In the first half of the Super 14, SA teams offered their usual staple of class and farce. Clinton van der Berg issues his half-term report and selects a form-based Springbok team.
Progress so far: Their fall has been humiliating. They are the worst defenders of a Super crown, playing Neanderthal-age rugby.
What’s right: The certainty that bumbling coach Frans Ludeke won’t be allowed to inflict his dinosaur tactics beyond 2008.
What’s not: Mood, morale and attitude. Any team with nine Boks that can’t shape is a team in desperate trouble.
Room for improvement: Across the board, not least upstairs. The Bulls’ conditioning, skills and aptitude look all wrong.
Star man: Fourie du Preez.
Likely finish: Bottom quarter.
Progress so far: The unluckiest team, the Cheetahs have become experts at turning likely wins into dramatic defeats.
What’s right: The beefy boys don’t hold back and attack in the best traditions of Free State.
What’s not: Lack of depth and conditioning. Running out of gas and ideas doesn’t happen by mistake.
Room for improvement: : Defence, defence, defence. The Cheetahs have leaked more tries than anyone else.
Star man: : Jongi Nokwe.
Likely finish: Among the bottom two.
Progress so far: One win and a draw in six games — not up to scratch, with the away leg still to come. Eina!
What’s right: Much of the ball handling has been sharp and the journeymen players have stood their ground. Nice, too, to see Big Joe van Niekerk’s classy comeback.
What’s not: The lack of good finishing, and mucking about in the backs.
Room for improvement: Limited until they find the right player at No10.
Star man: Jano Vermaak.
Likely finish: A rung or two off the bottom.
Progress so far: Splendid. A full house of wins. You can’t ask for much more.
What’s right: They play with a swagger and sense of authority missing among SA’s other teams.
What’s not: From the splitting hairs department: more bonus points, please.
Room for improvement: The Sharks have it all — except killer instinct. Oh, for the day when they really cut loose.
Star man: Beast Mtawarira.
Likely finish: Breathing hard down the Crusaders’ necks.
Progress so far: Medium to well done. Good in parts, less so in others.
What’s right: The Stormers have finally unearthed a macho scrum and Luke Watson is cooking. New coach Rassie Erasmus should take a bow .
What’s not: Points, points, points. The Stormers aren’t scoring enough of them.
Room for improvement: All round, but the team is up and running.
Star man: Andries Bekker.
Likely finish: Sixth.
15 Conrad Jantjes (Stormers)
14 Tonderai Chavhanga (Stormers)
13 Waylon Murray (Sharks)
12 Meyer Bosman (Cheetahs)
11 Jongi Nokwe (Cheetahs)
10 Peter Grant (Stormers)
9 Rory Kockott (Sharks)
8 Ryan Kankowski (Sharks)
7 Duanne Vermeulen (Cheetahs)
6 Schalk Burger (Stormers)
5 Andries Bekker (Stormers)
4 Rory Duncan (Cheetahs)
3 Brian Mujati (Stormers)
2 Bismarck du Plessis (Sharks)
1 Heinke van der Merwe (Lions)