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Super RugbyIt is the Semi-Final Round of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are only 2 matches in the Round, 1 in New Zealand and 1 in Australia.

1St Place on the Combined Log, the Hurricanes hosts the lowest Qualifier, the Brumbies. In the other match 2nd on the Log, the Waratahs hosts the other qualifier from last weekend, the Highlanders.

The 2 Franchises who finished in the No 1 and No 2 spots on the Combined Log, the Hurricanes and Waratahs respectively, have had wonderful rest weekends, as they sat out during the Top 6 Qualification Round last weekend.

The action is kicked off by the Hurricanes vs Brumbies who do battle in Wellington at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) on Saturday 27 June.

A little later, over in Sydney, Australia, the Waratahs plays the Highlanders at 11:55 SA Time (19:55 AEST, 21:55 NZ Time, 09:55 GMT).

After this Round only 2 Teams remain to contest the Final next weekend.

The Hurricanes vs Brumbies game should be an absolute cracker after the Brumbies’ massive win over the DHL Stormers last weekend, but one would have to give a nod to the most consistent team of this year’s series, the Hurricanes, who have stood out head and shoulders above all comers in 2015.

Both teams sport great backlines but I am of the opinion that the Hurricanes are punching at the weight they should always punch at in 2015, and I give the win to them, but not by a large margin.

As far as the other match is concerned, do we give home ground advantage enough weight to speculate that the Waratahs will overcome the staunch Highlanders in Sydney… even though their regular league season was not as brilliant as last season, OR do we say that the Highlander’s faerie tale will continue in 2015?

It is a difficult call to make and I’m leaning towards the Waratahs making it at home in Sydney!

Meanwhile 11Teams are already lounging around, no longer part of the race to the finish line.

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New ZealandEnglandNew Zealand (11) 21 / 16 (10) England (Final Score)

New Zealand Under 20 and England Under 20 did battle in the Final of the World Rugby

Under 20 Chamionship at Stadio Giovanni Zine, Cremora at 20:30 SA Time

(20:30 Italy Time, 18:30 GMT). This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

Scorers:

New Zealand:

  • Penalties – Otere Black (3)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Vince Tavae-Aso (1), Akira Ioane (1)
  • Conversions – Otere Black (1)

England:

  • Penalties – Rory Jennings (3)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Matt Clark (1)
  • Conversions – Rory Jennings (1)

 


 

South AfricaFranceJnr Springboks (28) 31 / 18 (8) France (Final Score)

The South African Junior Springboks and France Under 20 did battle in the 3rd Place play-off match

of the World Rugby Under 20 Championship at Stadio Giovanni Zini, Cremora at 18:35 SA Time

(18:35 Italy Time, 16:35 GMT). This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & M-Net on TV in SA.

Scorers:

Jnr Springboks:

  • Penalties – Brandon Thompson (1)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Thomas du Toit (1), Jason Jenkins (1), Dan du Preez (2)
  • Conversions – Brandon Thompson (4)

France:

  • Penalties – Lucas Meret (1)
  • Drop Goals – 0
  • Tries – Arthur Bonneval (1), Julien Delannoy (1), Lucas Blanc (1)
  • Conversions – 0

Super RugbyIt is the Top 6 Qualifying Round of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are only 2 matches in the Round, 1 in New Zealand and 1 in South Africa.

3rd Placed on the Combined Log, the DHL Stormers (albeit 3rd only by reason of the Conference Syystem), hosts 6th on the Log, the Brumbies. In the other match 4th on the Log, the Highlanders, hosts 5th on the Log, the Chiefs.

The 2 Franchises who finished in the No1 and No 2 spots on the Combined Log, the Hurricanes and Waratahs respectively, have lovely rest weekends, as they only meet the winners of this Round’s matches next weekend in the Semi-Finals.

The action is kicked off by the Highlanders vs Chiefs who do battle in Dunedin at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT)

Much later in the day, in Cape Town, South Africa, the DHL Stormers host the Brumbies at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time).

After this Round of Top 6 Qualifying matches, only 4 teams will remain and there will be 2 Semi-Final matches next weekend, followed by a Final match for the ultimate winner a week later.

The Highlanders vs Chiefs game should be an absolute cracker, with both teams getting some injured players back into the fold. It is extremely difficult to pick a winner for this game and the different pundits differ on the winner of the match, with probable the bigger percentage backing the Chiefs for an away win. I differ from that though, and I think if there is ONE YEAR where the Highlanders could make it to the Semi-Finals, it is this year, at home, at Forsyth Barr stadium.

Both teams sport great backlines but I am of the opinion that the Highlanders might have a slightly more abrasive forwards pack and possibly also a better scrumhalf and flyhalf, both of whom have come on in leaps and bounds in 2015, namely Aaron Smith and Lima Sopoaga.

I predict the Highlanders to squeek a win, in a very entertaining match.

As far as the other match is concerned, do we give home ground advantage enough weight to speculate that the DHL Stormers will overcome the Brumbies in Cape Town… even though their regular league game was only a 21 / 20 win for the Stormers and with Christian Lealiifano missing an absolute peach of a conversion attempt, from right in front, OR do we say that the Brumbies will win the game in the absense of Duane Vermeulen and likely also Schalk Burger, both with some injury concerns?

The South African scribes and pundits all patriotically pick the Stormers for a win, but I am hesitant to do so and think this game’s result is a perfect 50 / 50 guess, so may the best team take it!

Meanwhile 9 Teams are already lounging around, no longer part of the race to the finish line.

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South AfricaEnglandJnr Springboks (6) 20 / 28 (18) England (Final Score)

The South African Junior Springboks and England Under 20 did battle in a semi-final in the World Rugby Under

20 Championship at Stadio San Michele, Calvisano at 20:30 SA Time (20:30 Italy Time, 19:30 BST, 18:30 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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Other matches – Fixtures & Results:

Australia 31 / 21 Scotland (Final Score)
New Zealand 45 / 7 France (Final Score)

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Super RugbyNow that the league phase of the Super Rugby tournament is finished, I have posted a SA team of the tournament article. The team is based on the form players during the tournament, with overseas based players obviously not considered.

The South African teams had a very disappointing tournament by any standards, with injuries, poor form and bad reffing decisions making life hard for the critical rugby public, but in an attempt to find a silver lining here is this author’s team of the tournament (other contenders mentioned where appropriate):

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Super RugbyIt is Round 18, the Final Open Round of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 2 games on Friday 12 June and 5 games on Saturday 13 June.

The Emirates Lions have a BYE weekend.

The action is kicked off by the Blues and Highlanders who do battle in Auckland at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT). The next game is between the Melbourne Rebels and Western Force in Melbourne on Friday at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

On Saturday early, at 07:30 SA Time (15:30 AEST, 17:30 NZ Time, 05:30 GMT), the Brumbies host the Crsaders in Canberra, whereafter the Chiefs host the Hurricanes in New Plymouth at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Waratahs host the Reds in Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

There are 2 South African derbies on the weekend, the one between the Vodacom Bulls vs Toyota Cheetahs in Pretoria at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time) and the last game of the Open Rounds between the Cell C Sharks vs DHL Stormers in Durban at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 03:10 AEST, Sunday 05:10 NZ Time).

There should logically be only 1 winner between the Blues vs Highlanders… and that is the Highlanders, but they have had many injuries lately, so it should be a close affair. In the next game, the Melbourne Rebels should have too much in the tank for the Western Force in Melbourne.

The match between the Brumbies and Crusaders should be a cracker, with the Crusaders playing for pride and the Brumbies playing for 2nd Spot on the Combined Log. The Chiefs will still be hurting after the right pumping they took against the Hurricanes in their previous encounter of the season, but this time they are at home and celebrate the return of some star players… guess the high-flyiing Hurricanes will still be too strong for the Chiefs though!

The Waratahs will also be playing for a possible 2nd Spot on the Combined Log when they face the Reds, and I make the Waratahs overwhelming favourites to take the game, quite well.

At Loftus, a decidedly ‘B’-looking-Team of the Bulls take on the struggling Toyota Cheetahs under their new coach, Franco Smith and if the Cheetahs 1st game under Smith last weekend is anything to go by, they will play spectacular rugby but also leak tries like there is no tomorrow. Whether the largely impotent Bulls would be able to exploit the Cheetahs total lack of defensive awareness is another story… Bulls by a whisker and a whimper.

The last game of the weekend and of the Open Rounds at Durban between the Cell C Sharks and the DHL Stormers ‘B’ Team will be interesting and with a few Sharks players playing their farewell game for the Sharks, I expect them to be all fired up and beat the Stormers… but not by a landslide, mind you!

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South AfricaAustraliaJnr Springboks (20) 46 / 13 (3) Australia U 20 (Final Score)

The South African Junior Springboks and Australia Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby Under 20

Championship at Stadio San Michele, Calvisano at 20:30 SA Time (20:30 Italy Time, 18:30 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the names of the Match Officials for Round 18 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

It is the last Round of the League Phases of Super Rugby in 2015.

This weekend sees 7 matches, 2 on Friday 12 June and 5 on Saturday 13 June 2015.

The weekend’s action is kicked off in Auckland on Friday at 09:35 SA Time, when Angus Gardner will referee the match between the Blues and Highlanders. Thereafter, also on Friday at 11:40 SA Time, the Melbourne Rebels host the Western Force in Melbourne, where Andrew Lees will be in charge of proceedings.

On Saturday the action starts early again, at 07:30 SA Time, when the Brumbies host the Crusaders in Canberra, with Jaco Peyper the referee in charge. We hop over to New Zealand again, to New Plymouth, where the Chiefs meet the Hurricanes at 09:35 SA Time, with Chris Pollock in control of the whistle.

Back over the pond to Australia, where the Waratahs host the Reds in Sydney at 11:40 SA Time, with Nick Briant the man in the middle.

Over to South Africa, where the Vodacom Bulls host the Toyota Cheetahs at 17:05 SA Time in Pretoria, with Craig Joubert to officiate the game. The last match of the weekend takes place in Durban at 19:10 SA Time, where Glen Jackson will officiate in the derby between the Cell C Sharks and DHL Stormers.

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South AfricaSamoaJunior Springboks (21) 40 / 8 (3) Samoa (Final Score)

South Africa Under 20 and Samoa Under 20 did battle in the World Rugby

Under 20 Championship at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma at 18:30 SA Time (18:30 Italy Time, 16:30 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 5 on TV in SA.

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RedsChiefsReds (3) 3 / 24 (14) Chiefs (Final Score)

The Reds and Chiefs did battle in Super Rugby at

Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 17 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 2 games on Friday 5 June and 5 games on Saturday 6 June.

The Cell C Sharks have a BYE weekend.

The action is kicked off by the Hurricanes and Highlanders who do battle in Napier at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT)

Thereafter and after a couple of hours break, also on Friday – the Western Force play the Brumbies in Perth at 13:00 SA Time ((19:00 AWST, 21:00 AEST, 23:00 NZ Time, 11:00 GMT)

Early on Saturday the Melbourne Rebels host the Vodacom Bulls in Melbourne at 07:30 SA Time (15:30 AEST, 17:30 NZ Time, 05:30 GMT). It is the Vodacom Bulls’ last game on tour.

Thereafter the Blues host the Crusaders in Auckland at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Reds host the Chiefs in Brisbane at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

In South Africa, the Toyota Cheetahs host the Waratahs in Bloemfontein at 15:00 SA Time (13:00 GMT, 23:00 AEST, Sunday 01:00 NZ Time). Thereafter the DHL Stormers host the Emirates Lions in Cape Town at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time).

The Hurricanes vs Highlanders match should be a cracker, as these are the 2 teams who have already qualified for the Top 6, it is anybody’s guess who will be victorious in this doozie!

The Brumbies should be too much for the Western Force in Perth, as the Brumbies are aiming at Top spot in the Australian Conference, whilst the Force is already out of the race for the playoffs.

The Vodacom Bulls have one final chance on tour to come good against the Melbourne Rebels, and so keep their playoff aspirations alive, but the Bulls play predictable and stale rugby and they will have to get a bonus point, if they were to have any semblance of a chance at the playoffs and still some other teams would have to do them favours in order to reach the playoffs.

The Crusaders are also close to playoff contention and will attempt to put the Blues to the sword in Auckland and they might well achieve that feat.

In Brisbane, the Chiefs will attemp to ressurrect their season, after some poor form in the last few Rounds and thus qualify for the playoffs, whereas a resurgent Reds team will try to salvage some pride after a dismal season. My guess is that the Chiefs will get their needed win.

The Waratahs should put Franco Smith’s new team to the sword and earn their bonus point in Bloemfontein. My expectation is that the Cheetahs midfield will be brittle and let through a few of the tries on the day.

The last game of the weekend is one I am particularly looking forward to, where No 1 and No 2 in the SA Conference do battle in Cape Town. The Lions chances of making the playoffs are very, very slim and only really a mathematical consideration, but the men from Joburg play passionalte and intense rugby, if not somewhat “Run-at-all-costs” and naiive rugby, but they make for a grand spectacle and the Stormers defences will be tested all afternoon in Cape Town. The Stormers on the other hand can sow up the SA Conference and will go hell-for-leather at the Lions to achieve that. I predict a relatively good win for the Stormers.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the names of the Match Officials for Round 17 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

This weekend sees 7 matches in Super Rugby.

The Cell C Sharks have a BYE Weekend.

The weekend’s action is kicked off by Jaco Peyper in the Friday match between the Hurricanes vs Highlanders in Napier at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT), whereafter we have a little break before the Western Force host the Brumbies in Perth at 13:00 SA Time (19:00 AWST, 21:00 AEST, 23:00 NZ Time, 11:00 GMT), where Angus Gardner will officiate the game.

On Saturday the action starts earlier than normal when the Melbourne Rebels host the Vodacom Bulls in Melbourne at 07:30 SA Time (15:30 AEST, 17:30 NZ Time, 05:30 GMT), with Nick Briant the referee. We then go back accross the pond to New Zealand where the Blues play the Crusaders in Auckland at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) and where Chris Pollock will be in charge of the whistle. Once again we cross the Tasman, back to Australia, where the Reds host the Chiefs in Brisbane where Mike Fraser wields the power, at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

Over to South Africa and we have 2 matches on SA soil for the Round, first the Toyota Cheetahs play the Waratahs in Bloemfontein at 15:00 SA Time (13:00 GMT, 23:00 AEST, Sunday 01:00 NZ Time), with Glen Jackson in charge.

The last match of the Round takes place in Cape Town at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time) when the DHL Stormers host the Emirates Lions and with Stuart Berry as referee.

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HighlandersChiefsHighlanders (11) 36 / 9 (3) Chiefs

The Highlanders and Chiefs did battle in Super Rugby at

Rugby Park, Invercargill at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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Western ForceRedsForce (10) 10 / 32 (18) Reds

The Western Force and Reds did battle in Super Rugby at

nib Stadium, Perth at 11:40 SA Time (17:40 AWST, 19:40 AEST, 07:35 GMT).

This was the live match discussion Article.

The match was broadcast LIVE on SuperSport 1 & CSN on TV in SA.

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