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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

Teams:

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.
Replacements:
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 suparugby.com 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).
http://www.suparugby.com/pages/Default.asp?More=Leeus%20en%20Baabaas%20afgelas%20-%2029%20Mei%202013&FeatureID=20912&SectionID=21

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

Samoa:

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

Squad:
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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The challenge of the Lions Challenge

May 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

EmbarrassedThe inaptly named Lions Challenge has become a real challenge for the Golden Lions as the time of reckoning draws near. With less than three months to the Wooden Spoon Knock Outs the Lions Challenge is unraveling leaving the Lions with the task of arranging alternative matches on short notice.

Since French club Agen cancelled their trip down south due to budgetary reasons the French Barbarians have also cancelled their game and it is rumoured that the games against Montpellier and Grenoble are also endangered leaving the Lions with matches against Samoa, in South Africa for the winter tests, the Sharks and the Stormers.

The French Barbarians apparently cancelled as they had hoped for three matches in South Africa but only the Lions match could be arranged while Grenoble claims “a lack of guarantee from the province of Golden Lions for the organization”, according to the French rugby web site Rugby Rama.

The GLRU, however, announced this week that the games against Montpellier and Grenoble are still on the cards but will be confirmed later. The game against Montpellier will be depend on whether they make the Top 14 play-offs. The French Barbarians match will be replaced by an SA Barbarians side that will feature some of South Africa’s overseas based players.

This leaves the Lions with only four certain matches in June and none in July before the knock outs on 27 July and 3 August.

1-Jun-13 vs Samoa @ Ellis Park
8-Jun-13 vs SA Barbarians @ Ellis Park
15-Jun-13 vs Stormers @ Ellis Park
21-Jun-13 vs Sharks @ Ellis Park

To add to the problems of arranging alternative matches for July is the fact that the Currie Cup First Division competition starts on 28 June already with the result that none of the “B” division unions can play the Lions.

The junior Currie Cup schedules haven’t been released yet but given that the U/19 and U/21 competitions started mid-July last year, games against the Vodacom Cup teams of the Blue Bulls, the Sharks, Griquas and the Free State might not be viable as these teams normally contain a number of their juniors with the senior players in Super Rugby.

Meanwhile Samoa has announced their touring squad, which is made up of mainly overseas based players and is probably the strongest squad they have assembled outside of the World Cups. The game against the Lions start off their tour and will probably be used by them to try and gel their team before their first test against Scotland.

Is it all falling apart as some in the media suggest?

I don’t think so. The purpose of the Lions Challenge was always to prepare players and to keep players match fit rather than to necessarily give them Super Rugby level competition, impossible as all the Super Rugby teams are playing … wait for it! … Super Rugby and so far the players’ preparation and match fitness seem to be on track. With at least three games is July the only problem period in in July when, if the French teams pull out, the Lions will have no matches and are in danger of going into the play offs rusty, especially if one consider that their loan players only return two weeks before the play offs.

This is where the Lions need to look for at least two certain matches, one after the loan players have returned. If they can do that the Lions’ Wooden Spoon Knockouts Preparation Programme will achieve what was set out to achieve, albeit not quite in the same way as originally scheduled.

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Golden Lions squad for USA Rugby Showdown

April 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Golden Lions announced their squad to play two matches in the USA against the North American All Stars. While none of the Lions have Springbok caps the squad is a mix of experienced and young provincial players, a number of whom have played for South African school and junior teams and they will be lead by captain JC Janse van Rensburg.

Provincial caps = Currie Cup/Vodacom Cup

Golden Lions Touring Squad
Position Player Age Height Weight Provincial
Caps
Super Rugby Caps Total Senior Caps Honours
Hooker Robbie Coetzee 23 185 105 11 0 11 SA Schools 2007
Hooker Francois du Toit 22 178 103 10 0 10 SA u/20 2010
Prop Ruan Dreyer 22 186 110 16 4 20 SA u/20 2010
Prop JC Janse van Rensburg 27 185 115 55 47 102 SA u/19 2005
Springbok Touring Squad 2012
Prop Jacques van Rooyen 26 186 122 2 0 2
Prop Julian Redelinghuys 23 176 110 16 0 16 SA Schools 2006/7
SA u/20 2009
Lock Gavin Annandale 22 194 112 9 0 9
Lock Franco Mostert 22 198 103 12 0 12
Lock Hendrik Roodt 25 198 121 53 8 61 SA Schools – 2005
Loose forward Willie Britz 24 193 105 43 0 43
Loose forward Jaco Kriel 22 184 97 34 7 41
Loose forward Derick Minnie 26 186 95 61 41 102
Loose forward Warwick Tecklenburg 26 189 105 22 0 22
Loose forward Warren Whiteley 25 192 97 54 20 74 SA 7s 2013
Scrumhalf Michael Bondesio 27 176 84 67 7 74
Scrumhalf Ross Cronje 23 188 80 46 7 53 SA u/20 2009
Flyhalf Guy Cronje 23 176 83 24 0 24
Flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff 23 179 87 39 0 39 SA Schools – 2007
Flyhalf Lionel Cronje 23 184 90 26 7 33 SA u/20 2009
Centre Dylan des Fountain 27 187 95 33 23 56 SA u/20 2009
Centre Alwyn Hollenbach 27 189 100 73 15 88
Centre JP du Plessis 20 185 105 1 0 1
Wing Deon van Rensburg 31 175 94 72 40 112
Wing Deon Helberg 23 186 96 19 1 20 SA Schools Academy 2007
SA 7s 2009
Wing Anthony Volmink 23 180 85 15 4 19
Fullback Andries Coetzee 22 181 86 12 12 24
Fullback Ruhan Nel 21 192 88 3 0 3

 

Ave Age: 24.92
Total Provincial Caps: 828
Total Super Rugby Caps: 243
Total Senior Caps: 1071

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Lions match against the North American All Stars cancelled?

March 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Golden Lions was scheduled to play two matches against the North American All Stars on their USA tour in April, one in California on 13 April and one in Canada on 20 April as part of the Lions Challenge, their preparation programme for the Wooden Spoon Knock Outs at the end of the Super Rugby season.

According to the Rugby Canada, Canada’s controlling body, web site the match scheduled for 20 April in in Burnaby, British Columbia has been cancelled due to scheduling, venue conflicts and financial restrictions.

The match scheduled for 13 April at the Titan Stadium in California still seems to be on track but Rugby Canada’s player commitment is still to be determined.

There has been no confirmation yet from the Lions or from Rugby Showdown, the organisers of the matches

http://www.rugbycanada.ca/leagues/newsletter.cfm?clientID=3817&leagueID=0&page=69273
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The Lions Challenge’s French Connection

March 13, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Lions will resume their Wooden Spoon Play-Off Preparation Programme this weekend after a month’s break when they take on the first of the four French Top 14 clubs they have lined up.

French club Stade Montois, aka Mont de Marsan, is a long way from their heyday in the ’50s and early ’60s when they were French champions four times and have struggled to settle into the French top league this season winning only two matches. Propping up the log table they are set to be relegated after only one season in the Top 14.

Like most bottom of the log teams they struggle with consistency and while they have had some substantial losses they can also push top sides close e.g. wins against Racing Metro (#5) and Grenoble (#8), a 12-16 loss to Toulouse (#3) and a 28-30 loss to Stade Francais (#9).

In the Amlin Challenge Cup, the European competition below the Heineken Cup, Stade Montois didn’t do much better and although they didn’t finish last in their pool they only won two matches as well, both against Bordeaux-Begles (#12 in the Top 14).

Typically of the Northern Hemisphere clubs Stade Montois is a professional team that features a number of players from other parts of the world including a number of South Africans, Pieter Grobler (hooker), Sebastian de Chaves (lock), Vickus Liebenberg (lock), Berend Botha (utility forward) and Lodie Britz (loose forward), as well as players from Argentina and the Pacific Islands.

Looking at some of their game highlights it would seem as if they have a strong scrum but struggle against rolling mauls and, as with any struggling side, their defence at the back becomes brittle as the game continues.

While there is no way to objectively compare the quality of Stade Montois I cannot see the bottom French side troubling the Lions too much but they should not be taken lightly because, on the day, they can cause an upset.

More French teams will play the Lions at Ellis Park later in the programme.

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 JP du Plessis, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 JJ Breet, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Franco Mostert , 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg(c).
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Gavin Annandale, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Guy Cronje, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Alwyn Hollenbach, 23. Ruhan Nel, 24. Deon Helberg, 25. Julian Redelinghuys
Stade Montois: 15 Yoan Durquet, 14 Jean-Marc Mazzonetto, 13 Baptiste Chedal, 12 Daniele Baleinadogo, 11 Zimum Lucu, 10 Benat Arrayet, 9 Arnaud Pic, 8 Alexandre Ricaud, 7 Lodie Britz, 6 Julien Tastet, 5 Bêrend Botha, 4 Scott Murray, 3 Sebastien Ormaechea, 2 Piet Grobler, 1 Alexandre Menini.
Replacements: 16 Julien Janaudy, 17 Pierre Correia, 18 Vickus Liebenberg, 19 Yann Brethous, 20 Julien Cabannes, 21 Thibault Duvallet, 22 Martin Jagr, 23 Mathieu Giudicelli, 24 Vasssili Bost, 25 Jean-Baptiste Dubie.
The French Connection:

March 16: v Mont de Marsan (#14)
May 11: v Agen (#13)
June 8: v French Barbarians
July 12: v Montpellier (#7)
July 20: v Grenoble (#8)

The Lions Challenge Programme:

March 16: Lions v Mont de Marsan – Ellis Park
April 13: US Invitational (All Stars) v Lions – Ervine, California
April 20: US Invitational (All Stars) v Lions – Vancouver, Canada
(Visit the Rugby Showdown web site for more info about the USA tour)
May 11: Lions v Agen – Ellis Park
June 1: Lions v Samoa – Ellis Park
June 8: Lions v French Barbarians – Ellis Park
June 15: Lions v Stormers – Ellis Park
June 21: Lions v Sharks – Ellis Park
July 12: Lions v Montpellier – Ellis Park
July 20: Lions v Grenoble – Ellis Park
July 27: Super Rugby promotion/relegation first leg -  TBA
August 3: Super Rugby promotion/relegation – Ellis Park

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Lions vs Kings – the jury is still out

February 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

In front of 19000 spectators, the biggest crowd of the Lions Challenge so far, the Lions beat the Kings 41-31.

Supporters of both teams will read into the match result whatever they want but the Lions cannot be happy with they way the lost focus in the second half after leading 27-7. Whether it was due to the Kings fighting back, the spate of replacements that were sent on or some other reason, the Lions tendency to “take a break” for about 20 minutes per game has been a worry for a long time now and on Saturday it nearly resulted in an embarrassing loss.

All credit to the Kings for fighting back and taking their chances and congratulations to the Lions for sticking it out and pulling off a win.

“What matters isn’t how well you play when you’re playing well. What matters is how well you play when you’re playing badly.”  – Martina Navratilova

For the Lions the second half was a wake-up call – you cannot relax for 20 minutes in a game and expect to win the crucial games.

On the plus side, the Lions scrums, lineouts, rucks and mauls worked well and they totally outplayed the Kings in those departments but, considering the talented players in the backline, it is disturbing that they couldn’t score a single backline try.

On the negative side, letting in a spate of soft tries after doing all the hard graft and you have your opponents on the rack is inexcusable, even if a number of replacements are sent on which disturbs the flow. Replacement players should fit in to the onfield structures and not disrupt your game but enhance it. The Lions coaches will also not be happy with the number of handling errors and basic mistakes made on the day.

Would this Lions team have beaten a full strength Kings side? The point is moot, I know, but I think the Lions would still have dominated the set pieces and would, hopefully, have kept their focus better as there wouldn’t have been all the replacements to disrupt cohesion. But we’ll have to wait for July to get the answer.

The Lions have a five week break before taking on French bottom of the log club, Mont de Marsan, in March. Indications from the Lions coaching staff are that the Lions players will be used only sparingly in Vodacom Cup matches so they will remain focused on their preparation for the July knockout games.

During the next five weeks a number of injured players will get back onto the training fields and the squad, barring injuries during training, should be near full strength in time for their next match.

New injuries: Ross Cronje (broken thumb), Alwyn Hollenbach (hamstring)

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Lions team for the Kings game

February 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Lions announced their team and made some interesting changes. Marnitz Boshoff starts at #15 with regular fullback, Andries Coetzee on the wing while young lock, JJ Breet, replaces injured Willie Britz at the side of the scrum. With Bondesio injured Ross Cronje starts again behind the scrum and injury returnee, Whestley Moolman, gets the backup spot on the bench and is joined there by Dylan Des Fountain, another returning from injury.

Lions: 15 Marnitz Boshoff, 14 Andries Coetzee, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 JJ Breet, 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 Gavin Annandale, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Whestley Moolman, 21 Deon Helberg, 22 Ruhan Nel, 23 Dylan des Fountain

Southern Kings:15 Elric van Vuuren, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Wayne Stevens, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Siyanda Grey, 10 Wesley Dunlop, 9 Johan Herbst, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Mpho Mbiyozo, 6 Rynier Bernado, 5 Darron Nell (captain), 4 Tomas Leonardi, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Boetie Britz, 1 Lizo Gqoboko.

Replacements:16 Dane van der Westhuizen, 17 Khwezi Mkhafu, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Daniel Adongo, 20 Thabo Mamojelle, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 George Whitehead, 23 Scott van Breda.

Lions stats:

Ave age: 23.57
Total provincial caps: 761
Total Super Rugby caps: 176
Total Bok caps: 0

Kings stats:

Ave age: 24.61
Total provincial caps: 860
Total Super Rugby caps: 37
Total International caps: 13