NEW YORK, NY: Today we start the RWU Fall Rugby Preview for 2013. We have to deal with the hectic international calendar. With the invention of Super Rugby,it may appear the southern hemisphere domestic competitions have lost a great bit of shine but to the residents of these great countries they are still very important. Let’s take a look at the Southern Hemisphere Fall Rugby Preview: The ITM Cup, Currie Cup and Australia.
Country: New Zealand
League: ITM Cup (Formerly the National Provincial Championship)
Defending Champions: Canterbury and Counties Manukau
Season Length: August 15, 2013 – October 26, 2013
Thoughts: Two conferences with two separate championships. With my one good eye and Auckland bias, I see Auckland winning the Premiership division and Northland winning the Championship. Auckland will be aided by the late arrival of rugby league legend and latest crossover Benji Marshall to the squad (reports say, he won’t play but, if I was a betting man…). In the Championship, I see the Rene Ranger led Northland easily cruising to victory to give their captain a great send-off. Waikato currently hold the Ranfurly Shield. We doubt they will hold it at the season. Here is the overall break out of teams and division for those that are unaware:
|Overview of teams|
|Team||Head Coach||Captain||Stadia||2013 Placing||2013 Division|
|Auckland||Wayne Pivac||Hadleigh Parkes||Eden Park||Premiership|
|Bay of Plenty||Kevin Schuler||Tanerau Latimer||Baypark and Rotorua Int’l Stadiums||Premiership|
|Canterbury||Scott Robertson||George Whitelock||AMI Stadium||Premiership|
|Counties Manukau||Tana Umaga||ECO Light Stadium||Premiership|
|Hawke’s Bay||Craig Philpott||Mike Coman||McLean Park||Championship|
|Manawatu||Jason O’Halloran||Nick Crosswell||FMG Stadium||Championship|
|North Harbour||Liam Barry||North Harbour Stadium||Championship|
|Northland||Derren Witcombe||Rene Ranger||Toll Stadium||Championship|
|Otago||Tony Brown||Paul Grant||Forsyth Barr Stadium||Championship|
|Southland||David Henderson||Jamie Mackintosh||Rugby Park Stadium||Championship|
|Taranaki||Colin Cooper||Kane Barrett||Yarrow Stadium||Premiership|
|Tasman||Kieran Keane||Shane Christie||Lansdowne and Trafalgar Parks||Championship|
|Waikato||John Walters||Matt Vant Leven||Waikato Stadium||Premiership|
|Wellington||Chris Boyd||Westpac Stadium||Premiership|
Country: South Africa
League: Currie Cup
Defending Champions: Lions (Golden Lions RFU)
Season Length: August 9, 2013 – October 12, 2013
Thoughts: South Africa’s National Provincial Championship will kickoff this weekend–to be exact, the premier division. To be clear, the Currie Cup has 6 teams are in the premier division, 8 are in the 1st Division. The Cup’s division breakout has been through several changes over the years, with the current manifestation being only 4 years old. During the years when South Africa was barred from international sports, the Cup took on extra significance.
As per Wikipedia, currently, South Africa is divided into 14 unions. Of those unions only four draw players from an entire province: Here are the unions in the premier division and where they draw from:
Griquas – Northern Cape (home matches in Kimberley)
Natal Sharks – KwaZulu-Natal (home matches in Durban)
Free State Cheetahs – central and western (home matches in Bloemfontein)
Western Province – Cape Town metropolitan area
Golden Lions – Johannesburg and municipalities to its west (home matches in Johannesburg)
Blue Bulls – Pretoria, the two Gauteng municipalities to its east, and Limpopo Province (home matches in Pretoria)
With all of that said, it is expected that this year will be another close one. Most people expect the Lions to end up at the bottom of the table but I got a feeling it will be one of the Super Rugby 5. It will likely be down to Western Province or the Golden Lions–again, if I was a betting man.
Australia doesn’t have a nationwide premier rugby tournament. Each Province has its own premier level tournament.
League: and Southern NSW Rugby Union – Premier Division Northern Territory Rugby – A Grade NSW Rugby – Premier QLD Rugby – Premier Rugby WA – Premier South Australian Rugby – Premier Tasmanian Rugby – Victorian Rugby – Premier
The ARU Website only informs of the schedule and results, so it is impossible to predict who will win.
That is it for now, feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @RugbyWrapUp, @JunoirBlaber, @Declan Yeats, @ckuxmann and @Ebstide52, respectively. And until the next time… stay low and keep pumping those legs.