Lions look in better shape

2012-04-26 14:49

Johannesburg - With minimal changes to the starting XV and coming off a bye weekend, the Lions are looking in a better shape than two weeks ago for their Super Rugby clash against the Brumbies at Coca-Cola Park on Friday.

They will need all of this and more against the Australian Conference leaders, where former Springbok coach Jake White is at the helm.

The Johannesburg franchise has now lost six successive matches in this year's competition, and look to turn the tide before embarking on their Australasian tour next week.

Lions coach John Mitchell said they were still resolute in their playoffs ambitions and that his charges needed a favourable result to kick-start their resurgence.

"It’s always been a goal to make the playoffs in this competition," Mitchell said.

"And that is still alive. Clearly, we've got to come up with a positive experience.

"Until we become totally accurate, we are not going to present ourselves with that opportunity.

"It is still a long way to go in this competition, there are still nine games, and it is a lot of rugby."

The visitors are favourites, but historically, have not had positive experiences at Coca-Cola Park - having not won in the Lions' den in five years.

Their last victory came in 2007, where they won 14-9.

The Lions also had the better of the Brumbies in Canberra with a 29-20 victory last year.

Mitchell, however, has great admiration for the tourists and is aware of the challenge his troops face on Friday night.

"I love the way the Brumbies are playing at the moment, I love their attitude," he said.

"I think, transitionally, they are very quick between the attack and defence, and they are playing an exciting brand of football.

"We are going to have to go the full 80 minutes.

"The Brumbies remind us a lot about us, last year in the Currie Cup.

"They play with a lot of energy and clearly they have few reputations in their group, so that impresses me even more."

Mitchell said he expected the Brumbies to organise a lot of their attack around scrumhalf Nick White, with the Lions sure to target this area of their game.

"Clearly, number nine, Nick White, is quite fast and he’ll come with numbers," Mitchell said.

"The Brumbies have always prided themselves with their intricate and subtle phase plays off nine.

"The first phase has also been a strong point with (former flyhalf and scrumhalf) Stephen Larkham and George Gregan in the coaching group.

"I certainly can still see some of that element in their play."

The Lions will also hope to see their lineouts functioning properly - an area Mitchell fingered as a major cause of their woes.


15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen

Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaans, 18 Grant Hattingh, 19 Christo le Roux, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Butch James, 22 Michael Killian

15. Jesse Mogg, 14. Henry Speight, 13. Andrew Smith, 12. Pat McCabe, 11. Joseph Tomane, 10. Christian Lealiifano, 9. Nic White, 8. Fotu Auelua, 7. Michael Hooper, 6. Peter Kimlin, 5. Leon Power, 4. Scott Fardy, 3. Ben Alexander, 2. Stephen Moore (captain), 1. Ruaidhri Murphy

Substitutes: 16. Anthony Hegarty, 17. Scott Sio, 18. Sam Carter, 19. Ita Vaea, 20. Ian Prior, 21. Robbie Coleman, 22. Tevita Kuridrani


  • Japjapjap - 2012-04-26 15:03

    @john- your coaching position does not........

      Japjapjap - 2012-04-26 19:19

      ok eks jamer en verkeer-alweer... johnny boy, jy doen 'n puik job en di leeus speel sprankellende rugby-hulle moet net passop of hulle word wakker met di Super15 trofee op hulle skoot in 2012?? of almal wat duimpies af wys moet wakker word??

  • Stormkaap - 2012-04-26 15:17

    Playoffs perhaps a bridge too far

      Tokolos - 2012-04-27 11:31

      Die Leeus gaan hard brul van nou af. Ek dink hulle gaan paar spanne seermaak. Pasop dat hulle nie 'n paar van julle Stormers se groot monde toemaak vir julle nie. Julle was in elk geval baie baie lucky om hulle te wen in die eerste game. As dit nie vir die ref was soos in 90% van julle ander games die jaar nie was dit 'n ander storie gewees. Sharks gaan nog onder die Leeus op die log eindig.

      Tokolos - 2012-04-27 12:33

      Jan.... Gaan speel met jou kaal sussie!!!

  • Lionel - 2012-04-26 15:20

    Come on Lions!!!!!!!!

  • Nico - 2012-04-26 15:39

    Come on Lions, spoil the party and qualify for the playoffs, wonder what saru and the queens will do then, hahahahahaha. GO LIONS!!!

      Marius - 2012-04-27 11:44

      @ Nico. Still living in denial. The Kings are the only franchise who can party at this stage, because they are the only team with a guaranteed franchise licence for next year. All the SA franchise licences expire at the end of this season, so no-one else has a licence yet. The decision rests purely with SARU about who gets them. The only thing that they still haven't figured out is what criteria will be used to decide which current franchise falls out, but one will definitely fall out. Most likely it will be the Lions if you take various factors like their S15 record over the last 5 years, their financial management and situation at the moment, as well as the infighting between the traditional white clubs and the black clubs from Soweto in consideration, there are just too many negative tick marks against the Lions for them to survive the chop.

      Nico - 2012-04-27 11:54

      @Marius, u r right, will prob be the Lions, and it will be really nice to see your queens being hammered every game next year with more than 100 points. not to mention the 10+ injuries per game because u're players are not used to the physicality. who knows, after 1 year in the super15, rugby in EP might close down cause there won't be rugby players left. as for EP buying players, u're time to wake up and smell the coffee. none of the unions will let their players go to EP, they want the extra 2 byes and 10 points see. so they would much rather reach a comprimise with the team falling out and use their players for the super15, than let them go. I'm looking forward to next year, when u guys learn that rugby is played on the pitch, and not in political board rooms :)

  • Mark - 2012-04-26 16:12

    i hope so, i really hope so........

  • Chris - 2012-04-26 18:01

    Miskien moet die perd se ambisie eerder wees om nie weereens heel laaste op die log te eindig nie - beslis 'n meer realistiese ambisie...

  • Bootman - 2012-04-26 18:19

    But what now????!!!!! Last year all and sundry were calling JM to be the Bok coach. Man how fickle we are. I however saw right through the charade. There was no way any other team was going to win the CC. Not with a bunch of fatigued Boks in their sides, when the Lions were playing together since the start of the S15. The biggest mistake WP and the Sharks made was to let their Boks play in the CC. The Bulls, however, were on a hiding to nothing regardless.

      Tokolos - 2012-04-27 11:34

      The biggest mistake WP made was to win the CC before they got on the plane you IDIOT!!!

  • Wesley - 2012-04-26 18:50

    What did they do, Josh had a shave

  • Juan - 2012-04-26 22:23

    they never did.... Maybe they can finish second last this time

  • Danny - 2012-04-27 09:25

    I see Mitchell and his team have managed to snatch up the very promosing Grant Hattingh from Maties - watch this guy - a great prospect for the future - RUDOLF STEAULI ASLEEP AT HIS DESK AGAIN BRIAN VAN ZYL?

      Annalie - 2012-04-27 09:30

      Yes and he should wake up RUDOLP STRAUELI who's sleeping underneath the desk. he he he he

      Annalie - 2012-04-27 09:31

      Ok RUDOLPH with a PH...... and that's not a PH....D. heh ehe he ehe

  • Annalie - 2012-04-27 09:34

    Lions loves to be the underdogs. They will win their last 9 games and make it into the playoffs. Goooooo Lions!!!

  • Ockie - 2012-04-27 11:19

    Please Lions. I hope you turn your season around now! Best of luck to all the other SA sides this weekend as well. Make it 3 out of 3 for us!

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