The Stormers and the Sharks are probably the best-placed South African teams to make a strong challenge for the title
It would be perfectly understandable if South African rugby fans are licking their lips in anticipation of the new Super Rugby season, which starts today with an appetising Sharks-Bulls game topping the menu.
After all, the Springboks are the world champions after their magnificent deeds in Japan last year, so surely there is a good chance that South African teams will follow suit?
Well, hang on just a minute.
Super Rugby is a very different beast to World Cup rugby. Of course the World Cup has far more glory attached to it, but there are good reasons for the Super Rugby competition having earned a reputation as one of the toughest obstacle courses in all of sport.
The sheer length of the tournament – five months of fast-paced rugby as opposed to a six-week World Cup – will test the endurance and stamina of the teams to the limit.
The travelling backwards and forwards between South Africa, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand is another formidable challenge.
There is no doubt that the New Zealand teams, especially the perennial favourites, the Crusaders, will have “revenge” on their minds after the All Blacks were dismantled by England in last year’s World Cup semi-final.
The Stormers and the Sharks are probably the best-placed South African teams to make a strong challenge for the title.
The Stormers are coached by John Dobson, one of the most creative thinkers on the South African rugby landscape, while the Sharks will have a new zest for life under new captain Lukhanyo Am and coach Sean Everitt.
The Bulls need to improve their consistency, while the Lions are still in a bit of a rebuilding phase.
It has been 10 long years since South Africa won a Super Rugby title. Who will forget that memorable day in Soweto 2010 when the Bulls beat the Stormers. So it is time for another title, and let’s hope that South African teams will indeed be inspired by Siya Kolisi and his brave band of Boks.
We wish the Bulls, Lions, Sharks and Stormers everything of the best.