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All the best for the new year!
Dec 31, 2009 - I want to wish all the loyal visitors to www.lionsworld.co.za all the best for 2010. May it be a year of gigantic success for all of us, including our beloved rugby team!

The website had a spectacular year, we came close to a million hits just for the year, missing it by about 40k. Every year sees growth, so I'm confident that we will reach that milestone in 2010!

Looking forward: The Super 14 kicks off in February, and our first match is against the Stormers, so hopefully we can kick this one off with a great victory over the Bergbokke!

The Currie Cup kicks off again in June, and hopefully we will see a huge improvement from our 6th place in the 2009 season.

Please come and join the site's forum if you haven't done so already, we chat rugby all the time, so to come and join us, click here  


  
 
Bruce Thorne killed in car crash
December 24, 2009 - It's been reported in the media that ex-Lions player, Bruce Thorne, was killed in a car crash.

Thorne played Lock and Flanker for the Lions from 1996 to 2000, and was in the starting XV at Lock in the Currie Cup final against the Sharks in 1999 that the Lions won, the last time that the Lions managed to win the Currie Cup.

His wife and one-year-old son reportedly survived the crash.

Thorne played in 83 matches for the Lions, in which he scored 5 tries and a conversion for 27 career points. He was 37.





 
Lions start training for Super 14
November 4, 2009 - The Lions started training for the 2010 Super 14 this week after a three week break. The players reassembled on Monday where they were adressed by GLRU president Kevin de Klerk, and newly appointed Director of Rugby, Dick Muir, and then the hard work started.

The players in the training squad are:
Forwards:
JC Janse van Rensburg, Kevin Buys, Wayne Swart, Lawrence Sephaka, Ross Geldenhuys, Charl du Plessis, Hans van Dyk, Derek Harwood, Nico Luus, Wouter Moore, Franco van der Merwe, Jannes Labuschagne, Jacques Lombaard, Jeffrey Taljaard, Willem Alberts, Cobus Grobbelaar, Jonathan Mokuena, Derick Minnie, Johan van Deventer, Robert Kruger, Danie Crous, Thulip Marole, Warren Whiteley, Justin Wheeler, Stephan Kruger, Mina Nassif.

Backs:
Alec Kok, Chris Jonck, Herkie Kruger, Ruan Boshoff, Divan Kotze, Jody Rose, Allistair Siegelaar, Dusty Noble, Michael Killian, Henno Mentz, Johan Jackson, Wigan Pekeur, Jannie Boshoff, Justin St Jerry, Pieter Engelbrecht, Alwyn Hollenbach, Doppies la Grange, Rouan Cloete, Shandre Frolick, Warren van Rooyen, Walter Venter, Marius Delport, Deon van Rensburg, Burton Francis.
Leopards called up:
Draad Linde, Ligtoring Landman, Thabo Momojela.

Pumas called up:
Marius Coetzer, Hannes Franklin

Earl Rose and Heinke van der Merwe are on Bok duty and will join the squad in December.

The following players are still injured:
Louis Ludik (3 months)
Jano Vermaak (2/3 months)
Earl Lewis (2/3 weeks)
Gert Muller (6/8 weeks)
Tonderai Chavhanga (3/4 weeks)
Johan Snyman (3/4 months)





 
Muir signs three year contract
October 17, 2009 - The Golden Lions Rugby Union, has this morning (Saturday, 17 October 2009) appointed a new Director of Coaching, after lengthy board discussions were held on Friday afternoon and evening.

Dick Muir, former Sharks coach, and current Springbok Backline Coach has been appointed the Director of Coaching for a three year term, beginning on Monday, 2 November 2009 when the Auto & General Super 14 Lions squad begin training ahead of the 2010 Vodacom Super 14.

Muir, a former Sharks and Springbok player made his international Test debut for the Springboks in 1997. In the same year, Muir was an SA Rugby Player of the Year nominee. Since his playing days came to an end, Muir has been very involved in coaching, and was Head Coach of the Sharks team that made the final of the Super 14 in 2007.

Following his time at the Sharks, Muir was appointed as the Assistant and Backline Coach for the Springboks in 2008, and Coach of the Emerging Springboks in 2009. Earlier this year, the first Investec International Rugby Academy in South Africa was launched, which was led by Muir.

Muir was a part of the coaching staff that saw the Springboks clinch the 2009 British & Irish Lions Tour victory as well as the Tri-Nations trophy.

"We are honoured to have a coach of Muir's knowledge, experience and caliber joining the Golden Lions Rugby Union", GLRU CEO Manie Reyneke said. "We are very fortunate with the quality of applications we received, each of which had their own dynamic expertise and passion for the game of rugby, but at the end of the day, the board felt that Muir emerged as the candidate best suited to coaching the team".

Muir will continue with his involvement with SA Rugby and will remain as their Assistant and Backline Coach while taking over the role of Director of Coaching at the GLRU.

"We've seen some big changes at the Union over the past year, and we are convinced that with the appointment of Muir, this is just one more change and step in the right direction", Reyneke concluded.



 
Dick Muir to coach Lions?
October 17, 2009 - Unconfirmed reports on the internet seem to suggest that Dick Muir got the nod to be appointed as the Director of Rugby at the Lions, and that the Lions are just waiting for Muir to accept their offer before they announce the news.

The candidates on the shortlist were interviewed on Friday and it seems that Muir emerged as the top candidate, beating other applicants like Heyneke Meyer and Allister Coetzee.

CEO Manie Reyneke said on Saturday morning that this is speculation as nothing has been announced and that these websites does not know what's going on.



 
Lions sign Mokuena
October 12, 2009 - The Golden Lions Rugby Union has confirmed that they have signed Jonathan Mokuena to join the team from 1 November 2009 ahead of the 2010 Vodacom Super 14.

Mokuena has played for the Leopards, Cheetahs and was captain of the Griquas up until his signing with the GLRU.

The GLRU are thrilled to have the former SA 7's Captain and member of the Emerging Boks who played the British & Irish Lions recently joining their camp.

"Mokuena has a definite energy, and we cannot wait for him to join our squad. There is little doubt that this leader will bring new dynamics to the team and be an inspiration to his teammates", GLRU CEO Manie Reyneke said.



 
Lions finish season on a high
October 10, 2009 - The Lions finished their season on a high on Saturday when they beat Western Province 27-25 at Ellis Park. Both teams scored three tries, and in the second half the lead changed a number of times until Chris Jonck kicked a penalty with seven minutes to go that sealed the match for the Lions.

The players did a lap of honour after the match, and the crowd cheered them on, obviously happy with the effort to beat the team that was leading the competition before this weekend.

Chris Jonck was also named man of the match, and WP messed up their season quite badly with this loss, as they now have to play the Blue Bulls at home in their semi-final, a match that the Blue Bulls could definitely win.



 
Lions change one for WP clash
October 8, 2009 - The Lions made one change to the side to face Western Province on Saturday, Dusty Noble has recovered from injury and is back at Right Wing, with Killian moving down to the bench in the place of Pieter Engelbrecht. Noble has had a great season in the Currie Cup, by far his best season since joining the Lions, and will hopefully be able to take that form through to the Super 14 next season.

The side played really well against the Sharks last week, and surprised many people including myself when they lost by just two points to a star-studded Sharks side. WP is a weaker side and we are at home, so if the guys can repeat that great effort, we might just be able to klap the Bergbokke!

The full team is: Earl Rose, Dusty Noble, Jannie Boshoff, Doppies la Grange, Johan Jackson, Herkie Kruger, Chris Jonck, Willem Alberts, Derick Minnie, Cobus Grobbelaar(c), Franco van der Merwe, Nico Luus, Kevin Buys, Hans van Dyk, JC Janse van Rensburg.
Reserves: Torrie Meyer, Wayne Swart, Willem Stoltz, Todd Clever, Ruan Boshoff, Walter Venter, Michael Killian.



 
Francis to cure Lions Flyhalf headache?
October 8, 2009 - The Blue Bulls released a statement today saying that they have agreed to release Flyhalf Burton Francis from his contract as he has signed a deal with the Lions. The Lions have not yet confirmed this, but from the Blue Bulls press release it can be gathered that it is a done deal.

Francis was born on 2 January 1987, which makes him 22, and he is 1.84m and weighs 85, not a bad size for a Flyhalf. He represented Boland at school level in 2004, and then also made the SA Schools B side in 2005, then he joined the Leopards acadamy and represented the Leopards at the Craven Week in 2005 and at under 19 level in the same year. In 2006 the Bulls signed him and he has been with them since at U/19, U/21, Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup and Super 14 level.

The Lions do have a number of Flyhalfs under contract, namely Herkie Kruger, Ruan Boshoff, Earl Rose, Jody Rose, Andre Smith and juniors like Divan Kotze, Elton Jantjies, Jaco Taute and Garth April. There is a rumour that the Rose brothers are wanted by Boland, and one will have to see if that happens or not. The problem is that none of the Flyhalfs made the number 10 jersey their own this Currie Cup season, and Francis will no doubt be towards the front of the queue, if not right at the front.

The first time I saw him play was in a Super 14 pre-season match against the Lions, and on that day he single-handedly beat us with a great performance as a kicking Flyhalf, and at that stage I thought that he might be a player that has the potential to go all the way.

I don't think he had such a great season this year, and perhaps getting more chances with the Lions might be what's needed for the player and the Lions.



 
Lions crash out of semi contention
October 3, 2009 - The Lions narrowly lost to the Sharks in Durban on Saturday, going down 19-17 after traling 16-11 at the break. Both teams managed to score only one try, the one from the Lions coming early in the first half by Chris Jonck. Willem Alberts was named man of the match, slightly unusual as he was from the losing side.

The loss means that the Lions are now out of the running for the semi-finals, and are likely to finish in 6th place, our worst performance since 1998, when we finished 8th.

What's also worrying are that there are rumours that as many as six of our players are having talks with the Sharks this weekend, not something we can afford, we should rather be gaining players than losing them.



 
Lions named for Sharks clash
October 1, 2009 - The Lions were forced to make a number of changes due to injuries to the team to face the Sharks in Durban on Saturday. Gert Muller had a shoulder operation on Wednesday and will be out for the rest of the year, while Dusty Noble and Alwyn Hollenbach were also injured in the win over Boland. Their places are taken by Kevin Buys, Michael Killian and Earl Rose respectively.

It's a crucial match for the Lions, one that they are certainly the underdogs for, but a loss will also mean the end of their chances to make the semi-finals, as that would then see them finish in 6th place on the log, their worst Currie Cup season since 1998, when they finished 8th.

When the two teams met in the first round, the Lions went down 30-19, even though both teams scored three tries. The match in Durban will be tougher, because the Lions are away from home and the Sharks have a number of Springboks that are back from International duty. The Sharks are also the team against which the Lions have the worst win ratio since 1991, winning only 44.19% of the time, or 19 out of the 43 matches they've played since 1991.

I'm predicting a biggish win for the Sharks, but I'm hoping that the Lions can surprise and do what they did in 2007 when no one gave them a chance and win in Durban against the favourites.

The full team for Saturday is: Earl Rose, Michael Killian, Jannie Boshoff, Doppies La Grange, Johan Jackson, Herkie Kruger, Chris Jonck, Willem Alberts, Derick Minnie, Cobus Grobbelaar(c), Franco van der Merwe, Nico Luus, Kevin Buys, Hans Van Dyk, JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: Torrie Meyer, Wayne Swart, Willem Stoltz, Todd Clever, Ruan Boshoff, Walter Venter, Pieter Engelbrecht.



 
Lions crush Boland
September 26, 2009 - The Lions finally delivered one of their better perfomances of the season on Saturday, crushing Boland 88-15 at Ellis Park, scoring 13 tries to 2, but the match wasn't televised and a small crowd of only 3200 showed up to watch the match, so sadly most Lions fans would have missed this display.

Doppies la Grange was named man of the match, and the scorers for the Lions were:
Tries: Alwyn Hollenbach, Chris Jonck, Cobus Grobbelaar(2), Derick Minnie, Doppies la Grange, Dusty Noble, Gert Muller (His first try for the Lions!), Walter Venter(2), Willem Alberts(2), Willem Stoltz.
Penalties: Herkie Kruger.
Conversions: Herkie Kruger(8), Earl Rose(2)



 
Lions pick schoolboy for Boland clash
September 23, 2009 - The Lions surprised on Wednesday when they named Monument High school pupil Jaco Taute on the bench for Saturday's match at Ellis Park against Boland.

Taute made the Lions Craven Week side this year, and has been training with the Lions squad for a few weeks now, and with the Lions out of the running for the semis and taking into account that we should beat Boland, the schoolboy is given a chance on the bench and will probably get at least 20 minutes in his Currie Cup debut for the Lions.

The full team is:
Alwyn Hollenbach, Dusty Noble, Jannie Boshoff, Doppies la Grange, Johan Jackson, Herkie Kruger, Chris Jonck, Willem Alberts, Derick Minnie, Cobus Grobbelaar(c), Franco van der Merwe, Willem Stoltz, Gert Muller, Hans van Dyk, JC Janse van Rensburg.
Reserves: Derek Harwood, Kevin Buys, Nico Luus, Todd Clever, Earl Rose, Walter Venter, Jaco Taute



 
Chavhanga Signs for Lions
September 23, 2009 - Tonderai Chavhanga has signed a two year contract with the Golden Lions Rugby Union. Chavhanga will join the Johannesburg based team at the end of the 2009 Absa Currie Cup, and will begin playing in the 2010 Vodacom Super 14.

The Golden Lions Rugby Union is thrilled with the new signing, and CEO Manie Reyneke has said "he will definitely be an asset to the Union".

This Zimbabwean born speedster possesses electrifying speed and the ability to score from virtually anywhere on the field. It is due to this speed and ability that he holds the Springbok record for the most tries scored in a Test match (6 tries scored against Uruguay in 2005).

Chavhanga joins the Golden Lions Rugby Union from Western Province as a wing.

The Golden Lions Rugby Union is honored to have Chavhanga joining the camp, and is looking forward to some dynamic game breaking play from this 26 year old.



 
Griquas end Lions semi-final hopes
September 21, 2009 - The Lions suffered their second loss this season to Griquas on Saturday, going down 36-31 in Kimberley, and effectively ending the semi-final hopes that we might have had.

The Lions now look set to finish 6th in the 2009 Currie Cup, the first time since 2006 that we miss the semi-finals, and our worst log position since 1998, when we had a terrible season and ended 8th, so yes, this seems to be our worst Currie Cup season in 11 years.

This simply is just not good enough. I have to question the approach that we took in the Currie Cup, it looks like we were never serious about competing in the competition, and that we just used it to build for the 2010 Super 14, which starts in five months time. This would have been okay if we saw any progress, but we saw the selectors chopping and changing from week to week, never seeming to settle on what you can assume is the best starting XV.

We simply can not go into the Super 14 with the current setup, if this setup sees us finish 6th in the Currie Cup, the same setup is sure to see us finish 14th in the Super 14. And all the time the team is losing support, as people don't care to come and watch a losing side.

The future also doesn't look too bright, as both our under 21's and under 19's look like they will also not play in their semi-finals.



 
Lions change six for Griquas clash
September 18, 2009 - The Lions made six changes to the side to play Griquas in Kimberley this Saturday. Most notably, captain Cobus Grobbelaar is back after taking a few weeks off with a bruised shoulder.

It's a crucial match for the Lions, as a loss would almost certainly end their hopes of reaching the semi-finals, and that would be the first time since 2006 that a currie cup season ends in failure to reach the semis.

When the two teams met in the first round, the Lions suffered a shock defeat, with Griquas taking the match 23-19, the first time since my records going back to 1991 that Griquas managed to get a victory over the Lions at Ellis Park. This will give Griquas much hope for a win in Kimberley, as the Lions struggle there, having lost 7 times there since 1991.

In the 26 matches that the two teams have played since 1991, the Lions won 18 and Griquas won 8, giving the Lions a 69.2% win ratio. I'm predicting a close win for Griquas, they managed to beat us at Ellis Park, and this should give them enough confidence to do the double over us. Unfortunately if this happens, it will also be the end of our semi-final hopes.

The team for Saturday: Earl Rose, Dusty Noble, Alwyn Hollenbach, Doppies La Grange, Johan Jackson, Herkie Kruger, Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts, Franco van der Merwe, Cobus Grobbelaar(c), Willem Stoltz, Nico Luus, Gert Muller, Hans Van Dyk, JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: Derek Harwood, Kevin Buys, Wouter Moore, Derick Minnie, Chris Jonck, Walter Venter, Pieter Engelbrecht.



 
Lions collect five points against Leopards
September 14, 2009 - The Lions did what they had to and beat the Leopards 31-13 on Friday at Ellis Park to collect five log points to keep their chances in the Currie Cup alive.

The halftime score was 24-6, so it was a bit worrying that the Lions only managed to score 7 points in the second half, but the four tries in the first half made sure that the Lions got the bonus point from the match.

Willem Alberts, who was standing in as captain in the absence of Cobus Grobbelaar, was also named as man of the match.

The scorers were:
Lions:
Tries: Derick Minnie, Dusty Noble, Jano Vermaak, Ruan Boshoff, Willem Alberts
Conversions: Ruan Boshoff(3)
Leopards:
Tries: Basil de Doncker
Conversions: Cecil Dumond
Penalties: Cecil Dumond(2)




 
Lions change seven for Leopards clash
September 8, 2009 - The Lions made no fewer than seven changes for the match against the Leopards that will take place at 19:10 at Ellis Park this Friday.

It is certainly risky to make so many changes, and one would have hoped that the selectors would have learnt this by now as they made a lot of changes earlier in the campaign and in those matches the team either struggled or lost, and in my opinion we should pick the strongest team at this late stage in the competition with only five matches remaining.

Earl Rose is back at Fullback in the place of Earl Lewis, who is out injured. It will be interesting to see if Rose benefitted from the two match "rest" he enjoyed, hopefully the player comes back better from the experience. Ruan Boshoff also gets a start at Flyhalf, while Walter Venter and Chris Jonck make welcome returns to the bench.

The full team is: Earl Rose, Dusty Noble, Alwyn Hollenbach, Doppies La Grange, Johan Jackson, Ruan Boshoff, Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts (c), Todd Clever, Derick Minnie, Franco Van der Merwe, Nico Luus, Kevin Buys, Hans Van Dyk, Wayne Swart Replacements: Derek Harwood, Gert Muller, Johan Snyman, Johan Van Deventer, Chris Jonck, Walter Venter, Pieter Engelbrecht



 
Lions come up short in Bloemfontein
September 7, 2009 - The Lions were beaten 20-16 by the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein, after trailing 13-6 at the break.

The Lions now find themselves in the 6th spot on the log, and a full five points behind the Blue Bulls who are 4th.

Our last five fixtures are Leopards(H), Griquas(A), Boland(H), Sharks(A), WP(H). On current form we can expect two or three wins at most from the last five macthes, which is unlikely to see us make the top four places and earn a semi-final spot. The last time that we failed to make the semi-finals, was in 2006, so this will pose some serious questions, are we going forward or backwards with all the changes at the union?



 
Lions forced to change two for Cheetahs Clash
September 3, 2009 - The Lions were forced to make two changes to the side that beat the Blue Bulls last Saturday due to Cobus Grobbelaar still struggling with a shoulder injury, and because Willem Stoltz was suspended for one match after being found guilty of clearing illegally at a ruck in the match against the Blue Bulls.

Their places are taken by Derick Minnie and Johan Snyman respectively, while Johan van Deventer and Wouter Moore will be on the bench in their place.

Willem Alberts will captain the side for the second time in his career at the Lions.

The Lions find the Cheetahs the second hardest to beat of all the South African teams. Our win ratio against them since 1991 is 46%, just 18 victories in 39 matches. When the two teams met in the first round at Ellis Park in July, the Cheetahs started well and had a big lead of 19-0 at one stage, when the Lions started an amazing fightback and eventually ran out 31-22 winners. Before that match, the Cheetahs won the previous 5 encounters. You have to go back four years to September 2005 for the last Lions victory in Bloemfontein, but it's also not like we can't win there, as we've had seven Bloemfontein wins since 1991.

The team for Saturday: 15 Earl Lewis, 14 Dusty Noble, 13 Alwyn Hollenbach, 12 Pieter Engelbrecht, 11 Johan Jackson, 10 Herkie Kruger, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Willem Alberts(c), 7 Franco van der Merwe, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 Nico Luus, 3 Gert Muller, 2 Hans Van Dyk, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Reserves: 16 Derek Harwood, 17 Kevin Buys, 18 Wouter Moore, 19 Todd Clever, 20 Johan van Deventer, 21 Doppies la Grange, 22 Ruan Boshoff



 
Lions beat Blue Bulls to stay in hunt
August 29, 2009 - The Lions beat the Blue Bulls 20-13 at Ellis Park on Saturday, earning four valuable log points to stay in the hunt for a semi-final spot.

The Lions scored two tries to the one from the Blue Bulls, and Franco van der Merwe was named as man of the match, great for Franco as he always gives 150% and isn't always recognised for the important role he plays in the side.

The Lions defense is probably what won them the game, as the Blue Bulls only scored their first points 57 minutes into the game. Luck also played a role, as the second try of the Lions came from a good bounce of the ball for the Lions and some poor defense from the Blue Bulls.

The Lions are still 6th on the log, but only 4 points behing Griquas in 4th place.



 
Lions change five for Blue Bulls clash
August 27, 2009 - Lions Coach Hans Coetzee made five changes to the side that went down 25-20 to Western Province last Saturday.

The big news is that Earl Rose finally gets a rest after a host of poor performances. His namesake, Earl Lewis, the UJ and under 21 Fullback, gets a chance to show what he is made of in what will be his debut for the senior side.

In the other changes Pieter Engelbrecht will start at Inside Centre in the place of Doppies la Grange, Johan Jackson at Left Wing for Henno Mentz, Willem Alberts at Number Eight in place of Todd Clever, and Cobus Grobbelaar back at Flank in the place of Derick Minnie.

The team for Saturday: 15 Earl Lewis, 14 Dusty Noble, 13 Alwyn Hollenbach, 12 Pieter Engelbrecht, 11 Johan Jackson, 10 Herkie Kruger, 9 Jano Vermaak(c), 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Franco van der Merwe, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar(c), 5 Willem Stoltz, 4 Nico Luus, 3 Gert Muller, 2 Hans Van Dyk, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Reserves: 16 Derek Harwood, 17 Kevin Buys, 18 Johan Snyman, 19 Todd Clever, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Doppies la Grange, 22 Ruan Boshoff

 
Lions go down at Newlands
August 22, 2009 - As expected and predicted, the Lions went down at Newlands on Saturday, losing 25-20 to WP, but admittedly doing better than what I expected.

The Lions were kept in the match by the boot of Herkie Kruger, who kicked 5 penalties for 15 points, the other points coming from a try by first-time captain Jano Vermaak.

Earl Rose again made a few blunders in the match, and questions will have to be asked why the Lions don't "rest" him for a while. He was by no means the only Lions player that made mistakes, and it will be interesting to see if the Lions persist with their policy not to change a losing side.

The Lions now find themselves in 5th spot on the log, with only the three teams that they managed to beat below them. They will have to do much, much better in the second half of the competition to get into contention for the playoffs.

 
Injuries force two changes for WP clash
August 20, 2009 - The Lions "brains trust" (not sure if this includes Jake White's winning ways or not) decided earlier this week to come up with a new rugby strategy, that is not to change a losing side.

They decided that even though we lost 30-19 to the Sharks last weekend, we don't have to change the recipe....

Perhaps you’ve heard Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: Doing the same things over and over but expecting different results. With no malice intended, apparently we’ve got a lot of insane people out there. But the truth is that nothing changes if nothing changes.

The "brains trust" then received a curve ball when Cobus Grobbelaar and Willem Alberts were forced out with injury, Cobus with a sore shoulder and Alberts with an Achilles heel injury. This allowed Derick Minnie and Todd Clever to be named as changes in the starting line-up, but one would have thought that Minnie would have forced his way into the side after a spectacular performance off the bench against the Sharks, without having to rely on injuries to force the change.

With both loosies from last week's bench starting, the union was also forced to name Johan van Deventer on the bench, after he was initially named in the under 21 side. Jake White used to say that you don't need a specialised fetcher in the side, and I wonder if it's not his influence that keeps Van Deventer in the under 21 side, instead of starting for the senior side. Potentially Van Deventer can do for us what Brussouw does for the Springboks, but it's not going to happen if he's not given a chance.

It's good to see that Chris Jonck is on the bench to cover Scrumhalf, I can't believe that we take the risk not to have a specialised Scrummie in case of injury to Jano Vermaak, and this after Vermaak was concussed against the Leopards just a few weeks ago.

I'm also wondering why Walter Venter, man of the match against the Cheetahs and scorer of two tries against the Leopards the next weekend, isn't in the match 22 now that he has recovered from the Swine flu.

The full team and match report is here and you can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.


 
Lions outclassed by Sharks
August 15, 2009 - The Lions were outclassed in their match against the Sharks at Ellis park on Saturday, going down 30-19.

The Lions had another slow start in the match, trailing 17-0 at the break, and then couldn't get back into the game, although they managed to score three tries in the second half, the same number the Sharks scored in the match. The effort from the Sharks in the first half was enough for them to secure the victory and take four points from the match, leaving the Lions with nothing.

Derick Minnie impressed with a few strong runs in the second half, and he was probably the best Lions player on the field. The Lions struggled to open their account, and scored their first points in the 71st minute, and then scoring 19 in that last nine minutes, but unfortunately a rugby match is 80 minutes.

The full team and match report is here and you can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.


 
Lions confirm they have valid contract with Fourie
August 14, 2009 - The Lions issued a press release on Friday to confirm that they have a valid contract with Jaque Fourie and that they expect him to honour it.

The release reads: "The Golden Lions Rugby Union confirms that it has a fixed term contract of employment with Jaque Fourie until 31 October 2010.

The GLRU is not releasing Jaque Fourie from his contract and is looking forward to his return from the Springbok squad, joining the Xerox Lions for the latter part of the Currie Cup season.

Parties to a contract should respect and honor the obligations contained within a contract in order to preserve the principle of contractual stability.

The GLRU confirms that until today they have not received any request from Western Province to enter into negotiations with Jaque Fourie. In terms of SARU and the International Rugby Boards (IRB) regulations, it is expressly prohibited to induce or attempt to induce any contract player who has a written agreement with a Union, unless the prior written consent of that Union has been obtained.

Western Province is therefore inducing a breach of contract. The GLRU believes that rugby contracts between Unions and players must be honored and respected. There should be no tolerance when it comes to contractual breaches, whether by other Unions or the player."

You can discuss this with us on the forum over here.


 
Lions change three for Sharks clash
August 13, 2009 - The Lions made three changes to the side that faces the Sharks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The team struggled to beat Boland in Wellington last weekend, and one can only hope that the three changes are what's needed to insipre the team to victory over the Sharks.

The Sharks are not used to winning at Ellis Park, having last won there in a Currie Cup match in 1996 before their victory in last year's match.

The changes are Dusty Noble for Shandre Frolick on the wing, Herkie Kruger for Ruan Boshoff at Flyhalf, and Willem Stoltz for Johan Snyman at Lock.

The full team and match report is here and you can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.


 
Lions in unconvincing win over Boland
August 9, 2009 - The Lions beat Boland 19-13 in Wellington on Friday, after leading 7-6 at the break.

Henno Mentz scored the only try for the Lions, while Boland was awarded a penalty try in the second half after a dangerous tackle by the Lions.

The Lions have made a number of changes to the starting XV in the last three matches, giving the impression that the coach was still experimenting and perhaps also giving all the players in the squad a chance to prove themselves, but now the next match is against the Sharks, and the Lions have been unconvincing in their past three matches, and this against the three teams that are regarded as the smaller unions in the competition.

From here I believe the coach should pick his best XV to start, unless we want to suffer more embarresssment in the season.



The match report is here and you can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.


 
Doppies back for Boland clash
August 5, 2009 - Doppies la Grange was named as one of six changes to the Lions side to play Boland in Wellington on Friday.

Walter Venter is still out with flu, and Doppies is a more than able replacement at Inside Centre. He replaces Rouan Cloete, who didn't do badly against Griquas, but he was yellow-carded for a late charge in the match.

The other changes are: Shandre Frolick for Dusty Noble at Right Wing, Henno Mentz for Johan Jackson on the Left Wing, Ruan Boshoff at Flyhalf for Herkie Kruger, Jano Vermaak for Chris Jonck at Scrumhalf, and Johan Snyman for Willem Stoltz at Lock.

It will be interesting to see how Boshoff does at Flyhalf, as it seems as if the Lions are still not decided about who their number one Flyhalf is.

The Lions and Boland have met each other in fourteen matches since 1991, with the Lions winning in thirteen of them, and only slipping up in a Currie Cup match played in Wellington in July 2000, nine years ago, when they went down 46-30.



The match report is here and you can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.


 
Lions go down fighting
July 31, 2009 - The Lions lost 23-19 to Griquas at Ellis Park on Friday, this after trailing 20-7 at the break.

The Lions struggled in the first half of the match while Griquas looked impressive and looking like they believed that they could down the Lions.

The Lions played much better in the second half, but just couldn't manage to pull the match out of the fire, and with Griquas just scoring three points in the second half, it was still enough for the win.

Barry Geel and Naas Olivier scored tries for Griquas, while the rest of their points came from two conversions and two penalties by Naas Olivier, and a penalty by Riaan Viljoen. Alwyn Hollenbach scored the only try by the Lions, their other points coming from four penalties and a conversion by Herkie Kruger.

Willem Alberts finished strong in the second half, putting in many strong runs with the ball, while Dusty Noble stood out in the first half.

The match report is here and you can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.


 
Double blow for the Lions
July 30, 2009 - Just a day after Jano Vermaak was ruled out of the Griquas match, the Lions received another blow when it was learned that Walter Venter is ill with flu and will not be able to play on Friday.

Venter has been one of the stars for the Lions in the first three Currie Cup matches, scoring three tries and keeping the opponents honest with his tackling.

Rouan Cloete will move up from the bench to take Venter's place, while Ruan Boshoff will take Cloete's place on the bench.



 
Vermaak ruled out of Griquas clash
July 29, 2009 - The Lions suffered a setback on Wednesday when they received the news that Jano Vermaak was ruled out of the match against Griquas this Friday.

Vermaak was on the receiving end of a swinging arm tackle against the Leopards on Saturday, and suffered mild concussion as a result.

This means that Chris Jonck will start at Scrumhalf against Griquas, while Straatkat van Zyl will be the Scrumhalf on the bench.

Jonck is a very able Scrumhalf and will no doubt jump at the opportunity to get a start for the Lions, while Straatkat also had a good run for the Vodacom Cup side earlier in the year.

In total the team sees nine changes from the one that struggled to put the Leopards away.

The changes are: Earl Rose for Alwyn Hollenbach at Fullback, Hollenbach moves to Outside Centre in place of Rouan Cloete, Johan Jackson comes in at Left Wing for Henno Mentz, Herkie Kruger is back at Flyhalf in place of Rose, Chris Jonck starts at Scrumhalf for the injures Vermaak, Cobus Grobbelaar is back at Flank in the place of Derick Minnie, Nico Luus comes in at Lock for Johan Snyman, Gert Muller starts at Tighthead in place of Kevin Buys, and JC Janse van Rensburg is back at Loosehead in place of Wayne Swart.

The full team is: Earl Rose, Dusty Noble, Alwyn Hollenbach, Walter Venter, Johan Jackson, Herkie Kruger, Chris Jonck, Willem Alberts, Franco van der Merwe, Cobus Grobbelaar, Willem Stoltz, Nico Luus, Gert Muller, Hans van Dyk, JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: Derek Harwood, Kevin Buys, Johan Snyman, Derick Minnie, Freddie van Zyl, Rouan Cloete, Henno Mentz.


The match report is here and you can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.




 
Lions get victory and five points against Leopards
July 25, 2009 - The Lions beat the Leopards 40-19 in Rustenburg on Saturday, scoring 5 tries to 1 and earning the five log points they were after.

The Lions will be pretty relieved with the win, as the Leopards were still leading after ten minutes into the second half, mainly through the boot of Clayton Durand.

Leopards Inside Centre Japie Nel was red-carded with 20 minutes left in the match, and the score 18-16 in favour of the Lions, and this left the Lions with more space to attack and pull the match out of the fire, the Lions scoring three tries in the final twenty minutes.

It was certainly an unneccesary gamble to make eight changes for the match, as the Lions easily could have lost this match against a very determined Leopards side.

Luckily they managed to get the bonus point win and this sees the Lions second on the Currie Cup log, but facing a Griquas side that demolished Boland 80-7 on the weekend.

Hooker Hans van Dyk was named man of the match.

The scorers:
Lions:
Tries: Walter Venter(2), Hans van Dyk, Willem Alberts, Earl Rose
Conversions: Earl Rose, Herkie Kruger(2)
Penalties: Earl Rose, Herkie Kruger

Leopards:
Tries: Jovan Bowles
Conversions: Clayton Durand
Penalties: Clayton Durand(2)
Drop goals: Clayton Durand(2)


The match report is here and you can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.




 
Lions change 8 for Leopards clash
July 23, 2009 - Coach Hans Coetzee named a new-look side to play the Leopards in Rustenburg on Saturday, making eight changes to the team that defeated the Cheetahs last weekend.

The changes are Alwyn Hollenbach for Earl Rose at Fullback, Rouan Cloete for Hollenbach at Centre, Henno Mentz for Johan Jackson at Wing, Earl Rose for Herkie Kruger at Flyhalf, Derick Minnie for Cobus Grobbelaar at Flank, Johan Snyman for Nico Luus at Lock, Kevin Buys at Prop for Gert Muller, and Wayne Swart for JC Janse van Rensburg at Loosehead prop.

Willem Alberts will captain the side in the absence of regular captain Grobbelaar.

The full team is: Alwyn Hollenbach, Dusty Noble, Rouan Cloete, Walter Venter, Henno Mentz, Earl Rose, Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts (c), Franco van der Merwe, Derick Minnie, Willem Stoltz, Johan Snyman, Kevin Buys, Hans van Dyk, Wayne Swart. Replacements: Torrie Meyer, Ross Geldenhuys, Wouter Moore, Todd Clever, Chris Jonck, Herkie Kruger, Johan Jackson

The match report is here and you can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.




 
Boks change 8 for All Blacks
July 23, 2009 - Coach Peter de Villiers made no fewer than eight changes to the Springbok side to play the All Blacks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The changes are Frans Steyn for Zane Kirchner, JP Pietersen for Odwa Ndungane, Jean de Villiers for Wynand Olivier, Bryan Habana for Jongi Nokwe, Ruan Pienaar for Morne Steyn, Pierre Spies for Ryan Kankowski, Bakkies Botha for Johan Muller, and Bismarck du Plessis for Chiliboy Ralepelle.

A win for the Springboks will see them back at number one on the IRB World Ranking, where they currently occupy the 2nd place after New Zealand.



The full team is here and you can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.




 
Lions on top in cat-fight
July 18, 2009 - The Lions defeated the Cheetahs 31-22 at Ellispark on Saturday, but it wasn't as easy as the score suggests.

The Cheetahs started strong and scored 19 unanswered points, before the Lions started clawing their way back, and in the final minutes scored twice to snatch the match away from the Cheetahs.

The Cheetahs lead 19-13 at the break, and at that stage looked like they had the match in the bag. The Lions scored three tries in the match to the one from the Cheetahs, who got most of their points from the boot of Jacques-Louis Potgieter

Walter Venter was named man of the match.

You can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.




 
Lions unchanged for Cheetahs clash
July 16, 2009 - Coach Hans Coetzee named an unchanged Lions side on Thursday that will play the Cheetahs at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Both teams lost their matches in the first round, and will be desperate for a win on Saturday, as another loss will make it difficult to catch up with the other teams on the log.

The Cheetahs seem to be a difficult side for the Lions to beat, we last recorded a win over them in September 2006, and we have lost the last 5 matches against them since then.

Captain Cobus Grobbelaar was in doubt for the match, as he left the field early in the second half against the Blue Bulls with an ankle injury, but luckily he was cleared to play.

The full team is:
Earl Rose, Dusty Noble, Alwyn Hollenbach, Walter Venter, Johan Jackson, Herkie Kruger, Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts, Franco van der Merwe, Cobus Grobbelaar(c), Willem Stoltz, Nico Luus, Gert Muller, Hans van Dyk, JC Janse van Rensburg.

Replacements:
Derek Harwood, Kevin Buys, Derick Minnie, Robert Kruger, Chris Jonck, Pieter Engelbrecht, Michael Killian.

You can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.




 
Lions go down fighting at Loftus
July 13, 2009 - The Lions lost their Currie Cup opener at Loftus against the Blue Bulls on Saturday, going down 19-13 after they lead 13-0 at the break.

The Lions surprised with their gutsy start, and poor goal kicking by the Blue Bulls and a great try by Willem Alberts after the team showed great patience in attack saw the Lions 13-0 up at halftime, but then Cobus Grobbelaar was injured just minutes into the second half, and with no fetcher on the bench for the Lions, this meant quicker and more ball for the Blue Bulls, and they dominated the second half and managed to take the game away from the Lions.

Scorers:
Blue Bulls:
Tries: Gerhard van den Heever, Tiger Mangweni
Penalties: Francois Brummer(3)

Lions:
Tries: Willem Alberts
Penalties: Herkie Kruger(2)
Goal Kicks: Herkie Kruger

 
Lions to start Currie Cup campaign against Blue Bulls
July 10, 2009 - The Lions play their first match in the 2009 Currie Cup against the Blue Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.

The Lions lost quite a few players to overseas clubs at the end of the Super 14, and some supporters will probably feel a bit uncomfortable when they read the team sheet and realise that there are a lot of new players in the team.

The team gave a good account of themselves against the Griffons last Friday, and with the Blue Bulls missing a number of players who are on Springbok duty, there is no reason that we can't win this one.

Coach Hans Coetzee made three changes, all three in the backs, from the team that beat the Griffons 54-7 last Friday, with Earl Rose, Alwyn Hollenbach and Jano Vermaak coming in to the starting XV.

The full team is:
Earl Rose, Dusty Noble, Alwyn Hollenbach, Walter Venter, Johan Jackson, Herkie Kruger, Jano Vermaak, Willem Alberts, Franco van der Merwe, Cobus Grobbelaar(c), Willem Stoltz, Nico Luus, Kevin Buys, Hans van Dyk, JC Janse van Rensburg.

Replacements:
Derek Harwood, Gert Muller, Johan Snyman, Robert Kruger, Chris Jonck, Pieter Engelbrecht, Michael Killian.

You can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.


 
Win for Lions in Welkom
July 4, 2009 - The Lions recorded a 54-7 win over the Griffons in Friday's compulsory friendly in Welkom.

They lead 35-0 at the break, and coach Hans Coetzee will take heart from the fact that it was a comfortable win and that the players can take this forward into the clash with the Blue Bulls at Loftus on Saturday.

The Lions scored eight tries to the one from the Griffons, with the most shocking stat from the match the fact that only 200 people turned up to watch the match.

The scorers were:
Lions:
Tries: Dusty Noble(2), Franco van der Merwe(2), Johan Jackson(2), Johan Snyman, Michael Killian
Conversions: Herkie Kruger(6), Chris Jonck(1)

Griffons:
Tries: Werner Griesel
Conversions: Kennedy Tsimba


 

Ten changes for Boks
July 3, 2009 - Coach Peter de Villiers made no fewer than ten changes to the Springbok side to play the British and Irish Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

With Bakkies Botha and Schalk Burger suspended for foul play, their places are taken by Johann Muller and Heinrich Brussow. In the other eight changes, Zane Kirchner makes his debut at Fullback, Odwa Ndungane and Jongi Nokwe starts on the Wings, Jaque Fourie and Wynand Olivier at Centre, Morne Steyn at Flyhalf, Ryan Kankowski at Number Eight, and Chiliboy Ralepelle at Hooker.

The full team is here and you can discuss the match with us on the forum over here.



 

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