Lions set to bow out in style

    2014-07-01 17:13

    Johannesburg - With only two matches left in the round-robin stage of the 2014 Super Rugby competition, the Lions will be looking to finish with a flourish to complete one of their best seasons.

    Coach Johan Ackermann said on Tuesday his team would be looking to bow out of this year's edition with seven victories but they would first have to move past their first challenge against the Rebels in Johannesburg on Friday.

    "After the break, these two games are almost a campaign on its own and in rugby you only get remembered for the last game you played," Ackermann said at the team announcement on Tuesday.

    "And if we don't do well in the last two games, the Super Rugby season will be remembered as not being too good. The opposite side of the coin is that if we win the games, we can look back on a good season with a few mistakes.

    "We have high expectations that we end well so it is going to be a massive game for us."

    Before the June international break, the Lions ended the Bulls' chances of reaching the playoffs with a confident 32-21 victory at Ellis Park Stadium.

    Lions captain Warren Whiteley said while his own team had little to play for in terms of accolades, they would be determined to finish on a high.

    "We will have to start well as we did against the Bulls. We know how important that is in a Super Rugby game, especially against the Rebels which are an unpredictable side," Whiteley said.

    "We are not taking this game lightly. It is important and pretty much determines the success of our season."

    Meanwhile, Ackermann made three changes to the run-on side which defeated the Bulls with stalwart lock Franco van der Merwe the most noticeable change.

    Van der Merwe had fully-recovered from an ankle injury which had kept him out of the competition for most of the year and would replace Rudi Mathee.

    The 31-year-old Van der Merwe would play his final two games at the Lions - before joining Irish club Ulster - falling just one game short of reaching his 100th Super Rugby milestone.

    Deon van Rensburg was named in the starting XV in place of Cortnall Skosan, but had to pass a late fitness test which could see the latter retain his place.

    In the only other change to the starting line-up, Anthony Volmink had been named on the wing in place of Chysander Botha.


    Lions: 15. Coenie van Wyk, 14. Deon van Rensburg, 13. Stokkies Hanekom, 12. Alwyn Hollenbach, 11. Anthony Volmink, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley ,7. Warwick Tecklenburg, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Franco Mostert, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Schalk van der Merwe

    Substitutes: 16. Armand van der Merwe, 17. Jacques van Rooyen/Corne Fourie, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. Willie Britz, 20. Derick Minnie, 21. Faf de Klerk, 22. Elton Jantjies, 23. Lionel Mapoe

    Rebels: TBA

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