Lions want to arrest slump

2010-04-27 10:13

Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg – The Golden Lions Rugby Union wants to strengthen its coaching and playing staff as soon as possible in a bid to halt their continued slump.

Union president Kevin de Klerk believes this is possible and new sponsorships that the union are working on may well be crucial in paving the way.

De Klerk called the union’s management together again this week after the Lions were beaten 51-11 by the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.

“We’ll always be keen to improve the process. We have plans with sponsors to improve our structures and we’ll bring in players to strengthen the team. I still have a lot of praise for the courage of our young players,” said De Klerk.

The defeat to the Bulls was the Lions’ 10th in  as many games this year.

Supporters will be particularly nervous with the Southern Kings insisting that they be included in the Super 15 from 2011 onwards. Their inclusion may be at the expense of another South African team.

“We are obviously worried, but if you look at where their teams (Eastern Province, Border and SWD) lie in their league, I believe they still have a long road to travel,” said De Klerk.

“We’ll never look for excuses. But we are still very limited when you consider how few international players we have compared to the Bulls and Stormers. But we’ll make plans.”

De Klerk also believes the Lions were disrupted by injuries at critical times against the Bulls. Lock Franco van der Merwe and hooker Hans van Dyk left the field early. Prop Gert Muller and fullback Carlos Spencer were also replaced early on.

The Lions were trailing by only four points at half-time and it appeared as if their defence had improved significantly. Unfortunately the second half was a nightmare.

With games against the Blues (home), Western Force (home) and Cheetahs (away), Lions supporters will start fearing that it may be a season without a victory. Coach Dick Muir knows he has a huge task ahead.


  • jj - 2010-04-27 10:38

    I think Kevin should dossolve the whole Golden Lions Board and the team and give teams in Argentina a try - or change the players salary to performance based renumeration ,they wont go anywhere cause no one wants them

  • ByeByeMuir - 2010-04-27 10:38

    I guess it's time for de Klerk to admit that Muir was the wrong choice and bring in Jake White

  • Emile - 2010-04-27 10:55

    Kevin de Klerk needs to realise his problem is not on the field but off it. The longer he is surrounded by idiots who proclaim themselves as management and a CEO who has not put money on the table in 3 years - the worse the predicament for the Lions will become. How much debt are the Lions carrying now? R16.5 million - which is a cool R340,000 interest payments a month. The players know it, the coaches know it, how come Kevin de Klerk does not know the obvious?

  • Elt - 2010-04-27 10:55

    I have been a Lions supporter for as long as I can remember and have always stood my ground when supporters of opposition teams have literally laughed in my face because of my allegiance to the team. It is however becoming very difficult to keep standing up for the Union, management and team when they just keep on disappointing the few loyal supporters that remain. I am not sure what the problem in Johannesburg is but I think it is going to take more than a new sponsor with lots of money to help bolster a "team" that don't seem to have a clue when it comes to playing the game. There are too many basic mistakes on the field and i feel sorry for any coach that is tasked with sorting it out. I also believe that a huge part of the responsibility needs to rest on the shoulders of the upper management and administrators. I moved from Jo'burg to Natal in 2008 and the difference in the support bases is mind blowing. Everywhere you look you are bombarded with the Sharks. Their marketing is second to none and there is a fanatical following for the team. I have no doubt that almost every young schoolboy can name every player on the Sharks team and has his own kit that he proudly puts on every weekend. It is the same with the Bulls, Stormers and Cheetahs. The same can't be said for the Lions. There is no young support base so there is minimal outside income from merchandising. There is no pride in the team and people are ashamed to say that they support the "Pride of Jo'burg". There is no Lion's rugby culture left in Jo'burg and it is sad. You don't see their players faces plastered on billboards, you don't see kids wearing the kit and Ellis park is a virtual ghost town. This all falls directly on the shoulders of the administration and I believe that as a player, when you have no support from management, it is very difficult to give your all. I will support the Lions until the day I die (or the union dissolves into nothing and Jo'burg doesn't have a team any more) but it is really becoming hard work and not a pleasure as any team support should be. I wish I had all the answers but one thing I know for sure... A fish always starts rotting from the head....

  • StormersRule - 2010-04-27 11:10

    These lions are a disgrace to rugby. A bunch of clowns who don't deserve to be in the S14. PLEASE bring the Kings!!!!

  • Whindy - 2010-04-27 11:27

    @bye bye Muir. You obviously don’t follow Lions rugby with such an ignorant remark. Jake White was the twit that suggested they fire Loffie in the first place and led to the lions loosing 9 players and now you want him back do me a favour. They should have given Loffie some decent support staff and the Lions as they were then could have been up with the Bulls and Stormers. Getting rid of the coach is not always the answer; I think the management is where the problem lies. Manie Reynecke should be the first person they boot his employment bears a familiar line with the demise of the Lions. Get in professional business orientated management and the players will be looked after in a professional manner, and then we will not lose any more players. The contract debacle is just one of the glaring inefficiency of the Reynecke regime!! He may not be personally responsible, but the top man is in charge he appoints these muppets and must therefore fall on his sword when it goes wrong.

  • Ben - 2010-04-27 11:30

    What a useless bunch of losers. This team dampened my apetite for rugby. I have stopped watching rugby as I am not willing to switch to winning teams like some of my friends. This team must rather play in some junior division.

  • Sean - 2010-04-27 11:32

    Start by deciding on one name for the team and sticking to it thereby building the brand. The Golden Lions are also the Auto & General Lions and, with new sponsors coming on board, what will they be called next season? Whatever the sponsors offer, surly your name is not up for sale! Be THE LIONS and be loyal to the brand that the fans can be loyal to it too. To also lose the advantage of Ellis Park and the history and tradition associated with the name is a tragedy.

  • TG - 2010-04-27 11:32

    It takes a brave team to still go out every week and know that they lack the necessary resources to win. The management and planning skills are where the holes are. Lions, we will still support you every week.

  • 3X - 2010-04-27 11:49

    3 coaches later and the snoiL are going from bad to worse, I think it's time de Klerk and Manie 'Stalin' Reyneke admit that they're incompetent and do the manly thing by falling on the sword.

  • Hk - 2010-04-27 11:57

    Get rid of Manie Reyneke and get a professional CEO who understands contracts

  • Greg - 2010-04-27 12:03

    The problem is not the coach or players, for years now the Lions have had a problem and it has to be the management and above the coaching level. Dick Muir has to now live with this on his CV. This is a poison challis regardless who does the job. Loffie could not make it work, prior to that Frans Ludeke could not make it work. The good player get fed up and then look for other places to go and play so that they can improve their profile, which weakens the union further. The Lions have a major problem with their rugby culture, they need o start from the basics and develop a humbled approach to their game and attitude in general. This must be started from the very top and work down. Give me the opportunity to look at their structure and work on ways to sort this out. This needs urgent attention before the sponsors pull the plug, then you have a major. Maybe look at casting the net wider in terms of the Super Rugby player net.

  • Greg - 2010-04-27 12:05

    Not even the expert Jake White will be able to sort out this side. The problem are to big and deep. They need attention from the very top.

  • EMILE - 2010-04-27 12:11

    Any union that buys, selects and continue to select players like Sir Earl Rose deserve to suffer end even relegated from Super 14. This union can't even compile a standard employment contract to secure the one or two top players they had. Look at the impact Jaques Fourie had on the Stormers and Alberts on the Sharks. What player in his right mind will want to join a union like the Lions? With our political friends always budding in you can expect government will pump millions into the Spears and they will force them into Super 15. Any cleaver player not good enough to make the Bulls, Stormers and Sharks will head for the Eastern Cape - Not the Lions. The same arguments apply to the Harley Davidson franchise - the Cheetahs. They have some good players still left, but also playing in a league way above their potential. Bottom line is SA can't really field 5 Super 14 teams. Argintina should take the sport of the Cheetahs and the Spears the spot of the Lions.

  • Whindy - 2010-04-27 12:23

    I think you are both harsh, the Players and Muir inherited a sinking ship, Jake White got rid of poor Loffie , who in my opinion just needed some GOOD SUPPORT STAFF!! Look at Fran Ludeke at the Bulls, who suffered the same fate as Loffie and what he is achieving in a professional structure. We used to be the richest union in the world what happened? The Management staff are useless, Mr Reynecke who is the CEO, through all the contract debacles, losing players to other unions, appointing a coach who has no previous provincial coaching experience as a Curry cup coach, paying Jake White a fortune to achieve nothing, is still there WHY?? . Something is not right, the failure and demise of the lions happens to co-inside with Meynecke as the CEO. 1+1 is 2. Get rid of the problem not the coach, get professional structures in place. We are the laughing stock of SA Rugby, time somebody delivered before it’s too late and we have to go to Pretoria to watch Rugby!!

  • S-Lions - 2010-04-27 12:24

    Its been all down hill but mark my words....THE LIONS WILL COME BACK AND WILL AGAIN ONE DAY BE A POWERHOUSE IN SA RUGBY!!!! Only a matter of time!

  • Renier - 2010-04-27 12:56

    I am not a Lions supporter, but I believe, regardless of their useless performance this year, they will be back with a vengeance some day. With administrative orders put in place, the rest will follow.

  • The Rose - 2010-04-27 13:28

    Bring back the Earl! Hehehehehehe! Watson for captian.Seems like Bakkies is looking for a few dollars so offer him least he won't have to learn english bro!

  • Koos - 2010-04-27 17:30

    Would any super team field players like earl rose and Mtetwa? when will the lions realize that players weighing in at less than 80kg will not make in super rugby? Look at the Aussies.

  • Lion King - 2010-04-28 17:37

    I think the other teams would like to see the Lions "disappear" as they will be a dominant force in the next few years and they would prefer to compete against the Kings. Enjoy your last year of dominance Bulls...

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