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The Lions vs Kings – What will the coaches do?

February 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Lions take on the Southern Kings is a pre-season “friendly” practice match on Saturday. The match has been termed in some quarters as a “revenge” match and is eagerly anticipated by many South African rugby fans. For many Lions fans and the anti-Kings brigade a Lions win will reinforce the feeling that SARU’s decision to replace the Lions with the Kings in Super Rugby was a mistake.

With a few days left before the coaches name their squads for the match the question is really what the respective coaches want to achieve on the day.

For the Lions, I think, it is quite simple – they want to win and they want to win well. I expect Johan Ackermann to name his strongest available side irrespective of what team the Kings put on the field, especially as the Lions will have a month break before the Vodacom Cup competition starts in March.

The danger for the Lions is that overeagerness amongst the players may just lead to unnecessary mistakes and Ackers will have to reign in his players and ensure that they continue to play a structured game.

In the media, I see, Ackers and captain JC Janse van Renburg are trying to tone down the emotions by pointing out that this is just another game in the Lions preparation programme for the knockout matches in July. The Lions players would do well to take this to heart and not to get swept up by the emotions of the supporters. A free-for-all helter-skelter game may just back-fire on the day.

The Kings is caught between a hot rock and a hard place, a loss against a Lions team that lost most of its Super Rugby players of last year, especially if the Kings field a near full strength side, will not only increase the negative press but may also impact negatively on the players while a win against an under-strength Lions side would be seen as fairly meaningless although it will give them some hope.

Do the play their strongest available side, do they play their fringe players or do they play a somewhere inbetween side?

For the Kings this game is only about preparation for the Super Rugby and not about proving anything to anyone, their place in Super Rugby 2013 is secure. The Lions match this weekend and the match against Griquas next weekend are their last two preparation matches and I expect the Kings to split their squad into two equal sides, something of an inbetweener team for each match.

A number of ex-Lions could be facing their former team – Bandise Maku, Edgar Marutlulle, Kevin Buys, Ross Geldenhuys, David Bulbring and Demitri Catrakilis.

Match: 9 February @ 14:15 (Dstv on SHD & SS1)

Next Lions Challenge match: 16 March – Mont de Marsan (Ellis Park)

News on the USA leg: Todd Clever to lead All Stars against Lions

Commenting on the first leg of the tour, CEO and President of Rugby Operations at USA Rugby, Nigel Melville, welcomed the South Africans with open arms.

Rugby Canada’s General Manager Rugby Operations and Performance, Mike Chu, is also very excited for the Lions to arrive in Vancouver.

35 responses to The Lions vs Kings – What will the coaches do?

  1. @ LeeuBok, dude you just made my day! i can just see a number of Lions fans doing the same, if by some miricale The Kings do beat us!
    a millions hulks in an instant on the final whistle!
    Man, i would hate to be the insurance oke on Monday morning! all the bullshit he will have to endure! hahahahahahaaa……….. classic
    ” GO LIONS!!! “

  2. JC were on Jacaranda last week. When asked about their omission from SR he said that at first it came as a shock but they are over it now and moved on. Something I think many a Lions supporter should do as well although it’s not that easy. Hope we hammer the Kings…

  3. I read on news24 now that solomons wont play puke twatson or some of the other “stars” in their team due to “niggles”. But as the author of the article suggested, it seems rather a case of the coach not wanting to put a keg of gunpowder in a fire. And so that when they lose he can say afterwards it wasnt their best team..
    I think he’s making a beeeg mistake. Will his “1st team” have any game time together by the time super rugby starts???

  4. While I am sure that all parties have a right to be aggrieved by the circumstance or decisions that has led to the Lions & Kings Super rugby omission/inclusion.

    I read the comment s & most of the time its bashing of either team or mostly Watsons Snr & Jnr’. Do they deserve it, I am sure many will tear me a new one for even asking that question. The hate that people feel for them has been transferred to the team as well. If we look back to the Rebels, the so called plan was to develop talent of colour (pref. within that region) & have them ready for inclusion for an extended super season but that fell through. Those regions (with the Watsons included) came together & created the Kings & demanded what was promised to them. SA rugby knew they had to give in due to the political pressure & bad press they would have received.

    Again they didn’t discuss having the region prepare, plan to have the other regions either assist or help facilitate the prep for the Kings. No, they gave them super rugby & let the chips fall where it may because they were in a bind. Now people have looked at as the Kings bullying their way in, when all they did was take which was promised to them. We all know that the depth of talent in RSA is the envy of the world. That’s why so many ex pats play for foreign countries. A decent team established from those regions & fringe or up & coming talents from the other regions would have been a competitive side. Add perhaps some vets like your Shalk Brits & Johan Muller’s even John Smit to help blood in the core team & you have a breeding ground for some positive growth. That’s just an idea, but it makes sense that SARU would have helped the region instead of just making as if their hands were tied while they were the ones who gave them the guarantee of rugby come 2013.

    Blame the Watsons; because you hate them, it’s easy for you, say the EP region lied, when you know that even SA sides struggled for years to get acclimatised to the comp, look at Melbourne & Sydney. Blame everyone & everything but do it because of Rugby reasons perhaps even some politics.

    The Kings are drafting in foreign talent, would you have been happier if they contracted ex pats & those former stars playing in Europe or Asia. If they were not successful the arguments would be their past their best, dads squad etc., etc. If they did stick to the regions players & would’ve gotten smashed by cricket scores you would be saying they have been vindicated the region wasn’t ready, there is no talent there,blah, blah , blah.

    Now you have to let all this anger go & look at the Lions situation, as one of the more established regions they will be ok, even if they do not make it this year, which they may not, nothing is guaranteed accept that some regions supporters will be devastated.

  5. Well said. i hate this bashing of players. other than Watson, the other guys just play hard and im sure there will be a couple of them making the bok squad later this year!

  6. As a die-hard Lions fan who never misses a home game, I will be there on Saturday to see teh Lions smash the Kings. I have to say this though, I don’t like all the anti-King talk and the Kings bashing that is going on in the press and on the blogs. The Kings players are professional rugby players who go out and put their bodies on the line for their team every week. They are up against it this Super Rugby season, and deserve our support. If you want to be angry, be angry with SARU, be angry with the spineless brainless administrators, be angry with the F#*UP of the whole process of Kings inclusion, but don’t be angry with the Kings players. They are putting their hearts and souls into this opportunity and they deserve to be supported by every South African. They will finish last, they will lose the promotion/relegation game, and the Lions will be back, but don’t begrudge them now, they need our support. Even Luke.

  7. Met uysh- spot on, take a bow

  8. I don’t know what I’m looking forward to the most. Sonny Bill stepping into the ring with White Buffalo, or the Lions grydge match against the Kings.

    Talk is cheap, but everyone knows that both sides have something to prove. The Kings will want to prove they deserve their inclusion and the Lions want to show they didn’t deserve to be dropped; that is something they’ve wanted to prove this entire Lions Challenge series long.

    Emotions will run high in this game. No matter how professional these guys are, the Kings have stolen the Lions players livelihood, and that’s something that players wont just bury and forget. And no, their gripe isn’t with the Kings players….but they can’t really take it out on SARU, so the Kings will just have to take the beating on behalf of SARU.

    It will be a beautiful irony if the Lions ends up smashing the Kings….but hell I’ll have some serious egg if the don’t!

    • I hope the white buffalo knocks SBW out! I read somewhere SBW said he’ll stop boxing if he loses this fight..

      I’m not going to watch the Lions-queens game. I fear for the safety of my tv if the lions were to somehow lose against those wankers. I might just do a hulk impersonation in my living room and smash everything to pieces!

  9. Kings will pick a “B” team and still make a game of it … Lions lost to Bulls u/23 … even if Elton Webster jantjies returns, Kings will still beat the palooka Lions …

    • You don’t know much about rugby hey!

      But thats EP for you more politics than rugga!

    • FYI, Kings, 17 of the Bulls players were 23 and younger compared to 16 of the Lions players.

      Lions stats:
      Total provincial caps: 619
      Total Super Rugby caps: 160
      Total Bok caps: 0

      Bulls stats:
      Total provincial caps: 514
      Total Super Rugby caps: 261
      Total Bok caps: 6

  10. Baylion, i think it will be hard for some of the Lion and Kings players to remain cool once the hard knocks come in. This match is personal, no matter what who says.
    Lions may have been under the standard line for Super Rugby for some time but it is still one of the biggest and proudest unions in the country. The King are the old EP Elephant, another traditionally strong union of the haydays, and in my opinion, are only where they are because of mismanagement when the game went pro. Its sad the way it has turned out but i would like to rather see another team suck than the lions. Maybe the Lions can sort their off-the-field issues of the last few years and come back in 2014 a better stronger union.
    Sorry Bay, will be shouting for the Kings this week. Even if they get klapped.

    • People keep saying the Lions will “come back stronger” after this but I struggle to see how.

      The Lions 2012 first choice squad was one of the best the Lions had in years and delivered 7 players to the EOYT Bok squad. The problem last year was with the lack of experienced depth to cover up to 14 injuries per match.

      Now we’ve lost 21 players with another 13 or so senior contracts expiring in October. Even if we get through to SR 2014 we’re going to be in serious sh!t and the current team is probably a good Vodacom Cup level.

      We’ve been put back to where we were in 2010 and it’s going to take a few years to build something decent again..

    • I just do not understand how any SA rugby supporter can support the queens and their super rugby campaign. Even if you were born and raised in the EP and a lifetime supporter, are you not ashamed of the way the queens were drafted into the super comp? Do you honestly believe they deserve to be there?
      Sure, the Lions have been pretty k@k the last few seasons, but they still waaay better than the next team in line.
      And I agree with you Bailion, this saru f-up has set the Lions back another few years. If we were able to hold onto our 2012 team, I believe we could’ve done ok this year. Like you said, we produced 7 bokke, the entire team was more experienced and they started to believe they can win. Now what do they have?

      • Leeubok, so you think it is the Kings fault that you were demoted? Do you think they have so much power that they can force SARU to drop the Lions? Cheecky might have friend in high places (who might or might not have made Luke a springbok) but get en entire franchise into SR at the cost of the Lions?
        I understand that a die-hard Lions supporter you are upset at what has happened. but it is not the Kings who are to blame. They are just taking this opportunity that was created by the bafoons who run the show.
        The Lions have been having problems for a bit longer than the last few year off the field. like i said, fix your house then build back the glory of the Lions of old.

        • Yes I do think the watsons have that much power to demote another super rugby franchise. They managed to force luke as an extra player into the springbok team remember? Dont underestimate the power of politics in sport, especially not in SA.
          And yes the kings are to blame as much as SARU. Its shamefull how they now put all the blame on saru. It was them demanding to be included, and their own fault they werent ready when it finally happened. Flip, they couldnt even make it into currie cup in the meantime.
          The Lions were just building towards becoming a succesful team again, after winning the CC in 2011 and just losing out on the final in 2012. Yes our 2012 super comp was poor again, but I’m sure we would’ve done better this year. Now where’s the Lions at? They’re playing with a vodacom cup team..

  11. While I do not like how the Queens got into Super Rugby, they are there now. Yes, I would like the Lions to win this weekend, but come Super Rugby I will support the Kings against all foreign enemies as well as the Cape Crusaders!

    • I only support the Lions so I will be neutral during Super Rugby and probably cheer for whichever team I selected for a win on Superbru. Hopefully that will give me about a 80% success rate :)

      However, my support might change if the Lions players start for the teams they play for

  12. I think you will be able to crow about the Lions on Monday Baylion.
    Revenge is sweet but payback is a Beach.

    • Phil, I am trying my best to take the high road here :) .

      But yes, I will be very happy with a Lions win, whatever team the Kings field.

  13. AAhhh flip! I entered a moerse long response and then my captcha code was wrong!!!

    To sum up my whole response again, may the Lions *$^&@#$ the queens up this Saturday!

  14. Also do not think the Kings will play their strongest available 22.

    This is interesting though because none of the teams yet have selected their strongest 22 for a practice match.
    ( not the cheetahs, stormers, Bulls)

    This begs the question: is it wise to only play your strongest combination together for the first time come game one?

    Would it not be wiser to select an a and b team and thus play combinations you think will end up together? Thus giving them time to gel?

    Anyhow this is not possible for the Stormers as Jantjies and/or Grant won’t be available until the week before the Bulls game.

  15. haha,,,revenge for ending bottom? The cubs should be kicked out of the Super rugby long ago…but the rules changed just to keep them there…lets face it…they can’t handle the heat of the Super 15 competition and shouldn’t be there. By the way, they are playing against the Kings’ Vodacom team…beat them in revenge match…shame, what childish attitude…like their supporters

    • At this stage the Kings haven’t announced their team but with only two real pre-season matches they would be silly to field their Vodacom Cup side as they will want to give their SR players match practice and get their combinations to gel. As I said they will probably split their SR squad into two equal sides for the Lions and the Griquas games.

      As for the rest of your comment, I suggest you read my post again and try to understand what I am saying.

    • Tell us again what the Kings did to deserve a super rugby spot? Oh yes, all the talent in the eastern cape right? The ones they’re flying in from NZ, Argentina and those places?
      Do the queens have anything more than a vodacom cup team? Um, no they don’t cause they cant even make it into the currie cup. As for the Lions team playing at the moment, its like our C-team. Chop

    • Have to giggle at this! Wooooooosh!

      Seriously? The Kings are preparing for the toughest tournament they have encountered in the history of EP Rugby and they send in a Vodacom Cup squad as preparation? Seriously? That’s like a general preparing for war and sending his troops to girl scout camp for preparation!

      Mind you though, does the Kings have anything better than a Vodacom Cup side?

      • Haha this kings supporters gives the funniest comments! I guess the Kings will beat the Bulls too in the competition haha.

        But then again this is way we call them the Queens!

  16. I am also not sure the Kings will play their strongest available team.
    This way they will somewhat sidestep the question of whether they are good enough.

    I am still perplexed as to why teams (stormers included) are dividing their top players into different teams for the warm ups.
    I know this way if they lose it is not such a big deal but this means the first time the team will play together in a match will be in the S15.
    Would it not be better if you had 2 warm ups to play one game full strength and the next a “b” squad?
    I am just thinking of combinations that needs to find each other?

    Anyhow for some reason none of our SR teams have done this.

    • We will most probably see the best team of the Cheetahs and Bulls when they clash in Polokwane so then the combinations will start to gel.

      The kings idea to send a weakened side to the lions is stupid because they will anyway get exposed when they play their first game of the season. Super rugby is the closest to international rugby and there is only 6 guys in their whole squad (including their 4 foreigners) that is of international standard.

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