2007 Super 14 Rugby Reviewed

Ethel Gonzales

Super 14 Rugby is the leading competition for teams from the states and provinces of Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.

It would be fair to say that New Zealand teams have dominated the super 14, particularly the Canterbury Crusaders although other New Zealand teams have done well with many making the finals. The other main success has been the ACT Brumbies. The real disappointments of the series have been the Queensland Reds and the New South Wales Waratahs who despite being loaded with talent continue to under perform. Both teams will be looking to change that around this season. However the surprise Australian team and dark horse of the tournament this year may be the Western Force playing out of Perth, W.A. Last year they often came close but didn’t have the experience to pull it out in the tight situations. I predict this year will be a very different story.

South African teams have proved very strong in South Africa, but to be successful they once again need to win games away from home.

The 14 teams are

Auckland Blues (Always strong, has the potential to beat any team on their day, time will tell if they can win enough games to make the finals, but if they do they are a chance to win the comp. – previous 3 times final winners (super 12) but recent years have not made the grade.)

ACT Brumbies (Full of class, however one wonders whether their Australian dominance is on the wane, twice previous winners, twice lost to Canterbury in the final, however last two years failed to make the finals – I predict they will fail again this year)

The Bulls (Based in Pretoria, in past years they have made the finals and must be considered a chance to make it again, but unlikely to have the class to win the comp.)

Central Cheetahs (Recent S.A. addition, made 10th, will do better this year but won’t make the finals)

Waikato Chiefs (Traditional N.Z. rugby is on display whenever the chiefs play, hard, grinding, enjoy great support at home, only made the semi-finals once, won’t make it this year but will provide some entertaining games).

Canterbury Crusaders (The most successful franchise in the competition. Won the competition six times, final two other times, dominant. This year will be no different. Any team that wants to win the competition will have to beat the Crusaders to do it).

Western Force (First year in competition last year, show good signs but never delivered. This year they could be the dark horse. May make the finals but lack of finals experience will stop them going further. Have great home ground support which should make them hard to beat at home).

Otago Highlanders (never won the competition and not going to change this year. However will destroy some other teams hopes in their famous house of pain in Carisbrook, Dunedin)

Hurricanes (Based in Wellington, N.Z., lost to the Crusaders in last years final. Will be doing well to make the finals this year but a possibility).

Lions (Name change from the cats will not change the fortunes for this Johannesburg based team, will not make the finals).

Queensland Reds (Never been successful, often put the blame on injuries to key players. Simply need to toughen the hell up if they are any chance of winning the competition. Have the talent, but not the heart).

Natal Sharks (Based in Durban and one of the better performing South African teams. Just missed out on the finals last year. Predict they could make the finals this year).

Western Stormers (Based out of Cape Town, nothing to write home about here. Will win a couple at home but thats about it).

NSW Waratahs (Based out of Sydney. Has made finals on numerous occasions but failed to lift the trophy, could this year be different?)

This is a quick look of Super 14 from a personal review of 2007. The end of the competition will see if I was right or wrong. Either way it will be fun watching.

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