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Super RugbyIt is Round 16 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 3 games on Friday 29 May and 4 games on Saturday 30 May.

The Blues have a BYE weekend.

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

There are 2 South African teams in action on Friday – the Vodacom Bulls who play the Brumbies in Canberra at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT) and on Friday evening the Cell C Sharks host the Melbourne Rebels in Durban at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Saturday 03:10 AEST, Saturday 05:10 NZ Time). It is the Vodacom Bulls’ 3rd game on tour and it will be the Cell C Sharks 1st game back after their overseas tour.

On Saturday morning the Highlanders host the Chiefs in Invercargill at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Western Force host the Reds in Perth at 11:40 SA Time (17:40 AWST, 19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

There is only 1 South African derby on the weekend, that between the DHL Stormers vs Toyota Cheetahs in Cape Town at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time). Thereafter the Emirates Lions host the Waratahs in Johannesburg at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 03:10 AEST, Sunday 05:10 NZ Time).

The Crusaders vs Hurricanes match should be a cracker, but the destructive form the Hurricanes are commanding at present should see them victorious against the Crusaders in the Saders’ backyard. The Brumbies should have far too much firepower for a strangely selected and miss-firing Vodacom Bulls side in Canberra. The evening game on Friday should go in favour of the Cell C Sharks as the Melbourne Rebels have NEVER beaten a side in South Africa.

The game between the Highlanders and Chiefs is very difficult to call and could well deliver the game of the weekend.

The game in Perth between the bottom-dwelling Western Force and equally abhorrent Reds is a toss-up and I suppose one would have to fancy a win for the Home side.

The DHL Stormers should slaughter the Toyota Cheetahs at DHL Newlands, but then again, I said the same about the match between the 2 foes in Bloemfontein. I simply think the Stormers have far too much to lose, being Top of the SA Conference, to go down to the lowly Cheetahs, in the last match where Naka Drotske and Os du Randt will be in charge at the Cheetahs.

I would like to see the Emirates Lions turn the losing table on the Waratahs on the weekend, as they have never beaten the Tahs, but somehow I doubt they will, as the Waratahs would also want to cement their Aussie spot on the Log… but the guts and passion the Lions have shown this season keeps proving me wrong.

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Super RugbyThe DHL Stormers will be hoping to retain their Top spot in the South African Vodacom Super Rugby Conference when they host the Toyota Cheetahs on Saturday, while the 3 other local teams are in action against Australian opposition.

Round 16 kicks off from a South African perspective when the Brumbies host the Vodacom Bulls in Canberra, a venue where the men from Pretoria have not won since 2007.

The Cell C Sharks are back at home and will be looking to extend the Melbourne Rebels’ woes in South Africa when they host the team from Melbourne in Durban on Friday evening.

On Saturday evening, the Emirates Lions take on the 1 Australian team they’ve never beaten, the defending champion Waratahs, in Johannesburg.

In the 4th and penultimate match of the weekend, the DHL Stormers will celebrate 125 years of existence of their home ground, DHL Newlands, against the Toyota Cheetahs, the only local side they’ve lost against this year.

DHL Newlands is regarded as 1 of the most iconic rugby venues in the world, having hosted some memorable matches over the years and the DHL Stormers will be looking to increase their lead at the Top of the South African Conference in this match on Saturday afternoon.

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WhistleSANZAR has named the Match Officials for Round 16 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

This weekend sees 7 matches, with 3 matches on Friday 29 May and 4 matches on Saturday 30 May.

The Blues have a BYE Weekend.

The weekend’s action is kicked off by Ben O’Keeffe at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) in the humdinger between the Crusaders and Hurricanes in Nelson. Also on Friday the Brumbies vs Vodacom Bulls match which takes place at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT) in Canberra, is officiated by Marius van der Westhuizen. On Friday evening in Durban the Cell C Sharks host the Melbourne Rebels at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Saturday 03:10 AEST, Saturday 05:10 NZ Time) and the match will be handled by Jaco van Heerden.

On Saturday the Highlanders host the Chiefs in Invercargill at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) and the match is officiated by Nick Briant.

In Western Australia the Western Force is up against the Reds in Perth at 11:40 SA Time (17:40 AWST, 19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT) and the whistle will belong to Matt O’Brien.

Over to South Africa and 1st up on Saturday at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time) it will be the DHL Stormers vs Toyota Cheetahs in Cape Town, where Craig Joubert will preside over proceedings.

The last game of the Round will take place in Johannesburg where the Emirates Lions host the Waratahs at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 03:10 AEST, Sunday 05:10 NZ Time). Jaco Peyper will be the referee.

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Super RugbyThere was a lot of movement in the South African Conference through Round 15 of Vodacom Super Rugby this weekend, with the DHL Stormers going top and the Emirates Lions surpassing the Vodacom Bulls into 2nd spot.

The Vodacom Bulls started well against the Chiefs in Rotorua on Friday morning and led 15 / 3 after 20 minutes, but were left behind when the Kiwis stepped up a gear. The home team eventually won by 34 / 20 and the team from Pretoria dropped from 3rd to 8th on the Combined Log.

After disappointing defeats in Wellington and Sydney in the last fortnight, the Cell C Sharks finally got a win on the road. Stefan Ungerer scored twice in their 21 / 14 win over the Reds in Brisbane, also on Friday.

Emirates Lions captain Warren Whiteley celebrated his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby cap in style as his team scored an impressive 40 / 17 win over the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday, the only local derby of the weekend.

It was the Emirates Lions’ 8th victory of the season, which means 2015 is now their best Vodacom Super Rugby season ever. The Bloem victory also moved Jozi’s Pride to the top of the SA Conference standings, but it only lasted for roughly 2 hours.

The DHL Stormers then took back top spot in the SA Conference courtesy of a 31 / 15 victory over the Melbourne Rebels in Cape Town, which was the Melburians’ 9th successive defeat in the Republic.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 15 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 2 games on Friday 22 May and 5 games on Saturday 23 May.

The Brumbies have a BYE weekend.

There are 2 South African teams in action on Friday, one in each game of the day – the Chiefs against the Vodacom Bulls in Rotorua at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) and thereafter the Reds vs Cell C Sharks in Brisbane at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT). The battling Sharks play their last game on tour, whereas it will be the Bulls 2nd tour match.

On Saturday morning the Blues host the Hurricanes in Auckland at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Waratahs host the Crusaders in Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

In Perth, Western Australia at 13:45 SA Time (19:45 AWST, 21:45 AEST, 23:45 NZ Time, 11:45 GMT) the Western Force host the Highlanders.

There is only 1 South African derby on the weekend, that between the Toyota Cheetahs vs Emirates Lions in Bloemfontein at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, Sunday 03:05 NZ Time). Thereafter the DHL Stormers host the Melbourne Rebels in Cape Town at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 05:10 NZ time, 03:10 AEST).

The Chiefs vs Bulls match should go the way of the home team but the game between the 2 bottom-dwelling sides, the Reds and Cell C Sharks, it is difficult to predict a winner… my money, strangely enough is on a Sharks win.

The game between the Blues vs Hurricanes should only ever go one way, and that is heavily in favour of the Hurricanes, even although it is away from home for them.

The Waratahs vs Crusaders game should be a cracker, with both teams rather desperate to get or hold a position in the Top 6, but it could go either way… so I would lean towards the home team for this one.

The Highlanders should properly dispatch the Western Force in perth.

The Lions are strong favourites to beat the Cheetahs, specially in light of the fact that it was announced that both Naka Drotske and Os du rand will leave the franchise at the end of May as well as considering the Cheetahs dismal form in 2015.

The DHL Stormers should outlast and out-defend a gutsy Melbourne Rebels side in Cape Town in the last match of the weekend.

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Super RugbyCan the Vodacom Bulls hang on to their Top spot in the South African Vodacom Super Rugby Conference or will the DHL Stormers regain the lead?

That question will be answered this weekend when all 5 South African teams take to the field with the competition inching closer to the last stretch before the playoffs start.

The Vodacom Bulls can cement their position at the Top with a victory over the Chiefs in Rotorua on Friday morning, but it won’t be easy as the team from Waikato sits on a 10-match winning streak at home against opposition from South Africa.

The Cell C Sharks’ final tour match, against the Reds in Brisbane, is the 2nd match on Friday morning where the KwaZulu-Natalians will aim to break a 6-match losing streak – something that’s only happened once in their history.

On Saturday afternoon, the Toyota Cheetahs host the Emirates Lions in the only local derby of the Round. The team from Johannesburg can still make the playoffs, but then they have to win in Bloemfontein this weekend.

The final match in Round 15 is in Cape Town at DHL Newlands, where the DHL Stormers have a good opportunity to regain the lead in the South African Conference against the Melbourne Rebels. It won’t be easy as the Rebels have done well this season, but they’ve never won in South Africa and the Capetonians will want to keep it that way.

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WhistleAfter a pivotal Round of fixtures played at high intensity, SANZAR has had the opportunity review each match and announce its Match Official appointments for the forthcoming weekend.

SANZAR Game Manager Lyndon Bray said, “While we acknowledge that the match officials cannot get it right all of the time, there are some basic standards that have simply not been upheld over this past weekend, resulting in some disappointing decisions and selection consequences.

“A thorough and robust system is in place whereby the development and performance of each match official is reviewed by SANZAR and its member unions on a daily basis and like any athlete participating in elite competition, our referees are accountable to performance levels for the competition.

“Appointments are made weekly based on performance reviews from the previous round but also includes an evaluation of the current form of each official over the term of the competition.

“We have completed our reviews from the weekend and have followed strong internal processes as we prepare our team to reach their physical, mental and technical peaks as we head into the critical last four rounds of the regular season and Super Rugby Finals Series.

“Public confidence in match officials is essential to the ongoing success of our product and we will continue striving to enhance the quality and accountability of refereeing across all SANZAR competitions.”

This next weekend’s Round 15 sees 7 matches, with 2 on Friday 22 May and 5 on Saturday 23 May.

The Brumbies have a BYE weekend.

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Super RugbyIt was a tough Round of Vodacom Super Rugby for the 4 South African franchises in action this weekend as none of them managed to win their matches against Australasian opposition.

It was the 1st time in more than 8 years that 4 South African teams lost to sides from the other side of the Indian Ocean on 1 weekend.

In Round 9 in 2007, on 30 and 31 March, the Toyota Cheetahs, Cell C Sharks and Vodacom Bulls all came up short in tour matches Down Under, against the Highlanders, Western Force and Hurricanes respectively, while the Emirates Lions were beaten at home by the Brumbies.

Round 6 in 2008 and Round 8 in 2014 saw 3 South African defeats offset by a solitary draw against opposition from Australasia.

Just more than a month ago, in Round 9, 4 Australian sides lost on 1 weekend – 3 of them against South African opponents – when the Western Force went down to the Toyota Cheetahs in Perth, the Waratahs lost to the DHL Stormers in Sydney, the Reds were beaten by the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria and the Brumbies came up short against the Blues in Auckland.

A similar scenario with New Zealand teams happened 15 years ago, in Round 12 in 2000, when all 5 of their sides lost to teams from South Africa and Australia.

On Friday morning, the Vodacom Bulls had to be happy with a losing bonus point in their 1st tour match as they went down by 23 / 18 to the Blues in Auckland.

Saturday kicked off with the Cell C Sharks losing in Sydney to the defending champion Waratahs (33 / 18), while the Emirates Lions lost in Johannesburg to the Brumbies (30 / 20) and the Highlanders were too strong for the Toyota Cheetahs in Bloemfontein (45 / 24).

The DHL Stormers had a bye this weekend, as they did way back in 2007 when their 4 South African counterparts also lost.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 14 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 2 games on Friday 15 May and 4 games on Saturday 16 May.

The DHL Stormers, Crusaders and Western Force have BYE weekends.

There are 2 lip-licking South African games against overseas teams on the weekend, between the Emirates Lions vs Brumbies in Johannesburg as well as between the Toyota Cheetahs vs Highlanders in Bloemfontein. The battling Cell C Sharks will play their 3rd match on tour against the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday morning.

On Friday, the Blues hoost the Vodacom Bulls in Auckland at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) before the Reds host the Melbourne Rebels in Brisbane, at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

On Saturday morning the Hurricanes host the Chiefs in Wellington at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Waratahs host the Cell C Sharks in Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

Over to South Africa and next up, at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST, 03:05 NZ Time), the Emirates Lions host the Brumbies in Johannesburg, before the Toyota Cheetahs host the Highlanders in Bloemfontein at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 05:10 NZ time, 03:10 AEST).

The Blues vs Bulls match is a difficult one to call but considering the Blues form this season the Bulls should be favourites to take it on Friday, and the Reds vs Melbourne Rebels is also difficult to call but considering the Reds are hitting rock-bottom and digging, the Rebels should take this one away from home.

The game between the Hurricanes and Chiefs should be a cracker and one tends to lean towards the Hurricanes to take it at home. The Waratahs should take the game against the Cell C Sharks in Sydney.

Regarding the 2 games in South Africa, the Emirates Lions would have to play hell-for-leather to beat a very strong Brumbies side but they are supremely fit and motivated and this is a game to look forward to, it could go either way. In Bloemfontein the Highlanders should be too strong for the Toyota Cheetahs.

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Super RugbyThe Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks will be going all-out to change their recent fortunes in Australasia in this weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby action.

Back home, the Emirates Lions and Toyota Cheetahs will be facing opposition from Down Under in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein respectively.

The Vodacom Bulls kick off their tour of New Zealand and Australia against the Blues in Auckland on Friday morning. The men from Pretoria have lost their last 7 matches Down Under, their last victory incidentally coming against the 3-time champions, the Blues, at Eden Park.

The Cell C Sharks will be looking to snap a 5-match losing streak when they take on the defending champion Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday, a daunting prospect when one considers the Durbanites have not won in New South Wales in 15 years.

On Saturday afternoon, the Emirates Lions host the Australian Conference leaders, the Brumbies, at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. The last 2 encounters between these sides – in 2011 and 2012 – were won by the visiting team.

The final match of the weekend is Saturday evening at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein between the Toyota Cheetahs and the dangerous Highlanders. The men from Central South Africa will be looking for their 1st home win ever over the Otago-based side.

The DHL Stormers have a BYE this weekend.

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WhistleSANZAR has announced the names of the Match Officials for for Round 14 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

3 Teams have BYE weekends, namely the Crusaders, Western Force and DHL Stormers.

There are 6 matches on the weekend, 2 on Friday 15 May and 4 on Saturday 16 May.

The action is kicked off in Auckland where the Blues host the Vodacom Bulls at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT), officiated by Mike Fraser. Also on Friday at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT) the Reds host the Melbourne Rebels in Brisbane where the game will be controlled by Andrew Lees.

On Saturday first up it will be the Hurricanes vs Chiefs in Wellington, blown by Glen Jackson and the game starts at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT). The match is followed by the clash between the Waratahs and Cell C Sharks in Sydney at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT), refereed by Rohan Hoffmann.

Later on Saturday in South Africa the Emirates Lions host the Brumbies in Johannesburg at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST) and the game will be handled by Jaco Peyper. The last game of the Round is in Bloemfontein at 19:10 SA Time (17:10 GMT, Sunday 05:10 NZ Time) where the Toyota Cheetahs host the Highlanders and the game will be blown by Stuart Berry.

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Super RugbySupporters in Johannesburg and Cape Town were made to worry 1st before smiling as the Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers put away their Australasian opponents in an exciting round of Vodacom Super Rugby action.

The Cell C Sharks, in their 2nd match of their tour Down Under, also showed a lot of character and played with vigour, but in the end it wasn’t enough against a fired-up Hurricanes side in Wellington.

The table-toppers from New Zealand beat the Durbanites by 32 / 24 on Saturday morning but with less than 10 minutes to go, the result was still in the balance.

On Saturday afternoon, both the Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers had to fight their way back into contention after listless 1st-half performances.

The Gautengers trialled by 20 / 3 at the break, but played sublime rugby in the 2nd half and in the end beat the Highlanders by 28 / 23 in a very exciting match.

The excitement levels were not as high in Cape Town, where the DHL Stormers overturned a 16 / 9 halftime deficit into a 25 / 24 victory over the Australian Conference leaders, the Brumbies.

The 1st penalty goal of the match by Demetri Catrakilis, who kicked 20 points for the DHL Stormers, saw him move to 28 consecutive successful kicks at goal this season.

However, Catrakilis missed the next one, which would’ve seen him improve the record to 29. As it stands, the DHL Stormers flyhalf now shares the record with former Capetonian pivot Peter Grant (this is since 2002).

The Vodacom Bulls and Toyota Cheetahs had byes this weekend.

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Super RugbyIt is Round 13 of Super Rugby 2015 this weekend.

There are 2 games on Friday 8 May and 4 games on Saturday 9 May.

The Vodacom Bulls, Toyota Cheetahs and Chiefs have BYE weekends.

There are 2 lip-licking South African games against overseas teams on the weekend, between the Emirates Lions vs Highlanders in Johannesburg as well as between the DHL Stormers vs Brumbies in Cape Town. The battling Cell C Sharks is on tour and will be in action in their 2nd tour match against the table-topping Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday morning.

On Friday, the Crusaders host the Reds in Christchurch at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 17:35 AEST, 07:35 GMT) before the Melbourne Rebels host the Blues, in Melbourne, at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 AEST, 21:40 NZ Time, 09:40 GMT).

On Saturday morning the Hurricanes host the Cell C Sharks in Wellington at 09:35 SA Time (19:35 NZ Time, 07:35 GMT), whereafter the Western Force host the Waratahs in Perth at 11:40 SA Time (17:40 AWST, 19:40 AEST, 09:40 GMT).

Over to South Africa and next up, at 15:00 SA Time (13:00 GMT, Sunday 01:00 NZ Time), the Emirates Lions host the Highlanders in Johannesburg, before the DHL Stormers host the Brumbies in Cape Town at 17:05 SA Time (15:05 GMT, Sunday 01:05 AEST).

The Crusaders should dispatch the Reds on Friday, but the Melbourne Rebels vs Blues is a difficult game to pick.

The game between the Hurricanes and Cell C Sharks is one where the Hurricanes are firm favourites, although the Hurricanes are resting some players whereas the Sharks have tried to pick their strongest possible combination. The Waratahs should take the game away from home against the Western Force.

The 2 games in South Africa could easily be seen as the games of the weekend and the Emirates Lions would have to play hell-for-leather to beat a very strong Highlanders team. In Cape Town, the DHL Stormers vs Brumbies game could also go either way, with both teams having aspirations to finish top of their respective Conferences… accordingly it is a difficult one to pick and one supposes that the home team therefor has the advantage.

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