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by Baylion

Forget about Loftus, the action is at Newlands

September 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

The match up at Newlands between WP and the Golden Lions could prove to be the match of the weekend. With WP, combining a solid defence with attacking flair that was sadly missing in the Stormers, facing a Lions side capable of scoring tries, also sadly missing during Super Rugby, from anywhere we are in for some finger licking good rugby.

It was way back in 2004 that the Lions last won at Newlands in the Currie Cup and they will have their work cut out, not only to contain WP but also to break through their defences. WP’s youngsters have stepped up to challenge and a weak defence gets severely punished, just ask the Blue Bulls (42-6) and Griquas (45-21).

On de udder hand Darren, the Lions are quite capable to break down defences while their defence of their own tryline is not too bad and with Lionel Mapoe and Andries Coetzee, amongst others, in top form the WP defence will be tested .

The battle up front will be one of youth versus experience, with WP front row still eligible for u/21 honours. The WP youngsters will have to be better than their best to front up to the form pack of the season but the Lions will have to improve their possession stats in order to have a fair chance at attack. In the last two game they had to make substantially more tackles than their opponents – Cheetahs (70) vs Lions (208), Lions (173) vs Sharks (130) – and against a strong defence like that of WP this could cost them the game as the margin for error will be small.

At the back the Lions have lost Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute to the Boks and while that will make a difference they have more than capable replacements in Butch James and Dylan Des Fountain, players with vast experience and who can put pressure on their opposite numbers, while Mapoe has been a livewire on the field and the matchup between him and JP du Plessis could be one of the contests of the match.

While the Lions, in theory, should be the favourites to win this match the WP youngsters have stood their ground well and only a fool would not give them a more than even chance to win at home.

Well, let me be the fool then and go with the Lions to win by 6.

Other picks:
Griquas by 7
Sharks by 9
South Africa by 9
New Zealand by 15

Western Province:

15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12. Marcel Brache, 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Substitutes: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Helmut Lehmann, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Berton Klaasen, 22 Patrick Howard

Golden Lions:

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Dylan des Fountain, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Butch James, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (c).

Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Deon van Rensburg, 22 James Kamana

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by Baylion

Can the Golden Lions beat WP?

August 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

It has been a traumatic 10 days for the Golden Lions, which saw them kicked out of Super Rugby, losing to the Sharks in Durban and, the latest, losing their arbitration case against the Pumas and the Leopards. And now they face one of the “baddies” in the drama, the Western Province, whose coach made no bones about it that he would like some of the Lions players to play for the Stormers next year.

The big question is whether the Lions players can put all that happened behind them and start focusing on the game, and possibly their own futures.

It is great to see Bandise Maku back on his post. He replaces Callie Visagie who injured his ribs last week. On the bench Martin Bezuidenhout is back as replacement hooker while ex-Blue Bull, Deon Helberg, replaces Guy Cronje as a replacement flyhalf isn’t needed with both Jantjies and Butch in the side.

The Lions have the tight five to dominate both the scrums and the lineouts against a WP side without Tiaan Liebenberg, Andries Bekker and Eben Etzebeth. It’s in the rucks and mauls however where they will have to counter Siya Kolisi and Duane Vermeulen and make sure that they win and retain ball possession. The Lions trio of Strauss, Grobbelaar and Whiteley should be up to the task.

Even though the WP is noted for their strong defence, without possession where they are forced to defend even more the opening and opportunities will come. If the Lions can open up the game to bring Warren Whiteley and their backline into play they should have too much fire power for the WP.

WP is playing a young halfback pair and while I have a lot of respect for Demetri Catrakilis I cannot say that I’ve seen anything of note from Louis Schroeder and his replacement, Dewaldt Duvenage, don’t inspire too much fear either. The Lions pair of Jantjies and Bondesio should have the upper hand.

It’s at the back that WP can be dangerous but it isn’t the quality backline of the Stormers that faces the Lions but a mix of quality players and journeymen. The Lions’ backline on the other hand is a mixture of youth and experience and given enough ball should carry the day.

All well and good but as the saying goes, the game is played on grass, not on paper and WP has enough danger men who, combined with the team’s overall defensive strength, can turn the tide in their favour and the Lions cannot afford to be off form, for whatever reason, if they want to win this game.

Lions by 15

Sat, 25 August 17h05
Coca Cola Park. Johannesburg

Golden Lions (probable):

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 JR Esterhuizen, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Josh Strauss, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).

Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Deon Helberg, 22 Ruan Combrinck.

WP:

15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Ederies Arendse, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Deon Fourie (captain), 1 Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 JP du Plessis, 22 Kurt Coleman