Super Rugby 2014: Round 1 preview and predictions

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Super Rugby on 13 Feb 2014 at 12:51
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Right, we have all the teams named, so let’s dive straight into Round 1, which is more of an hors d’oeuvre than a main course this year, since only two matches will take place.

Match 1: Cheetahs v Lions (Saturday 17h05)

Last year’s surprise knock-out contestants come up against last year’s, um, Vodacom Cup winners. Obviously there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then and the Lions are now back in Super Rugby, for better or worse. Matches between these teams always seem to be closer on grass than they should be on paper and early-season games are notoriously hard to call. That said, the Cheetahs have looked good in pre-season (admittedly against weak opposition) and have bought well to replace those players who’ve left. In fact, the annual drain of talent from Bloemfontein has been more of a trickle than a flood this year, meaning a fair deal of continuity for Naka Drotske’s men. Their pack, with Springboks Adriaan Strauss and Coenie Oosthuizen in the van, will be a handful. The Lions, in contrast, have the look of a team in trouble before a ball has even been kicked. Their lack of depth was ruthlessly exposed by the Sharks last weekend and with six debutants in their starting fifteen this week (four of them in the tight five) it’s hard to predict anything other than a very long afternoon for Johan Ackermann’s young side. Our call is for a Cheetahs win by around 15 points.

Toyota Cheetahs: 15. Willie le Roux, 14. Cornal Hendricks, 13. Johann Sadie, 12. Francois Venter, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Johan Goosen, 9. Shaun Venter, 8. Philip van der Walt, 7. Lappies Labuschagné, 6. Boom Prinsloo, 5. Francois Uys, 4. Lood de Jager, 3. Coenie Ooshuizen, 2. Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1. Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16. Ryno Barnes, 17. Trevor Nyakane, 18. Maks van Dyk, 19. Ligtoring Landman, 20. Jean Cook, 21. Sarel Pretorius, 22. Elgar Watts, 23. Rayno Benjamin.

Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley (capt), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Francois de Klerk, 22 Coenie van Wyk, 23 Alwyn Hollenbach.

Match 2: Sharks v Bulls (Saturday 19h10)

The second match should be an interesting affair indeed, with all and sundry blowing plenty of hot air up every possible Sharks orifice ahead of any meaningful action having taken place. Jake White has named a strong 23, featuring no fewer than 14 capped Springboks, but long-suffering Sharks fans will know that rugby results are seldom decided on reputation alone and that a strong team lineup hasn’t always, in the past, naturally translated into on-field success for this team. The Bulls, in contrast, have lost a huge amount of experience from their 2013 squad and have thus included a smattering of youth to complement their Bok core, which includes veterans like Pierre Spies, Flip van der Merwe, Francois Hougaard and Akona Ndungane. A pair of exciting young Bok centres will give Bulls fans some hope here, but it will fall to their pack, which includes a fair few younger players such as Paul Willemse, Jono Ross and Jacques du Plessis, to take a big step up and show they can compete with the Sharks’ start-studded eight. The sticky Durban conditions will prove a leveler, but despite all thoughts to the contrary, one simply has to look at the home side for the win here, if for no other reason than that amazing starting pack. Sharks to prevail by around 8 points.

Cell C Sharks: 15. SP Marais, 14. Odwa Ndungane, 13. Paul Jordaan, 12. Frans Steyn, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Patrick Lambie, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Marcell Coetzee, 5. Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4. Anton Bresler, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1. Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. Stephan Lewies, 20. Jean Deysel, 21. Charl McLeod, 22. Heimar Williams, 23. S’bura Sithole

Vodacom Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (capt), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Jono Ross, 5 Flip van der Merwe, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Frik Kirsten, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Ulrich Beyers.


  • Amazing! those are my exact Superbru predictions too 😆
    let’s hope we’re both right!

  • Comment 1, posted at 13.02.14 12:52:29 by Greg Reply
  • Bulls have 9 capped Boks in the starting team, so not that far behind the Sharks.

    Then again, Greyling and Kruger…

  • Comment 2, posted at 13.02.14 12:57:05 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • i reckon the sharks should pull a bigger win than 8 points

  • Comment 3, posted at 13.02.14 13:11:50 by Dunx Reply

  • This Sharks game is so tough to predict! On the one hand the Bulls just don’t seem to have any players who inspire real fear but the Sharks are well known for taking the first 2 games to realize the season has begun and it will be ok to win some games. One hopes that JW has put an end to those episodes

  • Comment 4, posted at 13.02.14 13:43:46 by Half-Pint Reply

  • Cheetahs by 10, Sharks by 14

  • Comment 5, posted at 13.02.14 13:53:27 by Baylion Reply

  • @Baylion (Comment 5) : they say great minds think alike got same score on both teams

  • Comment 6, posted at 13.02.14 14:04:42 by sharks4eve2013 Reply

  • Announcement: if youre around DBN this weekend and you are not at the game, Rob will ban you from sharksworld. #fillitup

  • Comment 7, posted at 13.02.14 14:10:08 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
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    West Indies Cricket Board
  • @West Indies Cricket Board (Comment 7) : damn right!

  • Comment 8, posted at 13.02.14 14:11:37 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • Agree with the analysis, Rob. Wise choice on Superbru to go with the Sharks, as they are the team to beat, but I(obviously) would be hoping for an upset.
    I mean we are playing in Durban – we got our first Super Rugby trophy there. 😈

  • Comment 9, posted at 13.02.14 16:49:54 by Blue Centurion Reply

    Blue Centurion
  • @Blue Centurion (Comment 9) : I think it depends on who dies first…the heat down the coastline has been unbearable.

    By all accounts, the Sharks should really be able to make the conditions work in their favour. Ie. should be better suited to this heat/humidity. Even at 19:00 it is still unbearable, cooling down at about 02:00, then heating straight back up at 02:10 😆

  • Comment 10, posted at 13.02.14 17:36:37 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @Blue Centurion (Comment 9) : That last line was evil 🙂

  • Comment 11, posted at 13.02.14 20:58:39 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @vanmartin (Comment 11) : Like a stake through the hart. 😯

  • Comment 12, posted at 13.02.14 21:41:00 by Southern_Shark Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • I reckon the Bulls game will be closer than most pundits suggest.
    Firstly, the sharks are being way overhyped and nothing motivates an opposition team like being written off. Secondly, the Sharks are usually slow starters in this competition, so expect a bit of rustiness. Thirdly, if I’ve learnt anything from local derby games it’s that they’re dreadfully dull.
    But all that said, I would love to see a solid thrashing!

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.02.14 08:39:14 by The Great Couch Shark Reply
    The Great Couch Shark
  • @The Great Couch Shark (Comment 13) : Fourthly, the Durban humidity is a great leveler of teams. One would think it would be an advantage to the Sharks since they practice in it, but it never seems to be.

    I for one will be very happy with a 1-point win. Four tries will just be the cherry on the cake.

  • Comment 14, posted at 14.02.14 08:50:30 by Bokhoring Reply
  • @The Great Couch Shark (Comment 13) : I’m hoping for some confidence in the way the Sharks play as well as them sticking to their strengths instead of the opposition’s game plan being forced down on them. A win by ANY margin will make me a happy man.

  • Comment 15, posted at 14.02.14 10:05:35 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • What is the reason for the SR starting with just 4 SA teams?

    (thankful for it, as last year we had the displeasure of having to watch the ozzies set the pace for the season – yawn-a-thon)

  • Comment 16, posted at 14.02.14 10:42:31 by FireTheLooser Reply

  • @FireTheLooser (Comment 16) : maybe that is the reason 😀

  • Comment 17, posted at 14.02.14 11:40:08 by West Indies Cricket Board Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
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  • Just looked at the LMS picks… creative bunch you lot, eh!

  • Comment 18, posted at 14.02.14 11:49:36 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 18) : not a lot of choice this round 🙂

  • Comment 19, posted at 14.02.14 13:06:10 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 18) : dude… you picked a side that isn’t playing this week…. are you as stupid as you look, or do you just not understand the rules? :mrgreen:

  • Comment 20, posted at 14.02.14 13:07:10 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 18) : @robdylan (Comment 20) : Was wondering who made the Stormers pick. Vin you legend! 😀

  • Comment 21, posted at 14.02.14 13:20:21 by vanmartin Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 19) : And yet not a single Lions pick to date.

  • Comment 22, posted at 14.02.14 13:22:29 by vanmartin Reply
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  • @vanmartin (Comment 22) : Someone has picked the Bulls though. Pretty gutsy move.

  • Comment 23, posted at 14.02.14 13:26:58 by gregkaos Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @robdylan (Comment 20) :

    I really dont understand the rules.

    Why is there an option to pick a team thats not playing?

    Can i change it?

  • Comment 24, posted at 14.02.14 14:12:10 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @gregkaos (Comment 23) :

    Its maths – this one pick comes off and they’re the hotseat to win the whole damn thing.

  • Comment 25, posted at 14.02.14 14:13:29 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • So does that mean im out already?

  • Comment 26, posted at 14.02.14 14:22:58 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 26) : I can change it for you. I really shouldn’t, but I am nice and it appears you generally didn’t understand.

    What would you like to pick instead?

  • Comment 27, posted at 14.02.14 14:27:08 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @VinChainSaw (Comment 25) : Well he/she won’t be in hotseat unless the Lions beat the Cheetahs. Even if that happens, will still be sitting only slightly ahead of the guys who chose a bye this weekend.

    I’d much prefer to use my Bulls pick against teams I’m more convinced they’ll beat. Like the Lions, Rebels or Stormers. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 28, posted at 14.02.14 14:41:55 by gregkaos Reply
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