What is this website all about?

The Lions is a provincial rugby union team in South Africa, and Rugby union is a team sport played in most countries in the world, more than 100 national teams appear on the current IRB (International Rugby Board) World Ranking. This site is my effort as a supporter of the Lions to keep track of happenings with the team and also to keep fellow supporters updated.

What made you start this website?

I work in the IT industry as a software developer, and in 1996, when the internet started to take off in South Africa, I realized that there were very few South African websites related to rugby, so I decided to create a rugby website dedicated to the Lions, or Transvaal as I called the website at that stage.
Two colleagues assisted with the effort at the time, the one created a few logos for the site, as I always sucked with graphics, and the other helped me to host the site on a server of the company that we worked for. I had to do it like that, as web hosting was not a big thing in South Africa in 1996, but I guess if you did something like that now, it would be a serious offense.
So the website went live in September 1996, and I think the only South African website that started before mine and that is still going, is the SARU website.
I have always been a big Transvaal/Lions rugby fan, and have been going to Ellis Park with my dad ever since I was a baby, which was in the 1960's. In those days it still had wooden seats and dusty aisles, the main match kicked off at 15:30, and was preceded by curtain raisers that often started at 9:00 or 10:00 in the morning.
I also remember when they started building the new Ellis Park, when we had to go watch rugby at the Wanderers (The local cricket grounds) for about two seasons. In those days Transvaal battled to win at rugby, because Naas Botha played for Northerns and he was just too good for us.
But it was worth the wait, we got one of the finest rugby stadiums in South Africa, and we also started winning games, and won the Currie Cup three times in the 90's. (1993, 1994 and 1999) and played in three Super Rugby finals (2016, 2017 and 2018)

Can you help to get tickets to matches?

No I can't. I sometimes do get complimentary tickets from the Lions that I can give away in competitions, but unfortunately that doesn't happen that often. Lions matchday tickets can be bought online by clicking here

Can you help to get the contact details of the players?

No, I can't, although I do know some of the players personally, I have to respect their privacy.

Why do you use the old name?

Before the team was called the "Lions", the name was Transvaal, and this was from 1889. In 1993 the name of the union and the team was changed to "Lions". I have owned the domain www.transvaal.co.za since 2004, and you can still access my website by using that URL. In 2009 I acquired the domain www.lionsworld.co.za, and that is now where the site is hosted.

Do you think the Lions should move sway from Ellis Park?

No, I go to most rugby games at Ellis Park, and have been going there for more than 50 years, so it will be really sad if Ellis Park isn't the home of the Lions any longer. Safe parking exist at the Johannesburg stadium as well as in the parkade on the Eastern side of the park, so there is really no excuse to come and support your team! I can honestly say that in all the years that I have been going to Ellis Park that I haven't experienced a single bad incident.

How big is a rugby field?

This was a bit of an unusual question, but here goes: The field is normally 100 meters long by 70 meters wide, excluding the in goal area, which is obviously the same width as the playing area, and anything from 10 meters to 25 meters long. Ellis Park then seats about 62500 spectators around this playing field.

How many points did a try count during the years?

This was a very good question, when rugby started a try didn't count any points, but you were then allowed to "try" to score by kicking a conversion. In 1890 they started awarding 1 point for a try, where today it counts 5. Below is a table with the value of tries, conversions, penalties, drop goals and goals from marks during the years:

Date Try Conversion Penalty Drop Goal Goal from mark
1890-1898 1 2 3 3 -
1899-1904 3 2 3 4 4
1905-1947 3 2 3 4 3
1948-1970 3 2 3 3 3
1971-1977 4 2 3 3 3
1977-1991 4 2 3 3 -
1992-present 5 2 3 3 -

“Forwards win games, backs decide by how much.”