Watch out for the Kiwi teams

2011-02-09 09:07

Gavin Rich - SuperSport

Cape Town - There seems to be consensus among South African players and coaches that this first season of the expanded 15-team Super Rugby competition will see a resurgence in the challenge mounted by New Zealand.

The South African launch of the competition, which kicks off on Saturday week and will endure through to the second weekend of July, featuring 16 league matches per team followed by a six team knock-out stage, took place on Tuesday, with the main launch happening in Johannesburg simultaneously with satellite mini-launches in Durban and Cape Town.

At the Cape Town launch most of the Stormers players were in agreement that apart from the champion Bulls, this year the teams to be feared would be the ones from New Zealand. They echoed what was said by representatives of the other teams on the SuperSport simulcast from Johannesburg.

“If you think about it they were quite unlucky last year, I don’t think you should write off the Kiwis as they have a lot of depth in talent and this season they will feel they have a point to prove,” said Stormers prop Brok Harris.

The Stormers won all their games against New Zealand teams last year en route to a place in the final, where they were beaten by the Bulls. Harris is hopeful that his team can go one better this year by lifting the trophy.

“The competition is going to be extremely tough, but I disagree that we have a problem with playing in finals. I think we went through a psychological barrier when we won both our semi-finals, in the Super 14 and the Currie Cup, last year. That proved to us that we can win the big knock-out games and handle that pressure,” he said.

The fact the Rugby World Cup is being hosted this year in New Zealand is the main reason that No8 Duane Vermeulen, perhaps the unluckiest South African player not to represent the Springboks last year, is backing the Kiwis to do well.

“They are going to be extra motivated this year because of the World Cup being in their country,” said Vermeulen.

“All the New Zealand players are going to be busting a gut to try and make it into the World Cup squad. The whole World Cup vibe is going to start early for them and it is going to be a motivating force. They will all want to be part of the special experience of playing for the All Blacks in a home World Cup. There is also the question of momentum.

“The All Blacks were very good in the Tri-Nations last year, where they recovered well from their previous season, where they really struggled. So the momentum is up now for New Zealand and they will be wanting to keep it that way as the country heads towards the World Cup.”

Vermeulen agreed that there would be extra pressure on the Stormers this year after they made the final last year and then followed it up by making the final of the Currie Cup.

“The expectation is high, we can feel it, and that does bring more pressure, but it is a pressure we are just going to have to handle,” said Vermeulen, who believes the Stormers have more depth now than they had a year ago.

Looking across the board, that would appear to be the case for most South African teams, with the Lions in particular having grown a great deal since they bombed so spectacularly to finish without a single victory in last year’s competition.

John Mitchell turned the union around in the Currie Cup in 2010, and the early indications in 2011, with the side thumping the Sharks in a pre-season friendly last week, are that the Johannesburg team are equipped to be competitive.

The Sharks, after struggling 12 months ago, grew immeasurably in the second half of last year, with their quick tempo game winning them the Currie Cup. Although they lost to the Lions, they dominated the Stormers for 65 minutes of the final Neo Africa Tri-Series match at Newlands and should start this season much better than they did the last.

The Bulls have won the competition for two years in a row, and with the wizard, Fourie du Preez, back at scrumhalf after recovering from the operation that kept him from playing for the Springboks last year, it would be a foolish person who predicts that they won’t be in the mix when the business end of the competition arrives.

Of course, that stage does arrive a lot later this year, with the conference system and the double round of games against fellow South African sides ensuring that this will be a season that taxes resources more than ever before. Whereas the previous Super seasons represented an ultra-marathon, the competition now resembles a stage race held over several days.

The three participating countries each have five teams in the competition, and those five team make up their conferences, with the top sides from New Zealand, South Africa and Australia automatically winning through to the knock-outs, with the wild cards for the top six coming from the teams that are next best in terms of log points across the various conferences.

The third placed team will play the sixth placed team and the fourth will host the fifth in the first round of knock-out fixtures – essentially a quarter-final round – with the winners advancing to the semi-final against the top two teams (lowest ranked qualifier versus top ranked team, higher ranked qualifier against second ranked team).


  • Pappa Smurf - 2011-02-09 09:11

    And the Bulls.

      Johnny - 2011-02-09 11:52

      Agree, .and the Bulls...!!! ......CHAMPION BULLS...!!!

      Jay - 2011-02-09 12:29

      What about the Bulls, read the article again!!!

  • SAFFA-CAT - 2011-02-09 09:27

    Bulls fairies: Please look at the picture top right of this article. You chaps will not have seen this before, but THIS is what one calls an AN 8TH MAN....Yes, if might be confusing at first, but look again, that is what a TRUE 8th man looks like.... If you are still frikkin confused (as most will be no doubt) - Google DUANE VERMEULEN.....

      Pappa Smurf - 2011-02-09 09:38

      Duane (loop-en-val) Vermeulen.

      watalife - 2011-02-09 09:44

      Duanne is far better than that oke they call papier spies from pretoria. @ Pappa Smurf what about the bulletjies? are you also getting the feeling that they are slowly but surely lacking the brain power to do anything on the field besides kick? They were like a bunch of show ponnies against the KINGS and got a lekker klap for acting all clever thinking they would walk all over the opposition. Its going to a long bumpy road for the bulls this year with there first loss against the Lions next week saturday.

      Pappa Smurf - 2011-02-09 10:03

      @watalife. Last 10 years: Bulls - 5xCurriecup champs, 3xSuperrugby champs. Stormers - 0xCurriecup champs, 0xSuperrugby champs, 1xChoicecup champs (maybe).

      Mafaka - 2011-02-09 10:09

      You Stormers are truely a strange (read retarded) bunch... every year we hear the same stories about how the bulls lack creativity and flair, they are stupid, about how unstoppable the stormers are, and that your players (stormers) are so much better than ours (bulls). You guys have really become the "special" South African supporters. You are the retarded family member that everybody want to smack the sh*t out off but nobody does because of his "special"condition... so we allow him to shout and yell and insult purely because of that. If you want to win the Bulls, don't do it by insulting us and making stupid remarks... just up your game...

      watalife - 2011-02-09 10:17

      @ pappa smurf you could not even make the CC final and then get beaten by the KINGS so i will watch the flo bulletjies get mauled by the LIONS. i am so pleased you actually agree that Duanne is far better than papier spies. You see it helps when you dont suip klippies&cola all day long it actually has helped you think.

      mike - 2011-02-09 11:00

      I love comments like this, SAFFA you call the Bulls fairies so please explain to me how you lose a rugby game to a bunch of fairies. Where your guys so busy trying to get phone numbers and checking out there asses that you forgot to actually play rugby. I might be wrong here but I watched both your finals and sorry to say but either your team is really crap or they choked badly which leads us to think winning is anything but a culture down in the Cape. Hell the way you ended your CC campaign was horrific, I think you lost most of your second round matches if memory serves so please explain to me on what are you basing your belief that your players are so good? Maybe you should take a trip to the trophy cabinet at Newlands because your acid trip has you believing its full!

      Johnny - 2011-02-09 11:54

      .....Duane (as slow as a tortoise) Vermeulen....

      Johnny - 2011-02-09 11:59

      ...Duane (very overrated) Vermeulen..... Flo Louw.....

      jacobisschoff - 2011-02-09 12:41

      Shame Saffa-Cat, you must be a very lonely person... What a jack@ss!

      jacobisschoff - 2011-02-09 12:48

      Watalife - you are ignorant. Did you see the line-up of the Bulls team that played against the Kings? Guess not because if you did you would not even mention a Kings victory as it really did not mean anything.

      scipio - 2011-02-09 16:58

      Lol funny to see every one getting trolled by Saffa

  • SAFFA-CAT - 2011-02-09 10:11

    @Paul - No Paul, I don't have to - I WANT to......

      CliffBradley - 2011-02-09 10:54

      GO SAFFA-CAT -- Don't eat the flou &rille 's rubbish.

      Paul - 2011-02-09 11:22

      Okay, than I will just have to learn to ignore you 12 year olds

  • Mafaka - 2011-02-09 10:11

    You Stormers are truely a strange (read retarded) bunch... every year we hear the same stories about how the bulls lack creativity and flair, they are stupid, about how unstoppable the stormers are, and that your players (stormers) are so much better than ours (bulls). You guys have really become the "special" South African supporters. You are the retarded family member that everybody want to smack the sh*t out off but nobody does because of his "special"condition... so we allow him to shout and yell and insult purely because of that. If you want to win the Bulls, don't do it by insulting us and making stupid remarks... just up your game...

      watalife - 2011-02-09 10:22

      We are certainly strange compared to the flo bulletjies and we would rather have it that way. The special condition you refer to is certainly a cut above your bulletjies.Shame cant make CC final and then lose to the KINGS must be tragic for you?

      Mafaka - 2011-02-09 10:32

      Listen to you monkeys bragging about "making it to the final"... like that is a victory in itself. When is the last time you chops actually WON a final??? Watalife you are obviously one of the "special"ones... Not making it to the CC final and then losing to the Kings... tragic??? No not tragic at all. Losing TWO finals in one year is TRAGIC you biscuit!

      Pappa Smurf - 2011-02-09 10:33

      @getalife. Your first final in 10 years now you are grootbek.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-02-09 10:44

      Monkey see, Mafaka do.

      CliffBradley - 2011-02-09 10:55

      SAFFA-CAT: you are good this morrning !!!!

      Haas Das - 2011-02-09 11:01

      Ag ok @watalife we get it, the Bulls didnt make the CC final and lost against the Kings with a weakened team blablabla, now can you please move on and getalife

      watalife - 2011-02-09 11:21

      @ haas das i am so pleased you have finally admited your team was a bit kak not making the CC and the loss to the kings.

      Haas Das - 2011-02-09 11:30

      @watalife, its not about being kak, you win some, you lose some. The fact is the Bulls have won a hell of a lot more than they have lost the last couple of year. Trophy cabinet speaks for itself. just remember your all conquering team went on to lose in the CC final, months after they lost in Soweto against a certain team aswell

  • Agreed - 2011-02-09 10:14

    @ Pappa Smurf... Why take the last 10 years? CC History: WP 32 - Blue Bulls 23... supported team! Even when they not doing well! If the Bulls lose, the supporters run! FACT!!

      Pappa Smurf - 2011-02-09 10:45

      How many of those 32 wins excluded the Blue Bulls?

      Paul - 2011-02-09 10:48

      @ Agreed ... Super Rugby = Bulls 3 WP 0

      mike - 2011-02-09 10:51

      Shame to have to quote that, if you know your rugby so well then you know that since the Bulls where formed they have won more CC then any other team. And also since they introduced finals they are the team that have won the most finals. So please get your FACTs right and put them all down on paper before you start preaching this crap! Just shows you guys can't handle true competition and have become the new chokers of SA rugby!

      CliffBradley - 2011-02-09 10:57

      Agreed: Please stop preaching to the stupid , they cant understand that the blue bulls were considered inferior before 1938 !!!!

      Agreed - 2011-02-09 11:14

      So Noord transvaal did not fall under Griqualand Wes??

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-02-09 11:40

      @Cliff Bradley - and then the hideous Nationalist Movement forced the rest of us to 'accept' the obese kid...and play nice or else....

      Jay - 2011-02-09 12:35

      WOW you guys are all complete idiots................................... ITS rugby world cup year, you should all be supporting South African rugby, not having a go at each other with these online pissing contests! Morons!

      Gilgamesh - 2011-02-09 13:49

      @Jay, finally, a voice of reason. Most of the comments here (bar a few) are so childish you would swear that they are handing out free internet to pre-schoolers! Some of the Stormers supporters here would probably support the AB's in the WC because there are Bulls players in the Bok side. It's pathetic.

  • springbokke - 2011-02-09 10:33

    My prediction for the super 15 final.......Queensland Reds ..Vs ..Bulls..................As said, thats my opinion.. ...May we see a season of good super 15 rugby..

  • Jacques - 2011-02-09 10:37

    Hoop die Stormers kan 1 beter gaan die jaar,maar ek weet nie.My geld gaan verseker op die Crusaders wees.Die Bulle n goeie kans en kan nooit afgeskryf word nie,maar ek glo,dis die jaar v.d KIWI. Sal maar wag en sien. Stormers ali pad.

      Haas Das - 2011-02-09 11:03

      Blik88m Jacques, as van die moroon Stormer "fans" hier bo maar net jou post kan lees en voorbeeld volg en dalk meer objektief wees en minder kinderagtig

      Agreed - 2011-02-09 11:22

      Ons almal se mening is min of meer op die selfde trant as Jaques s'n..dit is net dat die uitlatings van die Bulls ondersteuners hierbo mos maar 'n mens uitlok en dan laat daal tot daai vlak.. Dit is 'n 'Blog' so almal skribbel mos maar aangesien die Noorde en die Suide mos maar al 'n jare lange tweestryd is..

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-02-09 11:31

      @HaasDas - Objectivity is for commentators and coaches. Not for the FANS!

      Haas Das - 2011-02-09 11:33

      Dis seker waar, maar daars n paar tappits aan elke kant wat altyd strond kwyt raak.Dalk moet van die eers n bal vashou en n game speel

      springbokke - 2011-02-09 12:34

      I've watched the Reds in two of their 'warm up' games ...believe me , they are looking awsome, **Esp. against the Crusaders...Besides that , may the title remain in S.A.......** [ A runaway score for the Reds.]

      Agreed - 2011-02-09 15:35

      The Reds are playing 15 man rugby ey!! Eish, cant wait to see them in action!!

  • Pappa Smurf - 2011-02-09 10:46

    Stormers supporters ride with the short bus.

      CliffBradley - 2011-02-09 10:57

      Darem nie die MALHUIS bus

      watalife - 2011-02-09 10:59

      No the short yellow bus was reserved for the bulls with the disabled sticker on it. haha

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-02-09 11:45

      And Bulls fans ride the short jean pant.

      Johnny - 2011-02-09 12:02

      ....what stormer supporters...?? ...its only cliffie,Saffa-Cat and watalife............ ...the lonely 3...

      Pappa Smurf - 2011-02-09 12:08

      en BALLAS......the lonely 4.

      SAFFA-CAT - 2011-02-09 12:22

      LONELY is what's in your pants Pappa Smurf......(don't get tjatjarag....)

      Jay - 2011-02-09 12:37

      ROFLMAO@SAFFA-CAT that was very funny hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  • george.traut - 2011-02-09 13:53

    I find it rather irritating that the same people argue about the same things in a stupid way each time a new article is published. I am a Stormer, but I am not going to say the Bulls are fairies or the Sharks and Cheetahs are crap. The Bulls and the Sharks have showed us over the last few years that they are not teams to be messed with. So what if they lost training games. That is exactly what it is... Training. When the intensity gets pushed up a couple of notches, so too will their commitment. Even the Cheetahs have shown that against local opposition they can be a force and with 8 derby games and only 4 games on tour they should definately be able to end the season in a reasonable position. The bottom line is that we have not won a lot of trophies here in WP country lately, except for our junior teams and varsity teams (Maties and UCT). So it irritates me when Stormers supporters write such stupid insults. We were in 2 finals last year, but the bragging rights comes with the trophy. You are presumably not 13 years old so stop with the idiotic inults. Your just advertising your IQ to the rest of the world and if you participate in such insults, it really should be the last thing that you do. South Africa wil definately have 3 very good teams and possibly even a 4th. This will result in stronger competition for the Springbok jersey, a stronger Springbok team and ultimately retaining the WC on our shores. So start thinking about the broader picture.

  • scipio - 2011-02-09 17:02

    I have to endure Stormer comments for the entire season... No wonder every one was complaining about the length of the super 15. Now we have to wait 16 weeks before Stormer fans will shut it and pretend to be Crusader fans when the Crusaders take on the Bulls in the final. Sucks to jump ship like Stormer fans do

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