Do you think both the skarks and the bulls wil succeed this weekend and make it a great year fo us. Who do you think Is more likely to do the job this weekend? Bulls or sahrks?
Werner, if i'm not thinking with my heart, which wants both to win, I'd say the Sharks have the better chance. Not sure if I'd back either if I was a betting man though.
Johann Bezuidenhout asked:
Morning Brendan. Do you think the Bulls can pull off an upset win over the Crusaders with their current gameplan? It seems effective when they have an in-form flyhalf. It allowed Derick Hougaard to score 27 points in the 2007 semi, while Steyn was on song in the semis in 2009 and 2010. However, Steyn seems to battle with his kicking game at the moment. Does he have enough BMT at this stage of the season for a game this big?
Johann, all three those games were at Loftus. I'm not so sure they can do it in Christchurch. Steyn is battling, but I think he will come right. However, its a tough call to go so far and win. I think they will be competitive but not sure they will win.
Do you think the stormers without duane and schalk have the chance to even make it to the final?2nd can the bulls suprise us all by beating the crusaders??i thnk the sharks can beat the reds what do you thnk
Kuhle they have a great chance, and even though they haven't been playing badly, they have been winning games. My biggest fear for them is that they have to play catch-up rugby, because they haven't shown much flair this season at all.
brendan do thing bulls will win becoz i think they will not steyn on is best this season and olivier dnt spark in the backline
Elcado, I think you're a bit unfair to Wynand and Morne, they've been good but Morne is struggling with his kicking game. This game will be won up front though.
Smarty shangase asked:
Hi Mr Nel, With Sa havin d most teams in d plyoffs doez this mean ur conference z da strongest?
Smarty, interesting theory, but as we pointed out in the SuperWrap, it is New Zealand who won more cross conference games, so I guess I'd say their conference is the strongest at the moment.
When will heyneke meyer see that bulls front row are not bok quality, even as reserves?
Gary, Remember they came in because of injuries. The Sharks front row are his first choice, and Coenie Oosthuizen was injured. WP Nel has gone to Scotland and the Lions props arent international quality. I think the Bulls props struggled in the scrums but are very mobile and make metres around the park. As for the Stormers, Kitshoff will get his chance, and Malherbe was with the Young Guns squad.
Besides the kings debacle the new system in super rugby just doesn''t seem right? How can a team be expected to possibly make 3 trips overseas as sharks might have to do?
Gary, the travel factor has been an issue since the dawn of the competition, and that wont change, and to be honest, I think its impossible for a team to win it with more than one trip overseas. There are other problems with the conference system, and if you read my last column you'll see my views there.
Can michalak handle the pressure of being the only place kicker for the sharks in a play off game?
Gary again...mmm...it depends which Michalak turns up doesn't it?
Why will the kings take the Lions place if they lost to the lions last year? And do you there is a team at the time that can beat the stormers with the form they are in?
Martin, the issue hasn't been finalised, but to answer your question, the only reason would be because a commitment has been made and the Lions finished last on the log
Imagine a Bulls vs Sharks final at Loftus.... Maybe this can only happen in the imagination???
Johann, haha, think you're too much of an optimist, but it would be lovely.
Gordon Smith asked:
How far do you think the two franchises the Bulls and the Sharks will go in the play off stages?
Gordon, as said above, think the Sharks have the better shot, but I'd be surprised if either win overseas.
Do the Bulls/Sharks have a fighting/realistic chance of winning overseas this weekend. Bulls have looked terrible over the last 2 weeks and Sharks have lost Steyn who is key in the backline?
Ian, I have travelled a few times with Super Rugby teams for semis and know how difficult it is after a long season for the guys to get up for the game. Home ground advantage is huge. Having said that I hope both defy the odds and score upset wins.
Hi Brendan-hope all is well,regarding the stormers an the style of rugby they played throughout the league phase,do you think this game plan is the perfect strategy going into the knockout stage of the competition an what are there chances,THANX :-)
Nadeema, they certainly know how to win close games, but I'm still concerned if they fall behind they won't be able to play catch-up rugby.
What a season the Sharks could have had. They seem to blow hot and cold almost at will. When they have to be, they can be amazingly destructive( vs Bulls(H),vs Stormers (1st half), and against the cheetahs )but then they also seem to lack motivation when their backs are not against the wall (vs chiefs,vs lions) Every season, they only play their best rugby when they have no other option. having said that, do you think they can pull it off against the reds? Wouldnt it have been wiser to play JP at outside centre as young Joordan might be targetted and exposed
Anyways, goodluck to a sharks team that are only matched by crusaders when in full flight.
Joe, agree with the Sharks not being consistent. But this is a one-off game and they will have a good chance. I'm not worried about Jordaan though, he'll be fine.
No Teams!! asked:
Hi Brendon. What will your SuperBru picks look like this weekend?
Difficult to say, Crusaders by 8 and Sharks by 3
Oh my word.I cannot believe the most boring team and most uninspiring team this season topped the log. Im sorry but it has been extremely painfull to watch my beloved team during the second half of the season. I dont expect the stormers to open the flood gates everytime they play or to score bonus point tries every game but i expect some creatitivy and an attempt to play decent rugga.
Sure our defence has been good(not excellent) but it doesnt mean much when you have one of the pooredt attacks either. that bamboozles me as we also have some of the most excting backs in the country.
The reason im not elated with finishing top of the log is that I know that the Crusaders, Chiefs, Shark attacks are irresistable enough to punch holes in our defence and we dont have the ability or technique or coordination to hit back...so ill just hope we dont concede to them...sad to say that i wouldnt be too heart broken if we didnt win coz we didnt really deserve it.
Jack, at least you're honest about your side. They have a good chance however, but too many Stormers fans I meet are in denial. Yes they are winning, and did top the log, but surely a team with Boks at 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and a 15 with a Bok call up should be scoring tries? Balance is the key and any time a side goes too much one way its a cause for concern. However, I hope they prove me wrong and win the tournament.
Thanks for your time.
Just a quick one, I''m a proud SA rugby supporter and would like to see all our rugby franchises thrive at Super Rugby level, but what are your thoughts on the inclusion on the Kings in the competition? As they don''t play in the 1st division of the curry cup and surely don''t have the depth of other teams to consistantly compete at Super Rugby level?? Wouldn''t it be better to "condense" some of the weaker teams to make us more competitive? Though it would be great to see 6 SA teams there and all six making the playoffs - but we know that only happens on playstation.
Michael, you're right about that. If life was Playstation we'd have some interesting teams. But I dont have a problem with the Kings inclusion. I do have a problem with appointing two Kiwi coaches and calling it a development franchise. They certainly don't currently have the players but that could change.
Morning Brendan. A few Bok selection / strategy suggestions which I''d welcome your take on -
1. Josh Strauss at 8 and Boks captain - technically he''s better than Spies at the back of the scrum, puts his body on the line and has genuine loyalty from the players.
2. Vermaak at scrumhalf - the All Blacks have gone for a genuine ''passer'' to bring Carter into the game quicker so shouldn''t SA pick the best distributor (who is the best distributor in your opinion? certainly not Hougaart)
3. Get rid of Bulls kick possession away mentality and play a Flyhalf who sits flat, distributes well (and who can kick!) - E Jaantjies is obvious choice?
4. HM seems to think rugby is won which physical prowess - isn''t it won ''in the head'' - shouldn''t we pick the thinking players (Brussouw, Lambie, Daniels) rather than the bulldozers?
Jason. 1. Don't agree at all, think Strauss is at best an average Super Rugby Player. Pierre isn't playing well at the moment, but Duanne Vermeulen is the next guy with Kankowski also there. 2. Hougaard isn't a great distributor but brings other things to the game. The next best is Piet van Zyl. 3. Morne is simply having a few off games, and has been played into the ground. Elton is up and down. Goosen is the rising star. 4. Mate, unfortunately I agree with Heyneke there. Most backline players are 100kg nowadays and if you can't win the collision you will never win the game. What you want is talent and size.
what do you think of the Bulls/Crusaders game? Bulls definitely the underdogs?
Werner - by far...Christchurch isn't a welcoming place, there's snow there at the moment and it is icy cold. This weekend won't be easy for any team
Nico Janse van Rensburg asked:
When will all these young guys get a chance to play at the Bulls, seeing as most of the senior team are young guys anyway. Wont they be losing more quality guys like Stander, Watermeyer, Dippenaar, Adongo due to no gametime and finding it hard to break into the senior teams?
Nico, that is one of the concerns. Definitely. But remember a junior player usually signs a 3 year contract - some 2 years - and at the end of it he is 21. So it is more likely he can move if he wants then...
clayton bodenstein asked:
What do you think of playing Pier Spies at no.13?We all know that he has the speed and ball skills to play in the back line (he started his playing at wing if Im not mistaken), now add that to his size and upper body strength, and you have a no.13 that will get over the advantage line almost every time. He is most dangerous when he has a little space to pick up speed and by putting him at no.13 will give him that space . And if you play him next to a quality no.12 who will put him in a gap or even a half gap or two, I see nothing but tries!
Defence wise he is also perfect, because firstly he is already great on defence and secondly, if a tackle is made by a back line player he will be at hand to use his loose-forward skills to secure or win the ball at the breakdown.
It makes sense on attack and on defence! As a Sharks supporter I am shooting myself in the foot but as a South African Rugby supporter I think the couching staff should consider it! or just try it for one game to test it out.Please let me know what you think about my suggestion? thank you
Clayton, I've heard this theory before, but it is unlikely to happen. To be honest it could work, but don't think we'll ever see it. There are also a number of quality 13s in this country at the moment
1 Bulls vs Crusaders who wins this one i think bulls by 1 point.
2 Sharks vs Reds who wins this one i know the skarks will win this one atleast by 6 points.
3 Who will play the final my pick Stormers vs Chiefs
Nelis, I hope you're right about this weekend, but I'm not convinced.
Anthony Clark asked:
Always regard your opinion quite highly
My questions, What do you think will be the result of the two play off games? Which team do you think has the best chance of taking the title? The Shark have been great, but my concern is that they tend to be one half wonders. Do you think they have what it takes to put in a complete performance against the Reds in Brisbane
Anthony, reckon crusaders will win and Sharks will come close. But think Stormers/Chiefs have best chance of the title.
Hi Brenden, how do you think the Reds pack will cope with the Sharks this weekend? There has been much talk about Michalak at flyhalf and the absence of Steyn and Lambie, but surely the loosies and frontrow + bench will have a bigger impact on the final outcome?
Graeme the Aussie teams always seem to be unspectacular but hold their own in the games and I don't think this time will be any different.
Scott Duncan asked:
One thing that bothers me with the Boks is our inability to play any other way besides our usual bash and bliksem approach. We''ve seen some wonderful running from SA sides in the Super 15 this year. The Cheetahs amazed down under with a great comeback against the Canes and even nearly beat the Crusaders. The Sharks have played quick momentum rugby for some time now and looking at the other provinces there are players who can cause havoc for defenses (Hougard, Aplon etc). We are certainly capable of playing running rugby. So why is that the moment we put the green jersey on we can only play like the hulk? I''m not suggesting we play like the Aussies and Kiwi''s, keeping to our strength is important. However, there are times when innovation is needed. Too many times in the past the Boks have been matched up front and we look lost. Do you think Heyneke will be looking to add that extra bow to our quiver or are we in for another four years of kick-and-chase? How do you think the Boks should approach these next 4 years until the World Cup?
Scott, I think we have to keep to our strengths, and test rugby is traditionally tighter than Super Rugby. Also the pressure is more. Saying that, I think we saw glimpses of how Heyneke wants to play in the Test series. I have no doubt Heyneke has plans he wants to implement but remember he never had time against England. Heyneke is an innovator and I'd give him a chance.
What do you make of John Plumtree''s decision to field Willem Alberts at lock against the Reds? ( thereby ensuring all four of Coetzee, Kanko, Daniel and Alberts take the field)
Also, do you think there''s a danger of Pat Lambie going the Ruan Pienaar way at the Sharks?
GD, I think he wants them all on the field, but I wouldn't traditionally do it, it could backfire. Hopefully it doesnt! As with Lambie yes, I reckon there is a chance of that, and I hope he settles into a position he is happy with.
Brendan.Its look like SA in one semi and New Zealand in other.What you think the Bulls chances is.I still believe if they play like they Play against the Cheethas they will win easy.
Johannes, if they do that they will. Gonna be tough though. I cant see them doing it.
Gerard Griessel asked:
What do you think the possibility is of the Kings being merged with another franchise to play Super Rugby? Say the Cheetahs or Lions? And if so which team do you think will be the most likely to fall victim because of the fact that the Kings are being forced on us?
Gerhard, don't think it will happen. As for who will fall out, the only real candidates are the Lions
We''ve had some interesting debates on Morne Steyn on Twitter. I know you still think he is the best flyhalf in the country, but with him being over 30 at the next world cup - do you not think now is the time to see our other options?
If you had to choose another flyhalf, who would you choose?
Have a lekker day bru!
Wes, we have, and I enjoy debating on twitter. I do, but he is going through a bad patch. The successor is Johan Goosen, and I'd back him to take over. Having said that, Lambie and Jantjies are the next best bet.
De Wet asked:
With the current Super Rugby format contractually bound until 2015, isn''t there a similar agreement/contract in place between SARFU and the respective franchises? Surely the Lions would have a foot to stand on (legally) should they be dropped to make way for the Kings in next years'' competition?
De Wet, as I understand it the franchise contract expires this year and needs to be renewed.
Don''t you think it would have been better for the Sharks to partner Jean Deysel with Sykes for the physicality and experience?
Looking to the Bulls future centre combinations don''t you think Venter and JJ should be the choice from next season with Serfontein blooded via the bench or is Akhona moving on and JJ to 14 and Sadie in at 13
Tumelo, no, don't agree, Deysel is a flank. As for the Bulls, Akona's contract ends this year, but think he will renew. JJ and Venter are probably the bet, with Jan Serfontein coming in next.
Andre Malan asked:
Might be jumping the gun , but looking ahead at the CC - who do you fancy to win this year? Also will the Springboks feature in this years tournament?
Andre, think you are mate. havent even given it any thought yet. And no, the Rugby Championship ends in October, so doubt the Boks will have much of a role in the Currie Cup.
Misty Campbell asked:
Why do you think did the Bulls not play it safe last week knowing they could decide who they wanted to play. Surely the Reds is much easier game then the Crusaders?
Misty, primarily because it was 20-all at halftime, and they were still not sure of the victory. If they were up by a healthy margin, think they would have played it safe.
Dennis Judeel asked:
Why would the EP Kings want to play Super Rugby if they cannot even qualify for the Currie Cup Premier Division? The top 5 South African sides needs to play Super Rugby. This is not a South African competition, but consists of 3 different countries.
Dennis, answered this above, but as to why? well perhaps thats a question for Cheeky Watson?
MALCOLM SANDT asked:
History was made with 3 Sa teams in the play offs.how do yu rate the chances of bulls and sharks this weekend and what do yu think of john plumbtree decision to play willem alberts at lock seeing that he plays flank for the boks, is it just a short term thinking.Which sa teams will be playing super rugby next year in your opinion.thank yu
Malcolm, hi answered these above. thanks.
shaunie boy asked:
Hi Brenden, my question is two fold. Firstly do you think the bulls v Crusaders game will give us an idea of where the 2 national sides stand at the moment, considering both teams play very similar to the way their national sides play? And secondly,surley if the 8,9,10 combination for the bulls struggles again that will surely be the end of the road for Spies and Morne when it comes to Springbok rugga, both are realy struggling which is sad to see. Surley Meyer cant be that biased to see they arent the best in their positions anymore.
Shaunieboy, nope dont think this weekend can tell us anything about national teams. Very different approach between tournament and test rugby. As for Spies, he needs to improve and isnt playing well, but wasnt bad in the tests. Morne has had an up and down season but is still the leading points scorer in Super Rugby. Those writing his obituary are a bit premature.
So many of our Fifa 2010 Stadiums are unutilized. Are we going to see more Provinces change home venues (like EP Kings) inorder to utilize these better?
Edrich I believe the Pumas have moved to Nelspruit but in Cape Town and Durban there are other issues...not sure when it will be resolved.
When will the final decision be made about the Kings inclusion in SR and what affect would it have on the remaining franchises?
Mark, I guess that depends on what the final decision is. Its been postponed several times now, but the next meeting is in August.
Jaco Du Toit asked:
Do you really rate Zane Kirchner?? Is he really the best fullback in the country?? Who can you see at 15 for the boks in 2015??
Jaco, Zane is a quality fullback but seems to be a player that polarises people. He is solid on attack and defence and good under the high ball, what more do you want from a fullback? I think Jaco Taute is a long term solution but Lambie is probably the next best
Good Day Brendan. JJ Engelbrect sureley has been impressive the last few games by creating forward momentum for the Bulls back line, sureley enough to get the ball more to Basson. Do you think the Bulls would have more success if the ball would get quicker or more often to Basson? Most of the time when he gets the ball it''s already nearly over the touchline..
Juandre, yes but i do also accept that the Bulls do that once there is forward momentum and they dont simply spread the ball just to spread the ball. Every rugby fan wants to see the ball in the wingers hands more, its nothing new, but it has to be in space, otherwise its wasted.
Please give me your opinion as to why the LIONS suffered so many injuries in the beginning of their season. Is it not perhaps the fitness instuctor not being up to scratch?
Ivan, wouldnt know mate, but it is a cause for concern. Sometimes injuries just happen - ask the Stormers - and sometimes your depth is better handled than at other times.
Do you recon that it is in the best interest of the game of rugby the way Australians are encouraging there crowds to be hostile towards the opposition like for instance at Sun-corp stadium? What are your feelings about this, and how do we faze this out? It seems to be the organizers that are (in Afrikaans we say) Die voorbokke
Jurgen, nope I don't. Sportsmanship should always be at the forefront of these things. Its the same reason I used to have arguments with the Cheetahs management about playing music when an opposition kicker misses his kicks...it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Do you think the sharks are going to go all out attack or are they going to be defensive like how we started this saturday
Prishen, think the game will determine that, they want to win, so don't think any team starts slowly on purpose.
Abrie Vermeulen asked:
Will the Sharks will be able to keep the ball close to the forwards most of the time and use this as the strategy against the reds. Or do you think the Sharks will suprise us and move the ball more wide and play a more expansive game?
Abrie, think they will play to their strengths, and move it if the opportunity presents itself.