In just a couple of weeks, rugby’s most hipster competition returns. Super Rugby has changed formats so often, you’d need a psychologist to make sense of its identity. To help all you sensible rugby loving folk out, we’ll give you the rundown of each of the three conferences in a 1-per-week format. Next: the Australian conference.
After the hurricane level shitstorm that was the axing of the Western Force, there’s 4 Aussie teams left to get a weekly pasting. The Brumbies, Waratahs, Reds and Rebels are joined in their conference by the Sunwolves. Just when you thought this conference couldn’t get any worse. The winner among these teams automatically secures a home play-off. The others could possibly progress to the knockouts via a wild-card spot on the overall log. Unless the Aussies magically get their shit together, you’d say they’d manage to get 1, maybe 2 teams into the playoffs. Let’s get a closer look at the meat.
The Brumbies, aka The Most Likely To Be Decent Ones
The Brumbies are the rugby equivalent of a coffee stand in the rollercoaster park that is Australian rugby: not the excitement you’re there for, yet the one aspect that isn’t disappointing. The men from Canberra are boosted by the return of Christian Lealiifano and David Pocock. The latter will form an interesting new look back-row with Lachlan McCaffrey and Isi Naisarani (PoCaRani? McNaisCock?). All in all they’re the most likely to cause an upset during the playoffs. Still a snowball’s chance in the Great Victoria Desert though.
Key player: David Pocock. The jackal has returned! After spending 2 seasons in the ball pit that’s the Japanese Top League, he’s back to be the most annoying yet amazing openside in the rugby world.
Spotter’s badge: Tevita Kuridrani is being so massive he warps the space-time continuum around him. This somehow makes his choo-choo celebration even lamer.
The Reds, aka Brad Thorn’s Boot Camp
What happens when you combine the bat-shit brilliance of Quade Cooper with the nitty-gritty toughness of Brad Thorn? Brad Thorn boots your ass, that’s what. Joining the crazy genius exodus are the majority of last season’s first XV. With such a depleted squad, the Reds will probably have a hard time in Thorn’s first season in charge. But he did do some good work with Queensland Country in Australia’s NRC last year. Maybe a red hot poker relay workout is the way forward for this team. Crazier stuff has happened in Australia.
Key player: Duncan Paia’aua. With both Cooper and McIntyre gone this year, Paia’aua is sure to be the starting fly-half. He’s a favourite of Brad’s from his QC days, and will probably be one of the few consistent players in this Reds team.
Spotter’s badge: Brad Thorn is forced to take the field himself after strangling the last forward in the team for being utter rubbish.
The Waratahs, aka Daryl Gibson’s Flaky Fiascos
Alternatively known as the down under Ospreys. The ‘Tahs are proof of how a perfectly good squad can be utterly ruined by a shit coaching setup. Under Cheicka this team had a 63% record, under Daryl Gibson a mere 40%. Plus, Cheicka never played the Kings, Sunwolves or Jaguares. It’s a miracle Gibson hasn’t been sacked yet. With Hooper, Foley, Folau and Beale in this squad, anything but a playoff spot will surely constitute a failure as monumental as the Middle Eastern peace building process.
Key player: Israel Folau. The most naturally gifted athlete in world rugby. You could put him in a team of arthritic koalas and he’d still be awesome.
Spotter’s badge: Kurtley Beale does something so insane, it takes a team of mathematicians on shrooms to understand how he did it.
The Sunwolves, aka The Crazy Buggers With Their Own Band
Their value as a professional rugby team? Rubbish. Their value as a cavalcade of entertaining ridiculousness? Pure platinum. Thank fuck they’re that interesting off of the field, cause on it they wouldn’t be able to string together a daisy chain, let alone a play. Let’s be honest here, none of you will actually watch them play. Unless they happen to come into possession of the Cuthbert Plisson Cup, which would be the best thing ever in the history of ridiculousness. Crazier stuff has happened in Japan.
Key player: Michael Leitch. Leitch and Japan head coach Jamie Joseph coming in will provide the Sunwolves with some much needed leadership for the coming campaign. Never takes a step back and some other clichés about tough forwards.
Spotter’s badge: The old (and vastly superior) mascot creeps up behind the new one, slits his throat, cuts off his face and staples the bloody visage to his own.
The Rebels, aka The Force With Some Rebels’ Players
No seriously, at least one Force player from every position made the switch from Perth to Melbourne. Other notable arrivals include Will Genia, Geoff Parling and sevens star Henry Hutchison. Coach David Wessels will be the arrival Rebels fans will be most excited about though. And if the two of you are reading this, thank you for choosing Blood & Mud! With the majority of last season’s impressing Force squad and coaching setup this could be Melbourne’s best season yet in the comp.
Key player: Amanaki Mafi. By far the best player in Australia last season. He handles the ball like a lover: gentle yet forceful. Never has a man so brutish had such silky skills.
Spotter’s badge: The commentators continuously mistake the team as the Force. Eventually the franchise will just roll with it and rebrand themselves as the Eastern Force.
This year we’ll be running a fantasy pool for Super Rugby on Superbru! Fancy a bit of friendly, free week-by-week fun? You find us on Superbru by searching for our pool code: lotsdose. Something Funny’s Ardent Albatrosses look forward to receiving you at the Jaguardo Party Dome!