Su­per Rugby: Nick Mal­lett picks Sharks and Storm­ers

Weekend Witness - - Sport - ROB HOUWING

CAPE TOWN — Both the Sharks and Storm­ers will be force­ful con­tenders again for the Su­per Rugby ti­tle in 2013, but the lat­ter team need to place a big­ger em­pha­sis on cre­at­ing try scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, renowned critic Nick Mal­lett has said.

The former Spring­bok coach and now ac­claimed tele­vi­sion pun­dit writes th­ese thoughts in the swan­song edi­tion (Fe­bru­ary) of Sports Il­lus­trated mag­a­zine, which has been a fea­ture of the lo­cal pub­lish­ing land­scape since the mid-1980s.

“The Storm­ers [2012 con­fer­ence win­ners] and Sharks [even­tual los­ing fi­nal­ists] both pos­sess two key el­e­ments of a se­ri­ous Su­per Rugby ti­tle con­tender: depth and bal­ance,” he said.

“The stand­out thing for me is the fact that both of them have young enough teams — in other words, they are not at the end of a cy­cle, but rather still de­vel­op­ing their re­spec­tive cy­cles.

“South Africa’s best hopes are still go­ing to be those two. It will be par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing for the Storm­ers to see how [fly­halves] El­ton Jan­tjies and Peter Grant will be used and whether there will be a de­cent ro­ta­tion pol­icy, which I think is vi­tal for success in this com­pe­ti­tion.

“It’s also vi­tal for our Spring­bok play­ers who need to be rested.

“It will be good to have guys like Jean de Vil­liers, and Jan­nie du Plessis at the Sharks, not play­ing ev­ery game of the sea­son,” he said.

“The Sharks are al­most the com­plete Su­per Rugby team, be­cause they have in­cred­i­ble qual­ity and depth in most po­si­tions, they play an at­tack-minded game, and they have great bal­ance.

“They look to score tries, which is the big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween them and the Storm­ers, [who were] the best de­fen­sive team in the com­pe­ti­tion last year, but ranked al­most nowhere on at­tack.”

Mal­lett also ex­pects the Bulls to “push a bit harder than they did last year”, as they in­creas­ingly get over the mass ex­o­dus of se­nior icons two years ago.

In a sep­a­rate ex­er­cise from Mal­lett’s pre­view, the mag­a­zine sug­gests th­ese as the six sides mak­ing the play­offs cut: 1. Storm­ers; 2. Cru­saders; 3. Sharks; 4. High­landers; 5. Bulls; 6. Brumbies.

That, by ex­ten­sion, would mean the Storm­ers top­ping the SA Con­fer­ence, the Cru­saders the New Zealand one, and the Brumbies the Aus­tralian group (which would, un­der the tour­na­ment’s con­tro­ver­sial rules, push Jake White’s charges to third­placed fin­ish on the over­all log).

— Sport24.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.