Any Crusaders players giving away needless penalties during Saturday night’s Super Rugby semifinal risk receiving a death stare from Kieran Read.

Any Crusaders players giving away needless penalties during Saturday night’s Super Rugby semifinal risk receiving a death stare from Kieran Read.

Captain and No 8 Read said the Crusaders, who watched Frans Steyn kick four penalties and two conversions to help vanquish the Highlanders 31-27 during last Sunday morning’s qualifying final in Durban, know they cannot afford to offer the visiting Sharks easy opportunities to kick for goal at AMI Stadium.

”We have spoken about that all week,” Read said.

”They kick a lot of penalties and on the back of penalties they get field position with their lineout drives as well. I know it is going to be be a big test for us not to give them any free ‘outs’ there.

”We don’t want to be giving away cheap penalties, really. We want to give nothing away to them because if we do he (Steyn) will just knock them over and keep the scoreboard ticking.”

Concussion ruled Read out of the most recent meeting between the two sides in Christchurch.

He would have been a frustrated observer as the Sharks, who were reduced to 14 men when Jean Deysel was sent off, created a boilover result by winning 30-25 at AMI Stadium on May 17.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has been able to field a side bristling with stars for this re-match.

He has named Richie McCaw at blindside flanker, Dan Carter at second five-eighths and Israel Dagg at fullback after they missed the regular season match against the South Africans.

Halfback Andy Ellis, who was rotated to the bench to allow Willi Heinz to start in that earlier fixture, will also start.

Read doesn’t expect the Sharks to vary their game plan for the semi, believing they will have taken heart from the way their scrum and driving mauls pulled the Highlanders apart.

”I’m certainly expecting them to keep to their strengths which is their scrum, their lineout maul and knocking over penalties. I don’t think too much will change,” Read added.

”Hopefully if we the conditions to suit us we will be able to play a bit of footy.”

The Crusaders, boosted by the return of Carter to their backline (following the June test window) and the power of wing Nemani Nadolo out wide, may back themselves to stress the Sharks defence by repeatedly shifting the ball wide and also trying to get Dagg involved in counter-attacks.

The Sharks’ scrum was always expected to have the upper-hand against the Highlanders and it didn’t disappoint at King’s Park.

Read, however, said the Crusaders set-piece will not be intimidated.

”It is their strength but it is our strength as well. We have an All Black tight five and those guys are doing a lot of work to try and get it right for this week.”

Blackadder has made just two changes to the run-on side that thumped the Highlanders 34-8 almost a fortnight ago.

McCaw, who makes his first start since fracturing ribs while captaining the All Blacks against England last month, replaces Jordan Taufua at blindside flanker and hooker Corey Flynn starts his 150th match ahead of Ben Funnell.

The balance of the side, and their ability to vary their strategies in the latter part of the campaign, have given the Read confidence to say the Crusaders can vary their attack and, subsequently, keep the Sharks’ defenders guessing.

”I’m not sure it’s an advantage but it means we can play different styles depending on defence, the conditions and all that. We are hoping to play an up-tempo game where we can really use our back skills out wide but are more than happy to mix it up.

”And we will need to, especially early against the Sharks. You have to match them up front because that’s where it all starts.”

Crusaders: Israel Dagg, Kieron Fonotia, Ryan Crotty, Dan Carter, Nemani Nadolo, Colin Slade, Andy Ellis, Kieran Read (c), Matt Todd, Richie McCaw, Sam Whitelock, Dominic Bird, Owen Franks, Corey Flynn, Wyatt Crockett. Reserves: Ben Funnell, Joe Moody, Nepo Laulala, Jimmy Tupou, Jordan Taufua, Willi Heinz, Tom Taylor, Johnny McNicholl

- Stuff

The more the Sharks are written off for Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final against the Crusad ers, the better

The more the Sharks are written off for Saturday’s Super Rugby semi-final against the Crusaders, the better, reckons coach Jake White, who is an expert on the South African rugby psyche of performing best when expected to lose and playing badly when tipped to win.

“I see Waratahs’ coach Michael Cheika spoke about wanting to play the Brumbies (in the semi-final), and then the Crusaders (in the final), so people are assuming that we’re here just to make up numbers and that we aren’t a credible threat,” White said, and you can be sure he will be pumping this type of dismissive talk in the Sharks’ team meetings.

White, from his time as Springbok coach, knows that South African players cannot handle expectation but relish proving critics wrong. The higher the odds against them, the harder they will play.

It is a well-known fact that White and Cheika do not send each other Christmas cards, and have had a bitter rivalry (well publicised in the media) since the days when White coached the Brumbies, the fierce Aussie rivals of the New South Wales team.

White will love being disrespected by Cheika, the coach who could got into such a rage when his team was getting a hiding from the Sharks earlier this year (they lost 32-10) that he verbally abused a cameraman to an extent that he got a record fine from SANZAR, not to mention a serious dressing down and a suspended sentence that will see him barred from coaching for six months if he again transgresses.

And White would love nothing better than to somehow get past the Crusaders and then give the Waratahs the same medicine (should they beat White’s old team).

White also pointed out that this year the competition draw meant the Waratahs and the Crusaders never played each other, which meant a top team not losing log points against another top team, and that is significant when a team like the Sharks missed out on a home semi-final by just one point. White, no doubt with a smile, also pointed out that the Sharks have beaten both the Waratahs and the Crusaders this season.

“Whatever the case, the bottom line is that we are rank underdogs,” White said. “History tells us that we’re up against it but history also says that trends get broken. We had to spend the whole day recovering on Tuesday after the long travel, so it’s not ideal. When you’re the home team in this scenario, you sleep in your own bed, you train at your own facility, you’re settled. But in saying that, we have a massive amount of belief in our own ability.”

The Highlanders’ coach, Jamie Joseph admitted that his team took a lot of motivation out of the fact that people wrote them off all year, including the Sharks, and they beat the Sharks in Durban in May and came within a few minutes of repeating the result in last week’s quarter-final at Kings Park.

“We are taking confidence out of the fact that we beat the Crusaders last time we were here; we take a lot of confidence out of the fact that they have lost three games at home this year; that we’re underdogs and have not been given a hope. We enjoy that.

“There is no argument that it is tough in New Zealand, results over the years clearly show that, but at the same time, there are only the four best teams left – and we’re one of them – and we have to believe that means we are good enough to get the result. That’s the nice thing about this competition. Who would have thought we would have beaten the Crusaders last time? Who would have thought that the Highlanders would make the play-offs, that they would finish sixth after finishing badly down the order last year?”

White said that the players carrying injuries could only be properly assessed 24 hours after arrival because long distance travel causes soft tissue injuries to swell up.

“The players were fully assessed on Wednesday. Tuesday was written off to recovery and we could only get cracking on the training field yesterday (Wednesday).”

BY Mike Greenaway

Losing to the Sharks in pool play was so unlike the Crusaders.

Losing to the Sharks in pool play was so unlike the Crusaders.

At home and with a man advantage after Jean Deysel was sent off early, the Crusaders rarely got out of third gear and certainly did not engage their rugby brains.

They failed to press through the middle and then spread the ball wide while the Sharks showed rare resolve to collect their first win in Christchurch.

You wanted to rub your eyes. It was a bit surreal, it was not the rugby order we had come to expect from those who inhabit the red and black jerseys as disturbingly, they played without their usual smarts.
They were without key men Kieran Read, Andy Ellis, Daniel Carter and Israel Dagg who will all play in Saturday’s semifinal but their absence did not excuse the brain fades.

Richie McCaw played that night and even he was unable to alter the side’s mindset or tactics. He is training after time out with a cracked rib and is tipped to be the one change, replacing Jordan Taufua on the blindside, leaving Matt Todd to roam wider.

What is certain about the Crusaders is that they will bring more lineout and scrum solidity than the Highlanders were able to muster in Durban. They were dealt to in scrums and lineout drives and conceded three tries in those areas of the game.

They tried to keep the ball alive in a tactic to negate the Sharks’ power in rucks and mauls and reduce the time they had to reset their defensive lines. That free-wheeling style drew great dividends with Kane Hames’ try one of the best all season.

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett thought it would be much harder for the Sharks to impose their plans on the Crusaders in the semifinal.

“My concern going into the semi-finals is that the Crusaders’ forwards will match the Sharks’ as they have six or seven All Blacks,” he told a South African website.

“They won’t concede a lot of scrum penalties. The Sharks’ pattern of play — a good scrum and lineout and a strong kicking game — won’t be as easy to impose on the Crusaders as it was on the Highlanders.

“The semi-final will be in Christchurch and while the referee will be neutral, he will favour the home side with the 50-50 calls. That will make playing without the ball risky [for the Sharks]. The Crusaders’ forwards are as good as the Sharks’ and they also have outstanding backs who will create opportunities.”

One of those backs will be Carter who has returned to play second five eighths where he offers tactical direction to Colin Slade, brings up the defensive line and is also used as an alternate receiver. He is the main goal-kicker and with Slade, offers left and right foot tactical kicking strategies for the Crusaders.

The variation has grown with Ryan Crotty showing out strongly at centre while Nemani Nadolo has been destructive on the left wing once he got into the team rhythm.

Chuck in Israel Dagg who has recovered from the thigh strain which affected his All Black performance in June and the Crusaders have a much better balance about their group as they attempt to make the finals for the second time in coach Todd Blackadder’s tenure.

by Wynne Gray

Losing to the Sharks in pool play was so unlike the Crusaders.

Losing to the Sharks in pool play was so unlike the Crusaders.

At home and with a man advantage after Jean Deysel was sent off early, the Crusaders rarely got out of third gear and certainly did not engage their rugby brains.

They failed to press through the middle and then spread the ball wide while the Sharks showed rare resolve to collect their first win in Christchurch.

You wanted to rub your eyes. It was a bit surreal, it was not the rugby order we had come to expect from those who inhabit the red and black jerseys as disturbingly, they played without their usual smarts.
They were without key men Kieran Read, Andy Ellis, Daniel Carter and Israel Dagg who will all play in Saturday’s semifinal but their absence did not excuse the brain fades.

Richie McCaw played that night and even he was unable to alter the side’s mindset or tactics. He is training after time out with a cracked rib and is tipped to be the one change, replacing Jordan Taufua on the blindside, leaving Matt Todd to roam wider.

What is certain about the Crusaders is that they will bring more lineout and scrum solidity than the Highlanders were able to muster in Durban. They were dealt to in scrums and lineout drives and conceded three tries in those areas of the game.

They tried to keep the ball alive in a tactic to negate the Sharks’ power in rucks and mauls and reduce the time they had to reset their defensive lines. That free-wheeling style drew great dividends with Kane Hames’ try one of the best all season.

Former Springbok coach Nick Mallett thought it would be much harder for the Sharks to impose their plans on the Crusaders in the semifinal.

“My concern going into the semi-finals is that the Crusaders’ forwards will match the Sharks’ as they have six or seven All Blacks,” he told a South African website.

“They won’t concede a lot of scrum penalties. The Sharks’ pattern of play — a good scrum and lineout and a strong kicking game — won’t be as easy to impose on the Crusaders as it was on the Highlanders.

“The semi-final will be in Christchurch and while the referee will be neutral, he will favour the home side with the 50-50 calls. That will make playing without the ball risky [for the Sharks]. The Crusaders’ forwards are as good as the Sharks’ and they also have outstanding backs who will create opportunities.”

One of those backs will be Carter who has returned to play second five eighths where he offers tactical direction to Colin Slade, brings up the defensive line and is also used as an alternate receiver. He is the main goal-kicker and with Slade, offers left and right foot tactical kicking strategies for the Crusaders.

The variation has grown with Ryan Crotty showing out strongly at centre while Nemani Nadolo has been destructive on the left wing once he got into the team rhythm.

Chuck in Israel Dagg who has recovered from the thigh strain which affected his All Black performance in June and the Crusaders have a much better balance about their group as they attempt to make the finals for the second time in coach Todd Blackadder’s tenure.

by Wynne Gray

Starting Richie McCaw at blindside flanker may be the only Crusaders team change for their Super Rugby semifinal with the Sharks on Saturday night.

Starting Richie McCaw at blindside flanker may be the only Crusaders team change for their Super Rugby semifinal with the Sharks on Saturday night.

Although Todd Blackadder stopped short of confirming McCaw’s fractured rib had healed, he’s hopeful the All Blacks captain will be declared fit to play at AMI Stadium.

McCaw, who hasn’t played since suffering the injury during last month’s test series against England, has often proved he has a high pain threshold but that didn’t give him licence to participate fully in Crusaders practices last week.

”He didn’t do too much in last week’s trainings but that’s just because he is getting himself cleared,” Blackadder said. ”I can’t tell you he is 100 per cent right but I am pretty sure he is at least 90.”

Sharks coach Jake White will warn his players they can expect McCaw to be in the starting line-up.

While Blackadder may be cautious about revealing too much about McCaw the fact is he was close to starting against the Highlanders a fortnight ago and his coach will be desperate to have him available for this sudden-death fixture.

A decision on his rib is expected to be made tomorrow, and if passed fit Blackadder said it would not be at the expense of incumbent openside flanker Matt Todd.

”Just talking to Richie, he said he’s not so hung-up on the No th7 jersey. He just wants to make a contribution, no matter where he’s selected. I would be reluctant to switch Matt Todd out and Richie, if he had to, would play six.”

That would result in Jordan Taufua, who has played most of his career at No th8 before switching to blindside flanker this year, moving back to the bench in place of Luke Whitelock.

Finishing second guaranteed the Crusaders an extra week to prepare for the semi, allowing Blackadder to give players such as Sam Whitelock, Nemani Nadolo and Ryan Crotty time to recover after carrying a heavy workload. All would be available for the semi.

Blackadder said the Crusaders’ contact training went “live” for a bit longer than usual on Friday but believed it would serve them well.

“If anything it just knocks the rust off.”

- The Press

HEART 104.9FM TOP 30 – 19 July 2014 – RJ BENJAMIN STILL AT 4 WITH SO HIGH (6 WEEKS ON THE CHART )

HEART 104.9FM TOP 30 – 19 July 2014
POS ARTIST SONG TITLE MOVE L/W PEAK WEEKS NOTES
1 Michael Jackson feat. Justin Timberlake Love Never Felt So Good NC 1 1 (8) 11 New Record at #1 (8 weeks)
2 DJ Cassidy feat. R Kelly Make The World Go Round NC 2 2 13
3 Karmin I Want It All Up 6 9 3 11
4 RJ Benjamin & Can Skylark So High NC 4 4 6
5 Nico & Vinz Am I Wrong NC 5 5 7
6 Justin Timberlake Not A Bad Thing Down 3 3 3 16
7 Sundae feat. Ashleigh Davids High On Life Down 1 6 5 7
8 Clean Bandit feat. Sharna Bass Extraordinary Down 1 7 7 4
9 Robin Thicke Get In My Way Up 1 10 2 16
10 Pharrell Marilyn Monroe Up 1 11 10 6
11 Alicia Keys It’s On Again Up 1 12 7 8
12 Deslyn How Down 4 8 4 10
13 Michael Jackson Loving You Up 9 22 13 2 Highest Climber
14 Muzart Long Long Time Up 1 15 5 12
15 Katy Perry Birthday Up 1 16 11 10
16 Tank Dance With Me New - 16 1
17 Usher Good Kisser NC 17 17 2
18 Tamia Give Me You Down 5 13 3 8
19 Sundae feat. Che-V & Laurenzo Davids Partly Cloudly Down 1 18 18 3
20 Nathan Mayor feat. Justin Chalice Do It All Down 1 19 2 22
21 Toni Braxton & Babyface Heart Attack NC 21 6 17
22 Usher feat. Nicki Minaj She Came To Give It To You New - 22 1
23 ZO! feat. Eric Roberson We Are On The Move NC 23 8 16
24 Danny K Dream NC 24 4 25
25 Pitbull feat. Jennifer Lopez & Claudia Leitte We Are One (Ole Ola) Down 11 14 12 5 Biggest Faller
26 Jonathan Rubain Reason To Smile Down 1 25 3 15
27 TLC feat. Ne-Yo Meant To Be Down 1 26 2 28 Longest Running Song
28 Magic! Rude Down 1 27 15 18
29 Mi Casa Turn You On Down 9 20 2 19
30 DJ Cassidy feat. Robin Thicke & Jessie J Calling All Hearts NC 30 1 (4) 20

Nine reasons why the Crusaders look so good to beat the Sharks

Reason One: Follow the beef. Rugby games are almost never won by the team with the weakest forward pack. When you add Richie McCaw to the mix, the Crusaders have strength in the scrums (think Wyatt Crockett and Owen Franks), height and skill in the lineouts (Sam Whitelock, Dominic Bird), metre makers in the loose forwards (Matt Todd, Kieran Read), and the best all-round forward in the world (Richie McCaw). Together there isn’t a pack, even the very impressive Waratahs eight, to match them.

Reason Two: Look at the street smarts. In knockout football shrewd is as important as skill. McCaw, for one, has seen both sides of the coin with the All Blacks at World Cups. When it gets grim in a final, back people who have been there and won.

Reason Three: Control play from the breakdowns, you control the game. Andy Ellis isn’t in the All Blacks at the moment, but he’s playing like one. He may not have as quick a bullet pass, or be quite as lightning on the break, as Aaron Smith, but he actually reads the game better than our No 1 halfback.

Reason Four: Dan Carter. Watching Carter now is a reminder that it’s a little unfair to be comparing him to other five-eighths. This guy isn’t just a great player, he’s a once-in-a-lifetime, all-time great. The late Sir Fred Allen told me that, and nobody I’ve ever met knew more about the game than Fred.

Reason Five: Dan Carter. A point of weakness throughout the season is that the Crusaders have struggled to find an accomplished midfield combination. Carter, who started at second-five when he was a kid not long out of Christchurch Boys’ High, has been the unlikely answer. He’s strong enough on the tackle to handle the defensive duties, and playing Carter at No 12 allows the luxury of moving Ryan Crotty, a powerful, largely under-rated player, to centre.

Reason Six: Strike power. Early in the season the Crusaders attack was a popgun compared to the shotgun the likes of the Canes and the Blues brought to the table. Buying the services of Nemani Nadolo has changed all that. It helps that the cut, lithe, all-action figure of 2014 doesn’t look much like the super-sized man you’ll see if you check out YouTube video of him playing in France back in 2011.

Reason Seven: The shocker has been played. Early-season problems (see reasons five and six) seemed to have been resolved when the Crusaders played the Canes in June. That night the sort of gremlins that invaded the All Blacks this year in their first test against England came to visit the Crusaders. A good team can play like a crap team once. It rarely happens twice.

Reason Eight: The Crusaders don’t just want it, they need it. Living in a city traumatised by the horrific February earthquake, and not playing a single game in Christchurch, in 2011, the Crusaders came within one appalling call by a touch judge (who missed a blatant forward pass in a Digby Ioane try in the round robin-game with the Reds) of having a home semifinal, and, probably, winning the title. But the call wasn’t made, the title wasn’t won, and if they don’t win this year it’ll be their sixth year without a title. The wolves were howling for Todd Blackadder’s head early in the year. A title might finally shut them up.

Reason Nine: At last, no major travel. If the Crusaders win their semi, the final be in either Sydney or Christchurch.

So what could stop them winning? Only two things I can see, injuries or a crap referee. Otherwise, break out the red and black bunting.

- Sunday Star Times

Celebrate Blacks Only Comedy show 10th Year Anniversary 8 Aug -Grand West Arena

Come join to celebrate Blacks Only Comedy shows Ten Year Anniversary!

The Blacks Only Comedy Show has become one of the most anticipated events on the social calendar and showcases the country`s top black comedians and this August we celebrate ten happy years as the biggest selling comedy brand in the country.

Join award winning comedian DAVID KAU who needs no introduction to comedy fans – over the years his outlook on everything South African has earned him a strong following.

The shows will take place on 8 August at Grand Arena at GrandWest in Cape Town.

Kau will reprise his role as the MC, as he has done for the last ten years, making sure the audience are left in stitches from start to finish with every show! This Kroonstad-born comic began his career as the first black stand-up comedian in the 1998 Smirnoff Comedy Festival in Cape Town – the only black person on stage out of 44 comics. Of his material Kau says: “It isn’t all influenced by politics – instead it’s always about what’s current.” Celebrating ten years of Blacks Only comedy show, David Kau is exploding with excitement, ” I’m so excited I feel like an EFF member in red overalls!!!! “

Joining David Kau will be a string of the country’s funniest Black comedians that have appeared in the shows over the ten years.

Tickets start from R161 and are available from Computicket

Super Rugby has been won by the team finishing in first place on 12 occasions

The Crusaders, who qualified in second place, will host the winner of the Qualifier Matches with the highest finals ranking in the Christchurch semifinal next Saturday. The Waratahs, who top the table, will host the other winner in Sydney.

If you’re a Chiefs fan

Your team qualified 5th
They’re up against: the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday night

• If the Chiefs win and the Sharks win, then the Chiefs will travel to Sydney to take on the Waratahs.
• If the Chiefs win and the Highlanders win, then the Chiefs will play a semifinal in Christchurch against the Crusaders.
• The Chiefs could host the Final if they and the Highlanders both win their Qualifier matches and then win their semifinals.
• The Chiefs have won twice in Canberra and drawn once from 11 encounters. The Chiefs will need to reverse their 2014 regular season result, when they lost to the Brumbies in Canberra on Anzac Day.

If you are a Crusaders fan …

Your team qualified 2nd
You have this weekend off, but results will determine who you host next Saturday night

• If the Sharks beat the Highlanders, they’ll be coming to Christchurch where they won earlier this season.
• If the Highlanders win then the winner of the Brumbies v Chiefs match will be coming to Christchurch.
• The Crusaders can only host the Final if they win next weekend and if the Waratahs lose.

If you are a Highlanders fan …

Your team qualified 6th
They’re up against: the Sharks in Durban tomorrow night (local time)

• If the Highlanders beat the Sharks then they’ll stop over in Sydney on the way home, to take on the Waratahs.
• If they make it past the Tahs, the Highlanders will head to the home base of the other semifinal winner for the Final.
• The Highlanders have won in Durban three times (from eight matches) and need to repeat their 2014 regular season result, when they went to Durban and beat the Sharks at home.

And while we’re at it …

The four teams in action this weekend have appeared in sudden death matches 36 times between them and have earned 19 wins collectively (this does not include Natal’s three appearances in 1996-7). The Brumbies have appeared in the most (14) while the Chiefs have had the highest winning percentage, having won five of their seven sudden death contests.

No team has played sudden death matches in New Zealand and South Africa (or vice versa) on successive weekends and won the Final.

Super Rugby has been won by the team finishing in first place on 12 occasions, a statistic that favours the Waratahs.

World Music Festival tonight at Cape Town City Hall

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