The Super 12 thread

Even though the Cricket World Cup is still in full swing, real sport begins tonight with the kickoff of the 2003 Super 12. For those of you who don’t know, the Super 12 is the premier provincial rugby competition in the world (I’m sure there are a few NPC and Currie Cup advocates who would disagree). Spanning 3 countries, the super 12 teams are as follows :


The Queensland Reds
The NSW Waratahs
The ACT Brumbies

New Zealand

The Blues (Aukland)
The Chiefs (Waikato)
The Hurricanes (Wellington)
The Crusaders (Cantebury)
The Highlanders (Otago)

South Africa

Coastal Sharks (Durban)
Western Stormers (Capetown)
Golden Cats (Johhanesburg)
Bulls (Pretoria)

In a World Cup year, the S12 takes on added significance, as national coaches put pressure on provincial coaches to test players in new positions.

I am a Qld supporter, but this year we may have our weakest side in a long time. While our back three (Tune, Latham, Sailor) are outstanding, and our backrow (Kefu, Roe, Croft) are underrated, we have a new coach, and our midfield (due to injuries) looks weak. I hate to say it, but I think that ACT and NSW (again) will finish higher than us this year. NSW are full of leaguies anyway.

Canebury are the favourites after being undefeated last year, but I reckon that Aukland, Otago and the Brumbies may round out the top 4.

I don’t think that (once again) the SA teams will be competitive away from home.

I’m heading to the ACT v QLD game at Ballymore tomorrow night - should be a cracker.

What’s your opinion on the comp this year, and who do you support?

  • Bubba.

Allow me to point out that any reference to place names is made purely because that’s the location where the team plays.

Provincial Rugby hasn’t done anything for me since the teams stopped being representative teams and started being franchises. Now that international rugby’s heading the same way (how many Australian and New Zealand-born players are in their respective “national” sides?) it’s really starting to lose its appeal as well. I think that I may have sworn off watching Union entirely by the next World Cup.

Union is also nowhere near as attractive a game to watch as League is, which puts it very much behind the 8-ball in Australia.

I disagree with your comment that league is a more attractive game to watch than rugby, as I find league to be far too simple and reliant on ‘one-off’ individualism in attack - I think that there is nothing better than 6 or 7 good phases of ruck and maul ball followed by a flowing backline movement that you get in rugby. While there are issues with refereeing interpretations (particularly of the breakdown), they are being addressed. Also, as a prop, I enjoy watching scrummaging immensly.

I also don’t understand your gripe with the ‘franchising’ of provincial rugby. Professionalism has led to an increase in the skill level of the players and subsequently the speed at which the game is played. A necessary side-effect of profesionalism is that players have to move to new areas to find a side to play in.

True, there was a real problem a couple of years ago at a national with players with tenuous links to the Northern Hemisphere playing for sides like Wales, but the IRB has introduced new guidelines to slow this phenomenon down.

While League has its State of Origin, which was a fantastic idea and the highest level of that code’s competition in the world, it is only 3 games a year, and there are very few player these days who play out there career, from development as a junior to retirement, at a single club. International rugby league is not a viable competitor to rugby, nor can I see it ever becoming so, with more and more leaguies coming over to rugby for the international opportunities it provides, reversing the trend that was prevalent during rugby’s amatuer days.

  • Bubba.

…ummmmm, all but one?

…but he moved here as a kid, and is a New Zealand citizen.

…and i am, obviously, a Hurricanes supporter. The team has got to come right at some stage, and it will be this year!!!

And a South African team has yet to win. Maybe this year the Stormers will, but with Bob Skinstad defecting to the Cats, we’ll have to wait and see.

A useful site to follow the tournament

Get me to a Sky Channel for tonights Stormers mach!!


I strongly disagree. Union’s a scrappy game where sides must concentrate more on possession and territory, meaning less opportunity for creative play and more of the tedious set piece-breakdown-kick-set piece-breakdown-kick stuff that, in the words of the immortal Tenants, sh_t me to tears.

Where there is six or seven phases, it’s usually because the play has broken down so far beyond recovery that both sides are trying to kill the play.

League’s more structured play, with its natural pauses and resets, ironically provides for better flow of attack, both by forwards and backs, than union can offer.

While I prefer to play Union, and yes, I prop as well (or at least I did before my back failed), it doesn’t stand up as a spectator sport against League.

As a spectator only, I much prefer Union. League is incredibly 2 dimensional.

You get the ball, run, get tackled, get the ball, run, get tackled, get the ball, run, get tackled, get the ball, run, get tackled, get the, run, get tackled, get the ball, kick.

Ok other team’s turn.

get the ball, run, get tackled, get the ball, run, get tackled, get the ball, run, get tackled, get the ball, run, get tackled, get the, run, get tackled, get the ball, kick.

And back to the first team.

It’s a game I can only watch if I have an emotional connection to one of the teams, which I generally don’t.

Oh, and my preference for a Super 12 winner:

  1. The Highlanders
  2. The Crusaders
  3. Any NZ team
  4. Any Australian Team (grudgingly)

I’m torn between supporting the Hurricanes (I grew up and now live in the Hurricanes region) and the Highlanders (six years of varsity in Otago).

After seeing the NZ games this weekend, it looks like the Blues, Highlanders and Crusaders will all be very hard to beat, and at least two of them will feature in the semis IMHO. Their main competition will be the Aussie sides.

What’s going on with South african rugby? Their natoinal team had a dreadful tour og the Northern Hemisphere and they’ve failed to adjust to the professional era. Which seems odd as they seemed to be the most shamateur of the unions before 1995.

And here is the ignorant American who thought this would be about 12mm film.

Well the Stormers got a good victory over the Sharks (who traditionally are the strongest SA team). Usually the Stormers start out very weak and finish strong (but not strong enough to actually get anywhere), hopefully that’s changed this year.