The Springboks’ World Cup win and the prospect of watching the next generation of stars have given all of us a little pep in the step as we enter a new Vodacom Super Rugby season, writes JOHN GOLIATH.
To be honest, for the last couple of years I’ve dreaded the start of Super Rugby, because it had become stale and rather boring. It had become The Bold and the Beautiful of sports tournaments, with the same never-ending, boring storylines but with less spray tan and incest.
But, as we head into the 2020 edition, it feels very different. It doesn’t feel like we’re about to sit down and watch another episode of Brooke Logan trying to lure someone’s grandfather into bed with a packet of blue pills. No, it feels a lot more exciting. There is a sense of anticipation that we may be in for something special this time around.
I know, I know. It’s the same old watered-down conference system still driving many people mad. But this year gives us an opportunity to see exactly how the Boks’ World Cup win has galvanised rugby in this country, while also monitoring the new talent coming through.
For instance, what player doesn’t want to perform well over the next seven months to be part of the world champions for their next assignment, especially after quite a few players have decided to ply their trade overseas. It gives the opportunity to fringe players to really perform and stake a claim, especially the youngsters who have had to bide their time on the bench over the years.
South Africa’s Super Rugby teams are also filled with ‘generation next’ players, most of them exciting talents. The South African teams are littered with X-factor players such as Aphelele Fassi and Tyrone Green, Damian Willemse and Manie Libbok, which is reason enough to be stoked. But when you combine those cats with grizzled veterans up front, it becomes a concoction that makes you forget about the January debit orders.
Just think of the Sharks back four, with fullback Fassi, wings Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi and outside centre Lukhanyo Am. If that doesn’t get your blood racing, then please book yourself into the nearest cemetery, because there are no medical avenues left for us to explore to get you out of your coma.
Over the past decade we really haven’t had a lot to smile about as far as our rugby is concerned. But there is a new sense of optimism. It’s something that rugby’s marketing people around the country must also take advantage of and utilise to fill the stadiums again.
I’m definitely excited about the start of the tournament. I really hope it’s less The Bold and the Beautiful and more Game of Thrones.
Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix