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Mitchell rues Lions' injury woes

2012-05-31 18:44

Johannesburg - Lions coach John Mitchell says the plethora of injuries his side suffered at the start of the season meant they started the Super Rugby season on the wrong foot.

"You've got to go to the core issues, you can look at any permutation that you want," said Mitchell in Johannesburg on Thursday.

"But to lose nine of your starting XV that won us the Currie Cup, and not have our current Test players, within the first week of the competition was always going to set us back," he said.

The struggling Johannesburg team won their only match of the Super Rugby season in the first week of the competition back in February against the Cheetahs.

They have since lost every single match, battling to find continuity in both selection and performances.

Mitchell said injuries to experienced campaigners meant he had to find replacements elsewhere within their structures, who were not adequate for Super Rugby.

"You've got to be a realist at the end of the day.

"This competition is not about development ultimately but we've actually had to go into this competition and develop early and we suffered as a result," he said.

The Lions lost all four of their matches on their tour of Australasia, but Mitchell still managed to find positive aspects from the otherwise helpless situation.

"The team did grow and a lot of the guys that are experiencing Super Rugby for the first time have actually grown as individuals.

"The team work is slowly coming together, the set pieces and the lineouts have become better.

"But with the amount of changes that have occurred - I think we are pretty close to 19 changes in our team mix in this competition - team coherency has been hard to achieve."

He said the inconsistency in team selection has had a knock-on effect on other dynamics within the team.

"Hence there was an element of indecisiveness at times and younger guys have struggled with the physical load of this competition," he said.

"So I think they would have learnt a lot which would ultimately help us going into our next campaign."

Meanwhile, Mitchell made four changes to their team on Thursday as they go in search of their second victory this season when they face the Sharks in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Lock Hendrik Roodt replaces Ruan Botha, who has been called up to the SA Under-20 team, while Anthonie Volminck will receive a starting berth in the place of Michael Killian on the wing.

Butch James will fill the shoes of centre Jaco Taute, who has been ruled out due to a shoulder injury.

The Lions will also be boosted by the return of Waylon Murray, who has been selected on the bench.

Teams:

Lions:
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Butch James, 11 Anthonie Volminck, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Grant Hattingh, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 CJ van der Linde

Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Ruan Combrinck

Sharks:
15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Ryan Kankowski, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Louis Ludik

SAPA

Comments
  • Burtfred - 2012-05-31 19:25

    Terrible picture - his head looks like it's been in a jar of formalin for a while. That's about where his entire team belongs.

  • BlouJob - 2012-05-31 20:03

    Die arme Reds was net so in hulle tjops in met beserings en kyk waar lĂȘ hulle.

  • raymond.abrahamse - 2012-05-31 20:52

    Can someone please let me know who these nine players are.

      Nico - 2012-05-31 21:57

      1. CJ vd Linde, 2. JC Janse v Rensburg, 3. Bandise Maku, 4. Wickus van Heerden, 5. Michael Rhodes, 6. Michael Bondisio, 7. Elton Jantjies, 8. Lionell Mapoe, 9. Alwyn Hollenbach, 10. Doppies La Grange, 11. Waylon Murray, might have forgotten one or two, but pick any nine of them.

      Ken - 2012-05-31 22:27

      Plus....Pat Cilliers, Micheal Killian, Warren Whiteley, Cobus Grobbelaar, Dylan des Fountain and James Kamana

      Tokolos - 2012-06-01 08:20

      Hulle het te veel gesuip en geparty na die CC wen laas jaar en nie geoefen nie. Dis die probleem!!!

      Tokolos - 2012-06-02 04:35

      Ken... Are you obsessed with Tokolos, BlouJob etc. just because of our superior rugby knowledge? We are miles ahead of any of you "other franchise" supporters when it comes to rugby brains and knowledge, hence the obsession... or shall I say jealousy maybe!!! I hear you are supporting the Kings next year!!!

  • margreet1 - 2012-05-31 22:21

    Jip that sucks . I feel for the lions but not long ago I had to hear (from the work guys )that the lions was THE best in SA. One word FITNESS.

  • jacobus.vandermerwe.9 - 2012-06-01 07:38

    I doubt even the Stormers or Crusaders would have done any better losing as many players? 1. CJ vd Linde, 2. JC Janse v Rensburg, 3. Bandise Maku, 4. Wickus van Heerden, 5. Michael Rhodes, 6. Michael Bondisio, 7. Elton Jantjies, 8. Lionell Mapoe, 9. Alwyn Hollenbach, 10. Doppies La Grange, 11. Waylon Murray 12.Pat Cilliers, 13. Micheal Killian, 14. Warren Whiteley, 15. Cobus Grobbelaar, 16. Dylan des Fountain and 17. James Kamana Through-out the season all of these players were (or are) injured for more than 3 weeks... It is a pity there are people who insult the Lions with out the facts.

  • matt.prinsloo.1 - 2012-06-01 08:24

    Die Lions het 3 unies om spelers uit te trek vir die franchise span - Golden Lions, Pumas en Leopards. Maw hulle het 3 van die 8 spanne wat laas jaar CC Premier gespeel het tot hul beskikking. So eintlik het hulle n voordeel bo ander spanne. Miskien as hulle nie Pumas en Leopards soveel geld geskuld het nie... Ek is bly die Lions supporters gebruik die beserings ding as verskoning. Die EP Kings is sedert die laaste deel van verlede seisoen in dieselfde bootjie. 1.Paul Perez, 2.Jaco Bekker, 3.George Whitehead, 4.Siyanda Grey, 5.Kevin Buys, 6.Jongi Nokwe, 7. Falie Oelschig, 8.Jaco Engels, 9.Luke Watson, 10.Wayne Stevens, 11. Matthew Taylor Smith, 12. Shane Gates, 13.Andre Schlecter, 14. Wayne Swart, 15. Darron Nell, 16. Danie Faasen, 17. SP Marais, 18. Norman Nelson... Daar is n paar van die name wat vir aansienlike tye buite aksie was. Ek verkies om enige span te oordeel aan die 22 ouens wat speel op die dag, maar as julle beserings wil gebruik as verskoning, hou die Kings sn ook ingedagte voor julle hulle weer kritiseer. Maar sekerlik na soveel jare in Super Rugby behoort die Lions darem nou al oor beter diepte te beskik as die EP Kings wat maar net deel is van die Southern Kings en nog nie eens Super Rugby gespeel het nie.

      oosthfra - 2012-06-01 09:03

      Matt, Bring al daai beseerde speelers terug en die Queens sal nog steeds n groot pakslae teen die leeus kry. Almal weet! Sport is nie meer sport as politiek betrokke is nie. Kyk wat het met Puke Watson gebeur toe hy in die springbok span gevorseer was. Dieselfde gaan met die Kings gebeur!

      matt.prinsloo.1 - 2012-06-01 09:28

      Volsterkte Leeus vs volsterkte Kings - Bring it on!!

      matt.prinsloo.1 - 2012-06-01 09:37

      ai oosthfra - jy sal sien ek daal nie neer na name calling en sulke snert nie. Eintlik was die Lions maar my span terwyl ek ook n Valie was, so ek het niks teen hulle nie. Julle kyk vas in die Watsons - maar julle vergeet die storie kom al van lank voor hulle af. Dis nie die Kings of die Lions se skuld dat hulle albei in die situasie is nie. Vraag is hoekom het SARU toegelaat destyds dat so groot streek, met soveel spelers en soveel potensiaal sonder Super Rugby is. Persoonlik sou ek al 6 spanne wou sien, want dan is al die provinsiale unies en al die streke betrokke betrokke. Ek sou ook wou sien dat die kleiner unies, bv Boland, Valke, Griffons, ens nog meer voordeel trek uit Super Rugby as wat nou die geval is. Dis ongesond vir ons rugby dat die 5 grotes net sterker en sterker word en die kleintjies ly.

      oosthfra - 2012-06-01 11:34

      Matt Ek stem in n mate saam dat kleiner unies ook n deel van die koek moet kry sodat hulle spelers kan behou maar ongelukkig is rugby nou in n professionele era en dit word soos n besigheid bestuur. Daar is nie plek vir enige freebees nie want dit verswak Suid Afrikaanse rugby. Ek het geen probleem daarmee gehad toe dit die super 12 was en net die top 4 Currie Cup spanne gekwalifiseer het nie. As daar so baie talent in die oos kaap is hoekom kan die Kings hulle nie in die Vodacom Cup en die Currie Cup bewys nie? n Volsterkte Kings span het nog nooit iets bereik nie so hoekom kan hulle voorkeur kry? Want dis dieselfde rede hoekom Luke Watson in die Springbok span gesit was. Ek weet hy is n goeie speler maar kan jy vir my eerlikwaar se hy is die beste in sy posisie?

      matt.prinsloo.1 - 2012-06-01 11:56

      oosthfra Die Kings streek se grootste probleem tot nou toe is baie van daai talent gaan speel by ander provinsies want hier was nie Super Rugby nie. Ek weet spelers skuif vir geld, maar ten minste met Super Rugby in die streek sal die Kings van daai talent kan aanwend in Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup en natuurlik later SR. Tot onlangs toe was al opsie vir jong talentvolle spelers om elders te gaan speel as hulle topvlak rugby wou speel. Met die Kings nou aan die opbou, bly daar reeds meer en meer van daai spelers nou in die Oos Kaap. EP Kings het reeds van hulle laat speel in die Vodacom Cup. Gaan egter tyd vat tot die ding begin vrugte afwerp, sal nie oornag wees nie. Omtrent die kleiner unies - Lions speel elke week in n half leeg Ellis Park, terwyl Nelspruit en Rustenburg ook wereld klas stadiums het. En die Lions skuld Leopards en Pumas blykbaar nog etlike miljoene vir uitsaai en ander gelde. Dit wys darem die kleiner unies kry iets uit die deal. Cheetahs doen die beste om al hul provinsies te betrek by franchise. Spelers word geleen aan en van die Griffons (Vodacom Cup en Currie Cup veral) en heelwat Griekwa spelers het al vir die Cheetahs gespeel. Sterkte vir julle Leeus!

      Sean - 2012-06-01 13:39

      Matt, the reports I've seen is that the Lions owe one of these two franchises an amount of money, while the other franchise owes a similar amount to the Lions. There are always two sides to a story though.

      matt.prinsloo.1 - 2012-06-02 12:03

      sean - Leopards en Pumas is nie franchises nie, maar provinsies. En hulle vorm deel van Lions franchise. Maar ek hoor jou punt

  • Juan - 2012-06-01 09:19

    Vir almal wat die Leeus wil sleg se en ook kamstig rugby ken; as jy soveel beserings het en nog SARU wat meer politiek veroorsaak sal GEEN span goed doen nie. Soos oosthfra se as al die beseerde leeus terug is laat hulle dan teen die wonderlike kings speel dan kyk ons wat gebeur. My geld is op die LEEUS weer 88 - 0 dalk 188 - 0.

      matt.prinsloo.1 - 2012-06-01 09:28

      Volsterkte Leeus vs volsterkte Kings - Bring it on!!

      Sean - 2012-06-01 13:41

      Matt, make sure your "full-strength" side wins the lower tier of the Currie Cup, then we can talk. The records show the Kings lost to the Lions, Sharks and Stormers in pre-season matches. There are no comment columns in the records! Without a comprehensive campaign and admission to the top level of the Currie Cup, no-one will take the Kings seriously. That's life, you earn respect through your results, it can't just be given away.

      matt.prinsloo.1 - 2012-06-02 12:01

      I agree Sean... thus the Lions supporters have to drop this "we have x amount of injuries" argument that pops up so often. I said full strength Lions vs full strength Kings (not just full strength Kings) because we wouldnt like to give you an excuse for the Kings beating you hehe

  • Sean - 2012-06-01 13:37

    As a long-term Lions fan it has been a frustrating campaign, and I'm talking about 2012! I was at the Cheetahs game when the spear tackle put out Wikus for the season. A player like that is difficult to replace, and the results speak for themselves. Week 2 of Super Rugby they lost by two points to the Hurricanes, a game when uncontested scrums took place from late in the first half. At the time the Lions scrum was dominant so it took away one advantage we could have had. If memory serves me the Hurricanes kicked a late penalty to win the game. Had they managed to hold on in that game I believe the season would have been completely different. Hard to prove, but everyone can have an opinion. Unfortunately this was not to be and the Kings will replace the Lions in Super Rugby next year. If they can learn anything from 2012, they best get together a large squad of decent players or they will have an even worse competition than the Lions have had this year. And I'm not only talking about winning a single game. Even on the year the Lions lost all their matches they played some good rugby. The Chiefs game at Ellis Park with over 140 points scored for instance. Losing badly week in, week out is not going to cut the grade. The Kings have been put on the big stage, let's see if they like the spotlight! All this aside, I have a good feeling for the Currie Cup - and for the PE people that's the top level of the competition :D.

  • Sean - 2012-06-01 13:48

    The Lions last four games are Sharks / Stormers / Rebels / Bulls. The Cheetahs have Bye / Bulls / Stormers / Sharks. The chances of SA's top three sides all making the play-offs will depend on their games against the bottom two sides. As a Lions fan, and with a heavy heart, may we end up with two wins for the season - the second against the Rebels in Johannesburg. We'll take wins against the others in the Currie Cup. Now to get tickets for SA-NZ at FNB.

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