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Preview Super Rugby 2018 – Emirates Lions

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The best team the last two years in South Africa by far and after reaching two finals in the same period the Lions will want to go all the way this year.

Many would have put money on the Lions to beat the Crusaders last year at home in the final but a red card to Kwagga Smith ended their quest to lift the Super Rugby trophy.

It was also the last match in charge for Lions coach Johan Ackermann who moved to England after the Super Rugby final.

With Ackermann the Lions also lost some players who moved on in Ruan Ackermann, (Gloucester), Fabian Booysen (released), Faf de Klerk (Sale), Jaques Nel (Kings), Akker van der Merwe (Sharks), Jaco van der Walt (Edinburgh), Hencus van Wyk (Munakata Sanix Blues).

With coach Swys de Bruin taken over from Ackermann this year we can see excitement brewing in the Lions camp and among their supporters.

De Bruin started his coaching career in Durban at the Sharks Academy. He was the head coach of the Sharks U21 side in 1996 and 1997 and took charge of the Natal Wildebeest in the 1998 Vodacom Cup, guiding the team to the semi-finals of the competition.

De Bruin moved to Kimberley to become the head coach of the Griquas. He coached the side between 1998 and 2003, helping them reach the final of the competition in 1999 and 2000.

In 2001, De Bruin was also in charge of the South Africa Under-21 team. He returned to Durban in 2004 to join as the head and skills coach of the Sharks Academy, helping out at Vodacom Cup, Under-21 and Under-19 level.

After eight seasons back in Durban, De Bruin moved to Johannesburg to become Golden Lions and Lions head coach Johan Ackermann’s assistant coach.

Coach Swys has picked a very strong squad for this year. The Lions have been the pride of South Africa for the past two years where the rest was just there and we expect another good year from them.

Here is there squad:

Jacobie Adriaanse, Cyle Brink, Robbie Coetzee, Andries Coetzee, Ruan Combrinck, Ross Cronjé, Ashlon Davids, Hacjivah Dayimani, Ruan Dreyer, Aphiwe Dyanti, Willie Engelbrecht, Lourens Erasmus, Andries Ferreira, Corne Fourie, Rhyno Herbst, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Elton Jantjies, Johannes Jonker, Jaco Kriel, Robert Kruger, Sylvian Mahuza, Lionel Mapoe, Malcolm Marx, Len Massyn, Christiaan Meyer, Howard Mnisi, Franco Mostert, Marvin Orie, Shaun Reynolds, Marnus Schoeman, Sti Sithole, Courtnall Skosan, Dillon Smith, Kwagga Smith, Dylan Smith, Madosh Tambwe, Jacques van Rooyen, Harold Vorster, Warren Whiteley (c).

The talent and experience of the squad will help De Bruin in his first year of coaching the Lions in Super Rugby.

He has an experience captain who is also the Springbok captain and have been playing way above his weight.

Beside from the brilliant leader that Warren Whiteley has been he is one of those players that do not leave anything on the field.

With Warren you have Jaco Kriel who has also not shown great leadership but also one of the best players the last couple of years in South Africa.

What makes the Lions such a great team is the combination of a great pack with a backline that can rip through any defence.

Although Jantjies have struggled somewhat at international level last year, he still makes and breaks this Lions side.

With the world cup next year and Pollard with some youngsters breathing down his neck one can expect a good season from Elton.

Devastating runners on a mission to score tries have been the mark of this Lions team for more than three years.

We can expect allot of tries and another shot this year at the title.

Still the best shot of any SA team to lift the trophy.

The Lions start there season against the Sharks at home on the 17 February

 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Good looking squad, hopefully Swys can get the team to gel like in previous years.

    All the best to the Lions, hopefully they can go one better than the previous two years.

  2. The only really hurting loss is Ruan Ackerman

    Faf hardly played last season
    Fabian was in and out of the squad. With Vorster, Mnisi, Mapoe and Janse Van Rensburg Jacques Nel had zero chance of playing. Akker Van Der Merwe was third choice as hooker after Coetzee and Marx. Jaco Van Der Walt left from the Kings.

    The Lions have actually come off very well from the Euro poaching season.

  3. The squad looks pretty good. The only real worry I have for the Lions is the loose trio. No real proven bruiser, other than that a really good squad

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