A Case for each SA Super Rugby Team

Last week SANZAAR dropped the news, that had been reported more than a month ago, that Super Rugby would be returning to 15 teams. To do this they would drop 1 Australian team and 2 South African teams. Now of course this poses a challenge to SARU who have previously steadfastly backed six South African sides. So we are now on the verge of saying goodbye to not one, but two SA franchises and I even though we pretty much all know who it should be, here is a case for and against each team.

The Cheetahs

Why they should go?

Financially they have struggled to keep their best players year after year. As soon as a player shows glimpses of talent they are taken by the other unions. Just look at the du Plessis brothers, Coenie Oosthuizen, Willie le Roux and even CJ van der Linde. The Cheetahs have also often fought for wooden spoon rather than glory only making the qualifier once and finishing 10th or lower every other season since 2006. Its not like they are lighting up the competition

Why they should stay?

Well I support them. Not enough? The Cheetahs have produced some outstanding players in Super Rugby who have gone on to represent South Africa. In 2016 the Springboks called on Johan Goosen, Lionel Mapoe, Lood de Jager and Adriaan Strauss all featured having previously featured for the Cheetahs (amongst others). The Cheetahs are also often referred to as everyones second team, and who would want to take out everyones second team. Lastly Joel Stransky says the Cheetahs should go and no one wants to prove Joel right!

Likelihood that it will be them (out of 5)

5. In most media forums it already appears decided.

The Sharks

Why they should go?

They are incredibly South Africa’s most prolific final making team in Super Rugby in reaching four finals. They have never won one and missed the golden chance against the Bulls to become the first SA champs in 2007. That was the only time they were in contention in a final as the other three were lost by 24, 30 and 31 points respectively. They havent looked convincing since winning the SA conference in 2014, finishing 11th and 8th. And last years Quarter Final was embarrasing in a 41-0 loss to the Hurricanes (Blame Ackerman, they should have been playing the Lions)

Why they should stay?

They are incredibly South Africa’s most prolific final making team in Super Rugby in reaching four finals. They have also made four semi-final appearances over and above those four finals. They have featured in some or other guise in every year of Super Rugby since its professional inception in 1996 and represent a massive sport supporting region. They also have an outstanding stadium and surrounding area to enhance the match day experience.

Likelihood that it will be them (out of 5)

2. Only because I think the Lions and Stormers are safer.

The Lions

Why they should go?

Because of a piss poor decision cost them the chance last year to win top spot and potentially host a final. In all likelihood they would have won at Altitude playing the rugby they did. This in turn saw some key Springbok players lack confidence and we saw Flaf insted of Faf. Their stadium is Ellis Park which can be a kak scary place to visit and Ackerman is leaving, so maybe half the team will follow.

Why they should stay?

Because they have Ellis Park and no stadium means more to SA Rugby. Because they are currently the best team in South Africa. Because they make players like Faf de Klerk and Elton Jantjies look sensational. Because Johannesburg. They had their year in the wilderness, it is someone elses turn now.

Likelihood that it will be them (out of 5)

0. They left, they did their time and at present, arguably are South Africa’s best hope of winning the whole thing.

The Kings

Why they should go?

Because they have now played 39 Super Rugby games in their 2.5 seasons and have won a total of 6 games. 2 of those were against the Sunwolves. They have never beaten a South African side and sit behind the Bulls (who lost to the Sunwolves). The mismanagement of the Franchise has been appalling and the players would be better off playing elsewhere.

Why they should stay?

Transformation progress in South African rugby has been poor. They are the Franchise that are promoting this more and more and developing some outstanding young talent. They play with more heart than arguably any other South African side. And just remember in 2013 how happy everyone (except Lions fans) were when they drew with the Brumbies away from home and won against the Rebels.

Likelihood that it will be them (out of 5)

4. Although they are the bottom of the pile, political involvement has helped the Kings before and the region produces many outstandingly talented players that underline the transformation of rugby in the region. For a country with such difficulty transforming the game of rugby, this region is almost a necessity.

The Stormers

Why they should go?

Newlands. Its a cesspool for the worst crowds in South Africa where the opposition gets cheered on by the home crowd. New Zealand are overly welcome and as a sports fan I dont dig that. For more rugby reasons they have made it to five semi-finals and only 1 final evermore underlining their inability to push it over the line. That final they did make they lost to the Bulls (2010) and have not made a semi-final since 2012. Also their name is lame compared to the animal names of the other Franchises.

Why they should stay?

Because no one can fill a crowd like a top performing Stormers. Because over the past decade they have produced some outstanding displays and did so well Allister Coetzee was coach. Oh yes, and because of this pass!

Likelihood that it will be them (out of 5)

1 – That they were almost bankrupt earlier this year still sits on the mind, but they are a consistent team and they can pack a stadium…

The Bulls

Why they should go?

In case we forgot the darkest day in South African rugby history, the Bulls did their best in an abject display to remind us last weekend when they lost to the Sunwolves. 21-20. Yes. The Bulls.

Why they should stay?

They are the only South African team to win the tournament in its professional state and they did it 3 times. How can we remove a team with such legacy such history and such respect. Oh yes, the Sunwolves.

Likelihood that it will be them (out of 5)

3. 5 years ago there was no chance, but this is not Bulls 2010, its Bulls 2017 and the question really is whether they add significant value anymore.

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