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 Six changes to side to play Blue Bulls
June 28, 2006 - Coach Eugene Eloff made six changes to the side that will face the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday. The Lions started with a loss against the Sharks that sees us placed seventh on the log after the first round, and a win at home on Saturday against the Bulls will certainly improve our log position. Jorrie Muller was injured in the game against the Sharks and it sounds like he will be out for the rest of the 2006 season. Jano Vermaak is back from duty with the national under 21 side, and will certainly strengthen the team. The full team is:
Mark Harris, Wylie Human, Jaco Pretorius, Thabang Molefe, Louis Ludik, Earl Rose, Jano Vermaak, Pietie Ferreira, Russell Winter, Wikus van Heerden(c), Gerhard Mostert, Cobus Grobler, Brian Mujati, James van der Walt, Pietman van Niekerk.
Reserves: Ethienne Reyneke, JC Janse van Rensburg, Jean Deysel, Ernst Joubert, Rory Kockett, Jody Rose, Grant Esterhuizen.
 French outclass Springboks
June 26, 2006 - The French showed their class on Saturday in Cape Town by beating the Springboks 36-26, scoring four tries to one in the process.
The problems for the Boks started in the scrums, where, despite having a 50+ kg advantage, the French absolutely destroyed us. There were also crucial missed tackles that unfortunately did not go unpunished, and obviously the players that came in after injuries to the number one players were not up to the task. The players on the bench also were not able to make an impact when they got game time. 
 Missed kicks cost Lions Durban
June 23, 2006 - The Lions started their Currie Cup campaign under new coach Eugene Eloff on a false note on Friday by going down 33-22 to the Sharks in Durban. The Lions scored the first try of the match to take the early lead, but after that it was mostly one way traffic by the Sharks, who never really looked like losing the match. A big worry for the Lions is that they used debutant Rory Kockott as goal kicker, but he only managed to get one of his five kicks over. One would have thought that Eugene Eloff would be a coach that would know that you need a reliable kicker in any rugby match. There were positives for the Lions, Jaco Pretorius was full of running on outside centre, Ludik looked comfortable at Fullback, Mujati impressed with his general play, especially towards the later stages of the game, and Thabang Molefe also showed promise when he came on in the second half.
 Eloff names his first side as Lions coach
June 20, 2006 - On Tuesday Eugene Eloff announced his Lions side that will play the Sharks in the first round of the 2006 Currie Cup this Friday in Durban. Browse to the forum (link on the left) to have a look at the team and also to discuss this with fellow Lions supporters!
 Boks beat Scots 29-15 in PE
June 18, 2006 - The Springboks beat Scotland 29-15 in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, taking the series 2-0 in the process. The Boks scored one try by Fourie du Preez to the two tries by the Scots. The other Bok points came from 7 penalties by Percy Montgomery and one penalty by Jaco van der Westhuyzen. The victory was not as convincing as the one from the previous weekend, and the Springboks will have to up their game for the next test against France this Saturday.
 Three changes to Bok team for second Scotland test
June 14, 2006 - Coach Jake White made three changes (one positional) to the Springbok side to play in the second test against Scotland this Saturday in Port Elizabeth. Both centres that started last week are out injured, Jean de Villiers was injured during the match, while Jaque Fourie cracked a rib in training during the week. Wynand Olivier will take the place of De Villiers, while Andre Snyman will move from wing to outside centre in the place of Fourie, and Bryan Habana is back from injury on the wing.
 Boks defeat Scotland
June 10, 2006 - The Springboks beat Scotland 36-16 in Durban on Saturday, scoring four tries to the single try by the Scots. Most Springbok supporters will admit that the winning margin was quite a bit bigger than we all expected, and that the result was a great one for the players and Jake White. The only worry from the game is that Jean de Villiers left the field injured, and is likely to miss the 2nd test against the Scots.
Also on Saturday, the Lions beat the Western Force 37-0 at RAU stadium. This is a great result for the Lions under new coach Eugene Eloff, and things are looking good for the Currie Cup that starts in two weeks time.
 Boks change seven for Scotland
June 07, 2006 - Coach Jake White made seven changes to the side that only just managed to beat the World XV last Saturday. Os du Randt, John Smit, Victor Matfield, Schalk Burger, Juan Smith, Breyton Paulse and Fourie du Preez are all back in the starting XV. With five of the changes in the pack, it's clear that Jake felt that the problems in last Saturday's game started with the fact that our forwards could not dominate those of the World XV. Click on the Springboks link on the left navigation to have a look at the full team.

 Bok XV struggle against World XV
June 05, 2006 - The Springbok XV struggled to beat the World XV 30-27 at Ellis Park on Saturday. The Boks kicked 10 penalties, 9 by Percy Montgomery and 1 by Gaffie du Toit, while the World XV managed to score 2 tries, one by Justin Marshall and one by Isa Nacewa. It's a big worry for the Boks that they didn't manage to score tries in the match, hopefully it's something that Jake White can quickly sort out before the real tests start.

In a curtain raiser the Lions managed to beat the Pumas 38-0, but as both teams used more than 7 replacements, this match will not be recognised as a first class match.

 Jean to lead SA XV
May 31, 2006 - Jean de Villiers will lead the South African XV against a World XV at Ellis Park on Saturday. Jake White selected a mix of experience and young talent for this match, which will not be an official test match. The full team is:
Percy Montgomery, Andre Snyman, Jaque Fourie, Jean de Villiers (Capt), Gaffie du Toit, Jaco van der Westhuyzen, Enrico Januarie, Joe van Niekerk, AJ Venter, Wikus van Heerden, Albert van den Berg, Danie Rossouw, Eddie Andrews, Hanyani Shimange, Deon Carstens.
Reserves: Gary Botha, Lawrence Sephaka, Johan Muller, Pedrie Wannenburg, Ruan Pienaar, Wynand Olivier, Brent Russell.
 Now it's Official: Eloff is the new coach
May 17, 2006 - Eugene Eloff was confirmed as the coach for the Lions for the 2006 Currie Cup season at Ellis Park on Wednesday. This was after a dismal Super 14 season by the Cats under coach Frans Ludeke, winning just two of their 13 games and ending 13th on the log. Eloff will be assisted by former player Leon Boshoff and Wimpie Vermeulen. Eloff has been with the SA Under 19 side in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and also with the Lions as assistant in 2002 and 2003. 
 Cats downed in Kimberley
May 14, 2006 - The Cheetahs beat the Cats 28-23 in Kimberley on Saturday, leaving the Cats with 2 wins from 13 games in the 2006 Super 14, and also ending 13th of the 14 teams in the competition. It will be interesting to see what happens next at the Cats, apparently there is a meeting on Monday night to decide if Frans Ludeke will stay on as coach for the Currie Cup or not. My feeling is that even though he might be a good coach, it's obvious that he didn't "gel" with the players, and therefore a change is needed. 
 Cats leave best for last
May 6, 2006 - The Cats played their best game of the Super 14 season on Saturday in their last game of the season at Ellis Park when they beat the Blues 34-33 in a thrilling match. Both teams played entertaining, running rugby, and altogether 9 tries were scored. The Cats lead 20-14 at half time. The match ended on a thrilling note when the Blues managed to run in two long range tries to set up a nail-biting last few minutes of the match, but the Cats managed to hang on to the one point lead for the victory, only their second this season.
 Cats drop Januarie for Blues
May 3, 2006 - After a series of below-par performances, Springbok Enrico Januarie was dropped from the starting XV of the Cats that will face the Blues at Ellis Park on Saturday. Jano Vermaak, who looked much sharper against the Force when he replaced Januarie last Friday, moves up from the bench.
The full team is: Earl Rose, Conrad Jantjes, Jaque Fourie, Wayne Julies, Wylie Human, Andre Pretorius (Capt), Jano Vermaak, Ernst Joubert, Trevor Hall, Cobus Grobbelaar, Willem Stoltz, Kleinjan Tromp, Bertus Smit, Delarey du Preez, Lawrence Sephaka.
Reserves: Willie Wepener, Daniel Muller, Alten Hulme, Gerhard Vosloo, Enrico Januarie, Doppies la Grange, Grant Esterhuizen.
 Cats force a draw with great play in second half
April 28, 2006 - The Cats managed to draw the game against the Force at Ellis Park on Friday, the score 34-34 after the Force lead 21-3 at the break. It must be said that the Force can only blame themselves for not winning this one, in the second half they were sitting on a big lead, and instead of slowing the game down, they kept on speeding it up, and then inadvertently, put themselves under pressure. The Cats scored 5 tries in the 2nd half, this from a team that scored only 10 tries in the previous 10 matches. They looked very good in the 2nd half, and one could only wonder what would have happened this season if they played like that the whole Super 14.
 Cats name unchanged side to play Force
April 25, 2006 - Coach Frans Ludeke today named an unchanged team from the one that went down heavily to the Bulls last Saturday, to face the Western Force on Friday night at Ellis Park. It's worrying that it's in fact an admission that a team that lost so badly, is in fact our strongest combination.
The full team is:
Earl Rose, Conrad Jantjes, Grant Esterhuizen, Doppies la Grange, Jaque Fourie, Andre Pretorius (Capt), Enrico Januarie, Ernst Joubert, Trevor Hall, Cobus Grobbelaar, Gerhard Mostert, Kleinjan Tromp, Daniel Muller, Delarey du Preez, Lawrence Sephaka.
Reserves: Willie Wepener, Bertus Smit, Alten Hulme, Willem Stoltz, Jano Vermaak, Wayne Julies, Wylie Human.
 Cats go down to Bulls at Loftus
April 24, 2006 - The Cats suffered another heavy loss on Saturday, this time to the Bulls at Loftus in Pretoria. The score was 46-17 in the favour of the Bulls. The Cats managed to score two tries to the six from the Bulls. This still leaves the Cats with only one victory in this year's Super 14, and they remain in the 13th position on the log. This Friday they face the 14th placed team, the Western Force, at Ellis Park.
 Cats change eight to face Bulls at Loftus
April 19, 2006 - For the second week in a row coach Frans Ludeke made eight changes to the team that will play the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday. Some of the changes were forced by injuries to players like Ashwin Willemse and Lukas van Biljon, but other players were dropped after a poor game against the Sharks last weekend. The full team is:
Earl Rose, Conrad Jantjes, Grant Esterhuizen, Doppies la Grange, Jaque Fourie, Andre Pretorius, Enrico Januarie, Ernst Joubert, Trevor Hall, Wikus van Heerden (capt), Gerhard Mostert, Kleinjan Tromp, Daniel Muller, Delarey du Preez, Lawrence Sephaka.
Reserves: Willie Wepener, Marius Hurter, Alten Hulme, Cobus Grobbelaar, Jano Vermaak, Wayne Julies, Wylie Human. 


 Cats in humiliating loss to Sharks at home
April 15, 2006 - It was one way traffic in this match for the Sharks, beating the Cats 36-8 after they lead 24-3 at the break. It was more of the same for the Cats, knocking on balls, missing tackles and turning over possession, and the fact that they now have scored only 8 tries in 9 matches and conceded 30 probably tells the story of their season. 


 Cats change eight for Sharks
April 13, 2006 - Coach Frans Ludeke made eight changes to the Cats team that face the Sharks at Ellis Park on Saturday. The full team is: Conrad Jantjes, Ashwin Willemse, Grant Esterhuizen, Wayne Julies, Jaque Fourie, Andre Pretorius, Enrico Januarie, Ernst Joubert, Gerhard Mostert, Wikus van Heerden (c), Willem Stoltz, Kleinjan Tromp, Marius Hurter, Likas van Biljon, Pietman van Niekerk.
Reserves: Delarey du Preez, Lawrence Sephaka, Gordon Gilfillan, Gerhard Vosloo, Jano Vermaak, Doppies la Grange, Earl Rose


 Cats fail to beat Reds at home
April 08, 2006 - The Reds beat the Cats 23-16 at Ellis Park on Saturday, scoring two tries to the penalty try awarded to the Cats. The Cats lead 16-13 at the break, but were kept scoreless in the second half, and managed to let the game slip away from them.


 Pretorius back at 10 for the Cats
April 07, 2006 - In the only change to the Cats team to play the Reds this Saturday, Andre Pretorius was named to start at Flyhalf in the place of Earl Rose. Pretorius returns after a six month lay-off after he was injured in the November 2005 test against the Pumas. Much hope is put on the Springbok to turn the season of the Cats around, at this stage having only won once from seven games in this year's Super 14.
In other news, Tiaan Snyman has decided to call it a day and concentrate on his career as an accountant.
“I enjoyed every minute of my time as a rugby player. I never played for anything other than the pure enjoyment of the game. I started at a very young age and as a result have played rugby for close on twenty years. It is time to pursue my professional career and I feel this is the time to do it,” Snyman said.


 Cats left without a win overseas
March 25, 2006 - In the 11 years of Super Series Rugby the Cats have only won twice abroad, and Saturday against the Highlanders in New Zealand was no different, the Highlanders won the game 16-14. It must be said that this was the best chance the Cats had to add another win, they dominated possession as well as territory, and on numerous occasions only their lack of finishing prevented them from scoring tries. They get a bonus point from the game, the only one from five overseas games, and will now be heading back to Ellis Park hoping to get some points from the four games they still have at home.


 Cats change five for Highlanders
March 23, 2006 - Coach Frans Ludeke made five changes to the Cats team to play the Highlanders on Saturday. Most of the changes are forced by injuries. The Cats are winless on their overseas tour, and desperately need a win or points from this game. The full team is:
Conrad Jantjes, Wylie Human, Jaque Fourie, Wayne Julies, Grant Esterhuizen,  Earl Rose, Jano Vermaak, Cobus Grobbelaar, Wikus van Heerden (c), Gerhard Vosloo, Willem Stoltz, Gordon Gilfillan, Marius Hurter, Delarey du Preez, Pietman van Nikerk.
Reserves: Lukas van Biljon, Lawrence Sephaka, Alten Hulme, Ernst Joubert, Dave von Hoeselin, Doppies la Grange, Tiaan Snyman.


 Cats suffer another heavy loss
March 17, 2006 - On Friday the Crusaders beat the Cats 43-15 in Christchurch, this after the score was 12-12 at the break. The Crusaders scored six tries in the match, three of them in the last 15 minutes of the game, and they remain unbeaten in this year's competition, while the Cats have only had a single win against the Chiefs a month ago, and remain at position 13 on the log.


 Cats change seven for Crusaders
March 15, 2006 - Coach Frans Ludeke made seven changes to the side that lost 50-3 against the Waratahs last Friday. Conrad Jantjes makes his return at Fullback after injury, and there will also be a totally new front row to face the mighty Crusaders. The full team is: Conrad Jantjes; Wylie Human, Jaque Fourie, Doppies la Grange, Jorrie Muller; Earl Rose, Enrico Januarie; Cobus Grobbelaar, Wikus van Heerden(c), Gerhard Vosloo, Willem Stoltz, KleinJan Tromp, DaniŽl Muller, Delarey du Preez, Pietman van Niekerk. Reserves: Lukas van Biljon, Lawrence Sephaka, Gordon Gilfillan, Ernst Joubert, Jano Vermaak, Wayne Julies, Tiaan Snyman.


 Cats lose another
March 10, 2006 - The Cats went down 50-3 against the Waratahs on Friday, making it three losses in a row on the road. Next up they play the log leaders and last year's champions, the Crusaders, and they need some points to move away from the 13th position that they currently occupy on the log.  


 Tickets now available
March 8, 2006 - Tickets for the match between the Springboks and a World XV at Ellis Park on 3 June 2006 will be available from the ticket office at the stadium from 9 March. Prices are R250 and R300 per ticket. Players confirmed for the World XV are Carlos Spencer, Thomas Castignede, Justin Marshall and Bruce Reihana, while Bob Dwyer has been appointed to coach the team. The last time a World XV played in South Africa was in 1989.
Also on Wednesday coach Frans Ludeke named the Cats side to play the Waratahs on Friday. The team shows eight changes (three positional) from the one that lost to the Brumbies. The full team is:
Jorrie Muller, Wylie Human, Jaque Fourie, Doppies la Grange, Grant Esterhuizen, Earl Rose, Enrico Januarie, Ernst Joubert, Wikus van Heerden (Capt), Cobus Grobbelaar, Willem Stoltz, Trevor Hall, Marius Hurter, Lukas van Biljon, Lawrence Sephaka.
Reserves: Delarey du Preez, Daniel Muller, Kleinjan Tromp, Gerhard Vosloo, Jano Vermaak, Tiaan Snyman, Wayne Julies.  


 Brumbies too good for Cats
March 3, 2006 - The Brumbies beat the Cats 28-7 on Friday in Canberra, this after leading 25-0 at half time. The Brumbies scored three tries, all in the first half, to one from the Cats. The Cats still find themselves lowest placed of the South African teams on the Super 14 log, which means that they are currently leading contenders to be relegated. It's of great importance for them to either get a bonus point or two, or even win some of the remaining three games of their overseas tour.  


 Cats change one for Brumbies
March 2, 2006 - Coach Frans Ludeke made one change to the team that lost to top-of-the-log Hurricanes last Friday. Doppies la Grange comes in for Wayne Julies at inside centre. The situation for the Cats is becoming a bit desperate, at the moment they are at the bottom of the South African teams, and likely relegation candidates, and an away win will be a great boost to them.
The full team is: Earl Rose, Wylie Human, Grant Esterhuizen, Jaque Fourie, Tiaan Snyman, Enrico Januarie, Ernst Joubert, Wikus van Heerden (Capt), Gerhard Vosloo, Willem Stoltz, Trevor Hall, Daniel Muller, Lukas van Biljon, Pietman van Niekerk. Reserves: Delarey du Preez, Lawrence Sephaka, KleinJan Tromp, Cobus Grobbelaar,  Jano Vermaak, Wayne Julies, Jorrie Muller.


 Cats lack of concentration cost them
February 24, 2006 - The Cats lost 29-16 to the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday, not really a surprise as most people thought that they would lose, and lose well. In the end they did very well, and if it wasn't for a couple of lapses in concentration, might have stolen a bonus point or even a win from the game. They conceded two tries in the last 3 minutes before half time, and another in the 80th minute of the game, which also made sure that they take no points from the game.


 Hoskins elected as new SARU president
February 24, 2006 - Oregan Hoskins was elected as new SARU president in Cape Town on Friday, defeating Brian van Rooyen in a vote at the AGM. He will head up SARU for the next two years. Van Rooyen's presidency was quite controversial, and it would have been surprising if he survived the election. It would be interesting to see what happens with his close supporters in the immediate future. Van Rooyen was no doubt a better president than his predecessor, Silas Nkanunu, who couldn't even pronounce some of the Springboks names when he had to read out the team at press conferences, but it was a bit of a problem that he then got accused of doing the same things that he accused Louis Luyt of some years ago...


 Cats change two for Hurricanes game
February 22, 2006 - The Cats made two changes to the team that beat the Chiefs last Friday. Wylie Human comes in for the injured Ashwin Willemse, and Gerhard Vosloo comes in for Cobus Grobbelaar. Vosloo is a strong and exciting player, and it's great to see that he will get some game time, but Grobbelaar is also one of the stalwarts, and he is obviously being rested for this game.
The full team is: Earl Rose, Wylie Human, Grant Esterhuizen, Wayne Julies, Jaque Fourie, Tiaan Snyman, Enrico Januarie, Ernst Joubert, Wikus van Heerden (Capt), Gerhard Vosloo, Willem Stoltz, Trevor Hall, Daniel Muller, Lukas van Biljon, Pietman van Niekerk. Reserves: Delarey du Preez, Lawrence Sephaka, KleinJan Tromp, Cobus Grobbelaar,  Jano Vermaak, Doppies la Grange, Jorrie Muller.


 Cats in spectacular win over the Chiefs
February 17, 2006 - The Cats managed to beat the Chiefs 21-16 at Ellis Park on Friday, this after trailing 9-16 at half time. Pictured on the left is a happy Cats captain, Wikus van Heerden, at the post match press conference. Willem Stoltz was red carded for kicking an opponent just before half time, which meant that the Cats played the rest of the game with 14 players, making the come-back victory even more remarkable. The Cats leave for New Zealand on Monday, and this win could just be what they needed to give them confidence for the 5 away games. Read my match report here.


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