Make or break for the Lions

2012-04-13 12:00

Johannesburg - With the noose of finishing last in the Super Rugby series tightening around their necks, the Lions will throw down the gauntlet in the Jukskei derby against the Bulls in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The Lions have won only one of the six matches they have played this season.

Their Gauteng neighbours, on the other hand, have shown true grit, dispatching the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld last weekend to pick up their fourth victory of the campaign.

Consistency in team selection has been the Bulls’ greatest ally this season, though they are a fairly young team compared to the last couple of years.

The Lions have an even greater tinge of green as a result of a plethora of injuries to their core group of experienced players.

Lions coach John Mitchell has been forced to make wholesale changes to his side on a weekly basis.

The Johannesburg-based side have found the going tough so far and it is unlikely to get any easier as they host a side that have come out tops in their last seven encounters.

While the scales might tip in the Bulls’ favour, Mitchell’s counterpart, Frans Ludeke, warned against the Lions’ never-say-die attitude.

“I think they are a quality side," Ludeke said.

"No-one has scored four tries against them. They play for 80 minutes and never go away.

“They were in some of the games until the last minute so we know it is going to be a big clash over the weekend, with no favours."

Ludeke expected a brutal clash against the Lions, who have shown solid work ethic in their matches.

“I don’t think there will be any surprises," he said.

"They want to keep the ball alive, and you could see all the teams they played against had to make a lot of tackles.

“The Stormers had to make 218 tackles so that is an indication of their ability to keep the ball and ask questions.

“So our defence must be spot on. There will be turnovers, and we must be accurate from opportunities, either from turnovers or opportunities from their half.”

Lineouts have been a chronic ailment for the Lions this season, which Mitchell has desperately tried to remedy.

The gamble to play unseasoned lock Paul Willemse in last week’s match against the Cheetahs backfired as the youngster retired hurt.

Stephan Greeff will now have the unenvious task of competing against the Bulls’ weathered locks.

Mitchell said his players were going through a process of introspection, learning lessons from recent experiences which would eventually lead to the required results.

“We have focused on ourselves, and clearly we actually have to learn lessons,” Mitchell said.

“We are probably dealing with how to work together at the moment and learning patience, which are two things we have struggled with in the last four weeks.

"A lot of that has probably come with change as a result of what we have experienced, but over time we will grab that and we will get a result.”


  • boltonbarry - 2012-04-13 12:08

    One luck the Bulls have is that the Lions only look good on paper

      Lion - 2012-04-13 14:15

      Boltonbarry You are right. I wish the Bulls pitch up with your attitude tomorrow. You will be in for a big surprise. Be careful that they don't turn their season around tomorrow. Then I have news for a lot of teams for the rest of this competition. Raven, Sorry my friend. I have to go against you guys on this one, although the Bulls are my second team. It's a bit of a difficult one for me but I have to stick with my team Good luck for tomorrow and may the best team win. I sure hope that the injury ghost stay away for both teams. Go Lions!!!

  • Morn%c3%a9 - 2012-04-13 12:17

    Sorry Lions I don't see you winning this one, matbe better luck for the S 15 next year.

  • CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-13 12:22

    lions to be relegated to make way for Super Kings in 2013. Don't worry lions players, we'll pick some of you to join up with Super Rugby's newest champions.

      Felix - 2012-04-13 12:47

      You may as well pick all of them. Who have you got? Puke and some over the hill golden oldies.

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-13 12:56

      We can't do that Felix. The Super Kings at least would like to win a few games.

      Paul - 2012-04-13 13:16

      Kings Champions........hahaha......what a joke!!!

      Nico - 2012-04-13 15:01

      hahahaha Charles, why do you need players? thought you had the players according to you and the other Queen supporters?? anyway, you won't get any lions players next year, or any other players for that matter, they are all contracted till end 2013, so you will have to play with your own superior players next year :) as for the lions players, they will be on loan to the bulls, stormers, sharks and cheetahs, so will still get the super15 experience. at least you guys will be guaranteed of one thing, breaking all the lions records (most points against in a season, most points against in a game, most games lost in a row, etc etc). so thanks for that :)

  • David - 2012-04-13 12:30

    Unless Lions take advantage of the Bulls customary slow start and lead by about 10 at the break, smart money has to be on the Bulls

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-04-13 12:41

      I think lions are in for a world of hurt tomorrow

      Lion - 2012-04-13 14:09

      Hi Dave, Congrats on the Sharks. Well done! The Lions are in turmoil, but never write them off. Charles Numbnuts Please inbox me your address and I will personally come do you a favor and break your fingers and relieve you of your addiction of typing stupid sh@t on the internet. I think you were bullied at school and never had any friends. You are definitely not going to make any here idiot!!!

      David - 2012-04-13 14:37

      Thanks Lion. As usual the Sharks made us sweat a bit. I'll be supporting the Lions tomorrow, hope you guys play like you did against the Stormers. Good luck.

  • heinrich.beukes1 - 2012-04-13 12:36

  • Nico - 2012-04-13 14:58

    GO LIONS!! Play as a team and we will turn our season around :)

  • Tokolos - 2012-04-13 16:34

    Tokolos thinks that the Bulls will win by 50+. Isak please predict your own score as Tokolos came up with this prediction early in the week already. Do you like to copy what Tokolos say? Do you have an obsession with Tokolos? Do you like Tokolos Isak? Tokolos predicts the Crusaders by 10+ tomorrow. No BP for Stormers as well. Beginning of the end for them. 3 Times Super Rugby Champ greetings, The Tokolos.

      Steven Trollip - 2012-04-14 06:32


  • pages:
  • 1