|12 April||Lions||12 – 25||Cell C Sharks||Ellis Park, Johannesburg|
|12 April||Toyota Cheetahs||31 – 52||Crusaders||Vodacom Park, Bloemfontein|
|12 April||Western Force||28 – 16||Waratahs||NIB Stadium, Perth|
|12 April||Chiefs||22 – 16||Melbourne Rebels||Waikato Stadium, Hamilton|
|11 April||Reds||20 – 23||Brumbies||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane|
|11 April||Highlanders||27 – 20||Vodacom Bulls||Forsyth Barr, Dunedin|
Drotské named an unchanged matchday 23-man for their Super Rugby clash against the Crusaders in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The Cheetahs drew 43-all with the Chiefs, despite taking a commanding 34-10 lead – the final try and conversion coming well into extra time.
Despite his team’s lapse last week, Drotské felt they showed progress since their disastrous and winless tour and gave the same group another run.
That means Springbok Trevor Nyakane against start at loosehead prop, ahead of Caylib Oosthuizen – who started in all the tour matches.
Inside centre is another position that has caused considerable debate in recent weeks – where Sevens Bok Rayno Benjamin are starting and keeping specialist midfielder Howard Mnisi on the bench.
Cheetahs: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cornal Hendricks, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Hennie Daniller, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Pieter Labuschagné, 6 Johannes Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 Nicolaas van Dyk, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Rossouw de Klerk, 19 Andries Ferreira, 20 Teboho Mohoje, 21 Shaun Venter, 22 Elgar Watts, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Chris Feauai-Sautia returns on the wing for his first start since injuring his hamstring in Johannesburg three weeks ago, replacing Jamie-Jerry Taulagi who moves to the replacements bench, while Anthony Fainga’a will start at inside centre in place of Mike Harris.
Harris complained of Achilles tendon soreness following last weekend’s match and may be named on the Reds’ reserves bench later in the week.
If Harris is not deemed fit for this weekend’s match, David McDuling will be named on the bench in what could mark his Reds debut.
“Mike pulled up sore on Sunday morning with an Achilles problem. I have bracketed him on the bench but won’t know until Friday as to whether or not he’ll be available,” Graham said.
“We are fortunate to have Ant (Fainga’a) as a straight replacement. He brings a lot of experience to the midfield having been with the Reds since 2009 and capped 23 times for the Wallabies.
“Chris (Feauai-Sautia) has worked hard during the past four weeks and looks in really good shape. His explosive running will be an asset for us.”
Also on the bench, Saia Fainga’a returns to the 23 after a shoulder injury ruled him out of the last two games. Should he make the field, this will be Saia’s 100th Super Rugby appearance.
“Saia has done everything required of him during the week and will be a good addition to the game when required. He will potentially play his 100th game of Super Rugby of which 73 are for the Reds.
“The chance to share it with his brother will mean a lot to the both of them.”
The Reds and Brumbies will contest the Macqueen Cup this weekend and with Queensland having won the first clash between the two earlier this year, a win on Friday would secure the trophy.
“This is an important match for the team. The Brumbies are a fierce rival and as another team in the Australian conference the points on offer ultimately influence the standings,” Graham said.
“The Macqueen Cup is also on offer and after a win in Round 1, we have one hand on the trophy.”
“We currently sit two points outside the Top 6 going into a bye. A strong performance on Friday night and a positive result will mean a lot to the squad.
“We have lost two of our last three matches by three points, so controlling the back end of the game will be important. It is something we have been working on and the playing group are well aware of what steps we need to take.”
1. James Slipper , 2. James Hanson , 3. Greg Holmes , 4. Rob Simmons , 5. James Horwill (C) , 6. Eddie Quirk , 7. Beau Robinson , 8. Jake Schatz , 9. Will Genia (VC) , 10. Quade Cooper , 11. Chris Feauai-Sautia , 12. Anthony Fainga’a , 13. Ben Tapuai , 14. Rod Davies , 15. Ben Lucas
Replacements : 16. Saia Fainga’a (100th Super Rugby game) , 17. Albert Anae , 18. Jono Owen , 19. Ed O’Donoghue , 20. Curtis Browning , 21. Nick Frisby , 22. Mike Harris/Dave McDuling (debut) , 23. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi
Veteran Springbok lock Victor Matfield, who went on tour primarily as a coach and was not expected to play at all, has been rushed back into the starting XV after a spate of injuries incurred in the ‘Canes game last weekend.
The tour-ending injuries to Deon Stegmann and Dewald Potgieter see some changes to the back row. Grant Hattingh starts at No 8, while Jono Ross and Jacques du Plessis are on the flanks.
Bulls – 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Grant Hattingh, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Flip van der Merwe (c), 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Paul Willemse, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Pieter van Zyl, 21 Handré Pollard, 22 William Small-Smith, 23 Morné Mellett.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nicholas Davidson QC accepted a guilty plea from Baker for contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he was cited during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
Baker has been suspended from all forms of the game for six weeks up to and including 16 May 2014.
The incident occurred in the 12th minute of the match between the Highlanders and Rebels at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday 4 April 2014.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nicholas Davidson QC assessed the case and a paraphrased version of his full record of the DJO process is as follows.
In his finding, Mr Davidson said, “After reviewing the video footage and hearing from the player and his representatives, including counsel Mr Aaron Lloyd, and obtaining their views of the incident, I proceeded on the basis required of a Duty Judicial Officer that breach was established.
“The footage showed the player driving the Rebels player away from the breakdown before lifting and tipping him rapidly to the ground. I considered that the potential for harm was significant as the tackled player was lifted high off the ground and tipped quickly so that despite the Rebels’ player attempt to break his fall with his arm, his neck made contact with the ground. The tackler has the responsibility not to place the tackled player at such risk and in this case, the player was placed in a very vulnerable position and was fortunate to not be injured. “
“The incident was found to have an entry point in the mid-range which starts at eight weeks. I then added two weeks as a deterrent for this type of tackle as it has been widely acknowledged that this type of action can not be tolerated in the game due to the risk to players. This was acknowledged by the player and by Highlanders management.”
Based on acceptance of the indicated sanction, and the player’s excellent disciplinary and playing record, a discount was given to bring the suspension to six weeks. The player is suspended up to and including Friday 16 May 2014.
All SANZAR disciplinary matters are in the first instance referred to a Duty Judicial Officer hearing to provide the option of expediting the judicial process.
For a matter to be dispensed with at this hearing, the person appearing must plead guilty and accept the penalty offered by the DJO.
Duty Judicial Officer: Nicholas Davidson QC
Player: Kurt Baker
Date of Incident: 4 April 2014
Nature of Offence: Law 10.4 (j) Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player’s feet are still off the ground such that the player’s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play.
Elapsed time in match when incident occurred: 12th minute
The Chiefs finished their Super Rugby tour of South Africa on Saturday with a 43-all draw against the Cheetahs n which Cruden broke his thumb.
The Chiefs have released a statement saying that the All Black No.10 broke his left thumb playing for the Chiefs on Saturday and is expected to miss Super Rugby for six to eight weeks of rugby.
At the conclusion of the match against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, Cruden went to hospital for an x-ray which identified a fracture in the thumb.
Cruden is the second All Black to break his left thumb this season as captain Richie McCaw broke his playing for the Crusaders last month and he too is expected to miss up to two months of rugby.
|Overall Super Rugby table and standings|
Wild card teams