Vodacom Super 14
Lions can equal Bulls record
Cobus Grobbelaar (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg – The Lions can become joint holders of a very unflattering record if they lose Saturday’s Super 14 match against the Western Force at Coca-Cola Park.
A defeat will see them equal the record of 11 consecutive defeats in a Super rugby campaign. The Bulls are the current holders after a horror run in 2002 saw them lose every league game.
The Bulls had to play 11 games in the Super 12 back then. However, the Lions still have a 12th and 13th game coming up in the Super 14.
In 2002 and 2005 the Cats lost 10 times and won only once in the Super 12 – each time against the Bulls.
However, last Saturday’s defeat to the Bulls was the Lions’ 10th loss on the trot this year.
The Lions embarked on a process under new coach Dick Muir this year where they were out to banish the poor results of the recent past.
However, a record sequence of defeats is unacceptable and captain Cobus Grobbelaar and his team-mates will have to deliver an inspired performance against the Force.
Grobbelaar was the Lions’ best player against the Bulls and defended well throughout, but the team still lost the plot after 60 strong minutes.
Forwards coach Johan Ackermann also does not believe the Force will be easier opponents than the Bulls.
“They offer different challenges. Their confidence has grown and they believe in spreading the ball around. They came back well against the Bulls and, remember, they beat the Stormers and Crusaders,” said Ackermann.
Even if the Lions frustrated the Bulls for 60 minutes, Ackermann does not see it as something to get excited about.
“As forwards coach it was disappointing that the Bulls scored with a driving maul early in the second half. We weren’t very clinical in the set phases and definitely have a lot to work on.”
The Lions coaching staff is still sweating about lock Franco van der Merwe’s back injury.
Fortunately George Earle is fit again and he’s likely to come into the reckoning if Van der Merwe cannot play.
“It’s difficult because Franco is the guy that runs the line-outs and has been playing very well in recent weeks.”
A final call on the seriousness of hamstring injuries suffered by fullback Carlos Spencer and centre Marius Delport is expected on Thursday.