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    Super Rugby preview: Lions

    2017-02-20 10:16

    Cape Town - The Lions came so close to winning Super Rugby in 2016 - that decision to rest their first-choice team in the final group game of the season against the Jaguares proving crucial. 

    They lost that match in Buenos Aires and, as a result, missed out on top place on the overall log and a home final. 

    Instead, they traveled to Wellington where they lost 20-3 to the Hurricanes. 

    Still, it was a stellar season from Johan Ackermann's team and they will desperately want to give it another go in 2017. 

    The draw for the Lions is actually easier this year given that they avoid the Kiwi sides in regular season. 

    That should technically make for an easier route to the play-offs but the Lions do have to contest with the Sharks and Jaguares in their conference. 

    There is a slight concern that the Lions peaked in 2016 and that they will struggle to replicate that form in 2017, but their personnel is largely unchanged and they will be backing themselves to be South Africa's premier side once more.  

    KEY PLAYER

    2016 was a team effort in every sense, so this is difficult to do. Elton Jantjies at flyhalf remains instrumental purely because he is the one who launches so many of the Lions attacks, but the likes of Faf de Klerk, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Lionel Mapoe have all played key roles. In the pack, captain Warren Whiteley is the heartbeat of this Lions machine.  

    MAJOR SIGNING

    Not a whole lot to talk about here. The Lions have opted for continuity. Lock Marvin Orie joins from the Bulls, but that's about it. 

    MAJOR LOSS

    Warwick Tecklenburg was one of the most under-rated players in last year's successful Lions side. He didn't get a lot of the limelight, but he got through some serious workloads throughout the season. His sudden retirement took the South African rugby community by surprise and now the Lions find a replacement for him in the No 7 jersey.   

    FIXTURES

    February 25: Cheetahs (a)
    March 4: Waratahs (h)
    March 11: Jaguares (a)
    March 18: Reds (h)
    March 25: Kings (a)
    April 1: Sharks (h)
    April 8: BYE
    April 15: Stormers (a)
    April 21: Jaguares (h)
    April 29: Force (a)
    May 6: Rebels (a)
    May 12: Brumbies (a)
    May 20: Bulls (h)
    May 28: Kings (h)
    INTERNATIONAL BREAK
    July 1: Sunwolves (h)
    July 8: BYE
    July 15: Sharks (a)

    SPORT24 PREDICTION

    There is still a lot of quality in this Lions side, but we reckon the Sharks will give them a run for their money in 2017. 

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, AMI Stadium 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

    Results

    05 August 2017
    29 July 2017
    22 July 2017
    21 July 2017
    15 July 2017
    14 July 2017
    08 July 2017
    07 July 2017
    01 July 2017
    30 June 2017
    09 June 2017
    03 June 2017
    02 June 2017
    28 May 2017
    27 May 2017
    26 May 2017
    21 May 2017
    20 May 2017
    19 May 2017
    13 May 2017
    12 May 2017
    06 May 2017
    05 May 2017
    30 April 2017
    29 April 2017
    28 April 2017
    22 April 2017
    21 April 2017
    15 April 2017
    14 April 2017
    09 April 2017
    08 April 2017
    07 April 2017
    02 April 2017
    01 April 2017
    31 March 2017
    25 March 2017
    24 March 2017
    18 March 2017
    17 March 2017
    11 March 2017
    10 March 2017
    04 March 2017
    03 March 2017
    02 March 2017
    25 February 2017
    24 February 2017
    23 February 2017
    06 August 2016
    30 July 2016
    23 July 2016
    22 July 2016
    16 July 2016
    15 July 2016
    09 July 2016
    08 July 2016
    02 July 2016
    01 July 2016
    29 May 2016
    28 May 2016
    27 May 2016
    21 May 2016
    20 May 2016
    14 May 2016
    13 May 2016
    07 May 2016
    06 May 2016
    30 April 2016
    29 April 2016
    24 April 2016
    23 April 2016
    22 April 2016
    16 April 2016
    15 April 2016
    09 April 2016
    08 April 2016
    03 April 2016
    02 April 2016
    01 April 2016
    27 March 2016
    26 March 2016
    25 March 2016
    19 March 2016
    18 March 2016
    12 March 2016
    11 March 2016
    05 March 2016
    04 March 2016
    27 February 2016
    26 February 2016

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