Southern extravaganza

Three of South Africa’s Super 14 franchises should feel confident about a top-six finish in the coming 2009 tournament.

The SA Rugby magazine team analyse all 14 sides and their prospects for the new season, and how various arrivals and departures will affect the dynamic of the respective squads. The Sharks are looking strong while the Stormers are set to build on their solid 2008 performance. The Bulls cannot be discounted, but unfortunately it looks as if the Lions and Cheetahs will struggle to finish mid-table yet again.

The latest edition includes a detailed preview on each franchise as well interviews with the five South African coaches.

Also in the new mag:

- Ruan Pienaar reveals his thoughts on the switch from scrumhalf to flyhalf, why Butch James is his hero, and how filling Percy Montgomery’s boots as the premier Springbok goal-kicker is no easy task

- We review the Boks’ 2008 season highlighting the success in the UK but underlining a few shortcomings that require attention ahead of the Lions tour

- BJ Botha and John Plumtree offer their views on why the John Smit tighthead experiment requires further time before assessment

- Brad Barritt, Wikus van Heerden, Joe van Niekerk and Ross Skeate report back on their recent playing experiences in Europe

- All Blacks great Anton Oliver learns there’s life after rugby as he pursues his studies at Oxford

- Turning of the Tide: SA Rugby examines what Sanzar needs to do to keep the Super 14 competition fresh and vibrant

- In an edited chapter of Monty, learn how Percy Montgomery was mismanaged by coach Harry Viljoen at an internally divided Western Stormers franchise and how James Small proved an unlikely source of inspiration

- Plus: Club and Schools rugby, as well as world-class columnists in Jake White, Mark Keohane and Mark Hinton