Lions roar at loose forward

2012-02-09 07:46

Johannesburg - There is fierce competition for the Lions' loose forward positions as they prepare for their first Super Rugby clash against the Cheetahs on February 25.

Captain Josh Strauss and flanks Derick Minnie and Michael Rhodes should be the favourites to for the first game against the Cheetahs in Johannesburg, but there are also other candidates that could force their way into the starting line-up.

Former captain, Cobus "Baywatch" Grobbelaar and eightman Warren Whiteley are quality players, while Pumas eightman Doppies le Roux is also in contention.

Strauss, Minnie and Rhodes were the Golden Lions' loose-trio in the Currie Cup final last year when they demolished the Sharks at Coca-Cola Park. They complemented each other really well in that final.

Rhodes followed a rehabilitation programme in the off-season and couldn't practice at full tilt all the time.

Le Roux is one of the strongest ball-carriers in South African rugby and has impressed the Lions coaches thus far but a place in the starting XV might be a bridge too far.

"Doppies is very strong and he's learning a lot here with us. I first want to see his defence improve because we do it quite differently from where he comes from," said head coach John Mitchell.

"But the competition is tough with Minnie, Whiteley, Baywatch, Josh and now also Rhodes that being back."

Old Lions stalwart Wicus van Heerden is also an option even though Mitchell has mainly used him at lock over the last year or so.

The Lions will play their last warm-up match before the Super Rugby season starts against the Kings in George and Mitchell will be looking to pick close to his strongest XV.


  • Jason - 2012-02-09 08:19

    Going to have to wait and see, Lions form is picking up in a big way. Hope their Super 15 performance is going to go well.

  • Nico - 2012-02-09 08:24

    going to be a GOOD year for the LIONS :) GO LIONS!!!

  • Niela - 2012-02-09 08:38

    Cheetahs by more than 15

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 09:45

      @Blue - steeds suur dat die WP en die Lions darem die Currie beker knockout rounds gemaak het? I can't recall what the Tswane ladies were doing semi-final weekend? Attending kitchen teas and stork parties?

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 10:06

      You folk up north do "too much to mention on weekends?". What type of thing? Beaches, wine farms, surfing, diving etc etc? No wait...thats my life, not yours. In fact, don't answer me, I am feeling a little fragile this morning and too much info on what Tswane folk do "over weekends" will do me no good at all.

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 10:28

      @Blue - growing up where I did there are very few females who don't surf.....Not sure why this would amuse you? Unlike the Tswane "dames" we are not afraid of the water and we don't have perms that go all icky and mincy when 'salt' is surfing, windsurfing and the sort is pretty much on for the female of the species in this part of the world.

      Saffa - 2012-02-09 10:51

      @Blue, you obviously don't live in Pretoria then....must be a Jozi bull.

  • Kevin - 2012-02-09 09:35

    Cheetahs by 20

  • Christopher - 2012-02-09 09:38

    Exciting times to see all of the teams looking strong. Depth at the Lions and Cheetahs is the strongest in years and the same can be said for the Bulls, Stormers and Sharks as well. The Bulls are in a rebuilding phase but they have a whole host of young talent with x-factor coming through so I don't expect them to be weak. They just need to replace Spies with Stander or Jacque Potgieter and they'll be far more formidable! All of the teams are going to have to rotate players to keep them fresh as last year proved that it's about your squad and not just the match-day 22 anymore!!

  • Emile - 2012-02-09 09:53

    i am a big Stormers supporter, but i have to be honest, Derick Minnie is the most underrated player in SA rugby, this guy will bleed for his team, he definitely has the hart of a lion!

      Christopher - 2012-02-09 11:15

      Wish the Bok coaches would give him, Strauss and Rhodes opportunities in midweek games when England come on tour. Instead the Premier Division teams get a "Barbarians" team to play against England. We're the only country in the world who doesn't use their A Team to develop the next level of players and introduce them to the structures that the senior team uses.

  • John - 2012-02-09 10:08

    Tired of waiting now, let the games begin, its going to be a big year of super 15 Rugby no world cup at the back of players minds i am picking major upsets this year......

  • dgazoulis - 2012-02-09 10:42

    FOREVER LIONS, FOREVER JHB, FOREVER ELLIS PARK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO LIONS GO!!!!!!!

  • Johan - 2012-02-09 10:56

    kan nie meer wag vir die rugby om te begin. As n rugby supporter hoop ek alle SA spanne doen goed (lions beter as ander sa spanne natuurlik) Ai naweke is so verveelig sonder rugby. Sien julle op 25 Feb op Ellis Park

  • Louis - 2012-02-09 11:09

    Lions all the way, just hope we can keep all our players for the future, go Lions !!!

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