S15 prize for Kings, Lions

2013-07-25 15:07

Port Elizabeth - Kings director of rugby Alan Solomons has encouraged his team to live up to expectations when they meet the Lions in the first of their Super Rugby promotion-relegation playoff fixtures on Friday.

Kick-off is at 19:10.

In what is being billed as their biggest challenge of the season, the teams clash at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in Port Elizabeth, in the first of two legs, with a spot in next year's Super Rugby competition the prize.

The second leg will be played in Johannesburg on August 3 and the team with the most log points after the two games will join the remaining four South African franchises in the 2014 competition.

"This match is critical to both franchises because the consequences of these matches are extremely serious," Solomons said ahead of the crunch encounter.

"The winners of these two matches remain in Super Rugby and the side that loses is out of Super Rugby.

"And you have to understand the consequences of not playing in Super Rugby, because there is no inspiration to retain young players and no top-class rugby for the public, so the consequences are dire."

His words were echoed by Lions' president Kevin de Klerk, who said it had become extremely difficult to retain sponsors and the fans' interest without the lure of Super Rugby.

The Kings suffered a blow when regular centre and captain Andries Strauss was ruled out of the promotion series, and was replaced by young Shane Gates, with lock Darron Nell taking over as skipper.

The Lions will be desperate to regain their Super Rugby status and have named an experienced line-up for the first encounter, with flyhalf Elton Jantjies and lock Franco van der Merwe set to play key roles.

After seeing the Lions team, Solomons said he was expecting a massive test, but was up to the contest.

"There is no question that the Lions have got some really good players, but I do not think they are better than we are," he said.

"I think this will be a tight affair that will turn on little things."

Kings' centre Ronnie Cooke said the coastal outfit were prepared for a running game from the Lions.

"Elton brings an X-factor to the game that will suit the Lions because they play a running game," Cooke said. "He could spark something for them."

Both Solomons and Kings' coach Matt Sexton said there was a feeling of excitement in the camp, but said they were concentrating on the basics and sticking largely to the game plan which had worked for them this season.

"I think the general feeling we have is excitement, it's a huge occasion, it's like a Test match or World Cup final," Sexton said.

"The guys are looking forward to the occasion."

The New Zealander said he did not want to give too much away about the game plan.

"You take each team on their merits and there are opportunities that will be presented during the match and we just need to capitalise on that," he said.

"The times where we have been successful on the score board are times where we've been very clinical in our approach."

Meanwhile, Lions coach Johan Ackermann is well aware of the implications for the two matches.

"We all know how important it is and the (Lions) players are hungry to get another taste of Super Rugby," he said. "We can't hide from the fact that there's a lot at stake and for both teams there are two important weeks ahead."

Ackermann has had to weld a side together after many senior players were loaned out during the season and he is hoping the Lions will not have to face the situation again.

"It (defeat) will be a huge blow for either union. In their case, having been in just for one year, then fall out and stop the entire process... it will be an enormous setback.


  • Janine N Craig West - 2013-07-25 15:18

    Going to be a tough game and hard to call the winner. The one thing that I have enjoyed is seeing those huge crowds in PE. Stark contrast to the empty stadium at Coca Cola park over the last years.

      Vickers Vermeulen - 2013-07-25 17:07

      At R30 a ticket it is easy to fill a stadium

      Brendan Van Der Weide - 2013-07-25 23:25

      R30 was for the high upper ring, R45 behind poles, R75 and R110 alongs sides of field. Get your facts straight.

      Chrisin Oz - 2013-07-26 05:57

      Vickers, would you have 40 000 people paying R30 like in PE, or would you rather have 8 000 people paying R100 like at Ellispark? No wonder the Lions were kicked out. They can't win a game and they're not an economic option either.

  • Spyker O'Flanagan - 2013-07-25 15:26

    I still think they should relegate the Stormers, so that both the Lions and Kings can play next year.

      Delilah Dolittle - 2013-07-26 04:17

      Hehehe. Yeah, relegate them now and put those stompies out of their misery.

      Chrisin Oz - 2013-07-26 04:55

      Why, you scared of losing to the Stormers 30-13 again? Delilah, your Sharks have finished even lower than the Stormers. Maybe you should help out at the Sharks. There's enough room to put a 1, 2 and 3 on your back and then you can be the Sharks' front row.

  • Titus Madiba - 2013-07-25 15:30

    Come on the Kings!!

      Heresmy Finger - 2013-07-25 15:36


      LouisBensch - 2013-07-26 12:22

      Titus, I rather think that the Lions will pi** on the queens tonight, you can do the other one.

  • Heresmy Finger - 2013-07-25 15:40

    I'll be wearing my supporters kit to work tomorrow and I hope you will all do the same! Go Lions!

      Chrisin Oz - 2013-07-26 04:57

      Supporters kit? That's not the 2013 Super Rugby jersey I would imagine....? Oh, sorry I forgot, there is no 2013 edition of the Lions' S15 supporters jersey.

      Mardeo Bezuidenhout - 2013-07-26 11:35

      did u buy ur kit on special? sportsmans are selling lions jerseys @ R79.99. Rush over!!

      Heresmy Finger - 2013-07-26 13:31

      Christine - Pick n finger.... We all know it should have been the stormers against the Lions... Mardeo.... jokes on you. If you want to spend R800 on your all blacks jersey thats about the same quality as the Lions one, then your the sucker not me. So Sharrap jou draad sitter.

  • larrybrinkley - 2013-07-25 15:42

    Is anybody else cold? I'm cold today...

  • Janine N Craig West - 2013-07-25 15:47

    Be interesting to see how many people attend these games. Give us some insight into how much the fans want to see their teams in super rugby.

      Mardeo Bezuidenhout - 2013-07-26 11:36

      2nyts game is close 2 a sell out...

  • Lambert Mostert - 2013-07-25 16:30

    The outcome of these nonsensical playoffs are irrelevant. Our stadium in PE will be full tomorrow and SANZAR will see that Eastern Cape should be forming part of the competition. Money talks!

      Louis Coutinho - 2013-07-25 18:51

      And bullsh*%t this case it should be the kings

  • Chrisin Oz - 2013-07-26 04:53

    May the best team win. I believe it's the ideal opportunity for the Kings to show why they deserve to be in the S15 and why the underperforming Lions deserve to stay out.

      LouisBensch - 2013-07-26 09:54

      Boohoo Chris, when the Lions are back next year your team will struggle and under perform like we saw this year allready.

      Heresmy Finger - 2013-07-26 13:19

      lol, Chrisin, I really do think you suffer from a split personality. The one day you hate the Queens the next day you love them. Unless its a case of you not being able to controll what come out of your mouth and what comes out of your a-hole. I guess your comments today are what comes out of your a-hole. Dont worry most people in Aus, suffer from the same problem. Its a "down-under" thing. I still wonder what its like seeing everything upside down....

  • Douglas McAntagart - 2013-07-26 07:43

    This is the game of the decade for me, I don't have a clue to the call on this one, my heart tells me the Lions have the tenacity & hunger for this, on the other hand the spoils are both beneficial for each union, all I ask for is The Lions give 100% tonight! go my boytjies! " GO LIONS!!! "

  • P.r. Jacobs - 2013-07-26 09:42

    @Blou Bloed; On the 6th of July 2013 the Lions won the Bulls by 38 points. Final score Lions 50 - Bulls 12. It is time that rugby do the talking. I hope that it will be two good games for South African fans to see...!

  • LouisBensch - 2013-07-26 09:55

    Go Lions, get it all over with tonight and don't wait for next week, GO LIONS!!!!!!!

  • Zak Malherbe - 2013-07-26 10:37

    GO LIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FROM YOUR NABOUR BULL

  • Zak Malherbe - 2013-07-26 10:41


  • Mardeo Bezuidenhout - 2013-07-26 11:42

    It truly has been amazing having top flight rugby in the bay & supporting our KINGS team has been easy seeing that they actually won 3 more games than any1 outside the eastern cape thought they would, not 2 mention the draw against a semi-final team in Canberra. Reality is that if we cant beat the Lions, we don't belong,as simple as that. Personally I cant see us losing to them. Kings Army!!!!

      LouisBensch - 2013-07-26 12:25

      You'll see sum top flight Rugby tonight from the Lion Kings.

      Heresmy Finger - 2013-07-26 14:21

      Agreed Louis. From next year "Draadsitter" Mardeo can go back to supporting the NZ Teams.

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