Super 14 review

The Super 14 2009 is over. The Bulls, crowned champions, have been the best team in a very very contested tournament where resilience has been the key.

Resilience was with all three Australian contenders, with the Waratahs losing the fourth spot to the Crusaders only by points difference. Resilience was also in the Brumbies, a very very interesting side for Robbie Deans, as the faith they have shown will be very handful come the Tri Nations and Bledisloe. Resilience was what brought the Crusaders from the 11th place in round 5 to a place in the semifinals two months later.

But above all, the Bulls have shone. Their easy game-plan, their ruthlessness at the breakdown, their superb kicking game, their deathly counter-attack game and the incredible boot of the young man who's going to lead the Springboks for a long time have put them beyond their rivals.
More importantly, they have fine tuned them as the competition went on and their form of the last month has been simply astounding.

A lot of "ifs" will have to be answered next season. Some of those "ifs" include Daniel Carter's absence, a load of injuries to a number of players in every single kiwi franchise, the change of the set of ELVs in use... To see whether the Bulls can show this year's impressive form is almost as exciting as to see whether any team can come up with the key to dismantle these Bulls' game.

Some warning should be sent to the South African franchises, though. Cheetahs, Lions and Stormers have too oft been sure wins and three sparring franchises out of five are far too many. When the Boks play the Lions, Wallabies and All Blacks, they are going to need more than two options (Sharks or Bulls) for every position. Andy Marinos may have fought for a sixth franchise in South Africa, but the truth is that the prospect of having another african franchise with less than 4 wins is not appealing for the future of Super Rugby.

But now the Super 14 2009 is over and the Lions tour is focusing all sights. What will the Boks do against this Lions side? Who's playing 15 and who's covering 3? What's the depth of this team?


Anonymous said...

AS I recall, you were a sort-of supporter of the Lions. Tomorrow shouyld give us a little more knowledge of hoe potent the Boks and the Lions are. The B/I Lions should shred the Lions in the scrum leaving plenty of space for the Lions' centres. It is a bit ridiculous how the second linr of the Golden Lions was thrown together. I hope to see how Ear Rose does as well. The best indication of how potent the B/I Lions will be when they play the Bulls.

sesenta y cuatro said...

Hm.. you mean a depleted Bulls side? If anything, the Boks are going to be fed by Bulls and Sharks, basically.