RE: Super XV 2013 -Top four..
November 04, 2012, 09:20:59
I looked at the potential of the teams of the various countries and would not at this stage predict anything about the logs position oher than to rate the teams on an internal basis. I think the teams can be rated as follows:-
1. The Chiefs
2. The Hurricanes
3. The Highlanders
4. The Crusaders
5. The Blues
I could be wrong here - but I use as a basis the outcome of the ITM, the fact that the All Blacks were not playing in the ITM, as well as the contracting of some teams - in other words which players they are going to gain and lose in the Super Series next year:-
* I think the big loss for the Chiefs was SBW. The rest of the team is stable and has now more experience in playing on Super level. The weak spots are few and far between - but they can expect problems in their line-outs and other aspects of forward play against the stronger teams. Cruden under pressure never looks good - but the forwards may come to the party and provide some better balls - which would lessen that problem.
* The Hurricanes have the cream of the younger exciting players insofar as New Zealand teams are concerned. If these players fire - they should be hard to beat.
* The Highlanders signed up many big names - but the problem is that most of the signings are of oldish players and that is not a good sign at all. The players they think that would benefit them - may be a bit over the hill (Thorne and Nonu in particular).
* Insofar as the Crusaders and the Blues are concerned - most of their players will come from the ITM teams of Canterbury and Auckland respectively. The ITM final was a mess of bad forward play - and that is where these two teams are going to struggle. The absence of McCaw makes a big difference to the Crusaders as well.
1 The Reds
2. The Brumbies
3 The Waratahs
4 The Rebels
5 The Western Force
The return of injured players will in the main benefit the Reds - hence their top position. Very little to go by - other than performances in 2012.
1. The Stormers (?)
2. The Sharks (?)
3. The Cheetahs
4 The Bulls
5 The lowest of the Low - the Kings
I am not sure about the no 1 and 2 positions at all. It could be vice-versa. The Sharks have a very good team - but need to improve their line-out play. I believe there re youngsters that will produce better results in future in the latter aspect - especially Du Toit and the Marais brothers and their throw-ins will also improve - Bismarck is back. There backline play is tops and has been strengthened on paper by Francois Steyn - hopes he fires though - but they have depth in any event.
The Stormers may have a repeat of 2012 - with their try-scoring deficiencies. The weakness remains in their backline with Jantjies (a lottery ticket at best) and De Villiers and De Jongh being weak in attacking play. However, they have nice youngsters coming through and we may yet see more of those in this tournament than before.
The Bulls are indeed poor and they have serious problems in virtually every department of the game. The Kings is a disaster. There is one confident prediction I am going to make and that is that they will be bottom of the log and may even end up without any log points whatsoever - disgusting mess.
The top six teams in the log could be -
The Chiefs, the Stormers, the Sharks, the Reds, the Hurricanes and ?????????????? Not necessarily in that order though.