De Villiers predicts a big year for South African Super 14 teams



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Stormers captain and Springbok centre Jean de Villiers is adamant that 2009 will see the dawn of a new era in Super 14 rugby and insists that all five of the South African franchises have the ability to improve on past seasons.

The Bulls won the tournament and became the first South African team to do so in 2007 and over the past few seasons the Sharks have been there or thereabouts but the other South African teams, the Stormers, Cheetahs and the Lions have struggled.

Last season the Lions Lions, Cheetahs and the Bulls filled three of the bottom five places, while the Stormers and Sharks finished sixth and third respectively.

However De Villiers said that this year he is certain that the South Africans will do better.

“I have been looking at the squads that all the franchises have available to them this year, and there is a lot of depth and quality that maybe wasn’t in evidence before,” De Villiers told SuperSport.

“I really think that this could be a year where we see a big showing from all the local sides.”

Twenty seven year old De Villiers even made special mention for the Lions who have not finished out of the the bottom four since 2002.

“Even the Cheetahs and the Lions, teams that may have struggled before, look quite well equipped now, but particularly the Lions.” he added.

“If you look at the players they have, they certainly shouldn’t be an easy team to beat, and I reckon they will knock some good teams over.”

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