Seeing as how the Bok season has died down with a whimper, I thought it fitting that we get our hopes up for the new season. Who will be the South African Superrugby team to beat? Who is the team that is going to surprise us and who will be the team to disappoint? Rightly or wrongly (depends on who you support), Superrugby has gone back to 4 South African teams. That should make the competition a lot more balanced and interesting. The new format looks better, even though not perfect yet.
The Sharks for me, is the team that might surprise. After a really good Currie cup campaign, that ended ina rather surprising loss, the Sharks will be the team to watch. With Du Preez now no longer a new coach at this level, he would use his knowledge and should get far better results. They have acquired players in the squad, that only seemed to improve the quality of the team, rather than us sitting here, asking why would they buy that guy.
One question that I have, is at flyhalf. Having acquired the services of junior from the Cape, they have some real talent at their disposal. The problem facing coach du Preez, would be nepotism. Whether rightly so or not, he will have to make sure the team agrees with his decisions. Surely the twins are a no brained, but at 10, many a Sharks supporter would love to see the mercurial Bosch play at 10 and learns the ins and outs of senior rugby. I would however pick Du Preez junior at 10 and Bosch at 15, as I feel Bosch has the makings of a real good 15 and with the added space, he could wreak havoc in a back three, consisting of Bosch, Nkosi and Mapimpi. Add the form of Am at centre and you have the makings of a really good backline, both on attack and defense.
The back line of the Sharks surely looks set to ignite a charge of its own, and with some settled players in the pack, the team looks a Beast (pun fully intended) at scrum time. The Du Preez twin are both now Boks and deservedly so. They have captain Botha, who has been one of the standout locks this season and should be close to Bok honors, if he can keep the aggression controlled. A really good front row, with really good locks and an excellent backrow, there are very few frailties in this team.
The one pack question could be at 2. Ackers is a really good player and have just extended his Sharks contract till 2019. The question is not whether or not Ackers should play, but whether to start him or not. I would most certainly use him as impact in the last 20 or 30. The guy is devastating in open play. The question then to me, is who to start. With Chiliboy there, this is a difficult one to manage. He is a bok hooker, but not necessarily first choice at his union. How Du Preez manages this next year, will go a long way to predicting how the season will go. Personally I’d not have him, but he is there, so they have to manage the situation really carefully.
To me the Sharks have a really good squad, made some really good additions and have, despite media rumors, a settled coaching staff, that really know what they want to accomplish. I for one see them as being one of the front runners in the SA challenge. What do you think about the Sharks chances next year?