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It’s that time of year again. All the pre-season training has been done, the warm-up games have been played, and now we get ready for a never-ending glut of goddamn rugby in our faces for 24 hours a day until sometime in August.
If we start by looking at the Australian conference that kicked off this past weekend we see that the Melbourne Rebels beat the Western Force, even though the Force were the better team and were ultimately just let down by their poor discipline. The Rebels will have to up their game as the season progresses – especially when they play the Sharks in Durban on our wedding anniversary on the 23rd of March, which will either be completely forgotten or hastily commemorated with some piece of shit wilting bouquet bought in a panic at a Spar on the way home from King’s Park with his mates.
But the main Australian contenders this season will again be the Brumbies. Jake White really turned the franchise around last year, and after their solid victory against the Reds they look a safe bet to top the Aussie conference. What also looks a safe bet is that at some point I’ll be subjected to a non-stop rant about why doesn’t South African rugby look after its assets and why is Jake White coaching an Australian team and blah blah blah who gives a shit. Overall, it’s the weakest of the three conferences and the Australians should take a pounding not dissimilar to the vicious beating I fantasise about meting out when I think of the next 6 months of fucking wall-to-wall sport.
Turning to New Zealand now, and we see a completely different picture. There are a couple of strong teams – any one of whom can throw a spanner in the works of the conference as well as any social occasions I might have wanted to plan like, I don’t know, maybe a child’s birthday party or a family day at the beach like normal people do. A game that could cause a big surprise is when the Sharks play the Chiefs in Hamilton on the 27th of April, and by big surprise I mean for once that lazy sack of shit will actually get up before 9 o’ clock on a Saturday – not to help out around the house or cook breakfast or go do something interesting – but to sit in the lounge in his jocks and scream at the TV. The Chiefs were worthy winners last year and will again be a force to be reckoned with this time around so that’s where to put your money. But don’t count out the Crusaders who are always dangerous with ball in hand, much like that selfish dick will be sitting on the couch, in his underpants, eating leftovers, with his balls in his hand.
A look at the South African conference with the newly-admitted Kings franchise in the mix throws up some intriguing possibilities: Will anyone actually watch the Kings games? Will we finally be able to get out of the house and do things like a normal family? Or will even the most boring possible snooze-fest like the Kings vs. the Force on the 23rd of February end up blaring out of the TV preventing anyone else from watching things they maybe wanted to watch, like NCIS: Los Angeles for example. One thing’s for certain, the big 3 of the Sharks, Bulls and Stormers will dominate the local conference again this year, and there’s a good chance I’ll file for divorce.
The Cheetahs might surprise us if they can sort out their defence. The Stormers will have to evolve beyond just their choking game if they really want to threaten. The Bulls have an inexperienced team but a solid game plan – so they could make the playoffs. It’s the Sharks, though, that I hope will go all the way and win. If only because if they play badly, or don’t feature, or lose in the final again, then Sulky McSulkerson over here is going to mope around and drop lip like a fucking child. Looking ahead at the schedule, the 17th is a big day because it’s the Bulls vs. the Sharks and also my cousin’s wedding. So Captain Cock-Tonsil will no doubt have his eyes glued to his phone during the ceremony and make that stupid clichéd joke that we’ve all heard a billion times about how can people plan weddings when there’s rugby on TV. Ha ha ha ha it gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME.
So that’s the wrap looking ahead at the coming glut of excessive, relentless, never-ending rugby matches. With more than 24 weeks, 15 teams and 125 matches lined up this season, the Super 15 certainly is going to be super. Please somebody kill me now.