Lions confident after opener

2012-03-01 12:44

Johannesburg - With the first round of Super Rugby matches in the bag, and their opposition weakened by the loss of seasoned All Black campaigners, the Lions will relish the prospect of a second victory on the trot this weekend.

They face New Zealand tourists, the Hurricanes, in a Super Rugby match at Ellis Park on Friday, banking on the confidence they gained from their narrow 27-25 victory over the Cheetahs last Saturday.

Their triumph was in no way convincing but the winning feeling will hold them in good stead ahead of the Canes clash.

The Hurricanes got their 2012 Super Rugby campaign off to a shaky start when they were uprooted 39-26 by the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday.

The visitors received three yellow cards in the match and also played with 13 men for a couple of minutes.

If the Canes improve on their discipline, they might pose a serious threat to the Johannesburg-based side.

Their sluggish performance could offer the Lions some comfort but as captain Joshua Strauss observed, most of the teams dished up indifferent performances over the weekend.

“I think they [Hurricanes] started slow but they are a very good team,” Strauss said.

“Many of the teams struggled to switch on in the first week.”

The Canes will be feeling the effects of losing notable stalwarts Ma’a Nonu, Hosea Gear and Piri Weepu, among others, this season.

History, however, favours the visitors with the Lions’ last win over the Canes dating back to 2007 when they won 30-7 in Johannesburg.

“Like any other team, they will learn from their mistakes and come hard at us from the start,” said Strauss.

“They started off slow and finished well, so I think we will have a very tough match on our hands.”

The Lions were unimpressive against the Cheetahs and struggled particularly in the lineouts, which deprived them of one of the game's essential attacking platforms.

As a result, this facet of the Lions’ game received special attention in training this week.

The side’s coach John Mitchell also responded by promoting young lock Stephan Greeff to the starting XV in the hope of remedying the problem.

“Without it (lineout ball), we were good to win and we had some good play at times," said Mitchell.

"Imagine what we will be like when we do get some lineout ball.”

Mitchell said the Hurricanes would - despite their shortcomings - be a force to be reckoned with.

“They are going to have huge desire on the weekend and it is important that we out-will that desire because they weren’t far away in that contest against the Stormers and they will take a lot of heart and positives from that,” he said.

“I think it is going to be a good contest because both teams will be hungry."

If the match yields another close encounter, the Lions will again rely heavily on the boot of talismanic flyhalf Elton Jantjies - who set the Super Rugby record for the most penalty conversions with his nine penalty goals against the Cheetahs.


  • Nico - 2012-03-01 12:48

    GO LIONS!! gonna be another tight game, but Lions will start running more, maybe a try or two :) Jantjies will be the diff again as we should get a number of scrum penalties :)

      Paul - 2012-03-01 13:07

      Lions by plenty.

      Henri - 2012-03-01 14:12

      Ha ha ha ha ek kan nie wag vir die naweek se clash nie, die pienk koeie teen die cheetahs, o dit gaan n lekker grap wees om daai pienk meisies op die veld te sien, en dit nog in die boere stad.

  • Bulldozer - 2012-03-01 12:51

    Good luck to the Lions........and the Sharks. (Just had to put it out there)

      Lionel - 2012-03-01 13:20


  • James Parker - 2012-03-01 12:55

    would be great if the lions win, but i think the canes will take it

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-02 08:49

      James Parker do you know what a bird does to a statue?

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-02 08:50

      Sharks 24 Stormers 16 ha ha ha ha ha

  • James Parker - 2012-03-01 12:56

    oh and go Cheetahs as well! just putting it out there

      Henri - 2012-03-01 14:13

      Ha ha ha ha ek kan nie wag vir die naweek se clash nie, die pienk koeie teen die cheetahs, o dit gaan n lekker grap wees om daai pienk meisies op die veld te sien, en dit nog in die boere stad.

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-02 08:50

      Bulls 32 Cheeters 18 ha ha ha ha

  • Bootman - 2012-03-01 13:15

    I have it on good authority that the Cheetahs are so confident of a win they didnt even train this week. Go Cheetahs. Trek daai Bulle plat.

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-02 08:51

      I have it on good authority that the Sharks are so confident of a win they didnt even train this week. Go Sharks. Trek daai Bokkomvreters van die Kaap plat.

  • heinrich.beukes1 - 2012-03-01 13:20

    I have a feeling that we are gonna beat them convincingly this weekend. If we can get more ball and hold on to it the canes will suffer!

  • odupreez - 2012-03-01 13:44

    Where will Mark Lawrence be this weekend ?, hopefully not officaiting another Cheetah game, looks like he is picking up from Pro-Legote left off last season, maybe this comes from the top as we have to make way for Watsons Spears (?) Kings (?).

      odupreez - 2012-03-01 13:45

      The Lions really did not do it on their own last weekend.

      David - 2012-03-01 14:29

      I've decided to stop lampooning the ref this year, even the blatant Bryce like performances. Teams need to adapt to the ref (unfortunately) which is something the SA sides haven't been too great at.

      Lion - 2012-03-01 19:12

      What matters in the end is... the LOG. We have 4. You have 1. Deal with it. We also had many refs and vital decisions against us in the past but it's no use to whine about it. The Cheetahs have only themselves to blame for last Saturday.

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-02 08:53

      @odupreez Mark het sy beste gedoen om julle in die game te hou. Hou op moan en dink solank verskonings uit oor hoekom die Bulls se junior span julle pak gegee het die komende Saterdag.

      Lion - 2012-03-02 18:57

      @Aubrey Ek stem ou vriend. Ek het vir odupreez piece of mind gegee hier maar my comment was seker gerapporteer deur hom en dis verwyder. Al wat ek se is kyk die scorebord. Speel rugby en as jy nie die ref kan wen nie is dit jou saak. Some you win some you loose. Steve Welsh blaas die Leeus Hurricanes vanaand.... Ons almal weet hy was nog nooit enige SA span se hero nie. Maar ons sal die ref speel en dit op die chin vat en aanbeweeg as dit teen ons draai. Ons sal nie verskonings en simpatie soek nie.

  • patrickjasoncawood - 2012-03-01 19:26

    Canes will be better this week and so will the Lions I guess.Should be a good game. Need to win your home games cause I cant see the Lions winning anything on tour

      aubrey.gloster - 2012-03-02 08:55

      Yes and I can't see you winning with a name like that. Must be a Stormer ha ha ha ha

      Lion - 2012-03-02 18:58

      Support seker die Kings met 'n naam soos daai.

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