How to win (or lose) against the SA teams
February 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
So Super Rugby starts in a matter of hours and I’m really excited about it. After going without rugby for some time, apart from 30 minutes of the Brumbies/Reds game last weekend this weekend looks set to be full of great games. The Bulls/Stormers game is the pick of the weekends games for me, but really I’m excited about all of them, to see the teams in action and hopefully set the stage for a great tournament.
With that in mind, which SA side is likely to end top of the log and hopefully go on to win the competition? Well lets have a look:
We’ve all witnessed them winning the competition a few times but unfortunately I don’t see that happening again this year. Their backline has become much too static with a predictable gameplan. They do have guys like Basson and Mapoe who will certainly cross the tryline a few times each this year, but overall I think they will either manage to scrape a top 6 finish or (more likely) fall just short of it.
How to beat them – First off, don’t give away needless penalties. If Steyn is on his game he will slot them over all day long. Keep the ball in hand and don’t get into a kicking battle. The Bulls place a lot of emphasis on their kicking game so by keeping the ball in hand you take a large chunk of their gameplan out of the equation. Lastly, and this is not entirely within the limits of good sportsmanship, you need to provoke them a little. Guys like Greyling and van der Merwe are known to be loose cannons and playing against 14 men is always a lot easier than playing against 15
Relatively unknown in terms of what they can do but don’t expect fireworks. They do have a great player and leader in Watson (despite what many of you may feel about him) and he will surely lead from the front. The team as a whole doesn’t look like anything impressive though and avoiding finishing dead last will probably be their main objective.
How to beat them – Well this shouldn’t be too hard; just pitch up to play and don’t rest too many of your first stringers.
The Cheetahs in recent years have been the team to cause the most upsets and with good reason. Their backline for this weekend lines up with Goosen, Rhule, Ebersohn, Sadie and le Roux, all attacking players but not offering as much on defence. They score some great tries but also leak a few too many to be seen as real contenders. Expect them to finish somewhere in the middle of the table, or even push for a top 6 finish if they can get some consistency.
How to beat them – To beat the Cheetahs you will need to keep the game tight. Keeping the game tight will take a lot away from the Cheetahs backline and reduce the effectiveness of their feared counterattacks. With the retirement of Smith and a currently injured Brussouw, the loose forward reserves in Bloem are running a little low, so there will be a good opportunity for teams to take advantage of a weakened Cheetahs arsenal when it comes to the breakdown.
This team looks like they could be the full package. Great forwards and backs with not too many weaknesses. Keep an eye on young Reinach and Lambie because if they get things going there might be no stopping the Sharks. A good start to the season and you can expect them to finish in the top 6 and possibly even top the conference and league.
How to beat them – Recently teams have managed to beat the Sharks by besting them in the forwards. A weak lineout issue may have been fixed with van der Merwe arriving in Durban but don’t expect it to be an overnight solution. When kicking or running at the Sharks, try and target Mvovo, defensively he is their weak link.
The injury misfortunes the Stormers have incurred in the past 2 seasons may have prevented them from fulfilling their potential and this year seems no different. With de Jongh, Etsebeth, Burger and Liebenberg all missing before the season has even started they seem to be devoid of luck. Even with the injury problems you should expect a tough battle between them and the Sharks for that top spot in the conference and probably also the league.
How to beat them – Keep your defence tight. With the Stormers mythical defence you won’t score too many points against them so by keeping them at bay on the scoreboard you should be able to scrape a win against them. Strong scrummaging is another area that you can take advantage against them, especially with Liebenberg out injured for the begining of the season.