Russia 16 v 13 Romania
Match Report to Follow : -
Russia: Sergey Novoselov (Yenisei-STM), Stanislav Selskyi (Yenisei-STM), Innokenty Zykov (Yenisei-STM), Denis Antonov (Slava-DSP); Andrey Ostrikov (Sale Sharks, England), Andrey Temnov (Yenisei-STM Captain), Pavel Butenko (Yenisei-STM) Viktor Gresev (Krasny Yar), Alexey Shcherban (Yenisei-STM), Ramil Gaisin (Yenisei-STM), Igor Kurashov (Yenisei-STM), Vladimir Rudenko (Krasny Yar), Dmitry Gerasimov (Yenisei-STM), Mikhail Babaev (VVA Saracens); Vasily Artemyev (Krasny Yar), , Rushan Iagudin (Krasny Yar),
Subs: Vladislav Korshunov (VVA Saracens), Alexey Volkov (VVA Saracens), Andrey Igretsov (Slava-DSP), Artem Fatahov (VVA Saracens), Andrey Garbuzov (Krasny Yar), Yuri Kushnarev (Yenisei-STM),),
Romania: Mihaita Lazar, Andrei Radoi, Horatiu Pungea, Valentin Poparlan, Marius Sirbe, Viorel Lucaci (Captain), Vlad Nistor, Stelian Burcea, Valentin Calafeteanu, Danut Dumbrava, Ionut Botezatu, Csaba Gal, Robert Dascalu, Adrian Apostol, Dorin Manole
Subs: Otar Turashvili Constantin Pristavita, Alexandru Tarus, Marius Antonescu, Andrei Gorcioaia Grigoras Diaconescu, Florin Ionita, Sabin Stratila
RR World Rankings outcome on Result 16-13 Win to Russia
RUS (on 63.69 points) at home -vs- ROM (on 68.15 points)
|RUS win by 3 points
2014-16 European Nations Cup > ENC 1A > First leg
Portugal 11 v 03 Germany
Match Details to follow : -
Portugal squad : Afonso Sousa GDS (Cascais), Bernardo Campelo (AEIS Agronomia), Bruno Medeiros (CDUL), Bruno Rocha (AEIS Técnico), Diogo Toorn (CDUL), David dos Reis (RC Chateaurenard), Duarte Foro (CDUL), Duarte Marques (AEIS Técnico), Francisco Fernandes (Béziers), Francisco Silva (GD Direito), Francisco Sousa (GDS Cascais), Francisco Appleton (CDUL), Francisco P. Magalhães (CDUL), Gonçalo Foro (CDUL), José Almeida RC Lousã, Julien Bardy ASM Clermont, João Almeida CDUL, João Bernardo Afonso GDS Cascais, João Mateus (AA Coimbra), João Silva (GD Direito), Manuel Pereira (GD Direito), Maxime Tonieta (US Oynnax), Miguel Vilaça (CDUL), Mike Tadjer (RC Massy), Nuno P.Costa (CDUL), Nuno Taful (GDS Cascais), Pedro Ávila (AS Clermont), Rodrigo Figueiredo (CDUP), Salvador Vassalo (GDS Cascais), Tomás Appleton (CDUL), Tony Martins (Limoges), Vasco Marques (CDUP), Vasco Uva (GD Direito)
Germany: Artur Zeiler, Alexander Widiker, Samy Fuchsel, Michael Popmeier, Robert May, Kehome Brenner, Umberto Pilla, Robert Hittel, Sean Armstrong (Captain), Chroistopher Hillsenbeck, Hendrik van der Merve, Paul Bosch, Clemens von Grumbkow, Steffen Liewbig, Kieron Manawatu
Subs: Dale Garner, Julius Niostadt, Christopher Howells, Benedikt Scherrer, Anjo Buckmann, Phil Sccesny, Tim Menzel, Jeremy Te Huia
RR World Rankings outcome on Result 11-03 Win to Portugal
POR (on 57.87 points) at home -vs- GER (on 56.21 points)
| POR win by 8 points
2014-16 European Nations Cup > ENC 1A > First leg
Spain 13 v 26 Georgia
Match Details to follow : -
Spain: Frank Jean-Louis Labbe, Benat Auzqui, Jesus Moreno Rodriguez, David Gonzales, Jesus Recuerda Núñez (Captain), Ignacio Villanueva Martín ,Gautier Gibouin Fontana, Jaime Maria Nava de Olano, Guillaume Guy Rouet, Daniel Snee, Sergi Aubanell, Thibaut Visensang, Marcos Gustavo Poggi, Julen Goia Iriberri, Bradley Linklater
Subs: Fernando Martin Lopez Perez, Juan Anaya Lázaro, Lorenzo Gabriel Agustín Ortiz Crivelli, Manuel Mora Ruiz, Javier De Juan Roldán, Martin Heredia, Pablo Fontes de Castro, Pablo Feijoo Ugalde.
Georgia : Mikheil Nariashvili , Zurab Zhvania, Levan Chilachava, Giorgi Nemsadze, Kote Mikautadze, Giorgi Tkhilaishvili, Shalva Sutiashvili (Captain), Lasha Lomidze, Vazha Khutsishvili, Lasha Khmaladze, Sandro Todua, Merab Sharikadze, David Kacharava, Tamaz Mchedlidze, Merab Kvirikashvili,
Subs: Simon Maisuradze, Kakha Asieshvili, Anton Peikrishvili, Levan Datunashvili, Giorgi Chkhaidze, Vasil Lobzhanidze Alexi Khutsishvili, Giorgi Aptsiauri.
RR World Rankings outcome on Result 26-13 Win to Georgia
ESP (on 62.01 points) at home -vs- GEO (on 70.51 points)
|GEO win by 13 points
2014-16 European Nations Cup > ENC 1A > First leg
France 13 v 20 Wales
Halfpenny kicks Wales to victory over wasteful France
Leigh Halfpenny kicked 15 points from the tee for Wales in the Stade de France
Warren Gatland’s side are fast-becoming Les Bleus’ bogey team and a fourth win in a row against their Gallic counterparts had not been achieved by Wales since the 1950s.
But while Camille Lopez and Morgan Parra were both wasteful from the kicking tee, Halfpenny was ruthless in securing a 15-point individual haul and Biggar crossed for a fine team try.
Brice Dulin did cross late on for France’s first try against Wales since the 2011 RBS 6 Nations but Halfpenny replied with his fifth penalty to secure an impressive victory.
Both sides came into the game having won one and lost one from the first two rounds but it is Philippe Saint-Andre’s side that will now need to look inwards after a second consecutive defeat in the 2015 Championship.
For Gatland and Wales meanwhile, they will be hoping that Ireland do them a favour against England tomorrow in Dublin before welcoming the men in green to Cardiff in the next round of games.
It was the visitors who started brighter and after 11 phases of heavy Welsh pressure the hosts infringed at the breakdown and Halfpenny made no mistake with the penalty from bang in front .
France then came closest to the opening try with their first foray into Welsh territory but Lopez’s cross-field kick was palmed back by Yoann Huget and could not find Dulin with the try line beckoning.
A second cross-field kick moments later was less successful as the recalled George North comfortably claimed the catch but with a penalty advantage, play went back and Lopez slotted home to level up matters.
Much of the build-up had focused on Mathieu Bastareaud’s relegation to the bench for France but he was introduced very early on as Remi Lamerat went off injured.
Lopez then missed a long-range effort from the tee with a quarter of the game played but it was Wales dominating possession and territory.
A clever grubber kick from Jonathan Davies wrong-footed Dulin and was collected by Liam Williams deep in the French 22. The ball was then spread right and Wales earned another penalty that the unerring Halfpenny slotted for a 6-3 lead.
For all the Welsh dominance however it was France who thought they had the game’s first try when Huget went over in the right corner but his celebrations were premature after Lopez’s pass to release him was marginally forward.
And with clock in the red at the end of the first half Lopez missed another penalty chance meaning that Wales went into the changing rooms three points ahead at the break.
Scrum-half Parra momentarily took over the kicking duties for the hosts after half-time but the result was still the same as his first effort was pushed across the posts.
And chances continued to be wasted by the hosts as a fine outside break from Wesley Fofana again put Les Bleus on the front foot but when the ball came back inside Bastareaud’s break was called up for obstruction in the build up.
Saint-Andre’s side had really come to life after the interval and while a try was not forthcoming the increasingly influential Parra was dictating proceedings and another penalty in front of the posts was not wasted this time as Lopez returned to the kicking duties to level the scores.
Parity did not last long though as from the first Wales attack of the half they secured another penalty that the clinical Halfpenny duly slotted.
After that bright French start Wales began to dominate possession in the same way they had the first half, a Biggar drop goal hitting the post and going wide as they set up shop in their opponents’ half.
But the fly-half was not frustrated for long, as North’s fine initial break established the territory for the game’s first try. Fine interplay from Rhys Webb and Dan Lydiate then released Biggar and the No.10 dived over for his first Wales try in the right corner.
Halfpenny missed with the extras from out wide but Wales had a 14-6 lead with less than 20 minutes remaining and were starting to turn the screw.
Another Halfpenny penalty opened up an 11-point lead for the visitors, if a France comeback was going to materialise it had to come quickly and with Parra now off injured it looked unlikely.
But with 12 minutes remaining France finally had the try the Stade de France was craving, Dulin bravely diving over in the left corner after fine offloading within the forwards had made the initial advance.
Lopez’s conversion from the touchline also crept over and with ten minutes remaining France only trailed by four.
But that hope was short-lived, Halfpenny again the executioner with his fifth penalty of the night to open up a seven-point lead with the clock ticking down.
France pushed hard in the closing stages, knowing – as they had in Dublin two weeks ago – that a converted try could only secure a draw, but Wales held firm and despite their loss to England on the opening night they remain firmly in contention for the title.
Pens: Lopez 2
Pens: Halfpenny 5
RR World Rankings outcome on Result 20-13 Win to Wales
FRA (on 80.07 points) at home -vs- WAL (on 81.69 points)
|WAL win by 7 points
France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Rémi Lamerat, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Sofiane Guitoune, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Romain Taofifenua, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Eddy Ben Arous.
Replacements: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Uini Atonio, 18 Vincent Debaty, 19 Jocelino Suta, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 22 Rémi Talès, 23 Mathieu Bastareaud.
Wales: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Gethin Jenkins
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Paul James, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Scott Williams.
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: JP Doyle (England), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Simon McDowell
Scotland 19 v 22 Italy
Italy leave it late to claim dramatic win over Scotland
Giovanbattista Venditti goes over for Italy’s second try just before the interval
A last-gasp penalty try secured Italy only the second away RBS 6 Nations victory in their history as they gained revenge over Scotland at BT Murrayfield.
In a battle between the two winless sides of this year’s Championship the Italians scored three tries to Scotland’s one but Greig Laidlaw’s accuracy from the kicking tee had looked like securing the hosts a win.
But with replacement Ben Toolis in the sin bin and the clock ticking down a maul directed by captain and talisman Sergio Parisse was illegally dragged to the ground just in front of the try line.
Referee George Clancy did not hesitate to award the penalty try and Tommaso Allan added the extras to seal a 22-19 victory that goes a long way to making up for the heartbreak of 12 months ago when Duncan Weir dropped a late goal to seal a Scottish victory in Rome.
Mark Bennett’s interception score early on and three Laidlaw penalties could have opened Scotland a first-half lead but they were pegged back by tries from Josh Furno and Giovanbattista Venditti.
And in an arm wrestle after the interval a fourth Laidlaw penalty put the hosts four points clear at 19-15.
But Italy refused to give up and eventually battled their way to their first RBS 6 Nations win since 2013 and only their second ever on their travels.
Their first also came in Scotland back in 2007, that day they made a blistering start and had scored three tries before seven minutes were on the clock.
But in 2015 at BT Murrayfield they made a rather less auspicious start, conceding a penalty at the very first ruck of the game to leave Laidlaw a simple penalty to open the scores.
An early three points was a good way to settle any Scottish nerves and while the scrum was frustratingly scrappy throughout, Vern Cotter’s side showed great confidence with ball in hand, Alex Dunbar’s break down the right from their own 22 a sign of their attacking intentions.
However it was an Italian mistake rather than Scottish brilliance that created the game’s first try, Haimona’s errant pass easily picked off by Bennett and the centre streaked clear for a simple try, his first ever for his country.
Laidlaw added the extras and without having really had to land a proper punch, the hosts were 10-0 in front.
But any fears of a Scottish onslaught were immediately proven to be premature as Italy summoned an instant response from a rolling maul that drove lock Furno over the try line.
Haimona’s struggles from the kicking tee continued – the fly-half failed to land a single kick at Twickenham in the last round – as he failed to add the extras but at 10-5 the visitors had a foothold in the game.
Peter Horne was impressing in the early stages at fly-half in the place of the suspended Finn Russell, the Glasgow playmaker releasing the recalled Tommy Seymour and the winger earned his side a penalty that Laidlaw slotted to open up an eight-point lead.
But again Scotland immediately switched off and an accidental offside from the re-start gave Haimona chance to close gap and this time he bisected the posts to make it 13-8.
Laidlaw hit back with a penalty of his own but still Cotter’s troops could not shake their opponents off and just before the interval it was the Azzurri who hit back, although there was a great deal of luck involved in the score.
Haimona’s curling penalty effort cannoned back off the post but winger Venditti was rewarded for his tireless chase as he leapt above Laidlaw to claim the rebound and dab down at the base of the post.
Haimona added the simple conversion meaning the two sides went in at the break with Scotland only 16-15 to the good.
The opening exchanges of the second half were riddled with errors as, despite the close scoreline, both sides continued to show admirable ambition.
Haimona limped off with an injury to be replaced by Tommaso Allan at fly-half and when the Italian scrum won a kickable penalty they should have taken the lead for the first time.
But Allan, a former Scotland Under-20s star, pushed his effort to the right of the posts and with the hour mark approaching the hosts redoubled their efforts.
Stuart Hogg was denied a try by a forward pass from Sean Lamont but after a period of sustained pressure in the Italian 22 they did win a penalty that Laidlaw slotted to make it 19-15.
But as the game moved into the closing stages Italy came mightily close to a try that would have sealed their first RBS 6 Nations win since 2013.
Successive five-metre scrums were repelled by Scotland but Horne’s penalty clearance missed touch and the Azzurri had one last chance, a driving maul earning another penalty and putting Toolis in the sin bin.
And with a man advantage the dam eventually broke as Clancy awarded a penalty try for another maul that was dragged down by Hamish Watson who also saw yellow to rub salt in the Scottish wound.
Allan added the extras but the victory was already secured as emotional celebrations broke out all over the field for Jacques Brunel’s side.
Pens: Laidlaw 3
Yellow cards: Toolis, Watson
Tries: Furno, Venditti, Penalty trty
Cons: Haimona, Allan
RR World Rankings outcome on Result 22-19 Win to Italy
SCO (on 77.19 points) at home -vs- ITA (on 71.11 points)
|ITA win by 3 points
Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Peter Horne, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Johnnie Beattie, 7 Blair Cowan, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Jonny Gray, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Fraser Brown, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Ben Toolis, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Greig Tonks, 23 Matt Scott.
Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Michele Visentin, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Enrico Bacchin, 11 Giovambattista Venditti, 10 Kelly Haimona, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Joshua Furno, 4 George Fabio Biagi, 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Andrea Manici, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Samuela Vunisa, 21 Guglielmo Palazzini, 22 Tommaso Allan, 23 Giulio Bisegni.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Television match official: Graham Hughes (England)
Assessor: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)
Lions 19 v 22 Stormers
Stormers hold off brave Lions
Stormers flank Nizaam Carr
The Stormers defended excellently in the dying minutes to secure a 22-19 win over the Lions at Ellis Park.
The Lions could have settled for a draw but twice turned down easy penalties in favour of going for the win. Fortune didn’t favour the brave on this occasion, with the Stormers holding on to their unbeaten record.
The ground was pounded by torrential rainfall an hour before play, making handling difficult and forcing the sides to keep the ball close or punt tactically for territory. Neither side employed either tactic well enough to trouble the other consistently, with many attacks breaking down between the 22m lines.
But the Lions found their groove just before the end of the first quarter, eating away at the Stormers defence through multiple phases, Warrick Tecklenberg rounding off the surge and Elton Jantjies adding the conversion to go with an earlier penalty.
The Stormers responded well after their slow start, bossing possession and camping in the Lions’ red zone. Twice they were held up over the tryline and pressed hard for the try thereafter, but ultimately came away with just a penalty for their efforts.
The Cape side looked good when they stayed patient through phases, but that patience was exhibited too seldom. They often looked to lift the attacking tempo and involve strike runners away from their support. The Lions breakdown work wasn’t found wanting.
Stormers flyhalf Demtri Catrakilis banked two more penalties to leave his side trailing by just four points at the break (13-9). On the evidence of the first half, the Stormers, despite being behind, looked the likely victors. The Lions hadn’t entered their 22m area since the 17th minute and they would have felt confident of remedying their shortcomings.
Jantjies and Catrakilis traded penalties after the restart, but the Stormers continued to botch good field positions, either through breakdown turnovers or inaccurate lineout feeds. It would be remiss not to credit the Lions’ physical, accurate and tireless defence, which contributed significantly to their opponent’s struggles.
The Stormers had no rebuttal to their efforts in this regard and, trailing 19-12 going into the final quarter, they became increasingly desperate in their play. Gone was the territorial dominance they enjoyed for much of the match, curtailed by the Lions’ strong kicking game, which pinned them deep in their half. This left the Stormers with two options – the kick return or high-risk counter – neither of which they were able to execute with the requisite efficiency.
Catrakilis goaled a 50m penalty to get his side within four points, and going into the final 10 minutes the Stormers once again looked odds on for the win. The Lions resistance finally crumbled three minutes from fulltime, Siya Kolisi scoring after a powerful rolling maul. Kurt Coleman nailed the conversion from the touchline.
The remaining minutes were breathless. The Lions had an unsuccessful pot at the drop goal to level, then played through three separate moves for a combined 35 phases, twice earning a penalty, which they duly turned down. Stormers midfielder Damien de Allende made an incredible try-saving tackle in that period, dislodging the ball as Howard Mnisi was in the motion of falling over the line.
When the ball finally spilled forward signalling the end of play, the Stormers celebrated a hard-earned victory with the gusto it deserved.
Lions – 19
Tries : Warwick Tecklenburg (16)
Penalties : Elton Jantjies (52,41,40,4)
Cons : Elton Jantjies (17)
Stormers – 22
Tries : Siya Kolisi (75)
Penalties : Demetri Catrakilis (65,46,37,34,29)
Cons : Kurt Coleman (77)
Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen (c), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Huw Jones.
Date: Saturday, February 28
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Andrew Lees (Australia)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Stephan Geldenhuys (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)
Rebels 15 v 20 Brumbies
Brumbies grind down Rebels
The Brumbies bounced back from last week in a gruelling battle with the Rebels in Melbourne, triumphing 20-15 despite a late scare.
Melbourne experienced all the seasons as a warm afteroon turned to black clouds and an inevitable downpour, with the power of each side’s respective pack playing a major role as conditions worsened.
In the end the visitors outscored their hosts by two tries to nil, with openside Jarrad Butler providing a score and an assist, but had to hold off a late charge from the Rebels with time up on the clock.
The Rebels’ bright start to the season has in part been down to their tenacious play around the park, physically intimidating their opponents and getting their forwards rumbling in the right direction.
Where the issue has been is a lack of composure when on the attack in the opposition 22 and it showed again on Saturday with the lack of an end product, forcing the Rebels to rely on the boot of Harris.
Overall however this was a controlled performance from the Brumbies, with the tireless efforts of their pack – notably Butler and Rory Arnold – securing a hard-earned victory with that extra bit of experience.
Mike Harris started off with an uncharacteristic miss given his early-season kicking form has been so stellar, before the full-back and Christian Leali’ifano traded penalties.
A well-worked lineout move generated the game’s first try, with Butler surging off the back of a rolling maul and delivering a flat pass to Tevita Kuridrani for the score.
Steve Walsh wasn’t exactly in favour with the crowd as TV replays suggested the ball went forward, with their frustrations growing even more after Tom English had a score called back for a forward pass.
The home side’s penalty count was beginning to rise, Leali’ifano punishing them with a second penalty, but with offences at the scrum being picked up by both sides Harris was handed a chance to add another three points and delivered to leave the Rebels trailing by seven at the break.
Neither team’s execution was near the top level as the rain started to hamper their handling.
A third Harris penalty after Nic White strayed offside closed the gap further following a sustained period of pressure for the hosts, although that was slim reward for a long period of possession attacking the Brumbies 22.
The Brumbies pack though was growing stronger with every passing minute, particularly after they gained valuable territory inside the Rebels 22 with a lineout.
Rebels captain Scott Higginbotham saw yellow for collapsing the maul and after the Brumbies went back to the corner, Butler got the ball down as the Brumbies crashed over the line.
Harris chalked back another three points with his fourth penalty before the Brumbies were denied a second try from a maul, Butler this time losing the ball forward inches from the line in the slippery conditions.
Great commitment from the Rebels kept them in the hunt and with Sam Carter’s yellow card five minutes from time they had the chance to get within losing bonus point territory thanks to the boot of Harris, who delivered to set up a tense finish.
White’s long-range effort sensibly wound down the clock but there was late drama as the Rebels won a scrum penalty with time up. There was no time for the lineout so the Rebels ran it, to the rousing noise of their fans, before winning another penalty in the 22 short of the posts.
It just wasn’t to be though for the home side as Sean McMahon knocked on, signalling a tough loss for the Rebels as the Brumbies extended their lead at the top of the Australian Conference.
Rebels – 15
Tries : Mike Harris (75,63,55,39,15)
Brumbies – 20
Tries : Jarrad Butler (58), Tevita Kuridrani (21)
Penalties : Christian Lealiifano (30,12)
Cons : Christian Lealiifano (59,22)
Melbourne Rebels: 15 Mike Harris, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11 Tom English, 10 Jack Debreczeni, 9 Nic Stirzaker, 8 Scott Higginbotham (c), 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Lopeti Timani, 4 Luke Jones, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Pat Leafa, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Ben Whittaker, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Sam Jeffries, 20 Scott Fuglistaller, 21 Luke Burgess, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Sefanaia Naivalu
Brumbies: 15 Robbie Coleman, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ita Vaea, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 JP Smith, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Jordan Smiler, 21 Michael Dowsett, 22 James Dargaville, 23 Jesse Mogg.
Date: Saturday 28 February
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: James Leckie (Australia), Ed Martin (Australia)
TMO: Peter Marshall (Australia)
Chiefs 40 v 16 Crusaders
Chiefs thump the Crusaders
Recent champions the Chiefs were outstanding as they dispatched the Crusaders 40-16 with a high-energy demolition at home.
A flat performance from the Crusaders will have left Todd Blackadder feeling bitterly disappointed, with last year’s finalists capable of much more than they produced in Hamilton.
No love was lost between these two New Zealand giants as tempers seemingly always threatened to spill over in a physical affair.
Moments of class though weren’t in short supply with the Chiefs looking back to their championship intensity of 2012 and 2013, additionally winning an impressive 16/16 lineouts. The Crusaders just couldn’t handle their intensity and were physically outmatched.
Rugby’s flavour-of-the-month disciplinary issue, the tackle in the air, reared it’s head three times in the first half alone. James Lowe and Matt Todd both saw yellow for their indiscretions, Todd’s offence coming straight after Lowe had returned to the field from his stint in the sin-bin.
Thankfully the quality of the game comfortably overshadowed those moments of indiscipline, as the Chiefs grew in confidence and ended with a try bonus point in a very impressive outing.
Even losing Brodie Retallick very early on to injury wasn’t enough to disrupt the Chiefs as they finished with five tries.
Colin Slade opened the scoring with two straight penalties before Lowe departed for his careless charge under the legs of Scott Barrett.
Despite being down to 14 men though the Chiefs grabbed the first try. Charlie Ngatai’s clever offload kept an attack alive before Sonny Bill Williams reached out to score having spun his way out from the back of a ruck near the Crusaders’ line with a skillful finish.
Cruden missed the conversion and then a penalty after a monster scrum from his pack, but the momentum continued to run the Chiefs’ way following Todd’s yellow card. A great carry from Lowe set the Chiefs up near the posts and Augustine Pulu’s dart gave the hosts a second try.
Slade and Cruden traded penalties before the Chiefs produced a supreme score, all starting from Tom Marshall’s low kick upfield. The chasers swarmed the breakdown to turn over possession before Sam Cane threw out a diamond pass to Williams, creating an easy run-in for Charlie Ngatai. Cruden converted to give the Chiefs a 22-9 half-time lead.
The Crusaders desperately needed a spark and Andy Ellis was the provider. The experienced number nine came off the bench for the injured Mitchell Drummond and burrowed his way over from close-range to give the visitors a lifeline.
Two Cruden penalties opened up the gap to 28-16 before the Chiefs stepped on the gas, Tom Marshall securing the bonus point try in the far corner as the Crusaders paid the price for playing too much rugby in their 22 by being turned over.
A turnover score sent Lowe off to the races for try number five, Cruden’s conversion bringing up the 40-point mark.
Young replacement Damian McKenzie came on and then swiftly departed after being shown a yellow card for a tip tackle as the Chiefs hunted down try number six with time running out.
It wasn’t to be but the Chiefs had already put this one away by a record margin against their New Zealand rivals, sending the Crusaders into their bye week with plenty of questions and licking their wounds.
Chiefs – 40
Tries : James Lowe (66), Tom Marshall (61), Charlie Ngatai (32), Augustine Pulu (21), Sonny Bill Williams (12)
Penalties : Aaron Cruden (54,48,30)
Cons : Aaron Cruden (67,33,23)
Crusaders – 16
Tries : Andrew Ellis (44)
Penalties : Colin Slade (25,6,2)
Cons : Colin Slade (45)
15 Tom Marshall, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Augustine Pulu, 8 Liam Messam (c) 7 Sam Cane, 6 Michael Fitzgerald, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Matt Symons, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Pauliasi Manu
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Mitchell Graham, 19 Johan Bardoul, 20 Sean Polwart, 21 Brad Weber, 22 Damian McKenzie, 23 Seta Tamanivalu.
Crusaders: 15 Tom Taylor, 14 Robbie Fruean, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Johnny McNicholl, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Jordan Taufua, 7 Matt Todd (c), 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Scott Barrett, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Alex Hodgman, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Luke Whitelock, 21 Andy Ellis, 22 Nathaniel Apa, 23 Nafi Tuitavake.
Date: Saturday, 28 February
Venue: Waikato Stadium
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Nick Briant (New Zealand), Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
Television match official: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)
Preview : Netherlands v Moldova
|Games played between Netherlands and Moldova
||40 – 26
||22 – 15
||13 – 15
||43 – 07
||30 – 27
||43 – 12
|Overall Stats Netherlands
||Overall Stats Moldova
|*Longest Winning Streak
||*Longest Winning Streak
|*Longest Losing Streak
||*Longest Losing Streak
|*Largest Points For
||*Largest Points For
|*Largest Points Against
||*Largest Points Against
|*Largest Winning Margin
||*Largest Winning Margin
|*Largest Losing Margin
||*Largest Losing Margin
|*Total Points For
||*Total Points For
|*Avg Points For
||*Avg Points For
|*Total Points Against
||*Total Points Against
|*Avg Points Against
||*Avg Points Against
|*Total Points Difference
||*Total Points Difference
|*Avg Points Difference
||*Avg Points Difference
|* = By Netherlands
||* = By Moldova
NED (on 51.33 points) at home -vs- MOL (on 55.64 points)
Average score – Netherlands 24.17 vs 24.67 Moldova
|If NED win by 1-15 points
|If NED win by more than 15
|If result is a draw
|If MOL win by 1-15 points
|If MOL win by more than 15