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by Baylion

Lions Updates – Bandise, Waylon, Butch are gone, Mitch isn’t

November 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

Latest News: I enjoy legal stories and tv dramas and one thing I’ve learned from reading John Grisham, Michael Connelly, Scot Turrow and others is that being found “Not guilty” isn’t quite the same as being innocent. It often only means that you had better lawyers. I think it is time for the GLRU to review the quality of legal advice they get from their legal team.

While the details are still shrouded in mystery the indications are that John Mitchell was found not guilty and it would be interesting to see what the arbitrator’s “recommendations” are.

The Lions obviously felt they had a case, or were advised so by their legal team, but were given another drubbing in a “Courtroom Contest”. Not good.

While it is in the news that Mitchell wants his Lions job back as he still has some “unfinished business”, I cannot see that this would be a good thing, not with what has played off over the last few months.


Another ex-Lion Bok, one-tester Heinke van der Merwe, was apparently placed on standby in the UK after the idea to use Brian Mujati fell by the wayside due to the SA law that requires national sport representative to be SA citizens. Mujati isn’t, he doesn’t hold a SA passport, in fact he isn’t even an SA resident. Let’s not go the Ireland route of sourcing anyone with a remote SA connection to play for the Boks.

November tests Round 1:

I’m trying a new idea and am following the bookies’ handicaps for my Superbru picks:

Italy by 8, England by 32, Wales by 10, South Africa by 3, France by 3, New Zealand by 26

Player Losses & Gains:

With attracting much notice another young Lion has started plying his trade in France. Lock Sebastian De Chaves (Lions u/19, Lions u/21, Vodacom Cup, 2010 SA u/20) now plays for Mont de Marsan, France.

Three player whose contracts had ended has left, Bandise Maku (confirmed) and Waylon Murray (potentially) for the Kings while Butch James postponed his retirement to play back-up to Pat Lambie at the Sharks.

Lions Player Losses & Gains

Games for 2013: While there’s still no clarity about the games planned for the Lions in 2013 as a number of issues still need to be resolved (tv time, sponsors, IRB and SARU approval) and with the Lions facing a drop in income from sponsors, season ticket holders and gate receipts their plans might just all come to naught unless these issues can be resolved.

The future: With the Heineken Cup in turmoil after the English and French threat to pull out when the current agreements end in 2014 this might be a good time for SARU to negotiate a spot for the non-playing franchise with the “new” European competition from 2015.

Meanwhile Tony McKeever seems to be out walking the forums punting his Super 6 idea, originally devised for the Kings, as a solution. Whether that will ever fly with the rugby officialdom, given the history between SARU and McKeever, remains to be seen but it is time for SARU to get off their collective asses, stop spouting platitudes and put some real and permanent plan on the table for the Sixth Franchise because at the moment they are damaging the rugby futures of at least two franchises and six unions.

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by Baylion

How John Mitchell Cost The Lions Their Spot

August 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Lions have been kicked out of Super Rugby and a lot can be said about SARU blowing smoke for seven months about alternative options and proposals while all the while the decision had been made last year already to kick out the bottom team.

Would a different decision have been made if SARU made this known in January when they announced the Kings participation? Probably not, but by not being open and up front about it they have made life difficult for both the Lions and the Kings.

If they had spelt it out January the Lions would have had a clear idea of what they needed to achieve and the Kings would have been able to recruit better as their position would have been publicly assured. By blowing smoke for seven months SARU caused both franchises valuable time.

The fact that both franchises, as well as the rest of the country, were under the impression that nothing specific had been decided says a lot.

Based on the way they read the situation the Lions, and John Mitchell, made a serious tactical error.

Apart from the first game against the Cheetahs and the last few after Mitchell was suspended, the Lions played a game where they refused to kick for goal when they got penalties, even when they were behind. John Mitchell’s strategy was to go for tries even though the team struggled to score tries.

And their opponents knew this. Their opponents knew that they could infringe with impunity in their own half and not be punished provided they could stop the Lions from scoring tries because the Lions were not going to kick for goal.

Hind sight is 20/20 vision and with that hind sight:

Would John Mitchell have followed a different strategy if SARU had said in January: “The bottom SA team will fall out, no if or buts”? Probably.

Would the Lions still have ended last? Who knows.

Would the Lions still have been kicked out? Probably. I think this was on the cards since last year when SARU hoped that the Lions would go bankrupt and fade away.

So why did SARU not spell it out? Because if they did and, say, the Bulls ended last they would have had no room to manoeuvre.