Heyneke Meyer believes South African teams could have a “super” Super14 and one of them may even be crowned champions.
The man who won the Super 14 as coach of the Bulls in 2007 believes continuity of coaches, favourable draws and the motivational factor of the British and Irish Lions could all work in favour of South African sides.
“There is no doubt that there was a World Cup hangover among our teams last year. This year all the players are keen to play against the Lions. It will lead to much better performances,” said Meyer.
JJ Harmse reports for Rapport that apart from continuity in coaching personnel, Springbok coach Peter de Villiers is also settled in his position.
“Everybody knows what to expect and the continuity leads to stability, which could translate into success,” said Meyer.
For him there are factors that are non-negotiable for success.
“You must have a side that can win away from home because it’s not good enough to only win at home. You need seven or eight good players in your team for that. Every team will experience a crisis and then those leaders have to pull you through,” he said.
He also believes depth is important as the tournament is a marathon.
“When injuries start taking a toll, your depth has to carry you,” said Meyer.
“Your draw is important because the difference between third and seventh place can be points difference.
“One year you play seven home games and the next six. That one home game can be crucial in determining your position.”
He also believes the new laws and application thereof could separate the wheat from the chaff.
“Rugby is becoming a game of broken play and teams with game breakers could be the winners. Good kicking patterns creates broken play and that is how tries are scored. Fitness is also more important than ever before.”
He believes the Sharks will stand a good chance.
“They have a good draw and the fact that they won a trophy for the first time in a while will give them lots of confidence. They know they can win and have excellent kickers in Steyn, Terblanche and Pienaar. They also have superb ball carriers in broken play.”
He also expects the return of skipper Victor Matfield to help the Bulls.
“They have a tough tour and play one game less at home. They are very fit and their back three is more experienced, so it can be a good year for them.”
He believes the Stormers will be successful if their halfback pairing kick well tactically.
“The new laws suit them because the Stormers have always been outstanding from broken play,” he said.
“Their tour is also five games and that may count against them. They do, however, have a very good coaching team.”
A lack of depth could trip up the Lions, but Meyer also expects more from them this year.
“They have been together for three years and have grown. They will have a lot more confidence than last year,” he said.
The Cheetahs also have problems with depth. “They have a good draw, particularly in the last part of the competition, which is also worth points on the board,” he said.Tweet