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It only gets tougher

January 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

With a combined Golden Lions cap count of only 231 between them (69 if you exclude the 173 caps of the four Lions stalwarts JC Janse van Rensburg, Derick Minnie, Alwyn Hollenbach and Michael Bondesio) the young and inexperienced Golden Lions team shook off a shaky first half to run in four tries during the second half to beat a Cheetahs Super Rugby “B” side 33-17.

In a game of two halves where the goal kickers of both sides struggled to find the target, the Lions struggled to gel in the first half while the Cheetahs reverted to their, now familiar, no-defence strategy in the second.

For the Lions, their scrums worked well and in the second half, once Michael Bondesio and Lionel Cronje came on, their backline started to strike. However, the Lions continue to struggle in the lineouts although it didn’t help that they played with rookie locks and hookers after losing the more experienced Martin Bezuidenhout on a short term loan to the Stormers.

The Cronje twins didn’t quite work out for the Lions in the first half and maybe it is time to give young Vian van der Watt, last year’s u/20 Bok scrumhalf, a go as backup scrummie. With the loss of Bezuidenhout at hooker one of the Lions juniors, either 2012 u/20 Bok hooker Mark Pretorius or 2012 SA Schools hooker Malcolm Marx, might get a chance to step up to the the senior squad.

For the Cheetahs, although this was a practice match, it must be worry that their defence is still not good enough for top level competition. Another area of concern must be the quality of their scrums although that should improve once Adriaan Strauss takes his place in the team.

And although this was a practice match for the Cheetahs it cannot sit well that their Super Rugby “B” side lost so comprehensively to what is essentially a Vodacom Cup level Lions team and the Cheetahs coaching staff has some serious work ahead before the Super Rugby competition starts in earnest on 22 February.

Lions coach, Johan Ackermann, will have a tough task this week to decide on a team to face the Bulls in the Gauteng Challenge Cup at Orlando Stadium on Saturday. The Lions “first team” comfortably dispatched the Russians in their first match to established their credentials but when the Lions “second team” ran in five tries to beat the Cheetahs on Saturday these players made sure that they remain in contention.

On Saturday the Lions take on the Bulls at Orlando Stadium in a Gauteng Rugby Cup match in what is the 75th anniversary of the first match played by the Northern Transvaal as an independent union when they played Transvaal in 1938. But more about that later in the week.

Lions best match 22?:

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert , 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg(c).

Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Jacques Kotze, 19 Hugo Kloppers, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Ruhan Nel

17 responses to It only gets tougher

  1. Baylion, Two guys who went to school with me, one a year before me and the other a year after me at Hoerskool Brandwag made the game pretty interesting for me.

    I’m referring to Gavin Annandale and Ruhan Nel.

    What was your opinion of them?

    seems you don’t fancy them too much.

    • Hanjo, I don’t know them well enough to really comment. Annandale only got his first go on Saturday, he’s ex-Griffons. I have Nel on the bench for my best 22, still a youngster but he made an impact caming off the bench in both games so far.

      • Nel started on Saturday too.

        But I agree, he has looked good.

        I agree on Annandale, had his first start and as a lock didn’t do anything exceptional but looked solid.

  2. Congrats Bay, your team played really good! I am actually glad you guys beat us, because if we won we would think that nothing is wrong and continue on our merry way, I would rather loose the training matches than the Super Rugby matches.

    I am confident that this Lions side will make a big name for themselves and SA Rugby on their international tour.

    • I think we have some youngsters with great potential but we need to keep the senior players whose contracts expire in 2013 for at least another two years.

  3. Well done Lions! I hope they can keep this up and dispatch all of the SA super rugby franchises! Although the Bulls and Stormers games are gonna be a bit tough for this Lions side to beat. Wonder if Elton and Jaco will play against us for the Stormers?

    I hope the Cheetahs got a moerse wake up call! If they cant even beat a vodacom cup level Lions side they gonna battle it out with the Queens for the super rugby wooden spoon.

    • We play the Stormers and Sharks during the winter test window so the chances are that Elton and Jaco will be with the Boks

  4. What do you make of the talent of Warwick Tecklenburg?

    • I remember there was a lot of talk around him when he started out at the Blue Bulls as a junior but his career never seemed to get going and he never really broke through at senior level there. With their established loosies and the youngsters coming through the move to the Lions made sense, a bit of a Last Chance Saloon. I hope he can establish himself in the first choice squad

  5. Jip although a lot of the Cheetahs stalwarts was missing.
    I feel the Tahs have a defensive system problem and it has been like this for a couple of seasons now.

    • But most of them were missing due to injury, weren’t they? Part and parcel for the game.

      A team’s success in a long competition is determined by the quality and experience of it’s depth – ask the Lions in 2012.

      • Agree 100%.
        The Cheetahs biggest problem (except for defense) is their depth.
        A lot of bloggers have suggested that this season they do have better depth.
        But if you look at the quality of the depth then you realize that they maybe better than last year but still way of where say the Sharks are.

        • Guys the defence was actually better, a lot better. The Lions did not run holes in the defence they started chipping over our defensive line to breach the defence.

      • I don’t think our defence was too bad. One try came from a brilliant idividual effort from Stokkies Hanekom and the other was due to a flyhalf playing on the wing and was bad under the high ball. I though the Cheetah defence was solid and thats why the kicking started by the lions which was a great ploy.

        Congrats to your team Bay. Although everyone says that we should be alarmed as Cheetah supporters I am not. A lot of the guys played together for the first time ever and there is a lot to work on but a lot of positives. I am also happy we lost, it will make the players work harder. I can recall that the Cheetahs won last year against the stormers in a warm up game but lost on both occasions against the stormers in the competition, so I won’t count my chickens too soon.

  6. i think you made an error with the score.

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