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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.

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

Whitely returns for Xerox Golden Lions against EP Kings

Xerox Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man outfit, which will face the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Ackermann has made a few changes to the Xerox Golden Lions backline, following last weekend’s match against DHL Western Province. Ruan Combrinck will start at his preferred position of fullback, Lionel Mapoe will run out at right wing and Stokkies Hanekom reverts to the outside centre berth for this match. 

Alwyn Hollenbach returns to action and will start at inside centre, while Andries Coetzee will fill the flyhalf slot.

In the forwards, the Xerox Golden Lions welcome back captain Warren Whiteley at eighthman. Jaco Kriel will also start this match alongside Whiteley in the loose trio. In the front row, Armand van der Merwe will make a start at hooker.  

The match will kick off at 19h10.

 Xerox Golden Lions: 15. Ruan Combrinck 14. Lionel Mapoe 13. Stokkies Hanekom 12. Alwyn Hollenbach 11. Courtnall Skosan 10. Andries Coetzee 9. Ross Cronje 8. Warren Whiteley (c) 7. Warwick Tecklenburg 6. Jaco Kriel 5. Franco Mostert 4. MB Lusaseni 3. Ruan Dreyer 2. Armand van der Merwe 1. Schalk van der Merwe.

Replacements: 16. Robbie Coetzee 17. Jacques van Rooyen 18. Willie Britz 19. Derick Minnie 20. Kwagga Smith 21. Ricky Schroeder 22. Howard Mnisi

Taute at inside centre for DHL Western Province

Jaco Taute will make his first Absa Currie Cup start in DHL Western Province colours, after being named at inside centre for Saturday’s meeting with the Vodacom Blue Bulls in Pretoria (kick-off 17h05).

Springbok Taute replaces the injured Michael van der Spuy (hamstring) in the No.12 shirt in the only change to the DHL WP starting XV from last weekend’s 27-14 win over the Golden Lions.

Former SA Under-20 star Pat Howard, a Round One try-scorer against the EP Kings, replaces Taute on the bench – meaning just two changes overall to the Province 22 from last week.

Taute scored a valuable try off the bench last week after replacing Van der Spuy in the 59th minute and his experience will be a major boon for the unbeaten and table-topping DHL Western Province outfit ahead of Saturday’s clash at Loftus Versfeld.

DHL WP coach Allister Coetzee told www.wprugby.com: “This is a great opportunity for Jaco. I’ve said before that his size and skill-set could make him into the ideal centre and he now has an opportunity to show us just that.

“Jaco is still very young (at 23 years of age) but he’s already very experienced having played Test and Super Rugby at centre before.

“But his skill and strength aside, his communication is his biggest attribute and I look forward to seeing him operate in the No.12 jersey.

“Your depth is tested quite severely during the Absa Currie Cup,” added Coetzee, “so having versatile players like Jaco (in our squad) is a good thing – especially ahead of a big game like Saturday.”

The Bulls picked up a welcome 30-25 win over the EP Kings last weekend and will be determined to make it back-to-back victories in front of their home support as they also look to avenge their Round Two defeat to DHL WP in Cape Town two weeks ago.

“We will respect any team we play against and it doesn’t get much bigger than playing against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld – no matter what happened last time between us,” said Coetzee.

“The Bulls did well to beat the EP Kings. Don’t look at the scoreline, they’ve come off a difficult few weeks and it was a big and valuable win for them.”

The DHL WP team for Saturday (v the Blue Bulls, away) is as follows: 15. Cheslin Kolbe 14. Kobus van Wyk 13. Juan de Jongh (captain) 12. Jaco Taute (First Absa Currie Cup start for DHL Western Province) 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. Pat Howard

Referee: Craig Joubert Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Cobus Wessels Television Match Official: Willie Vos

Absa Currie Cup First Division resumes

The Absa Currie Cup First Division will resume on Friday following seven rounds of matches in June and July, which served as the Qualifier for the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division.

It means the Leopards kick off part two with a healthy eight-point lead at the top of the log, on 25 points, with the Down Touch Griffons leading the chasing pack.

The log table has been adjusted with the removal of match and competition points that have been taken or conceded against the Kimberley side following their promotion to the Premier Division.

The six First Division teams will play five more pool rounds, with the semifinals and final to be contested on October 4 and 17 respectively.

In Friday’s matches the Border Bulldogs host the Valke at the BCM Stadium in East London and the SWD Eagles meet the Leopards at Outeniqua Park in George.

In the only match on Saturday Boland Cavaliers take on Down Touch Griffons at the Boland Stadium in Wellington.

The First Division teams will be keeping one eye on events in the Premier Division. Should either or both of the GWK Griquas or Steval Pumas feature among the bottom two teams in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division this year, their place will be up for grabs next year.

The six ‘franchise’ teams have been entrenched in the Premier Division and will reappear in 2015 – but the GWK Griquas and Pumas have to finish in the top six if they are to avoid appearing in an Absa Currie Cup Premier Division Qualifying tournament next year.

Meanwhile, in East London the Border Bulldogs will be determined to register a victory against the Valke to keep alive their semifinal hopes despite occupying fifth position on the log table. The fact that the Valke suffered defeats in all of their qualifying matches will certainly give Border hope to begin the last few rounds of the competition on a positive note. They will, however, be wary of the Valke’s main playmaker, fullback Jaun Kotze, who topped the point scorer’s list in the Qualifier with 93 points.

In the Leopards camp coach Robert de Preez has retained the core of the team that steered them to five victories in six matches in the Qualifier for their clash against SWD. With wings Luther Obi and Sylvian Mahuza and veteran Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius, who were among the top five point-scorers in the Qualifier looming large, the Eagles will have to produce a solid defensive effort and remain disciplined to prevent a similar fate to the 51-23 defeat they suffered against the Potchefstroom side in June.

The Down Touch Griffons, meanwhile, will look to celebrate captain and No8 Nicky Steyn’s 100th Absa Currie Cup match with a victory against the Boland Cavaliers in Wellington. A victory would also allow them to remain within range of log-leaders the Leopards. But they may face a tough test as the Wellington side put up a brave fight in their last clash and suffered a narrow 27-25 defeat, which should boost their confidence, especially with home ground advantage counting in their favour.

Absa Currie Cup First Division fixtures:

Border Bulldogs vs Valke

Venue: BCM Stadium, East London

Date: Friday, 29 August

Kickoff: 18h00

Referee: Stuart Berry

Assistant Referees: Rodney Boneparte and Fernando Uithaler

 

SWD Eagles vs Leopards

Venue: Outeniqua Park, George

Date: Friday, 29 August

Kickoff: 19h00

Referee:  Pro Legoete

Assistant Referees: Christie du Preez and Ruhan Meiring

 

Boland Cavaliers vs Down Touch Griffons

Venue: Boland Stadium, Wellington

Date: Saturday, 30 August

Kickoff: 16h00

Referee: Lourens van der Merwe

Assistant Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni and Linston Manuels

 

Absa Currie Cup First Division log table:

 

TEAM P W L D PF PA PD TF TA LOSS BONUS TRIES BONUS POINTS
Leopards 5 5 0 0 324 108 216 47 13 0 5 25
Down Touch Griffons 5 3 2 0 159 170 -11 21 23 1 4 17
SWD Eagles 5 3 2 0 151 188 -37 21 24 0 3 15
Boland Cavaliers 5 2 3 0 137 135 2 17 18 2 2 12
Valke 5 2 3 0 168 183 -15 22 25 0 2 10
Border Bulldogs 5 0 5 0 113 268 -155 15 40 1 1 2

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

 

 

 

 

Bench has huge impact as SPringboks scrape home

The Springboks came back from 28-16 down with 20 minutes to go to win 33-31 against Argentina on Saturday in Salta. This was mainly due to the impact the bench made late in the game. Many hailed it to be a well deserved win by the Springboks.

Although we all know that it is not easy to go to Argentina and just came back with a win, especially these days, it was still a closer game than the Springboks expected. Overall the Springboks have won 18 tests against Los Pumas and one test was drawn. This is at an average of 39-19. That puts the 33-31 score a bit more into perspective.

As captain, Jean de Villiers put it:

“I’ve said it before, but I really think Argentina is a much better team than what their world-ranking shows, and they showed it again today,” said De Villiers after the match.

“We’re happy that we could pull it through, but it could’ve gone either way.”

He went on to praise the effort of the bench:

“That is not saying that the players who started did badly, but our bench, whom we see as impact players rather than replacements, certainly made an impact today and that is probably where the difference was.”

Heyneke Meyer added to this:

“All credit to Argentina though – they’ve been together for a month and you could see that today as they played some great rugby,” said Meyer.

“We don’t want to say every week that we’ve shown great character, but we’ve now won nine out of our last 10 away games and I think the guys have shown that they know how to win.

“At one stage, we were down and out and the team came back. We know there are a lot of areas we have to work on, but we’re still in this competition.”

The Springboks next faces Australia and then New Zealand away from home. They will then return to play the same teams in South Africa. As it stands the Springboks top the log by 1 point from New Zealand.

They will have a lot of work to do before the next leg of the Rugby Championship. One of these being the scrums where the Springboks were decimated two weeks in a row. Wales also out scrummed them earlier this year.

 

Meyer calls for improvent by Boks

The Springboks arrived in Buenos Aires after 22 hours of travelling via Sao Paulo in Brazil. They left on Sunday night after beating Los Pumas on Saturday at Loftus Versfeld in the worse condition possible.

Meyer called on the Boks to make a step up after what many called a lacklustre performance.

 

“It was a tough start in difficult conditions for both teams, but we simply have to execute better this weekend in Salta,” said Meyer upon the team’s arrival in the Argentinean capital.

 

“We have first-hand experience on how tough it is over here from our last two visits to Argentina. They are a very proud rugby nation and have improved immensely over the last number of years.

 

“The players know they have to be 100% sharp and focused when we hit the training field this week. It’s a great challenge to improve on our results here from 2012 and 2013, but we have to be at our best.”

 

The team will have a light session on Tuesday while the medical staff sort out the bumps and bruises of the past weekend. Warren Whitely has joined the team. The Xerox Golden Lions Captain replaced Willem Alberts and flew out with the squad from OR Tambo.

 

Platteland start for Cell C Community Cup play-offs

 

THE quest to secure one of the five ‘wild card’ slots at the 2015 Cell C Community Cup will kick off in the Northern Cape platteland on Saturday with the first of 13 play-off matches to be contested across the country over the coming weeks.

Kimberley will be the neutral venue when Griquas Super League runners-up Upington Dorp and Free State’s number-two non-university club, Bloemfontein Police, ‘meet halfway’ at GWK Park (kick-off 13h00).

With exactly six months to go before the start of the third edition of SARU’s new national championship for so-called ‘open’ clubs, 12 teams have already qualified automatically from their respective provincial premier leagues, with only the champions of Western Province, Boland and SWD to be confirmed.

The remaining five places will be decided on the field of play this year, with the second-best open clubs from each province fighting it out in four regions in play-offs identical in format to that of Rugby World Cup qualifying – right down to the repechage round that gives lucky losers a third bite at the cherry.

The four respective winners of the South West, South East, Central and North region finals will join the 15 automatic qualifiers in the 2015 field, with the repechage final winner earning the 20th and final spot – and a place in Pool A alongside defending champions Rustenburg Impala.

The 2015 Community Cup is provisionally scheduled to take place from 21 February to 6 April 2015.

“The recent Rugby World Cup qualifying matches involving our neighbours Namibia and Zimbabwe went right down to the wire, as have a number of other games around the world, and we are hopeful that these ‘do-or-die’ Community Cup play-off clashes will create the same levels excitement in our rugby communities,” said SARU CEO, Jurie Roux. “The play-off format has given clubs from towns such as Malmesbury, Uitenhage, Upington, Orkney, Secunda and Mokopane a first taste of Community Cup rugby and their enthusiasm has been very encouraging.”

2015 Cell C Community Cup Qualifying Matches – details TBC unless otherwise stated:

SOUTH WEST REGION:

Match 1 – Boland 2 vs WP 2 – Winner qualifies for Community Cup as South West 1, loser to Repechage Semi-final 1. The Boland Premier League runner-up and the second-best open club in the WP Super League A will contest this one-off match.

SOUTH EAST REGION:

Match 2 – East London Police (Border 2) vs EP 2 – Winner to Match 3. Loser eliminated. EP 2 will be decided after the final round of the EP Grand Challenge this Saturday (see fixtures below), with SAPS and Gardens the front-runners.

Match 3 – Winner Match 2 vs SWD 2 – Winner qualifies for Community Cup as South East 1, loser to Repechage Semi-final 1.

CENTRAL REGION:

Match 4 – Bloemfontein Police (Free State 2) vs Upington Dorp (Griquas 2) – 23 Aug, 13h00, GWK Park, Kimberley. Winner to Match 6. Loser eliminated.

Match 5Kroonstad (Griffons 2) vs Jonsson College Rovers (KZN 2) – walkover College Rovers.

Match 6 – Winner Match 4 vs Jonsson College Rovers – Winner qualifies for Community Cup as Central 1, loser to Repechage Semi-final 2.

NORTH REGION:

Match 7 – G5 Metals Brakpan (Valke 2) vs Vaal Reefs (Leopards 2) – 6 Sep, 12h45, Olen Park, Potchefstroom. Winner to Match 8. Loser eliminated.

Match 8 – Winner Match 7 vs Vaseline Wanderers Chiefs (Golden Lions 2). Winner to Match 11. Loser eliminated.

Match 9 – Potgietersrus (Limpopo 2) vs Sasol (Mpumalanga 2). Winner to Match 10. Loser eliminated.

Match 10Winner Match 9 vs Blue Bulls 2. Winner to Match 11. Loser eliminated.

Match 11Winner Match 8 vs Winner Match 10. Winner qualifies for Community Cup as North 1, loser to Repechage Semi-final 2.

REPECHAGE:

Match 12 – Semi-final 1: Loser Match 1 vs Loser Match 3

Match 13 – Semi-final 2: Loser Match 6 vs Loser Match 11

Match 14 – Final: Winner Match 12 vs Winner Match 13. Winner is 20th & final team to qualify for Community Cup.

 

2015 POOLS:

Pool A – Rustenburg Impala (Leopards, defending champion), Kempston Old Selbornians (Border), Springs (Valke), repechage winner, regional qualifier.

Pool B – Raiders (Golden Lions), Pretoria Police (Blue Bulls), Bloemfontein Crusaders (Free State), BB Truck Noordelikes (Limpopo), regional qualifier.

Pool C – Western Province No.1 open club, Boland champion, Aveng Moolmans Sishen (Griquas), SWD champion, regional qualifier.

Pool D – SA Home Loans Durban Collegians (KZN), Gap Management Despatch (EP), Welkom Rovers (Griffons), Shumba Ferros (Mpumalanga), regional qualifier.

 

THIS WEEKEND’S LEAGUE FIXTURES:

Eastern Province – Grand Challenge, Sat 15h30:

Brumbies vs NMMU Madibaz (Oval, Grahamstown)

Progress vs Harlequins (Central Ground, Uitenhage)

African Bombers vs SAPS (Zwide Stadium, PE)

Kruisfontein vs Gap Management Despatch (Country Club, Humansdorp)

Spring Rose vs Crusaders (New Brighton Oval, PE)

 

Western Province – Super League A:

Stor-Age False Bay vs Bellville (Philip Herbstein, Constantia)

Helderberg vs UWC (Charles Morkel Stadium, Strand)

Victorians vs UCT (Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch)

Primrose vs Maties (Rosmead Sports Grounds, Kenilworth)

Hamiltons vs Tygerberg (Stephan Oval, Green Point)

Belhar vs NNK (Accordian Park, Belhar)

SK Walmers vs Durbanville-Bellville (Green Point Track)

 

Boland – Premier League, Sat 16h00:

Hawston vs Saldanha (Bospark, Hawston)

United Bulk Villagers Worcester vs Ceres (Boland Park, Worcester)

Wesbank vs Robertson (Wesbank Sports Grounds, Malmesbury)

Roses United vs Never Despair (Pelican Park, Wellington)

Delicous vs Wellington (Ceres Sports Grounds)

 

SWD – Premier League, Sat 16h00:

Evergreens vs Bridgton (Pacaltsdorp Sports Grounds)

Uniondale vs Groot-Brak (Uniondale Sports Grounds)

Bonnievale United vs Silver Stars (Bonnievale Stadium)

 

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