I want to ask my NZ and Aus friends here on TRF who they think the new faces are to look out for in this years' S14 (even if they had a game or two last year)? Also, can I get some info on these players: Blues: Chris Lowrey / Peter Saili / Benson Stanley / Paul Williams / Rene Ranger Chiefs: Hika Elliot / the new fullback, Anii or something? Crusaders: Ryan Crotty / hell, the entire Crusader backline except for Ellis and Carter are unfimiliar to me Hurricanes: Dane Coles / Bryan Evans / Aaron Cruden / David Smith Reds: Scott Higginbotham / Anthony Faianga / Luke Morahan / Rob Davies Waratahs: Tom Carter Anyone I didn't mention? Like are they good and how/why? Are they likely to start? etc. From my side, I'll give you a few names to watch out for from SA that you might not know: Stormers: Tiaan Liebenberg / Wikus Blaauw / Francois Louw / Dewaldt Duvenhage / Juan de Jongh / Joe Pietersen The Stormers were unlucky not to beat the Bulls last year and have beaten the Sharks 3/3 now in a row to take the mantle of SA's 2nd best franchise IMO. We actually have a tight 5 now to back up our good backrow and our backs look organised. Habana and Fourie are big names but its the guys that stepped up during Currie cup 2009 that make it a dangerous backline. Weaknesses include a lack of depth and injury could see us fall off the pace. Also, we lack a class halfback pairing and although the guys we have are decent enough, they lack the direction/BMT necassary for real close games IMO. I'm hoping de Waal can step up to fill those shoes but emain sceptical. Contenders for one of the spots not being occupied by the Crusaders and Bulls but between them, Hur's, Chf's, Brm's, War's and possibly Shk's and Blu's anything can and probably will happen. Cheetahs: WP Nel / Frans Viljoen / Sarel Pretorius / Ashley Johnson / Riaan Viljoen / Lionel Mapoe Most underrated team in SA and perhaps S14 IMO. Best pack in the entire competition with depth to boot. Have managed to hold onto some players for a change during the off season and have some quality unknown players. Have decent halfbacks this year if not worldclass which always was a weakness. **** centers, though; both in attack and defense and this is where they will struggle. They really need to take a chance with the young guys IMO; Ebersohn etc. The question is whether they can manage to fill the holes in the centres and also close out those nearly wins where they lost half their games by 1 to 3 points last year. Need to bring their Currie cup confidence and form to the S14 and travel a bit better than other years. Somewhat of a dark horse. Should be concerned if they don't make that step and end 8th/9th because then these retained player will probably move on like previous years. Lions: Kevin Buys / Jacques Lombaard maybe Deon van Rensburg, actually not much happening here except for the older men in Spencer and Wikus coming in. Suffers from holes and inexperience throughout line-up and lost huge numbers of first choice players over the last year; 14 or so, to Europe and other SA franchises (and Force). Will be a miracle if they don't end up bottom of the log. Sharks: Willem Alberts / Louis Ludik / Steve Meyer , who has played well in France / Luzuko Vulindlo Awesome pack but weakest scrum in SA and the backline is nowhere near organised. Massive injury crisis at flyhalf doesn't help. Steyn and Barritt going overseas leaves some shoes to be filled in the centres. Most overrated team in SA IMO. Will be lucky to make 6th IMO but they do have Springboks who know how to grind out an ugly win. Bulls: Francois Hougaard / Gerhard van der Heever Scrum has gotten somewhat better, pretty much the same except at the wings where exciting new wingers come in the place of the experience of Habana and Ndungane. Expect more of the same. At least a home semi.