The Quirk

SUPER 15 PREVIEW


Written by Ryan Quirk (The Quirk)

Posted in :Original Content, Super 14, Super Rugby on 19 Jan 2012 at 11:37
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

It’s almost that time of year again, when Superugby relegates the other fun stuff we find to do on weekends during the off season to the bin of discarded activities for another 8 months.

The 2012 edition will be no different I imagine, well, it will be different, but not in a dress in women’s clothing and high heels whilst singing the theme song to Airwolf on a table kind of way.

It is the second year of the Super 15, and in my opinion that is still three teams too many, but that’s beside the point.    Last year I did long articles on each of the sides, detailing their strengths and weaknesses and their prospects for the year ahead, which very few people read, so this year I will be concise, and write only one long article, which I suspect very few people will read.

The Teams!

The Reds!

The communists will continue to be competitive, they have a great coach, and even without bad boy Cooper they’ll wreak havoc on opposition defences.  They’ve gone from last to first in a matter of two years and the opposite can happen as quickly, but I doubt it will.  Expect them to top the Aussie conference, and then anything can happen in the playoffs.

Key players – Digby Ioane, Will Genius and James Horwill.

The Crusaders!

They have a new stadium, or at least will have a re-built one, and no earthquakes to worry about so beware the team from Christchurch.  Even without McCaw and Carter they’re probably one of the best teams in the competition and will probably win the whole thing.

Key players – Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Matt Todd, Israel Dagg.

The Stormers!

The Cape side lost Jaque Fourie to R22m, Francois Louw to Bath and a host of young talent to the Bulls.  They still have a reasonable squad however and will be looking to finally win a trophy.  I don’t think they will, I think they’ll battle it out for the SA conference and, if they make it, will fail dismally in the playoffs.

Key Players – Schalk Burger, Bryan Habana, Jean de Villiers

The Blues!

The Blues have a very exciting squad, and with the addition of Nonu and Wheepu they should be one of the teams to watch in 2012.  They have, however, been cursed with the plague of inconsistency in the recent past and will hope to overcome that in 2012.  I think they’ll battle with the Crusaders for top spot in New Zealand and will make the playoffs again.

Key Players – Ma’a Nonu, Keven Mealamu, Isa Toueava

The Waratahs!

I’ve always found the Waratahs to be slightly, well, boring.  Led by Phil Waugh they’ve bashed and bored their way to numerous play-off games only to be usurped by the Reds as the best team in Australia.   He’s retired now, and they’ve been joined by Adam Ashley Cooper, who should inject some urgency into their backs.  They will in all probability finish somewhere in the top 6.

Key Players – Dan Vickerman, Sekope Kepu, AAC

The Sharks!

The Durban side have a great squad in 2012, with their only weaknesses at scrumhalf and perhaps the midfield.  John Smit is gone and his successor as captain is tearaway flanker Keegan Daniel.  That means that the best hooker in the world will start almost every game. I expect them to make the playoffs again.

Key Players –  Pat Lambie, Bismarck du Plessis, Willem Alberts

The Bulls!

They are probably the most unpredictable side in this year’s competition.  A host of legends have packed their bags for the green pastures of France, Japan, and retirement and their boots are waiting to be filled by a host of talented youngsters eager to emulate their mentors.  The Bulls have also been shopping and now boast the crème of young backline talent in SA, and Zane Kirchner.  They might start slowly but once the combinations start to gel they could wreak some serious havoc.

Key Players – Chiliboy Ralapele, Pierre Spies, Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard.

The Highlanders!

The Highlanders, in the last few years, have been going through something of a rebuilding process; the team is filled with hard working, tough players, and will beat more favoured teams in 2012.  They’ll be hoping Colin Slade’s jaw holds up and that Adam Thompson continues his blistering form from 2011. All Blacks Andrew Hore and Hosea Gear have joined them from the Hurricanes and will be looking to give Mark Hammett a reminder of what he’s lost.

Key Players – Adam Thomson, Colin Slade, Andrew Hore, Hosea Gear.

The Hurricanes!

They’ve lost Nonu, Hore, Wheepu, Aaron Cruden and Hosea Gear.  Coach Mark Hammett could be blamed, or the players could be blamed, that doesn’t matter, what matters are their prospects for 2012 and how they’ll do is anybody’s guess.

Key players – Cory Jane, Victor Vito, Conrad Smith

The Chiefs!

The Waikato based side’s supporters will no doubt be very excited for 2012.  After making the final in 2009 they’ve flattered to deceive.  They may have lost the legendary Mils Muliaina but with new players like Aaron Cruden and Sonny Jill Williams joining the likes of Brendon Leonard and Richard Kahui they have a backline of note.  They have also gained the skills of former all black assistant coach Wayne Smith.  I expect them to have an up and down season and finish third of the New Zealand teams.

Key Players – Aaron Cruden, SBW, Richard Kahui, Liam Messam

The Cheetahs!

The Cheetahs have steadily improved in the last few years.  Known for their blitzkrieg attack and ability to score from anywhere, they’ve been let down by porous defence and a lack of depth in key positions in the past.  Their 2012 squad is a good one and if opposition teams think they’ll be a walkover they’ve got another thing coming.  Everyone is talking up their flyhalf prodigy Goosen as a future Springbok and I hope he steps up and proves them all right.

Key Players – Heinrich Brussow, Juan Smith, Johan Goosen

The Western Force!

The force have lost James o Bieber to the Rebels and Willie Ripia to, well, himself really… With those two gone an already fairly bare backline looks even less impressive.  In stalwarts like Nathan Sharpe and David Pocock they have world class players but the cupboards behind their wallabies are pretty bare.

Key Players – Nathan Sharpe, David Pocock

The Brumbies!

They have a great new coaching team, and a squad of players that people don’t expect that much from.  That makes them very dangerous as they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Having said that, it is a rebuilding season for them and I don’t expect them to challenge the top two Aussie sides.

Key Players – Pat McCabe, Christian Leaifano, Stephen Moore

The Lions!

They won the Currie Cup, and they won overseas after a pretty dismal start to last year’s competition.  The question on everyone’s’ lips, is will they carry that form to the Super 15?  I don’t know, they have solid if not spectacular players, and they have good team spirit, so I don’t see why not.

Key Players – Joshua Strauss, Elton Jantjes, Butch James

The Rebels!

Last year’s wooden spoonists have gained the services of Aussie wunderkinds, James o Bieber and Kurtley Beale.  Add to that grandpa Mortlock, Julian Huxley and the man who thinks tackling has something to do with deep sea fishing, Danny Cipriani, they have some serious talent at the back.  I think they’ll fight it out with the Western Force, Lions and maybe the Hurricanes for the wooden spoon again.

Key Players – James o Connor, Kurtley Beale, Stirling Mortlock.

So there you go, my take on the 2012 Super 15, may the best team win, and if not, then the most entertaining one!



22 Comments

  • The Bulls have also been shopping and now boast the crème of young backline talent in SA, and Zane Kirchner. :)

  • Comment 1, posted at 19.01.12 11:50:00 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
    vanmartinAssistant coach
     
  • The Highlanders are my bolter team this year.

    I think after a relatively succesful building year they now have the quality and experience to make a serious run of it.

  • Comment 2, posted at 19.01.12 11:55:42 by John Galt Reply

    John GaltCurrie Cup player
     
  • Brilliant read!

    Thank you!

  • Comment 3, posted at 19.01.12 11:59:28 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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    Richard FergusonCoach
     
  • Sonny Jill Williams :smile:

  • Comment 4, posted at 19.01.12 12:05:15 by KingRiaan Reply

    KingRiaanTeam captain
     
  • Great read :razz:

  • Comment 5, posted at 19.01.12 12:10:17 by JarsonX Reply
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  • I read it, and I liked it :lol:

  • Comment 6, posted at 19.01.12 12:35:43 by Me2 aka Mama Shark Reply

    Me2 aka Mama SharkCurrie Cup player
     
  • @vanmartin (Comment 1) :

    Bwhahahah….great line that!

    Nice read Quirk!

  • Comment 7, posted at 19.01.12 12:57:49 by Pokkel Reply
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    Assistant coach
     
  • Nice read dude! I hope the Lions can step it up this year after so many lost opportunities at the start of last years comp :|

  • Comment 8, posted at 19.01.12 13:17:42 by Viking Reply
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    VikingCurrie Cup player
     
  • Nice read! i think the cheetahs will miss Sarel Pretorius quite a bit, and we will see the difference he makes for the Waratahs. I would dot him down as a key player in their season.

  • Comment 9, posted at 19.01.12 14:50:21 by VanWilder Reply

    VanWilderCurrie Cup player
     
  • Can’t understand why James o Bieber and Kurtley Beal would want to join the Rebels. Must have been serious $$$.

  • Comment 10, posted at 19.01.12 14:53:34 by CapeShark Reply
    Author
    The Great Couch SharkSuper Rugby player
     
  • “The Durban side have a great squad in 2012, with their only weaknesses at scrumhalf and perhaps the midfield” – Hopefully with the Stef-meister gone, there’ll be less of a chance of a 747 being able to land between our centres.

  • Comment 11, posted at 19.01.12 14:56:02 by CapeShark Reply
    Author
    The Great Couch SharkSuper Rugby player
     
  • Hey Quirk, you really should write more articles; very, very good read!

  • Comment 12, posted at 19.01.12 15:34:35 by Culling Song Reply
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    Culling SongTeam captain
     
  • Semi Finals will be Crusaders, Reds, Blues and a SA team, Ill back the Sharks to be that team, but will be parting like hell if its the Lions

  • Comment 13, posted at 19.01.12 16:24:15 by Mutley Reply
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    MutleyTeam captain
     
  • @Culling Song (Comment 12) : I agree

  • Comment 14, posted at 19.01.12 17:41:32 by robdylan Reply
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  • Sharks to win :grin:

  • Comment 15, posted at 19.01.12 18:21:55 by rekinek Reply
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  • @rekinek (Comment 15) : darn right

  • Comment 16, posted at 19.01.12 19:13:45 by robdylan Reply
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  • Nice read, liked this bit the most “The Bulls have also been shopping and now boast the crème of young backline talent in SA, and Zane Kirchner.” ;-)

    My top 2 for all the countries

    AUS:1) REDS
    2) WARATAHS
    NZ:1) CRUSADERS
    2) BLUES
    SA:1) SHARKS
    2) STORMERS

    Teams that might surprise CHIEFS,BULLS,REBELS

  • Comment 17, posted at 19.01.12 20:28:11 by BR Reply
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    Currie Cup player
     
  • @CapeShark (Comment 11) : Hehe, our new centre will be a great replacement in this respect.

  • Comment 18, posted at 19.01.12 22:00:02 by rekinek Reply
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  • im going to be the dummy ….

    in a none WC year . do the top 2 teams in each conference go through ? sorry im getting old ..

  • Comment 19, posted at 19.01.12 22:28:13 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @Zibbie (Comment 19) : nope still the same as last year

  • Comment 20, posted at 19.01.12 22:52:52 by BR Reply
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    Currie Cup player
     
  • @BR (Comment 20) :

    Dint they say it will be different in a WC and none WC year . ? ill be glad if its the same . i manged to figure out how it will work so its cool :D

  • Comment 21, posted at 20.01.12 10:27:13 by Zibbie Reply
    Friend of SharksworldCompetition Winner
    ZibbieTeam captain
     
  • I like the current log standings but somethin is a bit off with the playoff contenders part :twisted:
    Play-off Contenders
    1: Sharks :razz:
    2: Hurricanes :shock:
    3: Reds :cool:
    4: Highlanders :???:
    5: Chiefs :lol:
    6: Blues :cool:

  • Comment 22, posted at 20.01.12 10:37:09 by JarsonX Reply
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