• Emirates Lions aim for third successive final appearance

· Crusaders favourites against Hurricanes in Christchurch


Springbok No 8 Warren Whiteley will lead the Emirates Lions in their Vodacom Super Rugby semi-final match against the Waratahs at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday, with the Highveld side aiming for a third successive final appearance. The match kicks off at 15h05.

The other semi-final takes place earlier in the day (09h35 SA time) in New Zealand between the defending champions, the Crusaders, and the Hurricanes. Both matches will be televised live on SuperSport 1.

Whiteley and his team mates have hit form at the most appropriate time, with the men in red and white dispatching the Vodacom Bulls in their last regular season fixture and then producing an even better display last week to comfortably triumph over the powerful Jaguares team in the quarter-final.

The Emirates Lions have won their last three games against the Waratahs, including a 29-0 victory when the sides last met in March in Sydney, but they know that the New South Welshmen have improved remarkably since then.

Each of the previous 11 all-New Zealand semi-finals have been won by the hosts on the day. The Crusaders are the tournament’s in-form side and firm favourites against their rivals from Wellington.

South African Jaco Peyper, Vodacom Super Rugby’s most experienced referee, will take charge of the all-New Zealand semi-final in Christchurch. Glen Jackson will be the man in the middle for the match in Johannesburg between the Emirates Lions and the 2014 champions from Sydney.

Team news:

Emirates Lions coach Swys de Bruin has made one change to the team that beat the Jaguares at home last weekend. Lourens Erasmus replaces Cyle Brink, who could not recover in time from his right arm injury sustained against the Argentineans. Harold Vorster (centre) is set to play in his 50th Vodacom Super Rugby game.

Meanwhile, the selection of hooker Tolu Latu is the only change to the Waratahs starting line-up for Saturday’s big clash. Latu will make his first start of the season, replacing Damien Fitzpatrick, who is now playing off the bench, while winger Taqele Naiyaravoro makes his 50thappearance.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has made just one change to his starting team that beat the Cell C Sharks last weekend. They welcome back All Blacks prop Joe Moody, who has recovered from injury to start at loosehead prop, with Tim Perry providing cover on the bench.

The Hurricanes have named an unchanged starting side for their visit to Christchurch. Experienced prop Toby Smith will make his 100thcompetition appearance having represented the Chiefs and the Rebels before arriving at the Hurricanes.

What they said:

Emirates Lions skipper Warren Whiteley has cautioned his side about the Waratahs strengths: “We know the Waratahs have lots of attacking threats and will kick tactically because they’ll most likely be aiming to keep the ball in play, so we’ll need to be switched on defensively.”

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson said he expects a very physical encounter against from the Highvelders: “We learnt a great deal from the last time we played them when they won easily, and when their strengths led them to victory.”

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said his side is looking forward to the Kiwi-derby: “This game is going to be huge, it doesn’t get any bigger than a New Zealand derby match in the knockout stages.”

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd, on Smith reaching his century of appearances: “Toby is one of those guys who just goes about his work without fuss or fanfare but he has been a really important factor in the Hurricanes this season.”



Head to head:

Played: 11

Emirates Lions won: 4

Waratahs won: 7

Emirates Lions points: 247

Waratahs points: 349

Average score: 22-32


Emirates Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Lourens Erasmus, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen. Replacements: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Hacjivah Dayimani, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Courtnall Skosan, 23 Howard Mnisi.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (captain), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson.Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Cam Clark.

Match information:

Date: Saturday, 28 July 2018

SA time: 15h05

Venue: Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg

Referee: Glen Jackson (NZ)

Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen and Rasta Rasivhenge (SA)

Television match official: Marius Jonker (SA)

TV: SuperSport 1



Head to head:

Played: 31

Crusaders won: 19

Hurricanes won: 12

Draws: 3

Crusaders points: 880

Hurricanes points: 686

Average score: 46-36


Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody. Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.

Hurricanes: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Gareth Evans, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Michael Fatialofa, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith. Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Vaea Fifita, 20 Ardie Savea/Reed Prinsep, 21 Jamie Booth, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen.

Match information:

Date: Saturday, 28 July

SA time: 09h35

Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch

Referee: Jaco Peyper (SA)

Assistant referees: Mike Fraser and Ben O’Keeffe (NZ)

Television match official: Shane McDermott (NZ)

TV: SuperSport 1