Sunday, February 26, 2012

Playing favourites: sorting out leaders of the pack from the also-rans

February 24, 2012

The 2012 Super Rugby season gets under way tonight when the Blues meet the Crusaders in Auckland. The Herald's chief rugby correspondent, Greg Growden, runs the rule over all 15 teams, with analysis from Matt Burke.

Any chance?
Everyone is pushing them for the title, but there are some nagging doubts. Yet again they will be relying on Richie McCaw and Dan Carter, but doubts persist over how often they will play. They are tournament favourites, but I'm not so sure.
Any gamebreakers?
McCaw and Carter are the obvious names, but Israel Dagg, at fullback, could be the unexpected force. Kieran Read also knows how to fire up at Super Rugby time.
Any questions?
They were the masters of playing away last year, due to the devastation of the Christchurch earthquake. Handling the emotion of playing back at their home base will be a crucial factor in where they finish.
Matt Burke says:
''A roster to die for - do you need to say more? Pre-season form has been good and they still have to get back NZ royalty Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.''

The 14 other teams' analysis can be found at 

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