Less fancied S15 teams soar!

Super Rugby (File)
Super Rugby (File)
Although it’s still early days, some of the less-fancied teams have stamped their authority on this year’s SupeRugby competition.

It was great to see the Highlanders starting off their season with an important home derby win against the Blues – a team which has much promise and rugby league convert Benji Marshall.

But the Highlanders, coached by former Test player Jamie Joseph, have some pretty handy players in the form of prolific All Black try scorers (their captain Ben Smith and Aaron Smith) mixed together with a team willing to play for the jersey.

Another team playing and sweating blood for their jersey – albeit without a sponsor – are the Lions, who have been playing the type of rugby with an intensity found only on the battlefields of war.

2014 might just be a fairytale year for the Joburg-based franchise and they have a perfect opportunity to emulate the Currie Cup hiding they dished out to the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld last year to go top of the SA conference come Saturday night.

In passing, I would like to add that the Lions’ hiatus from last year’s competition has perhaps invigorated the bulk of the squad. Because let’s be honest; these guys play far too much rugby and a long break from this relentless competition is probably a magic potion of some sort.

Two of South Africa’s flagship teams, the Bulls and the Stormers, are looking as plain as a R2 McDonald’s vanilla ice-cream cone – but they are yet to play at home and will surely get better in front of the Loftus and Newlands faithful.

I’m sure Ladbrokes and other betting institutions have good odds on whether Coetzee or Ludeke will still be coaching their respective teams come the end of the season.

The Cheetahs are currently on tour and face the Rebels on Friday.

Although the Rebels are a serious joke, they can be a handful in Melbourne and the Cheetahs will do well to come away with an important away win.

They certainly have enough intelligence and skill to come away with a four-try bonus win – which will boost their confidence for the rest of their Australasian tour.

The Australian conference looks very interesting with the Reds and Waratahs looking like they’ll battle it out for top spot – the age-old Aussie derby just got real.

The Brumbies are clearly missing Jake White who has given the Sharks a sharp set of teeth since he settled in to his new job at King’s Park.

The Sharks have a bye and will come back firing next weekend. Hopefully a much-improved performance will accompany their return.

The final word goes to the Chiefs.

A champion team never gives up; losing isn’t even part of the equation. It’s not about the amount of stars you have in a team.

It’s about winning games you shouldn’t have won. It’s about having the mental capacity to go out there as a TEAM and play RUGBY every weekend.

The Chiefs have kept it simple, but boy it’s effective and last Friday the Crusaders would’ve done well to have taken a leaf out of Dave Rennie’s coaching manual.

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