• Lions Super Rugby preview

    The Lions are unlikely to make a successful return to Vodacom Super Rugby.

    JOHN MITCHELL SAYS …

    ‘The Lions will have a tough campaign again. Their team won’t change much from the one that played in the Currie Cup and there it was clear that their defence was weak. It is a major issue. They also have very little quality in depth, so injuries will be felt more deeply than any of the other South African franchises. Their best hope to stay competitive is to keep their core 23 fit for the duration of the campaign. Player well-being and man management is critical.’

    PLAYERS OUT

    Jacobie Adriaanse (Scarlets, Wales), Ruan Botha (Stormers), David Bulbring (Kings), Kevin Buys (Kings), Pat Cilliers (Stormers), JC Janse van Rensburg (Bayonne, France), Michael Killian (Kings), Bandise Maku (Kings), Waylon Murray (Kings), Caylib Oosthuizen (Cheetahs), Etienne Oosthuizen (Brumbies), Michael Rhodes (Stormers), Hendrik Roodt, (Montpellier, France), Josh Strauss (Glasgow, Scotland) Jaco Taute (Stormers), Wikus van Heerden (retired), Callie Visagie (Bulls), Paul Willemse (Bulls).

    PLAYERS IN

    Thabo Mamojele (Kings), Ricky Schroeder (Boland), Courtnall Skosan (Blue Bulls), Willie Wepener (Blue Bulls).

    NUMBERS THAT MATTER

    66 – The number of lineout catches taken by Franco van der Merwe, who was on loan with the Sharks, in 2013 (the second most in the tournament).

    12 – The number of matches the Lions won out of 71 from 2008 to 2012.

    17 – The percentage of matches the Lions won from 2008 to 2012.

    44-42 – The aggregate score, over two Super Rugby promotion-relegation matches, in favour of the Lions against the Kings.

    0 – The number of games the Lions won in the 2010 Super Rugby season.

    23,313 – The average number of fans per game at Ellis Park in the 2012 Super Rugby tournament, the second lowest in the South African conference (Free State Stadium was the lowest with 19 244).

    52 – The number of tries the Lions conceded in 16 Super Rugby matches in 2012. Only the Rebels (59) conceded more.

    37-32 – The scoreline of the Lions’ last Super Rugby victory, over the Rebels in Johannesburg on 7 July 2012.

    2012 RECORD

    Won: 3; Lost 13: Win %: 19

    2014 FIXTURES

    15 February: Cheetahs (a), 22 February: Stormers (h), 1 March: Bulls (a), 8 March: Sharks (a), 15 March: Blues (h), 22 March: Reds (h), 28-29 March: BYE, 5 April: Crusaders (h), 12 April: Sharks (h), 19 April: Stormers (a), 25-26 April: BYE, 3 May: Chiefs (a); 10 May: Highlanders (a), 18 May: Waratahs (a), 24 May: Force (a), 31 May: Bulls (h); BREAK FOR JUNE TESTS; 27-28: June BYE; 4 July: Rebels (h); 12 July: Cheetahs (h).

    PREVIOUS LOG FINISHES

    1996: 10th; 1997: 5th: 1998: 12th; 1999: 11th; 2000: 4th (semi-finalists); 2001: 3rd (semi-finalists); 2002: 11th, 2003: 12th; 2004: 12th; 2005: 11th; 2006: 13th; 2007: 12th; 2008: 14th; 2009: 12th; 2010: 14th; 2011: 14th; 2012: 15th.
    Note: Played as Transvaal in 1996 and 1997, and as part of Cats franchise from 1998-2005. Did not take part in 2013

    FOLLOW HIM ON TWITTER

    Elton Jantjies
    @Elton_Jantjies1
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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

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    OTHER SA PREVIEWS

    Bulls preview

    Cheetahs preview

    Sharks preview

    Stormers preview

    Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

    Post by

    Simon Borchardt