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Week 2 of Super Rugby and what we can expect

Will the Crusaders’ Blues Continue?

This weekend’s Super Rugby kicks off with the Crusaders hosting the Blues in Christchurch. This is always a big game and one to look forward to. The Crusaders have dominated Super Rugby since inception and the Blues have not done to badly themselves.

The Blues won their opening game and even though it was a close game it was against the defending champions. As with most of the New Zealand sides they have had a lot of personnel changes and this makes it difficult to read too much into the first week’s result. The same can be said for the Crusaders who lost stalwarts like Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. The lost they suffered to the Chiefs was significant as they were playing at home.

Does this mean the Crusaders will fall against the Blues? Well you never know although the Blues win was at home. Both sides still have game makers and breakers although not as many as in the past. The players still need to find each other as many new combinations have been created and it is only the second week of the season.

The teams have met 26 times in the past with the Blues winning only 11. This game should be much easier for them as explained. I can however not see them beating the Crusaders by too big a margin and will give it to them within 5 points

Crusaders

15 David Havili, 14 Jone Macilai, 13 Sean Wainui, 12 Kieron Fonotia, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Tim Boys, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody. Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Leon Fukofuka, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Johnny McNicholl

Blues

15 Matt Duffie, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 Rene Ranger, 12 George Moala, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Matt McGahan, 9 Billy Guyton, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Jerome Kaino (captain), 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Sione Mafileo, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Ofa Tu’ungafasi. Substitutes: 16 James Parsons, 17 Sam Prattley, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19  Akira Ioane, 20 Kara Pryor, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Male Sa’u

Will the Brumbies stampede on or will the Waratahs stop them?

The Brumbies started the 2016 season with an impressive 52-10 win against the Hurricanes. Not that it was against the run of play, but most fans didn’t expect the margin. The Waratahs also had a good start to their campaign and it should be fair to say that the game Canberra on Friday is between the two Australian title contenders.

This is going to be a very closely contested game with both sides able to run the ball from just about anywhere on the field. Yet they both have strong packs and can dominate upfront. They have faced each other 27 times with the Waratahs winning 16. In all the average points difference is 1 but looking at the recent history the team that wins does so in style.

The flyhalves will play pivitol roles for both sides. Kurtly Beale can be an elusive runner while Christian Lealiifano has a dangerous kicking boot on him. The Tahs will have to stop Kuridrani and if they can do that the game should be theirs to win.

In this game discipline will play a big role as neither side will want a player sent off. My gut feel is telling me the Waratahs will win this game. The margin 10+ points.

Brumbies

15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Christian Lealiifano (c), 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (captain), 1 Scott Sio. Substitutes: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Jordan Smiler, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Nigel Ah Wong

Waratahs

15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Rob Horne, 12 David Horwitz, 11 Zac Guildford, 10  Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 David Dennis, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Angus Taavao, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Paddy Ryan. Substitutes: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Matt Sandell, 18 Jeremy Tilse, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Jack Dempsey, 22 Matt Lucas, 23 Bryce Hegarty

Can the Chiefs scalp the Lions?

The first game on Saturday will be the Chiefs hosting the Lions in Waikato. Both sides have their tails up after scoring wins away from home on the opening weekend of 2016. The Lions probably feels better than the Chiefs seeing as they had to make the big trek from South Africa to Japan. Still they played the new boys on the block, The Sunwolves, while the Chiefs beat the mighty Crusaders in their own back yard. If you want to see full on running rugby, both these sides can bring that to the party and will probably do so again this weekend.

The chiefs should be the favourites this weekend. Not only because the Lions had to make two day long flights across numerous time zones in the last 14 days, but also because they have won 13 of the 18 encounters between the two sides. It will be a high scoring game should history be anything to go by. Don’t be surprised by a 20+ victory margin either. I believe it will be closer than that but purely because of the traveling by the Lions the Chiefs will win by around 7 points

Chiefs

  1. Damian McKenzie, 14. Latu Vaeno, 13. Seta Tamanivalu, 12. Charlie Ngatai, 11. James Lowe, 10. Aaron Cruden, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8. Maama Vaipulu, 7. Sam Cane (captain), 6. Tom Sanders, 5. Brodie Retallick, 4. Michael Allardice, 3. Hiroshi Yamashita, 2. Rhys Marshall, 1. Pauliasi Manu. Substitutes: 16. Nathan Harris, 17. Mitchell Graham, 18. Siate Tokolahi, 19. Taleni Seu, 20. Michael Leitch, 21. Brad Weber, 22. Anton Lienert-Brown, 23. Glen Fisiiahi

 Lions

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnal Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith. Substitutes:  16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Fabian Booysen, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg

Can the Hurricanes bounce back or will the Highlanders do it?

This is a game that both sides will want to win after losing their opening encounters last weekend. The Highlanders did so by a narrow margin and will look back at the game and wonder why? Probably because of ill-discipline and poor goal kicking. The Hurricanes, well they will know it was just because the Brumbies were too good for them.

This is a tough call to make as the Highlanders are defending champions yet the Hurricanes have won more games against them than what they have lost. Both sides have the players to make this a close fought affair and that it will probably be. The Hurricanes will try and dominate up front before setting their backline loose. The Highlanders will play the percentage game but can run it from anywhere on the field. The Highlanders to win by less than 5.

Highlanders

15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Matt Faddes, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Shane Christie (co-captain), 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Joe Wheeler, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds. Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 Liam Squire, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Hayden Parker, 23 Jason Emery

Hurricanes

15 Nehe Milner-Skudder/James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Blade Thomson, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Leni Apisai, 1 Reggie Goodes. Substitutes: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 James Marshall/Jason Woodward, 23 Willis Halaholo

Reds or Force who will it be?

This might look like an obvious pick to make. The Reds are at home and therefore they should win against the much weaker Force side. Well if that is what you think, think again. These two sides have met 12 times with the Reds winning 6 and there has been a draw as well. The Force had 4 wins and the draw in the last 6 games between the two sides. The last game did go to the Reds however.

This is one of those encounters where you know that the scores will be high or the victory margin will be huge. To be honest the Force has always been a much better team away from home as long as they played in Australia. The Reds on the other hand has underperformed for a couple of seasons now. I am going with the Reds b y between 10 and 15 points

Reds

15 Ayumu Goromaru, 14 Chris Feauai-Sautia, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Jake Schatz, 7 Curtis Browning, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Rob Simmons (captain), 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 Ben Daley. Substitutes: 16 Andrew Ready, 17 Sef Fa’agase, 18 Sam Balakai, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Michael Gunn, 21 Scott Gale, 22 Sam Greene, 23 Junior Laloifi

 

Force

  1. Dane Haylett-Petty, 14. Luke Morahan, 13. Ben Tapuai, 12. Junior Rasolea, 11. Semisi Masirewa, 10. Jono Lance, 9. Alby Mathewson, 8. Angus Cottrell, 7. Matt Hodgson (captain), 6. Brynard Stander, 5. Adam Coleman, 4. Steve Mafi, 3. Guy Millar, 2. Nathan Charles, 1. Pekahou Cowan. Substitutes: 16. Heath Tessmann, 17. Chris Heiberg, 18. Jermaine Ainsley, 19. Ross Haylett-Petty, 20. Ben McCalman, 21. Ian Prior, 22. Peter Grant, 23. Marcel Brache

Bulls to trample Rebels?

The Bulls might have lost against the Stormers last week while the Rebels won away from home against the Force, but that will mean nothing come Saturday. The Bulls have a young side while the Rebels side is more set. Again it will not mean much.

The Bulls have not lost to the Rebels and they will not be looking to do so at their holiest place, Loftus Versfeld. The Closest the Rebels has come to a win was in 2012 when they lost 41-30. Other than that they have not scored more than 10 points in a game against the Bulls, this while the Bulls have never scored less than 40. It might not be such a big score by the Bulls this weekend but they should win this one by no less than 10 points.

Bulls

15 Warrick Gelant , 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), Trevor Nyakane. Substitutes: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Dries Swanepoel

Rebels

TBA

Will the Storm be too much for the Cheetahs?

For South Africa this will be the game of the weekend. Both teams are known for the running rugby they can produce through their backs. Both sides have strong forwards and can get the rolling maul to the work as well (ask the Bulls how well the Stormers make theirs work). The Cheetahs has never won this encounter by a huge margin and even though the Stormers has done so on more than one occasion it is never a one sided affair.

The teams have met 14 times with the Stormers winning 9. With an average of 50 points in a game and a winning margin of around 5 on average it does say a lot about these two sides. They like to play against each other and do so running the ball. The Stormers should win this one with ease and it will be with at least 10 points.

Cheetahs

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (captain), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Paul Schoeman, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais. Substitutes: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Francois Uys, 20 Boom Prinsloo, 21 Henco Venter, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Niel Marais

Stormers

15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble. Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones

Can the Jaguars pounce again?

The Sharks did record a win in their opening game and yes it was away from and it was by 33 points, but it was against the Kings. Not South Africa’s strongest rugby province at the current moment or even for the last 20 years. The Jaguars also recorded a win and yes it was also away from home and yes it was a close call winning by 1 point. Still they did it against the Cheetahs, a team known for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

That it will be a good game I have no doubt. The Sharks will hope to build on the momentum they have. The Jaguars will want to show that they can continue winning and they should as the bulk of the team has played for Argentina at the international level. This game will be won up front and if that is the case it should go to the Jaguars, but discipline will be important as well and here they lack a bit. All I have to go on here is my head, my heart and my gut. My head says Jaguars, My heart says Sharks, and my gut says it will be a brilliant game won by a kick in the last minutes by the Jaguars.

 

Sharks

  1. Willie le Roux, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. JP Pietersen, 10. Joe Pietersen, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Daniel du Preez , 7. Jean-Luc du Preez, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Stephan Lewies, 4. Etienne Oosthuizen, 3. Coenie Oosthuizen, 2. Franco Marais, 1. Tendai Mtawarira (captain). Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Juan Schoeman, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Hyron Andrews, 20. Philip van der Walt, 21. Michael Claassens, 22. Garth April, 23. S’bura Sithole

Jaguares TBA

Last weekend I got 8/8. Let’s see how I do this week. Follow me on twitter @djvanman or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Vanman1979 and let me know your predictions.

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A CRACKING START TO SUPER RUGBY 2016 AS THE STORMERS STEAL THE SHOW

The first weekend of Super Rugby 2016 has come and gone quicker than my salary. A good weekend of rugby it was though. High paced and electrifying rugby was seen. Only three really big victories and 4 games that could have gone either way. Any rugby lover would be happy with the rugby they saw.

The Blues beat the Highlanders but as predicted this one went down to the wire. The Highlanders will kick themselves for the yellow card they received. This probably made the difference in the game. Both sides struggled with kicking at goal. Blues 33-31 Highlanders.

The Hurricanes will look back at the Brumbies game and wonder what happened. Yes they missed a kick or two, but the Brumbies out played them. Even when the Brumbies were down to 14 men, and this happened twice, the Hurricanes didn’t look like they could buy a try. Brumbies 52-10 Hurricanes.

The Cheetahs once again showed us how you can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Leading 24-3 at one stage, they still managed to lose. True the Jaguars played with 13 men when the Cheetahs scored their tries. Still one would think that when you have a 21 point lead you can build on that. Hats off however to the Jaguars that stuck to their guns. They did not allow the scoreboard to put pressure on them and though before the break. A well-deserved win by the new kids on the block. Cheetahs 33-34 Jaguars.

The Lions travelled to Tokyo and although the Sunwolves had 4 world cup players in their team, the Lions were not overwhelmed at all. The Wolves played good rugby and the Lions did not have it all their own way. Both teams a gain missed crucial kicks at goal. Still it was a good show of running rugby. Sunwolves 13-26 Lions. Both sides still have some work to do going forward.

The Crusaders missed Richie McCaw and Dan Carter. Although they led the game for most of 65 minutes it was the last 15 minutes that mattered. The Chiefs came back and scored two late tries giving them a victory. Missed kicks at goal could have made the result much different but only that it would have given the Chiefs a bigger winning margin. Crusaders 21 -27 Chiefs.

The Waratahs versus Reds game was true to form. Both of these sides can be contenders in Australia and it is always a hard game. The Waratahs made sure of the win in the first half and the Reds were always going to struggle to come back. The fact that they got two yellow cards didn’t help them much. Waratahs 30-10 Reds.

The Force v Rebels game remained true to history. The away side winning although this time it was with a slightly bigger margin than what we have come to expect between these two sides. The Force will rue the mistakes made on the attack as this gave the Rebels just what they needed. In the end a good old contest between two equally strong sides. Force 19-25 Rebels.

The Kings started well but then they just fizzled out against the Sharks. The Sharks were always going to win this one, but I expected much more of a fight from the Kings. The off the field woes of the Eastern Cape side has carried over on to the field. The Sharks can also not read too much into the victory taking into account the opponents. Hopefully the Kings can sort out their problems and rather sooner than later or it will be a long season for them. Kings 8-43 Sharks.

The game of the weekend was the Stormers versus Bulls game and the first half lived up to expectations with the home side leading only 9-6. The second half however was a totally different ball game. The Stormers came out with a vengeance and it showed. The play of the weekend being the driving maul from their own 22. It looked like a freight train without brakes and the Bulls could only look on as it stormed forward. At one stage it looked like the Bulls players falling back was helping the maul move towards their own tryline. The Stormers will be happy with their performance while the Bulls can’t take a lot of positives from the game. Stormers 33-9 Bulls.

SUPER RUGBY 2016 ABOUT TO KICK-OFF

The coming weekend sees the kick-off of Super Rugby 2016. A lot has been said and written about the new format and two debutant teams. Pre-season games have been played and many have read into this and what we can expect for the season to come. However until the first weekend is over we will not truly know where the teams stand. Here is a look at what the weekend holds in store for us.

The Blues will take on the highlanders in the opening game of the season. This is always a good game to watch as both teams can rate themselves as contenders for the number 1 spot in the New Zealand conference. The last couple of seasons however both of these sides struggled in the first couple of weeks. Expect some good running rugby. The Blues to take this one purely because they have the home ground advantage. Kick-off at 8h35 SA time at Eden Park.

The Brumbies will then take on the Hurricanes at the GIO Stadium at 10h45 SA time. This is another good match up with two of Australia’s top 3 teams playing against each other. The Hurricanes have never really lived up to their potential in the past, but they have been known to make the front runners stumble. The Brumbies is always a side to watch. Again I will give this to the Brumbies due to the home ground advantage, but they will have to counter the Hurricanes up front. If not they will struggle to win.

One of the games that will have most neutrals pinned to their seats will be the Cheetahs vs Jaguars game. Purely because everyone will want to see what the Jaguars are going to bring to the table. This game should be filled with fast paced action and a lot of running. However the scrum and rolling maul will play a big part as well. That is if the Jaguars will stick to the tried and tested Argentinian style of rugby. Most will give this game to the Cheetahs. But to be honest I see the Jaguars winning this one. This is the perfect game to finish off Friday’s action. Kick-off at 19h00 in Bloemfontein.

Saturday will see an early start for Lions fans. The Sunwolves host the Lions in Tokyo with kick-off at 6h15. This will have many neutrals up early as well. The Lions did not have the best of warmup games but I will not read too much into that. The Sunwolves are an unknown factor. Still if the Lions stick to what they do best, running the ball and using the forwards to get quick ball, they should win this one. Then again we all know what Japan did against the Springboks in the World Cup. I am hoping to see fast running rugby in this game.

The Crusaders and Chiefs game is one of the two games of the weekend for me. The Crusaders has lost some key players and this might impact on them in a negative way. The Chiefs, as we all know, are one of those teams that can have a brilliant game one week and the next look like they have not played together in months. This game will see some good running rugby with hard tackles and lots of turnover ball. This is another game where I am going against the main stream and pick the Chiefs to win.

In Australia the Waratahs and Reds will take each other one. Easy pick is the Waratahs to win. I just can’t see the Reds winning this one. Then we also have the Force and Rebels taking each other on. If history serves t be right the Rebels will win as they are playing away from home.

The Kings vs Sharks game should be an easy pick, but both sides have been going through some of the field issues. The Sharks struggled of last season and unless there has been a monumental mind shift in the squad i don’t believe that it has changed. Management and players are essentially the same. The Kings are in financial crisis and players are begging to get paid. This can’t be good for them either. Still the Sharks should win this one.

The Game of the weekend will end of the action on Saturday. The Stormers take on the Bulls. This is never a high scoring game and kicking should play a big part in the outcome. Still running rugby is always on the cards. The Stormers are under a caretaker coach of sorts and the Bulls have their tails up after some good warmup results. The game however is played at Newlands and it has become extremely difficult to beat the Cape side at home in recent seasons. The Stormers should win this by a slim margin.

SUPER RUGBY NOW MORE CONFUSING THAN GRADE 12 ALGEBRA

Super Rugby is just short of 6 weeks from kicking off and if anyone can make heads or tails of the new format then they will do good in grade 12 maths as well. 18 teams will compete in this year’s competition with 5 teams each from Australia and New Zealand, 6 from South Africa and 1 each from Argentina and Japan. What is making this new 18 team format so confusing is how they have created the conferences that will compete against each other and then how they will compete.

There will 2 Australasian conferences consisting of 5 teams each and 2 African conferences consisting of 4 teams. The Australasian conferences will effectively be a Australian conference and a New Zealand conference. The two Africa conferences will consist of three South African teams each and then one will have the Japanese team and the other the Argentinian team.  Now from here it starts getting very interesting as well as very confusing.

The Australasian conferences will see each team playing two of the other teams in there group home and away. They will then play one away game and one home game against one of the other teams in the conference. The African conferences will play each team in their group home and away. The Australasian conferences will then proceed to play a game against each of the teams in the other conference. The dame for the two African Conferences. We will then see Africa 1 playing against Australian conference and Africa 2 playing against the New Zealand conference.

The top team in each conference will proceed to the quarter finals joined by 4 wildcard teams. The wild cards will be selected 2 from each of the Australasian conferences and 1 each from the African Conferences. Effectively the runners up in Africa and second and third place in the Australasian conferences.

From there it is highest placed against lowest and so on. The winners will play against each other in the semi-finals. Again the highest placed against the lowest placed. An then we will have the final. All in all it will tae 135 matches to decide the winner of the competition. 59 more than in the European equivalent that has 24 teams. SANZAR could not make this any more difficult if they wanted to.

Why they didn’t just add 4 teams and made it 20 teams is beyond me. That way we could have had 4 groups or if you want conferences with 5 teams each. Had they added say Namibia and a team from Fiji this could have worked. Groups being drawn from a hat to make up the groups. Each team playing the others in the group Home and away and from there the top 2 teams in each group proceeds to the quarter finals and so on.

If SANZAR didn’t want to go this route they could well have gone back to each team playing each of the other teams once. This way the competition would still have been the same number of games but at least you would face all the competition not just some.

Now we have a competition that can potentially see a winner that has not played once against a New Zealand team or on the other hand an Australian team. How can you claim to be the best in the Southern Hemisphere if you did not once face a team from one of these countries? The same can be said if a team wins but they did not play against the Stormers or Bulls or for that matter the Lions or Sharks.

This might be the premier rugby competition for clubs/provinces/franchises in the world but currently it is nothing more than a farce.

Here is the conferences and inter conference setup with games to be played:

 

Australasian Group
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Blues 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Force 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
8 Rebels 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
9 Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
South African Group
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Bulls 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Kings 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Lions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 Sharks 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 Stormers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
8 Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Australian Conference
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Force 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Rebels 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand Conference
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Blues 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Africa 1 Conference
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Bulls 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Cheetahs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Stormers 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Sunwolves 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Africa 2 Conference
Pos Team P W D L PF PA PD TF TA TB LB Pts
1 Jaguares 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Kings 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Lions 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Sharks 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

 

Round 1

26 February 2016 Blues v Highlanders Eden Park, Auckland  
19:35

 

26 February 2016 Brumbies v Hurricanes GIO Stadium, Canberra
19:40

 

26 February 2016 Cheetahs v Jaguares Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein  
19:00

 

27 February 2016 Sunwolves v Lions Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo  
13:15

 

27 February 2016 Crusaders v Chiefs AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

27 February 2016 Waratahs v Reds Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

27 February 2016 Force v Rebels nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
18:50

 

27 February 2016 Kings v Sharks Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
15:00

 

27 February 2016 Stormers v Bulls DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
17:05

Round 2[edit]

4 March 2016 Crusaders v Blues AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

4 March 2016 Brumbies v Waratahs GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

5 March 2016 Chiefs v Lions Waikato Stadium, Hamilton [show] 
17:15

 

5 March 2016 Highlanders v Hurricanes Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

5 March 2016 Reds v Force Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
18:40

 

5 March 2016 Bulls v Rebels Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
15:00

 

5 March 2016 Cheetahs v Stormers Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
17:05

 

5 March 2016 Sharks v Jaguares Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
19:10

 

Bye/s: Sunwolves, Kings

Round 3[edit]

11 March 2016 Blues v Hurricanes Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

11 March 2016 Force v Brumbies nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
19:05

 

12 March 2016 Highlanders v Lions Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

12 March 2016 Rebels v Reds AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

12 March 2016 Sunwolves v Cheetahs National Stadium, Singapore [show] 
18:50

 

12 March 2016 Kings v Chiefs Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
15:00

 

12 March 2016 Stormers v Sharks DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
17:05

 

Bye/s: Bulls, Crusaders, Jaguares, Waratahs

Round 4[edit]

18 March 2016 Hurricanes v Force Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North [show] 
19:35

 

18 March 2016 Waratahs v Highlanders Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

18 March 2016 Bulls v Sharks Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
19:00

 

19 March 2016 Sunwolves v Rebels Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo [show] 
13:15

 

19 March 2016 Crusaders v Kings AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

19 March 2016 Reds v Blues Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
18:40

 

19 March 2016 Lions v Cheetahs Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
17:05

 

19 March 2016 Stormers v Brumbies DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
19:10

 

19 March 2016 Jaguares v Chiefs José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

Round 5[edit]

25 March 2016 Hurricanes v Kings Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

26 March 2016 Chiefs v Force Waikato Stadium, Hamilton [show] 
19:35

 

26 March 2016 Rebels v Highlanders AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

26 March 2016 Sunwolves v Bulls National Stadium, Singapore [show] 
18:50

 

26 March 2016 Cheetahs v Brumbies Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
15:00

 

26 March 2016 Sharks v Crusaders Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
17:05

 

26 March 2016 Jaguares v Stormers José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

 

27 March 2016 Reds v Waratahs Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
15:05

 

Bye/s: Blues, Lions

Round 6[edit]

1 April 2016 Highlanders v Force Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

1 April 2016 Lions v Crusaders Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
19:00

 

2 April 2016 Blues v Jaguares QBE Stadium, Albany [show] 
19:35

 

2 April 2016 Brumbies v Chiefs GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

2 April 2016 Kings v Sunwolves Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
17:05

 

2 April 2016 Bulls v Cheetahs Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
19:10

 

3 April 2016 Waratahs v Rebels Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
16:05

 

Bye/s: Hurricanes, Reds, Sharks, Stormers

Round 7[edit]

8 April 2016 Chiefs v Blues Waikato Stadium, Hamilton [show] 
19:35

 

8 April 2016 Force v Crusaders nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
19:00

 

8 April 2016 Stormers v Sunwolves DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
19:00

 

9 April 2016 Hurricanes v Jaguares Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

9 April 2016 Reds v Highlanders Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
19:40

 

9 April 2016 Sharks v Lions Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
17:05

 

9 April 2016 Kings v Bulls Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
19:10

 

Bye/s: Brumbies, Cheetahs, Rebels, Waratahs

Round 8[edit]

15 April 2016 Crusaders v Jaguares AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

15 April 2016 Rebels v Hurricanes AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

15 April 2016 Cheetahs v Sunwolves Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
19:00

 

16 April 2016 Blues v Sharks Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

16 April 2016 Waratahs v Brumbies Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

16 April 2016 Bulls v Reds Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
17:05

 

16 April 2016 Lions v Stormers Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
19:10

 

Bye/s: Chiefs, Force, Highlanders, Kings

Round 9[edit]

22 April 2016 Highlanders v Sharks Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

22 April 2016 Rebels v Cheetahs AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

23 April 2016 Sunwolves v Jaguares Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo [show] 
14:15

 

23 April 2016 Hurricanes v Chiefs Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

23 April 2016 Force v Waratahs nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
17:40

 

23 April 2016 Stormers v Reds DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
15:00

 

23 April 2016 Kings v Lions Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
17:05

 

24 April 2016 Brumbies v Crusaders GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
16:05

 

Bye/s: Blues, Bulls

Round 10[edit]

29 April 2016 Chiefs v Sharks Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth [show] 
19:35

 

29 April 2016 Force v Bulls nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
19:05

 

30 April 2016 Highlanders v Brumbies Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill [show] 
17:15

 

30 April 2016 Blues v Rebels Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

30 April 2016 Reds v Cheetahs Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
19:40

 

30 April 2016 Lions v Hurricanes Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
17:05

 

30 April 2016 Stormers v Waratahs DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
19:10

 

30 April 2016 Jaguares v Kings José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

 

Bye/s: Crusaders, Sunwolves

Round 11[edit]

6 May 2016 Crusaders v Reds AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

6 May 2016 Brumbies v Bulls GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

7 May 2016 Sunwolves v Force Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo [show] 
14:15

 

7 May 2016 Chiefs v Highlanders Waikato Stadium, Hamilton [show] 
19:35

 

7 May 2016 Waratahs v Cheetahs Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

7 May 2016 Sharks v Hurricanes Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
15:00

 

7 May 2016 Kings v Blues Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
17:05

 

Bye/s: Jaguares, Lions, Rebels, Stormers

Round 12[edit]

13 May 2016 Highlanders v Crusaders Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

13 May 2016 Rebels v Brumbies AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

14 May 2016 Hurricanes v Reds Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

14 May 2016 Waratahs v Bulls Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

14 May 2016 Sunwolves v Stormers National Stadium, Singapore [show] 
19:45

 

14 May 2016 Cheetahs v Kings Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
17:05

 

14 May 2016 Lions v Blues Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
19:10

 

14 May 2016 Jaguares v Sharks José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

 

Bye/s: Chiefs, Force

Round 13[edit]

20 May 2016 Crusaders v Waratahs AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

21 May 2016 Reds v Sunwolves Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
15:05

 

21 May 2016 Chiefs v Rebels Waikato Stadium, Hamilton [show] 
19:35

 

21 May 2016 Force v Blues nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
17:40

 

21 May 2016 Lions v Jaguares Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
15:00

 

21 May 2016 Sharks v Kings Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
17:05

 

21 May 2016 Bulls v Stormers Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
19:10

 

Bye/s: Brumbies, Cheetahs, Highlanders, Hurricanes

Round 14[edit]

27 May 2016 Hurricanes v Highlanders Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

27 May 2016 Waratahs v Chiefs Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

27 May 2016 Kings v Jaguares Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
19:00

 

28 May 2016 Blues v Crusaders Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

28 May 2016 Brumbies v Sunwolves GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

28 May 2016 Stormers v Cheetahs DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
15:00

 

28 May 2016 Bulls v Lions Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
17:05

 

29 May 2016 Rebels v Force AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
16:05

 

Bye/s: Reds, Sharks

Round 15[edit]

1 July 2016 Chiefs v Crusaders ANZ National Stadium, Suva, Fiji [show] 
19:35

 

1 July 2016 Brumbies v Reds GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

2 July 2016 Sunwolves v Waratahs Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium, Tokyo [show] 
14:15

 

2 July 2016 Hurricanes v Blues Westpac Stadium, Wellington [show] 
19:35

 

2 July 2016 Rebels v Stormers AAMI Park, Melbourne [show] 
19:40

 

2 July 2016 Cheetahs v Force Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
15:00

 

2 July 2016 Kings v Highlanders Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth [show] 
17:05

 

2 July 2016 Lions v Sharks Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
19:10

 

2 July 2016 Jaguares v Bulls José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

Round 16[edit]

8 July 2016 Blues v Brumbies Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

8 July 2016 Reds v Chiefs Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
19:40

 

8 July 2016 Lions v Kings Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg [show] 
19:00

 

9 July 2016 Crusaders v Rebels AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
19:35

 

9 July 2016 Waratahs v Hurricanes Allianz Stadium, Sydney [show] 
19:40

 

9 July 2016 Force v Stormers nib Stadium, Perth [show] 
19:45

 

9 July 2016 Bulls v Sunwolves Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria [show] 
17:05

 

9 July 2016 Sharks v Cheetahs Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
19:10

 

9 July 2016 Jaguares v Highlanders José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

Round 17[edit]

15 July 2016 Blues v Waratahs Eden Park, Auckland [show] 
19:35

 

15 July 2016 Reds v Rebels Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane [show] 
19:40

 

15 July 2016 Sharks v Sunwolves Kings Park Stadium, Durban [show] 
19:00

 

16 July 2016 Crusaders v Hurricanes AMI Stadium, Christchurch [show] 
17:15

 

16 July 2016 Highlanders v Chiefs Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin [show] 
19:35

 

16 July 2016 Brumbies v Force GIO Stadium, Canberra [show] 
19:40

 

16 July 2016 Stormers v Kings DHL Newlands, Cape Town [show] 
17:05

 

16 July 2016 Cheetahs v Bulls Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein [show] 
19:10

 

16 July 2016 Jaguares v Lions José Amalfitani Stadium, Buenos Aires [show] 

Finals[edit]

Quarter Finals[edit]

22/23 July 2016 Team 1 v Team 8 [show] 

 

22/23 July 2016 Team 2 v Team 7 [show] 

 

22/23 July 2016 Team 3 v Team 6 [show] 

 

22/23 July 2016 Team 4 v Team 5 [show] 

Semi-Finals[edit]

29/30 July 2016 First-seeded Quarter Final winner v Fourth-seeded Quarter Final winner [show] 

 

29/30 July 2016 Second-seeded Quarter Final winner v Third-seeded Quarter Final winner [show] 

Final[edit]

6 August 2016 Higher ranked Semi-Final winner v Lower ranked Semi-Final winner [show]

The schedule and conference groups care of Wikipedia.com

 

Botes breaks new ground in Absa Currie Cup

Veteran Cell C Sharks flank Jacques Botes will break new ground in the Absa Currie Cup competition on Friday as he extends his Absa Currie Cup record to 150 matches, which will make him the first player ever to reach this significant milestone.

Interestingly the player will mark this achievement against the Steval Pumas, the team he first represented in SA’s premier domestic competition. Botes made his provincial debut for the Pumas in 2002 and remained at the union until 2004 before joining the Sharks in 2005.

The Cell C Sharks face the Steval Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday in the opening match of the weekend and with both teams having had good starts to the competition it could prove to be a thrilling clash.

In Saturday’s matches GWK Griquas host the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in Kimberley, the Vodacom Blue Bulls take on DHL Western Province in Pretoria and the EP Kings go up against the Xerox Golden Lions in Port Elizabeth.

In Nelspruit, history and form favours the Cell C Sharks as they have won 17 out of the 19 matches between the sides since the 1996 season and they remain one of only two unbeaten teams in the competition.  The home team, however, proved against GWK Griquas and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs that their pack could stand their ground and that they can score tries, and they will bank on these skills to challenge the visitors.

The match-up between GWK Griquas and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs is expected to be hard-fought as the teams both attempt to bounce back from defeats last weekend. This will mark the second clash between the teams in the series. They met in Bloemfontein two weekends ago and the home team secured a narrow 34-27 victory. With former Free State backline coach Hawies Fourie at the helm at GWK Griquas, he is expected to use his knowledge of the visitors’ structures and some players to register their first victory in the series. Interestingly the Free State have won the last five matches between the teams.

The Vodacom Blue Bulls will face another tough test against log-leaders DHL Western Province, this time in Pretoria, following their heavy 41-17 defeat against the Cape side at DHL Newlands earlier in the month. The visitors will enter the clash as overwhelming favourites following three victories in as many matches, but the hosts will be desperate to build on their first victory in the series at home last week. With DHL Western Province’s attack proving to be one of their main strengths, the Vodacom Blue Bulls will have to tighten up their defence significantly to prevent the Capetonians from registering their second successive Absa Currie Cup victory at Loftus Versfeld.

The Xerox Golden Lions, meanwhile, will look to bounce back strongly from their first defeat in the series against DHL Western Province when they line up against the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth. The Premier Division newcomers have their backs against the wall after three defeats and only one log point to show for their efforts so far in the series. They are also still carrying the scars of the 60-19 hiding by the Johannesburg team two weekends back. Given this the EP Kings will have to deliver their best performance yet to topple the Johannesburg side.

Team News

Cell C Sharks coach Brad Mcleod-Henderson has handed scrumhalf Conrad Hoffmann his first start while Springbok lock Stephan Lewies continues his return from injury off the bench. In the Steval Pumas camp coach Jimmy Stonehouse has handed former Western Province scrumhalf Dylon Frylinck a start, while Springbok Sevens star Rosko Speckman will start on the wing and JW Bell at fullback. The match will be particularly special for centre JW Jonker, who will play his 50th Absa Currie Cup match.

GWK Griquas coach Hawies Fourie, meanwhile, named an unchanged side for their Heartland derby against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs, while the Bloemfontein coach has made only one change to his team, with lock Henco Venter being promoted to the starting team, while Waltie Vermeulen is drafted onto the bench.

In the Vodacom Blue Bulls camp, flyhalf Joshua Stander could make his debut after being bracketed alongside Jacques-Louis Potgieter for their clash against DHL Western Province. Potgieter is nursing a rib injury and will be given until Saturday to recover. The other changes to the run-on team were the inclusion of scrumhalf Piet van Zyl, hooker Callie Visagie and prop Werner Kruger. Meanwhile, DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee made only one change to his starting team, which sees Springbok Jaco Taute earn his first Absa Currie Cup start for the union as a replacement for the injured Michael van der Spuy. Pat Howard has been drafted onto the bench as cover.

In Port Elizabeth EP Kings coach Carlos Spencer has named Junior Springbok Aidon Davis as the replacement for their captain Luke Watson, who has been ruled out due to concussion, while prop BG Uys comes in Lizo Gqoboka who is being rested. At flyhalf George Whitehead replaces Gary van Aswegen, who is nursing a groin injury. His Xerox Golden Lions counterpart Johan Ackermann, meanwhile, made several changes to his team with the most notable being the inclusion of Andries Coetzee at flyhalf, which made way for Ruan Combrinck at fullback, while captain Warren Whiteley reclaims his position in the loose trio after returning from the Springbok tour to Argentina.

Absa Currie Cup Premier Division round four fixtures:

Steval Pumas vs Cell C Sharks

Venue: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Kickoff: 19h10

Date: Friday, 29 August

Referee: Ben Crouse

Assistant Referees: Marius Jonker and Stefan Breytenbach

TMO: Johan Greeff

TV: SS1

GWK Griquas vs Toyota Free State Cheetahs

Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley

Kickoff: 15h00

Date: Saturday, 30 August

Referee: Jaco van Heerden

Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper and Francois de Bruin

TMO: JJ Wagner

TV: SS1

Vodacom Blue Bulls vs DHL Western Province

Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria

Kickoff: 17h05

Date: Saturday, 30 August

Referee: Craig Joubert

Assistant Referees: Rasta Rasivhenge and Cobus Wessels

TMO: Willie Vos

TV: SS1

EP Kings vs Xerox Golden Lions

Venue: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Kickoff: 19h10

Date: Saturday, 30 August

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen

Assistant Referees: Francois Pretorius and Lusanda Jam

TMO: Jason Jaftha

TV: SS1

Currie Cup suprisesas home teams win

The Cell C Sharks, DHL Western Province, Vodacom Blue Bulls and Steval Pumas this weekend all registered invaluable home wins in their round-three Absa Currie Cup clashes to build momentum in their campaigns.

Steval Pumas 33 GWK Griquas 15

The Steval Pumas produced a strong second-half performance to build a progressive lead against the GWK Griquas in a tense clash at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The visitors showed fantastic innovation on attack in the first half with flashy passing and impressive running rugby, and were able to score two tries to one against the hosts before the break for a narrow 12-11 lead.

But the home team shut out the Kimberley side in the second half thanks to their solid defence, while they supported this with a quality display on attack, which earned them three more tries for an invaluable bonus point.    

Scorers:

Steval Pumas – Tries: Corne Steenkamp, Jerome Pretorius (2), Renaldo Bothma. Conversions: JC Roos, Justin van Staden. Penalties: JC Roos, Justin van Staden (2).

GWK Griquas – Tries: Dean Grant, Marnus Schoeman. Conversion: Dean Grant. Penalty: Dean Grant.

 

Vodacom Blue Bulls 30 EP Kings 25

At Loftus Versfeld the clash between the Vodacom Blue Bulls and EP Kings was hard-fought from the outset as both teams tried hard to end their winless runs in the competition. The clash, however, delivered a total of seven tries, with the Vodacom Blue Bulls managing a bonus-point victory, with veteran wing Akona Ndungane contributing two tries.

The hosts held a narrow 11-8 lead at half time, but both teams found their rhythm in the second half and managed to breach the defence. Three back-to-back tries by the Vodacom Blue Bulls in the second half to only two by the EP Kings, however, guaranteed the hosts their first victory of the season and catapulted them into sixth place on the log table.

Scorers:

Vodacom Blue Bulls – Tries: Akona Ndungane (2), Deon Stegmann, Jesse Kriel. Conversions: Tony Jantjies (2). Penalties: Tony Jantjies (2).

EP Kings – Tries: Lizo Gqoboka, Michael van Vuuren, Shane Gates. Conversions: Scott van Breda. Penalties: Scott van Breda (2).

 

DHL Western Province 27 Xerox Golden Lions 14

The clash in Cape Town was closer than the scoreboard suggested as the Xerox Golden Lions dominated possession throughout the match, but battled to breach the solid DHL Western Province defence.

In stark contrast the hosts did well to convert their try-scoring chances into points, which earned them three tries to only one by the visitors, while goal kickers Demetri Catrakillis and Kurt Coleman kept the score up with three conversions and two penalties. Two of Province’s tries were scored in the first 16 minutes thanks to back-to-back tries by wing Kobus van Wyk, while the Lions hit back later in the half with a try by fullback Andries Coetzee and a penalty by Ruan Combrinck to trail 14-8 at the break.

DHL Western Province’s ability to convert their chances into points, meanwhile, allowed them to stay ahead on the scoreboard throughout the second half for their third victory, which in turn allowed them to remain at the top of the log table.

Scorers:

DHL Western Province – Tries: Jaco Taute, Kobus van Wyk (2). Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (2), Kurt Coleman. Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis (2).

Xerox Golden Lions – Try: Andries Coetzee. Penalties: Ruan Combrinck (3).

 

Cell C Sharks 19 Toyota Free State Cheetahs 16

The clash between the Cell C Sharks and Toyota Free State Cheetahs proved to be a kicking festival as the teams both opted to kick in behind the defence throughout the match. The battle up front was tough, and with both teams defending well, they were forced to settle mainly for penalties by flyhalves Fred Zeilinga and Willie du Plessis to keep the scoreboard ticking. Such was the closeness of the match only two stunning individual tries were scored in the 80 minutes.

The Bloemfontein side built up an encouraging 13-3 lead by the end of the first half thanks to the try by fullback Clayton Blommetjies, but the Sharks levelled the scores at 16-16 in the 69th minute. A late penalty by Zeilinga, however, sealed the 19-16 victory for the Durban side.

Scorers:

Cell C Sharks – Try: Tonderai Chavhanga. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga. Penalties: Fred Zeilinga (4).

Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Try: Clayton Blommetjies. Conversion: Willie du Plessis. Penalties: Willie du Plessis (3).

 

Absa Currie Cup Premier Division log following Round 3:

TEAM P W L D PF PA PD TF TA LOSS BONUS TRIES BONUS POINTS
DHL Western Province 3 3 0 0 103 47 56 13 4 0 2 14
Cell C Sharks 3 3 0 0 84 57 27 8 6 0 1 13
Xerox Golden Lions 3 2 1 0 115 59 56 14 7 0 2 10
Steval Pumas 3 2 1 0 78 70 8 9 8 0 1 9
Toyota FS Cheetahs 3 1 2 0 71 74 -3 8 8 2 1 7
Vodacom Blue Bulls 3 1 2 0 60 107 -47 6 13 0 1 5
GWK Griquas 3 0 3 0 66 98 -32 9 12 2 1 3
EP Kings 3 0 3 0 60 125 -65 8 17 1 0 1

 

 

 

 

DHL WP unchanged for Xerox Golden Lions match

Head coach Allister Coetzee has named an unchanged line-up for Saturday’s top-of-the-log Absa Currie Cup clash between DHL Western Province and the Xerox Golden Lions at DHL Newlands (kick-off 17h05).

Hookers Tiaan Liebenberg (back) and Scarra Ntubeni (calf muscle) remain sidelined, meaning Stephan Coetzee continues in the No.2 jersey with Neil Rautenbach again warming the bench.

Centre Juan de Jongh continues to lead the team, having led DHL WP to wins over the EP Kings (away) and the Blue Bulls (home) thus far, with tighthead prop Pat Cilliers serving as his vice-captain once again.

Province and the Lions met on three occasions in last year’s Absa Currie Cup, with the team in Blue & White hoops winning both matches at DHL Newlands and the teams playing to an exciting 31-31 draw in Johannesburg.

DHL Western Province coach Coetzee told www.wprugby.com: “The Lions represent a big test for us as they’re not scared to have a go with ball in hand, even from their own goalline.

“I’d say they’re the overall favourites in the Absa Currie Cup. They’re the pace-setters, they have a good set-piece and, like I said, they’re not scared to attack from anywhere.

“Yes, we are also unbeaten so far, but I’d like to see us become a bit more consistent… especially if you want to become the tournament pace-setters. (So) you can’t have any so-called ‘soft’ moments in your game.”

Saturday’s action gets underway at 12h45, with the DHL WP Under-19s in action against the Lions Under-19s, before the DHL WP Under-21 team takes on the Lions U21s – also in a top-of-the-table match-up – at 14h45.

Match tickets are priced from just R35 (for standing), whilst seating prices range between R55, R65, R75 and R95 and can be purchased right now from http://wprugby.ticketpros.co.za.

Tickets can also be bought directly from the DHL Newlands Box Office (opening times this week: Tuesday-Friday, 09h00-16h00 and Saturday, 09h00-14h30), or from selected Western Cape Spar stores and PostNet branches (nationwide).

The DHL WP team for Saturday (v the Golden Lions) is as follows:

  1. Cheslin Kolbe 14. Kobus van Wyk 13. Juan de Jongh (captain) 12. Michael van der Spuy 11. Seabelo Senatla 10. Demetri Catrakilis 9. Nic Groom 8. Nizaam Carr 7. Michael Rhodes 6. Siya Kolisi 5. Manuel Carizza 4. Jean Kleyn 3. Pat Cilliers (vice-captain) 2. Stephan Coetzee 1. Alistair Vermaak

Replacements: 16. Neil Rautenbach 17. Brok Harris 18. Ruan Botha 19. Rynhardt Elstadt 20. Louis Schreuder 21. Kurt Coleman 22. Jaco Taute

Referee: Craig Joubert Assistant referees: Christie du Preez, Marc van Zyl Television Match Official: Deon van Blommestein

Can South Africa field 6 Teams in Super Rugby?

After this mornings heroic performance in Canberra by the Southern Kings, this question/statement has gone viral on twitter. Now I have mentioned it once or twice before myself and got told by the likes of Naas Botha that it is not possible because SA doesn’t have the player depth. Well I want to disagree.

Let’s look at the 5 teams currently competing in Super Rugby and their performance so far this season.

The Bulls although coming from a dismal tour has been competitive and can still challenge for a play-off position. Cvoming back to Pretoria will only enhance their chances. They are currently 7th on the log. Youngsters like Jurgen Visser, Jan Serfontein and Arno Botha is coming through their ranks.

The Sharks is 3rd on the log. Yes they might not have played the best rugby in the first couple of weeks, but seem to be back on track. They have also been bringing youngsters through the ranks. Guys like Paul Jordaan Reinach to name a few. These are players that are keeping seasoned players out of the side.

The Cheetahs has impressed one and all this season to date. Winning 3 games on tour and 4 in a row. Players like Willie le Roux, Raymand Rhule, Sarel Pretorius and Lappies Labuschagne making names for themselves. All youngsters. This is young raw talent that we never thought we had.

The Stormers has not hit their straps yet and much is expected from them. With a near full Springbok back line and a young yet experienced forward pack they can challenge any team. Again the side is filled with youngsters. Siya Kolisi, Gerbrandt Grobler, De Allande and Steven Kitshoff. That is without even naming the Lions players on loan with them or any of the other 3 sides mentioned so far.

The Kings is a young outfit with the youngsters starring in every game. Sergeal Petersen, Cornell du Preez, Demetri Catrakilis, SP Marais and many more. this side can still upset a couple of the bigger sides in Super Rugby. Many of these players were fringe players at other unions not even making Currie Cup sides and yet here they are. Drawing against the Brumbies.

Now we can look at the Lions. Yes they have not performed in recent seasons, but they are now rebuilding a young side filled with exciting players. Add to that the players out on loan and they are looking more and more like a Super Rugby side. With proper management, which is being put in place they can still challenge for a Super Rugby palce.

If we start adding the players currently overseas and going there we are looking like a nation that can field 132 capable players every weekend. Players like Ruan Pienaar, Jaque Fourie and even Bakkies Botha. That is not mentioning the quality youngsters we lose every year to European clubs only to find them playing for England, Italy or France later.

Maybe SARU will have to have a re look at the number of foreign players per team. That would mean we can develop some Argentines and more players from Africa while still creating more oppertunities for our own players here in South Africa.

To conclude: Can South Africa field six competitive Super Rugby teams? Yes if SARU comes to the party to help keep talent in SA.

follow Dave on @djvanman on twitter

Bokbarometer SupeRugby Week 4

Here is my SA XV after week 3 of Super Rugby. Only players in teams that play are named.

1. Beast Mtawarira – Sharks
2. Adrian Strauss – Cheetahs
3. Jannie du Plessis – Sharks
4. Andries Bekker – Stormers
5. Juandre Kruger – Bulls
6. Siya Kolisi – Stormers
7. Lappies Labuschagne – Cheetahs
8. Pierre Spies – Bulls
9. Sarel Pretorius – Cheetahs
10. Johan Goosen – Cheetahs
11. Akhona Ndungane – Bulls
12. Andries Strauss – Kings
13. Wynand Olivier – Bulls
14. Gio Aplon – Stormers
15. Joe Pietersen – Stormers
16. Deon Fourie – Stormers
17. Werner Kruger – Bulls
18. Coenie Oosthuizen – Cheetahs
19. Duane Vermeulen – Stormers
20. Jano Vermaak – Bulls
21. Dimitri Catrakilis – Kings
22. Armand de Allande – Stormers

The Sharks and Kings didn’t really impress at all and it was difficult selecting any of their players in this week’s team. The Stormers and Cheetahs again had me wanting to include all their players after two good performances. The Bulls added some suprise packages to this line-up. Morne Steyn missed out only because he missed a conversion.

There is also some players from the Vodacom Cup that impressed, but given the opposition they played didn’t make it. The Lions might feature some players next week when they are back playing Mont-de-Marsan in the Lions Challenge.

SUPER RUGBY 2013: ROUND 2 PREVIEW

2012 Super Rugby season

Last weekend saw the official start of Super Rugby 2013. It was however a weekend that left me with mixed feelings regarding the rugby played. The game between the Rebels and the Force kept me interested as you never knew who would score next or win the game. The Brumbies v Reds game was the normal boring Australian derby. Not much happening and one team doing all the playing. For New Zealand and South African fans Super Rugby only really starts this weekend. And what a line-up of games we have.

Highlanders v Chiefs

The Highlanders will face the defending champions in the weekend’s opening game. This will not be an easy game for the home side but they will be looking for a convincing performance even if they lose. The Highlanders have knocked on the door for a couple of seasons. They will want to make it to the play-offs this season. The Chiefs will look to carry on where they left off last season and keep on winning and staying at the top. They will know that the Highlanders are not an easy team to just beat at home but should have the players and legs to pull it off.

Rebels v Brumbies

The two winning sides from the first round will square of against each other in the first of the Australia Derbies. I’m not expecting much from the game. The Rebels showed some good attacking skills last week, but discipline is still a problem. The Force missed 7 points at goal in that game and at one stage had only 13 men on the field. The Rebels therefore can count themselves lucky that they did win. The Brumbies squandered chances and this might cost them against a more attacking team. There defence however is solid and Jake White’s influence is starting to show. The winner of this game will be well on their way to topping the Australian log for a while.

 Bulls v Stormers

Probably the game of the weekend for Super Rugby fans. This is always a hard game with both teams going all out and not giving an inch. The Bulls had a good run in their warm-up games, but has had a couple of setbacks due to injury. The Stormers lost against the Cheetahs in the warm-ups and they have key personnel out as well. Still this derby is always one to watch even for the neutrals. It will be filled with hard-hitting tackles, good forward play and running rugby. The winner of this game will be eyeing the conference title in South Africa.

Hurricanes v Blues

The Hurricanes showed some promise towards the end of last season and will want to improve. They can be knocking on the door of the top 2 spots in New Zealand. The Blues will want to show that they are on their way back to the top of New Zealand rugby but it will not be easy for either side. Discipline hampered both sides last year as did injuries. Again this can become an interesting game to watch.

Reds v Waratahs

The Reds will want to put last weekend’s loss behind them and come out guns blazing in this encounter. They will have to improve on their goal kicking as this cost them last weekend. They have at least got their first game under the belt and will not be as rusty. The Waratahs will be a bit rusty and this might just count against them. They should however be able to beat the Reds if the Reds play anything like last weekend. In the end it will be another Australian Derby that most people will probably not watch.

Cheetahs v Sharks

The Cheetahs showed in their warm-up games that they have the ability to beat some of the bigger teams. They are however not favourites to win the conference or the title. The Sharks did not really challenge themselves in the warm-up games. This will be the first real test of how good the team is and what we can expect of them during the season.

Kings v Force

This the game that every Lions fan will watch as will most of South Africa. The Kings did not perform well at all in the warm-up games they played, managing to win only 1 game out of 3. Not much is expected of them as this is their first season in Super Rugby and we know that teams normally struggle in their first season. The Kings have however been telling everyone that they will perform better than the Lions and now it is time to put their money where their mouths are. The Force will look back at last week’s loss and know they gave the game away. 3 missed kicks and a lack of discipline cost them. If they can improve on that this should be an away win for them

Whichever team you support, may you have a great weekend of watching rugby.

 

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