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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)

February 2013

15 Rebels v Force AAMI Park, Melbourne 10:40
16 Brumbies v Reds Canberra Stadium, Canberra 10:40
22 Highlanders v Chiefs 08:35
22 Rebels v Brumbies AAMI Park, Melbourne 10:40
22 Bulls v Stormers Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 19:10
23 Hurricanes v Blues 08:35
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

March 2013

1 Blues v Crusaders 08:35
1 Reds v Hurricanes Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 10:40
2 Chiefs v Cheetahs 08:35
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 Hurricanes v Crusaders 08:35
8 Rebels v Reds AAMI Park, Melbourne 10:40
9 Highlanders v Cheetahs 08:35
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
10 Blues v Bulls 05:05
15 Highlanders v Hurricanes 08:35
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
22 Chiefs v Highlanders 08:35
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
29 Highlanders v Reds 08:35
30 Hurricanes v Kings 05:35
30 Chiefs v Blues 08:35
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

April 2013

5 Blues v Highlanders 08:35
5 Brumbies v Kings Canberra Stadium, Canberra 10:40
5 Sharks v Crusaders Mr Price Kings Park, Durban 19:10
6 Hurricanes v Waratahs 08:35
6 Force v Rebels NIB Stadium, Perth 10:40
6 Cheetahs v Stormers Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein 17:05
12 Highlanders v Brumbies 09:35
13 Chiefs v Reds 04:35
13 Blues v Hurricanes 09:35
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 Hurricanes v Force 09:35
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 Hurricanes v Stormers 09:35
26 Reds v Blues Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 11:40
27 Chiefs v Sharks 09:35
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

May 2013

3 Rebels v Chiefs
3 Blues v Stormers 09:35
4 Highlanders v Sharks 09:35
4 Force v Reds 11:40
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 Chiefs v Force 09:35
10 Reds v Sharks Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane 11:40
10 Cheetahs v Hurricanes Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein 19:10
11 Blues v Rebels 09:35
11 Waratahs v Stormers Allianz Stadium, Sydney 11:40
11 Kings v Highlanders 17:05
17 Hurricanes v Chiefs 09:35
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 Chiefs v Crusaders 09:35
24 Rebels v Waratahs AAMI Park, Melbourne 11:40
25 Blues v Brumbies 09:35
25 Blues v Brumbies 09:35
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

June 2013

1 Highlanders v Blues 09:35
1 Highlanders v Blues 09:35
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
28 Chiefs v Hurricanes 09:35
29 Highlanders v Crusaders 09:35
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

July 2013

5 Crusaders v Chiefs AMI Stadium, Addington Christchurch 09:35
6 Hurricanes v Highlanders 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 Blues v Chiefs 09:35
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
26 1st v 4th
27 2nd v 3rd

August 2013

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.

19 Responses to Super Rugby 2013 – a quick look

  • 1

    Think its far too early to say who will win the first round of games, need to see how the preseason goes and what the situation is with injuries etc

  • 2

    Agree GBS it does seem ‘odd’ that Australia get special treatment with the Lions tour but SA didn’t, does this new schedule mean they will do away with the silly rule of teams getting points in their ‘bye weekend? As the season is so changed anyway don’t think it should be there as it will be even more confusing to keep a track on teams relative positions.

  • 3

    Not sure I get what the meaning of the first sentence is.

  • 4

    It is interesting that in general I see in blogland folk praise Kiwi coaches and say how valuable their input is and how they should be encouraged to help coach in SA rugby, folk like John Mitchell (more from his coaching ability), Carlos Spencer, John Plumtree, yet the Kings appointment of a Kiwi coach does not seem to have gone down so well…just saying.

  • 5

    I think the Kings inclusion will work well for the SA conference. 2 easy games. The Stormers might just score a 4 try bonus point against them.

  • 6

    I think the Kings inclusion will work well for the SA conference. 2 easy games. The Stormers might just score a 4 try bonus point against them. Overjoy

    I’m very positive about the Bulls for next year. I think they will take the North-south game at Loftus. They have a great squad and I like the coaching team as well. I expect a home final from them.

  • 7

    Sorry about double post. Pressed wrong button.

  • 8

    Great Article.

    My (Stormers tinted) perspective:

    I agree with you on the Aussies getting special treatment, the fair way of doing it would be to simply start the competition a week early for everyone and let the sides enjoy a longer mid season break. After all the non Wallaby Australians will have an advantage this way. Only 22 – 30 of the 150 odd Aussie squad players will play in those tests anyway. And don’t we have inbound tests too? What is the difference? I will say this for the Aussies, they are very good at pushing their own interests in this competition.

    I don’t think that the early bye is good for the Saders personally. It’s good to start later, I get that, but the advantage is far outweighed by the lack of an extra bye later in the competition, which is when it is most needed IMO.

    On to the SA teams:

    The Stormers have a tough start. Away to the Bulls, away to the Sharks and the home to the Chiefs. Three tough teams that will likely all compete strongly for a space in the top 8, if not the top 6, so that will be a baptism of fire. Yes we have had success against the Bulls (at Loftus) recently, but the Blue Bulls will be aware of that and be out to protect their pride and get their season off to a good start. They have a good team with no weaknesses if their players are all fit, so that is a 50/50 call IMO. Bounce of the ball on the day and all that.

    The Sharks should see off the Cheetahs and the Kins should get the perennial shaft. Get used to that.

    Sharks against Stormers (in the Shark Tank) second up will also be a tough match, with history on the side of the Sharks. They have the team to match us in most departments, and shade us in some. Sharks are likely to be without Bismark so that is helpful, but will have a strong 2nd row with the addition of Franco Van der Merwe and the return of Kanko will free up Alberts in the loose trio and possibly make him available at 4 lock, with Franco at 5. That would be my call anyway if I were them.

    After that we travel home to the Chiefs which will be another tough game. The concern is that 2 tough derby games will mean an injury niggle or two and we could return home with 2 losses in a row, and some players down to boot. Another possible loss.

    I think that the Stormers have a stronger team than last year, but a much tougher start. It would be a brave man who bets on them featuring anywhere on the log after those first few weeks, and we may be chasing the pack from the get-go.

  • 9

    Well we never got dispensation because we were not playing this daft format in 2009. Super Rugby season then ended end of May. The way it should still be finishing end of May. Whoever decided on this format is just a clot really. It messes our Bok rugby as well. NO time for the June tests to have the Boks together to be totally 100% when we all playing one week before the tests start. Again it messes with the Bok Rugby come the RC. No time again to be ready for that if our teams make the semi and final. Saying that it does the same for NZ as they normally have teams or a team in the semi and final. It has to change after 2015. Another thing we could see how exhausted the SH teams were on the eoyt that was mostly due to Super Rugby being so long.

    I don’t see the Kings fronting up. They should have been playing CC until 2015 that way they would have been far better prepared. Just look at the fixture as well, it is a nightmare fixture. They play Sharks the very next week the Chiefs and then head to NZ to face the Saders and Canes. Eish! I do feel for them to be honest. Though their team will be better than the one that played the Relegation game against Cheetahs at the end of CC. Still though they will not be ready for this type of Rugby I feel. They will be if they had 3 years to ease themselves in like the Rebels have done. It is also a shame not to see the Lions there, they were really getting a very good team together before getting relegated. I have said it many times here the Lions would not have done so bad if they never had so many injuries. They really never had the depth as other teams when they pick up injuries. Now even if they win their Promotion Relegation game they will have lost far too many of their players this year. Feel for the Lions as well.

    Stormers have a tough start playing Bulls away and Sharks. Sharks had the same this year and we lost both games but managed to pick up a losing bonus point which at the end of the Super Rugby as had we not got those losing bonus points we would not have made the play offs. Stormers are going to be title contenders for sure. They have covered themselves well where they lacked this year. With Elton there I feel they will be a whole lot better also with Pat Cilliers. Also like their scrummie Groom, he needs to be first choice. Well that is my feeling. They have a great side just have to see what game plan they play in Super Rugby.

    Bulls also have a very good side and also could be cup contenders. Again have to see what game plan they play too next year.

    Cheetahs will be competitive as usual they certainly will not be a walk over, could beat any team on their day.

    Sharks will be missing Bissie huge at the start. None of our other hookers are in his class. So hoping that either Burden or Cooper steps up. Otherwise we are covered everywhere, except for prop. Would have been great to have had JC Van Rensburg on loan. Season is long and the load on Beast will be huge. Chadwick just not in the same class as Beast so keeping fingers crossed he does not pick up a injury. Really looking forward to seeing how our backs go next year with Frans Steyn there. From not having great centres a few years back we now have pure class there with, Jordaan, Timmy and Fransie. Also Bosman he played superb in the Currie Cup. We have good cover for Lambie as well with Butch. Another player I am looking forward to see how he goes is Cobus Reinach.

    Bring on Super Rugby!

  • 10

    @ Puma:
    Ja bring it on :)

    I don’t think the players feel that way though, they need as much rest as possible I recon.

  • 11

    8 @ Stormersboy:
    Agree with you, they should have started all the teams in Super Rugby a week earlier, the rest that comes after is actually a very good thing. That way Meyer would have had more time with the Bok players as well. They should have thought of it. Actually every year it should start a week earlier to allow for Boks, Wallabies and All Blacks to get ready for the June Tests. None of us have any time, one week with the Super Rugby the very next we all playing test rugby. Crazy, can’t prepare like that.

  • 12

    10 @ Stormersboy:
    Yip can’t wait for Super Rugby, if this year was anything to go by with both our teams. Was a really enjoyable year watching my team this year, especially towards the end. Stormers too done all their supporters proud topping the log of Super Rugby.

    I know think the players really not even thinking of rugby right now. Think they all just enjoying the rest. They all deserve it too.

    Poor Jean had to go with Meyer to London for the World Cup Draw. The travelling for the SH players are huge. The NH players no nothing of it. The reason as well why all SH teams looked exhausted this eoyt. Very long long season in Super Rugby and now we also have Arg in RC that adds more travelling. They all deserve a great holiday for entertaining us during the year.

  • 13

    @ Puma:
    Yes it has been a watershed year for many players, and some great Rugby, a lot of it dished out by the Sharks. If they can stay relatively injury free then they could go all the way this time.

    Frans Steyn will be a great addition, looking forward to seeing how he and Paul Jordaan link up.

  • 14

    13 @ Stormersboy:
    That is always the worry is the injuries that come. That can halt any team. We will miss Bissie at the start he is a massive loss. Think he only comes back mid or end of April. Same happened this year when we never had Beast from the start. Beast was a massive loss as well as Chadwick not in the same class and he gave away so many penalties in the games he played. Burden have to say when Bissie was injured in two of our games overseas Burden stood up very well then. Just not the same kinda of player as Bissie though. Also in the CC Burden was under cooked touring with the Boks for two months. That was a waste to have a player missing from your team if he is actually doing nothing with the Boks except getting under cooked from no game time. He is a better player than what he dished up in the CC final. BUT still at his best he is no Bissie.

    Yip really looking forward to seeing what Fransie brings with Jordaan next to him as well as Lambie next to Fransie with Cobus at scrummie. If we start well this year and carry that through to the end then we could be there at the end again, only hoping a semi at home or at least a play off at the tank. The travel the Sharks done was a killer.

    Stormers look brilliant too bud. They are covered in every position. I don’t see a weakness really. They for sure will be title contenders.

  • 15

    8 @ Stormersboy:
    Thanks for calling it a great article… at least we know YOU appreciated it, looks like nobody else did… hehehe

    Quite a bit of what I said was very tongue in cheek.

    In fairness, I don’t think the INTENTION by SANZAR is for the Aussies or the Crusaders to benefit and the South Africans to suck the hind tit, but one thing one can say about the Ozzmob, they know how to twist New Zealand and South Africa’s negotiating representatives around their pinkies.

    The whole of Super Rugby is now built around suiting them as a nation…. what pisses me off is not the Aussies strong stance, rather the limp-wristed approach of SARU, who should have told them to go get knotted. I mean, like Oompie Puma says, how do you expect the National coaches to prepare well for the middle of ther year tests and then again for the Rugby Championship.

    Super Rugby is too long, full stop!

  • 16

    Agree, GBS. Super Rugby is now too long. But Aus needed to do something to get a domestic league going, so the conference system was their way of getting that right. But Super Rugby will be a bit flat for me. No Lions. I really think the Kings will need several jars of vaseline. It wont do their psyche any good to get pounded the way they will in Super Rugby. After 3 or 4 matches, as soon as the ref blows the whistle, they will trudge back to their tryline to wait for the conversion.

  • 17

    16 @ Lion4ever:
    Yip, won’t be the same without the MTN Lions.

    I would suggest South African Lions supporters choose another SA Super Rugby Franchise to support for 2013 (the other side you hate the least)… not that we expect you okes to leave the Lions as supporters, but at least then you’ll have an interest in Super Rugby.

    Personally I’ll find it extremely difficult to support the Southern Kings when they play ANY OTHER Super Rugby side… bar maybe against one or 2 of the sides I least enjoy. I don’t dislike the Eastern or Southern Cape, in fact I think it’s a beautiful area of our country… but the stench which hangs around the Watsons and SARU for the way this debacle was handled does not sit well with me.

    I also recon the Kings will take massive beatings, far worse than when the Force and Rebels entered into Super Rugby.

  • 18

    @ grootblousmile:
    My wife hails from PE, and even she hates the way it was handled. As a matter of fact her family did have some social and business connections with the Watsons. Nothing substantial, but they did cross paths.
    When the Lions were voted out, I joked I would support the Crusaders, but I will support any team, even the Ausmob against the Kings.

  • 19

    @ Bullscot:
    The Kings beat the transformation drum for years. Now that they are in Super Rugby, they seem toi have forgotten that whole thing.


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