Benedict have a quick look at the South African teams first week in Super Rugby and try to help you with your SuperBru predictions…..or does he?….
Rome was not built in a day as the ancient saying goes and it took time, desire and actual work to have built the great Empire. The start of a new four year cycle has come upon us, and South Africa is still at that stage of will we be able to add two or three dimensions to our game.
The start of 2012 came with Heyneke Meyer at the helm and under his tutelage there was a time the fans believed. 2013 was the year South Africa went toe to toe with the All Blacks. That clash at Ellis Park was when the Springboks showed just what they could do and needed to adjust to dominate the game once again. The Springboks scored tries, made the All Blacks have to dig deep by simply matching intensity, skill and fluency in play. Fitness was the deciding factor once again. Meyer sent the team out and they played with a bold approach.
Despite the loss, so many positives were taken.
Get the Boks fitter and leaner and there could be a case come England. Alas, they returned to their shells when the going got tough. We start again. All five Unions will look to have a solid foundation for the years to come. All have spoken about being bold and giving the ball air, will we be able to maintain it?
Will they not return to their shells when they concede 30 + in a game or two? The question is, will they get the required time to be bold and build over the next four years? The previous coaches have failed that. Instead showing an inability to harness the game breakers in the country in a game plan that allows them to develop their skills in the toughest environment in the world. All the fans hope for is a different journey.
An approach that offers variation, adventure and a new culture for the country. Jamie Josephs was bold and took perennial under achievers the Highlanders to Super Rugby glory after his 2011 appointment which was a journey full of brilliance and disaster. Maybe South Africa can have another Super Rugby champion in the near future. Over to you coaches and players.
The talent is evident and the Lions and the Cheetahs will take on the new boys. While the reinstated Southern Kings will take on the Sharks. An opportunity to set the tone and make a mark.
Preview – Cheetahs vs Jaguares
Endorsing the Jaguares as title contenders is purely over excitement. The side have an exciting squad and have to learn that this tournament is a marathon and not a sprint. Super Rugby will need them to adapt and be able to grind out results and make the most of their formidable home ground.
They kick off the season on tour and will be exciting to see how they play against the Cheetahs. This could be a try fest for the neutral fan. The Jaguares will not be foreign to playing around South Africa with some of their players having featured with the Pampas.
Expect them to be expansive and running the ball from all parts of the field. The Cheetahs will need to fix their defence this season. While they used to be everyone’s darling, they will look to combine their impulsive attacking approach with some gritty defence.
The inability to combine the athleticism of Swys Venter and brute force, strength and aggression of Boom Prinsloo. When the Cheetahs fix their defence and manage to keep the attack ticking; that will be the day the world takes notice.
Jaguares for the win by two scores. They taking on the side with the worst defence last year. Takes time to adapt into a new system. Cheetahs for the fall.
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter (c), 12 William Small-Smith, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Carl Wegner, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 1 Charles Marais
Replacements: 16 Jacques du Toit, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Paul Schoeman, 22 Tian Meyer, 23 Niel Marais
Jaguares: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo De la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Rodrigo Baez, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Ramiro Herrera, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Facundo Isa, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Matias Orlando
Preview: Sunwolves vs Lions
The Lions will be playing in Tokyo against the new boys the Sunwolves. The lions will look to continue were they left off and expect them to put in a better show than the game against the Jaguares. The Lions have a lot of fight and belief in their camp.
I expect them to dominate the physical end of the game, not to underestimate the opposition and run the ball a lot. They will know about the Japanese side’s prowess to stop driving mauls and are likely to test the theory early in the game.
The Lions have sharp goal kickers and will take any points on offer due to their ferocity on defence which will yield penalties. The Sunwolves will have the crowd behind them and while they may have the emotional drive early on, it will fade.
Lions to win in a try fest by at least 12 points.
Sunwolves – 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Akihito Yamada, 13 Harumichi Tatekawa, 12 Yu Tamura, 11 Yasutaka Sasakura, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Atsushi Hiwasa, 8 Edward Quirk, 7 Andrew Durutalo, 6 Liaki Moli, 5 Hitoshi Ono, 4 Timothy Vond, 3 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 2 Shota Horie (c), 1 Keith Inagaki.
Subs: 16 Masataka Mikami, 17 Takeshi Kizu, 18 Koki Yamamoto, 19 Shinya Makabe, 20 Yoshiya Hosoda, 21 Kaito Shigeno, 22 Derek Carpenter, 23 Hajime Yamashata.
Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrink, 13, Lionel Mapoe, 12, Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacques Van Rooyen, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Ruan Ackermann, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Harold Vorster, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
Preview: Southern Kings vs Sharks
The problem child of SA Rugby will take on the child that can’t seem to come first in class. The Sharks will look to avoid this potential banana skin. They have a plethora of injuries and while they may have adequate replacements it will be at 10 that we all want to see who will get the nod.
Talk has been to throw Garth April into the battle zone but that could back fire. The Kings don’t look as bad as perceived on paper and they could surprise a few. Their lack of adequate preparation will hamper their progress in this game. They do have better fly half options than the Sharks at the moment and will need their forward pack to front up.
Sharks by 6
Kings – 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Malcolm Jaer, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Ntando Kebe, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 JC Astle, 4 Steven Sykes (c), 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Louis Albertse, 19 Schalk Oelofse, 20 Cyril-John Velleman, 21 Leighton Eksteen, 22 Louis Fouche, 23 Charles Radebe.
Sharks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Beast Mtawarira (c).
Subs: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 David McDuling, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Garth April, 23 S’bura Sithole.
Preview: Stormers vs Blue Bulls
North vs South derby. The battle of the most trumped up teams in the country this year. The Bulls showed lots of progress last year and will need to step it up a bit in Super Rugby. An important step up would be their ability to start games from the get go.
Having to play catch up cost them a few games and in super Rugby it could leave them in an unsatisfactory position. The battle up front will not just be the main warfront but it will be the chosen pivots who decide who wins this clash.
The Stormers will need to go the Coleman way and unleash this much needed change in approach. The Bulls looked much better when youn Schoeman was the general. A very young back line, light on Super Rugby experience and full of potential. If all goes well, the main South African game could be the best.
Blue Bulls by 4
Stormers – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (co-captain), 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Oli Kebble.
Replacemenets: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe (co-captain), 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Leolin Zas.
Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Arno Botha, 7 Jannes Kirsten, 6 Nic de Jager, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Trevor Nyakane
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Piet van Zyl, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Burger Odendaal