I am confused. I have been reading all the so called experts predictions for Super 14 and I am amazed at their view that the Bulls are stronger than the Sharks this year. Over the last year I have valued the so called experts advice and viewpoints less and less. Their decisions seem to be made on a lot of bias towards sponsors or favourite teams rather than facts. The current thing that irks me is the view that the Sharks will finish sixth while the Bulls will finish second. I understand the bookies having the odds in that bias as Bulls supporters probably gamble and bet a lot more than Sharks supporters so they add this to the equation, as well as Bulls supporters’ euphoria after getting a lucky Super 14 title, meaning a lot more supporters betting on their team. But the facts are plain to see that the Bulls are in for a torrid season.
So here is my biased opinion on the South African sides. Let me eliminate Stormers, Lions and Cheetahs out of the mix early. The Stormers have a great coach, but your coach doesn’t make a forward pack, and the Stormers don’t have depth at tight five to get the loosies and backline on the front foot. The Lions have the depth, but do not have the class of player required to last a Super 14 tournament. Cheetahs lost too many players and important players to be a force. That leaves the obvious contenders, the Bulls and the Sharks.
The main and only reason the Sharks can be written off is their draw. The Bulls had a similar draw last year and made second position on the log, so why will a more experienced, stronger squad of players not overcome the odds this year. People may mention the loss of key players. But my opinion is the replacements are far better suited to the new game than the old guard were.
Now the mighty invincible Bulls…. They are in trouble. They start the tournament with three big matches. They play the Stormers, Crusaders and then the Sharks. Not that difficult for the Titans of South African rugby… if you had the 2007 squad. But simply put they don’t. They have lost too many big guns: Danie Thiart, Ruan Vermeulen, Wessel Roux, Gary Botha, Victor Matfield, Francois van Schouwenburg, Cliff Milton, Hottie Louw, Neil Powell, Frikkie Welsh, Dries Scholtz, Johan Roets, and Johan Wasserman. That is a lot of depth and experience to recover from. Add Heynecke Meyer’s departure, doubtful Spies (who seems to keep being put on hold) and a Bakkies that doesn’t want to be in the team. They start with a hooker that hasn’t played rugby for over a year, and with his injury history probably won’t play much this season. They have a crisis at lock and are hoping for Danie Roussouw to get fit and the biggest obstacle is a new coach that on his last outing in Super 14 he split a team into two. How can the Bulls supporters hope their coach will get their team bonding and playing with confidence when he was unable to create unity and a team spirit in the Cats. Simply put I would say this is not a team I would bet a lot of money on.
This is my humble opinion, but remember I am not a paid “expert”.Tweet