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Who was that Cyle Brink?

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Position Flanker

Date of Birth 16/01/1994 (22 years)

Place of Birth Johannesburg, RSA

Height: 190cm

Weight: 118kg

 

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Credit: Willem Loock Photography

A lot of fans were wondering who he was. Some Lions fans looked so disappointed in the injury to Jaco Kriel they felt the side would drop off in standards just a bit. How wrong they were. The flanker came on and was like a possessed man. He was mammoth in all facets from carrying the ball to smashing the Cheetahs behind the gain line.

Some fans in the stadium who read the reports in the media this week could not believe his impact. Some even suggesting amongst themselves he was out to prove a point after the Ruan Ackermann stories.

I just saw a future star who got a chance and was eager to prove he can cut it at the highest level. He excelled in all areas. He was by miles the best loose forward in South Africa this weekend. Setting such a standard only means he will be expected to live up to it.

Brink played like it was his last game, yet it was his chance in Super rugby and in so many ways the missing Jaco Kriel was not missed. He poses more problems for Johan Ackermann who will have more loose forward selection issues when his array of stars return.

A wealth of choice in Ruan Ackermann, Derrick Minnie, Warwick Tecklenburg, Cyle Brink, Stephan de Wit, Fabian Booysen and the list goes on. Cyle Brink was one of the stand-out performers at the 2014 Junior World Championships in New Zealand, representing the Junior Springboks who returned home with a silver medal.

He represented the Lions at the 2012 Craven week and has continued to develop. What we have here, is yet another ex-King Edwards School boy; is on the verge of a glittering career.

A view from the couch..

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The Sunwolves have bite

For a team that had under two weeks in pre-season the Wolves managed to play a brave, exciting game The Cheetahs should have been worried at some stage and if it wasn’t for the replacements early on from Franco Smith they could have lost.

The Cheetahs will take pride in the character they showed and will look back and take a few lessons from this match. No one will under estimate the Sunwolves and if you willing to field an under strength side against them- at your own peril.

The Wolves showed some great innovation, speed and resilience. Their addition is becoming more of a positive addition and they are well placed to leave a mark on this tournament.

Akihito Yamada was exceptional in scoring a hat trick that lit up the round. #Awooo

Lions still in good stead

A loss to the champions the Highlanders saw the Lions end their overseas tour with two wins in three. The performance was not as bad if you look at the numbers and game a second time.

The Lions may need to adopt a few options if they look to be an all-round game. They will need to at their kicking game. The Lions kicking was out of touch in Dunedin and may need to refine it a bit.

They showed a lot more one dimensional play this weekend as well, playing off the second receiver so often the Highlanders had it covered. The Highlanders offered an impressive rush defense that capitalized on long, cut-out passes and this resulted in smothering tackles, intercepts to mention a few.

What will be key is how close the Lions came to scoring in the last minute when there was a chip over the defence and they regathered.

Attacking variations will be important going forward. Bar a game in Argentina, the Lions have majority of their games in South Africa and should be poised to finish top in their group.

We also learned that what you do with possession is very important as the Lions dominated possession & territory (71% and 70 % respectively).

The Lions at some point looked to have run out of ideas and could be their biggest downfall if they do not vary their game. Their depth looks much better than most sides in the competition.

The Sharks are better than last year

They Sharks have looked good over the weeks. Slowly showing a vast improvement on the past season.

They have looked good in the set-piece and have a great blend between experience and youth. The side that took to field on Saturday averaged just 25 years. Forget the contentious decision to award the penalty try which I think was completely wrong and bonkers.

The credibility to match officials needs to seriously be looked at. The Sharks played what was in front of them and they dominated. Both Stormers packs got pummelled at the scrum bar one or two when Scarra and the less fancied Oli Kebble felt like scrumming.

The Beast had one of his best games and destroyed both Springbok incumbents. The line out was much improved even pipping a Stormers throw. The tactical nous of Gary Gold has to be lauded.

There is a tour ahead but for now the Sharks can be hopeful of a strong season. The thought of Pat Lambie, Chilliboy Ralepelle, Francois Kleinhans, Renaldo Bothma, Jacques Potgieter, Lwazi Mvovo, Ruan Botha among many who will boost the squad.

To Gary Gold, unleash S’bura Sithole. He will add some variety to a backline that could derail the Sharks attack. The Stormers will need to go to the drawing board because the next two clashes are as tough as they get.

The Brumbies who look flawless and a trip to Argentina against the Jaguares could define their season.

Janse van Rensburg pick of Lions team

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The Lions have managed to make five changes to the squad that beat the Chiefs in Hamilton. Rohan Janse van Rensburg will get to line up opposite All Black Malakai Fekitoa, Robbie Coetzee returns in place of Malcolm Marx while young Jaco van der Walt will start at fullback in place of Andries Coetzee who drops to the bench.

Ackermann was forced to make a host of changes after his side got injuries. Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Howard Mnisi start in tandem in the absence of Lionel Mapoe and Harold Vorster, who both returned to South Africa. A new centre pairing that will need to adapt fast and be ready for a busy 80 minutes.

 Ruan Dreyer and Jacques van Rooyen start in place of Julian Redelinghuys and Dylan Smith respectively, a sign of the Lions depth. Jacques Nel, who joined the squad earlier this week, and Dillon Smit are on the bench.

The Lions are set to play the Highlanders at 08:35 (SA time) on Saturday morning, but are still in Christchurch after their aircraft was forced to turn around due to bad weather en route to Dunedin.

Lions – 15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenberg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Subs: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Ruan Ackermann, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Andries Coetzee.

The clock is ticking…

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The deciding week in the Rugby Championship. South Africa will go into the last test having all but secured third spot on the log unless they succumb to a shock loss. Will Pieter-Steph du toit feature in the fourth game with the former Sharks lock having managed to get a few minutes against the Lions in the warm up game. The giant lock was impressive, dominant at lineout time, solid in defense and had a great break to cap off a decent night on the park. One has to hope he will feature for the Springboks and manage to get the same chance as Lood de jager had (missed most of the rugby this year but managed to step up in a Test match) and take it. The match against Argentina will be an opportunity for Meyer to have a look at several more options and it would be even better to try out some combinations. Will Jean de Villiers get the opportunity to win back his jumper? Had the skipper been fit the Springboks would not have been privileged to have Damien and Jesse in the midfield. That in itself is a positive from a fan’s perspective. His injury that is. What I do know is that Jean’s leadership will be the most important asset the Springboks get this week. It will be time for the skipper to prove the doubters wrong and step up to the plate; question is for who? Jan Serfontein is also believed to be recovered and all of a sudden Meyer has the difficult task of picking not just a squad but a best XV.

Argentina will present a physical onslaught and will require the very best from our player; our forwards more so. With Jannie and Francois Louw it will be an opportunity for several players to get a shot at the 31 man squad.

 

It is also expected Fourie du Preez and Willem Alberts more importantly will be back and a decision whether they will feature will be made later in the week. They are likely to receive much needed game time as they look to be ready for the England show piece. All hopes of the Springboks final showing will be on the shoulders of the returning stars. Argentina will not only be two dead rubber tests but they will tell Bok fans where exactly they stand with the World Cup on the horizon. The Springboks have managed to improve every game this year but it’s not good enough to dominate games over 60 minutes only. Goodness, even Wales have managed to perfect that art. They have managed to dominate against every powerhouse side but still lost. At the end of the day it counts for nothing! The next two weeks will be pivotal for all four nations. It will be the performance that is needed for Argentina and South Africa while Australia and New Zealand will be aiming for the crown. Will New Zealand be able to make it 19 from 21 win in the Rugby Championship? Will they claim every Rugby Championship title since its inception?

A funny story in somewhat has popped out of the New Zealand camp with the All Blacks looking to take their innovation levels to a new level by taking two half backs only to the world Cup. That would mean, take Aaron Smith and TJ Perenara and have Colin Slade cover the third slot. Why? Steve believes it could allow the All Blacks to take more back line options to the World Cup. This is something the men in black are considering, it looks like they were impressed by the Highlanders five-eighth Lima Sopoaga. Only time will tell if Colin Slade will actually be considered an option in this position. With Hooper cleared to face the All Blacks it will be an interesting match this weekend. It would also good be good to see the All Blacks give Beauden Barrett a run at Fly half and they could also throw in Patrick Osborne into the cauldron with the persistent injury to Cory Jane. With Steve Hansen believed to be willing to gamble on Nehe Milner-Skudder who was battling with a rib injury in one of the two tests against Australia. The All blacks are looking solid going into the World Cup and have the most balanced and assured side.

Australia may need to work on several aspects of their game such as their kickers who all have been shocking. The Australian scrum has improved but it will not worry their Pool A opponents who will see some creeks in that pack. A positive for the Wallabies will be the return of Kane Douglas. They are in desperate need of second row reinforcement as they will likely call on James Horwill this weekend with the injury to Rob Simmons.  The countdown to Rugby World Cup 2015 continues, and there will be a lot more questions answered in the next few weeks.

Absa Currie Cup Round 3 Preview

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We have a look at this weekends Currie Cup fixtures and squads

ABSA Currie Cup
ABSA Currie Cup

Absa Currie Cup Round 2 Previews

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Its round 2 of the 2014 instalment if the Absa Currie Cup and we give you all the lineups and our thoughts – By Clayton Saville

Xerox Golden Lions
Xerox Golden Lions

Cheetahs 20, Lions 21

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It is Super Rugby time, and the Cheetahs welcome the Lions back to the toughest competition in the world!

Don’t you… Forget about me…

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As you walk on by, will you call my name?

Kings team for Lions announced

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The Kings will send largely a B-team to Ellis Park for their fixture against the Lions with a number of players unavailable due to injury.

Lions name team for Kings clash

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The Lions have named their team for this weekend’s match against the Kings.

Lions announce team for Bulls game

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MTN Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced the following team to take on the Vodacom Bulls in the Gauteng Cup, taking place this Saturday at Orlando Stadium in Soweto. Kick-off is at 15h00.

Stegmann leads Bulls against Lions

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Vodacom Bulls flanker Deon Stegmann will lead the Vodacom Bulls on Saturday when they take on the MTN Lions in the Gauteng Rugby Cup at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Watson: ‘SARU unfair to exclude Lions’

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Kings captain Luke Watson has said that SARU’s decision to relegate the Lions was unfair and expressed sadness at the Lions’ Super Rugby exit.

Another Lion joins Stormers

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Lions hooker Martin Bezuidenhout will join the DHL Stormers at the start of next week, as injury cover up front.

Lions team for Russia

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MTN Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced the following team to take on the Russian Bears in the inaugural Lions Challenge match this Saturday at Ellis Park. Kick-off is at 19h00.

Lions unveil new tournament

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The Golden Lions Rugby Union was thrilled to officially launch the much anticipated Lions Challenge series in Johannesburg on Thursday afternoon.

It is Ellis Park again

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Things appear to be going from bad to worse for the beleaguered Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) with the news that stadium sponsors Coca-Cola have opted not to renew their sponsorship in 2013.

Swys named Lions assistant coach

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The Golden Lions Rugby Union is pleased to announce the appointment of Swys de Bruin as the new assistant coach for the MTN Golden Lions senior side.

CC semi 2: Lions 16, WP 21

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Western Province travel to Jo’Burg in a repeat of last year’s semi-final with the hope the result will be different for the Cape side.

WP forced to make changes

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DHL Western Province head coach Allister Coetzee has named his team for Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup semifinal meeting with the defending champion MTN Golden Lions at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg (19h00).

Elton back for Lions

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The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced the MTN Golden Lions team to play DHL Western Province on Saturday, 20 October 2012 in the second semi-final match of the 2012 Absa Currie Cup competition, this afternoon.

Griquas 37 v Lions 21

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It is do or die for the boys from ‘Die Gat’ as they host the current Currie Cup champions and log leaders, the Lions.

WP 9, Lions 22

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Both teams have a chance to go top of the log with a win in this game at Newlands.

Unchanged starting XV for Lions

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The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced the MTN Golden Lions team to play the Toyota Free State Cheetahs on Saturday, 15 September at Free State Stadium, this morning.

Blue Bulls 23 v Golden Lions 32

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The Blue Bulls are hurting from their smacking they received at Newlands last week and will look to fix things when they host the Lions at Loftus.

Lions change 8

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The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced the MTN Golden Lions team to play the Vodacom Blue Bulls on Saturday, 8 September at Loftus Versfeld, this morning.

Josh to lock for Lions

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The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced the MTN Golden Lions team to play GWK Griquas on Friday, 31 August 2012 at Coca-Cola Park, this morning.

Willemse joins Blue Bulls

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The Blue Bulls Company (Pty) Ltd is pleased to confirm that lock Paul Willemse has agreed terms with them and will join the Vodacom Bulls ahead of next year’s Vodacom Super Rugby season.

Butch to centre for Lions

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The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced the MTN Golden Lions team to play DHL Western Province on Saturday, 25 August 2012 at Coca-Cola Park, this morning.

KDK upset with Allister

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Golden Lions president Kevin de Klerk is upset after Western Province and Stormers coach Allister Coetzee hinted he might look at luring a few Lions players for next year’s Super Rugby competition.

Kings saga, a victory for administrators

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You are normally taught not to engage in writing about topics when it is still too raw or too emotional, but for the hell of me I cannot fathom SA Rugby’s decision by booting the Lions out of Super Rugby in favour of the Kings.

Lions out of Super Rugby

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The South African Rugby Union (SARU) on Thursday confirmed South Africa’s participants in Vodacom Super Rugby at a General Meeting of the member provinces.

Standing tall

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There has not been a lot of positives to report on from the Lions Rugby Union in recent months, but you have to respect how some members of the union are fronting up.

Young Stormers to tackle Lions

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With 3 league fixtures to play, the DHL Stormers currently lead the South African Super Rugby Conference, 5 ahead of the Vodacom Bulls and 9 ahead of the Sharks.

Coetzee likely to rest stars for Lions

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The much anticipated return of loose forwards Schalk Burger and Nick Koster for the Stormers’ clash against the Lions on Saturday has been put on hold.

Bekker set to return for Stormers

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Springbok lock Andries Bekker is expected to be fit to play in the Stormers’ next Super Rugby match against the Lions on June 30.

Lions determined to play in 2013

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In the wake of numerous speculation in the media, the Lions have released the following statement.

Force team for Lions announced

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The clash against former coach John Mitchell’s Lions will see just two changes to the starting 15 with Nick Cummins returning from injury and Alfie Mafi back in the side after an electrifying performance against the Rebels last week.

A Super Solution

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SARU has less than a month to find a solution for the Super Rugby problem, and options are few.

The great divide

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The current Super Rugby stand-off in South Africa is a pressure-cooker situation ready to explode.

Lions being battered from all corners

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It seems more likely by the day that the Lions will be relegated from Super Rugby in 2013 as they are being battered from all corners – even their franchise partners.

Guma looking to partner with Kings

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As South African rugby and the franchises are locked in meetings today to figure out how to accommodate the Kings, it has emerged that the Lions former equity partner, Guma-TAC, is now looking at partnering up with the Kings.

Lions unchanged for Reds

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The struggling Lions travel to Brisbane to take on the resurgent Reds this weekend.

Way forward for Lions

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Resident blogger and Lions supporter, Kat, suggests the way forward for the Lions union.

Injury force Blues into changes

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Further injuries have forced changes to the Blues line-up to play the Lions on Friday night at Eden Park.

King for a day

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The Southern Kings are far from assured of Super Rugby participation in 2013.

Lions change one for Blues

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The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced the MTN Lions team to play in their tenth match of the 2012 Vodacom Super Rugby competition against the Blues on Friday, 11 May 2012 this morning.

Chiefs rests, rotates for Lions

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The Chiefs, who remain at the top of the Investec Super Rugby competition, have announced their team to play the Lions this Saturday at ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe.

Lions make 5 changes for Chiefs

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The MTN Lions have made 5 changes to their team that lost to the Brumbies for their first tour match against the Chiefs.

Butch out for 4 weeks

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Butch James has been suspended for 4 weeks following a guilty plea for foul play.