With the 5 South African Super Rugby franchises, or should I rather say the 5 participating Super Rugby franchis in 2013, all busy with pre-season preparations already, I suppose it would be wise to list the Fixtures for 2013 (although they have been up under Super Rugby, 2013 under the top menu for some time already now).
In addition, I am going to delve lightly into the games in the month of February, giving my very, very early views on what might transpire.
2013 Super Rugby Fixtures
All fixture times are given in CAT (SA Time, GMT+2)
|15||Rebels||v||Force||AAMI Park, Melbourne||10:40|
|16||Brumbies||v||Reds||Canberra Stadium, Canberra||10:40|
|22||Rebels||v||Brumbies||AAMI Park, Melbourne||10:40|
|22||Bulls||v||Stormers||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||19:10|
|23||Reds||v||Waratahs||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||10:40|
|23||Cheetahs||v||Sharks||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||17:05|
|23||Kings||v||Force||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||19:10|
|1||Reds||v||Hurricanes||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||10:40|
|2||Waratahs||v||Rebels||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||10:40|
|2||Bulls||v||Force||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||15:05|
|2||Sharks||v||Stormers||Mr Price Kings Park, Durban||19:10|
|8||Rebels||v||Reds||AAMI Park, Melbourne||10:40|
|9||Brumbies||v||Waratahs||Canberra Stadium, Canberra||10:40|
|9||Stormers||v||Chiefs||DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town||17:05|
|9||Kings||v||Sharks||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||19:10|
|15||Waratahs||v||Cheetahs||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||10:40|
|15||Kings||v||Chiefs||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||19:10|
|16||Crusaders||v||Bulls||AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch||08:35|
|16||Reds||v||Force||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||10:40|
|16||Sharks||v||Brumbies||Mr Price Kings Park, Durban||17:05|
|23||Crusaders||v||Kings||AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch||08:35|
|23||Reds||v||Bulls||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||10:40|
|23||Force||v||Cheetahs||NIB Stadium, Perth||12:40|
|23||Sharks||v||Rebels||Mr Price Kings Park, Durban||17:05|
|23||Stormers||v||Brumbies||DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town||19:10|
|24||Waratahs||v||Blues||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||07:05|
|30||Brumbies||v||Bulls||Canberra Stadium, Canberra||10:40|
|30||Cheetahs||v||Rebels||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||17:05|
|30||Stormers||v||Crusaders||DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town||19:10|
|31||Waratahs||v||Force||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||07:05|
|5||Brumbies||v||Kings||Canberra Stadium, Canberra||10:40|
|5||Sharks||v||Crusaders||Mr Price Kings Park, Durban||19:10|
|6||Force||v||Rebels||NIB Stadium, Perth||10:40|
|6||Cheetahs||v||Stormers||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||17:05|
|13||Rebels||v||Kings||AAMI Park, Melbourne||11:40|
|13||Force||v||Crusaders||NIB Stadium, Perth||13:40|
|13||Stormers||v||Sharks||DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town||17:05|
|13||Bulls||v||Cheetahs||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||19:10|
|19||Waratahs||v||Chiefs||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||11:40|
|20||Crusaders||v||Highlanders||AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch||09:35|
|20||Reds||v||Brumbies||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||11:40|
|20||Sharks||v||Cheetahs||Mr Price Kings Park, Durban||17:05|
|20||Kings||v||Bulls||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||19:10|
|26||Reds||v||Blues||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||11:40|
|27||Brumbies||v||Force||Canberra Stadium, Canberra||11:40|
|27||Bulls||v||Waratahs||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||17:05|
|27||Cheetahs||v||Kings||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||19:10|
|28||Crusaders||v||Rebels||AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch||05:05|
|4||Kings||v||Waratahs||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||17:05|
|4||Bulls||v||Hurricanes||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||19:10|
|5||Brumbies||v||Crusaders||Canberra Stadium, Canberra||07:05|
|10||Reds||v||Sharks||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||11:40|
|10||Cheetahs||v||Hurricanes||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||19:10|
|11||Waratahs||v||Stormers||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||11:40|
|17||Rebels||v||Stormers||AAMI Park, Melbourne||11:40|
|17||Force||v||Sharks||NIB Stadium, Perth||13:40|
|18||Crusaders||v||Blues||AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch||09:35|
|18||Waratahs||v||Brumbies||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||11:40|
|18||Bulls||v||Highlanders||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||17:05|
|18||Cheetahs||v||Reds||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||19:10|
|24||Rebels||v||Waratahs||AAMI Park, Melbourne||11:40|
|25||Force||v||Highlanders||NIB Stadium, Perth||11:40|
|25||Kings||v||Cheetahs||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||15:00|
|25||Stormers||v||Reds||DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town||17:05|
|25||Sharks||v||Bulls||Mr Price Kings Park, Durban||19:10|
|31||Crusaders||v||Waratahs||AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch||09:35|
|31||Brumbies||v||Hurricanes||Canberra Stadium, Canberra||11:40|
|1||Reds||v||Rebels||Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane||11:40|
|1||Stormers||v||Kings||DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town||17:05|
|1||Cheetahs||v||Bulls||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||19:10|
|7||Brumbies||v||Rebels||Canberra Stadium, Canberra||11:40|
|9||Force||v||Waratahs||NIB Stadium, Perth||08:05|
|29||Sharks||v||Blues||Mr Price Kings Park, Durban||15:00|
|29||Bulls||v||Kings||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||17:05|
|29||Stormers||v||Cheetahs||DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town||19:10|
|5||Crusaders||v||Chiefs||AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch||09:35|
|6||Cheetahs||v||Blues||Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein||15:00|
|6||Kings||v||Stormers||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth||17:05|
|6||Bulls||v||Sharks||Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria||19:10|
|12||Crusaders||v||Hurricanes||AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch||09:35|
|12||Rebels||v||Highlanders||AAMI Park, Melbourne||11:40|
|13||Waratahs||v||Reds||Allianz Stadium, Sydney||11:40|
|13||Force||v||Brumbies||NIB Stadium, Perth||13:40|
|13||Sharks||v||Kings||Mr Price Kings Park, Durban||17:05|
|13||Stormers||v||Bulls||DHL Newlands Stadium, Cape Town||19:10|
|19||4th Seed||v||5th Seed|
|20||3rd Seed||v||6th Seed|
|3||Winner SF1||v||Winner SF2|
First mention has to go to the fact that the Australian Conference kicks off a week before the South African and New Zealand Conference, to apparently make provision for the incoming British and Irish Lions tour to Australia in the middle of the 2013 year. In the middle of the year, the South Africans and New Zealanders will catch up to the Australians regarding number of games.
This however peeves me off no end, we will have to endure unbalanced Overall Tournament Logs and a skewed view of where the teams actually stand in relation to one another accross the Conferences.
Did South Africa get a special dispensation when the British and Irish Lions toured in 2009? Of course they did not!
So, the Competition will kick off on 15 and 16 February with derbies between the Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force and Brumbies vs Reds, with the Waratahs effectively having their first BYE-Weekend right at the start.
South Africa and New Zealand then fall in on 22 and 23 February, except of course for the Crusaders who has an immediate BYE-Weekend first up.
Is it fair that the Crusaders effectively start their tournament a full two weeks after the actual start of the Competition? Is that favouritism or is that a hell of an impediment to them, starting so late? They will have the luxury to see exactly how all 14 of the other Super Rugby contenders play, before they dirty a single shirt in battle – I think it gives them quite an advantage, more preparation time, all whilst keeping their own cards close to their chests.
I also think the Australian sides have a wonderful situation due to the fact that they start a week earlier! Effectively 120 odd players of the Australian Conference will have additional rest and recuperative time in the middle of the year whilst only 30 or so Wallaby players, selected from all the Australian Franchises, will contest in the matches against the British and Irish Lions. Will they therefore have an advantage at the decisive end of the competition, being fresher and having shed more niggles?
OK, enough of a whine… zip it GBS….
Arghhh what the hell, let me start on the flawed format of the whole competition… just kidding… we all know it’s pitfalls and flaws already, SANZAR just decided to cock it up even more for us in 2013!
OK, this brings me to the next logical bone of contention, the inclusion of the Southern Kings in place off the MTN Lions.
Can anyone realistically see these newbies fronting up and really making a fist of it, being competative enough and not taking a weekly pounding by all and sundry, including from the Western Force who faces the Southern Kings in their first game on 23 February 2013? I can’t!
The news regarding the Southern Kings, their attempts at signing players and trying to convince SARU to allow them 6 foreign players on their books in 2013 is well documented here on Rugby-Talk and like we say in Afrikaans “Holrug gery”. I just do not see a squad of adequate Super Rugby quality players assembled for the Southern Kings at this stage and then I’m not even talking about quality depth around the broader squad. I see at most 7 or 8 Super Rugby quality players, a couple of Currie Cup Premier Division quality players…. and the rest are has-been’s and never-will-be’s, coached by New Zealanders in a franchise run by half-wits….. and that was me being generous and extremely polite to the Southern Kings.
I believe we will see them pounded week by week, even by the traditionally weaker sides like the Western Force.
So, how do I see the first week unfold for the South African franchise sides?
The first game for South Africans is the mouth watering match between traditional rivals from North and South (Bulls vs Stormers at Loftus), and quite frankly I believe the Stormers will take it. The Stormers, for once, have bought and loaned players well this time around and maybe more importantly in positions where they needed to beef up. Harsh words against the Bulls you might say, after all my allegiances lie with the Bulls. Well, the Bulls have an untried and unsettled new coaching hirarchy in 2013 and have been a bit hesitant in embracing the ball-in-hand approach, preferring to stick with what had worked a few years ago.
The Cheetahs host the Sharks in Bloemfontein and despite the hopes and best endeavours of Cheetahs supporters to chat up their team and squad depth, the Cheetahs will be found wanting in their first game too.
Of course, the Southern Kings will bend down for the first time in Super Rugby (and not for the last time either) to the Western Force as well.
Come on, give your views. Take me on… but Bookmark this Article on your web browser for later!
Of course, a rugby ball is not round and has the habit of bouncing funny, and if SuperBru is a measure of success, then my opinion stinks to high heaven.