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3618 Topic: Lions ready for queens grudge match
Beeno1

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Posts: 11046
Lions ready for queens grudge match
February 04, 2013, 12:06:12

Ex Supersport

While admitting that the MTN Lions have a point to prove when they take on the Southern Kings in their next Lions Challenge match this weekend, captain JC Janse van Rensburg has moved to play down the significance of the friendly.

There is no doubt there are a lot of smarting Lions fans across the country at the moment. While watching the Kings court controversy at every corner, appoint foreign coaches and deny Saru’s ruling of just two overseas players, the Lions have had to be content with friendly matches against second-string sides and the prospect of no Super Rugby action this year.

Add to that the Kings’ lack of willingness to promote the welfare of their black player base the reason they were formed in the first place – and it isn’t any wonder that the Lions will have loads of support for their game this weekend.

Yet the game is still just a pre-season friendly. But to so many who feel aggrieved with Saru’s decision to exclude the Lions from Super Rugby, Saturday’s game will be more of a revenge festival.

The Lions themselves have admitted this is a game they want to win. And while they may not say it openly, it is a game they would want to win handsomely.

Janse van Rensburg was at pains to tone down the rhetoric ahead of the mouth-watering clash.

“Everybody is making a big thing about the Kings game, but for us it’s important to stay focused on what we want to do. There is a certain type of game-plan we want to achieve. It is an important game for us which we want to win, but the real important game is actually the promotion-relegation game against whoever we play,” Janse van Rensburg said.

While the Lions captain is correct and the focus should be on building up to the July promotion-relegation clash, the reality is that a win over the Kings here will go a long way in terms of confidence.

The Lions have also been mixing and matching teams in their three matches thus far and this weekend may be the first we see of a full-strength side.

The game is of course important for another reason. Johan Ackermann and his coaching staff will want a lot of depth so that the return of players on loan is a bonus, and not a necessity when their playoff arrives.

“There’s a lot of hard work on Monday. It is a big game and I’m sure coach will pick his strongest team, but we have to go back and work hard to enforce the game plan we want to play.

We want to try and give these players experience, so that if it comes down to the promotion-relegation game, we have a good squad in good nick that we don’t necessarily have to rely on those players.”

For the Kings this is also a must-win game, to show the rest of the nation they belong in this league. Either way, it’s likely to be a cracker of a game.

Yes there will be fireworks for sure. Luke can expect a hot reception dispite his apologies.

Go Lions!


Beeno1

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 11046
RE: Lions ready for queens grudge match
February 05, 2013, 09:19:40

Baylion wrote the following:

The Lions take on the Southern Kings is a pre-season “friendly” practice match on Saturday. The match has been termed in some quarters as a “revenge” match and is eagerly anticipated by many South African rugby fans. For many Lions fans and the anti-Kings brigade a Lions win will reinforce the feeling that SARU’s decision to replace the Lions with the Kings in Super Rugby was a mistake.

With a few days left before the coaches name their squads for the match the question is really what the respective coaches want to achieve on the day.

For the Lions, I think, it is quite simple – they want to win and they want to win well. I expect Johan Ackermann to name his strongest available side irrespective of what team the Kings put on the field, especially as the Lions will have a month break before the Vodacom Cup competition starts in March.

The danger for the Lions is that overeagerness amongst the players may just lead to unnecessary mistakes and Ackers will have to reign in his players and ensure that they continue to play a structured game.

In the media, I see, Ackers and captain JC Janse van Renburg are trying to tone down the emotions by pointing out that this is just another game in the Lions preparation programme for the knockout matches in July. The Lions players would do well to take this to heart and not to get swept up by the emotions of the supporters. A free-for-all helter-skelter game may just back-fire on the day.

The Kings is caught between a hot rock and a hard place, a loss against a Lions team that lost most of its Super Rugby players of last year, especially if the Kings field a near full strength side, will not only increase the negative press but may also impact negatively on the players while a win against an under-strength Lions side would be seen as fairly meaningless although it will give them some hope.

Do the play their strongest available side, do they play their fringe players or do they play a somewhere inbetween side?

For the Kings this game is only about preparation for the Super Rugby and not about proving anything to anyone, their place in Super Rugby 2013 is secure. The Lions match this weekend and the match against Griquas next weekend are their last two preparation matches and I expect the Kings to split their squad into two equal sides, something of an inbetweener team for each match.

A number of ex-Lions could be facing their former team – Bandise Maku, Edgar Marutlulle, Kevin Buys, Ross Geldenhuys, David Bulbring and Demitri Catrakilis.

The queens will want to win this one badly in an attempt to bolster the decision to include them. A big loss will cause a huge negative outcry. No expect fireworks.

 


clevermike

Status: Hall Of Fame
Posts: 11944
RE: Lions ready for queens grudge match
February 05, 2013, 11:09:10

Beeno

If I was the Kings I would be really worried - they have serious problems waiting for them.   I looked at the performance of the Lions in the two games they played in over the past two weeks - and they were a vastly improved team from what they were a year ago.  

Maybe getting rid of some of their established players in fact benefitted them - and the youngsters they broought in seemed to be better than the playes they replaced.  It is early days - and my assessment may be wrong - but I see a serious loss for the Kings looming.   It may even be more than a 20 point difference.

I can imagine the outcry that would follow in the case of a major loss - but cannot see how SARU will handle the mess created by themselves.


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