Strauss: Lions have grown up

2012-02-23 07:42

Johannesburg - Lions captain Josh Strauss believes his team have grown since last year's abysmal Super Rugby season, and they have the Currie Cup title to show for it.

The Johannesburg side face the Cheetahs in their Super Rugby opener at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.

"I think last year in Super Rugby, we were a very young group, very inexperienced and there were a few players who played their first Super Rugby game last year," Strauss said on Wednesday.

"It really shows that we have grown up as a group and I think we addressed the things in Super Rugby that we had missed out."

Coach John Mitchell, meanwhile, said his charges were ready to tackle the new season after lifting the 2011 Currie Cup.

Mitchell said last year's disappointing run in Super Rugby, when they managed only three wins from 14 matches, was part of their growth as a team.

The squad would start this season on a new page and they had put last year's Super Rugby competition behind them.

"We are excited about the season and I would be surprised if we are not hungry to perform," he said.

"That (Currie Cup) was part of our maturity and growth, we've deserved where we finished up so I would like to think of going into this campaign with more maturity."

Mitchell felt his side brought something different to the competition in terms of the way they approached the game which could count in their advantage.

"I think our style of rugby is quite refreshing compared to some of our other competitors in the conference. It is unique to us and we have the opportunity to take that to the Super Rugby," Mitchell said.

"We will fight as hard as we can to win our conference."

Mitchell was still sweating on the availability of lock Wikus van Heerden, who was nursing a knee injury, when he named his team for the Cheetahs clash.

Hendrik Roodt was pencilled in among the starting XV, and if Van Heerden failed to recover in time, Mitchell said he would make his debut for the Lions.

Hooker Callie Visagie, prop CJ van der Linde and reserve scrumhalfTian Meyer are set to make their debuts for the Johannesburg franchise, while scrumhalf Michael Bondesio, who was part of the match squad last year, would also receive his first starting berth.

Stephan Greeff, named in the match 22, was set to play his first game for the Lions off the bench.


Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies le Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 James Kamana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden/ Hendrik Roodt, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse/ CJ van der Linde, 18 Hendrik Roodt / Stephan Greeff, 19 Warren Whiteley, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Butch James, 22 Lionel Mapoe.

Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Dusty Noble, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Tewis de Bruyn, 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Lappies Labuschagné/Philip van der Walt, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Ashley Johnson, 20 Pieter van Zyl, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Willie le Roux.


  • Henri - 2012-02-23 07:56

    GO LIONS GOOOOOO make us proud !!!!

  • heinrich.beukes1 - 2012-02-23 08:02

    Yes they have done brilliantly last year lets hope they continue this form and atleast have a play off game. Would be good for Ellis Park Stadium as well, to get the stadium full again like the final of the currie cup last year. I was there what a vibe!!!

      Jason - 2012-02-23 08:21

      I agree there is no reason why the Lions, with such a large catchment area, shouldnt be knocking on all doors! Good luck to them for this season. Stormers 4 life!

  • Dieter - 2012-02-23 08:03

    Enjoy your last year of super rugby Lions ...... KINGS ALL THE WAY!!!!

      psycc - 2012-02-23 08:08

      kings ha ha....

      Dieter - 2012-02-23 08:22

      Op 'n stasie staan 'n meisie met 'n seuntjie van so 2 jaar wat nog suig nog aan haar bors, vra die seuntjie vir sy moeder, wies daai man wat daar oorkant stap ... se die moeder vir haar seuntjie ... dis die moordenaar van jou vader en die vader van my kind. DOOIE DONNER, DOOIE BLIKSEM, SE DIE SEUNTJIE VIR SY MA!! AS EK EENDAG EENDAG GROOT IS, WIL EK OOK 'N EP KING WEES!!!!!!!!!!!

      Jason - 2012-02-23 08:22

      I cant help myself...............but if the Kings, on current form, get into the Super 15 next year, then they will have to change it to the 15! ;)

      coolshoesouthafrica - 2012-02-23 13:09

      Kings Rock @JasonEye...are you serious?? I really dont know what form you are referring to? The last time the Southern Kings played at a team they almost beat the British Lions

      Derrick - 2012-02-23 22:07

      @Dieter-are you really trying to break the thumbs down record

      Sean - 2012-02-27 12:08

      @Dieter You're hoping the Lions or Cheetahs come last in the SA conference. If they don't there is no way the Kings will see the Super 15 next year. SARU will not allow one of the "Big 3" to not play in the competition! You must have loved the game on Saturday night!!!

  • Dirk - 2012-02-23 08:13

    Josh Strauss is the name of the beard, I have no idea who the man attached to it is.

      PatPion - 2012-02-23 10:59

      Unfortunately the beard was shaved off after the Currie Cup, so then I guess Josh is dead. :-)

      Sean - 2012-02-27 12:09

      @Patpion yeah but the beard is back...

  • Shaun Robinson - 2012-02-23 08:34

    The only reason they won the Currie cup is because they had no players in the bok squad thus they could play their Super 15 side in the Currie cup... Food for thought.

      Johan - 2012-02-23 08:45

      And the semi's with all the boks in WPs side?

      heinrich.beukes1 - 2012-02-23 08:51

      Shaun stop looking for excuses. The combination of the wp and sharks in the semi and final respectively had the majority of the bok squad and they were even beaten more comprehensively hahahaha

      Lexa - 2012-02-23 10:35

      You obviously didn't actually watch the Lion games! No doubt you don't watch them but claim to know how good/bad they are based on that one single assessment. The Lions were outstanding and it was inspiring to watch, Josh Strauss has developed into a fantastic captain! They would have beaten most SA teams regardless of the boks or not. Something similar happened in hte final, the fishies included all there boks and got their asses handed to them! I was there, it was quite funny!!!!!

      Derrick - 2012-02-23 22:11

      @Shaun- please pay one of your friends to like this

      Sean - 2012-02-27 12:14

      @Shaun. Were you one of the people who said the Lions had no chance because the Springboks were back in the Currie Cup? There were a whole pile of these clever people before the semi-final, and in the week before the final. Your logic means that the Lions should win the SA conference because we have no players in the bok squad? Actually now there are two, but they were on the bench on Saturday so they don't count!

      Hennie - 2012-02-27 18:20

      Yeah Shaun you got that right first time, But you do not mention that the rest of the world took 5-6 weeks to beat the boks,and the LIONS did in two weeks against two proper springbok loaded teams, FOOD FOR THOUGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THINK THAT ONE THROUGH ..................

  • Raeez - 2012-02-23 08:41

    I know Mapoe is now out and Killian took his place on the bench but i believe Killian deserves a spot in the starting 15. But anyway, Mitchell knows

      heinrich.beukes1 - 2012-02-23 08:49

      Killian is still recovering from an injury that is why he is not in the starting line up.

  • duane.vanvuuren - 2012-02-23 09:25

    I'm a Stormer, but these guys have great heart and determination. Would be a tragedy if they were to lose their Super Rugby status to the Kings. This could be the year where they upset a lot of the big guns in the comp. Best of all the SA sides!

      coolshoesouthafrica - 2012-02-23 13:05

      The Lions may have a great starting XV but no depth Going to struggle but will be 100% better than last season

  • Nico - 2012-02-23 11:34

    GO LIONS!!! This is gonna be our season guys!

      Juan - 2012-02-23 16:03

      Gaan Leeutjies gaan eet daai cheetahs!!!!!

  • Louis - 2012-02-23 11:54

    What a Lions team!!!! We gonna start the SR season the same way we ended the CC one, go boyz!!!!!!!

  • Ridwaan - 2012-02-23 12:17

    I wish Lions and Cheetahs finish top of the S15 SA conference this year ...and perhaps win the tournament. would love to see SARU's next move after that ... lol

      andrebotes1982 - 2012-02-23 13:32

      I wish for a porche and it doesnt mean it will happen

      Sean - 2012-02-27 12:16

      can't agree more!!! It will mean the Kings will wait another year to play Super Rugby

  • coolshoesouthafrica - 2012-02-23 13:06

    John Mitchel to coach the Kings Super Rugby Team next Season once the Lions get booted out SOUTHERN KINGS ON THE RISE!!!!

      Juan - 2012-02-23 16:02

      @Patrick. Wat weet jy van rugby af perd??? Met sulke comments blykbaar nie veel nie, dis hoekom jy seker n looser sal bly!!!

      coolshoesouthafrica - 2012-02-23 17:18

      Prob a little more than you Which part dont you agree on?

      Juan - 2012-02-23 18:44

      How long do you think it will take the kings to be competitive in super rugby???

      Sean - 2012-02-27 12:22

      There's more chance of you moving back home to PE! Mitchell will leave the Lions when he becomes Springbok coach. As for the Kings in super rugby. SARU are still begging SANZAR for another spot and a "super 16". They realise the hole they've dug for themselves, and they're running scared. It's a mess and whatever the solution, it is not going to be good for SA rugby.

  • coolshoesouthafrica - 2012-02-23 17:21

    Lions finish in the top 10 and I will buy all of you a double brandy and coke

      Juan - 2012-02-23 19:49

      Jy gaan bankrot wees nog voor jy moet begin koop wannabe!!!

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