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Three new signings for the Kings

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Southern_Kings_Kit_2016

 

The Southern Kings have confirmed three more player signings ahead of their return to the Vodacom Super Rugby 2016 competition.

Chief Operating Officer, Charl Crous, confirmed the signing of the young up and coming lock, Phillip du Preez (22) the versatile back line player, Jurgen Visser (26) and hooker, Martin Bezuidenhout (26).

Crous also confirmed that Sharks player, Jaco van Tonder (24), had joined the team on trial this week.

Du Preez has been described as one of the best up and coming line out jumpers. He recently returned from France, where he played for Bayonne.

Du Preez started his professional rugby career playing for the Lions in the U18 Coca Cola Craven Week competition, before making the SA Schools team. He then joined the Blue Bulls in the ABSA U19 competition before moving to the Cheetahs the following year to represent them in the U21 competition. He made his Vodacom Cup debut for the Cheetahs in 2014.

Visser played 8 games for Western Province before relocating to Pretoria, where he played 40 matches for the Blue Bulls in Currie Cup and 31 matches for the Bulls in Super Rugby.

Visser is known for his versatility, and although playing mostly at fullback, he has also played at wing and scrumhalf.

Bezuidenhout, who played with Griquas in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup competitions last year, also played for the Stormers and the Lions in Super Rugby.

Van Tonder is also a versatile back line player. He moved from the George based SWD Eagles, where he played U16 Grant Khomo and U18 Craven week competitions, to Kwazulu Natal, where he joined the Sharks. He made his debut for them in the 2012 Vodacom Cup.

Current squad to date

  • Aidon Davis, 21, No 8
  • Chris Cloete, 24, Flank
  • Cornell Hess, 26, Lock
  • Cyril-John Velleman, 20, Flank
  • Edgar Marutlulle, 27, Hooker
  • Elgar Watts, 30, Flyhalf
  • Jacobie Adriaanse, 30, Tighthead Prop
  • Jacques (Vleis) Engelbrecht,30, No 8
  • James Hall, 19, Scrumhalf
  • John-Charles (JC) Astle, 25, Lock
  • JP du Plessis, 24, Centre
  • Jurgen Visser (26), Fullback
  • Kevin Luiters, 23, Scrumhalf
  • Leighton Eksteen,21, Scrumhalf, Flyhalf, Fullback
  • Louis Fouche, 25, Flyhalf
  • Lukhanyo Am, 22, Centre
  • Luzuko Vulindlu, 28, Centre/Wing
  • Malcolm Jaer, 20, Fullback
  • Martin Ferreira, 26, Hooker
  • Phillip du Plessis, 22, Lock
  • Schalk Ferreira, 31, Prop
  • Schalk Oelofse, 27, Lock
  • Shane Gates, 23, Flyhalf
  • Sipato Junior Pokomela, 19, No 8
  • Siyanda Grey ,26, Wing/Centre
  • Stefan Watermeyer, 27, Centre
  • Stefan Willemse, 23, Flank
  • Steven Sykes, 31, Lock
  • Tazz Fuzani, 25, Lock
  • Thembelani Bholi, 25, Flank
  • Tom Botha, 25, Prop
  • Tyler Paul, 20, Lock/Flank

Crusaders, Brumbies win!

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BC

 

By: Benedict Chanakira

 

 

 


 

Crusaders 35 Hurricanes 18

Hurricanes vs Crusaders

To be fair this was a sloppy game which had moments of brilliance in patches. The game started quite quickly though, Havili having had y opportunity to create quite an overlap had he passed instead deciding to hold onto the ball. The first chance quashed. The Hurricane line out was atrocious and this cost them badly in the game. A win would have sealed the top spot with three games to go. The champions elect fell to only their second loss of the season.

The Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo was in terrifying form and managed to get a try and create a few. Nadolo was breaking tackles and played an important part which saw Drummond, Tuitavake and Todd add to the five pointers. Daniel Carter managed to get his kicking and distribution game at its best and the Crusaders held a 16-8 lead at the break. Robbie Fruean was sin binned for a powerful hit on Nehe Milner-Skudder. DanColes managed to capitalise on the yellow. Though the referee managed to get this one wrong it had no difference in the long run.

After the break the Hurricanes came out to score a breath taking try as they simply dazzled the Crusaders. Nehe Miner Skudder managed to finish off the move by releasing Ardie Save a who brought the score to 16-15 in favor of the Crusaders. Unfortunately this did not help turn the clash around as the Crusaders managed to seal of the game with three more tries.

One moment that left the Hurricanes fans puzzled could have been Ma’am Nonu trying to shield the ball over the try line instead of playing it.  The Crusaders hopes of a play off still alive as they hope for several results To go their way.

Crusaders 35-18 Hurricanes
SCORERS-

Crusaders : Tries – Drummond, Tuitavake, Todd, Nadolo. Conversions – 3/4 Carter. Penalties – 3/3

Hurricanes : Tries – Coles, A. Savea. Conversions – 1/2 Black. Penalties 2/2

Brumbies 22 Bulls 16

Brumbies vs Bulls

The Blue Bulls will need a miracle to make the play offs and will have their breakdown woes, failure to front up in the forwarcs and a long list of grievances to blame for the loss. The Bulls started well and held a 6-0 lead and Christian Lealifano had issues with his radar. When Lealifano found his range he managed it make it 6-3. Some patient build up saw Jordan Smiler go over in the corner to take the lead to 8-6 for the Brumbies.

After the break a Pollard penalty saw the Blue Bulls regain the lead but that was the last of it. Henry Speight broke the line and raced away unscathed after the Bulls midfield failed to cope with him. He managed to grab a second a few minutes later to take the score to 22-9 to the Brumbies with about 20 minutes to go.

While a late Labuschagne try gave the bulls some hope to win the game their efforts failed. The Brumbies defence managed to hold on as they quanched the late Bulls surge including some well executed maul stops. The Bulls will now look to salvage some pride in the games to follow.

Brumbies 22-16 Blue Bulls
Scorers: Brumbies – Tries: Smiler, Speight (2) Conversions- 2/3. Penalties 1/3.

Bulls- Try: Labuschagne. Conversion: Pollard- 1/1. Penalties: 3/3.

Chiefs take bonus-point win over Canes

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The Chiefs jumped to the top of the Super Rugby table with a bonus-point 34-22 win over the Hurricanes in Hamilton on Friday.

Date
June 28, 2013 – 7:58PM
Jeremy Thrush of the Hurricanes loses the lineout ball to Craig Clarke of the Chiefs.

The four-tries-to-three win means the defending champions leapfrog the Brumbies to top the overall table by 61 points to 59 with a game in hand, as the Australian teams take a two-week break for the British and Irish Lions tour.

Julian Savea of the Hurricanes makes a break.Julian Savea of the Hurricanes makes a break. Photo: Getty Images

The Chiefs had an indifferent first half, but the Hurricanes also mixed good with bad in equal measure.

They scored two well-taken tries through TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett and looked dangerous with the ball in hand, making plenty of breaks and kicking intelligently.

But they also conceded too many turnovers, with the Chiefs more effective at the breakdown.

Perenara’s try gave the Hurricanes the lead after 15 minutes, the nuggety halfback burrowing over after Jeremy Thrush did some good work in recycling Barrett’s raking cross-field kick.

It didn’t take the Chiefs long to reply, No.8 Matt Vant Leven latching on to a poor Hurricanes defensive lineout throw four minutes later to swoop through for the try.

Inside centre Bundee Aki extended the Chiefs’ lead at 26 minutes in a nicely worked move from the set piece, showing good pace in running onto Aaron Cruden’s perfectly weighted kick through.

But Barrett narrowed the gap on 30 minutes, making the initial break then showing good strength out wide to touch down after a quick Hurricanes recycle, leaving the Chiefs to take a 17-15 lead into halftime.

The Chiefs scrum started to gain ascendancy as the second half wore on, but had only a Cruden penalty to show for it until the 63rd minute.

With his line under pressure, Barrett couldn’t find touch with his clearing kick from a 10m scrum and Lelia Masaga made him pay with with a scything run which set up halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow for the try.

Replacement prop Ben Tameifuna powered over for the bonus-point try with five minutes remaining, although the Hurricanes replied almost immediately through Alapati Leiua as the Chiefs’ usually organised defence slipped up.

CHIEFS 34 (Bundee Aki, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Ben Tameifuna, Matt Vant Leven tries Aaron Cruden 4 cons 2 pens) bt HURRICANES 22 (Beauden Barrett, Alapati Leiua, TJ Perenara tries Barrett 2 cons pen) at Waikato Stadium. Referee: Garratt Williamson.

AAP

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-match-report/chiefs-take-bonuspoint-win-over-canes-20130628-2p2u9.html#ixzz2XVxOTj1n

Season 2013 Player Stats Week 2

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Still early days but all the season stats leaders after week two…
Most Points
1. James O’Connor (Rebels) 23
2. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 21
2. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 21
4. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 20
5. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 19
6. Michael Harris (Reds) 16
7. Alfie Mafi (Force) 15
8. Piri Weepu (Blues) 14
9. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 12
9. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 12
11. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 10
11. Ben Tapuai (Reds) 10
11. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 10
11. Frank Halai (Blues) 10
11. Sergeal Petersen (Kings) 10
11. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 10
17. Kyle Godwin (Force) 8
18. Joe Pietersen (Stormers) 7
18. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 7
20. Nic White (Brumbies) 6
Most Tries
1. Alfie Mafi (Force) 3
1. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 3
3. Ben Tapuai (Reds) 2
3. Frank Halai (Blues) 2
3. Sergeal Petersen (Kings) 2
3. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 2
7. Andries Bekker (Stormers) 1
7. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 1
7. Ben Smith (Highlanders) 1
7. Ben Volavola (Waratahs) 1
7. Chilliboy Ralepelle (Bulls) 1
7. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 1
7. Hosea Gear (Highlanders) 1
7. Jean De Villiers (Stormers) 1
7. Johann Sadie (Cheetahs) 1
7. Kade Poki (Highlanders) 1
7. Pekahou Cowan (Force) 1
7. Rene Ranger (Blues) 1
7. Richard Brown (Force) 1
7. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) 1
Most Conversions
1. James O’Connor (Rebels) 4
2. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 3
2. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 3
4. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 2
4. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 2
4. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 2
4. Joe Pietersen (Stormers) 2
4. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 2
4. Michael Harris (Reds) 2
4. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 2
11. Ian Prior (Brumbies) 1
11. Kyle Godwin (Force) 1
11. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 1
11. Piri Weepu (Blues) 1
Most Penalty Goals
1. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 6
2. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 5
2. James O’Connor (Rebels) 5
2. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 5
5. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 4
5. Michael Harris (Reds) 4
5. Piri Weepu (Blues) 4
8. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 2
8. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 2
8. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 2
8. Kyle Godwin (Force) 2
8. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 2
8. Nic White (Brumbies) 2
14. Brendan McKibbin (Waratahs) 1
14. Joe Pietersen (Stormers) 1
14. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 1
Most Tackles Made
1. Ed Quirk (Reds) 36
1. Scott Fuglistaller (Rebels) 36
3. Luke Jones (Rebels) 32
4. Ben Tapuai (Reds) 28
5. Hugh Pyle (Rebels) 26
5. Liam Gill (Reds) 26
7. Angus Cottrell (Force) 25
8. David Bulbring (Kings) 23
8. Michael Harris (Reds) 23
8. Peter Kimlin (Brumbies) 23
11. Gareth Delve (Rebels) 22
11. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 22
11. Greg Holmes (Reds) 22
11. Karl Lowe (Hurricanes) 22
15. David Pocock (Brumbies) 21
15. Mitch Inman (Rebels) 21
17. Cornell du Preez (Kings) 20
17. Laurie Weeks (Rebels) 20
19. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 19
19. Sam Cane (Chiefs) 19
Most Runs
1. Alfie Mafi (Force) 25
2. Stephen Moore (Brumbies) 24
3. Digby Ioane (Reds) 23
4. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 21
5. Angus Cottrell (Force) 18
5. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 18
5. Luke Jones (Rebels) 18
8. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 17
9. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 16
9. Ed Quirk (Reds) 16
11. Ben Alexander (Brumbies) 15
11. Chris Alcock (Force) 15
11. Peter Kimlin (Brumbies) 15
11. Peter Saili (Blues) 15
11. Tetera Faulkner (Force) 15
16. Ben McCalman (Force) 14
16. Charles Piutau (Blues) 14
16. Clyde Rathbone (Brumbies) 14
16. Pekahou Cowan (Force) 14
16. Scott Fardy (Brumbies) 14
Most Run Metres
1. Digby Ioane (Reds) 223
2. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 201
3. Alfie Mafi (Force) 177
4. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 174
5. Charles Piutau (Blues) 168
6. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 153
7. James O’Connor (Rebels) 146
8. Ed Quirk (Reds) 142
9. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 134
10. Ben Tapuai (Reds) 124
10. Francis Saili (Blues) 124
12. Dom Shipperley (Reds) 119
13. Kade Poki (Highlanders) 118
14. Clyde Rathbone (Brumbies) 109
15. Frank Halai (Blues) 104
16. Bryan Habana (Stormers) 103
17. Hennie Daniller (Cheetahs) 102
18. Lwazi Mvovo (Sharks) 100
19. Jaco Taute (Stormers) 98
19. Mitch Inman (Rebels) 98
Most Kicks
1. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 16
2. James O’Connor (Rebels) 15
2. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 15
4. Nic White (Brumbies) 14
5. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 13
6. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 11
6. Kurtley Beale (Rebels) 11
6. Quade Cooper (Reds) 11
6. Sam Christie (Force) 11
10. Matt Toomua (Brumbies) 10
11. Ben Lucas (Reds) 9
12. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 8
12. Piri Weepu (Blues) 8
12. Winston Stanley (Force) 8
15. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 7
15. Cobus Reinach (Sharks) 7
15. Francois Hougaard (Bulls) 7
15. Jaco Taute (Stormers) 7
15. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 7
20. Nick Frisby (Reds) 5
Most Kick Metres
1. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 645
2. Morne Steyn (Bulls) 627
3. Demetri Catrakilis (Kings) 534
4. James O’Connor (Rebels) 447
5. Patrick Lambie (Sharks) 414
6. Quade Cooper (Reds) 398
7. Nic White (Brumbies) 384
8. Matt Toomua (Brumbies) 373
9. Kurtley Beale (Rebels) 327
10. Sam Christie (Force) 326
11. Winston Stanley (Force) 291
12. Ben Lucas (Reds) 285
13. Cobus Reinach (Sharks) 274
14. Johan Goosen (Cheetahs) 268
15. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 257
16. Jaco Taute (Stormers) 255
17. S.P. Marais (Kings) 229
18. Francois Hougaard (Bulls) 192
19. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 175
20. Drew Mitchell (Waratahs) 170
Most Pick And Drives
1. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 8
2. Luke Jones (Rebels) 5
2. Tetera Faulkner (Force) 5
4. Ben McCalman (Force) 4
4. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 4
4. Hugh McMeniman (Force) 4
4. Marcell Coetzee (Sharks) 4
4. Sam Wykes (Force) 4
9. Adam Wallace-Harrison (Reds) 3
9. Angus Cottrell (Force) 3
9. Greg Holmes (Reds) 3
9. Laurie Weeks (Rebels) 3
9. Nathan Charles (Force) 3
9. Pekahou Cowan (Force) 3
9. Scott Fuglistaller (Rebels) 3
9. Stephen Moore (Brumbies) 3
17. Jake Schatz (Reds) 2
17. John Hardie (Highlanders) 2
17. Tom McCartney (Blues) 2
17. Tony Woodcock (Highlanders) 2
Most Try Assists
1. James O’Connor (Rebels) 3
2. Bernard Foley (Waratahs) 2
2. Winston Stanley (Force) 2
4. Augustine Pulu (Chiefs) 1
4. Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes) 1
4. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 1
4. Conrad Smith (Hurricanes) 1
4. Dewaldt Duvenhage (Stormers) 1
4. Ed Quirk (Reds) 1
4. Francois Hougaard (Bulls) 1
4. Gareth Anscombe (Chiefs) 1
4. George Moala (Blues) 1
4. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 1
4. Nic White (Brumbies) 1
4. Pat Dellit (Force) 1
4. Philip van der Walt (Cheetahs) 1
4. Quade Cooper (Reds) 1
4. Rene Ranger (Blues) 1
4. Richard Kingi (Rebels) 1
4. Shaun Venter (Kings) 1
Most Linebreaks
1. Alfie Mafi (Force) 4
2. Clyde Rathbone (Brumbies) 3
2. Kade Poki (Highlanders) 3
4. Ben Smith (Highlanders) 2
4. Chris Noakes (Blues) 2
4. Francis Saili (Blues) 2
4. Frank Halai (Blues) 2
4. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 2
4. James O’Connor (Rebels) 2
4. Patrick Osborne (Chiefs) 2
4. Tim Nanai-Williams (Chiefs) 2
12. Conrad Smith (Hurricanes) 1
12. Deon Stegmann (Bulls) 1
12. Hosea Gear (Highlanders) 1
12. Jean De Villiers (Stormers) 1
12. Peter Kimlin (Brumbies) 1
12. Pierre Spies (Bulls) 1
12. Quade Cooper (Reds) 1
12. Rene Ranger (Blues) 1
12. Tim Bateman (Hurricanes) 1
Most Linebreak Assists
1. George Moala (Blues) 2
1. Winston Stanley (Force) 2
3. Andrew Smith (Brumbies) 1
3. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 1
3. Conrad Smith (Hurricanes) 1
3. Dewaldt Duvenhage (Stormers) 1
3. Ed O’Donoghue (Reds) 1
3. Hennie Daniller (Cheetahs) 1
3. James O’Connor (Rebels) 1
3. Kyle Godwin (Force) 1
3. Liam Messam (Chiefs) 1
3. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 1
3. Ma’a Nonu (Highlanders) 1
3. Matt Toomua (Brumbies) 1
3. Michael Harris (Reds) 1
3. Pat Dellit (Force) 1
3. Phil Burleigh (Highlanders) 1
3. Quade Cooper (Reds) 1
3. Rene Ranger (Blues) 1
3. Rhys Marshall (Chiefs) 1
Most Offloads
1. Kurtley Beale (Rebels) 5
1. Quade Cooper (Reds) 5
3. Kyle Godwin (Force) 4
3. Nick Frisby (Reds) 4
3. Phil Burleigh (Highlanders) 4
6. Christian Lealiifano (Brumbies) 3
6. Francois Steyn (Sharks) 3
6. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 3
6. Nic White (Brumbies) 3
6. Philip van der Walt (Cheetahs) 3
6. Scott Fardy (Brumbies) 3
12. Aaron Cruden (Chiefs) 2
12. Andrew Smith (Brumbies) 2
12. Angus Cottrell (Force) 2
12. Brad Shields (Hurricanes) 2
12. Clyde Rathbone (Brumbies) 2
12. John Hardie (Highlanders) 2
12. Kade Poki (Highlanders) 2
12. Richard Kingi (Rebels) 2
12. Sarel Pretorius (Cheetahs) 2
Most Pilfers
1. Jacques Botes (Sharks) 2
1. Mitch Inman (Rebels) 2
3. Ali Williams (Blues) 1
3. Charles Piutau (Blues) 1
3. Culum Retallick (Blues) 1
3. David Pocock (Brumbies) 1
3. Deon Stegmann (Bulls) 1
3. Ed Quirk (Reds) 1
3. Franco van der Merwe (Sharks) 1
3. Hugh McMeniman (Force) 1
3. Josh Bekhuis (Highlanders) 1
3. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 1
3. Nic Groom (Stormers) 1
3. Nick Phipps (Rebels) 1
3. Pierre Spies (Bulls) 1
3. Pieter Labuschagne (Cheetahs) 1
3. Quade Cooper (Reds) 1
3. Reggie Goodes (Hurricanes) 1
3. Saia Faingaa (Reds) 1
3. Steven Sykes (Kings) 1
Most Lineouts Won
1. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 15
2. Hugh Pyle (Rebels) 8
2. Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes) 8
2. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) 8
5. Gareth 7
5. Rob Simmons (Reds) 7
7. Angus Cottrell (Force) 6
7. Liam Gill (Reds) 6
7. Steven Sykes (Kings) 6
10. De Kock Steenkamp (Stormers) 5
10. Hugh McMeniman (Force) 5
10. Jason Eaton (Hurricanes) 5
13. Adam Wallace-Harrison (Reds) 4
13. Ali Williams (Blues) 4
13. David Dennis (Waratahs) 4
13. Flip Van der Merwe (Bulls) 4
13. Sam Carter (Brumbies) 4
13. Sam Wykes (Force) 4
13. Toby Lynn (Force) 4
20. Frans Viljoen (Cheetahs) 3
Most Penalties Conceded
1. Steven Kitshoff (Stormers) 5
1. Steven Sykes (Kings) 5
3. Scott Fuglistaller (Rebels) 4
3. Scott Higginbotham (Rebels) 4
5. Ben Mowen (Brumbies) 3
5. Dan Palmer (Brumbies) 3
5. Ed O’Donoghue (Reds) 3
5. Ed Quirk (Reds) 3
5. Greg Holmes (Reds) 3
5. Matthew Hodgson (Force) 3
5. Nathan Charles (Force) 3
5. Scott Fardy (Brumbies) 3
13. Conrad Smith (Hurricanes) 2
13. Cornell du Preez (Kings) 2
13. Jarrod Saffy (Rebels) 2
13. Luke Jones (Rebels) 2
13. Mitch Inman (Rebels) 2
13. Nasi Manu (Highlanders) 2
13. Nic White (Brumbies) 2
13. Nick Phipps (Rebels) 2
Most Turnovers
1. Nathan Charles (Force) 9
2. Deon Fourie (Stormers) 7
3. Adriaan Strauss (Cheetahs) 6
4. Digby Ioane (Reds) 5
4. Michael Harris (Reds) 5
6. Alfie Mafi (Force) 4
6. Andries Strauss (Kings) 4
6. Jesse Mogg (Brumbies) 4
6. Julian Savea (Hurricanes) 4
6. Kurtley Bea
le (Rebels)
4
6. Lachlan Mitchell (Rebels) 4
6. Nick Frisby (Reds) 4
6. Quade Cooper (Reds) 4
6. Rene Ranger (Blues) 4
6. Saia Faingaa (Reds) 4
16. Andre Taylor (Hurricanes) 3
16. Ed Quirk (Reds) 3
16. Ged Robinson (Rebels) 3
16. James Slipper (Reds) 3
16. Sergeal Petersen (Kings) 3
Most Missed Tackles
1. Kurtley Beale (Rebels) 10
2. Nathan Charles (Force) 8
3. Richard Kingi (Rebels) 7
4. Mitch Inman (Rebels) 6
4. Rory Sidey (Rebels) 6
6. Ben McCalman (Force) 5
6. Ed Quirk (Reds) 5
6. Jeremy Thrush (Hurricanes) 5
9. Beast Mtawarira (Sharks) 4
9. Drew Mitchell (Waratahs) 4
9. Flip Van der Merwe (Bulls) 4
9. Josh Bekhuis (Highlanders) 4
9. Michael Harris (Reds) 4
9. Nick Frisby (Reds) 4
9. Phil Burleigh (Highlanders) 4
9. Trevor Nyakane (Cheetahs) 4
17. Elton Jantjies (Stormers) 3
17. Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders) 3
17. Nick Phipps (Rebels) 3
17. Pekahou Cowan (Force) 3

http://livescores.smh.com.au/rugby/super15/player-stats.html?refresh=1361944046395″

SUPER 15 IS BACK!!!

8

Tomorrow the Super 15 returns from it’s middag slapie and we have an important message for you.

Formidable Stormers show unity

2

Ferocious forward deeds created the “big black blanket” phrase used to describe the All Black pack.

Raise your hand if you’re embarrassed!

23

Hands up from those who feel utterly embarrassed by SA Rugby’s latest move to convince SANZAR to include a 16th team in the SupeRugby competition in 2013…

Goodbye Lions, Hello Kings?

151

It can be goodbye Lions, hello Kings come 2013 as a political decision has been endorsed to allow only ONE TEAM per PROVINCE.

Australian Super Rugby Squads

6

Recap: Australian Super Rugby squads

The Defending Super Rugby champions the Queensland Reds have a very strong and settled line-up for next season.

Wed 9 Nov 2011

However, it will be interesting to see how they cope without mercurial playmaker Quade Cooper.

The Wallabies pivot had worn the No 10 jersey for 31 consecutive games and was a key figure in the Ewen McKenzie-coached side’s charge to the championship in 2011.

He will miss the first six weeks of the competition after injuring his knee during Australia’s Rugby World Cup bronze final victory against Wales.

Mike Harris, Ben Lucas and Ben Tapuai are the men vying to replace Cooper in the No 10 jersey.

Overall, the Reds have a Wallaby-laden squad that has the potential to once again make the playoffs.

McKenzie has remained true to the young side that has served him so well in his two years at the helm, with 27 of the 30-man squad having featured in 2011.

The two newbies are lock David McDuling and 17-year-old wing Chris Feauai-Sautia, while Aidan Toua gets a full contract after playing two games last season.

Those gone from 2011 are Albert Anae (he is in the extended playing squad), Will Chambers (Munster), Leroy Houston (Bordeaux-Bègles), Kimami Sitauti and Ian Prior (both Brumbies) and Lei Tomiki (Stade Français).

The Waratahs, meanwhile, will have a new coach and some new blood.

However, the Sydneysiders will still have plenty of international players on their roster.

Former Wallaby front-rower Michael Foley has been promoted from assistant coach, replacing Chris Hickey as head mentor.

Foley has been forced to bring in some new blood, with a number of ‘Tahs regulars in recent seasons having moved on.

The most high profile acquisitions are Wallabies Adam Ashley-Cooper and Rocky Elsom who both join from the Brumbies, and livewire Cheetahs halfback Sarel Pretorius.

The other new faces are former Australian Sevens skipper Bernard Foley, Greg Peterson and Chris Alcock, who returns after not being wanted last season.

The biggest losses are Wallabies fullback Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels), flanker Phil Waugh and prop Al Baxter (both retired) and halfback Luke Burgess (Toulouse).

The others missing from the class of 2011 are former All Black Sosene Anesi (Japan), ex-Wallaby Ryan Cross, halfback Josh Holmes, loose forwards Locky McCaffrey (Force) and Ben Mowen (Brumbies) and lock Pat O’Connor.

Still, there are plenty of current or former internationals in the mix, with Berrick Barnes, Ashley-Cooper, Elsom, Rob Horne, Sekope Kepu, Drew Mitchell, Dean Mumm, Wycliff Palu, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson, Sitaleki Timani, Lachie Turner and Dan Vickerman having worn the green and gold of the Wallabies in recent times.

Second-year Western Force Richard Graham reckons he has his team will be a, er, force to be reckoned with next season.

Despite the loss of Wallaby utility back James O’Connor – the Perth-based franchise’s go-to man and main strike weapon this year – to the Melbourne Rebels and wing David Smith to Toulon, Graham feels he has selected the strongest squad in the club’s five-year history.

The Force have yet to make the playoffs, but Graham expects that to change in 2012.

“I’m obviously extremely confident (of improvement). I think we’ll get better results,” he says.

“Last year, we drew two games, we lost two games by one and lost another three by less than seven, so we’re not a long way away and we’ve just got to believe in what we’re doing.”

Graham feels the new additions will give him better depth.

The biggest names heading to Perth next season are Wallabies prop Salesi Ma’afu (Brumbies) and Fiji wing Napolioni Nalaga.

Other newbies on the books include former Blues midfielder Winston Stanley, former Chiefs lock Toby Lynn, Tetera Faulkner, Locky McCaffrey (Waratahs), Jordan Rapana, Ben Seymour and Will Tupou.

“There are not necessarily high profile players … but there’s no doubt at the moment we’ve got the strongest squad that we’ve had,” says Graham.

Gone from last year are Paul Alo-Emile (Rebels), Mark Bartholomeusz, Matt Dunning (Biarritz), Tim Fairbrother (Harlequins), Tom Hockings, Mitch Inman (Rebels), Jono Jenkins, Tevita Metuisela (Rebels extended training squad) and Mark Swanepoel (Canterbury).

A number of off-season departures means newBrumbies coach Jake White will have a new-look side, one desperate to erase the bitter memory of last year’s tumultuous campaign, when the campaign kicks off.

Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Rocky Elsom (Waratahs), Mitchell Chapman (Japan), Mark Chisholm (Bayonne), Huia Edmonds (Saracens), Francis Fainifo (Stade Français), Matt Giteau (Toulon), Salesi Ma’afu (Force) Tyrone Smith (Japan), Julian Salvi (Leicester), Patrick Phibbs (Exeter) and Elvis Levi (Beziers) are gone following the 2011 campaign, which saw the Canberra-based side finish 13th.

Ed Stubbs, Josh Valentine, Samu Wara, Anthony Hegarty and Henry Vanderglass have also been released as White looks to stamp his mark.

Those new to the team are Ben Mowen (Waratahs), Leon Power (Bay of Plenty),Saliva Saliva (Western Force), Ian Prior (Reds), Fotu Auelua (NTT Shining Arcs), Kimami Sitauti (Reds) and leagueie Joseph Tomane (Gold Coast Titans).

As for the Melbourne Rebels, they will once again have a dangerous backline, especially with the arrival of Wallabies James O’Connor and Kurtley Beale from the Western Force and Waratahs respectively.

However, there are still doubts over the tight five and their ability to dominate at scrum and lineout time.

Still, much of last year’s squad which propped up the ladder in its debut season will be back next year giving new coach Damien Hill plenty to work with.

O’Connor and Beale will join the likes of Mark Gerrard, Cooper Vuna, Stirling Mortlock and Nick Phipps out wide.

The other new recruits are former Wallaby Lloyd Johansson Paul Alo-Emile and Mitch Inman (both from the Western Force) and former Blues lock James King.

Gone from last year are Greg Somerville, Kevin O’Neill and Sam Cordingley (all retired), Hoani MacDonald, Peter Betham and Afusipa Taumoepeau.

AUSTRALIAN 2012 SUPER RUGBY

Queensland Reds: Quade Cooper, Ben Daley, Rod Davies, Anthony Faingaa, Saia Faingaa, Will Genia, Liam Gill, James Hanson, Mike Harris, Scott Higginbotham, Greg Holmes, James Horwill, Van Humphries, Peter Hynes, Digby Ioane, Jono Lance, Ben Lucas, David McDuling, Luke Morahan, Ed Quirk, Beau Robinson, Radike Samo, Jake Schatz, Guy Shepherdson, Dom Shipperley, Rob Simmons, Chris Feauai-Sautia, James Slipper, Ben Tapuai, Aidan Toua, Adam Wallace-Harrison
Extended playing squad: Albert Anae, Kevin Davis, Nick Frisby, Dallan Murphy, Ulupano Seuteni

Waratahs: Berrick Barnes, Chris Alcock, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom Carter, Dave Dennis, Kane Douglas, Rocky Elsom, Damien Fitzpatrick, Bernard Foley, Daniel Halangahu, Rob Horne, Brackin Karauria-Henry, Sekope Kepu, Tom Kingston, Pat McCutcheon, Brendan McKibbin, Drew Mitchell, Dean Mumm, Atieli Pakalani, Wycliff Palu, Greg Peterson, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Sarel Pretorius, Benn Robinson, Paddy Ryan, Jeremy Tilse, Sitaleki Timani, Lachie Turner, John Ulugia, Dan Vickerman.
Extended playing squad: Grayson Hart, Tevita Metuisela, Lotu Taukeiaho, Lopeti Timani, Nathan Trist

Western Force: Phoenix Battye, Richard Brown, Nathan Charles, Pek Cowan, Nick Cummins, Patrick Dellit, Gene Fairbanks, Tetera Faulkner, Matt Hodgson, Kieran Longbottom, Toby Lynn, Salesi Ma’afu, Alfie Mafi, Lachlan McCaffrey, Ben McCalman, Napolioni Nalaga, David Pocock, Jordan Rapana, Willie Ripia, Ben Seymour, Nathan Sharpe, Brett Sheehan, Cameron Shepherd, Rory Sidey, Winston Stanley, James Stannard, Will Tupou, Justin Turner, Ben Whittaker, Sam Wykes
Extended playing squad: Angus Cottrell, Kyle Godwin, Salesi Manu, Elvis Taione, Samu Wara

Brumbies: Ben Alexander, Ben Hand, Stephen Hoiles, Michael Hooper, Peter Kimlin, Christian Lealiifano, Pat McCabe, Stephen Moore, Dan Palmer, Andrew Smith, Henry Speight, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Ita Vaea, Jono Owen, Siliva Siliva, Ben Mowen, Sam Carter, Cam Crawford, Ian Prior, Joseph Tomane, Kimami Sitauti, Tevita Kuridrani, Zack Holmes, Tom Cox, Leon Power, Fotu Auelua, Robbie Coleman, Colby Faingaa
Extended playing squad: Dylan Sigg, Scott Fardy, Scott Sio, Ruaidhri Murphy, Jesse Mogg

Melbourne Rebels: Paul Alo-Emile, Kurtley Beale, Rodney Blake, Adam Byrnes, Alister Campbell, Tom Chamberlain, Danny Cipriani, Tim Davidson, Gareth Delve, Adam Freier, Mark Gerrard, Nic Henderson, James Hilgendorf, Julian Huxley, Mitch Inman, Lloyd Johansson, Luke Jones, James King, Richard Kingi, Michael Lipman, Lachlan Mitchell, Stirling Mortlock, James O’Connor, Nick Phipps, Hugh Pyle, Ged Robinson, Jarrod Saffy, Heath Tessmann, Cooper Vuna, Laurie Weeks
Extended playing squad: Eddie Aholelei, Luke Holmes, Isaiah Mosese, Cadeyrn Neville, Nick Stirzaker

http://www.rugbynews.co.nz/newsarticle/?article=5297&utm_source=Spikemail&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20111110-issue-412

Rugby News (Fri): Jake assembles strong coaching team

8

We bring you the latest rugby news from around the world.

Still no Smit for Sharks

7

The Sharks have announced their team for the massive local derby this weekend when they host the Bulls.

Rugby News (Wed): Bulls make 4 changes

7

We bring you the latest rugby news from around the world.

Stormers missing several key players

12

Allister Coetzee was today forced to name a side to take on the Blues in Auckland with a number of senior players out to injury.

Cheetahs makes one enforced change

19

Cheetahs coach, Naka Drotske, made one injury enforced change to the team that beat the Crusaders last weekend.

Rugby News (Tue): Steyn denies Bath rumours

132

We bring you the latest rugby news from around the world.

Mitchell still under pressure

6

A stunning win by the Lions over the Brumbies will do little to ease the pressure on coach, John Mitchell.

Venter helped Cheetahs neutralise SBW

19

Former Springbok center Brenden Venter’s advice helped the Cheetahs formulate a plan to neutralise Sonny Bill Williams.

Latest Rugby News: Butch now playing

9

Latest rugby news from all over the world.

McCaw, Carter back for Saders

12

The Crusaders welcome back captain Richie McCaw and first-five Dan Carter for their match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday night.

Chiefs team for Stormers

2

The Chiefs have announced their team to take on the Stormers at Waikato Stadium this Saturday night.

Du Preez leads the Bulls, Huxley leads Rebels

5

Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez will lead the Vodacom Bulls when they take on Loftus Versfeld debutants, the Melbourne Rebels, in Saturday’s Super Rugby clash in Pretoria.

And the EvolveAV prize goes to…

13

It was a tight as a duck’s arse, but we have an outright winner in the EvolveAV Rat Race!

Rugby News (Mon): Jackson to make his debut

1

Here is the latest rugby news from around the world.

McCaw ruled out of Stormers match

6

Crusaders captain Richie McCaw is a late withdrawal from the Super Rugby match against the Stormers in Cape Town.

Rugby News (Wed): Habana out for Stormers

12

Latest rugby news from all over the globe.

Stormers shake their ‘softie’ tag

5

Allister Coetzee did not want to say too much on the Cape sides new-found physical edge as he spoke to Gavin Rich from SuperRugby.co.za

Stormers 32, Sharks 12

44

This will be the game of the weekend as the conference leading Stormers host the chasing Sharks to see which SA team will lead the South African charge.

‘Red’ Bulls 43, Chiefs 27

119

One would be forgiven if the struggling Bulls take their title of this weekend seriously as they will be desperate for any form of injection of inspiration as they host the Chiefs.

Force 30, Crusaders 42

12

Can the Force surprise another big gun in the competition when they welcome the Crusaders to Perth?

Waratahs 28, Rebels 9 (Full time)

5

The Rebels travel to Sydney to face the Tahs in an all-Aussie derby where even the premiers of each state got involved.

Alberts a marked man

5

The one man the Stormers and particularly Francois Louw regard as the biggest threat in the Sharks team, is Willem Alberts as he chats to Stephen Nell.

EvolveAV Super 15 teams of the week, Round 11

4

It’s round 11 of the Super 15 and round 4 of the EvolveAV Rat Race conference.

EvolveAV Rat Race Log, Week 3

5

While the status quo might not have remained on the rugby field with the Crusaders and Bulls going down to weaker opposition, we at least have the same leader on the EvolveAV Rat Race log!

The art of losing

27

JJ Harmse takes a critical look at the Bulls’ woeful performances on tour in his Sport24 column.

Crusaders squad for tour

1

The Crusaders have named their squad that will travel to South Africa and Australia.

Lions 30, Chiefs 34

21

The last game on Easter weekend sees the Lions still looking for their first win at home when they host the Chiefs from New Zealand.

Sharks 40, Hurricanes 24

7

The Sharks are hot on the heels of the log leaders and will look to cash in big time playing at home.

Force 26, Bulls 21

21

The Vodacom Bulls have their backs against the wall.  Can the defending champs make it 2 from 4 on tour to keep themselves in the competition?

A loss remains a loss

0

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

Cheetahs receives timely boost

4

The Cheetahs can look forward to welcoming back no less than four players from injury for their clash against the Brumbies next week.

4 Changes for Bulls

3

Buoyed by an improved performance against the Reds, but still desperate or a victory, the Vodacom Bulls have made four changes (one positional) to their starting line-up for Saturday’s final tour match in Perth.

EvolveAV Conference Log, Round 2

6

There has been a lot of movement on the EvolveAV Rat Race log, so much that we have a brand new leader!

Rhodes cited

2

The Lions’ Michael Rhodes was cited following Saturday’s game against the Stormers for a dangerous tackle.

Brumbies 19, Force 27

5

There is a Sunday game this week taking place in Australia where the Brumbies will host the Force.

Bulls better, but not at best

50

In certain respects, it might have been better if the Bulls had simply repeated their Timaru horror show last week and we could all have begun to suspect that there must be unrest of some sort in the champions’ camp.

Rob Houwing writes for Sports24 that events in Brisbane on Saturday, where the once-mighty Bulls were beaten once more — 39-30 by the delightfully free-spirited and inventive Reds – did very little to suggest that disharmony is poisoning their flickering Super Rugby campaign.

For the one thing Victor Matfield’s side did appear to win back in Queensland was their spirit, so glaringly absent for large tracts of their humiliation at the hands of the Crusaders.

They got stuck in with much more of the bodies-on-line relish you could once virtually take for granted, and never allowed their heads to drop despite being on the back foot, both in field position and scoreboard terms, for the bulk of the pulsating contest.

Such was their grim spirit of no-surrender, in fact, that a determined late charge even suggested the possibility of not just one but two bonus points in defeat, as a fourth try and simultaneous prospect of ending within seven points was “on” until a knock-on (admittedly fairly deep in their own half) and the siren put paid to that hope.

There had been occasions, too, where the Reds benefited materially from some dubious refereeing calls against the embattled touring outfit.

Nevertheless, ardent Bulls fans and South African enthusiasts more broadly would be deluding themselves considerably if they felt the troops from Pretoria deserved even parity, let alone a much-needed win, from this fixture.

The harsh truth was that, using the full 80 minutes as the yardstick, James Horwill and company, on the hottest streak for this Australian franchise since the halcyon days of Timmy Horan, pretty much trampled the Bulls with their new-age thrust despite their opponents’ ceaseless courage.

They scored six tries to three and that tally read 6-2 until Bjorn Basson’s second personal visit across the whitewash in the 78th minute, when perhaps some hint of long-haul travel fatigue was finally beginning to envelope the Reds, whose task was largely done and dusted anyway.

And although it would be cruel to summarily pooh-pooh the Bulls wing’s first try just before half-time, when he raced up to pinch a kick-off from the halfway mark immediately after a Reds touchdown of their own and waltzed clean through the disbelieving defence, it was all about marvellous solo opportunism and came as a bolt from the blue and welcome bonus for the seemingly heavy-breathing (at that point) South Africans.

It was enough, all the same, to keep the halftime damage to a four-point advantage in favour of the Reds and then the Bulls also made liberal, freshening use of their bench early in the second period (as many as four changes took place at the same time in the 50th minute) to ensure that they never quite gave up the ghost in this match despite the tide largely forcing them backwards.

Whilst the home outfit turned on the charm quite dazzlingly at times – Quade Cooper is eclipsing even New Zealand’s finest Dan Carter at present for flyhalf sorcery and pure, outrageous cheek – protracted forays toward the Reds’ own line were few and far between from the Bulls.

Their best moment was in the 69th minute when Danie Rossouw (all too belatedly on the park for the ineffectual Bakkies Botha) rounded off a little stint of classic, concerted Bulls mauling and recycling.

If big second-rower Botha was one of many senior Springboks South Africa-wide to continue to look alarmingly innocuous this season for the 50 minutes he had, at least a few others — like Wynand Olivier, Morne Steyn, Pierre Spies and Matfield himself – were better than they were in Timaru … although that is obviously an observation coming off a low base.

At the end of the day, though, the Bulls got reasonably close on the board primarily because of Steyn’s near-faultless place-kicking, contrasted with Cooper’s erratic showing in this department at the other end which would otherwise have powered the Reds into the forties.

Brave and improved, but still palpably not good enough: that has got to be a worry for Frans Ludeke and the rest of the Bulls coaching hierarchy.

No wonder Matfield conceded afterwards, in terms of the possibility of retaining their title from a current overall log position of eighth and 14 points shy of the Crusaders and Reds: “It will be very hard from here.”

As he added, only beating the Western Force on the Perth stopover on the way home next weekend can keep some oxygen in their campaign.

Stormers win, but ….

22

The Stormers continue to bake a pretty impressive Super Rugby “cake” … but they also keep frustratingly neglecting to put the cherry on top.

Rob Houwing writes for Sport24 that by beating the struggling but ever-spirited Lions 33-19 in a gloomy Johannesburg on Saturday, they returned to winning ways after the home reverse to the Reds last weekend and a record of “played eight, won seven” is quite obviously not to be sniffed at.

The hard-earned triumph consolidated their position at the top of the South African conference, but their struggle for bonus points (they could only score three tries at Coca-Cola Park) is also ensuring, at present, that they are losing a bit of ground on the overall table to pace-setting teams in the New Zealand and Australian conferences.

Not only did the Crusaders and Reds – who were marginally above the Stormers even before the latest round –earn full-house victories this weekend, but the dark horse Blues did that trick too, meaning that they are a third team to have nosed ahead of the Cape franchise in points terms on the full ladder.

The Crusaders and Reds each boast 35 points from eight matches, the Blues have 34 and the Stormers 33.

Of course each conference winner is assured of at least one home match in the eventual finals series, but the worst-placed one of the trio doesn’t march straight to a guaranteed semi-final: they have to play a nasty little extra “sudden death qualifier” against one of the three lesser teams also making the six-team finals cut.

The Stormers will probably argue, and not without reason, that much rugby remains to be played and their team and management certainly all seemed chipper enough about leaving the Highveld with the four basic win points ahead of their overdue bye next weekend.

But another factor to consider is that the Sharks, who had an off-duty round this weekend, now lie only four points adrift of last year’s beaten finalists in second spot on the SA log — despite having lost three times in eight matches to the Stormers’ once.

Keeping them well in the hunt, however, is that they boast five bonus points to the Stormers’ miserly one, which effectively amounts to an extra win.

So as early as next weekend they have an opportunity to edge ahead of Schalk Burger’s men (albeit having played an extra game by then) if they earn maximum points at home against one of the weakest New Zealand links at present, the Hurricanes.

Then, a week later, there is another titanic meeting of the leading South African sides at Newlands, with the Sharks no doubt hell-bent on avenging their loss at Mr Price Kings Park much earlier this month.

So the importance of a healthy bonus points situation cannot be discounted, and the Stormers will be quietly kicking themselves, even as they deservedly celebrate downing the Lions, for winning by “TKO” again rather than the Full Monty.

Certainly they had some golden opportunities to add to their tally in the try department: Gio Aplon once opted to go inside – and was somehow held up short of the line — when he had Conrad Jantjes unmarked on his outside for a near-certain touchdown, and how Juan de Jongh failed to score in the 77th minute after some slightly over-elaborate stepping and then a fatal slip, only he will know.

Still, the Stormers can enjoy their mini-break in a satisfying position, especially with the prime objective of simply atoning for the Reds hiccup achieved.

They always seemed that little bit better and more composed, even when the Lions occasionally hurled the kitchen sink at them, and it must be kept in mind that this win was achieved after some upheaval in the influential flyhalf position.

First Peter Grant pulled out injured a couple of days ahead of the fixture, and then in the 13th minute of the game itself young stand-in Gary van Aswegen, after a sprightly personal start, hobbled off himself.

At least Lionel Cronje, hurried into the fray off the bench, confirmed that he has something about him, occasionally dictating play quite nicely and kicking well off the tee, even if he had some careless moments as well.

But with the ever-challenging Antipodean tour still ahead of the Stormers, a couple of extra points via the bonus route might have come in very handy as a cushion at this stage of the competition …

It’s a matter of trust

0

THERE’S not much in-between for coaches. They’re usually either deified or vilified.

Ewen McKenzie’s been around the coaching traps for the best part of 15 years, so he knows the deal.

Andrew Slack writes for The Sunday Mail that human nature would indicate a preference for being considered god-like rather than useless, but he’s too focused on his work to waste energy worrying about the analysis of outsiders.

As much as anything, it’s been his capacity to infect the Reds squad with this pragmatic and balanced approach to highs and lows which has seen such progression since he took control more than 18 months ago.

While the Reds didn’t make the finals last year, and a lot of rugby is still to be played in this inaugural Super 15 season, there’s been a revival that few could have foreseen in those messy years since the Western Force came raiding.

McKenzie would not and should not take sole credit because he understands that without playing talent, coaches are merely fruit trees minus the fruit. Whether the Will Genias, Quade Coopers, Scott Higginbothams et al would have developed as well or as rapidly under different tutelage can’t be known.

But every individual within the squad is a better player than they were when he arrived.

He’s found the balance to moulding them his way and letting them play their way. He’s built enough two-way respect for both coach and players to be comfortable giving some ground to each other.

It’s called trust, and for all the attributes good coaches are expected to have, few are worth a bean unless that one is alive and well.

There are some old-fashioned notions that have slipped into redundancy on McKenzie’s watch, and the main one of these is the belief that if you play well, you always keep your place in the team.

At first glance it seems a dangerous practice but, as much as any selection process can be assessed, it has been a resounding success.

McKenzie’s stint with Stade Francais in Paris educated him on the requirements for the extended Super Rugby tournament and that may prove invaluable by the time late June rolls around.

Not only did he learn personnel changes were a necessity, it also alerted him to the dangers of one-trick ponies.

Last year, the Reds played real fun-of-the-fair stuff, but with nothing really to lose that was relatively easy.

Expectation has come along for the ride in 2011 as well as some refereeing nuances and they have necessitated a command of various playing styles.

The players now seem convinced and confident they can switch cloaks as the moment demands.

There’s nine rounds left before finals time and the Reds will more than likely have the odd bad day.

Just like the good days, McKenzie will quickly consign them to learning experiences. The pragmatist always moves on and thankfully, he’s dragging his team with him.

Cheetahs 47, Hurricanes 50

8

The Cheetahs are back home where they will host the struggling Hurricanes.

Lions 19, Stormers 33

43

Both teams have suffered major injuries going into this match which will make it even tougher to call.

Reds 39, Bulls 30 – Fulltime

31

Bulls coach, Frans Ludeke, has labelled this game as the most important for his team this season.