Super Rugby Preview – 2013: Part 2
Before we dive balls deep into part 2 of the Super Rugby Preview, lets take some time to reflect on two recent rugby related events.
First up, massive maverick thumbs up to the Blitzbokke’s cup win in Las Vegas. Not only did the Springbok sevens side beat New Zealand, they did it in fine style winning 40-21. At one stage leading 35-0. Delicious.
Secondly, it is with a heavy heart that all rugby fans the world over say so long, farewell and well-played bru, to Juan blood diamond Smith. After being out of the game for nearly two years the Free State and Bok legend has been forced to retire after tweaking the same Achilles that has kept him out of the game for so long, in a warm up game against the Bulls.
Juan played 69 Tests for the Springboks and was part of the team that won the RWC in 2007, Tri-Nations in 2009 and beat the British & Irish Lions in 2009. He was the work horse in the side, considered one of the best loose forwards to have played for the Bokke and one of the hardest guys to have ever played the game. At provincial level, he almost single-handedly kept the Cheetahs competitive and won Currie Cup with them in 2005.
Well played sir, you are a true SA rugby great and will be missed (sniff). Talk amongst yourselves, I seem to have something in my eye (wipes away tear).
Back to Super Rugby now as we move swiftly to the two SA favourites for Super rugby 2013 honours.
The Sharks had a superb ending to last year’s tournament but struggled to maintain the effort with too much back to back travelling being their biggest obstacle. This year they will be hoping for a better start, which should be easier considering they only head overseas in April in round 11.
They are still without Bismark du Plessis and have lost two key players in warm up games, with Keegan Daniels injuring his knee and being ruled out for at least 8 weeks and Tim Whitehead out for 4-6 weeks. In positive team news, Frans Steyn has fully recovered and will lead the side until Daniels recovers.
Players to look out for: JP Pietersen, Frans Steyn (C), Marcell Coetzee, Pat I use Clear for men Lambie and Willem Man Mountain Alberts.
The Sharks have a very balanced squad with depth in all positions, except perhaps in the locks. If they can head overseas with some wins in the bank, they could well be in prime posish for a home semi this year.
The Sharks log prediction: 4th
The Stormers have benefitted the most from the Lions exclusion this year with Springboks Pat Cilliers, Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute all moving to the Stormers for the duration of the tournament. Last year the Stormers finished top of the log but somehow managed to lose the home semi-final to the Sharks.
They win the majority of games with incredible defense and accurate kicking but scored the least tries last year and in games where they fell behind, seemed to lack the ability to come back. The Province side looked to have added an attacking element to their tactics in the Currie Cup, so hopefully will bring that into the Stormers set up this year.
Players to look out for: Schalk burger (C), Bryan Habana, Jaco Taute, Elton Jantjies and Duane Vermeulen.
The Stormers were dealt an injury blow with news that Eben Etzebeth as been ruled out for at least 6 weeks but thankfully welcome back captain Schalk Burger. If they can score more tries while maintaining discipline on defense, they should once again top the SA conference and combined logs this year and possibly go on to host the final.
The Stormers log prediction: 1st
Send us your thoughts and we can discuss, get your people to call my people. We can do lunch.