Do you have the kahunas?
Let the games begin! Honestly, I normally would have been more excited about the start of the Super Rugby competition.
However, with the Cricket World also starting this weekend, well, that excites me currently while the Proteas are still in, more. (Good luck guys with Valentine's day this year!)
AussieBoer is not going to pretend that he wins prediction competitions with predicting the winner and correct score; actually, I suck at that.
However, I will challenge you to 'put your balls on the guillotine' by leaving your predictions in the comments space. Do you have the kahunas?
There will as always be various reasons/excuses why some teams will fall away. Injuries, the draw, the refs and this year with resting of key test players for the 'holy grail', will have a massive affect.
New Zealand has their contract system spot on and will dictate how many games stars like Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Kieran Read etc will play.
SARU has come to an agreement with franchises (no key Bok player will play more than five consecutive weeks); however, AussieBoer doesn't think that is good enough.
The ARU has not yet spelled out their plan to rest key Wallabies.
Who will win the Super 15?
I'm no gambler, but, the mighty Crusaders, even if they are renowned as slow starters will always be in my predictions. They are just so professional, so passionate, so proud and have depth. The Waratahs, Chiefs and Brumbies would be my picks, unfortunately the competition doesn't work like that as there will be the conference winners in every country.
I don't think any South Africa side will win it. All teams have lost too much depth with players leaving for the Euro, Pound or a ride on the 'sushi train'.
The Sharks are at this stage most Saffas predicted team to make it. Will they? They have quality test and world class players. They have the Bok front row and Pieter Steph-du Toit is back. Hopefully back to take over from Oupa Matfield in the Green and Gold as well. Patrick Lambie and Cobus Reinach will have to prove not only at this level, but, also to Mr Meyer that they should be the Boks first choice combo, not Fourie du Preez and Handré Pollard, if the Sharks are going to pull this one off!
The Bulls on paper looks good; however, rugby is played on grass and what they also have on paper, is their game plan that worked in the previous decade and is now long past its sell-by date. The Bulls last won something in 2010! They will have to change their 'kick-chase-pray' boring and predictable game plan. I always wondered what Pieter Rossouw's influence has been in the bullring, as he was an instinctive player and not in the mould the Bulls play.
The cats (Cheetahs and Lions) will win here and there; however, I have a better chance falling pregnant than them winning the title this year. They will be pussycats and not predators.
The Stormers won't win as they don't have a world class flyhalf, point! Even with their previously great defensive game plan; they had Peter 'Bash' Grant and although they did well in the SA conference, they could not win it. Hopefully they will adapt a more WP-jou-lekka-ding chancing their arms game plan and be competitive. Young gun Robert du Preez must be a big part of this campaign for the Stormers to have a chance! If you look at all teams that won Super Rugby before, they all had a test flyhalf or a general. Morné Steyn, Stephen Larkham, Andrew Mehrtens, Quade Cooper, Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden and Bernard Foley, to mention a few. Hopefully Gert Smal will do something about this next year.
AussieBoer's conference winner predictions:
* Down Under: Waratahs
* Across the ditch: Crusaders
* The Republic: Sharks
Winner: A NZ team!
Put your Balls on the Guillotine: Round One (my winners in bold)
Crusaders vs Rebels
Brumbies vs Reds
Lions vs Hurricanes
Blues vs Chiefs
Sharks vs Cheetahs
Bulls vs Stormers
Waratahs vs Force
PS: previously I took bets with readers about the outcome. I lost one against a Bulls fan and had to dress up in a Bulls jersey and sleeping shorts, make a poster and stand in the middle of Surfers Paradise and congratulate them. How embarrassing! (so glad it was the days before those ugly pink or cameo jerseys!
PPS: Good luck AB and the boys!
AussieBoer (Kevin D)