SUPER RUGBY IS BACK!!!!!! The 2018 Super Rugby season has been trimmed down to fifteen teams after Southern Hemisphere rugby fans disapproved of the 2017/16 format.

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Also this year Super Rugby moves away from the four conferences it had the past two years. There will be only three conferences –

South Africa: Blue Bulls, Jaguares, Lions, Sharks, Stormer.

New Zealand: Blues, Chiefs, Crusaders, Highlanders, Hurricanes.

Australia: Brumbies, Reds, Rebels, Waratahs, Sunwolves.

Each team gets to play at least 12 of the other 14 franchises.

Teams missing out in this years competition: Cheetahs, Kings and Force.

This weekends fixtures: Round 1

Stormers vs Jaguares – 15:05pm

Stormers have done an “ok” job in scraping past the Jaguares in Super Rugby in the past two seasons. This weekend i expect a more convincing performance, especially at Newlands on Saturday. Jaguares ……well, they unpredictable and their discipline was one of their demise last year.

Bonus Point win for Stormers 8pts

Teams: TBA

Lions vs Sharks – 17:05pm

I’m really looking forward to this contest. I honestly believe that the Sharks are the only side that can beat the Lions in the South African Conference.

Lions will be boosted by the return of the Springboks. Bok skipper will be back to lead the Jo’burg side in the opening match on Saturday.

Sharks are missing the Du Preez twins this weekend. Curwin Bosch will be playing musical chairs on the bench this season. Lwazi Mvovo is at Full-back for this feature, Rob du Preez senior has gone for the safer option in Lwazi.

Team: Lions

Forwards: Jacques van Rooyen, Malcolm Marx, Ruan Dreyer, Andries Ferreira, Franco Mostert, Kwagga Smith, Cyle Brink, Warren Whiteley

Backs: Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Sylvian Mahuza, Andries Coetzee

Sharks: Forwards – Juan Schoeman, Franco Marais, Thomas du Toit, Ruan Botha, Stephan Lewies, Philip van der Walt, Jacques Vermeulen, Keegan Daniel

Backs: Cameron Wright, Robert du Preez, Makazole Mapimpi, Andre Esterhuizen, Lukhanyo Am, Sbu Nkosi, Lwazi Mvovo

Sharks by 3