Friday, 21 December 2012

Count down to the beginning of The Super 15

Pre Season expectations...

In the weeks prior to the start of the tournament, the media is going to have full focus on the players in training and the gym. It is now December and things are already starting to heat up. We don't expect the players to hit the ground running at the beginning of the season but to build up momentum, and now is the time to start. Fitness is going to be a demanding aspect of the first 2 to 3 games, after these the game will return to its normal pace. What inevitably helps a team to reach the top half of the table, is a consistent winning streak at the start obviously. Having the upper hand on your tight contenders will be a margin so small that every match is to be taken with precaution and no nonsense what so ever. The managing staff will be and always has been a huge contribution to the kick start of the season. Players are told what to do, when to, and how to, but by who their told is another aspect altogether  The quality of the strength and conditioning coaches, fitness and endurance will reflect entirely on the outcome of the first 6 weeks or so.

In the last season's ending, it was not a fluke in any way shape or form, but reflected perfectly how the teams performed. The Stormers came in first place leading by only 2 points over the Chiefs. In my view this wasn't exactly a competition between the actual teams but between the clubs countries. South Africa coming in at first (the Stormers) followed closely by New Zealand (the Chiefs), and Australia 3rd (the Reds) . The beginning of the season will be a good one, in the 2nd round a good derby between the Highlanders and the Chiefs will set the pressure high and tempo fast. The Chiefs should win this fixture considering they hold their wits and play well. More importantly there will be an Australian derby, having the Reds play the Waratahs at home in Queensland. If the Waratahs bring a strong back line with a solid pack they should give the home side a run for their money. The Hurricanes shouldn't walk into the competition confident, as they only in the 2nd round they are to play the Bulls. Over all I see the Crusaders coming into the season with a bang, although their first match is in the 3rd round with the Blues in March. They should come out on top, with a quick return to their hard style of play in the forwards and exploiting weak centers with their own and play making from Dan Carter. Playing the Hurricanes in the 4th round will also be a tough match, depending on their outcome with the Blues will have a lot depending on this. The beginning will influence the season until the end, having teams with a poor start having to scramble for every point they can sever, and those with a good start can play with ease and less pressure thus being allowed to focus on other aspects of their game into more detail.

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