Super Rugby #10For20
Ten things we'd like to see in Super Rugby
Sam Bruce
February 13, 2015
Who will make it through to this year's Super Rugby finals?

The Super Rugby season is upon us, and it promises to be another bumper year of action from the world's toughest provincial competition.

The 2015 edition of the tournament will take on extra significance with players pushing their cases for the Rugby World Cup squads of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

What are we hoping to see? Read on to find out.

An all-time Michael Cheika blow-up

Think Michael Cheika was a coach on the edge in 2014? Well imagine what he's going to be like balancing two jobs. The volatile Waratahs boss is now the Wallabies coach as well and while he's confident he can juggle the two roles, it's hard to see how he won't be pulled in conflicting directions at some stage during the Super Rugby season. We saw a shattered window, a threatened cameraman and countless uncouth pre-match talks in 2014; the added stress of the Test job could produce something truly special.

A Cheetahs charge

You've got to feel for the Cheetahs. You really, really, do. The moment they unleash the next big thing in South African rugby it seems as though the rising star departs the Free State faster than you can say Bloemfontein. And this year their long-serving skipper and Springboks hooker Adriaan Strauss has packed his bags and headed north to Pretoria; as has workhorse flanker Lappies Labuschagne. Thankfully they've still got Springboks Willie le Roux and Cornal Hendricks on their books; and that should be enough to inspire some scintillating attacking rugby at the very least.

A full Suncorp Stadium for Reds v Waratahs

It's sure to be one of the games of the season; and with a number of new faces on deck, there is no reason why Reds fans shouldn't turn out in their droves for the round-four clash with the Waratahs. Off-season recruits James O'Connor, Adam Thomson and Karmichael Hunt should have blown out the cobwebs while the rest of the squad will be keen to avenge twin losses to the Waratahs from 2014. Throw in, Israel Folau, Will Genia, Michael Hooper, Samu Kerevi and Kurtley Beale; and you have a virtual who's who of Australian rugby. It's a fixture that demands a full house. Over to you, Brisbane.

An injury-free run for Dan Carter/David Pocock

The Brumbies' David Pocock has returned to action, Western Force v Brumbies, Super Rugby trial, McGillivray Oval, Perth, January 23, 2015
David Pocock has endured an injury-marred two years © Getty Images

They're two of the biggest names in world rugby, yet Dan Carter and David Pocock were barely sighted in Super Rugby last year. Carter, of course, enjoyed some time off in the first half last season through an New Zealand Rugby-approved sabbatical before breaking a leg in the Super Rugby final, while Pocock lasted just two games before picking up a season-ending knee injury for the second straight year. At their best, they are easily among the world's top three players in their respective positions. Both men loom as big-part players in their country's respective World Cup campaigns; getting through Super Rugby unscathed would be a start.

Another South Island show-stopper

It produced the best finish of any game bar the final last year, and with South Island bragging rights on offer we're frothing at the mouth in anticipation of the Crusaders' clash with the Highlanders in Dunedin. The hosts were cruelly denied a last-ditch win in 2014 when winger Paul Osborne was judged to have grounded the ball touch-in goal by a decision that could have gone either way. Before that we saw eight tries and, wait for it, a Richie McCaw sin-binning; this was a ledger Richie's rugby gods squared when referee Glen Jackson suffered a split cheek a little while later. More of the same will do just fine thanks; referee head-knocks aside!

The ultimate in half-time entertainment

While we're in Dunedin, it'd be remiss of us not to touch on The Zoo - and the interesting antics the students-only area seems to inspire. And then there's the non-traditional half-time entertainment which is anything but bomb-catching or local club relays. And who can forget the efforts of security staff and mascots in the felling of streakers in recent years? With all this in mind we propose the ultimate in half-time showdowns. The aforementioned combatants would begin by skulling a beer within The Zoo before negotiating a rope ladder onto the field where they would then chase down a streaker in a copybook try-saving tackle. First contender to make the tackle wins. Reality TV, eat your heart out.

There's never a dull moment in The Zoo © Getty Images

A fresh serving of meat, material

Rest easy, Force fans. Your cult hero Nick Cummins will be on deck in 2015 after he managed to negotiate a short-term release from Japanese club, Coca-Cola West Red Sparks. Cummins, aka the Honey Badger, bagged seven tries - or pieces of meat as he likes to call them - and was a post-game interview favourite in 2014 as his all-Aussie persona found a global reach. His reputation - both on and off the field - was only enhanced when he appeared for the Barbarians in London late last year, creating a kind of "what will he say next" effect. But the Badger needs meat if he wants to make the World Cup, and the fans won't like the same old material. Time to go to work, Nick.

A match with no scrum resets, or penalties

Wouldn't it be great if, just once even, we saw a game where every scrum was set successfully? No penalties, no resets, no wasted time; the ball goes in, is hooked to the back and the half-back moves play on. You may say we're dreamers, but we're not the only ones. Sorry about that, Mr Lennon. Seems the referees have the same dreams, though.

Big Ben chiming hammer-time

It was the kind of hit that makes you thankful for the technological advancements in live sports broadcasting; and the kind of connection that makes you check to see whether your own ribs are intact. At 130-odd kilos, if Ben Tameifuna hits you, like a John Daly golf ball, you're going to stay hit. Waratahs flanker Michael Hooper was the (un)lucky recipient of a Tameifuna special last season, the Chiefs prop blindsiding the No.7 back into the ruck from which the ball had just come. It was brutally beautiful. One of those each week will do just fine. Step forward the hitmen of Super Rugby.

A ripping warm-up for World Cup 2015

It's hard not to look ahead and think about the six weeks of awesomeness that will be Rugby World Cup 2015. But do you know what makes a main meal just that little bit more satisfying? The perfect entrée; and that's exactly what we need from Super Rugby this season. It'll come hard and fast from February 13 and with no in-bound Test break this year, teams will have the opportunity to build on mid-season momentum. Loads of tries, big hits from Tameifuna and co, and a race to the play-offs the likes of which we've never seen - now that's a recipe for a ripping season. Are you ready?

What are you looking forward to seeing in Super Rugby 2015? Let us know in the comments below or by using the hashtag #10For20 on Twitter.

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