WIN! WIN! WIN!

Click and you could have your selfie appear on a Springbok player's Rugby World Cup jersey!

LIVE

    Lions name new captain

    2011-03-31 14:41

    Johannesburg - Franco van der Merwe has stepped down as captain of struggling Super 15 team the Lions, saying he wants to focus on improving his own performances.

    The second rower said on Thursday he had been battling for form and needs to "focus on my own game right now."

    The Lions said centre Doppies la Grange would take over as skipper of a team which has won just one of its last 20 Super Rugby fixtures, losing five out of six games this season.

    The Johannesburg outfit went winless in last year's Super 14, the first time a team has lost 13 games in a Super rugby tournament.

    Van der Merwe backed La Grange ahead of Saturday's game against Australia's Reds, saying: "Doppies has been playing some very good rugby and is a good leader."

    Van der Merwe, who replaced Cobus Grobbelaar as captain when Mitchell arrived to try and rescue the Lions sinking ship, has paid the price for his lineout frailties after he received a savage mauling against the Bulls by opposite number Victor Matfield.

    Both after the loss to the defending champions and on Thursday, Mitchell made no bones about the fact the lineout cost them the Loftus match, and with Van der Merwe beaten to no less than four balls by Matfield at crucial times in the game, he will no longer lead the side.

    The Lions have made it clear that it was a “collective decision” but such a drastic move in the middle of the season is uncommon in rugby terms, and either the captaincy was interfering with Van der Merwe’s primary role as player, or there has been a shift away in confidence from the man Mitchell has trusted with the leadership role for the last year.

    La Grange, whose form is exceptional at the moment and who has strong leadership qualities himself, will now move up from vice-captain. No replacement vice-captain has been named.

    “We’ve been beaten by small margins in the games and it wasn’t an easy decision to make. But if that is what it takes to move forward as a team, then a big decision like this needs to be made,” Van der Merwe said after announcing he was stepping down.

    “There is a lot of pressure on the captain - but remember this was not a one-man decision but rather a collective of the coaching and management team and the senior players. This is the decision that it is the best way forward. If I can help improve my form and the way forward by stepping down, then it is for the best.”

    Mitchell said no other candidates had been considered, primarily because former captains Cobus Grobbelaar and Wikus van Heerden weren’t certainties in their positions in the team.

    “There was nobody else considered. Form is the outstanding quality firstly and then how the player is followed by teammates and his actions. The other players are in competition for places and there are no certainties in this group,” Mitchell said.

    Mitchell made a few other changes to the side, signalling his intent not to be happy with the team’s slide into mediocrity. Elton Jantjies has been dumped for Andre Pretorius, while Joshua Strauss returns in place of Derick Minnie.

    Teams

    Lions: 15. Michael Killian, 14. Lionel Mapoe, 13. Waylon Murray, 12. Doppies La Grange (captain), 11. Deon van Rensburg, 10. Andre Pretorius, 9. Jano Vermaak, 8. Warren Whitely, 7. Joshua Strauss, 6. Cobus Grobelaar, 5. Franco van der Merwe , 4. David Bullbring, 3. Patric Cilliers, 2. Bandise Maku, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg.

    Substitutes: 16. Edgar Marutlulle, 17. Jacobie Adriaanse, 18. Michael Rhodes, 19. Derick Minnie, 20. Rory Kockott, 21. Elton Jantjies, Jaco Taute.

    Reds: TBA

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    33 comments
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    • Blitz
      Tue, 29 Jul 2014 @00:00
    • Blitz
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
    • SS1
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
    • SS2
      Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    /Sport

    Results

    04 July 2015
    27 June 2015
    20 June 2015
    13 June 2015
    12 June 2015
    06 June 2015
    05 June 2015
    30 May 2015
    29 May 2015
    23 May 2015
    22 May 2015
    16 May 2015
    15 May 2015
    09 May 2015
    08 May 2015
    02 May 2015
    01 May 2015
    26 April 2015
    25 April 2015
    24 April 2015
    18 April 2015
    17 April 2015
    11 April 2015
    10 April 2015
    04 April 2015
    03 April 2015
    28 March 2015
    27 March 2015
    22 March 2015
    21 March 2015
    20 March 2015
    14 March 2015
    13 March 2015
    07 March 2015
    06 March 2015
    28 February 2015
    27 February 2015
    21 February 2015
    20 February 2015
    15 February 2015
    14 February 2015
    13 February 2015

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    EXPERT OPINION

    “Craig Joubert deserves plaudits for making a gutsy call against the home side in the Super Rugby semis, writes Herman Mostert.”

    Opinion Poll

    Super Rugby is a thing of the past. Next up: The Rugby Championship. Who will emerge victorious this season?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.