Six former players on which team will be South Africa's best hope in Vodacom Super Rugby in 2016 and why.
Stefan Terblanche (former Bok wing)
‘I’ll go for the Lions. They had their best ever Super Rugby season in 2015 and they kicked on to win the 2015 Currie Cup unbeaten. There’ll be a lot of expectations for them to perform because of that, but they’ve got a great coaching team and continuity [in their squad] having retained most of their Currie Cup players. Hopefully they will be able to improve on their 2015 Super Rugby performance.’
Pieter Hendriks (former Bok wing)
‘I think the Lions and the Stormers will both do well next season, along with the Bulls who have some exciting young players coming through. The Lions have the experience and continuity [from 2015 Super Rugby and Currie Cup] in their squad going into next season and they’ve got a great coach in Johan Ackermann. The Stormers because of experience [dominating the SA conference in recent years] and they have the depth in their squad to help them do really well next season.’
Garry Pagel (former Bok prop)
‘I think the Lions are the better bet at the moment because of their consistency this year. They’ve got a good group of players and I think Johan Ackermann must be doing something right with the type of rugby they’re playing, it’s enjoyable to watch as a spectator.’
Adriaan Richter (former Bok No 8)
'It has to be the Lions. They exceeded all expectations in Super Rugby in 2015 and confirmed throughout the Currie Cup campaign that they are South Africa's leading team. In terms of performance, they've struck fair balance between attractive, attacking rugby and solid, game-shaping defence and I believe they are the only South African franchise able to match New Zealand and Australian teams in challenging for the title.'
Corné Krige (former Bok flank)
'In a South African context, it looks like the Stormers are the most likely team to do well at this stage because of the calibre of players they have. Though I'm not too sure how the preparations have gone without a head coach in charge, the Stormers are still firm favourites. The Bulls have also put together a nice squad and I think they'll spring a few surprises next year. The Bulls can never be underestimated.'
Wayne Fyvie (former Bok flank)
'By all accounts, the Lions. Based on form over the past couple of months and how they've grown and gelled as a unit, it's hard to look past them. They play a brand of rugby everyone enjoys, which have turned them into the most likeable team in the country. The Stormers have always been consistent in Super Rugby, so I'd go with them to run the Lions close as far as South African teams go.'
Photo: Lions Rugby