Original Pierre

Super 14 preview: The Saffas


Written by Pierre Teich (Original Pierre)

Posted in :Bulls, Cheetahs, Lions, Original Content, Sharks, Stormers, Super 14 on 22 Jan 2010 at 12:11

Turning our attention to the South African challenge and what a pleasure it is to say there might be a ray of hope for us again this year.

Our main challenge should again come from the Bulls. They`ve won before and know how to do it again. Sure there were some extenuating circumstances, like the Crusaders resting all their All Blacks and the Aussie teams who had to spread their talent pool a bit too thin but you can not disregard the fact that the Bulls were there to take advantage of these favourable circumstances.

However they somehow slumped to 10th the year after they won the super 14 for the first time so the possibility for a colossal collapse is there, but I don`t expect history to repeat its self. Everyone knows the only reason they lost the plot in 2008 was the absence of Victor Matfield. This year he`ll be there to lead the charge again. They have the confidence and the depth needed to defend their title with success. Add to this a very favourable draw and you could almost predict a Bulls vs Crusader final right now.

True the Cheetahs have been a bit of a bogey team for them in the past but the Bulls face them in the first round and we all remember how the Cheetahs started their Curry Cup campaign last year. A five point haul in Bloemfontein followed by a run of four home games could see them top the log comfortably before they attempt the overseas leg of the competition. They’ll target matches against the Reds and Force on their trip and if they can pick up the odd bonus point they`ll head home on a high, ready for the big showdown against the Crusaders in Fortress Loftus.

What about the loss of Habana and the fact that Bakkies Botha will only join them later in the campaign you might ask? Habana’s loss will be felt but in Van Den Heever they have a replacement with lots of pace and he will be eager to impress.

They have plenty of depth, arguably the best scrumhalf in the world and a flyhalf that`s been there and know how to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Danie Rossouw is a more than able replacement for Bakkies Botha to start off with and when Bakkies rejoins them their forwards will be awe inspiring again.

Possible XV: Kirchner, Ndungane, Pretorius, Olivier, Van Den Heever, Steyn, Du Preez, Spies, Wannenburg, Matfield, Rossouw, Stegmann, Kruger, Botha, Steenkamp.

Prediction : Semi Finals

The Cheetahs have been the South African whipping boys all through the super 14. Will they turn it around this year?

If you look at the players at their disposal you`ll notice they have the best front row in South Africa.

Yes they are thin at lock, but their loose three could cause a lot of heartache for opposing teams. Rugby is a simple game, in order to win, you need the ball and the Cheetahs have mastered the art of starving opposition teams of possession.

But what can their backline do with all this possession? In Sarel Pretorius they have one of the finds of the 2009 Curry Cup, he`ll keep opposing teams busy and their defence around the scrum honest.

Naas Olivier might be a bit out classed in this competition but in Bosman they have the physicality needed in mid field. There`s the tall Daniller who will be valuable under the predictable high balls and don`t forget their exciting finishers Mapoe and Nokwe.

Like most South African teams depth is a very real threat here. If they should pick up a couple of crucial injuries they could find themselves fighting for survival.

Possible XV: Daniller, Mapoe, Uys, Bosman, Nokwe, Olivier, Pretorius, Johnson, Smith, De Villiers, Breedt, Brussow, Nel, Strauss, Du Preez.

Prediction: They face some tough opposition on the road and will struggle to get off the bottom of the log. People know about Brussow now and will come up with a plan to counter him.

The Stormers acquired the services of Jaque Fourie and Brian Habana to bolster their backline this year. Last year their forward pack came on in leaps and bounds and it`s interesting to note the probably had the second best front row in the Curry Cup. So their traditional weak point, the forwards is now sorted out and barring injury to key players they could get right into the thick of things this year. Problem is, we expect a lot from them every year and every year they somehow manage to disappoint their loyal supporters.

They`ve got options at flyhalf, Grant to take the flat ball and De Waal to kick them out of trouble in the wet. In Anton van Zyl they have a lock to give them go forward and with captain Schalk Burger leading by example you won`t be surprised if they`re still around at the business end of the competition.

Possible XV : Jantjies, Pieterson, Fourie, De Jongh, Habana, Grant, January, Burger, Vermeulen, Bekker, Van Zyl, F Louw, Harris, Liebenberg, Blaauw

Prediction: They should improve on their dismal 10th place last season, but would they be good enough to rise above mid table?

The Lions wisely thought to splash out on a coach and not just players. In Dick Muir they have found someone to lead them out of the super 14 swamp that they find themselves in. Muir`s record speaks for itself. In one year he led the Sharks from stone last up to 5th . Question is, can he do it with the Lions? The Lions lost some key men, Jaque Fourie, Andre Pretorius, Louis Ludik and most importantly Willem Alberts.

Their most important signing is Carlos Spencer, but does he still have enough in the tank to take this young Lions backline to the next level? And would Doppies le Grange or Walter Venter be up to the task of receiving his famous no look passes?

They have an exciting loose trio, Labuschagne and Van Der Merwe will stand their ground and in Van Der Merwe and Buys they have the props to pile on the pressure.

It will be interesting to see if Dick Muir gets the balance of the team right. Will he stick with guys like Mentz and Rose who have failed the team on more than one occasion or would he give exciting youngsters like Lewis a run?

Possible XV: Lewis, Chavanga, Hollenbach, Venter, Noble, Spencer, Vermaak, Mokuena, Clever, Van Der Merwe, Labuschagne, Grobbelaar, Buys, Van Dyk, Van Der Merwe.

Prediction: With the sword of relegation not hanging over their heads this year they might just decide to give it a full go. With Dick Muir to steady the ship they should improve on their lowly 12th position of last year. Look for them to leapfrog to 10th .

The Sharks looked set for a great season in 2009 but somehow their wheels just seem to come off.

They have to learn how to handle setbacks. If they don`t learn how to get the better of their bogey teams, the Cheetahs and Reds, they won`t taste success in this competition. On paper again they have an impressive looking first fifteen but if you look deeper than that you`ll see the cracks already starting to set in. At flyhalve they have to pin their hopes on Monty Dumond who performed well enough for them in the Curry Cup but would he be able to take the next step up? And if worst come to worst, as it usually does in the Super 14, and Monty picks up a serious injury, do they have someone to fill his boots? Ruan Pienaar is still injured but even if he is ready it will take him some time to settle into the flyhalve position again, time the Sharks don`t have.

Then there`s the questionable tactics they employed last year of kicking possession away. If they persist with this approach against dangerous sides like the Chiefs and Blues it will be another disappointing year for the Sharks supporters.

They`ve got an impressive front row and added some much needed bulk in the loose trio with Willem Alberts. With clever substitutions they can out muscle the opposition in the first hour and then send on the agile Kankowski to deliver the knock-out punch late in the second half.

The Sharks looks fairly set in the forwards department but in the backline they could run into serious trouble when injuries sets it. And we might as well face it, you don`t go through the super 14 without a couple of serious injuries.

Possible XV: Terblanche, Ndungane, Jacobs, Swanepoel, Pietersen, Dumond, McLeod, Alberts, Deysel, Muller, Sykes, Botes, Smit, Du Plessis, Mtawarira.

Predicition: The Sharks have a lot of potential and with a bit of luck they could find themselves close to a play off spot. But then they have to overcome the Bulls in Pretoria. . .



47 Comments

  • ‘like the Crusaders resting all their All Blacks and the Aussie teams who had to spread their talent pool a bit too thin’

    C’mon lets give the Bulls some credit. :roll:

    The Crusaders were at full strenght for the semi against the Bulls and I think for some matches before that.

    The Aussies shallow talent pool is not the Bulls’ problem. We don’t hear the Aus/NZ mob say that when one of their teams win the comp that it was because the Saffers can’t travel/took a while to take to the professional era etc.

  • Comment 1, posted at 22.01.10 12:23:45 by McLovin Reply
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  • And they completely smited the Chiefs last year in the final. A pakslae if I ever saw one.

  • Comment 2, posted at 22.01.10 12:26:30 by McLovin Reply
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  • I think the Stormers will improve on last year’s position but I doubt we will make the semis.

    We have lost our opening games for the last two years running. We MUST beat the Lions in our first game in order to get some momentum going!!!

  • Comment 3, posted at 22.01.10 12:44:27 by wpw Reply
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  • @McLovin (Comment 1) : Crusaders, by definition, are not at full strength without Dan Carter.

  • Comment 4, posted at 22.01.10 12:46:12 by robdylan Reply
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  • I believe collectively South African teams will do better.

    Meaning the Cheetahs, Lions and Stormers will improve from the log positions of last year.

    However, I believe the Bulls will make the semi’s by a whisker (4th) which will spell the end of their run if they have to travel (most likely to Australasia) to play the first placed team…

    The Sharks – well if they get it together, they will be in a similar position to what i predict the Bulls will be in.

    But I am afraid, no home semi this year for any of our teams.

    On paper, 3 of our teams could make the play-offs, they have the teams, in reality, not going to happen I’m afraid.

    I would venture to predict the Cheetahs ending ahead of the Lions, who I believe, will come apart on tour.

    Bulls – 4 to 6
    Sharks – 5 to 7
    Stormers – 5 to 8
    Cheetahs – 8 to 12
    Lions – 9 to 13.

    Oh and it is the Currie Cup, not Curry (the guys in Debbin only won it once in the last decade or so it does not give them the right to change the name already!!!)

  • Comment 5, posted at 22.01.10 12:49:23 by Morné Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 4) : Nor are the Bulls without Naas. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 6, posted at 22.01.10 12:51:49 by McLovin Reply

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  • @Morné (Comment 5) : sure it does :)

  • Comment 7, posted at 22.01.10 13:00:29 by robdylan Reply
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  • Would prefer kockett over mcloed, the kicking option. Kockett is seriously accurate. Heard Mapoe broke his ankle.

    My Sharks Starting Team if all are fit:

    1. Beast
    2. Biz
    3. John
    4. Sykes
    5. Muller
    6. Deysel
    7. Alberts
    8. Kanko
    9. Ruan
    10. Dumond
    11. Jp
    12. Riaan
    13. Adi
    14. Odwa
    15. Stef

    Deysel and Biz to share the fetching job aswell as being doing their traditional work.

  • Comment 8, posted at 22.01.10 13:21:21 by JJR Reply
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  • Supersport are Showing Warm up Match against Stormers next week Friday at 7pm On SS1. Gooo Sharks!

  • Comment 9, posted at 22.01.10 13:23:35 by JJR Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 9) : ah nice! And me stuck in the UK :(

  • Comment 10, posted at 22.01.10 13:26:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 8) :

    Are you sure it was Mapoe and not Wilton Pietersen?? :roll:

  • Comment 11, posted at 22.01.10 13:55:29 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 11) : yeah, I think it was Pietersen

  • Comment 12, posted at 22.01.10 13:57:43 by robdylan Reply
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  • @JJR (Comment 9) : Great news!!!

  • Comment 13, posted at 22.01.10 14:12:47 by Pokkel (can't wait for the S14 to start) Reply
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  • Sharks
    Bulls
    Stormers
    Lions
    Cheetahs

  • Comment 14, posted at 22.01.10 14:17:45 by Jarson's (X + V) Reply
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  • LOL I hope you guys don`t think I was . . . too diplomatic . . with this article .

  • Comment 15, posted at 22.01.10 14:39:34 by Original Pierre Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 15) : not at all :roll:

  • Comment 16, posted at 22.01.10 14:42:30 by rekinek Reply
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  • @Original Pierre (Comment 15) : it’s not this otr site :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 22.01.10 14:42:54 by rekinek Reply
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  • Veteran flyhalf Carlos Spencer, unwanted in his own country, will earn the same as senior All Blacks in New Zealand :shock: when he plays for the Lions in the Super 14 this year.

    This was revealed on Thursday, when Blues coach Pat Lam revealed his frustrations behind the ill-fated Spencer saga that left the Auckland franchise on the outside looking in as the All Black star tried to negotiate a return to his old team.

    Lam opened up on the episode when he spoke to the New Zealand media at Blues training on Thursday, revealing that Spencer had been chasing one last big pay-day as he sought a deal to wind down his career in New Zealand.

    The Blues were clearly interested, :shock: as they were going through a frustrating process of finding a No.10 for the upcoming season, but never got a say in the matter as the New Zealand Rugby Union handled negotiations directly.

    So it was the national body who spoke to the 34-year-old, 35-test, All Black’s representatives, and they quickly decided they were not interested in paying the sort of money that Lam revealed to be on a par with what senior All Blacks were getting.

  • Comment 18, posted at 22.01.10 16:20:34 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 18) : so what is he saying that he wanted Spencer back and was prepared to pay this money?

  • Comment 19, posted at 22.01.10 16:25:45 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 19) : I couldn’t figure out exactly WHAT point Lam was trying to make.

    Here’s a question… is Pat Lambie a smaller version of Pat Lam? :)

  • Comment 20, posted at 22.01.10 16:31:05 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 20) : that’s a tricky question

  • Comment 21, posted at 22.01.10 16:35:02 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 19) :
    @robdylan (Comment 20) :

    I think that is exactly what he is saying, along with bitching about the fact that the NZRU are the ones negotiating with players and not the S14 teams.

    The comments by Lam opens two questions for me.
    1) Is Spencer actually gonna be good enough that the Blues wanted him?
    2) Are the Blues trying to blow smoke up the Lions’ arse to give them more confidence than they should have?

  • Comment 22, posted at 22.01.10 16:36:28 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 22) : that’s too complicated.

    I reckon he has some value to him. Perhaps not necessarily as the best 10 but been there, done that, got a tshirt.
    With his kind of experience he may be very good in steadying a ship when things go wrong – exactly what young lions need.

  • Comment 23, posted at 22.01.10 16:45:48 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 23) : I wouldn’t play him ahead of Stephen Brett… so Lam has an axe to grind as is using this as an excuse to air it. I seriousy doubt he wanted Spencer

  • Comment 24, posted at 22.01.10 16:48:46 by robdylan Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 23) :

    I AM looking forward to him having a few of his rattled games. I can recall a few games when he was at the top of his game that he actually had SHOCKERS!!! when under pressure.

  • Comment 25, posted at 22.01.10 16:50:07 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 25) : he is worse than even Andre Pretorius when it comes to that :)

  • Comment 26, posted at 22.01.10 16:55:34 by robdylan Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 25) : woldn’t he matured a bit

    @robdylan (Comment 26) : is this possible :roll:

  • Comment 27, posted at 22.01.10 16:58:46 by rekinek Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 26) : it’s gonna be interesting how Pretorius does for Force or should we start betting at which game he’ll get injured. i say 4th

  • Comment 28, posted at 22.01.10 16:59:58 by rekinek Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 25) : forkit, imagine the first time he gets Deyseled :) He’ll spend the next 20 minutes looking for his false teeth

  • Comment 29, posted at 22.01.10 17:00:24 by robdylan Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 28) : so including the two warmups, that’s the second round of the comp. You think he’ll last that long?

  • Comment 30, posted at 22.01.10 17:00:56 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 30) : except Sharks (read Deysel) they only play stormers and brumbies, i reckon the game 4 against canes may be the last straw :lol:

  • Comment 31, posted at 22.01.10 17:07:31 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 31) : well, Petoors might end up getting Deyseled on Tuesday night already… :)

    Hey, I’ve thought of a new one. What happens to you if you get hit by both Deysel and Alberts AT THE SAME TIME?

    We should offer odds on any opposition player (other than Freak Lauaki) getting up after that

  • Comment 32, posted at 22.01.10 17:17:42 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 32) : dalberted? no… doesn’t sound that cool. will think about proper terminology.

    Ya lauaki will just swing his arms :roll:

    needa run now – cheers

  • Comment 33, posted at 22.01.10 17:25:52 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 33) : ciao reki. Enjoy the weekend, chick.

  • Comment 34, posted at 22.01.10 17:32:02 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 26) :

    I See AP is back in the best form of his career. INJURED. again.

  • Comment 35, posted at 22.01.10 17:33:00 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • It’s all defence for Cheetahs :shock:

    Jóhann Thormählen

    Bloemfontein – The Cheetahs want to pride themselves on their defence in the Super14 this year :mrgreen: and Eastern Province are the first team in their sights in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

    Coach Naka Drotské picked his strongest available side for the pre-season match and the Cheetahs are out to register a clinical victory over De Wet Barry and his team-mates.

    That is why Cheetahs backline coach Hawies Fourie does not want to see their opponents get opportunities to score tries.

    “Defence is the one thing we want to focus on in the Super14 and we don’t want EP to score a single try against us. If they manage a try, it has to be through an intercept or a ball that is kicked through,” said Fourie…..

  • Comment 36, posted at 22.01.10 17:35:16 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • It’s all defence for Cheetahs LOL Isn’t that the case every year :?: :mrgreen: :razz:

  • Comment 37, posted at 22.01.10 17:36:09 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • “Defence is the one thing we want to focus on in the Super14 and we don’t want EP to score a single try against us. If they manage a try, it has to be through an intercept or a ball that is kicked through,” said Fourie.

    DUDE if EP score ANY tries against you by ANY means then YOU have a serious problem.

    I have a further question, the Cheetahs should have 80+% of possesion in this game, how will that test their defence in any way?

  • Comment 38, posted at 22.01.10 17:38:47 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 35) : huh? Is he injured?

  • Comment 39, posted at 22.01.10 17:49:31 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 39) :

    no, I was being sarcastic. :smile:

  • Comment 40, posted at 22.01.10 17:56:32 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 35) : It is a long flight from Aus after all. Plenty of time to get injured. Is it is buttocks again? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 41, posted at 22.01.10 17:57:46 by McLovin Reply

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  • @McLovin (Comment 41) : what does this oke do on all these flights that he’s always injuring his ass?

    *just wondering out loud here*

    *whistles*

  • Comment 42, posted at 22.01.10 18:00:58 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 42) : :twisted:

  • Comment 43, posted at 22.01.10 18:05:47 by McLovin Reply

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  • @McLovin (Comment 43) : ;)

    He he.

    Almost hometime

  • Comment 44, posted at 22.01.10 18:33:41 by robdylan Reply
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  • @robdylan (Comment 44) : Can’t wait. :cool:

  • Comment 45, posted at 22.01.10 18:40:52 by McLovin Reply

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  • @robdylan (Comment 39) : not yet.

  • Comment 46, posted at 22.01.10 19:08:56 by rekinek Reply
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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 40) : there are no great odds on this prediction.

  • Comment 47, posted at 22.01.10 19:11:54 by rekinek Reply
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