Super Rugby Preview – 2013: Part 1
“Suuuuuper Rugby… saaaaay it with me”
“No more waiiiting”
“Enough with the singing already Gosh!”
Good stuff. Well played, now hit the showers.
This year Super Rugby starts even earlier but at least for the time being still only involves 15 teams. Whether or not and indeed when that will change is a matter for another day, for now let’s get into the swing of things with a casual glance at the South African conference to see who the favourites and not-so favourites are and why.
Told late they are in Super Rugby, only given one year to get it right and only allowed two foreign players in their squad. Well done SARU, massive fail on all fronts. Monkeys could do your jobs, not even highly skilled monkeys, just ones trained not to throw poop at the journalists in media briefings.
Do the Kings have a chance at not finishing at the bottom of the SA log? No.
Are they capable of an upset at home against the Force? Maaaybe.
Will at least half the teams in the tournament put over 50 points on them? Definitely.
Players to look out for: Luke I am really just misunderstood Watson (C); Bandise Maku(Ex-Lion); Steven Sykes; Waylon Murray(Ex-Lion) and Hadleigh Parkes.
The Kings are an unknown quantity to most sides and could be (sort of) competitive at home but do not have the player experience or depth to compete at this level for the full Super Rugby season.
Kings Log Prediction: 15th
The Cheetahs had their best overseas tour last year and surprised the Hurricanes, Crusaders and Brumbies with their attacking play. Young Johann Goosen had a stellar debut season but the Cheetahs struggled when he got injured in the latter stages.
Depth in key positions (or lack thereof) has always been an issue at the smaller budget Cheetahs. This year, unfortunately for their long-suffering fans, will be no different.
In some good news, they welcome back Heinrich Brussouw and Coenie Oosthuizen and may even be able to lean on the experience of Juan blood diamond Smith, who has finally recovered from his Achilles injuries, after more than a year out of rugby.
Players to look out for: Johann Goosen, Raymond Rhule, Johann Sadie, Adriaan Strauss (C) and Juan Smith.
The Cheetahs have the ability to score against every team in Super Rugby and have been a bogey side for SA teams in the past. They will no doubt cause a few upsets with their expansive game but unfortunately are famously easy to score against and unless that changes dramatically will continue to wallow at the bottom of the log.
Cheetahs Log Prediction: 12th
The Bulls did well to make the play-offs last year after losing so many of their star players and although they may well be looking for a top 4 finish this time are still perhaps one year shy of being the threat they once were.
They have a very exciting squad and have done well to acquire a group of up and coming young players, many of whom are current Under 21 World Cup champs. Of course the probable starting 15 are still chock-a-black filled with Springboks and are experienced enough to challenge for a home semi-final but a few crucial injuries could well scupper their chances.
Players to look out for: Juandre Kruger, Pierre Spies (C), Francois Hougaard, Lionel Mapoe (Ex-Lions) and Jan Serfontein.
The Bulls should be in the top half of the log throughout the season but a lot will depend on how Morne Steyn goes this season and if the Bulls can tweak their game plan to get the most out of the new laws and newby players.
Bulls Log Prediction: 6th
Check out ‘part 2’ coming soon (probably tomorrow, depending on the surf).