Lions roar into pole position in Super Rugby


Johannesburg rugby fans can roar with jubilation following an exceptional Vodacom Super Rugby group stage campaign for the Lions.

The team’s season-long attacking brand of rugby took them to a 27–10 win over the Sharks at the Kings Park Stadium (Shark Tank) in Durban, en route to clinching the top spot in the Africa conference 2 table on 15 July.

The Lions boast an impressive winning percentage of 93; joint best in the competition along with the Crusaders (New Zealand conference), after managing 14 wins out of the 15 round-robin games played.

However, following the Crusaders’ shock 31–22 defeat to the Hurricanes at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington earlier in the day, the Crusaders effectively relinquished the overall top spot to the Lions.

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The Joburg outfit secured the outright top position in the competition’s combined log with 65 points. In addition, the Lions will enjoy the prerogative of playing at home for as long as they remain in contention for the title.

Outgoing Lions head coach Johan Ackermann said his battle-hardened troops had expected nothing short of a physical encounter with their South African counterparts at the Shark Tank, a team they will meet again when the two sides battle it out in a quarterfinal encounter at the Lions’ fortress in Johannesburg on 22 July.

“I don’t feel that we played with good enough intensity… I think we’ve all got a lot of hard work to do if we want to go further in the competition,” said Ackermann, commenting on the team’s accuracy and ball handling.

“The set phases were quite competitive and that’s what we expected, and so from that, we know exactly what happened.

“We take confidence in being first and know that there’s no game that we’ll play away from home… we’re definitely in a better position. The Sharks are going to throw everything at us and we must do the same back. The only difference is that we’ll be at home and that, for us, is great.”

Do you think the Lions have what it takes to go all the way? Join the conversation and share your thoughts by posting your comments on our Facebook page.

Tshepiso Mametela

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