The final episode of the Super 15 saga kicks off on Friday when the Crusaders host the Rebels in Christchurch.
Last year was a fiasco when coaches overplayed key players like the Beast, Jannie du Plessis and Duane Vermeulen, amongst others. The agreement between Heyneke Meyer and the provincial coaches to carefully manage the workload of key players for the World Cup will hopefully prevent this. Reaching the playoffs is important, but if your best players are so overworked that a lesser player would have done better at the end of the season, then you missed the boat as coach.
The 16 Round Robin matches scheduled for each team could see the top players take part in 10 or twelve games, which should contribute to them going to the RWC in fine condition. A huge positive outcome for me will be the blooding of new players who will be in the firing line after the expected exodus of senior players following the RWC.
It appears that it is not only older players who are migrating to greener pastures – the news of Steven Kitshoff’s decision to go to France came as a shock, although it appears that it has more to do with gaining experience than a final farewell. And the money is probably also not too shabby, Nige.
The reduced number of games this year will not allow teams to play catch-up rugby. The Crusaders, for instance, are renowned for coming from behind. This year, they need to be out of the blocks from the word go.
Bonus points will play a major role in determining who takes part in the play-offs, and the Sharks, Bulls and Stormers, in particular, should seriously sharpen up in this department.
As usual, the first two or three weeks are likely to see many handling errors, resulting in stoppages. Fetchers like Heinrich Brüssow will hopefully use the opportunity to still try and convince Meyer that he should be in the RWC squad, given the conditions in England from September onwards.
Hoe lyk die 5 Suid-Afrikaanse spanne se kanse? Die meeste kenners glo die Sharks gaan bo uitkom, en beskou die Cheetahs en Lions as buiteperde. Die Stormers en Bulls fladder êrens in die middel van die duiwehok vir almal behalwe hul vurige ondersteuners.
Die Bulle het natuurlik addisionele druk in die vorm van toeskouer-getalle op Fort Loftus wat verlede jaar drasties afgeneem het. Verwagtinge is hoog, maar gebrek aan prestasie mag dalk dieselfe effek hê. My verwagting is dat, met die regte spankeuses, die manne van Pretoria baie beter gaan eindig as wat menige “kenner” dink.
Ou Grote se Outlook fasiliteit kan weer afgelaai word by www.ougrote.co.za
Lesers kan beide die Wêreldbeker en Super 15 skedules hier aflaai en dit in hul Outlook dagboeke plaas. Moet asseblief net nie vir my bel as jy nie regkom nie – ek het self lank gesukkel om dit reg te kry.
When all else fails, read the instructions.
Lesers is baie welkom om aan ons Superbru kompetisie vir die Super 15 deel te neem. Daar is geen pryse nie, net die geleentheid om jou kundigheid ten toon te stel.
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Proteas Raring to Go?
This is not really a rhetorical question, given the thumping at the hands of the Black Caps in the final warm-up match. Don’t give me that old “timely warning” garbage – if you are the best in the world, you show this at every opportunity.
The opening match against Zimbabwe will show whether we are really serious about finally discarding the “choker” chain. If we are ruthless, and never let up for one minute, I might breathe a little easier at the end of the weekend.
Hopefully, the necessary steps will be taken to curb the number of wides we delivered in the last few matches, to get Faf into scoring mode again and restore Parnell’s confidence.
It is no use bleating about his selection. He is there, and we need to accept the coach’s recent words about how hard he works to silence his critics and show support for the man.