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2009 was a stellar year for South African rugby.

Sanjay Deva writes for bleacherreport.com that the end-of-year tour to Europe burst the bubble, but with a four-to-five week break for the top players I expect South African rugby to once again be strong.

Unlike previous years, I sense a slight changing of the guard.

The Bulls will be strong and should lead the South African challenge. They’ve got big-match experience, rarely lose at Loftus, and have depth, which is required to win the Super 14.

I expect the Sharks to be off the pace despite having plenty of Springboks. They lack the x-factor and cohesion from a top side, and mentally don’t compete well under pressure.

2010 should see the emergence of the Stormers and, to a lesser extent, the Lions.

The Stormers have way too much talent to keep throwing the competition away, and with the great support they get, a few early wins should see them gain momentum.

The Lions will be helped by a new coach and some new key personnel. While they’ll lose more than they win, a change is happening in Johannesburg. I expect them to get better and better as the competition progresses.

Unfortunately, once again the Cheetahs are also representing South Africa! It really is time the Southern Kings were allowed to play instead.

Overall, I’m expecting a strong challenge from the Bulls and Stormers, a wooden spoonist in the Cheetahs, some encouraging results from the Lions, and more disappointment for the Sharks.

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23 COMMENTS

  1. Who the hell is Sanjay Deva?

    And sorry

    I don’t care of this sounds racist

    What the heck does an Indian know about rugby?

    “Emergence of the Lions”

    Sharks “mentally don’t compete well under pressure”…. my golly goodness me…perhaps Sharks vs Crusaders 2007 should jog your memory

    Been watching too much IPL ……. and all…

    “Unfortunately the Cheetahs…”

    Ja ja ja…

    Go eat a good Tandoori chicken tikka masala with a braised lamb bunny and all….

    If you want to try and stereotype…. expect a countershove

  2. Dear Sanjay

    I have no qualms with the Kings/Spears/ PE team geTTing a spot- to play in Super Rugby.

    Pity that they sold the spot they had. So why must Griquas make way for them?

    It sEEms that you are from Jozi

    Them my broer- your team should have made way long time ago for the Spears- only boardrOOm shenenigans – and superior on field performances from the chEEtahs- that you obviously despise-negated that.

    The ChEEtahs only ended last in 2009- since 2005 it was the MIGHTY CIRCUS LIONS,who was last for the SA Teams- who together with the $harks- are the most overrated and financiaLLy ineFFective “proFFesional” rugby teams in South Africa.

    So Sanjay- you dont know much about rugby – do you- but then your are a journalist- so it doesnt reaLLy maTTer- does it?

    Rather go buy yourself a buLLs jersey and go Koeksister with Stevie & jOOSt!

    plonker!

  3. About Sanjay »
    My blood is green! I love all sport, but rugby is my passion.
    I support any South African team, and the Springboks and Bulls are my favourites.
    I use to be a physio for elite sporting teams, which gave me a great insight into the psychology, mindset and behaviour of top sports stars.
    I have played top level hockey, and now my own exercise is focused on long distance running.

    Sanjay’s Website »Sanjay’s rugby world

    The Shortlist »Favorite Athletes

    Francois Pienaar, Joost Van der Westhuizen, Victor Matfield, Jacques Kallis, Bruce Fordyce

    Favorite Sports Teams

    Springboks, Bulls, Proteas

    Favorite Coaches

    Kitch Christie, Chester Williams, Jake White

    All Time Sports Moment

    1995 Rugby world cup final

    Most Memorable Game Attended

    Most Unbreakable Sports Record

    Ruth or Mays?

    Unitas or Montana?

    Jordan or Russell?

    Gretzky or Orr?

    Pele or Maradona?

    Federer or Sampras?

    Federer

    Tiger or Nicklaus?

    Tiger

    http://bleacherreport.com/users/120841-sanjay-deva

    Their No. 2 rugby correspondent…

    Heheheheheheh

    A Bulls man….

    Sanjay and all

  4. For Willem

    The Cheetahs
    In my opinion they should be replaced by the Southern Kings. However, they are one of the teams in this year’s Super 14, and my favourite for last position.

    Whilst they perform well in the Currie Cup, mental disintegration retards this side in the Super 14. The fact they’ve only ever won 1 away game in Super rugby, way back in 1997 has probably scarred them for life. They compete well against South African sides, but they just don’t know how to beat the Aussies and Kiwis whether home or away.

    The Cheetahs need to at least perform well in Bloem to help their fellow South African sides.

    The lineout is a potential weakness but they have one of the best front rows around and an awesome back row with captain Juan Smith, Heinrich Brussow and Ashley Johnson, it’s the loss of flyhalf Jacques Louis-Potgieter that will hurt the most. Naas Olivier is not super rugby star material, I’d prefer they gave young Sias Ebersohn a chance. Sarel Pretorius could also be a real threat at scrumhalf.

    The midfield is solid with Meyer Bosman, but it’s out wide with Lionel Mapoe and Jongi Nokwe where they have their stars. Those two have genuine pace and represent try-scoring chances. If they can be given the ball in space they could score tries. Last year coach Naka Drotske didn’t give Nokwe a fair run, if he makes the same mistake in 2010 the writing is on the wall.

    Watch out for: The loose trio of Smith, Brussow and Johnson. Scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius is nippy and likely to score many tries, and the wings Mapoe and Nokwe are try-scoring machines given any space.

    Prediction: Bottom 4

  5. My blood is green! I love all sport, but rugby is my passion.
    I support any South African team, and the Springboks and Bulls are my favourites.

    Ni iSSue with that- everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    He is just woRRIed that his beloved buLLs wiLL be forced into the same teams as the Circus Lions

    That is why the ChEEtahs must make way for the Kings.

    “Unfortunately, once again the Cheetahs are also representing South Africa! It really is time the Southern Kings were allowed to play instead.”

    That is stiLL a plonker of Note coMMent.

  6. Reply to Deon @ 11:45 am:

    Pity Sanjay wont log on RW to argue his points.

    All the one point loSSes away in 2008 – if buLLslogic is used- could easily have gone the other way.

    Lets wrap up Sanjay’s argument then

    If the ChEEtahs start wiNNing away- and doesnt end up in the last four- the Kings should be taking the Lions spot- and The Lions be integrated Super Rugby wise – with BuLLs!

    Couple of unlikely “if’s” in there- going on historical facts but hey- history wise Only the BuLLs have a Super history- ok the Lions have a very distant one.

  7. Reply to WiLLem @ 11:54 am: The wird thing he doesn’t seem to get is that if there is a Kings they will likely be sonsored by Vodacom and just contract Cheetahs players to beef them up because all the players hey used against the BIL last year will stay with their own franchises…..

    Idiot…

    Just one smugness for me will be if the Cheetahs okes will then choose to get S14 contract from Lions or Kings…

    Wonder which is further… PE or Jhb…

  8. Reply to DavidS @ 12:41 pm:

    “Wonder which is further… PE or Jhb…”

    my :brownie:

    DavidS

    As long as SARU stick to the regional model- and with only 5 SA teams there is only one solution to get the Kings into Super rugby

    Lions to play with BuLLs

    The Central Unions deserve – because of onfield exploits a slot- and there is a lot of decoders that wiLL switchoFF if the ChEEtahs doesnt play

    AND WHO PROVIDES THE MONEY FOR SA RUGBY?

    SUPERSPORT- courtesy/ by proxy of their suscribers

    OK- in aLL fairne$$ the Nuweland/Roftus and deBBen gate – alongside generous contributions of its weLLhEEled suPPorters also bring in a lot of dough for its specific team.

    So kEEp talking :poop: wiFF Sanjay…..

    Lions to merge- no nEEd for buLLs to become the Giants

    They can just stay the BuLLS and handout the skyblue for the new – north of the Jukskei – imigres/ERT’s!

  9. ja not sure what he’s on about, the lions have lost 4 of their best players.

    cheetahs got a nice side this year, pity about loss of JL but Olivier playing very well at Griquas, but its also time for both of the Katte sides to show some rugraat against the australians instead of just bukking for 50-pointers otherwise they must sommer maar drop them both, only to go hell for leather against one of the SA sides in their last games to try salvage some pride, and then knock the other SA side out of the playoff.

  10. Reply to cab @ 2:41 pm:

    nly to go hell for leather against one of the SA sides in their last games to try salvage some pride, and then knock the other SA side out of the playoff.

    Yip

    because that samesaid “uPPity” playoFF hopefuLL side have stolen chEEtah players – and that is the only reason they remotely lOOk like a rugby capable side

  11. Reply to WiLLem @ 2:53 pm:
    its not only the cheetas that do it, the lions did it to WP a couple of seasons back – i say its fine to play like that, but dont fold like wallflowers in all the other games, which is why ppl get so the donner in with them.

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