Super Rugby Quarter-Finals 2016

From 1996-2010, the home side won 37/45 knockout games by an average score of 31-19.

2011 saw the introduction of the conference system. Previously the knockout format had seen 1st v 4th and 2nd v 3rd in semi-finals.

The new system was similar to that seen in Top 14, with 1st and 2nd given a semi-final place and their opponents decided by a qualifying round – 3rd v 6th and 4th and 5th. The winner of each conference was seeded 1st-3rd with 4th-6th place decided by points, regardless of conference.

Between 2011-2015, the home team won 18/25 knockout matches by an average score of 25-19.

If looking at just regular season games in the 1996-2010 period, there were 90 matches featuring a top 4 team v another top 4 team. The home side won 70% of those contests. When the home team had a higher league finish than their opponent , that win rate was 93% and when the it was lower – 48%.

In the conference era of 2011-15, there were 82 matches featuring a top 6 team v another top 6 team with the home team having a 66% win rate. It was a 78% home win rate when the hosts had a higher league finish than the visitors and 54% when lower.

If taking all games from 1996-2010, the home win rate was 62%. When the home team had a higher season finish than the opposition it was 84%. Those same rates for 2011-2015 were 61% and 83%.

New Zealand teams have won 32/35 home knockout games, with the losses all coming against fellow Kiwi opposition. Australian teams have won 14/20 and South African teams 9/15.

2016 saw the format for Super Rugby changed again, with 18 teams divided geographically into 2 groups, each containing 2 conference. The top team from each conference qualify for a home quarter-final place and are seeded 1st to 4th on competition points. The away teams are the next three teams in the Australasian group with the most competition points and next best team in the South African group. The format of 1st v 8th, 2nd v 7th, 3rd v 6th and 4th v 5th is used , but the conference hierarchy is kept for the semi-finals.

This means that unlike the 1996-2010 era, it is possible for a team to host a knockout game and have earned fewer points than their opponent. As an example, the Brumbies would be 7th on a ‘real’ table and Highlanders 3rd, but using this conference system they are 4th and 5th respectively.

Points rank QF

The changes to the format have placed greater significance on the fixture list. From 1996-2010 teams played each other once. Between 2011-2015, each side played their conference rivals twice, home and away which made up 8 matches. They also played two home and two away games against four teams from both the other conferences , making up another 8 games.  This meant a team would miss out playing one team from each conference every season.

For the current format, each team plays 6 games against sides in their conference – for Africa 1 and 2 that just means playing the other three teams home and away. For the Australian and New Zealand conferences – two of the opponents will be played home and away and the two just once. For example, Chiefs faced Crusaders and Highlanders home and away this year, then Blues just at home and Hurricanes just away. The remaining fixtures are made up of games against the other teams in the group (so Chiefs had five games against the Australian teams) and then matches against one of the conferences from the rival group (Chiefs have Africa 2 this year – so four games – against Lions, Kings, Jaguares and Sharks).

That system provided an opportunity for teams in the Africa 1 conference this year, as they didn’t have to play any New Zealand opponents in the regular season. That easier schedule is reflected below, with the Stormers facing an opponent with an average table position of 12.1, Bulls 11.6, Cheetahs 10.9 and Sunwolves 10.4. In contrast the Highlanders had the 4th hardest set of games and Chiefs 5th.

strength of schedule qf

 

 

 

 

Brumbies v Highlanders

BrumbiesHighlandersQF

(Avg season stats – Opta / Vodacom)

 

The Highlanders won away at the defending champions Waratahs and top ranked Hurricanes last year to lift their first title and that experience should be an advantage when they approach the knockout stage now.  Assistant coach Tony Brown has said “We are a far better team than we were last year” (Stuff NZ) and there is evidence to suggest the Highlanders are well placed to win the title again.

Jamie Joseph’s side have won 6 of their 8 games against other top 8 teams this year, compared to 5/8 by the Chiefs, 4/7 Lions, 3/7 Crusaders, 3/7 Hurricanes, 3/7 Sharks, 1/3 Stormers and 1/5 Brumbies.

They conceded an average of 18.2 points per match this season, the second lowest rate after the Sharks and allowed 1.9 tries per game. The goal kickers ranking site – goalkickers.co.za – has Lima Sopoaga adding the most value  – with 8 more points than might have been expected and there is strength in the set piece with a 97% scrum and third most lineout steals (20). A penalty rate of 8.3 conceded per game was joint lowest along with the Rebels.

No team kicked or tackled more per game than the Highlanders with match averages of 27.5 and 127 respectively.  As might be expected of a team that was kicking that much, they ranked low for passes (13th) and carries (14th). However unlike other teams with high tackle counts like the Sharks, the Highlanders proved very dangerous when they did have the ball – making the 5th most clean breaks and 2nd most offloads.

Highlanders team

This will be the 5th time in 7 matches that this backline has started together and the 14th for the Smith / Sopoaga combination. The shift of Luke Whitelock to lock means Joseph can start the Elliot Dixon, Shane Christie, Liam Squire backrow unit for the 5th time this year – with the last being the 23-10 April win over the Brumbies in Invercargill.

After travelling to South Africa, Argentina then back for a high intensity match against the Chiefs it might usually be sensible to oppose a side 2nd half if they then had to travel again for a knockout match. The Highlanders haven’t been outscored 2nd half since round 4 though. While in the early years under Joseph they used to fade at the end of seasons (6/7 losses at end of 2011 campaign, 5/7 in 2013, 5/7 in 2014), the current group don’t show signs of doing so. As with the scrum lesson against the Sharks in the 2014 qualifying round loss, the Highlanders have turned perceived weaknesses into strengths in the previous two seasons.

The hosts won 9 of their 10 matches against teams ranked 9th or lower by an average score of 32-17 but bar the opening day demolition of the Hurricanes then struggled against their playoff rivals, losing by 13 points against the Highlanders, 20 at the Stormers, 25 against the Chiefs and 26 v Crusaders.

The Brumbies averaged under 400 metres carried a match and half as many offloads as the Highlanders.  When the teams met earlier in the year, Stephen Larkham’s side dominated possession (73%) and territory (75%), making 199 passes and 159 runs to the Highlanders 85 and 64. How that contest played out might negate the view that possible wet weather in Canberra could help the Brumbies slow down the tempo and throw the Highlanders off their preferred style. Conditions were poor in Invercargill too.

David Pocock won 29 turnovers for the Brumbies in 1035 minutes last season and 25 in 783 minutes this campaign. His return to the team is important given several other likely starters are missing in Ben Alexander, Rory Arnold, with Ita Vaea retired and wings Henry Speight and Joe Tomane out since the middle of season.

Brumbies team

It is a 16th start for Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, Christian Leali’ifano, Tevita Kuridrani and Aidan Toua, 15th for Stephen Moore, 14th for Tomas Cubelli, Scott Sio and 13th for Matt Toomua.

Stopping the powerful Brumbies lineout drive will have been a focus for the Highlanders this week.  After the earlier meeting between these sides, Brumbies forwards coach Dan McKellar complained that the Highlanders tactic of disengaging was “negative and we feel as a club that it’s not in the spirit of the game.” Given that area is a main source of tries for the hosts, it wasn’t a surprise to see similar comments this week from McKellar – “…we’ll never use that tactic … we’ll man up and try to shut down any maul in attack. But we’ve got some tactics if it is used” (Canberra Times).

It is noticeable that Sanzaar have opted against neutral referees for these games with Angus Gardner in charge of this match, Glen Jackson – Hurricanes v Sharks, Craig Joubert – Lions v Crusaders and Jaco Peyper – Stormers v Chiefs.

The home side has won 3/10 matches this season with Gardner as referee. An alternate view is that the higher ranked team won 9/10 games, with the only ‘upset’ being 16th placed Force beating 15th ranked Reds.

It can also be seen that the average winning margin in his games was 18.6 points which is slightly up from the season average of 17.4. From 2011-2015, the average winning margin was 12.1 points and 1996-2010 it was 14.2 points.

Brumbies home games saw high winning margins this season with an average of 27.6 points and lowest of 14 points. They’ve lost their previous two matches  (against Rebels, Chiefs) there with Gardner as referee, while in the same period  the Highlanders have won 48-15 at home against the Sharks, and 44-7 (Blues), 26-13 (Chiefs) and 34-8 (Jaguares) away.

The hosts have been outscored 2nd half in 7 of their previous 8 games against New Zealand opposition. Against the Highlanders it was 0-12 and 7-16 in that run. The visitors have an average halftime score of  11-11 against Australia opponents over the previous 8 matches but 16-6 in the 2nd half.

Highlanders -2 on 2nd half hcap

Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Nigel Ah Wong, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Matt Toomua, 11 Robbie Coleman, 10 Christian Lealiifano (cc), 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Jarrad Butler, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Blake Enever, 3 Ruan Smith, 2 Stephen Moore (cc), 1 Scott Sio
Replacements (one to be left out): 16 Josh Mann-Rea, 17 Allan Alaalatoa, 18 Leslie Leulua’iali’i-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Michael Wells, 21 Joe Powell, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 James Dargaville, 24 Lausii Taliauli

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (cc), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Matt Faddes, 12 Malakai Fekitoa, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Liam Squire, 7 Shane Christie (cc), 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Luke Whitelock, 4 Tom Franklin, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siosiua Halanukonuka, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Dan Pryor, 21 Te Aihe Toma, 22 Fletcher Smith, 23 Rob Thompson

 

 

 

Hurricanes v Sharks

HurricanesSharksQF

(Avg season stats – Opta / Vodacom)

A bonus point win, away at the Crusaders in the final round secured top spot for the Hurricanes – a feat they also achieved in 2015. There were questions this year about how the team would react to the home final loss last July and how they would cope with the losses of Ben Franks, Jeremy Thrush, Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith.  With James Broadhurst also ruled out for the season and Nehe Milner-Skudder only playing 130 minutes , there was a need for others to stand up. It might not have been expected pre-season that a lock pairing of Michael Fatialofa and Vaea Fifita would start 8 matches together, but the combo has proved effective.

The Hurricanes scrum had a 95% success rate in both 2015 and this season, but for this match props Loni Uhila and Ben May are making their first starts of the season. The Sharks have named props Coenie Oosthuizen, Tendai Mtawarira, Dale Chadwick, Thomas du Toit in their squad so are missing a proper tight-head.

With Julian Savea dropped for this match there are only 6 Hurricanes starters from last year’s final XV.

There has been continuity in key areas though, the settled halfback duo of TJ Perenara and Beauden Barrett started every game this season while this is game number 13 for the starting backrow combo of Brad Shields, Ardie Savea and Victor Vito.

Hurricanes team

Chris Boyd’s team lost 4 matches this season – a couple of 1 point defeats against the Chiefs and Highlanders, a 52-10 opening round hammering against the Brumbies and a 32-15 loss against the Sharks in Durban.  In those big losses the Canes’ turnover count was 31 and 24.

This week assistant coach John Plumtree said “It’s pretty clear that we didn’t prepare well in Durban and that mirrored the performance. So we’ve learned from that and got better” (SA Rugby Mag) while TJ Perenara echoed those comments with “We know that preparation is a key for this team. If we can prepare well, we tend to perform well, so doing the same things that we’ve been doing for a big part of this year [is the key]” (Stuff NZ).

Several senior players missed a team curfew before that Sharks loss and were then dropped for the next match. Boyd referred to it as a 1/10 offence and 10/10 punishment but that and the defeat itself should act as extra motivation and avoid any sense of underestimating the visitors this time.

Over the season, the hosts averaged 30 more carries and 55 more passes a match compared to the Sharks – who dwell near the bottom of the competition for those stats as well as metres run, defenders beaten , points scored etc. They do boast the meanest defence in the competition (credit to defence coach Omar Mouneimne’s work), allowing 17.9 points a game and also the most turnovers won – with an average of 8.3 per match.

Before the earlier match with the Hurricanes, Sharks coach Gary Gold said “We’re not going to apologise if we win games in the best way that we need to. You have to first stop the New Zealand teams from scoring tries, and when you have the ball against them you have to be more clinical in the way you look after it”.

That comment and the performances this year are a far cry from the ideas promoted by Gold when he took over in late 2014 – “Super Rugby is not the cold and wet of Europe….You’re not going to win games 9-6 by having a kicker….. You’re going to have to score tries… I want to play a hell of a lot more attacking brand of rugby so that we’re winning games because we’re outscoring teams by the amount of tries we’re scoring.”

The Sharks season was disrupted by injuries to Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach with the halfback combo not starting any matches together – a contrast with the Perenara / Barrett pairing. Marcell Coetzee was also out for most of the campaign and with the du Plessis brothers, Alberts, Kankowski (Sevens) all gone, there was plenty of experience missing this year. The upside long-term is that youngsters like the du Preez twins, Gareth April, Curwin Bosch have seen game time.

Sharks team

Sharks record against New Zealand teams this season might give them hope, they  lost by 5 points against the Crusaders and Blues, 2 points against the Chiefs, beat 14 man Highlanders by 1 point and had the 17 point win over the Hurricanes.

With the exception of the Highlanders who had Jason Emery sent off after 12 minutes, the other New Zealand teams all passed more than their season average when playing the Sharks (Hurricanes 211 compared to 159.5) and conceded more turnovers. They were also all kept below their avg points scored a match – Hurricanes 15.5 points lower, Highlanders 14.1, Crusaders 13.5, Chiefs 8.7 and Blues 1.9.

Plumtree has mentioned the Sharks win record against the hosts and said that their 2012 achievement of winning away at the Reds and Stormers in the knockout stage shows the character of the squad.  That was 4 years ago though and only a handful of players remain in the squad.

Perhaps a case could have been made for a fresh Sharks side at home to contain the Hurricanes but instead they had to travel to Wellington for this contest. Ignore their matches against the Sunwolves ,Kings and the Sharks averaged 18.6 points against other teams and 17.7 when away.   The hosts have scored an average of 34.7 at home this year. The defeats against the Brumbies and Sharks are evidence of what happens when the Hurricanes are punished for a high error count. On the other hand, the Sharks recent loss at the Lions (27-0 down after 39 minutes) shows what happens when they run into a dangerous attacking side.

The Brumbies victory at the Cheetahs was the only away win in Glen Jackson’s 10 matches this season.  On 4 occasions a home team beat an away side with a higher table ranking.

Hurricanes -6 on 2nd half handicap.

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Jason Woodward, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Loni Uhila
Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Vince Aso, 23 Julian Savea

Sharks: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Garth April, 9 Michael Claasens, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Stefan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Tera Mtembu, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Odwa Ndungane

 

 

 

Lions v Crusaders

LionsCrusadersqf(Avg season stats – Opta / Vodacom)

 

The Lions were relegated at the end of the 2012 season, having lost 13 of their 16 matches and 47/58 over the previous three years.  Johan Ackermann rebuilt the team and has overseen improvement each season, with 7 wins in 2014, 9 in 2015 and 11 this year.  There was a similar pattern in the Currie Cup – with 4 victories and semi-final defeat in 2013, 7 and a final loss in 2014 and 10 season wins and a final win in 2015.

There is often talk from South African sides of evolving their style and utilising a more attacking gameplan, but while others usually revert to previous habits, the Lions have fully committed to that.  They scored the most tries this season (71), the most points (535), carried for the most metres (8010m), beat the most defenders (411).

There is a contrast then, between the Lions and the other sides facing New Zealand teams this weekend.  Brendan Venter raised the point last week that a lack of kicking game might be a weakness for the hosts in the knockout stage. It proved the difference in the 43-37 loss against the Crusaders but will Ackermann want to tinker with tactics this late on in the season? Lions beat the two New Zealand teams that kick the least – in the Blues and Chiefs (and at roughly the same avg kicks per game as themselves) and lost to the other three who tend to kick more often.

With the Hurricanes pipping the Lions to top spot, much will be made of Johan Ackermann’s ‘gamble’ of keeping his first choice side at home rather than make the trip to Argentina in the final round. Mental fatigue – particularly for those players that represented the ‘Boks in June and wishing to avoid travel were among the reasons given for the decision. It is true that both the Chiefs and Highlanders did similar (if not to the same extent) on the way to their titles.  The hosts will now be fresh whereas the Crusaders were unable to leave for South Africa until Tuesday due to a lack of flights (NZ Herald).

Lions team

There will be a wait to see if Warren Whiteley can start (if not it will be Ruan Ackermann) but otherwise the Lions will be at full strength.  It is the 10th time the front row of Dylan Smith, Malcolm Marx and Julian Redelinghuys have started this season, 13th for the lock combo of Andries Ferreira and Franco Mostert. Providing Whiteley is fit, it will be the 10th start for him, Jaco Kriel and Warwick Tecklenburg.

Todd Blackadder’s final season in charge of the Crusaders was expected to be tough going, with Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Colin Slade and Tom Taylor all off. That meant a new 10 had to be selected from Marty McKenzie, Ben Volavola or Richie Mo’unga  and as usual – managing the workload of a number of All Blacks.

Crusaders team

Codie Taylor and Owen Franks have been regular starters this season, with Wyatt Crockett / Joe Moody rotated at loose-head.  Similar to the Lions, the preferred backrow unit (Jordan Taufua, Matt Todd, Kieran Read) will be making their 10th start of the campaign. The injured Nemani Nadolo has accounted for 13% of the team’s offloads and defenders beaten and caused the Lions plenty of problems in April. While others in the Crusaders backline were accused in the past of playing too lateral, the same hasn’t ever been said of Nadolo.

It will be a huge disappointment to Blackadder that the chance to obtain top spot and home advantage wasn’t taken in the final round, with the problems against rival New Zealand teams again being apparent. Dave Rennie’s Chiefs have won 9 of 12 games against the Crusaders, while the Hurricanes have won 6 of the previous 8.

The visitors 4 losses this season came against conference rivals and beat the teams ranked 9th and lower by an average score of 39-17. With the exception of the 2nd XV trip to Buenos Aires, Lions won their games against 9th ranked and lower opposition by 45-16.

Lions bettered the Crusaders home win over the Blues – 43-5 compared to 28-13 and won away at the Chiefs by 36-32 when the Crusaders lost 23-13 in Fiji. Both teams conceded 34 points against the Highlanders, with Lions scoring 15 points and Crusaders 26 while both suffered big home losses when facing the Hurricanes – Lions by 33 points and Crusaders 23.

There was an average of 60.5 points in Lions home matches this season with 80 points in the Crusaders game. Craig Joubert’s 9 games saw an average of 50.7 points with 5/9 home wins. The higher ranked team won 7/9 matches.  Will be looking to back overs here.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf De Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c)/Ruan Ackermann, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylon Smith
Replacements: 16 Armand Van Der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques Van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann/Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Jaco Van Der Walt/Sylvian Mahuza

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 David Havili, 11 Jone Macilai, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read(c), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt  Crockett
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Jimmy Tupou, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Kieron Fonotia

 

 

 

 

Stormers v Chiefs

StormersChiefsQF(Avg season stats – Opta / Vodacom)

Stormers coach Robbie Fleck stated this week that a lack of games against New Zealand teams was ‘frustrating’ this season and highlighted this team hadn’t met a side with their intensity yet (Radio Sport). That is true, but if the Stormers had faced Kiwi opposition they might not have gained a home quarter-final.  They have certainly benefited from the changes to the system, in contrast to the Chiefs who would have been top using the old bonus point format.

Injuries to Robert du Preez and then Kurt Coleman resulted in Jean-Luc du Plessis making 10 starts while there were other absences in the backline with Juan de Jongh, Seabelo Senatla and Cheslin Kolbe on Sevens duty and Cornal Hendricks out of action because of a heart condition. Damian de Allende made his first start in round 8 and Jaco Taute in round 13.

Stormers team

This will be the first time that Nic Groom and Robert du Preez will have started a game together this season and a second start for the Damian de Allende, Huw Jones centre pairing and front row of Alistair Vermaak , Mbongeni Mbonami and Vincent Koch. There is a bit more stability at lock with Eben Etzebeth and Pieter-Steph du Toit appearing for the 9th match together. The starting XV for this match average 8.1 starts during the season.

The Chiefs were without 7 of the players that started the QF loss against the Highlanders last year with Ben Tameifuna, Matt Symons, Mick Fitzgerald, Tim Nanai-Williams, Bryce Heem gone and Sonny Bill Williams, Liam Messam on Sevens circuit. New signings Nepo Laulala, Mitchell Karpik, Glen Fisiiahi and Chase Tiatia all suffered long term injuries while in the backrow Michael Leitch, Johan Bardoul and Maama Vaipulu have all missed matches. Throw in the unavailability of Charlie Ngatai and now Seta Tamanivalu and it can be seen that the squad depth has been tested.  While Stormers have 22 yr old Huw Jones making his 2nd start of the season at centre, Chiefs have 32 yr old Stephen Donald making his 2nd too. Like the Stormers, the XV named for this match have a relatively low average number of starts during the season, at 8.6.

Chiefs team

Aaron Cruden assisted the most tries this year, while Damian McKenzie beat the most defenders and was 2nd for offloads, carries, clean breaks.  Cruden carried for 50m in 2013 against this opposition, 51m in 2014 and 63m last year. The Stormers may well look to the scrum and lineout as they did when the teams met in 2015, but it would be a surprise if they can match the ambition of the Chiefs.

Historically the Stormers have a poor record in knockout games, losing 6/7 previous games and the last 3 at home going back to 2011. Chiefs have won their previous 4 home knockout games with Rennie in charge and lost the 2 away matches at the Brumbies, Highlanders.

Chiefs have outscored the Stormers 2nd half by 17-10, 19-14 and 15-3 in the previous meetings since 2013. Under Rennie, the visitors average 34.1 points against South African opponents and have won the 2nd half in 16/20 games by an average of 9.7 points (6/9 games and 8.1 points away).

The home team won 6/8 games with Jaco Peyper as referee this year, with the higher ranked team also winning 6/8. Peyper has officiated 3 games with a South African home team hosting one from New Zealand since 2014, with the visitors winning each time (Highlanders, Crusaders at Sharks and Chiefs at Stormers).

Chiefs -1 on 2nd half handicap.

Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Schalk Burger (cc), 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Ezebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Alistair Vermaak
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Frans Malherbe (cc), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Rynhardt Elstadt, 21 Nizaam Carr, 22 Louis Schreuder, 23 Brandon Thomson

Chiefs: 15 Damian McKenzie, 14 Sam McNicol, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Stephen Donald, 11 James Lowe, 10 Aaron Cruden (cc), 9 Brad Weber, 8 Tom Sanders, 7 Sam Cane (cc), 6 Taleni Seu, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Atu Moli, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Kane Hames
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi, 18 Mitchell Graham, 19 Tevita Koloamatangi, 20 Lachlan Boshier, 21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 22 Toni Pulu, 23 Shaun Stevenson