Apart from the obvious differences between the SA sides in the super 14 and our NZ and OZ counterparts, I feel there is one import fact we are all missing.
What it boils down to is that their sides, stick together for lack of a better expression. Look at the history. Yes it`s possible that a top contender like the Crusaders will drop a match in South Africa against a side like the Bulls in Pretoria. Contrary to popular belief, they`re not totally invincible.
But what happens then? Do they fall into despair because they might have lost their possible home semi final position? No of course they don`t. That is because the Crusaders know they will just go to Johannesburg, Cape Town or Bloemfontein from there and pick up a bonus point win again. So what you may ask? The Bulls now have an advantage over them already, they won in Pretoria didn`t they?
Wrong I say. Because not only is it highly likely that the Crusaders will get a bonus point victory over another SA side . . . in SA, it is also likely that the Bulls will lose a crucial match against someone like the Highlanders, Hurricanes or Chiefs over in New Zealand. And this is where the difference comes in. New Zealand sides have the ability to “nullify” the slight advantage SA sides get over them by making sure their less serious contenders pull off a little upset over our big contenders here and there.
Imagine how much of a boost South Africa`s big contenders like the Bulls or Sharks could get up the log, if teams like the Lions and Cheetahs could do the same for them?
If all our teams had the ability to shut out the opposition when they come on their South African tours, the result would probably be two teams in the semi finals for us, on a regular basis.
But if their top contenders get bonus points on a silver platter from our weaker sides, they will always have the advantage of a home semi final. And then the fat lady starts clearing her throat for the opening phrases of “ Conquest of Paradise” . .Tweet