot afford to loose this one really.

They are in a race with the Jaguares for that Wild Card spot and it will not be easy against a Jaguares team that have believe now.

The Sharks are a well balance side with enough quality in the side to beat the Jaguares but as many other South African teams they have not been consistent enough.

The plan must be to starve the Jaguares from the ball and dominate upfront.

The Jaguares love to play of mistakes and that is something the Sharks have made plenty off this year.

The Jaguares have not surprise with the success they had over the last couple of weeks as we expected this from them long time ago.

It is lovely to see positive rugby being played by Jaguares and the changing of coaches have made a huge difference in this side.

This is going to be a great game to watch and hopefully both teams will pitch up to play.

Prediction: Just do not believe in this Sharks team yet, Jaguares by 9

Teams:

Jaguares: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de le Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Tomas Lezana (c), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta
Replacements: 
16 Julian Montoya, 17 Javier Diaz, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Bautista Ezcurra, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia

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

The Chiefs will be travel back to New Zealand to host the much improved Waratahs on Saturday morning.

With a lost last week on the road against the Sharks this will be important match for the Chiefs as they need to stay in touch with the front runners.

The Waratahs have been impressing this last few weeks with some great wins and are also leading the Aussie conference at the moment.

We always knew they were the best side from Australia but it took them a while to realize it themselves this season.

This will be another cracker as it is always when the Aussies travel to New Zealand. With history not on the Aussies side they will want to get another win over the New Zealanders.

Difficult game to call and that normally makes for great entertainment.

Predictions: Waratahs by 8

Teams:

Chiefs: 15 Solomon Alaimalo, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Charlie Ngatai (c), 11 Sean Wainui , 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Mitch Karpik, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Matt Matich, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Shaun Stevenson

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Will Miller, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Jed Holloway, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Bryce Hegarty

The Reds will be hosting the Highlanders on Saturday after a good win last week. This came after a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Sunwolves the week before.

The Reds was again in the news this week after Slipper has been suspended for the use of cocaine.

This could play a huge roll this weekend as they will face a Highlanders team that comes off a lost.

It just seems that the Reds can not get it together on and off the field.

The Highlanders have been there and there about this season but have not played the world on fire and are a team that is beatable.

They have had some brilliant games but then also some real poor games to their own high standards.

Also still in the running for playoff spot the Highlanders will want to win this one with the full five points on offer.

For the Reds it all depends if they can pick themselves up and put a fifteen man performance together this weekend.

Prediction: Highlanders by 18

Teams:

Reds: 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Izaia Perese, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Harry Hockings, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith 
Replacements: 
16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Kane Douglas, 20 Caleb Timu, 21 Liam Wright, 22 Moses Sorovi, 23 Aidan Toua

Highlanders: 15 Josh McKay, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 James Lentjes, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Ash Dixon (c), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 
16 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Josh Dickon, 20 Liam Squire, 21 Aaron Smith, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Richard Buckman

The Bulls are aback at Loftus and they have a coach that have came out in the week saying he is not happy with his team performance against the Jaguares.

Getting 50 points put against them would have never gone down well with the coach nor the supporters and we can expect a backlash this weekend.

The Bulls have all the makings of a great team and just need to be more consistent.

Against the Brumbies they can surely get back on the winning track but easy it will not be even at home.

The Lions struggled against the Brumbies last week and they were only able to pull away from them once cards were being dished out.

They have a good defensive system and the Bulls will have to be on par on attack.

Being so poor last weekend the players will want to show their worth and that they have grown as team this year.

The Bulls have been great in their tight five and we can expect it to start and stop right their for them.

Without the dominate forwards the Bulls backs do not look as brilliant as what they have showed us all season.

One of those games you do not want to miss.

Prediction: Bulls by 11 points

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marco van Staden, 7 Nic de Jager, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 RG Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Mox Mxoli, 18 Matthys Basson, 19 Ruben van Heerden, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Andre Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 Andrew Muirhead, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 David Pocock, 6 Lachlan McCaffrey, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Connal McInerney, 17 Nick Mayhew, 18 Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin, 19 Richie Arnold, 20 Tom Cusack, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Wharenui Hawera, 23 Andrew Smith

The last game of the weekend sees the Stormers hosting the Lions at Newlands in Cape Town.

This will be a very important match for both sides and at home the Stormers have not been easy.

It will be a massive clash of the forwards and the Stormers will want to take some kind of revenge from the earlier match they played in Johannesburg.

The Stormers are 12 points behind the log leading Lions side and they have been in poor form throughout the year. With at the most two good matches from the Cape side this year they will not go into the match as favorites.

With the Lions, Sharks and specially the Jaguares chasing the Lions will have to put everything in this game to get full points.

A lost for the Stormers will finally end the their change of making the play-offs.

The Lions have won the last three matches against the Stormers and with their form not great it looks like number four is coming this weekend.

It will be the Stormers loose forwards that will have to step up if they want to get pass this Lions side.

Notshe will be playing is 50th match for the Stormers and will be hoping that his and Kolisi combination will add that extra level to the Stormers side this weekend.

The Lions need Jantjies to fire and fire from the start.

The Lions had rung the changes for this derby match.

All in all there are seven alterations in all with Jacques van Rooyen and Marnus Schoeman returning to the forwards at loosehead prop and on the openside respectively, with Kwagga Smith moving from the side of the scrum to number eight.

In the back-line, Aphiwe Dyantyi moves to the left wing from the midfield which means Harold Vorster returns to the run-on side as Rohan Janse van Rensburg’s centre partner while Ruan Combrinck is back at right wing.

Six changes were made to the bench of which the most notable is Rhyno Herbst’s inclusion as second-row cover.

Prediction: Lions will take this one by 13

Teams:

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

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrink, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Franco Mostert (c), 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques Van Rooyen 
Replacements:
 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Rhyno Herbst, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Madosh Tambwe, 23 Sylvian Mahuza

Here is the full schedule for this weekend matchs…

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With Super Rugby taking a break who is on Rassie mind?

6

This weekend is the last week for South African sides in Super Rugby before the International break in June.

It does not look good for our sides at the moment with only two possible teams that can make it into the play-offs.

The Lions and the Sharks will have to however put everything into it to make sure that they do make the cut with the Lions likely to be the South African conference winners.

The Jaguares have finally started to play to their potential after three years in Super Rugby and are a real threat at the moment.

Here is the current overall log standings:

PosTeamPWLDPts
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034
91357128
101459025
111358024
121248020
131248019
1412310017
1512210010

This weekend have some great match-ups which we can look forward to starting with the Sharks that have to travel to Argentina and face the Jaguares on Friday.

This is going to be an interesting match as both teams are not just fighting for a wild card spot but also chasing the Lions for that all important conference winner spot.

Saturday the Bulls will host the Brumbies back at Loftus and it is an all South African derby when the Lions travel to Newlands to take on the struggling Stormers.

Here is the full schedule for Round 15 of Super Rugby

FRIDAY 25 MAY 2018

09:35 CRUSADERS Crusaders   v   Hurricanes HURRICANES
11:45 REBELS Rebels   v   Sunwolves SUNWOLVES
21:40 JAGUARES Jaguares   v   Sharks SHARKS

SATURDAY 26 MAY 2018

09:35 CHIEFS Chiefs   v   Waratahs WARATAHS
11:45 REDS Reds   v   Highlanders HIGHLANDERS
15:05 BULLS Bulls   v   Brumbies BRUMBIES
17:15 STORMERS Stormers   v   Lions LIONS

After this weekend all focus will shift to Rassie Erasmus who will be picking his first Springbok squad, first for a date with Wales in the USA and then the all important English tour next month.

There are still some major concerns over certain positions which are having the public on the edge and in huge debates the last couple of weeks.

We have already seen that Rassie will not be able to pick overseas players for the test against Wales which will be interesting to see which young guns he will give a change for this test.

Boks without overseas players for Wales Test

The biggest discussion points have been for 9, 10, 12, 13 and 15 on social media with the number nine jumper the one that we do not seemed to be agreeing on.

For the Wales test Erasmus can go a bit wild and give a real opportunity to a youngster like Ivan van Zyl?

The midfield have also been heavily discussed among fans and the media. There were even talks to put Pollard at 12 and Jantjies at 10 at one stage.

We will have to wait and see what Rassie Erasmus does with the squad that will go to the USA and the one he will pick for the English.

Nabetragting – Willemse studio walkout overshadow the game

25

Unfortunately this weekend will not be about the rugby, also about another poor showing from the South African teams but rather the on air walkout of Ashwin Willemse after the Lions match on Saturday.

It seems that there was things said during the Lions match in the studio which upset Willemse to the point where he said

“I’ve been in the game for a long time like most of us here. As a player, I’ve been called a quota for a long time and I’ve worked very hard to earn the respect I have now. I’m not going to sit here and be patronized by these two individuals (Mallet and Botha) who played their rugby during the apartheid era, a segregated era.”

It is still unclear what prompted the exchange between Willemse and Mallet.

SuperSport did put a statement out that they will launch a full investigation into the matter so will will wait and see how this develop.

The weekend started with the Hurricanes that scraped through their match against the Reds who last week got handed a heavy defeat by the Sunwolves on Friday.

The same Sunwolves got the better of the Stormers with the Crusaders not having all their way against the Blues.

The Highlanders had some Kung Fu to display against the Waratahs which cost them a red card and a defeat.

The Sunwolves secure another win this season, this time against the Stormers with a drop goal after the hooter to win 26-23.

It was yet again another poor performance from the Stormers with questions again being ask about players like Duvenage, Marais and Carr who added to the miserable afternoon their team had.

Duvenage had one of the worst performances we’ve seen from the number nine. He was unable to read the game and a few times made the wrong decision which cost his team.

This just added to the already huge pressure that the Sunwolves put on them.

The Stormers did not look good on attack and losing shape when the the Sunwolves made the game faster.

Du Plessis had a horror game at ten and was also unable to create space and opportunity for his team.

Handling overall for the Stormers was horrible with no real forward momentum with ball in hand.

All in all the Stormers was just not good enough….again.

Although not all perfect the Sharks returned to winning ways against the Chiefs on Saturday.

The Sharks dominated the game and should have put the Chiefs away but handling errors again cost them a few more tries.

Added to that that they gifted the Chiefs two tries then one can understand the disappointment after the game.

The Chiefs did get a crucial losing bonus point which will help at the end on the table

It was that the Shark could never get away from the Chiefs throughout the game.

It is worrying that they could not put the Chiefs away with so much possession.

It also seems that we always talk about the same thing every week. If they do get into the playoff they need to start fixing this poor handling which has been a problem all year.

At the end they got the win to stay in the race.

It was cards, tries galore in Johannesburg were the Lions beat the Brumbies on Saturday.

The score somewhat flatters the Lions as it was much closer for most of the match until the cards started flying.

At the end the Lions did what was needed to win 42-24.

Having lost their previous three encounters, the win comes as a welcome relief for Lions supporters, who would have been concerned by their recent slump.

The Brumbies, meanwhile, have lost their last five games in a row – the last time they went on a longer losing streak was a five-game drought in 2011.

The Brumbies started off well, taking the ball through the phases before full-back Tom Banks got on the outside of Elton Jantjies and had the pace to make it all the way to the line and dive over in the right-hand corner, despite an attempted last-ditch diving tackle from Madosh Tambwe.

But it was the Lions who dominated the territory and possession stakes and had to wait patiently until the 10th minute to get their try as Jantjies’ inside ball was run on to at some pace by Rohan Janse van Rensburg, who bashed his way through the Brumbies’ defence as the powerful centre showed great upper body strength.

The Brumbies would finish the first half with 14 men as Rory Arnold was given his marching orders for cynically collapsing a Lions’ maul that had travelled 15 metres.

Brumbies lock Arnold, who had been yellow-carded earlier in the match turned villain once again, this time receiving a red card for a tackle to the jaw of Jantjies with force.

Soon afterwards, the Brumbies were down to 13 men when Sam Carter was sin-binned for illegally entering the maul from the side.

This just snowballed for the Brumbies as the Lions stepped up to another gear and played them out of the game.

Not yet a perfect performance from the Lions but something to smile again about.

Crazy time so will report on this on Sunday morning….

Other results:

HURRICANES Hurricanes 38 34 Reds REDS
BLUES Blues 24 32 Crusaders CRUSADERS
WARATAHS Waratahs 41  12 Highlanders HIGHLANDERS
Next week we can loo forward to the following matchups

FRIDAY 25 MAY 2018

09:35 CRUSADERS Crusaders   v   Hurricanes HURRICANES
11:45 REBELS Rebels   v   Sunwolves SUNWOLVES
21:40 JAGUARES Jaguares   v   Sharks SHARKS

SATURDAY 26 MAY 2018

09:35 CHIEFS Chiefs   v   Waratahs WARATAHS
11:45 REDS Reds   v   Highlanders HIGHLANDERS
15:05 BULLS Bulls   v   Brumbies BRUMBIES
17:15 STORMERS Stormers   v   Lions LIONS

Sunwolves beat poor Stormers

10

A well deserve win for the Sunwolves against the Stormers with a drop goal after the hooter kept the Stormers still without a win away from home this year

It was the Sunwolves who came out with an attacking mindset and kept ball in hand to put pressure on the Stormers in the first half.

They kept the Stormers pin down in their own half with great interplay but the Stormers defence did hold to keep them out.

It was a runaway try from the Stormers that got the scoreboard ticking over when Leyds picked up a loose ball to sprint down the line and put it down in the corner with some great skills.

The Stormers got a bit more ball in hand and used it with their forwards to gain ground. They stayed in the Sunwolves twenty-two and it was an intercept from JJ that gave the Stormers their second try of the match and a 10-0 lead.

The Sunwolves did get rewarded for their play when they broke through the middle and got over for their first try of the match.

The Stormers seemed to want to play more with their forwards than creating something with their backs.

The Stormers third try came from a kick that Du Plessis took back on attack with a kick forward Leyds was at the end of it all to extend the lead.

The Sunwolves got three back just before halftime when they kicked penalty over. At halftime the Stormers was in the lead 17-10.

The second half got the Stormers within striking range, but it was again poor decision making from Duvenage that gave the ball easy away.

Duvenage game management was as poor as we saw all season from him putting pressure on his own team with poor passes and game management.

The Stormers was happy to keep kicking ball to get into Sunwolves half but the Sunwolves hand to hand play has been great all game and they got another brilliant try to even the score at 17-17.

The Sunwolves got the lead for the first time with a penalty. That put the Stormers on the backfoot trying to play catch up rugby.

With ten minutes to go the Stormers got three back to level things at 20 all.

The Stormers got a penalty with minutes to go which gave them the lead back 23-20. This was short lived with the Sunwolves getting a 78-minute penalty to even it up again.

Both teams try to keep the ball in hand, but it was always going to end up in tears for Stormers as they were unable to do much with ball in hand on the day.

The Sunwolves got a turn over in their own twenty-two to start with the counter attack which put them in range for a drop goal.

Hayden Parker-Bowles did just that to give the Sunwolves a historic win against the Stormers 26-23.

The Stormers were poor again and are still without a away win this year.

Match Result

Sunwolves Sunwolves 26  23  Stormers Stormers

Sunwolves

 

  • Tries – Grant Hattingh(57′) Hayden Parker(24′)
  • Penalties – Hayden Parker(80′) Hayden Parker(65′) Hayden Parker(38′)
  • Cons – Hayden Parker(58′) Hayden Parker(25′)

Stormers

 

  • Tries – Dillyn Leyds(33′) JJ Engelbrecht(21′) Dillyn Leyds(6′)
  • Penalties – SP Marais(74′) SP Marais(71′)
  • Cons – Jean-Luc du Plessis (23′)

Highlights for Sunwolves not so much for Stormers

Super Rugby Preview Week 14

0

We have all four South African teams in action this weekend with two playing away from home starting with the Stormers away against the Sunwolves.

The Sharks take on the Chiefs while the Lions are back home against the Brumbies.

Later in the evening the Bulls play the Jaguares.

All these matches are important for the teams in the South African conference and losses now will not help teams trying to get into play-offs.

The Lions still lead the conference but cannot afford any more slip ups especially at home.

Here is the current over log standings:

PosTeamPWLPts
11412254
21310345
3148640
4139440
5138537
6137435
7137634
8138534

The Hurricanes take on the Reds in the first match this weekend on Friday.

As the inform team of the competition one can expect a runaway win specially after the Reds git hammered by the Sunwolves last weekend.

The changes are that the Reds will want to get back after the poor performance but it is not something want to do against the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes have won 13 of the last 15 matches against the Reds with the Reds last victory in 2013.

Confidence will be with only one side and the other just hoping.

 

 

 

Prediction: Easy, Hurricanes by 20 +

Teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 
16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Brad Shields, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Julian Savea

Reds: 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 JP Smith
Replacements: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Izaia Perese, 23 Aidan Toua

The Sunwolves did not so much surprised with their first win of this year against the Reds last week but how they did it.

In simple words they embarrassed the Reds and the Stormers would have taken note not to expect them to roll over and lie down comes Saturday.

The Stormers comes off a poor performance against the Chiefs which also was their first lost at home this season.

Beside from the poor refereeing in the match the Stormers did not play well and was nowhere on attack.

This has been a problem for them the whole season and it has been frustrating that they cannot be consistent this season.

Beside from their attacking abilities they also struggled against the Chiefs in the set pieces and were not great with the small battles which they also lost.

With some good players out wide one would suspect the Stormers to give these players enough space and ball to do their magic.

The Sunwolves will come hard at the Stormers, specially in the first half which they will need to manage. With great defence needs to come an attacking plan.

Head coach Fleck said his team are looking forward to being part of the first Super Rugby match to be played in Hong Kong.

“It is great to play in Hong Kong and break new ground, but we are here to do a job and the team is focused on the task at hand,” he said.

“Our preparations have gone well here and the players are determined to put together a convincing performance.”

Prediction: Although nervouse about this game, I will still go with Stormers by 14 points.

The teams:

Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Michael Little, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Willem Britz, 7 Edward Quirk, 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Shintaro Ishihara
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Craig Millar, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Jason Emery

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

Unfortunately for the Blues we can only see one winner here, although the Blues can put it all together for once this season against one of their own and surprise us, but that is highly unlikely.

The Blues have struggled more than most with injuries this season and what make it worse for a team like the Blues has been that they do not have the depth like most other teams.

The Crusaders have also been hammered with injuries, specially with some key players but their depth in  their squad has been good enough to give them the top spot on the log.

They just seemed to win even those games they sometimes do not deserve and that is the reason why they has been the most successful team in Super Rugby history.

The Blues on the other hand could have been much better at this stage of the season but lost games they should have pulled through.

With all New Zealand derbies one expect a close game but with this one we feel the Saders will eventually run away with it.

Predictions: Cannot really see the Saders loose this one, Crusaders by 14

Teams:

Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (c), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii/Murphy Taramai, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Matiaha Martin, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 
16 Matt Moulds, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Murphy Taramai/Antonio Kiri Kiri, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Dan Kirkpatrick, 23 Michael Collins

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Quinten Strange, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Tim Perry
Replacements: 
16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele

The Waratahs will be very disappointed on the lost last weekend after a great start in the first half.

They will want to put a full 80 minutes performance together this weekend against another New Zealand side, the Highlanders.

It should be a cracker of a game with the Highlanders back to some good form after returning from the Republic.

The Highlanders did not have the most consistent season this year but they are still in it which means these last few matches will be very important for them.

The Waratahs ave been disappointing this season again as much more was expected from this star studded side.

They showed glimpses on what they can do against top teams last week but just could not keep it up.

To loose after such a good lead has to hurt and hopefully will give them the motivation to be better this weekend.

The Aussies are again struggling to win against New Zealand sides.

It will be a huge effort to change that stats this weekend for them.

Prediction: It is a close call for me but for some reason I will go for Tahs by 6

Teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 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 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson
Replacements:
16 Tolu Latu, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Ryan McCauley, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Nick Phipps, 22 Lalakai Foketi, 23 Bryce Hegarty

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (cc), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Patelesio Tomkinson, 11 Tevita Nabura, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Ash Dixon (cc), 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 
16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Marino Mikaele Tu’u, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Tevita Li

The Sharks are back at home after a close lost against the Bulls last week and will be hosting the Chiefs who had a close win against the Stormers.

The Sharks were good enough for the win last week but just made to many mistakes on attack and did not take their changes as much as the Bulls took theirs.

The Sharks are struggling to get shape on attack which are leaving some quality backs need to try and create space themselves.

They have the perfect opportunity to beat an New Zealand side this year wit a few of the Chiefs star players not playing this weekend.

Adding that the Chiefs has not actually played the world on fire this season then you realized that the Sharks should actually take this one.

But and it is a huge BUT….The Sharks have been as poor in most games at home as they have been brilliant.

To add some spice to it all the Sharks are also chasing for a play-off spot and will be looking at five points at home.

Prediction: It can easy go south but believe the Sharks will take this by 18 points

Teams:

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

Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Charlie Ngatai (c), 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Pita Gus Sowakula, 7 Liam Messam, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Liam Polwart, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Matt Matich, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Luteru Laulala, 23 Toni Pulu

The Lions are back at home after an disappointing tour and some poor performances which have not been sitting well with supporters.

Questions have been asked about the coach, certain players and even some off the field incidents by supporters.

But the easiest way to get supporters behind you again is to start winning.

The Lions are still the top SA team and will need to start winning again if they want to keep the chasing pack away from that top spot.

No team can afford more losses and specially at home so this match against the struggling Brumbies has become a must win for them.

The Brumbies had a terrible season so far and to travel to the Republic to face an angry Lions side and supporters is never a good thing.

The Lions should be able to dominate their set pieces against the Brumbies and we expect the back to be able to play with the freedom we have become used to over the last three years.

The Lions has not suddenly became a poor side they had some bad luck with some poor first half on tour but it can be fixed.

Slowing their game down just a bit will also help the backs to get those passes stick and with continuity they should be running in the tries.

The Brumbies have played some good games but only in periods and away from home they will found it difficult in the Highveld.

Prediction: Lions by 22 points

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Franco Mostert (c), 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements:
 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Len Massyn, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Shaun Reynolds, 23 Ruan Combrinck

Brumbies: TBA

The Jaguares and Bulls ends the weekend matches with a nice late match for South Africans.

The Jaguares had the best year since joining the competition winning twice in Australia and twice in New Zealand in the last couple of weeks.

Finally the Jaguares has started playing the rugby we knew they had in them and they will face a Bulls side that will want to keep their winning ways to keep their hopes alive for that play-off spot.

It is never easy to tour in Argentina and the Bulls can expect some hostile supporters and a Jaguares side that have started to believe.

With both sides fighting in the same conference for a play-off spot this could be a great game to watch. Well it all depends if the referees come to the party as well.

The Bulls have lost Lood De Jager and Pollard will start the game at 12 with Libbok coming in at 10.

Their is enough fire-power in both sides at the back to make this a great game to stay up for.

We expect a close affair and domination upfront may be the key for the winning side of this match.

Prediction: Sorry Bulls supporters but I feel another Jaguares win here by 9 point

Teams:

Jaguares – 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Sebastian Cancelliere, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Tomas Lezana, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya , 17 Javier Manuel Diaz, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Bautista Ezcurra, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia.

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Handre Pollard (c), 11 John-Ben Kotze, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marco van Staden, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Rudolph Snyman, 4 Jason Jenkins, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: 
16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Nqobisizwe Mxoli, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Hendre Stassen, 20 Nicholas de Jager, 21 Andre Warner, 22 John Jackson, 23 Divan Rossouw

Here is your links for all the live updates were you can join into the conversation…

Our loosies according to the numbers

12

Looking at the 6 flankers in our Super Rugby teams who has played the most games we can see some interesting stats.

Must remember they did not all played the same number of hours this year, so we are not compare apples with apples here…

Stormers:

  1. Siya Kolisi – Ball Carriers so far 71, Ball Carriers (Meters) 517, Tackles made 130, Tackles missed 17, Tackles dominant 17, turnovers won 3, minutes played 887,
  2. Kobus van Dyk – Ball Carriers so far 21, Ball Carriers (Meters) 113, Tackles made 106, Tackles missed 7, Tackles dominant 10, turnovers won 2, minutes played 555

Bulls:

  1. Roelof Smith – Ball Carriers so far 27, Ball Carriers (Meters) 208, Tackles made 105, Tackles missed 15, Tackles dominant 3, turnovers won 10, minutes played 620
  2. Tembelani Bholi – Ball Carriers so far 52, Ball Carriers (Meters) 281, Tackles made 67, Tackles missed 10, Tackles dominant 11, turnovers won 2, minutes played 520

Sharks:

  1. Jean-Luc Du Preez – Ball Carriers so far 85, Ball Carriers (Meters) 467, Tackles made 97, Tackles missed 8, Tackles dominant 10, turnovers won 1, minutes played 564
  2. Jacques Vermeulen – Ball Carriers so far 33, Ball Carriers (Meters) 128, Tackles made 71, Tackles missed 11, Tackles dominant 8, turnovers won 1, minutes played 485

Lions:

  1. Kwagga Smith – Ball Carriers so far 88, Ball Carriers (Meters) 671, Tackles made 150, Tackles missed 31, Tackles dominant 10, turnovers won 8, minutes played 821
  2. Cyle Brink – Ball Carriers so far 37, Ball Carriers (Meters) 202, Tackles made 95, Tackles missed 9, Tackles dominant 11, turnovers won 4, minutes played 623

Nabetragting – Referees still crap, teams not much better

4

Time has run out for some teams as they are not likely to make it anymore to the play-offs.

Round 13 had it’s surprises when the Sunwolves finally got their first win of the season against the Reds.

From a South African point of view we had another loss from the Lions who somehow believe that you only have to play the last 50 or so minutes in a game to win.

The Stormers that still live in the era of Coetzee where they believe you just have to defend to win and don’t need an attacking game and the Bulls and Sharks that think changing their game to touch-rugby will win this tournament.

Here is your log standings after this weekend games….

PosTeamPWPts
1141254
2131045
314840
413940
513837
613735
713734
813834

The frustrating thing about the Lions have been that they have lost their shape on attack.

With the fact that they seemed to take between 30 to 40 minutes to wake up these days does not help as they are always playing catch up rugby.

There so many quality in this Lions team with Mostert leading from the front but you can only bring the dog to the water, you can not make it drink it.

I do believe that the Lions are missing the combination of Whiteley, Cronje and Jantjies. This is for me a major reason for the poor play at the back not just on this tour but also this year.

It is a open question if Whiteley will play any rugby before the June internationals but the Lions atleast know that Cronje is back in the picture.

Groom was poor over the weekend trying to many fancy stuff and could not do the basics right. He was slow behind the pack as well and we all know the Lions are at their best when they have fast ball to play with.

Marnus Schoeman have been having the time of his life at the Lions. He is an out and out fetcher and playing some great rugby in this pack.

Robbie Coetzee also had a good game in the absent of Marx.

At the back we still have Jantjies making some poor decisions and his kicking game has not been good at all yet again.

The Lions will be happy to e coming home and we can expect them to be way better in the next few weeks which still see them win the South African conference.

As if we do not have to try and sit through these Aussies games every weekend we had to add the Stormers this weekend as well.

The Chiefs did not do much to improve the quality of this match as both teams tried but failed to succeed.

If I was a spectator at the ground I would have demanded my money back.

As I mentioned last week the Stormers have been a one week or two week team who are incapable of being constant enough to be a threat in this competition.

Last week the Cape Mafia was writing all the Stormers players in Rassie Springbok group and after this weekend you will not find any of them promoting any player.

Poor is not even the right word to explain how bad this Stormers side have been coached this year.

The fact that a poor Chiefs sides was still able to beat this side speaks volume of their dismal season under Fleck and the rest of the overrated couches in this team.

I tried but could not find one player to even mentioned of having a good enough game.

The fact that we have incompetent referees does not help but this one is all the Stormers, not even the poor referee can be blamed for their performance.

Stormers supporters must actually being hoping now that this team does not make the playoff(not that they will) because it will just be a major embarrassment to see them get hammered in the playoffs.

It was day and night difference between the Sharks v Bulls game and the Stormers v Chiefs game.

Not that it was a good thing though….

The first half was like watching Barnie teaching kids that all is good when you do the right thing.

I get the spread it wide mindset and try and play attractive rugby but there must be structure to it all and at some stage in that first half it almost felt like Under 9 Bulle’tjie rugby at Loftus.

I was looking forward to some major match ups which just never happen.

Pollard game management was again good for me but he still have some issues with his passing and in the midfield none really stood out as I hoped.

The one player that I believe that have grown allot this season is Bosch at fullback. Not that I will get him in a Springbok side now but he is getting settled in the position.

Lood and RG Snyman has been as good as the whole season and must be Rassies front runners to start against the English.

Another player that have impressed me allot from the Bulls the whole season has been Marco van Staden. He has been impressive with ball in hand and his defence has been good as well at eight.

He is ranked third so far this season for turnover won as he keep on improving his game.

Gelant keep being a danger from the back and his ability to read the game just put him in a class of his own.

His defence has been great this season only missed 4 tackles up to now.

If I was disappointing with the Stormers shape attack then the Sharks took it to a whole new level, but we are used to that really.

They have still not work out that you need to have a plan for teams turning you around with tactical kicks.

I saw this week in the media an article that said the Sharks are our best change for advancing, hope that sentiment has been answered.

Other Results this weekend.

Blues
Hurricanes
     15                                                                             36
The Blues could not get the same intensity in there game as last weekend when the Hurricanes outplayed them to win 36-15.
The season can not be quicker over for this struggling Blues. The Hurricanes is a quality side and in my mind they will be there at the end.
Although the Crusaders are in front of them on the log I still believe they are the team to beat this year.
Sunwolves
Reds
      63                                                                             28

The Sunwolves surprise most on Saturday morning when they got their first win this year against the Reds.

It was not just the win that was impressive but the way they did it beating the Aussies 63-28.

There was just one team on the field and they have shown us that they actually can play the game.

The Reds must be puling out their hair as they one week beat or are being competitive against top teams then come and loose badly against the worst team in the competition.

Crusaders
Waratahs
      31                                                                           29
The Crusaders got an almighty scare from the Waratahs on Saturday but produce one of the classics fight backs we have seen for a long time.
With nothing working for the Saders and everything going for the Waratahs they put up a lead 29-0.
But 29 points is not enough to keep a championship side like the Crusaders from winning a game.
It was only in the 35th minute of the game that the Crusaders started their fight back but it was enough to get an important win.
Brumbies
Rebels
      24                                                                            27
Next week fixtures….

FRIDAY 18 MAY 2018

08:35 HURRICANES Hurricanes   v   Reds REDS

SATURDAY 19 MAY 2018

07:15 SUNWOLVES Sunwolves   v   Stormers STORMERS
09:35 BLUES Blues   v   Crusaders CRUSADERS
11:45 WARATAHS Waratahs   v   Highlanders HIGHLANDERS
15:05 SHARKS Sharks   v   Chiefs CHIEFS
17:15 LIONS Lions   v   Brumbies BRUMBIES
23:40 JAGUARES Jaguares   v   Bulls BULLS

Bulls edge Sharks at Loftus

4

The Bulls secured a hard-fought 39-33 victory over the Sharks at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday to move in to ninth place on the standings.

The men from Pretoria take a giant leap on the overall standings from 12th, leapfrogging the Sharks and Reds in the process.

The match was a great advert for South African rugby, with both sides playing at a high tempo with great width.

The Bulls have now done the double over the Sharks, following up their 40-10 victory in Round Eight in Durban with victory here.

The Bulls took the lead when Curwin Bosch was sin-binned for tripping up opposite number Warrick Gelant in the 10th minute, resulting in the Sharks having a try disallowed.

The Bulls opted for touch from the resulting penalty and their decision to do so was vindicated. The ball was taken off the line-out from the right touchline to the left where Jesse Kriel put in a wickedly bouncing grubber kick which deceived Makazole Mapimpi and was snaffled up by Gelant who gratefully accepted the gift, collecting and diving over for his sixth try of the season. Fly-half Handre Pollard slotted the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

Soon after, Kriel truned from creator to try-scorer when he spotted a hooker in front of him, threw a dummy and stepped his way through a floundering Sharks defence to dot down for a quickfire second as Pollard added the extras for a 14-0 lead.

But just five minutes later, the Sharks were right back in the game when Bosch received a defence-splitting offload from Tendai Mtawarira to sneak in under the poles. Sbu Nkosi had made the initial break, with Akker van der Merwe also instrumental in the build-up with an offload for the ‘Beast’.

The topsy-turvy nature of the game, continued, however, as the Bulls reasserted their superiority and restored their lead when Travis Ismaiel did brilliantly to keep his body within the field of play and release the ball for Roelof Smit to pick up and dot down. Pollard’s conversion made the score 19-7 to the Bulls with 27 minutes gone.

Soon after, RG Snyman received a yellow card for a late and unecessary hit on Robert du Preez with the Sharks immediately capitalising from the resulting penalty as flanker Jacques Vermeulen went over courtesy of a well-worked move at the front of the line-out straight from the training ground.

A 37th minute Pollard penalty extended the Bulls’ lead to eight. But a Bosch penalty from inside his own half would cut the deficit to just five as the sides went into the interval.

Van der Merwe did well to win a penalty for his side five minutes after half-time and fly-half Robert du Preez made no mistake from the tee as the Sharks moved to within just two points of the Bulls, trailing 20-22.

Soon after, Du Preez put the Sharks into the lead for the first time in the match with another well-struck penalty.

This sparked the Bulls in to a response as they immeditely upped the ante, taking the ball the width of the field and stretching the Sharks defence before Johnny Kotze dotted down in the left-hand corner after great combination play between Kriel and Gelant. Pollard’s conversion made it 29-23 to the Bulls after 55 minutes as the home side regained the lead.

And the Bulls extended their lead after some relentless pressure. Kriel was halted inches short by a good last-ditch tackle from Nkosi. The ball was recycled to Lood de Jager, who capped a superb individual performance with a try, showing good control and reach with the finish to dot down one-handed.

The Sharks’ cause wasn’t aided when Lukhanyo Am received a yellow card for tackling the player in the air as Pollard took the lead out to 39-23 with the resulting penalty.

Shortly afterwards, the Sharks scored their third through Jean-Luc du Preez after good interplay between backs and forwards to set him on his way over the line. Robert du Preez’s conversion meant the Sharks were nine points behind at 39-30 with ten minutes to go.

Although the Sharks were unable to come back, fly-half Du Preez would ensure they at least took a losing bonus-point from the game with a penalty which closed out matters at 39-33 in the end.

The scorers:

For Bulls:
Tries: Gelant, Kriel, Smit, Kotze, De Jager
Cons: Pollard 4
Pens: Pollard 2

For Sharks:
Tries: Bosch, Vermeulen, J du Preez
Cons: R du Preez 3
Pens: R du Preez 3, Bosch

Poor Stormers loose against poor Chiefs side

4

Most of the Stormers games this year has been as hard to watch than the Australian derbies. There attacking ability was as poor against the Chiefs on Saturday as the referee.

One of those game you wonder why you waste your time in watching it with both teams just not good enough to say that they are playing super rugby.

The Stormers have been struggling to get their attack going all season and their inconsistency almost reminds one to the days of when Kobus coach them.

With the poor performance also went their hopes of making the play-offs.

It was not that the Chiefs was any better than the Stormers, but they deserved the win at the end.

As predicted the Stormers was unable to put a second week of quality together after the win against the Bulls.

It was a stop start affair not just because of the poor performance of the players from both sides but also the officials.

Every week the refereeing is just getting worst as SANZAAR so-called elite competition just keep on with its free falling.

The Stormers could not dominate the scrums which was the start of their downfall. With so many injuries in the Chiefs squad this shown even more how bad this Stormers side was on the day.

Damian Willemse put the Stormers 3-0 ahead with a penalty on the quarter-hour mark after young Chiefs flanker Luke Jacobson was caught coming out the blocks too quickly on defence.

Five minutes later, Damian McKenzie used the penalty advantage to perfection, putting in an expertly weighted cross kick-pass which bounced favourably for Chiefs wing Solomon Alaimalo to collect and manage the offload for Anton Lienert-Brown to have the easy run-in to the line.

The Chiefs took a 5-3 lead into the interval.

13 minutes after half-time, Willemse wrested the lead back for the Stormers with a penalty right in front of the posts after Damian de Allende did stellar work at the breakdown to effect the turnover.

Soon after, Siya Kolisi was penalised for illegally entering the ruck from the side. McKenzie kicked to touch ten metres out from the Stormers’ try-line. From the resulting line-out, the Chiefs took the ball through a number of phases.

The Chiefs pack began to exert pressure on the Stormers scrum and were eventually awarded with a penalty try as the Stormers were guilty of repeated infringements at this particular set-piece. This meant the visitors held a 12-6 lead.

McKenzie appeared to put the game beyond the Stormers’ reach five minutes from time with a three-pointer as the home side went down by a nine-point margin at 15-6.

SP Marais made things interesting with a penalty two minutes from time but the Chiefs held on for the precious victory.

There is no player from the Stormers side that will make my SA 15th side and after so many praises on Kolisi as even a Springbok captain, all I can say is ask an English club to offer him a contract he will not refuse.

He has been poor this season and are not suppose to be even mentioned in a Springbok side more so as captain.

The scorers:

For Stormers:
Pens: Willemse 2, Marais

For Chiefs:
Tries: Lienert-Brown, Penalty Try
Pen: McKenzie

Lions end tour with another loss

0

The Lions did it yet again in th frst half giving the Highlanders a lead and had to play catchup rugby again.

With the kick-off the Lions start slipping tackles and put themselves more under pressure than anything else. It has been shocking this season how many times the Lions just gave opposition and early lead.

The Highlanders quickly got into a 7-0 lead and looked like the Lions are in for another hiding in New Zealand.

Jantjies did put them on the board with a penalty but it was all Highlanders in that first quarter of the match.

Groom at 9 for the Lions was poor in that first half taking to long behind the pack and trying to be to fancy with passes that was not on.

The Highlanders scored another two tries to go to a 19-3 lead before some magic from Jantjies got Vorster over for their first try.

There second try came from a good drive from the lineout after the hooter when Coetzee got over.

This ended the half with a good fightback from the Lions to go into the break just four points behind 19-15.

The Highlanders were at the Lions again in the second half and took not long to get their first try in the second half.

They were feeding from the Lions mistakes and took full advantage of it as well.

The Lions got one back with Coetzee that went over for his second try from another drive over the line.

That reduce the score to 26-20 after 50 minutes.

The Lions had plenty of opportunities but were again the masters of their own downfall as the Highlanders scored yet again with some brilliant skills from another turnover.

That have the host a great lead of 33-20 with 15 minutes to go.

The Lions hit back with 6 minutes to go when Marnus Schoeman went over for another try.

The Highlanders got a penalty straight after the try to extend the lead to more than 2 scores for the Lions. More disappointing than the Lions losing again was the standard of refereeing.

Match Result

Highlanders Highlanders 39 27 Lions Lions

Scorers:

Highlanders

 

Tries – Teihorangi Walden(64′) Luke Whitelock(34′) Liam Coltman(14′) Lima Sopoaga(4′)

Penalties – Lima Sopoaga(81′) Lima Sopoaga(77′)

Cons – Lima Sopoaga(65′) Lima Sopoaga(45′) Lima Sopoaga(15′) Lima Sopoaga(6′)

Lions

 

Tries – Marnus Schoeman(73′) Robbie Coetzee(49′) Robbie Coetzee(44′) Harold Vorster(39′)

Penalties – Elton Jantjies(10′)

Cons – Elton Jantjies(73′) Elton Jantjies(40′)

Saders show their class against Tahs

1

The Crusaders showed why they are the most successful side in this competition as they came back to take the win 31-29
Great game of rugby between the Waratahs and the Crusaders we witness on Saturday morning.
The Waratahs surprised when they scored 22 points in 22 minutes which just not stunned the crowed but also the Crusaders themselves.
It was some brilliant rugby they played in that first half putting the Crusaders on massive pressure and feeding off there mistakes.
The Waratahs was dominating the aerial game and the skills on show was the best we have seen from them in years.
BUT the Crusaders is a champion side not for nothing as they scored three tries in the last 12 minutes of the half to get back right in it.
A yellow card for the Waratahs did not help their cause and one always felt that the Crusaders will bounce back.
The halftime score was 29-19 and all to play for in that second half.
The second half started as the first ended with the Crusaders controlling the game. They dominated the set pieces and their scrum was great.
It took another 10 minutes for the home side to get another try to reduce the score to just five points.
The Crusaders took the lead in the final 10 minutes of the game when a penalty try was awarded to them for another great scrum.
That gave them the lead 31-29 with minutes to play.
The Crusaders hold on to that lead.

Match Result

Crusaders Crusaders 31 29  Waratahs Waratahs 

Scorers:

Crusaders

 

Tries – Braydon Ennor(56′) Seta Tamanivalu(43′) Codie Taylor(39′) Joe Moody(35′), Penalty Try

Penalties – None

Cons – Richie Mo’unga(45′) Richie Mo’unga(36′)

Waratahs

 

Tries – Curtis Rona(28′) Israel Folau(23′) Taqele Naiyaravoro(17′) Cameron Clark(4′)

Penalties – Bernard Foley(13′)

Cons – Bernard Foley(29′) Bernard Foley(24′) Bernard Foley(18′)

Sunwolves thrash Reds in Tokyo

3

The Sunwolves claimed their first victory of the season when they beat the Reds 63-28 in an entertaining encounter in Tokyo on Saturday.

Hayden Parker was the home side’s hero as he contributed 38 points – which is a new pointscoring record for the Sunwolves – courtesy of seven penalties, six conversions and a try and this was the biggest ever winning margin in the Sunwolves’ history.

As the scoreline suggests, the Sunwolves were full value for this win and they outscored the visitors six tries to four with Hosea Saumaki leading the way with a deserved hat-trick but the Reds also contributed to their own downfall by conceding a plethora of penalties.

The Sunwolves had the better of the early exchanges and held a 6-0 lead after seven minutes courtesy of two Parker penalties.

The visitors soaked up the early pressure but finally opened their account in the 10th minute when, after taking the ball through three phases from a lineout drive, Brandon Paenga-Amosa crossed for a deserved try.

Jono Lance landed the conversion which gave the Reds a 7-6 lead but the Sunwolves struck back via another penalty from Parker after Taniela Tupou was blown up for offside play on defence.

The topsy-turvy nature of this game continued when the Reds regained the lead in the 21st minute courtesy of a try from Ben Lucas after he went through a gap close to the home side’s try-line.

Lance added the extras but that was the last time the visitors would score points during the half as the Sunwolves took control of proceedings.

Another Parker penalty in the 28th minute narrowed the gap to two points and on the hour-mark they regained the lead when Grant Hattingh dotted down after trading passes with Craig Millar in the build-up.

Three minutes later, the Sunwolves pounced on an error from Jordan Petaia, who failed to gather a bouncing ball inside his half, and the hosts were soon deep inside the Reds’ 22 where Michael Little offloaded to Parker, who went over for his side’s second try.

Parker slotted the conversion and added another penalty in the 40th minute which gave his side a 29-14 lead at half-time.

The Sunwolves continued to dominate after the break and three minutes into the second half Parker added his fifth penalty after Izack Rodda was penalised for obstruction.

And in the 54th minute, Saumaki crossed the whitewash, when he spotted a gap in the Reds’ defence after the Sunwolves took the ball through seven phases in the build-up.

Parker added the conversion and another penalty before the Reds replied with an Angus Scott-Young try from close quarters.

However, things went pear-shaped for the visitors in the 68th minute when they conceded a penalty try after Duncan Paia’aua was blown up for a high tackle on Jason Emery close to the Reds’ try-line and to make matters worse, Paia’aua was also yellow carded for his indiscretion.

The Reds did not surrender though and struck back when Alex Mafi offloaded to Filipo Daugunu, who outpaced the cover defence before crossing for his side’s fourth try in the 74th minute.

The Sunwolves would have the final say though and Saumaki capped a superb performance in the game’s closing stages when he crossed for two further tries which were both converted by Parker.

The scorers:

For Sunwolves:
Tries: Hattingh, Parker, Saumaki 3, Penalty try
Cons: Parker 6
Pens: Parker 7

For Reds:
Tries: Paenga-Amosa, Lucas, Scott-Young, Daugunu
Cons: Lance 4
Yellow Card: Paia’aua

Preview – Super Rugby Round 13

4

It is difficult as a South African supporter not to loose interest in the Super Rugby, in fact from what I have been reading over the past week it seems to be a mutual assessment from our other SANZAAR supporters as well.

Last week we had all four our South African teams playing and the game of the weekend was surely the Sharks that decided to start playing rugby again.

They had the perfect game against the Highlanders and picked up a bonus point win which you do not see regular against New Zealand teams.

The Bulls went to Cape Town and were tough a lesson in the scrums which resulted in a good win for the Stormers.

It seems we can not have it all our way over weekends as the Lions again fell way sort against the Hurricanes.

Here is the current standings after week 11

PosTeamPWLDPts
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034

Here is this weeks fixtures and our previews and prediction for what is worst.

Friday, 11 May 2018
 Eden Park
09:35
Blues
Hurricanes
Live
The Blues got some of there groove back last week when they beat the Waratahs on the road and will be hosting the Hurricanes this weekend.
This should be a highly entertaining match as they would have taken confidence from the win.
Added to that they have received some good news with Sonny Bill Williams that returns to the team which will add some much needed spark in the backline.
The Blues have not found any luck when facing their countrymen and will want to get wins in these local derbies.
Injuries have been a major reason for their poor form this year but with Williams abnd Tuungafasi back in the team have been a major boost.
The Hurricanes have been in the informed side of the competition and although they are on the road they will still be coming into the game as favorite’s.
All Black PJ Perenara as also recover from his knee injury and are set to return from the bench this weekend.
The Hurricanes have been the best attacking team in the competition and the Blues can expect the same on Friday morning.
They have scored the third most tries (41) so far this season, are fifth highest for clean breaks (127), are seventh for metres carried (4,460) and have made the fourth most offloads (98).

Williams will be a major player for the Blues and they will be looking at him to add some value even though it is his first game back.

Beside from Williams and Tuugafasi returning to the Blues team they also will welcome back Nanai who will come off the bench.

Wright will get his second start for the Blues and in other changes Taramai starts at loose forward with Papalii ruled out. Rieko Ioane moves to the right wing with Clarke at left wing and Duffie at fullback.

As we mentioned already Perenara will come off the bench and Lousi starting at second-row with Fatialofa moving to the bench.

Aso has been withdraw from the team with a wrist injury and will be replaced by Julian Savea.

Ben May has also recover from illness and Thomson makes also a return to the sqaud.

Prediction: Difficult to see the Hurricanes loose this one but with some great players returning it is possible. Our money still on Canes with 13 point.

The teams:

Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Rieko Ioane, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (c), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Murphy Taramai, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Ofa Tuungafasi, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ross Wright
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Sione Mafileo, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Jonathan Ruru/Sam Nock, 22 Dan Kirkpatrick, 23 Melani Nanai

Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Ihaia West, 23 TBC

Saturday, 12 May 2018
Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium
05:15
Reds
Sunwolves
                   Live
For those who likes to be up early you can catch the Sunwolves and Reds just after 05:00 on Saturday morning.
The Sunwolves have not won a match this year but with the Reds blowing hot and cold it could be a even match-up specially as this is a home game for the Sunwolves.
The Reds had a bye last week and will still have confidence when they upset the Lions two weeks ago at home.
They are a team in rebuilding phase and unfortunately they have been blowing hot and cold all season.
With the Sunwolves unable to really play for a full 80 minutes teams do eventually win against them so if the Reds are up to it they should pick up full points.
The problem is normally teams think they can just pitch up against the Sunwolves and at home that can be big mistakes.
The Sunwolves have run a few teams close this year and they would have put this game as one that they should win.
Prediction: I am gonna go on a gamble and give this one for the Sunwolves by 8
Teams:

Sunwolves – 15 Semisi Masirewa , 14 Kenki Fukuoka, , 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Michael Little, 11 Hosea Saumaki,  10 Hayden Parker, 9 Yutaka Nagare , 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Edward Quirk (c), 6 Michael Leitch, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Wimpie van der Walt, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Craig Millar.
Replacements: 16 Yusuke Niwai, 17 Shintaro Ishihara, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Uwe Helu, 20 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Yo Tamura, 23 Jason Emery

Reds – 15 Hamish Stewart, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauau-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi, 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Angus Scott-Young, 7 George Smith, 6 Adam Korczyk, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda,  3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 James Slipper (c)
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Sef Fa’agase, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Liam Wright, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Aidan Toua

Saturday, 12 May 2018
AMI Stadium
07:15

Crusaders

Waratahs
                   Live
The Crusaders are top of the New Zealand and overall log and will host the Waratahs this weekend at home.
With the Waratahs that had to cecum to the Blues last week at home it will be interesting to see how they will coupe against the Saders away from home.
The Waratahs have been struggling with mistakes on attack for the last few season. They almost the same as the Sharks which every season promise something big but deliver the opposite.
Both teams have so much quality in their teams which should set us up for a titanic clash but it has only been the Crusaders that have shown that quality this year.
As it then always happen even when the Crusaders had an off day at the office they still manage to scrap through wins where the Waratahs just go south fast.
The quality of the players skills and ability to handle the pressure situations for the Waratahs have been poor all season.
Taking away one or two games the Waratahs have been as poor as some of the lower log dwellers in the competition.
So at the end if the Waratahs can pitch up for the game and play towards the quality of players they have in this squad then just maybe they can surprise everyone.
Prediction: Tahs have not shown anything for me to use my gamble skills so Crusaders by 15 for me.
Teams:

Crusaders – 15 George Bridge, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Manasa Mataele, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Michael Alaalatoa, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Donald Brighouse, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.

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

Saturday, 12 May 2018
Forsyth Barr Stadium
09:35
Highlanders
Lions
 Live
The Lions have got themselves into a corner on tour and this has become a almost must win for the Johannesburg side if they want to end on top of the South African log.
To say they have been poor since the surprise lost against the Reds is an understatement and the players and coaching staff will know well that they have been under par on this tour.
Allot of hope have been put on this Lions side which they were unable to deliver.
The last two weeks have been if they just are not pitching up for the games and have to much to do in the second half to get wins.
To add to the Lions problems they have now also lost Marx to injury which will add extra pressure on the team.
The Lions will need Jantjies to get his game back against the Highlanders.
The backline also looked plan-less against the rush defence implemented by both the Reds and Hurricanes the last two weeks.
Upfront the Lions ave not dominated as we expected and when they did the backline unfortunately could do little or nothing with the possession.
The Highlanders comes back from South Africa with mixed results and in front of their home crowed will surely be a much stronger side than what they showed in South Africa.
The Lions will have to take a page out of the Sharks game for this week and put pressure on the Highlanders from the firs minute of the game.
They can not let the Highlanders get a lead early on and they need to starve them from the ball.
This are going to be a great match-up and one not to miss.
Predictions: Have am going for the Lions to bounce back, Lions by 11
Teams:
Highlanders – 15 Ben Smith (c), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Nabura, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Sio Tomkinson.

Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrink, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements:: 16 Jacques van Rooyen, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.

Saturday, 12 May 2018
GIO Stadium
11:45
Brumbies
Rebels
Live
Aussie derbies has been boring and hard to watch as it has been for years.
With the Brumbies and Rebels desperate for a win to stay in the run for a playoff spot it may be a nice change this weekend when the Brumbies host the Rebels.
The Brumbies and Rebels comes off a bye last week with both losing their two matches.
The Rebels got a hiding last week from the Crusaders after loosing both their matches on tour against the Bulls and Stormers.
The quality have just not been there for these two teams although the Rebels had a good run at the start of the competition.
If you are a gambler you can go and waste your money on one of these sides but for me it will be as the lottery to predict the winner.
I suppose the one that actually pitch up and play some rugby will take it.
Prediction: I want to say draw but will give it for the Rebels by 8
Teams:

Brumbies – 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano (cc), 11 Andrew Muirhead, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Rob Valentini, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Lachlan McCaffrey, 5 Sam Carter (cc), 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Stone, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Lausii Taliauli.

Rebels – 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Semisi Tupou, 13 Tom English, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczni, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Fereti Sa’aga.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Matt Phillip, 20 Sam Jeffries, 21 Lopeti Timani, 22 Harrison Goddard, 23 Billy Meakes.

Saturday, 12 May 2018
DHL Newlands 
15:00
Stormers
Chiefs
Live
The Stormers has been unstoppable at home so far this year and are coming of two wins against the Rebels and Bulls in recent weeks.
This set the table for what should be a mouth-watering clash at Newlands this weekend.
The fact that the Chiefs has also not really played that well this season opens the door for another Stormers win in front of their home crowd.
But that is easier said than done….
It has been a long time since the Stormers had any kind of winning run and they barely get two weekends in row together as the winning side so this will be first for them for a long time.
They bullied the Bulls last week and dominated the set pieces which laid the foundation for the win and will have to do the same to get the Chiefs to submit.
Defence has been great for the Stormers in recent weeks and specially De Allende in the midfield has stepped up.
Willemse has been better at ten but we have seen how easy he can fold when his pack is not having dominance.
The Stormers have to win all their matches from now on if they want to have any say in the playoffs which makes every game a playoff match for them.
It is difficult to place the Chiefs side this year as it has not been smooth sailing for them.
That they are beatable will be in the mind of the Stormers coaching staff and players they just need to pitch up and keep playing the way they did the past few week.
Prediction: I am in two minds this week with this clash, but will go with my gut..Chiefs by 6
Teams:  

Stormers – TBA

Chiefs – 15 Charlie Ngatai, 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12  Johnny Faauli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tyler Ardron, 7 Liam Messam, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Shaun Stevenson.

Saturday, 12 May 2018
Loftus Versfeld
17:00
Sharks

 

Live

The big derby this weekend are at Loftus when the the Bulls face the Sharks.

Both teams forms part of the chasing pack behind the Lions and a win will go a long way to press for the playoffs.

The Bulls comes off a disappointing two weeks with losses against the Highlanders and Stormers.

They have been in both games but lost shape in the second half of each game.

They will want to put a full eighty minutes together and be hoping that they do not get the border line decisions against them as was the case in their last two outings.

They have been a team that improved this season but fell short in a few games which leaves them midway on the log.

No one can complain about the way the forwards and backs have improved this year and they have been one of the better teams in the set pieces as well.

With a few players that have put up their hands for possible Springbok call ups it has also come close for them to show they are up for the next level.

The Sharks have been made pre-season favorites but never lived up to that tag which has been something that have been going on for years.

The problem with the Sharks have yet again been the inconsistency in their play.

The one weekend they give us some hit of believe and then they take it away the next weekend with mediocre performance.

The worry with the Sharks this whole year has been the quality of play and in some games they totally loss the plot coaching staff included.

It has almost a case of to first see who pitch up before you make  call on them.

We need certain players to step up now in both teams as we look to answer the questions in certain positions for the Springbok side.

First up will be the show down between Pollard and Du Preez at ten.

We know both have the quality and skills but we have not seen it as often as we would like this season.

Upfront the forward battle will be something special to see and add to that the locks then you know it will be a great contest between the tight five.

We are also still looking for an answer at nine and in the midfield we need both Esterhuizen and Burger Odendaal to show us their class.

It will be a great spectacle to watch both sides back three as we have quality all around.

Gladly we do not have Jackson as the referee which will hopefully add to the excitement that this clash is building up to.

Now all we need is for Pretoria to come to the game and fill Loftus.

Prediction: Struggling with this one but I still believe in the Bulls, Bulls by 9

Teams:

Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (c), 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handre Pollard , 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Marco van Staden, 7 Jason Jenkins, 6 Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Frans van Wyk/Mox Mxoli, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Thembalani Bholi, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 André Warner, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Divan Rossouw.

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

The hope is we can get wins with the Lions in New Zealand and Newlands and a great game of rugga’s at Loftus…..well that is me hoping atleast….

We will be giving you live updates throughout the weekend so follow us on our game links.

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The real Sharks team pitch up and hammered Highlanders

14

The Sharks secured a convincing 38-12 bonus-point victory over the Highlanders in Super Rugby action at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.

With the victory, the Sharks have ended the Highlanders’ proud recent record in South Africa, which had seen the Otago outfit win their last five regular-season games on the bounce in the country.

No one predicted this scoreline but that is what you get from the mercurial Sharks, brilliant the one week and abject the next. The Highlanders remain in third position in the New Zealand Conference with the Chiefs missing an opportunity to move above them, having slipped up against the Jaguares.

The Sharks continue their fine record at home, which has seen them lose only one of their five matches in Durban. On their day they have shown they are capable of beating anyone but are still too erratic, blowing hot the one week and cold the next. However, they are still in eighth position in the overall standings and on course for a quarter-final berth.

The Sharks made a dream start, dotting down after just 38 seconds when Ruan Botha brilliantly snatched Cameron Wright’s box-kick out of the air and fed Akker van der Merwe on his inside with the one-handed pass as the hooker sprinted away under the posts to grab his second try of the season.

And the home side had their second only six minutes later when prop Tendai Mtawarira made the half-break, offloading to fly-half Robert du Preez who found Makazole Mapimpi on the overlap, the winger bouncing off Highlanders fly-half Lima Sopoaga to finish clinically in the left-hand corner. The Sharks pivot added the extras for a 14-0 lead.

But the Highlanders had a response and it came in the 27th minute after they had worked themselves close to the try-line with a well-worked driving maul before flank Dillon Hunt peeled off the back and crashed over to cut the deficit in half.

Soon after, Sharks number 10 Du Preez extended the lead to 10 with a three-pointer after Mtawarira had outmuscled his opposite number at the scrum to win the penalty and ensure the home side took a 17-7 lead into the interval.

The Sharks started the second half as they had begun the first, taking the game to the Highlanders with fast-paced high-intensity rugby and were rewarded with their third try in the 43rd minute.

A long ball from fly-half Du Preez was tapped back inside for the onrushing Lukhanyo Am to cut through the Highlanders defence like a hot knife through butter before playing the final pass on his inside for number eight Dan du Preez who showed good support play to dot down for his first try of the season in the 43rd minute. Robert du Preez slotted the conversion between the posts for a 24-7 lead.

With 20 minutes to go, the Sharks scored a scintillating try with Sbu Nkosi profiting from a sublime grubber kick through by Robert du Preez to dive onto the ball just before the dead-ball line for the bonus-point score.

It was going to be hard to emulate their two tries previous, but the Sharks managed to do so with a brilliant fifth. Curwin Bosch collected a high kick and stepped his way brilliantly past a host of Highlanders defenders throwing a no-look pass which was excellently snaffled by fly-half Du Preez who capped an impressive individual performance with a try. Du Preez’s conversion made it 38-7 with just over 10 minutes to go.

The Highlanders scored a consolation try six minutes from time. It was Ben Smith who scythed through the Sharks defence and played a brilliant long pass to set up Teihorangi Walden for the easy run-in to the line.

But the Sharks would ensure their bonus point would not be snatched away from them with no further scores as they closed out a 38-12 victory.

The scorers:

For Sharks:
Tries: Van der Merwe, Mapimpi, D du Preez, Nkosi, R du Preez
Cons: R du Preez 5
Pen: R du Preez

For Highlanders:
Tries: Walden, Hunt
Con: Sopoaga

Stormers outscore Bulls at Newlands

6

The Stormers got a good win over the Bulls at Newlands on Saturday when they outscored the Bulls 4 tries to 2.

The Stormers started the game as if they want to proof something after some ordinary performances the last couple of weeks.

They kept the ball away from the Bulls and their attacking speed caught the Bulls off guard. With the pressure building they got over the line but TMO judges the last pass forward.

With a brilliant first scrum from the Stormers they secured the ball and got it out to Willemse who scored the first try.

This gave the Stormers a 7-0 lead and in total control of the match. They kept the pressure on and got themselves back into the Bulls twenty-two. With the drive Louw got over for their second try and the lead of 12-0.

The Bulls started to get back into the game and their hands on the ball. With a brilliant line ran by Lood de Jager the Bulls got their first try.

The Stormers then got a yellow card for a late hit by Samuels for a late hit on Pollard. Pollard kicked a great kick in the wind to reduce the score to 12-10.

The Stormers held on nicely with one man in the bin and the teams went into the break with the Stormers leading 12-10.

The Bulls started well in the second half with another great try through Jenkins which gave them the lead 17-12 but this was short lived with the Stormers coming back with one of their own to take the lead again 19-17.

It was some brilliance from De Allende who send SP Marais over.

Willemse got another penalty over before Samuels was at the end of some brilliant play from the Stormers.

That gave the Stormers the game with a lead of 29-17.

The Bulls had their chances but some great defence from Stormers kept them out.

Match Result

Stormers Stormers 29 17  Bulls Bulls

Scorers:

Stormers

 

Tries – Ramone Samuels(62′) SP Marais(50′) Wilco Louw(11′) Damian Willemse(5′)

Penalties – SP Marais(53′)

Cons – Damian Willemse(63′) Damian Willemse(51′) Damian Willemse(7′)

Bulls

 

Tries – Jason Jenkins(48′) Lodewyk De Jager(20′)

Penalties – Handre Pollard(34′)

Cons – Handre Pollard(49′) Handre Pollard(21′)

Blues finally back to winning ways

0

Blues finally got back to winning ways when they beat the Waratahs 24-21 on Saturday

It was an exciting game in the first half from both teams with both teams wanting to play rugby with ball in hand.

It was the Blues quicker out of the blocks with there first try after a Waratahs mistake in their own twenty-two. This gave them an early 7-0 lead which was extended to 10-0 a few minutes later.

The Waratahs got their first try after the Blues lost a player to the bin for a dangerous tackle close to their line.

This made the difference just three points but with one man in the bin the Blues showed off their skills and got their second try of the match with a handy lead of 15-7.

The Tahs came right back with a try in the corner which made the lead only 15-14 but before halftime the Blues got another penalty over to make the halftime lead 18-14.

The Waratahs made a few mistakes in the Blues red zone which could have made a huge difference.

The second half did not give us anything better than the first with both teams having opportunities but unable to score tries.

The Blues took their points and got to 24-14 before the Waratahs scored a great try through their captain Hooper in the 69th minute of the game.

The Tahs was unable to get any other points giving the Blues a much needed win at the end

Match Result

Waratahs Waratahs 21   25 Blues Blues

Scorers:

Waratahs

 

Tries – Michael Hooper(71′) Sekope Kepu(33′) Damien Fitzpatrick(25′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Bernard Foley(72′) Bernard Foley(35′) Bernard Foley(26′)

Blues

 

Tries – Tumua Manu(30′) Rieko Ioane(7′)

Penalties – Stephen Perofeta(69′) Stephen Perofeta(62′) Stephen Perofeta(39′) Stephen Perofeta(18′)

Cons – Stephen Perofeta(8′)

Another loss for Lions on tour

1

The Lions were again unable to to step up as they lost their second game on tour against the Hurricanes on Saturday

In the game where it was expected the Lions to bounce back from last weeks shocked loss against the Reds they again put huge pressure on themselves

It was Hurricanes all off the first half with them going most of the attacking with ball in hand.

The Lions could just not get going with poor ball to the backs when they did get it and most of it was senselessly kicked away. Jantjies again could not control at 10 and had another poor half with his general play as well as his kicking play.

It was the Hurricanes that scored first with Lam getting easily pass Combrinck to score their first try. This gave them a 7-0 lead.

Both teams where not good on the ground with allot of turnovers during the whole first forty minutes.

The Lions lost Marx to injury early on and their lineouts went from bad to worst very quickly.

It took not long for the Hurricanes to extend their lead to 14-0 after a second try by Savea.

The Lions got a lucky break just before the end of the half when the Hurricanes messed up a pass to get a 5-meter scrum. Groom got over from the scrum which made the halftime lead 14-7 to the Hurricanes.

The second half started the same as the first with the Hurricanes all over the Lions and also quickly score to take the lead to 21-7.

The Hurricanes kept control on the match and were able to stretch the Lions yet again to send Lam over for another try and a lead of 28-7.

The Lions hit back immediately with Schoeman scoring from a drive. Jantjies was unable to convert the try and the Canes still led 28-12.

The Lions manage to scrape a late try to get their score to 19 but it was not enough as the Hurricanes beat them 28-19.

Match Result

Hurricanes Hurricanes 28 19  Lions Lions

Scorers:

Hurricanes

 

Tries – Ben Lam(54′) Ben Lam(45′) Ardie Savea(25′) Ben Lam(8′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Beauden Barrett(56′) Beauden Barrett(47′) Beauden Barrett(27′) Beauden Barrett(9′)

Lions

 

Tries – Sylvian Mahuza(75′) Marnus Schoeman(57′) Nic Groom(40′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Elton Jantjies(76′) Elton Jantjies(41′)

Saders demolish Rebels in try fest

0

The Rebels fell apart in the second half as the Crusaders demolish them with a 55-10 win on Friday

The first half was full of excitement with both teams getting quickly on the scoreboard. It was however the yellow cards that had the biggest effect in the half.

The Rebels first got a yellow card for deliberate knock down which was followed 5 minutes later by the Crusaders for the same.

Just before the end of the half the Rebels broke out and the Crusaders got their second yellow for professional foul.

The Crusaders was the first to score a try after the Rebels opened the scoring with and early penalty. The Crusaders made the most use of the ball but handling errors and good defence stopped them everytime.

They did get over the line again for their second try which gave them an early 10-3 lead.

The Rebels got their first try from a mistake by the Crusaders to level things at 10-all.

There was some more controversy when the Saders went over for another try and the TMO decided that they knock the ball in the in-goal area.

Just before the end of the half the Crusaders took the lead with a penalty and all to play for in the second half.

The Crusaders hit early in the second half with their third try of the match and a lead of 20-10 which was a handy lead at that moment.

The Crusaders started to dominate and got another try to extend the lead after camping in the Rebels twenty-two.

This gave them a 27-10 lead after 54 minutes.

This was the start of the end for the Rebels as their defence just disappear. The Crusaders eventually put 9 tries against them and ended with a win of 55-10.

Match Result

Rebels Rebels 10  55 Crusaders Crusaders

Scorers:

Rebels

 

Tries – Reece Hodge(33′)

Penalties – Jack Debreczeni(4′)

Cons – Jack Debreczeni(33′)

Crusaders

 

 

Tries – Manasa Mataele(81′) Wyatt Crockett(78′) Bryn Hall(66′) Peter Samu(64′) Jack Goodhue(52′) Andrew Makalio(45′) Scott Barrett(36′) Andrew Makalio(19′) Seta Tamanivalu(8′)

Penalties – Richie Mo’unga(41′)

Cons – Mitch Hunt(83′) Mitch Hunt(79′) Mitch Hunt(67′) Mitch Hunt(65′) Richie Mo’unga(53′) Richie Mo’unga(46′)

 

 

Jaguares gets another New Zealand win

0

The Chiefs had a good start to the match as they put pressure on the Jaguares early on and kept them in their own half.

The Jaguares defence was great throughout the first half and kept the Chiefs out who had several attempts at their line.

The Chiefs got on the board through a penalty to open the scoring, but it was countered with a penalty from the Jaguares a few minutes later to level the scoreboard at 3-all.

With the Chiefs on attack the Jaguares paunch on a mistake in their own twenty-two and scored on the other side of the field. This gave the Jaguares a lead of 10-3 against the run of play.

The Chiefs got back in the game with three more penalties before halftime to lead 12-10 at the break.

They had plenty of opportunities in that first half but could not get over the line for a try.

The second half started with the Jaguares taking the lead again through a penalty.

The Jaguares kept defending like their life depended on it and with the help of a dangerous tackle from the Chiefs also played against 14 men.

This gave them another opportunity for their second try which took their lead to 20-12.

The Chiefs did score a try, but it was disallowed after the TMO came into play for a knock on in the lead up to the try.

With 10 minutes to go the Jaguares got another three points which extend their lead to 23-12.

The Chiefs manage to get their first try in the final play of the match, but it was not enough to give the Jaguares their forth win on tour and second against a New Zealand side

Match Result

Chiefs Chiefs 19 23 Jaguares Jaguares
 Scorers:

Chiefs

 

Tries – Jesse Parete(82′)

Penalties – Damian McKenzie(43′) Damian McKenzie(39′) Damian McKenzie(24′) Damian McKenzie(8′)

Cons – Damian McKenzie(83′)

Jaguares

 

Tries – Ramiro Moyano(26′)

Penalties – Nicolas Sanchez(71′) Nicolas Sanchez(20′)

Cons – Nicolas Sanchez(28′)

Preview – Super Rugby Week 12

6

We move into week 12 of this years Super Rugby as teams will have to do their bit to secure that play-off spot.

With most of the South African and Australian teams struggling it is yet again the New Zealanders that dominate the competition as expected with the exception of the Blues who has been struggling.

The Crusaders are on top of the overall log although they have not been at their best but the important part was that they have kept on winning matches.

The Hurricanes, Highlanders and Chiefs are chasing the current champions in the New Zealand conference.

The Waratahs are at this stage the top Aussie team with the Lions clear in front of the South African conference.

With some teams with games in hand the overall log is a bit lopsided at the moment but as they say it will all come out in the washing at the end.

Here is the current log standings….

PosTeamPWLDPts
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034

First up this weekend sees the Chiefs hosting the Jaguares who has been on a winning streak since starting their Australasian tour.

The Jaguares got their first win over a New Zealand side last week when they beat the Blues and will want to keep on with the improvement they have shown over the last couple of weeks.

This week they face one of the top New Zealand teams, the Chiefs, and this will not be an easy task to get one over them.

The Chiefs are still in the hunt for that top spot in the New Zealand conference which will secure home playoffs which we have seen to be crucial in winning this competition.

The Chiefs will try and get a bonus point win in this game as they have a game in hand over the New Zealand conference leaders the Crusaders.

Their will be nothing easy to achieve this against a Jaguares side that will have allot of confidence but more than that the Jaguares are playing some good rugby as well.

Gone are the days were we just see a bunch of good Argentinian players play negative rugby and it is not just great for the competition but also for Argentinian rugby as well.

This game could be one of those classic games which we have been longing for this season.

Both teams have great attacking players and it will be a great contest between McKenzie and Sanchez as they are the play makers in their sides.

The Chiefs made four changes to the side with Allardice that come in for Retallick who is earning a well earned rest this weekend.

Messam will start at number 8 with Pulu that is back after injury at wing.

Nankivell will come into the midfield as Faauli earns a rest as well this weekend.

The Jaguares made five to their team with Ramiro Moyano and Gonzalo Bertranou replacing Bautista Delguy and Martin Landajo on the right wing and at scrum-half respectively.

Ledesma has also shuffled his pack with Tomas Lezana starting on the blindside flank in place of Javier Ortega Desio, who shifts to number eight where he takes over from Leonardo Senatore.

The final alterations are at lock, where Tomas Lavanini comes in for Matias Alemanno, and at hooker with Julian Montoya in place of Agustin Creevy.

Prediction: The Jaguares have played some great rugby over the last few weeks but teh Chiefs will be that one step to many for them Chiefs by 13 points.

The teams:

Chiefs: 15 Charlie Ngatai (cc), 14 Toni Pulu, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Alex Nankivell, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Liam Messam, 7 Sam Cane (cc), 6 Lachlan Boshier/Luke Jacobson, 5 Tyler Ardron, 4 Michael Allardice, 3 Angus Ta’avao, 2 Liam Polwart, 1 Karl Tu’inukuafe
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Luke Jacobson/Jesse Parete, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Levi Aumua

Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet (c), 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Tomas Lezana, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Javier Manuel Diaz, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia

It will be another difficult weekend for the Rebels as they come home from two losses against the Bulls and Stormers on tour.

They will have to face a Crusaders side that will be ready for the challenge when they face each other on Friday.

The Rebels was quickly out of the blocks this season with four bonus points wins but has faded in recent weeks and looks like and easy draw was the only reason for their place on the log.

They are a team with good players and can cause an upset but their negative play have not helped them the last couple of weeks.

They seemed to be low on confidence when teams put early pressure on them and they have also struggled to play for 80 minutes.

This will be another huge task to fly all the way back from South Africa to face the current champions who have been winning games.

The Crusaders have had a weird season so far to say the least but have still manage to win some ugly matches but at the end found themselves on the top of the log.

When things are tough they seemed to find that extra bit to win games and when they are on song they can demolish any team.

One thing is for sure with the competition entering the final straight in the pool matches the Crusaders will be going out hard this weekend to try and take advantage of a Rebels side that have been struggling.

The Rebels will welcome back Aussie scrum-half Genia as one of six changes by coach Wessels.

The other changes sees Fereti Sa’aga and Sam Talakai replacing Tetera Faulkner and Jermaine Ainsley as the starting props.

Also in the forwards, Geoff Parling makes his first start since the Jaguares match, as Angus Cottrell moves to blindside flank with Colby Fainga’a starting at number seven.

Jack Maddocks returns from injury and Sefa Naivalu’s earns him another start on the wing after a good performance against the Stormers last week.

The Crusaders has also made some changes with Seta Tamanivalu shifting from the left to the right wing.

The matchday 23 includes three players – Richie Mo’unga, Jack Goodhue and Mitchell Dunshea – who make their return from injury this week.

Mitchell Drummond will wear the number nine jersey, while Mo’unga returns at fly-half.

Tamanivalu move from the left to right wing this week in place of Israel Dagg, and George Bridge comes on to the left wing. Goodhue is also set to make his return from injury and will slot in at centre.

Wyatt Crockett comes into the starting team to replace the injured loosehead prop Tim Perry while at hooker Andrew Makalio and Codie Taylor rotate for this game.

At blindside flanker, Melbourne-born Pete Samu earns a start this week, and Heiden Bedwell-Curtis has been named in the reserves.

Prediction: The Rebels have struggled the whole season so far against the top teams and we cannot see them pull a win over the Saders in this one Crusaders by 18.

The teams:

Rebels: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Will Genia, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Geoff Parling, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Fereti Sa’aga
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Jermaine Ainsley, 19 Matt Philip, 20 Lopeti Timani, 21 Michael Ruru, 22 Tom English, 23 Semisi Tupou

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Pete Samu, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Harry Allan, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Mitchell Dunshea, 20 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Mitch Hunt, 23 Manasa Matael

This could be one of the games this weekend which you need to hold on to your seat.

The Lions was as poor and disappointing last week against the Reds as they brilliant against the Waratahs the week before.

A game most would have predicted as a bonus point win for Swys team ended in a lost and giving away their top spot on the overall log.

The Hurricanes has been the form team since week two and are looking like the team that can take it all at the end of the season.

This is not good for a Lions team who now needs to win as they are being chase by the Bulls who is playing the Stormers this weekend.

The Bulls also have a game in hand over the Lions so it puts that added pressure on the Lions not to give the South African conference away in the last stages of this competition.

The Lions will have to be up for this challenge otherwise it could turn real ugly really fast against the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes with the two Barrett brothers as play-makers in this team have been scoring tries from everywhere and they will want to get fast out of the blocks to put pressure on the Lions early on.

The Lions has been struggling early in matches and will have to put their mark down from the start. Points on the board is very important and they will have to take it when it is offered.

The tight five will play a huge role in this match and it was something the Lions have struggled with last week.

We can be assured that the Hurricanes will come out firing to get early domination in the set pieces.

The one things Lions fans will be hoping are that their team will pitch up from minute 1 and not only in the second half.

The Lions need to put in a team effort and cannot only depend on Marx to have a man of the match performance every week to secure them wins.

The combination at 9 and 10 will have a huge impact on the Lions team and hopefully De Bruin will get it right this week.

Prediction: This is a game the Lions are able to win but they need to be on par. Jantjies have not been great of late and needs to put on his big boy pants this weekend for the Lions to stand a chance to win. At the end we have to give it to the Hurricanes by 9.

Teams:

Hurricanes:  15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (c), 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Nehe Milner-Skudder.

Lions: 

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Franco Mostert (captain), 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith

Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Ashlon Davids, 22 Rohan janse van Rensburg, 23 Sylvian Mahuza

The Waratahs have been leading the Australian conference the last couple of weeks and this game will help them get a bigger lead on the other Aussie teams.

Against a struggling Blues side this a great opportunity for the Waratahs to get even a bonus point win this weekend.

The Blues will be hurting from the current state of their game and it may be that they want to use this game to get things right.

With the Waratahs who have a history of not being able to keep form it may be a game that will surprise the Aussie team.

It seems the Blues just have not been able to put together what they train in the week into their games over the weekend.

That they have talented players is not the question but for these players now to step up and show it in the remaining games of the season.

They are playing with no real confidence and the only way to get that back is to go back to the basics and do that 100% before you try and play an expansive game.

It will be a difficult game for them to win but it is possible.

Prediction: We have the Waratahs to win by 11 against the Blues but anything is possible when Aussies teams face New Zealand teams.

Teams:

Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Clark, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 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 Curtis Rona, 23 Bryce Hegarty.

Blues – 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Tumua Manu, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Caleb Clarke, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Augustine Pulu (c), 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Dalton Papalii, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons, 1 Ross Wright.
Replacements: 16 Matt Moulds, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Mike Tamoaieta, 19 Ben Nee-Nee/Lyndon Dunshea, 20 Murphy Taramai, 21 Jonathan Ruru, 22 Dan Kirkpatrick, 23 Terrence Hepetema.

It is round two for the North v South derby between the Stormers and Bulls with the Bulls ahead 1-0.

There will be no love lost between the two sides as they clash in Cape Town this weekend.

The Bulls have been the most improved side this whole season and have been playing some good rugby as well.

It has been a huge improvement week after week from the Bulls and they now need to settle down and play as a team who is not under pressure just to score tries at every cause but concentrate on game management now as well.

They had plenty of opportunities against the Highlanders to kick some points bu opted to overtime go for tries.

That at the end was part of the reason they lost the game and will need to be cleverer in managing their game from here on end.

The Stormers got a win finally last week against the Rebels which will give them some believe for this game.

It was not perfect but it was a win which Fleck’s troops will take hear from after some poor performances in recent weeks.

It will be a huge battle upfront this weekend and it will be something to look forward to as the set pieces will play a major role in the outcome of this game.

The Stormers still seemed more about 15 individuals rather than a team on the field and that makes their defence being questioned by teams.

The Bulls on the other hand have been brilliant in combining their forwards and backs to attack and have scored some great tries from set pieces and broken play.

They have a dangerous backline and with Pollard getting back to form they have someone that can control the game at 10.

Willemse has been brilliant to say the least this season for a man who is still learning his trade at this level but he has come under huge pressure and his decision making have not been good all the time.

In the midfield De Allende have had the best season we have seen from the Springbok in years and has even improved in his defence which was always been a question mark in his game.

We still waiting for the brilliance that the Stormers do have out wide to get in the game. Most of the times the back three had to be happy with scrappy ball or play from turnovers.

The Stormers will have to play as a team to get one over the Bulls this weekend otherwise they will again have to be happy with second best on the day.

This will be a huge clash this weekend.

Predictions: Bulls have been the more consistent team this season and they would have worked on their game management. Bulls by 12 point.

Teams:

DHL Stormers: 15 SP Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain – 100th DHL Stormers cap), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni (50th DHL Stormers cap), 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Cobus Wiese, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Seabelo Senatla.

Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (c), 11 Divan Rossouw/Travis Ismaiel, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 André Warner, 8 Thembelani Bholi/Marco van Staden, 7 Jason Jenkins/Thembelani Bholi, 6 Marco van Staden/Roelof Smit, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements (TBA): Jaco Visagie, Frans van Wyk/Nqobisiwe Mxol, Conrad van Vuuren, Hendre Stassen/Roelof Smit, Ivan van Zyl,Manie Libbok, Divan Rossouw/Travis Ismaiel.

The last game of the weekend sees the Sharks hosting the Highlanders in Durban.

This will be an interesting encounter with the Sharks that have not played to half of there potential this year but did win against the Stormers in their last outing.

It was nothing pretty against the Stormers but it was a win which the Durban outfit desperately needed at the time.

The Sharks has been like the French this year, with one week giving us hope and the next week just being as poor as they could be.

With high expectations in the beginning of the season the Sharks have come close to many winning a few games which would have put them much higher than they current find themselves on the log.

Questions have been raised by frustrated fans about the coaching staff and the players.

This weekend will be a difficult task for the Sharks as they will have to step it up against one of the better teams in the competition this year.

The Highlanders have not been brilliant all the time but they have manage to keep on winning even when they were down and out of certain games.

They are a team that feeds on the mistakes of other teams. The Sharks worst aspect of their game has been poor decision making and handling errors.

If they have not corrected that aspect of their game then it may be another long day for Sharks supporters this weekend.

The Sharks consistency has also been a problem with their tight five and specially with there set pieces. They have been absolutely poor in the lineouts which added pressure on their backs to deal with scraps on attack.

It will be interesting to see how the scrums goes this weekend as the Bulls were all over the Highlanders last weekend.

If the Sharks can do the basics right it will create the opportunity for the dangerous back line to score tries.

The Sharks have great play makers in Du Preez, Am in this back-line and with speedsters like Nkosi can rip through teams.

It all depends if they can start with the basics and the tight five.

Prediction: We can see the Sharks win this game if they pitch up and sort out their mistakes but for now we must give it to the Highlanders by 5.

Teams:

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

Highlanders – TBA

We will be giving you live updates throughout the weekend so follow us on our game links.

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Nabetragting – Super Rugby Round 11

0

Super Rugby is in the final straight and certain teams will start to find it difficult to get a spot in the play-offs.

It is again the the four New Zealand teams the Highlanders, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Chiefs that dominate the log at this stage of the competition.

The Rebels and the Waratahs are the top two Aussie sides at the moment with the Lions, Jaguares and Bulls in the South African conference.

Here is the current log standings…

PosTeamPWLDPts
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034

This past weekend was a weekend full of surprises with the biggest one when the Reds beat the Lions 27-22.

The Jaguares were able to handle the extreme wet conditions better than the Blues and got their first ever win against a New Zealand team.

The Stormers finally got a win again on Friday when they beat the struggling Rebels 34-18.

They had enough opportunities to secure a bonus point win but again failed as there game management and handling let them down.

At home the Stormers look better but they do not look like a team that can challenge any of the top sides.

The Stormers has struggled the whole season in getting a full 80 minutes together on the park.

There handling has been shocking at times and game management seemed to be concentrated on individuals that is expected to take the lead rather than a proper game plan.

It is difficult to see week after week this Stormers side with quality players struggle to do the basics right.

I struggle to see the Stormers making the play-offs.

One of the biggest surprises came on Saturday when the Lions lost against the Reds 27-22.

The Lions did not seemed to get going in the first half with the Reds taking advantage of the mistakes from the Lions.

Dillon Smit had one of the worst games we have seen from the young man and Jantjies also did not come out of this game in glory.

Two of the Reds first half tries came of direct mistakes from Dillon Smit.

The Lions struggled to get dominance against the Reds in that first half and could not get the upper hand in the set pieces as they normally do.

At the back they looked plan-less and their defence was also not up the normal standards.

They were able to turnaround in the second half with Marx leading the pack but it was just too much to catch up and the Reds were able to hold on to the lead.

The team would be disappointing and will know that they simply did not pitch up.

Hard work lies ahead for this Lions side as they play the Hurricanes this week which has been the top side so far this year.

It was hard-break for the Bulls and their supporters on Saturday when they lost their match against the Highlanders in the final minute of the match.

It was a tightly contested match with both teams running each other at certain times in the match off each others feet.

The Bulls had some tough calls against the in that final ten minutes from Kiwi referee Glen Jackson but they had again enough opportunities to win this.

They will be very disappointing as they for they second week in a row left points on the field.

Saturdays match will also show teams and coaches how important it is to take your points when on offer and not just go for tries all the time.

Handre Pollard had a great game with Ivan van Zyl who put allot of pressure with his box-kicks on the Highlanders.

Upfront Lizo Gqoboka took full advantage of his opertunity to start and played the best game we seen from the big man.

He was a monster in the scrums with Trevor Nyakane and in open play showed that he is as good as any other in the competition.

The Bulls will go down to Cape Town this weekend to play the Stormers and will see this as must win to stay in the hunt.

Other Results:

Hurricanes 43 – 15 Sunwolves

The Hurricanes have kept their winning ways as they ran away with the Sunwolves who still has not registered a win this season.

As we have seen this whole season the Sunwolves was competitive throughout the match but could not last the full 80 minutes.

The Hurricanes did not had their best performance but they got the win.

Blues 13 – 20 Jaguares

Eden Park was more than a swimming pool at some stages in the game than a rugby field and it was the Jaguares that handled the weather better.

They got their first ever win against a New Zealand side in Super Rugby and it was a well deserved win as well.

The problems with the Blues continues as they are just not playing as a team and depend on individuals to get the team going.

As with the Stormers one need to asked if the problem does not lie with the coaching team. There are quality players in this side but they just does not seemed to be able to get it together.

The Jaguares on the other hand is starting to look like a team that can make the play-offs this year and everyone knows that anything can happen in the play-offs.

It is nice to see that for the past three weeks the Jaguares has stopped with that negative play and once they did they started winning games.

Brumbies 8 – 21 Crusaders

The Brumbies had to bite the bullet yet again at home when the Crusaders beat them 21-8 on Saturday.

This was a bit better from the Brumbies but they will need to step up if they still want make the play-offs.

The Crusaders have won ugly a few times this year and this was another one.

They seemed to play in patches at the moment but they atleast keep on winning which has put them in a good position on the overall log.

The Crusaders are one of those teams that peak at the right time and we can expect the defending champions to get better as we get closer to the play-offs.

Here is this weeks Fixtures…

4 Chiefs v Jaguares Rotorua International Stadium 09:35
4 Rebels v Crusaders AAMI Park 11:45
5 Hurricanes v Lions Westpac Stadium 09:35
5 Waratahs v Blues Brookvale Oval 11:45
5 Stormers v Bulls DHL Newlands 15:05
5 Sharks v Highlanders Jonsson Kings Park Stadium 17:15

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Heartbreak for Bulls as they loose it at the end

1

The Highlanders snatch the game in the dying seconds of the match against the Bulls on Saturday to take the win 29-28.

It was a game that did not start well for the Bulls as the Highlanders quickly got on the board with a great try.

They were dangerous on counter attack and the Bulls was not taking all their chances in game.

They did hit back with a try of their own to level the score 7 all and started to dominate the set pieces.

The Highlanders were nowhere in the scrums as the Bulls had the upper hand throughout the match.

Lizo Gqoboka had a brilliant game in the set pieces and in the loose.

Pollard has been another player who was outstanding in a losing effort who scored an intercept game in that first half to give them a 14-7 lead.

The Highlanders did took their penalties and went into the break just 14-10 behind.

The second half was again not the best start for the Bulls as the Highlanders quickly took the lead to 22-14 after a try and a penalty.

The Bulls dominated possession and territory but they could not get points when in Highlanders half.

The Bulls did get two tries at the end which gave them a 28-26 lead with a minute to go.

Unfortunately the Bulls gave away a penalty which the Highlanders kicked over to take the win.

Bulls fans will be upset with Jackson as he missed a certain yellow card on the Highlanders line and a penalty where Lizo Gqoboka came clearly at the end from behind but Jackson said he came fro the side.

This will yet again ask he question why a New Zealand referee is in charge where a New Zealand team plays in.

At the end the Bulls did not take their points in the first half which would have made the difference.

Some you loose and some you win tonight they should have won but lost it

Match Result

Bulls Bulls 28  29 Highlanders Highlanders

Scorers:

Bulls

 

Tries – Jesse Kriel(75′) Jason Jenkins(57′) Handre Pollard(30′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Handre Pollard(76′) Handre Pollard(59′) Handre Pollard(31′)

Highlanders

 

Tries – Fletcher Smith(43′) Aaron Smith(3′)

Penalties – Lima Sopoaga(82′) Lima Sopoaga(63′) Lima Sopoaga(53′) Lima Sopoaga(43′) Lima Sopoaga(34′)

Cons – Lima Sopoaga(44′) Lima Sopoaga(5′)

 

Jaguares secure first New Zealand win

1

The Jaguares made history with their first win against a New Zealand side in Super Rugby when they beat the Blues 20-13.

In atrocious weather conditions the Buenos Aires-based outfit were better at mastering the wind and rain and eventually outscored the Blues three tries to two.

The result, which is the Jaguares’ third successive one on their Australasian tour, means they provisionally move into second position on the South African Conference table although that situation could change if the Bulls beat the Highlanders later on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Blues are still firmly rooted to the bottom of the New Zealand Conference table.

The Blues suffered an early setback when Akira Ioane was yellow carded for collapsing a Jaguares maul close to his try-line in the 13th minute.

From the resulting penalty, the Jaguares put the ball into touch on the Blues’ five-metre line and launched another lineout drive before Agustin Creevy barged over for the opening try from close quarters.

The visitors could not add to their points tally for the rest of Ioane’s stint in the sin-bin and that proved costly for the men from Buenos Aires as the Blues took control of proceedings for the next 25 minutes, scoring two tries during that period.

The home side opened their account in the 17th minute when, after an extended period camped inside the Jaguares’ half, Stephen Perofeta threw a long pass to Tumua Manu, who went over in the left-hand corner.

Perofeta’s conversion attempt was wide of the mark but the home side continued to dominate and spent large periods camped inside the Jaguares’ half.

And in the 28th minute, they took the ball through 10 phases inside the visitors’ 22 before Matt Duffie showed great determination to dive over the try-line from close quarters despite the attentions of three defenders.

Perefota was off target from the kicking tee again but made up for that miss when he slotted a penalty in the 36th minute after Creevy was blown up for going off his feet at a ruck.

The Jaguares finished stronger though and were camped close to the Blues’ try-line during the latter stages of the half.

They were handed several penalties during that period but instead of kicking for goal, they opted to take several scrums but despite dominating at the set-piece, they could not score any points.

James Parsons eventually won a crucial turnover for the Blues, who went into the break holding a deserved 13-5 lead.

But things went pear-shaped for the home side after the break as the Jaguares were dominant during the rest of the match and kept the Blues scoreless during the second half.

In the 54th minute, Jeronimo De La Fuente tore the home side’s defence to shreds when he set off on a mazy run before his progress was halted inside the Blues’ 22. The ball was recycled quickly and shifted to Emiliano Boffelli, who crossed for the Jaguares’ second try and although Nicolas Sanchez failed to convert, the game’s momentum was now with the visitors who continued to dominate as the half progressed.

And in the 62nd minute, they regained the lead when Tomas Lezana ran onto a pass from Martin Landajo close to the Blues’ try-line before crashing over for a deserved try. Sanchez’s conversion made it 17-13 to the visitors and in the 67th minute he added a penalty after Kara Pryor infringed at a ruck.

The game’s closing stages was an arm wrestle but although the Blues had most of the possession, the Jaguares kept them at bay with a solid defensive effort which helped to record their historic victory.

The scorers:

For Blues:
Tries:
 T Manu, Duffie
Pen: Perofeta
Yellow Card: A Ioane

For Jaguares:
Tries: 
Creevy, Boffelli, Lezana
Con: Sanchez
Pen: Sanchez

Lions late surge not enough as Reds take the win

1

Lions were nowhere in the first half as the Reds build a winning lead which left the Lions 4 points short at the end.

The Reds were full value for the win as they beat the log leaders 27-22.

The Lions was shocked at the start of the match with two tries by the Reds from two mistakes from Lions nine, Dillon Smith who made some poor passing.

This put the Reds on the front foot which also saw the Lions shaky in defence and doubting themselves on attack.

It almost looked like the Lions did not pitch up for the game in that first 15 minutes.

The Lions just could not get going giving away penalties when they do get in the Reds half on attack and made mistakes which we were not used to.

It must be said that the Reds were good in set pieces, defence and on attack putting the ball into space.

The Reds manage another try with some poor defence from the Lions which gave the Reds a 17-0 lead.

It did not get any better for the Lions in the half as they could not get over advantage line nor had any plan against the Reds defence.

They made some ordinary defensive errors and no player stepping up.

The Reds got in the Lions half just before halftime from yet another poor pass. The demolish the Lions scrum and scored after the hooter heir forth try to lead 24-0 at the break.

Second half did not start any better for Lions as they were quickly put under pressure by the Reds and also gave away a penalty which extend the Reds lead to 27-0.

Finally, the Lions got on the board as soon as they made some changes at 9 and the front row. It was Marx at the end of two perfect drives from lineouts that gave the Lions their first two tries.

This reduced the Reds leads to 27-12 after 64 minutes.

The Lions got most of the ball in the last quarter bit made too many mistakes on attack which gave easy ball over to the Reds.

They had enough time to get back in the game, but they will be upset with all the mistakes and decision making by certain key players.

The Lions di have a late surge as they scored two tries in the final two minutes of the game to get them a losing bonus point but short for the win.

Not the best we have seen from the Lions as they were nowhere in that first half.

Match Result

Reds Reds 27  22  Lions Lions
Scorers:

Reds

 

Tries – George Smith(41′) Brandon Paenga-Amosa(27′) Caleb Timu(11′) Jean-Pierre Smith(2′)

Penalties – Filipo Daugunu(48′)

Cons – Filipo Daugunu(42′) Filipo Daugunu(28′)

Lions

 

Tries – Marnus Schoeman(82′) Marnus Schoeman(79′) Malcolm Marx(61′) Malcolm Marx(55′)

Penalties – None

Cons – Elton Jantjies(62′)

 

Stormers back to winning ways against Rebels

1

The Stormers made a great return to Newlands as they beat the Rebels on Friday 34-18.

The Stormers started the match good enough but giving away penalties cost them I the opening exchanges.

The Rebels quickly moved into the lead through a penalty but the Stormers replied with one of their own to level things.

With the Rebels looking to speed up the game they forced another penalty which gave them the lead of 6-3.

It was then some magic from De Allende that gave the Stormers their first try of the half when he was not held and went all the way to score.

The Stormers dominated the scrums and force a few penalties which gave them great field position which to attack from.

It took not long for them to turn possession into points as they score the second try to take a 17-6 lead.

That was also the score that the teams went into the break and still allot to play for.

The second half started the way the first ended with the Stormers in control and it took 5 minutes for Leyds to get over from a kick by Duvenage.

This gave the Stormers a 24-6 lead and in full control of the match and the scoreboard.

The Stormers then went back to their normal ways in letting the Rebels back in the game as they got their first try of the match after some sustain pressure.

This closed the gap to 24-13.

The Stormers had a great change for another try as Kolisi created space for JJ but Notshe could not hold on as he dived over the line.

They were given a penalty which Damien kicked over to extend the lead to 27-13.

The last bit of the second half was going nowhere for both teams but it was the Stormers that got the final say with a try after the hooter.

Scorers: 

Stormers

Tries – JJ Engelbrecht(82′) Dillyn Leyds(44′) JJ Engelbrecht(33′) EW Viljoen(29′) Damian de Allende(16′)

Penalties – Damian Willemse(56′) Damian Willemse(11′)

Cons – Damian Willemse(83′) Damian Willemse(46′) Damian Willemse(35′) Damian Willemse(17′)

Rebels

 

Tries Sefanaia Naivalu(76′) Sefanaia Naivalu(53′)

Penalties – Jack Debreczeni(13′) Jack Debreczeni(6′)

 Con – Jack Debreczeni(54′)

 

Hurricanes down hopeless Sunwolves

0

The Hurricanes have made it seven in a row when they beat the Sunwolves on Friday 43-15 scoring nine tries to two.

It was another easy win for the Canes who was just too good for the bottom of the log Sunwolves who yet again have not got a win this season.

The Hurricanes made a good start and in the third minute Aso crossed the line but the try was disallowed because of a forward pass.

The Sunwolves then got the opportunity to get first on the board with Labuschagne opening with the first try.

The Hurricanes hit back with Savea crossing in the 14th minute. That made the scores level at 7-all.

The Sunwolves got the lead back shortly with a penalty but from there it was all Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes just up the tempo and their game in the later stages of the first half and scored two more tries through Barrett and Prinsep.

That gave them a 21-10 lead at the break.

The second half was all Hurricanes as they dominated the game and got a bonus point win to take the lead in the New Zealand conference.

The scorers:

For Hurricanes:
Tries: 
J Savea, Christie, Prinsep, J Barrett, Aso 2, Shields
Cons: B Barrett 3, J Barrett

For Sunwolves:
Tries:
 Labuschagne, Fukuoka
Con: Parker
Pen: Parker

Preview – Super Rugby Round 11

0

Chances for teams to turn their season around is getting less and less as we moved into the Round 11 of Super Rugby.

One would think after 10 rounds of rugby teams will have sorted out their skills, game plan and game management but with the Stormers, Sharks and all the Aussie sides it seems they need more than 10 rounds.

It is actually shocking how the Aussies sides have not been able to improve from last years dismal performances when they play proper teams.

The Bulls seems to be a team still improving but this week will be another huge challenge as they face the Highlanders.

Here is the log standings after 10 rounds of Super Rugby…

PosTeamPWLDPts
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034

The Hurricanes comes back on the field this weekend as they host the Sunwolves on Friday.

They are two log points behind the the Crusaders in the New Zealand conference with a game in hand so this will be an important game for them.

They have been by far the most consistent and strongest side in New Zealand this year and are looking to top the log.

The Barrett brothers have been on fire this year and allot of their attacking play works around them but do not be fooled that they are the only danger men in the backs.

Ben Lam has been a try scoring machine and the Sunwolves will have to contain him otherwise they will be defending a cricket score on Friday.

The Sunwolves is a first half team who just cannot put teams under pressure for 80 minutes. They are still without a win this season and I cannot see this changing this weekend.

The last time these two teams met was in 2017 when the Hurricanes beat them 83-17 and we expect much the same this weekend.

 

 

 

 

Good news for the Canes are that Nehe Milner-Skudder will make his return from the bench.

The All Blacks wing has been sidelined since injuring his shoulder in October but has been named on the replacements bench.

 

Prediction: Easy win for Canes by 47 points

 

The teams:

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Finlay Christie, 8 Brad Shields (c), 7 Ardie Savea/Sam Henwood, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Murray Douglas, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Jackson Garden-Bachop, 23 Nehe Milner-Skudder

Sunwolves: 15 William Tupou, 14 Hosea Saumaki, 13 Timothy Lafaele, 12 Michael Little, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Fumiaka Tanaka, 8 Kazuki Himeno, 7 Pieter Labuschagne (c), 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 James Moore, 3 Takuma Asahara, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Craig Millar
Replacements: 16 Jaba Bregvadze, 17 Shintaro Ishihara, 18 Nikoloz Khataishvili, 19 Wimpie van der Walt, 20 Edward Quirk, 21 Yutaka Nagare, 22 Yu Tamura, 23 Semisi Masirewa

Anything surrounding the Stormers seems to be as much as an effort as it looks like for the players to do the basics right on the field.

This is becoming the worst season for the Cape outfit in years of Super Rugby and many are pointing fingers at the WP Rugby management with all their financial problems and court cases along with the coaching team.

The fact of the matter is that the players need to take responsibility on the field and they have enough world-class players to take control of their own destiny which they have not done.

Senior players like Kolisi have not step up this season and he is half the player he was last year.

That there is problems within the structures is clear and it has been said the whole coaching structure leads to a confused system with no real responsibility on any of the coaches.

The Rebels is not a bad team and with a few losses now over the past few weeks the Stormers can expect a huge onslaught from them.

In the matches the Rebels won this year they had fast starts and we can expect that they will give it their all in that first 20 minutes to build up a lead against a Stormers side without any confidence.

With an almost Springbok front-row to start and from the bench the Stormers has been disappointing at scrum time this year. Simply put we just expected more from them.

Apart from the Blues game we have not seen the Stormers dominated the breakdown and winning the small collisions.

This has been one of their biggest problems this season with their defence that at sometimes just falls apart.

This should be an exciting game with the Stormers believing in Newlands and the Rebels eager to get a win from their tour in South Africa.

Wing JJ Engelbrecht and flank Kobus van Dyk will start for the DHL Stormers against the Rebels at DHL Newlands on Friday.

Cobus Wiese and Seabelo Senatla will also both make their return from injury on the replacements bench.

Meanwhile, skipper Adam Coleman will start in the second-row as the Rebels make three changes to their starting XV to face the Stormers in Cape Town.

Lopeti Timani comes onto the flank for Ross Haylett-Petty, while Billy Meakes returns to the centres to replace the injured Dane Haylett-Petty. Jack Maddocks will start at full-back while Tom English is on the wing.

Front-rower Jermaine Ainsley makes his first start since the Hurricanes match in March.

Prediction: This is a difficult one as the Stormers have every time stepped up at Newlands but their current form and confidence does not look good. On the fence here bit will give it to the Stormers by 12 points.

The teams:

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

Rebels: 15 Jack Maddocks, 14 Tom English, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Marika Koroibete, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Michael Ruru, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Angus Cottrell, 6 Lopeti Timani, 5 Adam Coleman (c), 4 Matt Philip, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Anaru Rangi, 1 Tetera Faulkner
Replacements: 16 Sama Malolo, 17 Fereti Sa’aga, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Colby Fainga’a, 21 Harrison Goddard, 22 Semisi Tupou, 23 Sefa Naivalu

Most of us believed the Lions would win against the Waratahs last weekend but nobody expected the margin and dominance to be so much.

They started their tour the way we always believed they should have gone throughout the season and we expect the same this weekend.

They has to overcome some major injuries this season which many did not notice and are still without their captain Warren Whiteley.

The first season for coach Swys has also had to build momentum and it seems that they have found the magic middle line now.

We need the Lions to come out this weekend and play a great game to keep the momentum before they go to their New Zealand leg of the tour.

It is not easy there and they will need to be at their best to get wins out of the New Zealand games coming up.

The Reds is a team in a building phase with a new coach and new players this year and they have just been to inconsistent to be a real threat for the better teams.

This does not mean that the Lions can just pitch up but it is expected that the Lions will just be too strong in 80 minutes for them.

To make it simple, we expect a bonus point win from this match.

Prediction: Lions by 20 points

Teams:

Reds: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 13 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 12 Samu Kerevi (c), 11 Jordan Petaia, 10 Hamish Stewart, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Caleb Timu, 7 George Smith, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Izack Rodda, 3 Taniela Tupou, 2 Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 1 Jean-Pierre Smith
Replacements: 16 Alex Mafi, 17 Harry Hoopert, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Harry Hockings, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 Moses Sorovi, 22 Duncan Paia’aua, 23 Izaia Perese

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 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 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Marnus Schoeman, 22 Nic Groom, 23 Ashlon Davids

The Blues are having the blues really this season and it seems that their coach is also now under fire with yet another poor season so far.

The Blues have been looking like a team that just can not get it going once they do manage to get a win under the belt. It is not that they loose badly but that they keep on loosing.

The Jaguares on the other hand has turned their poor performances at home around with two great wins in Australia the last two weeks but this week it is a New Zealand team.

They have normally struggled to get wins in New Zealand and South Africa and this will be a huge week for the character of this team.

We have been impressed by the positive attitude from the Jaguares as they tend to play negative rugby when they are behind.

Negative rugby does not win you games and all it gets you is yellow and red cards.

We need the Jaguares to start showing the quality that they have in this team and maybe this weekend they can build on that against the struggling Blues.

This is their best chance to get a win in New Zealand and we are sure that they will be pumped up for the match.

The Blues will want to get things right on the park for 80 minutes and it will be a huge task but they can get it if they unsettle the Jaguares in their comfort zone.

If they can start good they may unsettle the Jaguares which will give them the upper hand on the field and scoreboard.

Prediction: I believe in teams that have the backs against the wall especially New Zealand teams, so I give this to the Blues with 9 points.

Teams:

Blues: 15 Matt Duffie, 14 Jordan Hyland, 13 Orbyn Leger, 12 Rieko Ioane, 11 Tumua Manu, 10 Stephen Perofeta, 9 Jonathan Ruru, 8 Akira Ioane, 7 Kara Pryor, 6 Dalton Papalii, 5 Josh Goodhue, 4 Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Ross Wright, 18 Mike Tamoaieta, 19 Ben Nee-Nee, 20 Lyndon Dunshea, 21 Augustine Pulu, 22 Dan Kirkpatrick, 23 Terrence Hepetema

Jaguares: 15 Joaquin Tuculet (captain), 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Javier Ortega Desio, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti Pagadizaval, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Javier Manuel Diaz, 18 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Bautista Ezcurra, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere

We have two totally different sides on the scale here with the Crusaders leading the New Zealand conference with only two losses so far this season and the Brumbies with five from eight games.

The Brumbies seemed to get more wrong than right on the field and that includes decision making as well.

The Crusaders have also not been the team that won the Championship last year but atleast they are winning and that is the momentum a team needs to get to the play-offs.

The Brumbies have the ability to upset big teams and may cause an upset but the chances of that is very slim.

We expect a bonus point win from the Crusaders and nothing less.

For the Crusaders Codie Taylor returns to the starting line-up in place of injured hooker Ben Funnell, and Andrew Makalio will once again provide cover on the bench.

Sam Whitelock returns this week to partner Scott Barrett at lock, and will resume the captaincy, while Heiden Bedwell-Curtis and Jordan Taufua return to the loose forward trio.

At scrum-half, Bryn Hall joins the starting side this week and Mitch Drummond takes a spot on the bench. Seta Tamanivalu will start on the left wing.

Prediction: Crusaders to win by 17 points

Teams:

Brumbies: 15 Tom Banks, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Andrew Smith, 11 Chance Peni, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Isi Naisarani, 7 Tom Cusack, 6 Blake Enever, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Folau Fainga’a, 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Faalelei Sione, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 Darcy Swain, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Andy Muirhead

Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Mike Delany, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Tim Perry
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Manasa Mataele

For our point of view, this is the big one this weekend when the always improving Bulls are hosting the Highlanders at Loftus.

Although the Bulls will be disappointing in the amount of points they left on the field against the Rebels and a disappointing second half they have yet again shown how much they have improved this season.

It has been a big disappointment to loose Schoeman who has been found guilty for biting a player in last week match.

Schoeman has been a revelation this year in the front row and they will have to re-group.

They Highlanders have been a good all round team this year and we have been massively impress in their set pieces which they will concentrate on against the Bulls.

Set pieces win matches these days and if that don’t work you have big problems against good teams.

The Highlanders have been absolutely devastating on turnover ball and their backs can demolish any backline defence.

They do feed of other teams mistakes so the Bulls will have to make sure they are on par on Saturday.

It will be a huge clash on defence from both teams with the great attitude both teams have shown on attack.

It will be interesting to see the match up against Gelant and Ben Smith.

The Bulls will also want Pollard to control the game and his tactical kicking will be vital in this clash.

Prediction: Tough one but we believe in the structure of the Bulls and at Loftus we expect them to win by 8 points.

Teams: 

Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Divan Rossouw, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (c), 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Thembelani Bholi, 7 Jason Jenkins, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Lizo Gqoboka
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Frans van Wyk, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Hendre Stassen, 20 Nick de Jager, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Travis Ismaiel

Highlanders: TBA

Enough good games to keep South Africans in-front of the TV this long weekend and some great match-ups.

Here is the full schedule and times:

27 Hurricanes v Sunwolves Westpac Stadium 09:35
27 Stormers v Rebels DHL Newlands 15:05
28 Reds v Lions Suncorp Stadium 07:05
28 Blues v Jaguares Eden Park 09:35
28 Brumbies v Crusaders GIO Stadium 11:45
28 Bulls v Highlanders Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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Super Rugby is dead

10

Deader than dead. Morsdood if you prefer the delightful Afrikaans translation. No amount of resuscitation will ever revive it, no matter what organisers and broadcasters will have you believe.

The basis for proof of life in any tournament in any sport is spectator involvement at stadiums and/or on their couches in front of the telly.

Fans through turnstiles keep tournaments going. The day they stop attending or flick channels to Comedy Central is the day that tournament flatlines.

Saturday, April 21 in Durban was the day Super Rugby was read its final rites.

Once the biggest clash on the rugby calendar, the Sharks v Stormers showdown failed to register a blip on the radar.

So much so that Kings Park officials didn’t even bother selling tickets to the top tier of the stadium, instead opting for shameless gigantic advertising banners. And the vast majority of the actual seats that were on sale, were empty.

On a side, yet related note, kudos has to go to whoever it was at Kings Park who managed to pull off the scoop of the century (maybe longer) in convincing new stadium sponsors Jonsson Workwear that it was in fact a good idea to part with no doubt millions and millions in cash to replace Growthpoint.

Word of warning to the folk at Jonsson’s … Kings Park will forever be Kings Park – or the Shark Tank – and shall never, ever be known as Jonsson Kings Park.

Not that many will turn up at Kings Park to ever see the new branding…

A couple of hours earlier in the day, and Loftus Versfeld was a morgue will only a handful of fans (literally) who bothered to show up for their clash against the Rebels.

This despite the once proud Bullring faithful regularly cramming into the stadium. And the Bulls are now on a three-match win streak!

Newlands, once easily the country’s most supported stadium, has seen attendance figures plummet in 2018. Their tournament opener against the Jaguares attracted a little over 18 000 die-hards and in a vain attempt to attract fans, the Cape side have moved kick-off for Friday’s public holiday clash against the Rebels to 15:05 (from 19:15) in an attempt to entice fans and family mid-afternoon.

Good luck with that!

Fans want to watch winning rugby. The Stormers are playing dire rugby at present. It’s an equation that doesn’t bode well for the WPRU. On current form the Rebels pose a real threat to Rob Fleck’s charges and it would be no shock should they walk away victorious.

And Ellis Park, despite the Lions playing winning rugby in recent years, will sadly never escape the “it’s too dangerous to attend” excuse.

Official attendance figures at stadiums are nigh-impossible to find, mainly as they are an embarrassment to unions and are guarded under lock and key.

But know this for sure, if you ever hear a figure announced as the ‘official attendance’ for a match, take that with a pinch of salt, halve it, don’t bother to carry the last digit – and then feel sorry for those tasked with putting bums on seats.

So why are attendances down at South African stadiums?

Too many reasons to mention each and every one, but my top 5 are (in no particular order):

1. Super 18 wasn’t actually the problem

The format for the 2016 and 2017 Super Rugby (with 18 teams) was widely lambasted as being too complicated to understand and grossly unfair on certain sides. Fans and teams called for change. SANZAAR stepped up and culled the Kings, Cheetahs and Force and CEO Andy Marinos promised everyone who cared to listen an improved product.

Fast forward to this year and still no one cares (see lack of bums on seats).

We’ve just found new problems with the ‘old’ Super Rugby format to gripe about.

2. No one cares about derby matches!

For far too long organisers have believed derby matches were what the paying public wanted to see.

Note to organisers: Unless that derby match involves two New Zealand sides, no fan gives the proverbial sh*t!

SA’s Super Rugby sides currently play each other home and away … in a slightly different guise they play each other again in the Currie Cup. Then if that’s not enough, they play each other again in the Currie Cup playoffs.

It’s all too much! And too much of the ‘same, same’ look and feel to maintain interest. More is seldom better. Quality over quantity.

3. Laws are rubbish, referees even worse

I’m tempted to suggest the World Rugby law book is ripped up and referees just do their own thing on the day for the ‘surprise’ element. Isn’t that actually what happens in any case … !?

Rugby’s laws are factually the worst of any sport. They are simply too confusing. Andre Watson once told me a referee could blow up every scrum for 17 different reasons (no exaggeration, may even have been more, it was a while ago since we last saw Watson in action…) There’s no consensus on what constitutes something as basic as a forward pass. And don’t get me started on the rolling maul or the lottery of taking an opponent out in the air.

Fans are naturally frustrated weekend after weekend by calls made against their team. Frustration leads to those fans simply ‘giving up’. Enough’s enough. For the sake of one’s own health, that’s perfectly understandable. Why dice with blood pressure death every 7 days?

Fans ‘giving up’ leads to empty seats. Or the Discovery channel.

4. No stronger without ‘weakest 3’

By culling three teams in the off-season, SANZAAR would have you believe we’re now left with the 15 strongest sides. A ‘strength v strength’ scenario if you will.

Wrong!

The standard of play by the Australian sides is diabolical, the Blues are the red-haired step-child in New Zealand that no one wants to talk about, the Sunwolves are ‘better’ but only because they’re now loaded with SA and NZ expats and a Georgian hooker, the Jaguares continue to blow hot and cold, and from a SA point of view, no side actually improved as the Cheetahs and Kings (ok, not the Kings) weren’t divvied up among the four remaining sides to make any of them any stronger!

5. Money talks … but also drives away fans

Rugby is a family sport. Dads and sons, moms and daughters, it’s a fun afternoon out.

Except when you return home bankrupt.

Tickets plus transport plus food plus drinks X your family size X 8 home Super Rugby matches and it’s become impossible for the average man in the street to attend.

And then Newlands’ hierarchy confirm it will cost you as much as R950 for a single ticket to watch Rassie’s Springboks against Eddie’s England in June.

As mentioned, there are many, many more reasons for Super Rugby’s demise. If you’re still reading, drop us a line at mysport@sport24.co.za with your ‘Top 3 reasons Super Rugby is dead‘ and we’ll hit the publish button.

Perhaps if you have a defibulator for Super Rugby’s future, let SANZAAR know!

In all seriousness, stats don’t lie. Despite the same output, I can confirm that readers of Sport24 aren’t as interested in Super Rugby this season as previous years. Everything from the Proteas v Australia ball-tampering scandal, the Commonwealth Games, the English Premier League, the Absa Premiership and the Masters – plus many more – have proved more popular.

80 minutes is up.

Garrin Lambley is a very frustrated rugby fan and Editor of Sport24 for his sins…

Nabetragting – Super Rugby Round 10

11

Round 10 was and interesting weekend of rugby with the Lions keeping their winning ways and the Bulls that got over the Rebels but that is about that for South African teams.

The Sharks and Stormers have confirm they are not up to the challenge of Super Rugby with the Jaguares that got another win against an Aussie side on tour.

Australian teams are not having a good month with another weekend of poor performances. This week they lost all their matches at home and one away.

The New Zealand teams are going on their merry way as normal.

The frustration of poor referring has been the center point of discussions on social media.

Here is the current log standings after round 10

PosTeamPWLDPts
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034

The Lions could not asked for a better start to their tour in Australia when they kept the Waratahs, who is on top of Aussie log, scoreless.

They were by far the better team on the field and had to work hard in the first half to finally win the match with ease.

Their pack dominated again and laid a great platform with some great play from their backs. Jantjies had another great game and controlled the match from 10.

This Lions team seemed to have found their “mojo” again and thsi win will give them huge confidence for the rest of the tour.

At this stage it looks that they are the only South African side again that can challenge for the trophy.

The Bulls were back at Loftus after a great win away against the Sharks and they did not disappoint the supporters.

They ran out winners 28-10 against the Rebels on Saturday who is starting to fall quickly after a good start.

The Bulls could have won this game by 40+ if they took all their opportunities and will be kicking themselves for all the mistakes they made on attack.

The Bulls keep on impressing with the ball skills shown by forwards and backs and almost all of their tries showcase their skills.

The pack is growing each week and what was normally a poor aspect of their game has become on of their strengths.

At the back Gelant and Pollard could not produced the same quality they shown against the Sharks but had their moments here and there.

It was a frustrating second half to watch as the Rebels decided to play negative rugby with the referee allowing them to slow down quick ball.

At the end although it was not one of the best performances the Bulls walked away with 5 points from the match.

What a disappointing local derby this one was and as a supporter you was left thinking why did I even watch this game.

The Stormers and Sharks have serious problems and one can not anymore look further than the coaches.

With quality players in both sides it does not make sense anymore why these players dish up the nonsense the do every week.

If a Sharks coach is again going to say at halftime the ball is slippery due to the humanity, the I will scream.

Excuses and saying they are sorry is not good enough anymore. Both teams game plan is non exciting and they can not execute.

There was moments from both sides that made you think things is changing but then they just go back to their poor handling and execution.

For the Stormers the last couple of weeks we only have Pieter Steph Du Toit that looks like he is playing rugby with the rest just running along on the field.

There is no urgency in the Stormers tight five and even less in their loose trio.

The team is poor in every way you can think and one needs to see now that the coaching structure is just not good enough.

As for the Sharks Am and Nkosi had great games on attach and defence. They have step up from last week Bulls lost.

The Sharks still struggle at lineout time and questions need to be asked about the form of their captain Botha.

One can only hope things will get better but I think we you have a better chance winning the Lotto than that happening.

In other Results over the weekend

Blues 16 – 34 Highlanders

The Highlanders made it two from two this season against the struggling Blues.

In a match that was tightly contested in the first half the Blues was just not good enough for the Highlanders.

The Highlanders scored points regularly with the Blues that had no answer to it.

With the Highlanders dominating the Blues was left with scrap and could not dominate the contact areas.

Crusaders 33 – 11 Sunwolves

The Crusaders struggle to get going against the Sunwolves who seemed to play much better against the top teams.

They were always going to win the match and never looked like loosing but the Sunwolves made it hard for them throughout the match.

It was not a clinical performance which most expected from the Crusaders but they got the win at the end which is what it was all about.

Reds 12 – 36 Chiefs

Although the Reds gave some resistance the Chiefs just had too much class for the struggling Aussies.

At the end it was an easy win for the Chiefs who is sitting in second place on the New Zealand log.

The Chiefs did not had their best game of the year but added to the poor weekend from Aussies and got a important away win.

Brumbies 20 – 25 Jaguares

The Jaguares surprised again this weekend when they got their second win against Aussies when they beat the Brumbies on Sunday 25-20.

They were full value for their win against the Brumbies who just cannot put a full 80 minutes together.

The Jaguares have again shown of their skills with some great tries in the match.

Their defence need to mentioned and it looks like they are starting to get thing right now.

With some teams falling away for play-off spot we can see who more or less will be in that play-offs now.

It will be hard work for most of the Aussie and South African teams to make the play-off but their is still time to it turn around.

Next week schedule looks like this:

27 Hurricanes v Sunwolves Westpac Stadium 09:35
27 Stormers v Rebels DHL Newlands 15:05
28 Reds v Lions Suncorp Stadium 07:05
28 Blues v Jaguares Eden Park 09:35
28 Brumbies v Crusaders GIO Stadium 11:45
28 Bulls v Highlanders Loftus Versfeld 17:15

 

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Sharks sneak win against Stormers in dull affair

7

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

4

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

0

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

0

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

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

0

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

6

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
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034

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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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
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

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
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034

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.

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

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
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034
91357128
101459025
111358024
121248020
131248019
1412310017
1512210010

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

Tahs put 50 past Sunwolves

0

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

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
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034
91357128
101459025
111358024
121248020
131248019
1412310017
1512210010

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

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
114122054
213103045
31486040
41394240
51385037
61374135
71376034
81385034
91357128
101459025
111358024
121248020
131248019
1412310017

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′)