KSA Shark ©

Expect a stronger SA S14 challenge in 2009 : Muller

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :Admin, In the news, Super 14 on 15 Jan 2009 at 18:05
Tagged with : ,

Possible Sharks Super 14 captain Johann Muller is convinced that the South African challenge on the Super14 will be stronger in 2009 than it was in 2008.

Rugbyweek reports that Muller is in line to be named as captain for the Sharks in 2009 after captaining them to Currie Cup glory in 2008. The only other real contender for the role as skipper is John Smit who is back with the Sharks after a stint in France.

Given that a South African team won the Super14 in 2007 and that two South African teams contested the final in the same year 2008 was something of a disappointment for South African Super14 teams.

Most of the fans and players were less than enthusiastic about the new ELVs – the Bulls did not get the hang of them until the second half of the competition.

Others, such as the Lions and Cheetahs, fell off the pace early and started dishing out bonus points for the Australasian teams.

“There is no doubt that we suffered a World Cup hangover last year. While the Aussie and Kiwi teams hit the ground running, our teams were left in the starting blocks,” Muller told The Mercury.

“But this year is like a World Cup year. A British and Irish Lions tour is very special and all our players are very excited about it.”

“A lot of senior players have been hanging on for the chance to play the Lions.

“Compared to Australia and New Zealand, we have lost relatively few players to Europe – certainly far less than usual.”

The negative for South Africa after a Lions year is that there could be hoards of South Africans heading for Europe once the tour is over.

The Lions tour is a watershed for many senior Springboks, but, for the time being, South African rugby is on the right side of the watershed.

Muller points out that most of the squads were showing better consistency in playing personnel. Only the Sharks have had a change in head coach, with John Plumtree taking over from Dick Muir. It was however Plumtree that coached the Sharks to their first Currie Cup title in years.

“I think Rassie Erasmus will get a lot out of the Stormers in his second year,” said Muller.

“The Bulls will be better with Victor (Matfield) back from France, and the Lions have some good young players coming through, now that they are a bit more experienced.”

The Cheetahs are the one side that has been hit by player movements, but, then, this is nothing new for them.

“We really need the Lions and Cheetahs to knock off some of our overseas opposition when they come here,” Muller said.

“If we all work together this could be a very good Super 14 for South Africa.”

The Sharks have been hit by player defections having lost B J Botha, Bradley Barritt, A J Venter and Frederic Michalak but they did get John Smit back and he along with Jannie du Plessis, will play mostly at tight head in place of Botha.

Other departures will be replaced by the youngsters coming through the Sharks’ system.

“It really is a very settled and happy squad,” said Muller.

“Last year we got so much right in terms of the team ethic.

“If you have a happy rugby player you have a good rugby player. And with so few newcomers to the squad, we don’t have to work through that process again of building the team.

“Everybody who is here desperately wants to do well for the Sharks.”


  • We finally have THREE teams that are in with Semi-Final chances. This IS going to be another good year for the Saffas.

  • Comment 1, posted at 15.01.09 18:18:48 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 1) : don’t believe the hype, dude. Bulls and Stormers will eb nowhere this year

  • Comment 2, posted at 15.01.09 18:19:48 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 2) : As long as we win, I don’t care where they come.

  • Comment 3, posted at 15.01.09 18:28:35 by klempie Reply

  • @robdylan (Comment 2) :

    Bulls MAY fall by the wayside but I think the Stormers will be close to where we finish

  • Comment 4, posted at 15.01.09 18:30:28 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • If all goes well for the Sharks they should pick up log points in the high (very high) forties.

    I’ll be bold and predict that the Sharks will finish second at worst.

    Stormers will at best get in the low forties in terms of log points. Which might just be enough for 4th spot. But as much as it pains me to say they almost certainly won’t make the semi’s. Just can’t see them picking up enough points in their away games. But I shall remain hopefull till the bitter end. 😀

    Bulls will also struggle to get 40+ points imo.

  • Comment 5, posted at 15.01.09 18:52:10 by McLovin Reply

  • remember both stormers and bulls have awful tours

  • Comment 6, posted at 15.01.09 19:02:06 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @robdylan (Comment 6) : awful, awfull. Stormers virtually play all the top Aus/NZ teams away on consecutive weekends. 👿

  • Comment 7, posted at 15.01.09 19:05:04 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 7) : exactly. They did well last year but you can’t compare the draws

  • Comment 8, posted at 15.01.09 19:06:56 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @McLovin (Comment 7) :

    And the bulls have to do a NZ – Aus – NZ tour. 😳

  • Comment 9, posted at 15.01.09 19:06:59 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 9) :

    OOPS no Sorry that is the Stormers as well.

    NOT the Bulls.

  • Comment 10, posted at 15.01.09 19:08:58 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 9) : And the Stormers….:roll:

    And this was post 6666 from me. 😈

  • Comment 11, posted at 15.01.09 19:09:17 by McLovin Reply

  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 10) : Bulls don’t travel well at all. Only exception was 2007. Is why I don’t rate their chances. Plus I don’t like them. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 12, posted at 15.01.09 19:10:54 by McLovin Reply

  • Bulls Away schedule


    and then return to SA to play the Chiefs who have a Bye, Cheetahs, Bulls, Stormers schedule in SA.

  • Comment 13, posted at 15.01.09 19:12:21 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @McLovin (Comment 11) :


  • Comment 14, posted at 15.01.09 19:13:19 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • I am not sure if the Bulls having a BYE before their tour is good or bad.

    Does it give them time to recover from jetlag or does it make the tour tooooo long

  • Comment 15, posted at 15.01.09 19:14:22 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Home time. 😀

    Have a pleasant evening gentlemen.

  • Comment 16, posted at 15.01.09 19:15:52 by McLovin Reply

  • @McLovin (Comment 16) :

    Cheers mate.

  • Comment 17, posted at 15.01.09 19:16:50 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) : Ouch. That’s a bad tour. Ag shamepies. 😳

  • Comment 18, posted at 15.01.09 19:18:33 by klempie Reply

  • @klempie (Comment 18) :

    yeah that AIN’T nice at all. I didn’t realise how bad it really was.

    WE have a pretty good tour schedule.


  • Comment 19, posted at 15.01.09 19:23:30 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 19) : yeah . we need to hit the Chiefs and hit them HARD first up. Winning that match will set the tone for the tour in a big way. We might drop the Blues game, but must surely be able to take the Reds and the Force.

  • Comment 20, posted at 15.01.09 19:28:33 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 13) :

    There is an article about the Bulls wanting to make sure they use their home ground advantage this season. having seen thier tous schedule i have suddenly realised WHY their home games are of such vital importance.

    Bulls to hit a ‘home run’
    Thu, 15 Jan 2009 14:08

    The Bulls are determined to make ‘home ground advantage’ count when the Super 14 season gets underway next month. Veteran Springbok centre Wayne Julies says they won’t repeat the mistakes of 2008 which cost them so dearly.

    The Pretoria-based franchise will play three of their first four games at home – against the Reds, Blues and Stormers – with their Round Three match against the Lions, just 50 kilometres down the M1 highway in Johannesburg, effectively also a home game.

    And it is that ‘home run’ which the Bulls aim to use to their advantage to get a sound base before they head off on a five-match Australasian tour – where they will face the Hurricanes (in Wellington), Highlanders (Palmerston North), Crusaders (Christchurch), Waratahs (Sydney) and Brumbies (Canberra).

    They then end their campaign with another three home matches – against the Chiefs, Western Force and Cheetahs – before a match against the Sharks in Durban.

    Last year the Bulls, as defending champions after beating the Sharks in the 2007 Final, started with an away win against the Stormers – just to then lose their first two home matches (against the Crusaders and Sharks), which meant they had no momentum going into their road trip to Australia and New Zealand. To add insult to injury, they lost their first match back home, following a winless tour.

    This, Julies says, they want to avoid this year.

    “We obviously start of with a number of home games, before we go on tour and our target is clear – to win those home games,” Julies told rugby365.com during a break from pre-season training.

    “If we win all our home games, it will make life easier when we go on tour – there will be less pressure on tour if we got some wins under the belt.”

    He said their next goal would be to win a number of our games on tour – just as they did in 2007.

    That year the Bulls became the first South African team to win three matches in Australasia – when they beat the Brumbies, Waratahs and Highlanders – to collect 13 points on the road.

    “It is not just about winning some games, but making a success of the entire tour,” the 11-times capped Bok centre, Julies, told rugby365.com.

    “We know how tough it can be [on tour] and what the challenges are that we will face.”

    He also spoke of the importance to start building momentum even before the season gets underway.

    “Yes, momentum is very important, but to get that momentum you need to do the basics right – to start winning those games and in that way build momentum.

    “It is vital to get the game plan and pattern sorted, the kicking game and the communication.

    “When those things all fall in place it will go well, that is how we will start getting those wins, which in turn will help to build that momentum.

    “That is what we worked hard on in the pre-season camp, to get the basics in place and start building momentum by getting that right.”

    Julies, who has fully recovered from his second major knee injury, said the 2009 pre-season build-up has a very similar feel to it than that which he experienced in 2007.

    “The players are very optimistic. We know we shot ourselves in the foot with our performances last year and even though there were other factors. I mean, we could use excuses like a new coach, some new players, news styles, etc.

    “But the players are determined to put all that behind them and make a success of this year and repeat the [tournament] victory of 2007.”

  • Comment 21, posted at 15.01.09 19:29:21 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Whats this about bad overseas Itineraries, the Sharks had a similar one last year and still made it to the semi’s. Just a question do these players fly Cattle Class or Business Class???

  • Comment 22, posted at 15.01.09 22:03:48 by Dynamite Reply


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