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Lions appoint new CEO
December 05, 2012 - The Lions took a positive step on Wednesday when they announced that they have appointed Manie Booysen as new CEO effective from January 2013.

I have been suggesting for months that the situation where the union operate with an acting CEO is not desireable and that we need to appoint a permanent CEO, even if it was to make the acting CEO permanent.

The union didn't specify the age of the new CEO, but from my own research it seems as if he is between 57 and 59 years old, where I would have liked to see a much younger candidate getting the nod.

It also appears that he hasn't got any experience as a rugby administrator, other than being described as a "fanatical rugby supporter".

His background is managing listed companies as well as national and multinational industry organisations, and he also holds a B.Comm degree and a National diploma and various managerial qualifications. The union was impressed with the fact that Booysen can bring a fresh perspective and insights, unhindered by stereotypical industry approaches.

One can only hope that the apparant lack of rugby administration experience will not be a hinderence to the new CEO, and that he will have the skill and know-how to bring new sponsors on board to solve the rumoured cash problems at the union.

Booysen said that he is “immensely honoured and proud to accept this role,” and also “The challenge now is to take this proud and renowned Union to a level that will do justice to our heritage and will leave a legacy of success and accomplishment beyond our lifetime. It is a challenge that I cannot wait to get stuck into. There is a lot of hard work to be done and it will take tremendous personal sacrifice from all involved. I am 100% ready.”






 
What is next for the Lions?
August 30, 2012 - Here we are, it's exactly two weeks since the Lions were voted out of Super Rugby and by now most fans would have accepted the shocking news and would have moved on to the next step, and that is asking: "How do we fix this?"

The reality is that the union will have to host it's own competition or exhibition matches running concurrently with the Super Rugby tournament, as this will be the only way to justify the money spent by suite owners and season ticket holders, as well as keeping current and future sponsors interested in the Lions, and also to keep our players happy to stay with the Lions.

The union conveyed this plan of action at a special briefing to suite owners and season ticket holders on 25 August at Ellis Park before the Currie Cup match against Western Province, and also undertook to report back on the progress within two weeks. They basically plan to host 12 matches at Ellis Park from February to July 2013 (my assumption), and the opposition will be European based clubs. I urge the season ticket holders and suite owners to keep on pressing the union to report back to them on the progress of this matter.

From what I can gather it sounds like the union is trying to plan these matches with the help of Saru, and this leaves me extremely concerned, as Saru is right in the middle of the Rugby Championship, which only ends in about five weeks time, on 6 October, and one has to question if they are in a position or have the necessary focus to assist the Lions with the arrangements of our 12 matches.

After the Rugby Championship there is also the end of year tour to Europe for the Boks, which basically takes up the whole of November. My feeling is that it would be risky for the Lions to depend too much on Saru for help with these arrangements, and that it can't hurt to take as much responsibility for them as possible. We can't drop the ball on this one, as we are fighting for the survival of the union, and can't afford any setbacks from here on.

Don't forget that we are also supposed to play two promotion/relegation matches against the bottom placed South African team next year to determine if we can replace this team in the 2014 Super Rugby competition, and these matches will have to be played somewhere in July/August 2013, and one also has to question if there are any Top 14 French sides or Aviva Premiership sides willing to risk injury to any one of their players for the sake of playing the Lions, so is this a fantasy and is SARU misleading the Lions again?

I had a meeting with GLRU president on Monday 27 August, and in the meeting presented him with a list of suggestions that we came up with on the forum of this website, suggestions that we feel might help to rescue our union from going under. Most of our suggestions seem to be getting attention from the union, but number two on our list was that we feel that it is time to appoint a full time CEO. The previous CEO left at the end of October 2011, and Ruben Moggee from Glassfit has been the acting CEO in his place.

The problem that I see in this is that Ruben joined the Lions with very little if any rugby background, and although he might have learnt a lot in the past months, we should probably do the clever thing now and appoint a rugby man in the position. We need somebody that will be able to drive the solution from here, and it must be someone that understand the ins and outs of rugby and can engage with Saru on an equal footing, someone that can sort out this competition dilemma for us in a jiffy and also keep the current sponsors happy and bring new ones on board.

I'm hoping the union is ready to act on this, and that they won't sit and wait for something to happen. Our future is at stake!






 
Lions voted out of Super Rugby
August 16, 2012 - The general council of SARU met today to make a decision about the South African franchises participation in the future Super Rugby competitions, and with a vote of 23-6 decided that the last placed side in the South African Conference will make way for the Kings to play Super Rugby in 2013.

This is exactly what we predicted would happen a week ago, we were just out by three votes against us. This means that the Lions will not take part in the Super Rugby competition in 2013, but will at least play a home and away promotion / relegation match against the South African side placed lowest in 2013, which could see us making a Super Rugby return in 2014.

Now it's a wait and see approach to see if any of the other predictable consequences are going to follow.

I do hope that the union learn a few things from this debacle, try and establish what we did wrong to land us in this situation and then try not to ever make those same mistakes again.






 
Lions to exit Super Rugby?
August 9, 2012 - In seven days from today, on Thursday 16 August the General Council of SARU is meeting to decide who will give up their Super Rugby place in favour of the Kings, who was guaranteed a spot in the 2013 season.

All indications are that it will be the Lions who will lose their Super Rugby status. At his late stage there seem to be only one solution on the table to vote on, and it's the solution that probably makes the most sense, and that is that the South African Franchise that finished lowest on the log must give up their spot to the Kings.

If this is the only solution to the problem to be voted on, it's pretty clear that it will get enough votes to be recommended, which means that the Lions will exit Super Rugby to make way for the Kings in 2013.

The Lions are currently in arbitration against the Leopards and the Pumas because these two unions complain that the Lions had a Super Rugby agreement with them to share income, and then only paid a portion of this money over. The Lions are saying that there was no such agreement. The problem is that these two unions might have voted in favour of the Lions, but now the Lions have made enemies of them, and can probably not count on their votes. It's actually quite likely that only the Lions will vote against the proposal on the table, so it will be carried by 26 votes to 2, with Hoskins probably not using his vote.

The Lions have only themselves to blame for this predicament, finishing 3rd last in 2007, last in 2008, 3rd last in 2009, last in 2010, 2nd last in 2011, and last in 2012, with 2009 the only year that a South African team, namely the Cheetahs, finished below them.

The consequences of this exit will be huge, with a player exodus very likely. It might also lead to the loss of major sponsors, and things indeed looking very bleak for the union.

The union also seem to be in disarray at the moment, with the coach suspended and facing the axe, the backline coach and conditioning coach having been let go a week ago, and the captain axed.






 
Lions change nine for warm-up match
August 1, 2012 - The Lions made no fewer than nine changes to the side that will play the Blue Bulls in a warm-up match at Wits on Friday night. Three of the changes are positional. The match is against the same team that we played two weeks ago in the Super 15, when we lost 37-20 at Loftus, but the Blue Bulls opted to pick a very young side, with only one player that started against us keeping his place, namely Wilhelm Steenkamp.

Kickoff is at 7pm and tickets are R20 a piece. Because it's a warm-up match, there are 16 players on the bench, so caretaker coach Johan Ackermann will be able to give quite a few players a chance to stake their claim for selection in the Currie Cup that starts a week later, when we play our first match against the Cheetahs at Ellis Park.

Prop JC Janse van Rensburg has also taken over as captain after Josh Strauss asked to be relieved of the captaincy so that he can concentrate on his game.



The full team is:
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 Joshua Strauss, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (c).
Subs: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Patric Cilliers, 19 Ruan Dreyer, 20 JC Wasserman, 21 Cobus Grobbelaar, 22 Warren Whiteley, 23 Willie Britz, 24 Ross Cronje, 25 Guy Cronje, 26 Justin St Jerry, 27 Chrysander Botha, 28 JR Esterhuizen, 29 Richard Aingworth, 30 Whestley Moolman, 31 Grant Janke.   


 
Lions change three for Sharks clash
June 1, 2012 - The Lions made three changes to the side to play the Sharks at Ellis Park on Saturday. Jaco Taute injured his shoulder in the match against the Force and will be out for between four and five months, after being operated on yesterday (Thursday). Butch James replaces him at Inside Centre, after serving a month suspension for diving into a player at a ruck in the previous game at Ellis Park, which was against the Brumbies.

In the other two changes Anthony Volmink replaces Michael Killian on the Left Wing, while Hendrik Roodt replaces Ruan Botha, who is with the Junior Boks for the next three weeks for the Junior World Champs.

Waylon Murray also makes his return to the bench after a long injury lay-off, after only having played 40 minutes of club rugby last weekend.



The full team is:
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 CJ van der Linde.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Ettienne Oosthuizen, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Ross Cronjé, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Ruan Combrinck.   


 
Lions change two for Force clash
May 24, 2012 - The Lions made two changes to the side that will play the Force this Saturday, Tian Meyer will start at Scrumhalf in the place of Ross Cronjé, while CJ van der Linde replaces JC Janse van Rensburg at Loosehead.

The Force is the weakest Australian side in the competition, so this is one match that the Lions must target for a win. We are thirteen points behind the Cheetahs on the log, and need a few wins to catch them and keep our hopes alive not to be relegated.



The full team is:
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 CJ van der Linde.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Cobus Grobbelaar, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Ross Cronjé, 21 Ruan Combrinck, 22 James Kamana.   


 
Lions unchanged for Reds clash
May 17, 2012 - For the first time this season the Lions named an unchanged side, this after going down 25-3 to the Blues last weekend.

After a big defeat like that one would expect some changes, but perhaps this is a sign that we don't really have any other players to strengthen the team.

We play the Reds, who won the competition last year, but they are also struggling and find themselves in 9th place on the log, but they demolished the first placed Chiefs last weekend, and their star Flyhalf Cooper is back, so this will be a tough assignment for the Lions.

Today is also a meeting where further discussions are being held about how they will make place for the Kings in next year's competition, so a very crucial day for the Lions.

The full team is:
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen/JC Janse van Rensburg.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Cobus Grobbelaar, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Ruan Combrinck, 22 James Kamana.   


 
Lions change three for Blues clash
May 8, 2012 - The Lions made three changes to the side that will play the Blues in Auckland this Friday.

Alwyn Hollenbach returned to South Africa due to a knee injury, so his place at Inside Centre is taken by Jaco Taute, who's place at Outside Centre is taken by Lionel Mapoe, and this allowed Michael Killian to be named on the Left Wing.

The Lions are 14th on the log and the Blues 15th, so the Blues will see the match as an opportunity to get away from the last place on the log, while a win for the Lions will help them gain on the Force who is in 13th place.

It was also revealed today that Doppies la Grange has signed a two-year contract with Treviso in Italy, and will be leaving the Lions at the end of June. Doppies made his Currie Cup debut for the Lions in 2003 and has been a stalwart of the team ever since, and he will be missed. He played in 92 Currie Cup matches for the Lions, scoring 24 tries and 120 points, and also captained the side twice. Go well Doppies!

The full team is:
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen/JC Janse van Rensburg.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Cobus Grobbelaar, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Ruan Combrinck, 22 James Kamana.   


 
Lions change four for Chiefs clash
May 3, 2012 - The Lions made four changes to the side that will play the Chiefs in Pukekohe this Saturday.

They have picked the 20 year old Ruan Botha to start at Lock, replacing Hendrik Roodt. Ross Cronje starts at Scrumhalf, replacing Tian Meyer. Derick Minnie moves to Openside Flanker, replacing Cobus Grobbelaar, while Grant Hattingh takkes Minnie's place at Blindside Flanker. Caylib Oosthuizen was bracketed with JC Janse van Rensburg, as Caylib will first have to prove his fitness closer to the match.

The full team is:
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen/JC Janse van Rensburg.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Cobus Grobbelaar, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 James Kamana, 22 Michael Killian.   


 
Lions change two for Brumbies clash
April 25, 2012 - The Lions made two changes to the side that will play the Brumbies at Ellis Park this Friday.

Lionel Mapoe replaces James Kamana on the Left Wing and Hendrik Roodt starts at Lock in the place of Stephan Greeff. CJ van der Linde was apparently injured at the Bok camp last week and doesn't appear in the match 22. Michael Killian is back on the bench, and there is also a newcomer, Grant Hatttingh, who was recruited from Maties. He is 2.01 meters tall and is actually a number eight, but the Lions will use him as a Lock.

The full team is:
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Doppies le Roux, 20 Ross Cronjé, 21 Butch James, 22 Michael Killian.   


 
Sixth loss in a row for Lions
April 16, 2012 - The Lions went down 18-32 against the Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday, extending their losing streak to six matches in this years Super 15 competition.

The Lions started well and took the early lead in the match when a clearance kick of Morne Steyn was charged down and Tian Meyer was able to score under the poles. In the 15th minute Jaco Taute extended the Lions lead to 10-0, when he added a long-range penalty from the halfway line.

Unfortunately this is where the Bulls finally clicked into gear and dominated the rest of the match, scoring 20 points in the next 25 minutes and another 12 in the second half, while the Lions were only able to add another penalty and an unconverted try in the second half.

The Lions are now in last place on the log, but will earn 4 points this weekend for a bye, and might overtake the three teams above them on the log.

Scorers:
Bulls 32 (20): Tries: Akona Ndungane, Francois Hougaard, Zane Kirchner, CJ Stander, Juandre Kruger. Conversions: Morné Steyn (2). Penalty: Steyn.
Lions 18 (10): Tries: Tian Meyer, Josh Strauss. Conversion: Elton Jantjies. Penalties: Jaco Taute, Jantjies.   


 
Lions change six for Bulls clash
April 12, 2012 - Coach John Mitchell made six changes to the side that will play the Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The most notable change is that Butch James is dropped from Inside Centre to the bench, making way for Alwyn Hollenbach, who moves from Outside Centre. This indicates that the coach feels that we need more penetration at Inside Centre, and he obviously believes that Hollenbach can bring that to the table.

Paul Willemse was injured in the first half against the Cheetahs and will be out for a few weeks, and his place at Lock is taken by Stephan Greeff.

Jaco Taute is once again moved to Outside Centre, with Andries Coetzee moved from Wing to Fullback and this sees James Kamana getting a start on the Wing. Callie Visagie also gets another chance at Hooker, so Martin Bezuidenhout falls to the bench.

CJ van der Linde was also named on the bench, bracketed with Jacobie Adriaanse, and if he can prove his fitness before the match, he will make a very welcome return after his injury. Same goes for Lionel Mapoe, who is also back on the bench after missing a number of matches with a hamstring injury.

The full team is:
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 James Kamana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ van der Linde/Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Doppies le Roux, 20 Ross Cronjé, 21 Butch James, 22 Lionel Mapoe.   


 
Cheetahs blitz Lions in first half
April 8, 2012 - Last week the Lions lost against the Crusaders after they let the game slip in the second half, this week it was a totally different story when they were played off the park in the first half.

The Cheetahs scored two converted tries and three penalties to make the halftime score 23-0, and effectively win the match in the first half. In the second half they added another penalty and the Lions scored an unconverted try to make the final score 26-5 for the home side.

Paul Willemse had a big debut with a couple of awesome hits on Ashley Johnson, but injured his shoulder in the fisrt half and it's also debatable if he is the solution to the Lions line-out woes.

The Lions now find themselves at the bottom of the log, and with the bottom team likely to make way for the Kings next year, it's a dangerous place to be. They now play two home games against the Bulls and Brumbies before heading to Australasia for what will be four tough matches against the Chiefs, Blues, Reds and Force.

Coach John Mitchell has now been on the winning side in four out of twenty two matches in this competition with the Lions, having lost the last five out of six.

Scorers:
Cheetahs 26 (23): Tries: Robert Ebersohn(2). Conversions: Johan Goosen(2). Penalties: Johan Goosen (3), Sias Ebersohn.
Lions 5 (0): Tries: Cobus Grobbelaar.   


 
Lions change nine for Cheetahs clash
April 5, 2012 - The Lions made no fewer than nine changes to the side to face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

It seems as if coach John Mitchell has lost patience with the problems in the line-outs and he included the 19-year old lock Paul Willemse, as well as new starting Hooker Martin Bezuidenhout, in an attempt to fix the problem.

Elton Jantjies ia also back in the starting XV after playing off the bench last weekend, and his return will no doubt have a positive impact on the team. Warren Whiteley was injured in training during the week and that leaves the door open to Cobus Grobbelaar to compete as fetcher with Heinrich Brussow on Saturday. Jaco Taute moves back to Fullback with Alwyn Hollenbach back at Outside Centre.

15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Alwyn Hollenbach, 12 Butch James, 11 Andries Coetzee, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Josh Strauss (c), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Michael Bondesio, 21 Lionel Mapoe, 22 James Kamana.   


 
Lions let it slip in second half
April 2, 2012 - The Lions lead the Crusaders 13-10 at halftime at Ellis Park on Saturday, but then scored no points in the second half and lost 23-13.

The Crusaders dominated the first 10 minutes of the second half where they scored a quick 10 points with a converted try and penalty goal, and this was enough to secure victory.



Elton Jantjies played off the bench in the second half and seemed to play without any discomfort, so the Lions will hope that he is back in the starting XV soon. Butch James attempted a penalty goal at the end of the match that would have given the Lions a bonus point for finishing within 7 of the Crusaders, but unfortunately he hooked the ball and the Lions were left empty-handed at the end of the match.

Scorers:
Crusaders 23 (10): Tries: Zac Guildford, Sean Maitland. Conversions: Tom Taylor. Penalties: Tom Taylor (3).
Lions 13 (13): Tries: Pat Cilliers. Conversion: Butch James. Penalties: James (2).   


 
Lions almost surprise Stormers
March 26, 2012 - The Lions went down 19-24 to the Stormers on Saturday, but they can certainly hold their heads up high for coming this close to beating the top of the log Stormers in a match where few gave them a chance of winning.

The Stormers rushed to a lead of 18-0 in the first 25 minutes of the match, and then the Lions showed character and determination to fight back and almost steal the match from the visitors.

Unfortunately captain Josh Strauss and vice-captain Doppies la Grange left the match with injuries, and one can only hope that they will make a speedy recovery and not add to the ever growing injury list of the Lions.

Scorers:
Stormers 24 (18): Tries: Tiaan Liebenberg, Bryan Habana. Conversions: Joe Pietersen. Penalties: Pietersen (4).
Lions 19 (7): Tries: Tian Meyer. Conversion: Butch James. Penalties: James (3). Drop goal: Andries Coetzee.   


 
Lions change six for Stormers clash
March 22, 2012 - The injury-hit Lions made no fewer than six changes to the side to play the Stormers at Ellis Park on Saturday evening.

Many eyes will be on Jaco Taute, who was moved from Fullback to Outside Centre, as it is felt that he is one of our classiest players and it's a good thing that he is moved closer to the action. Some people even want to see him at Inside Centre. Jaco celebrated his 21st birthday on the 21st of March. Andries Coetzee also gets a start at Left Wing after playing off the bench against the Sharks and looking like he enjoyed the step up to Super Rugby. Ross Cronje is on the bench and is likely to make his Super Rugby debut for the Lions.

The Lions have never beaten the Stormers in Super Rugby, so history is against the team, and with all the injuries it is unlikely that this record will be broken on Saturday.

The full team is:
15 James Kamana, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Andries Coetzee, 10 Butch James, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Josh Strauss (c), 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Marius Coetzer, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Stephan Greeff, 19 Cobus Grobbleaar, 20 Ross Cronjé, 21 Michael Killian, 22 Ruan Combrinck.   


 
Playing at home made the difference says Plumtree
March 12, 2012 - John Plumtree admitted that the Sharks didn't really play better against the Lions than in their previous two matches, but feels that playing at home made all the difference and helped the Sharks to beat the Lions 32-20 in Durban on Saturday.

Elton Jantjies and Pat Cilliers had to withdraw from the match on Friday, and this certainly had a big impact on the Lions performance, although it must be said that Caylib Oosthuizen and Andries Coetzee, the two youngsters that got their first Super Rugby caps, did extremely well and both look ready to take the step up to this level.

Coach John Mitcell felt that the Lions were unlucky a few times in the match, and also let the Sharks enjoy too much territorial advantage in the match.

Scorers:

Sharks (32) Tries: Viljoen, Mvovo, Bosman, Botes. Conversions: Lambie (3) Penalties: Lambie (2)

Lions (20) Tries: Taute, Dreyer. Conversions: James (2) Penalties: James (2)   


 
Lions change four for Sharks clash
March 7, 2012 - The Lions travel to Durban to play the Sharks on Saturday, and coach John Mitchell announced the side on Wednesday, making four changes to the side that narrowly lost against the Hurricanes last weekend.

Butch James comes in at Inside Centre, with Alwyn Hollenbach dropping to the bench. Marius Coetzer will start for the first time at Lock, replacing Stephan Greeff, who also drops to the bench. Pat Cilliers moves from Tighthead to Loosehead for the injured JC Janse van Rensburg, while Jacobie Adriaanse takes his place at Tighthead. With the injuries to the two props, Caylib Oosthuizen gets promoted to the bench.

The Lions have never won a Super Rugby match in Durban, but they will be confident that it is possible after their big win over the Sharks in the Currie Cup final last year. The Sharks might also be a bit vulnarable after not really convincing in their first two outings against the Bulls and the Stormers.

The full team is:
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Doppies La Grange, 12 Butch James, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Josh Strauss (c), 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Marius Coetzer, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Patric Cilliers.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Stephan Greeff, 19 Cobus Grobbleaar, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Alwyn Hollenbach, 22 James Kamana.   


 
Hurricanes steal win
March 2, 2012 - The Hurricanes kicked the winning penalty two minutes from time to beat the Lions 30-28 at Ellis Park on Friday.

Both teams played running rugby and both backlines had plenty of ball. Both teams scored three tries, and in the end it was just a patient taking up of the ball that forced a penalty from the Lions, and that enabled the Canes to steal the match from the Lions, who looked like they might make it two from two at that late stage.

The Hurricanes had the better of the first half, and were leading 14-8 at the break, but the Lions fought back well and can certainly hold their heads up high after this effort, it was anybody's game.

Jaco Taute had a great match, scoring the Lion's first try in the eighth minute to take a 5-3 lead in the match, and he also kicked a 55 meter penaly ten minutes later. Later in the match he hit the right upright with another long range penalty that might have given the Lions the victory had it gone over. He made a couple of blunders, but overall he was my man of the match for the home side.   


 
Lions change five for Canes clash
February 28, 2012 - Coach John Mitchell made five changes to the Lions side to play the Hurricanes at Ellis Park this Friday.

Michael Killian has sufficiently recovered from his hamstring injury, and will start on the Left Wing, replacing James Kamana. Stephan Greeff replaces Wikus van Heerden at Lock. Wikus was injured in a speartackle in the match against the Cheetahs. Warren Whiteley also gets promoted to the starting line-up at Number Eight, with Strauss moving to seven and Minnie moving to six, with Baywatch falling back to the bench.

The full team is:
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Josh Strauss (c), 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Stephan Greef, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Hendrik Roodt, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Butch James, 22 James Kamana.   


 
Lions start season with a win over Cheetahs
February 25, 2012 - The Lions started their 2012 Super Rugby campaign in the best fashion possible when they beat the Cheetahs 27-25 at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Elton Jantjies was the hero for the Lions, as he scored all 27 points with 9 penalties, a new record in Super Rugby, bettering the previous record of 8 penalties jointly held by Jannie Kruger (Northern Transvaal v Highlanders in Pretoria, 1996), Willie Walker (Highlanders v Chiefs in Hamilton, 2003), Meyer Bosman (Toyota Cheetahs v DHL Stormers in Cape Town, 2006) and Derick Hougaard (Vodacom Bulls v Crusaders in Pretoria, 2007).

This record breaking performance also earned him the man of the match award.

It was by no means a convincing performance from the two teams, and the Lions only went into the lead for the first time late in the second half, but coach John Mitchell hit the nail on the head when he said that last year the team probably would have lost the match, so the team has grown as a unit.

This is the Lions first home victory since May 2009, and will go a long way in taking the pressure of them in the race not to finish last of the South African teams.

Scorers:
Lions – Penalty goals: Elton Jantjies (9).
Cheetahs – Try: WP Nel. Conversion: Johan Goosen; Penalty goals: Goosen (5). Drop Goal: Goosen.
  


 
Lions named for season opener against Cheetahs
February 22, 2012 - The Lions side to play the Cheetahs at Ellis Park this weekend, was named on Wednesday. The team is much the same as the one that played in the final warmup match against the Kings, in which the Lions recorded a handsome 88-0 victory.

This is a crucial match for the Lions, as it is likely that the bottom placed South African team will have to make way for the Kings, who was guaranteed a place in Super Rugby starting from next season.

The Lions last won a home match in Super Rugby in May 2009, when they beat the Highlanders 29-22. Three years is too long to go without a home win, and after last year's success in the Currie Cup, I think the Lions will be able to secure a home victory for us!

Wikus van Heerden was bracketed at Lock with Hendrik Roodt, and will have to prove his fitness before the match. If Roodt starts, Stephan Greeff will be on the bench in the place of Roodt. Lionel Mapoe was initially named on the bench, but had to withdraw because of a hamstring injury, and his place is taken by Killian, who himself is coming back from a hamstring injury.

The full team is:
Jaco Taute, Deon van Rensburg, Doppies la Grange, Alwyn Hollenbach, James Kamana, Elton Jantjies, Michael Bondesio, Joshua Strauss (c), Derick Minnie, Cobus Grobbelaar, Franco van der Merwe, Wikus van Heerden/Hendrik Roodt, Patric Cilliers, Callie Visagie, JC Janse van Rensburg.
Substitutes: Martin Bezuidenhout, CJ van der Linde, Hendrik Roodt/Stephan Greeff, Warren Whiteley, Tiaan Meyer, Butch James, Michael Killian   


 
Jantjies back at Flyhalf
February 14, 2012 - Elton Jantjies is back at Flyhalf for the Lions, who play the Kings in a warmup match in George today.

The inclusion of Jantjies means that Butch James, who started at Flyhalf in the warmup against the Stromers, moves to the bench. Bandise Maku's injury also gives Callie Visagie the chance to start at Hooker, while James Kamana replaces Killian at Left Wing. Youngster Ruan Botha, who only turned 20 recently, gets a chance to impress at Lock.

Keep an eye on our forum at http://www.lionsworld.co.za/forum, we are going to try and give match updates as it happens from George.

The full team is:
Jaco Taute, Deon van Rensburg, Doppies la Grange, Alwyn Hollenbach, James Kamana, Elton Jantjies, Michael Bondesio, Joshua Strauss (c), Derick Minnie, Cobus Grobbelaar, Ruan Botha, Hendrik Roodt, Patric Cilliers, Callie Visagie, JC Janse van Rensburg.
Substitutes: Francois du Toit, Jacobie Adriaanse, Stephan Greeff, Doppies le Roux, Tian Meyer, Butch James, Lionel Mapoe.   


 
Lions announce major new sponsor
February 10, 2012 - The Lions unveiled a major new sponsor on Thursday, when Redefine Properties Ltd was named as a new co-sponsor with MTN for the next three years, for the 2012 to 2014 seasons.

The new sponsor's name will appear on the back of the Lions Super Rugby, Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup jerseys, just below the number.

The Redefine Group is listed on the JSE and holds assets in excess of R30 billion. The value of the sponsorship has not been disclosed but it was confirmed by the Redefine spokesperson to be in the “Multi millions.” MTN is paying about R30m per year for their sponsorship, so this could be in the same ballpark

Lions President, Kevin De Klerk, said the union was delighted about securing the sponsorship despite the bad publicity it received over recent months.   


 
Heyneke Meyer is the new Bok coach
January 27, 2012 - Heyneke Meyer was named as the new Springbok coach on Friday. He was given a four year contract, which means that he is likely to take the Boks to the 2015 World Cup in England.

His first position as provincial head coach came at the age of 30 in 1998, at the SWD Eagles, and he immediately took the team to the semi-finals of the Vodacom Cup. A year later he guided the Eagles to a top-four finish in the Absa Currie Cup.

He reached his first final in 2001, leading the Blue Bulls to the Vodacom Cup title, having already had a period as an assistant Springbok coach.

Three consecutive Absa Currie Cup crowns for the Blue Bulls followed in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He also helped turn the Bulls around from dwelling near the bottom of the Super 12 log, to consecutive semi-finals in 2005 and 2006.

The Super Rugby title followed in 2007, when Meyer masterminded the Bulls’ victory over The Sharks in an epic final in Durban.

This is not his first stint with the Springboks, having been involved as assistant coach under Nick Mallett (1999 and 2001) as well as Harry Viljoen (2001).

I am confident that SARU picked the right man for the job, and on behalf of all the regular visitors of LionsWorld I want to congratulate Heyneke on his appointment and wish him and the Boks great success over the next four years and beyond!   


 
All the best for the new year!
January 1, 2012 - I want to wish all the regular visitors to Lionsworld all the best for 2012. May it be a year of spectacular success for all of us, and even more so for our beloved Lions rugby team!

Looking forward: Super Rugby kicks off at the end of February, and we are hoping that our team can build on the success of the Currie Cup campaign and do much better in Super Rugby this year than the "gesukkel" of the last few years.

What many visitors to my site might not know, is that we have a forum where we talk rugby all the time, so don't delay, come and join us, click here to join the rest of the guys!  

We are also on twitter, follow me here  
and facebook, follow us here  



  
 

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