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A bad day at the office for the Golden Lions

September 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Golden Lions senior side must have felt it’s déjà vu all over again as they conceded a number of soft tries while their dominant scrum got penalised more than that of their retreating opponents’ and they eventually found themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard when the hooter went.

A team just cannot afford to give away points at the start of the game or soft tries like those of SP Marais and Cobus Reinach and expect to win the game. Not at Currie Cup level and definitely not at Super Rugby level.

Read more …

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Golden Lions / Lions contracted players for 2014

September 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Golden Lions Rugby Union can confirm that the following players have renewed their senior contracts with the Union for the 2014 season:

  • Jacques van Rooyen
  • Robbie Coetzee
  • Ruan Dreyer
  • Franco van der Merwe
  • Jaco Kriel
  • Warren Whiteley
  • Ruaan Lerm
  • Ross Cronje
  • Guy Cronje
  • Elton Jantjies
  • Marnitz Boshoff
  • Ruan Combrinck
  • Alwyn Hollenbach
  • Lionel Mapoe
  • Deon Helberg

The following players are new Golden Lions Rugby Union Senior signings for 2014:

  • Bees Roux
  • Willie Wepener
  • Julian Redelinghuys
  • Martin Muller
  • MB Lusaseni
  • Lambert Groenewald
  • Willie du Plessis
  • Courtnal Skosan
  • Vainon Willis
  • Chrysander Botha

The following players already have 2014 contracts with the Golden Lions Rugby Union:

  • Francois du Toit
  • Franco Mostert
  • Ruan Venter
  • Hugo Kloppers
  • Warwick Tecklenburg
  • Derick Minnie
  • Willie Britz
  • Michael Bondesio
  • Vian van der Watt
  • Anthony Volmink
  • Stokkies Hanekom
  • Andries Coetzee
  • Ruhan Nel
  • Marais Schmidt
  • JJ de Kock

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2013 Currie Cup Preview – Round 1

August 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

Super Rugby is over and the Currie Cup Premier Division kicks off this weekend with the various teams looking at the Currie Cup to achieve different objectives. The Sharks have a good mix of experience and youth while the Blue Bulls and WP are looking to develop more of their youngsters, the Blue Bulls especially considering their investment in recent years in build a base with wome of the most ta;ented youngsters from around the country. The Golden Lions will look to build their squad for 2014 and the Cheetahs will want to consolidate on their successful Super Rugby campaign with the Griquas the odd one out, they want to beat the better teams and be in contension for the cup.

Fri, 09 August: Sharks v Griquas – SAST: 19h10

The Sharks will be missing a number of key players from their Super Rugby team when they take on Griquas in Durban but they will still be able to push a good side on the field. Griquas have some of their Super Rugby players back from the Cheetahs and their tight five looks solid but it’s at the back where they don’t offer too much to scare the Sharks.

The Sharks will miss their Bok front row and will have a new lock combination with Marco Wentzel joining them but their loosies are tried and trusted so too their scrumhalves but it’s at the back where there is a new and exciting look with Louis Ludik having shown he’s a good #13 in the making and Tim Whitehead back and the big issue will be whether they can get their new backline going.

Sharks by 9

The Sharks: 15. Odwa Ndungane, 14. Sizo Maseko, 13. Louis Ludik, 12. Tim Whitehead, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Butch James, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Keegan Daniel (Captain) , 7. Jean Deysel, 6. Brynard Stander, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Edwin Hewitt, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Dale Chadwick
Replacements: 16. Craig Burden, 17. Rayno Gerber, 18. Peet Marais, 19. Tera Mtembu, 20. Cobus Reinach, 21. Fred Zeilinga, 22. Jaco van Tonder

Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 JP Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Burger Schoeman, 7 Jaco Nepgen, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Ligtoring Landman, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Nick Schonert, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Marnus Hugo, 21 Du Randt Gerber, 22 Rocco Jansen

Sat, 10 August: Golden Lions v FS Cheetahs – SAST: 15h00

With their Super Rugby status back in the bag the Golden Lions face their first hurdle in their effort to rebuild a team for next year when they face the Cheetahs at home. The Cheetahs may be without their Boks and without the Griquas Super Rugby players but they still have enough experienced players to make it very tough for the Lions.

The Lions will be without a number of players who played the Kings the last two weeks and especially the forwards have been affected. JC Janse van Rensburg (France), Hendrik Roodt (France), Franco van der Merwe (Boks, Warren Whiteley (finger), Robbie Coetzee (ribs), Julian Redelinghuys (thumb), Ross Cronje (hamstring) and Deon van Rensburg (leg) are all missing from their last game and they are down to their #4 scrumhalf, the converted flyhalf Guy Cronje, and short on props while the bulk of the Cheetahs starting 15 are coming from a successful Super Rugby campaign and they should not stumble against a depleted Lions team.

Cheetahs by 10
(Went for the Lions by 5 on Superbru but that was an illconsidered mistake)

Golden Lions: 15.Chrysander Botha, 14.Deon Helberg, 13.Stokkies Hanekom, 12.Dylan des Fountain, 11.Anthony Volmink, 10.Marnitz Boshoff, 9.Guy Cronje, 8.Willie Britz, 7.Warwick Tecklenburg, 6.Derick Minnie (c), 5.Hugo Kloppers, 4.Stephan Greeff, 3.Ruan Dreyer, 2.Martin Bezuidenhout, 1.Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16.Francois du Toit, 17.CJ van der Linde, 18.Lambert Groenewald, 19.Jaco Kriel, 20.Tian Meyer, 21.Elton Jantjies, 22.Lionel Cronje/Robert de Bruyn

Free State Cheetahs – 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo (c), 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Lodewyk de Jager, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Wian du Preez, 18 Teboho Mohoje, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Joubert Engelbrecht, 22 Piet Lindeque.

Sat, 10 August: Western Province v Blue Bulls – SAST: 17h05

Giving only Eben Etzebeth to the Boks in the forwards the WP forward pack should be close to their Super Rugby pack but their backline outside Gary van Aswegen, as well as on the bench, will be new and it will be interesting to see how Bok u/20 and Blitsbok Cheslin Kolbe steps up to real senior rugby.

The Blue Bulls have problems. They lost a number of players to the Boks as well as to foreign shores and their forwards have been below par during Super Rugby. WP may not have the strongest pack but they have all played together for a while now and I do not think the Blue Bulls will have enough up front to bother them while at the back the battle between two rookie lineups may be up for grabs and the WP halfback pair’s superior experience should take the game away from the Bulls.

WP by 6

WP: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Gerhard van den Heever, 13. Pat Howard, 12. Damian de Allende, 11. Cheslin Kolbe, 10. Gary van Aswegen, 9. Louis Schreuder (vice-captain), 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Rynhardt Elstadt, 6. Deon Fourie (captain), 5. De Kock Steenkamp, 4. Gerbrandt Grobler, 3. Brok Harris, 2. Scarra Ntubeni, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Replacements: 16. Alistair Vermaak, 17. Pat Cilliers, 18. Michael Rhodes, 19. Ruan Kitshoff, 20. Nic Groom, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Berton Klaasen

Blue Bulls: 15. Jürgen Visser , 14. Sampie Mastriet , 13. Ulrich Beyers , 12. Francois Venter , 11. Travis Ismaiel, 10. Tony Jantjies, 9. Rudy Paige , 8. Jono Ross(c), 7. Jacques du Plessis, 6. Wiaan Liebenberg, 5. Grant Hattingh, 4. Paul Willemse, 3. Frik Kirsten , 2. Willie Wepener, 1. Morné Mellet
Replacements: 16. Callie Visagie , 17. Marcell van der Merwe , 18. Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19. Jean Cook , 20. Ruan Snyman , 21. Waylon Murray , 22. Clayton Blommetjies.

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Elton Jantjies return to the Lions

July 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

According to Rugby 365 Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies will be available for the Golden Lions knockout games against the Southern Kings after playing the last two round robin games for the Stormers before returning with two weeks to settle into the squad.

Coach Johan Ackermann is obviously quite chuffed with this development but it remains to be seen how he will integrate Jantjies into a squad that has gelled very nicely with Marnitz Boshoff being a pillar at #10.

However, we’ve seen through the year so far that Ackers hadn’t really found the backup #10 he wanted in either Lions or Guy Cronje.

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Golden Lions vs The Sharks

June 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Golden Lions will look to maintain their unbeaten run against the Sharks at Ellis Park when they play a stronger than expected Sharks team in their practice match. Unlike the mediocre team WP sent last week the Sharks decided to make use of the opportunity to give some of their players who lacked game time due to form or injury a run. They also included a number of  youngsters who will probably be part of their Currie Cup squad later this year.

The Lions last lost to the Sharks at Ellis Park in any competition in April 2010 and while this match is a practice match and, as such, the result is unimportant they will want to maintain their record against the Sharks while giving their players a good run both on attack and defence.

The Sharks put together a decent squad that includes a number of Springboks and experienced Super Rugby players but in the end it will be too much to ask a mix-and-match team to gel sufficiently on this outing to beat a settled Lions team.

The Golden Lions team sees a few changes from what can be regarded as their first choice team with Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel out with injuries and Ross Cronje getting a start but it is still a settled team. The Lions will look to improve on their defence, too often they have given away valuable territory when on defence due to ineffective first time tackles, and they need to ensure they stop the opposition behind the advantage line. On attack they will face a better defence from the Sharks than they have so far in previous matches and they need to play a more structured game to break it down.

The Sharks team is very much an experimental side and it will be interesting to see how Louis Ludik shapes at outside centre. We all know him as an exciting attacking fullback but can he bring that to the game playing in the midfield? They will also be testing their new Griquas lock, Edwin Hewitt.

Curtain raiser: A Lions B side will play the Griffons in a curtain raiser.

Golden Lions by 15


Golden Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Gavin Annandale, 19 Lambert Groenewald, 20 Michael Bondesio, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 Deon van Rensburg.

Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Sean Robinson, 10 Andrew James, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Jandre Marais, 4 Edwin Hewitt, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Brynard Stander, 19 Khaya Majola, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Tyler Fisher.

Date: Friday, 21 June
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19.00 SAST (TV SS1)

Curtain raiser vs Griffons

Kicks off: 14:00

Lions B:
15 Kobus De Kock, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Deon Helberg, 12 Ruhan Nel, 11 Grant Janke, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Guy Cronje, 8 JJ Breet, 7 Claude Tsibidi, 6 De Wet Meyer, 5 Stephan Greeff, 4 Chris Van Zyl, 3 Van Zyl Botha, 2 Malcom Marx, 1 Jacques Van Rooyen.
16 Brett Sharmann, 17 Hannes Ludick, 18 Tiaan Benade, 19 DJ Oosthuizen, 20 Matt Torence, 21 Ashlyn Davis, 22 Jarred Meyer, 23 Chad De Klerk


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The Lions Dilemma

June 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

The main problem the Lions have faced in their preparation for the Super Rugby knockout matches against the Kings isn’t the fact that they have some of their main players out on loan but the fact that they haven’t been able to get quality opposition and this trend continues with WP deciding to send a water-down WP side instead of a Stormers team to play the Lions on Saturday.

The indications are that WP will send a team made up of their Vodacom Cup and junior players with only three fringe Stormers players in the squad and one can be fairly certain that the Sharks will do the same the following week.

I can appreciate that the Stormers and the Sharks, given their spate of injuries this season, don’t want to risk their Super Rugby players in what is essentially a practice match but this doesn’t help the Lions much in their preparations.

The Lions have had sufficient opportunities to hone their attack but what they need now is opposition that will not only offer a stiffer defence but also will test their own defence but it seems they will not get that.

It serves no purpose to beat these sides comfortably and by good margins and getting no defence practice.

I suggest that coach Johan Ackermann drastically change the game plan for the remaining matches in the first half in order to provide defensive practice. This can be done by kicking all possession to the opposition allowing them to attack at will, in other words, revert to a Stormers game plan, and even allow them to take a half time lead then, in the second half, set about overcoming the opposition defence and regaining the lead.

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Lions cancel the SA Barbarians game?

May 30, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Golden Lions, arranging games to prepare them for the Wooden Spoon Knockouts against the Kings after Super Rugby, was scheduled to play the French Barbarians. This match was cancelled, according to French reports, due to the French BaaBaas wanting a three match tour but only the Golden Lions match had been arranged.

The Golden Lions then asked the SA Barbarians to arrange a replacement match, which they did, putting together a squad on short notice for a match to be played on 8 June. Now an unconfirmed report on claims that the Golden Lions cancelled this match on Tuesday, after the BaaBaas squad was announced, because the Golden Lions coaches “didn’t see any value in playing it”.

Cancelling a match on short notice after all the effort that went into arranging it, also on short notice, and with kit sponsors all lined up seems an ungrateful move by the Golden Lions, especially considering the reported reason behind the cancellation.

On the other hand, the GLRU has one objective with these matches – to prepare the Golden Lions for the knockout games. At this stage of their preparations there is no sense in playing a match against a mediocre team that will offer them very little competition and looking at the BaaBaas squad it is a mediocre team made up of some 1st Division players, juniors, students and a few overseas based players playing in the lesser leagues. The squad even includes two of the Golden Lions own players!

Backs: Darryl Veenendaal (Bedford), Hansie Graaff (Griffons), Vainon Willis (Blue Bulls), Lohan Jacobs (Blue Bulls), Francois Brummer (Cheetahs), Courtnall Skosan (Blue Bulls), Jacques-Louis Potgieter (Dax), Paul Bosch (Montpellier), Luzuko Vulindlu (Griquas), Clayton Blommetjies (Blue Bulls).
Forwards: Shaun Malton (Nottingham), Dee-Jay Terblanche (Pumas), Os Hamman (Maties), Myles Tucker (Maties), Derick Minnie (Golden Lions)/Jonathan Adendorff (Griquas), JC Janse van Rensburg (Golden Lions), Jared Saunders (Saracens), Bees Roux (Treviso), Edwin Hewitt (Griquas), Eoin Sherrif (Saracens), Corné Steenkamp (Pumas), Marnus Schoeman (Griquas), Davon Raubenheimer (Cheetahs).

My first reaction after reading about the cancellation was one of disappointment, not so much about the match but about the GLRU’s last minute action which smacked of ingratitute and arrogance, and maybe it does, but the GLRU has one duty, to prepare the team for the knockouts, and playing meaningless festival matches at this stage would be counter productive, especially as they can probably put together a more competitive team from within their own ranks using fringe players, juniors, club and varsity players.

The decision, while practical, may not have been the most politically correct one for the GLRU to take. Unfortunately actions like these do not make you friends and do not endear you to the wider rugby supporting public and the Golden Lions do not have many friends left, as was demonstrated when they were voted out of Super Rugby.

Note: The report is unconfirmed at the time of writing.

Also published on Lionspride

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Golden Lions vs Manu Samoa

May 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Golden Lions face their toughest test in their preparation programme this weekend when they play Manu Samoa.

Manu Samoa, ranked 7th by the IRB, has selected what many regard as their strongest squad outside of the RWC as French clubs released their players for the winter tour after complaints to the IRB last year by the Pacific Island nations.

Even though a number of first choice players will not be available this weekend due to club commitments, injuries or suspensions (Kahn Fotuali’i – BaaBaas, Joe Tekori – Castres in Top 14 Finals, Tusi Pisi – Super Rugby, Alapati Leiua – Super Rugby, Daniel Leo – Suspended, Kane Thompson – Injured) they will still be able to field a relatively strong team that will test the Golden Lions.

Manu Samoa’s last 3 games

9 November 2012 – Beat Canada 42-12
16 November 2012 – Beat Wales 26-19
24 November 2012 – Lose to France 22-14

Apart from JC Janse van Rensburg and Derick Minnie being back, Deon Helberg out injured and Hendrik Roodt suspended the Lions are fielding close to the same team that won the Vodacom Cup final two weeks ago with Warren Whiteley retaining the captaincy.

Helberg’s injury necessitated a backline reshuffle with Deon van Rensburg moving to the wing and  Stokkies Hanekom slotting in at centre. Derick Minnie plays from the bench and Gavin Annandale comes in at lock in place of Roodt.

Given the style of rugby played by the Pacific Islanders the match will be a physical confrontation of a nature many Lions players have not encountered before and the youngsters’ resolve and physical and defensive capabilities will be severely tested.

I don’t know anything about the Samoan players but based on the team’s world ranking they should win the match against the Golden Lions Vodacom Cup Plus side even though they’re not at full test strength. This is the time for the Lions players to show that they are capable of playing at a higher level than the Vodacom Cup and that they are on track for the knockouts at the end of July.

This match is an opportunity for the Golden Lions to sharpen up their defensive structures, something that has been of less importance and a bit of a worry during the previous matches this year. Getting the right balance between attack and defence is necessary as the team moves towards the knockouts against the Kings.

Manu Samoa by 8.

Leeus: 15. Chrysander Botha, 14. Deon van Rensburg, 13. Stokkies Hanekom, 12. Alwyn Hollenbach, 11. Anthony Volmink, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Michael Bondesio, 8. Warren Whiteley (c), 7. Warwick Tecklenburg, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Hugo Kloppers, 4. Gavin Annandale, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16. Francois du Toit, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Willie Britz, 19. Derick Minnie, 20. Ross Cronje, 21. Lionel Cronje, 22. Dylan des Fountain 23. Ruan Combrink/CJ van der Linde


Possible starting XV against the Golden Lions:
15. Paul Williams (c), 14. James So’oialo, 13. Seilala Mapusua, 12. Sinoti Sinoti, 11. Alesana Tuilagi, 10. Ki Anufe, 9. Jeremy Su’a, 8. Taiasina Tu’ifua, 7. Ofisa Treviranus, 6. Alafoti Faosiliva, 5. Filo Paulo, 4. A loose forward, 3. Cencus Johnston, 2. Ti’i Paulo, 1. Sakaria Taulafo

Forwards: Census Johnston (Toulouse), Logovi’i Mulipola (Leicester Tigers), Sakaria Taulafo (London Wasp), James Johnston (Harlequins), Ti’i Paulo (Clermont), Wayne Ole Avei (Bordeaux Beagles), Manu Leiataua (North Harbour), Kane Thompson (Canon Eagles), Iosefa Tekori (Castres), Daniel Leo (Perpignan), Teofilo Paulo (Cardiff Blues), Taiasina Tuifua (Newcastle Falcons), Alafoti Faosiliva (Bristol), Ofisa Treviranus (London Irish), Jack Lam (Hurricanes), Piula Faasalele (Castres), Fa’alemiga Selesele (Moata’a, Samoa).

Backs: Junior Poluleuligaga (Exeter Chiefs), Jeremy Su’a (Crusaders), Alatasi Tupou (Manu Samoa 7’s), Tusi Pisi (Hurricanes/Suntory Sungoliath), Ki Anufe (Auckland), Sinoti Sinoti (Zebre), Johnny Leota (Sale Sharks), Isaia Tuifua (Vigo, Spain), Brandon Va’aulu (Tokyo), Alesana Tuilagi (NTT Shining Arcs), Alapati Leiua (Hurricanes), Robert Lilomaiava (Vaiala, Samoa), Paul Williams (Stade Francais), James So’oialo (Wellington).

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Vodacom Cup Final Preview: Pumas vs Golden Lions

May 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

Friday, May 17 2013
Pumas vs Golden Lions – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit – 19:05
Franchise partners the Pumas and the Golden Lions face off in the final of the Vodacom Cup after wiping the floor with the EP Kings and WP respectively. With largely unchanged sides, Jaco Kriel coming back from injury for the Lions the only change, it is two experienced and stable teams that take each other on for the minor honours of being the Vodacom Cup champions, a honour the Lions have had four times before.

Pumas coach Jimmy Stonehouse, probably he best SA coach not coaching at the A level, will have done his homework after the loss against the Lions in the regular season and the Pumas will be competitive up front and at the breakdowns. With the number 2 points scorer in their midst they will look for penalty opportunities and opportunities to put speedster Rosko Speckman into space.

Against WP the Golden Lions were guilty of over-eagerness and indiscipline that lead to mistakes and a slew of penalties that kept WP in the game and this they cannot afford against the Pumas. Playing an attacking game is fair and well but the Lions will have to sharpen up on their discipline and play a slightly more conservative game. Allowing the Pumas to stay in the hunt through penalties can cost them on the night.

In the end the Golden Lions should have enough skill and talent to put the Pumas away but it is going to be a hard slog against a team of old hands coached by a wily coyote.

Lions by 12

Pumas: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 JW Bell, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosko Speckman, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Jaco Bouwer, 6 Corné Steenkamp (c), 5 Eduan van der Walt, 4 Uzair Cassiem, 3 Ivann Espag, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Vincent Koch.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Momberg, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Dee-Jay Terblanche, 19 Marius Coetzer, 20 RW Kember, 21 Jerome Pretorius, 22 Dewald Pretorius.

Golden Lions: 15 Chryzander Botha, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Deon van Rensburg, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Van Zyl Botha, 18 JJ Breet, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Ross Cronjé, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 Lionel Cronjé.

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Vodacom Cup Semi Finals Preview

May 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Vodacom Cup has reached the business end of the competition with the Golden Lions taking on WP in Johannesburg and the Pumas playing the EP Kings in Nelspruit. For the Lions the opportunity to play “match play” games benefits their preparations for the Wooden Spoon knock outs at the end of July but to get full value they need to progress to the final and win that too.

Vodacom Cup Semi Final

Saturday, May 11 2013
Golden Lions vs WP – Ellis Park, Johannesburg: 14:15

Although not anywhere near their potential Super Rugby team the Lions will field a very experienced match 22 against a very young WP side. Last week’s match 22 for WP had an average age is 22.50 with only seven of their players over 22 with just over 373 senior caps and seven Super Rugby caps to their credit compared to a Lions team averaging 24 years and with nearly 850 senior caps, of which 140+ are for Super Rugby.

Add to this that WP have lost their striker Cheslin Kolbe to the Baby Boks, had to replace an injured Rohan Kitshoff with Helmut Lehmann and are playing Tim Swiel at fullback, much to the disgust of some Swiel fans.

But in this apparent mismatch lies the danger. If the Lions aren’t careful and if they go into this game overconfident of success these youngsters could very well upset the apple cart. The Golden Lions team should have just too much talent and experience for this WP team but they need to take the game seriously and go out to win convincingly.

WP has scraped through a number of close matches during the round robin stages as well as in the quarter final against Griquas and can tough it out, if the Lions think they can play festival rugby on the day they could live to regret it. We saw last week how quickly a comfortable lead can disappear and the game be lost when the EP Kings beat the Blue Bulls after being 13-31 behind.

LIONS to beat Western Province by 20

Golden Lions: 15 Chryzander Botha, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Deon van Rensburg, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Reserves: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 JJ Breet, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Ross Cronjé, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 Lionel Cronjé.

15. Tim Swiel, 14. Pat Howard, 13. Berton Klaasen, 12. Mike van der Spuy, 11. Devon Williams, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Bolla Conradie (captain), 8. Rayn Smid, 7. Graham Knoop, 6. Helmut Lehmann, 5. Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4. Gerbrandt Grobler (vice-captain), 3. Chris Heiberg, 2. Stephan Coetzee, 1. Ashley Wells
Reserves: 16. Jody Reyneke, 17. Tjoppie Ferreira, 18. Taz Fuzani, 19. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20. Godlen Masimla, 21. Kobus van Wyk, 22. Dillyn Leyds

Pumas vs EP Kings – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit: 16:30

The Pumas remains one of the better sides of the smaller unions and they have the advantage that they play at full strength as they do not lose players to a Super Rugby team. The EP Kings, on the other hand, had to release a number of players to the Southern Kings, some due to injuries of key players, other due to rotation. It is puzzling, however, that the fit players released from the Southern Kings wasn’t taken up in the EP Kings team and that most of the replacements were a number of 19, 20 and 21 year olds. As it is the rather young and inexperienced EP Kings side stand little chance against a Pumas side full of “hardebaard” experience.

Could it be that the EP Kings would rather not face the Lions in a final and lose in PE, as would be the case if they both win? A loss in PE against the Lions might send a negative message to both their supporters and their players and they would rather not risk that?

PUMAS to beat Eastern Province Kings by 9

Pumas: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 JW Bell, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosko Speckman, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Jaco Bouwer, 6 Corné Steenkamp (c), 5 Eduan van der Walt, 4 Uzair Cassiem, 3 Ivann Espag, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Vincent Koch.
16 Jacques Momberg, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Dee-Jay Terblanche, 19 Marius Coetzer, 20 RW Kember, 21 Jerome Pretorius, 22 Dewald Pretorius

Kings: 15 Kayle van Zyl, 14 Michael Killian, 13 Wayne Stevens, 12 Tiger Mangweni, 11 Brian Skosana, 10 Wesley Dunlop, 9 Scott Mathie, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Mpho Mbioyzo (c), 6 Tomas Leonardi, 5 Darron Nell, 4 Stefan Willemse, 3 KP du Plessis, 2 Boetie Britz, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Dane van der Westhuyzen, 17 Brendan Olivier, 18 Samora Fihlani, 19 Dalton Davis, 20 Dwayne Kelly, 21 Marlou van Niekerk, 22 Lonwabo Ntleki.