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Herewith the Lions Super Rugby players expected to take part in the 2014 Super Rugby season, as detailed by us PRIOR to the 2014 Super Rugby season.

Some of these players might not actually make the Super Rugby squad, but at this early juncture is most likely to be in the Lions plans for 2014.

 

Props:

Name: Schalk Willem “Hond” van der Merwe:

Position Prop
Height 1.84
Weight 105
Date of Birth 4 December 1990
Place of Birth Upington
Provincial Debut 2011
Provincial Caps 21
Provincial Points 15
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Schalk van der Merwe

Schalk “Hond” van der Merwe played loosehead prop and will play for the Lions in Super Rugby, having previously played for the Free State Cheetahs.

  • 2007 Griquas U16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2008 Griquas U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2009 Free State U18 Academy Week, SA Schools Academy SA Schools
  • 2010 Free State ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2011 Toyota Free State Cheetahs ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division – 2011 Emerging Cheetahs Absa Currie Cup Compulsory friendlies – 2011 Toyota Free State Cheetahs Vodacom Cup – 2011 Free State ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – Free State ABSA Currie Cup Premier Div, Shimlas FNB Varsity Cup, Free State ABSA Under 21 Competition

He joined the Golden Lions prior to the 2014 season..

 

Name: Ruan Martin Dreyer:

Position Prop
Height 1.86
Weight 110 kg
Date of Birth 16 September 1990
Place of Birth Potchefstroom
Provincial Debut 2012
Provincial Caps 31
Provincial Points 15
Super Rugby Debut 2012
Super Rugby Caps 6
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Ruan Dreyer

He was born on 16 September 1990 and was a member of the South Africa Under 20 team that competed in the 2010 IRB Junior World Championship.

  • 2006 – Golden Lions U16 Craven Week
  • 2007 – Golden Lions U18 Academy Week
  • 2008 – Golden Lions U18 Craven Week
  • 2010 – Golden Lions U20, SA U20, Golden Lions
  • 2012 – UJ (FNB Varsity Cup), MTN Lions Super Rugby
  • 2013 – MTN Golden Lions Vodacom Cup, Currie Cup, Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation

 

Name: Jacques van Rooyen:

Position Prop
Height 1.86
Weight 122 kg
Date of Birth 24 October 1986
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2013 vs Free State Cheetahs
Provincial Caps 11
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Jacques van Rooyen

He represented the TUT Vikings in Varsity Cup rugby in the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, making 25 appearances in total.

In 2013, after impressing at amateur club level with Pretoria Police, he joined Johannesburg-based team the Golden Lions. He made his first class debut in the opening match of the 2013 Vodacom Cup competition, coming on as a substitute against the Leopards. Two weeks later, he made his first start in the same competition against near rivals the Blue Bulls. He made 6 appearances in total for the Golden Lions in the Vodacom Cup, including playing in the quarter final and starting the semi-final, as well as the final, which the Lions won by beating the Pumas.

He was also included in their squad for the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division season and made his Currie Cup debut in the opening match of the season against the Free State Cheetahs..

 

Name: Jacobus Stephanus “Bees” Roux:

Position Prop
Height 1.86
Weight 115
Date of Birth 9 December 1981
Place of Birth Upington
Provincial Debut 2005 for Leopards, also played for Griquas, Clermont, Blue Bulls, Bordeaux Bègles, Benetton Treviso, Golden Lions
Provincial Caps 80 (SA Sides), 34 (Overseas Clubs)
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut 2008 for Cheetahs, also played for the Bulls
Super Rugby Caps 31
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Bees Roux

He started his playing career at the Leopards and represented them in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup competitions in 2005 and 2006, making over 40 appearances.

In 2007, he joined Kimberley-based side Griquas, where he played his rugby over the next three seasons. During his spell at Griquas, he also played Super Rugby for the Cheetahs, making 17 appearances for them in the 2008 and 2009 seasons. He also spent the off-season at the end of 2008 playing some rugby for French Top 14 side Clermont, appearing in both the Top 14 and Heineken Cup competitions.

He joined the Blue Bulls in 2010, making 8 appearances for them, as well as 14 appearances for the Bulls in the 2010 Super 14 season.

Following an incident in August 2010, Roux was charged with the culpable homicide of police officer Sergeant Ntshimane Johannes Mogale. As a result of a plea bargain agreement, Roux was given a five-year prison sentence in September 2011, suspended on the condition that he paid R750 000 to the widow of the police officer.

He continued his career in France, joining Bordeaux Bègles for the 2011–12 Top 14 season and then playing for Italian side Benetton Treviso in the 2012–13 Pro 12 competition.

He returned to South Africa in 2013 and joined the Golden Lions for the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division and he was named in their starting line-up for their match against the Free State Cheetahs.

He also played for a Highveld XV team against the British and Irish Lions during their tour to South Africa, starting the match and scoring a try.

 

Name: Julian Redelinghuys:

Position Prop
Height 1.76
Weight 110
Date of Birth 11 September 1989
Place of Birth Preoria
Provincial Debut 2009 for Sharks XV
Provincial Caps 26
Provincial Points 5
Super Rugby Debut 2012 was in the Sharks Super Rugby quad
Super Rugby Caps 2 (2 Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation games 2013
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Julian Redelinghuys

Julian Redelinghuys was born in Krugersdorp in 1989 and attended Monument High School. The prop represented the Golden Lions at junior level, before moving to the Sharks in 2008 to 2013, where he played Absa Currie Cup rugby. He joined the MTN Lions in mid-2013.

  • 2001 – Lions U12 Nike All Stars
  • 2002 – Lions U13 Craven Week
  • 2005 – Golden Lions U16 Grant Khomo Week, Golden Lions U18 Craven Week, SA Schools
  • 2007 – Golden Lions U18 Craven Week, SA Schools
  • 2008 – Sharks U19 Currie Cup
  • 2009 – IRB Junior World Championships, ABSA Under 21 Competition, ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2010 – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup, Sharks ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Sharks Absa Currie Cup Compulsory friendlies, The Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – Sharks Super Rugby (squad), The Sharks ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Sharks XV Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions Vodacom Cup

 

Starters:

It is difficult to judge who the Lions will start with and the likelyhood is Bees Roux as one of the starters and all the others chipping in for solid game time in the season.

 

Hookers:

Name: Willie Wepener:

Position Hooker
Height 1.80
Weight 108
Date of Birth 2 April 1981
Place of Birth Newcastle, South Africa
Provincial Debut 2002 for Lions in Currie Cup
Provincial Caps 91 SA sides (Golden Lions, Leopards, Griquas, Blue Bulls), 27 Clermont
Provincial Points 40 (for sa sides), 15 Clermont
Super Rugby Debut 2006 for Cats
Super Rugby Caps 63 (2 Cats, 38 Lions, 23 Bulls)
Super Rugby Points 10
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Willie Wepener

Willie Wepener attended Drakensberg Primary School, Newcastle High School and Helpmekaar College.

He is an old campaigner and has been around the block many times. He is 32 years old and has played for the Golden Lions, Leopards and Griquas in the Currie Cup as well as the Cats in Super Rugby all before and until 2006.

In 2007 – 2009 he was at the Lions for Super Rugby, where he played for them 38 times.

In 2009 and into 2010 he went overseas to Clermont Auvergne, whom he represented 27 times.

In 2011 to mid 2013 he was at the Blue Bulls where he played 25 times for them and at the Bulls in Super Rugby where he played another 23 games.

A week or 2 into the 2013 Currie Cup season, in August 2013 he made his transfer to the Golden Lions, signing a two-year contract with them and playing in 9 games in the Currie Cup.

Willie is a bit of a journeyman but should mostly have the starting berth in Super Rugby in 2014.

 

Name: Robin Leendert “Robbie” Coetzee:

Position Hooker
Height 1.85
Weight 105 kg
Date of Birth 2 May 1989
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2012 for Blue Bulls
Provincial Caps 29
Provincial Points 15
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Robbie Coetee

Robbie went to Mayville Primary School and Eldoraigne High School and represented the Blue Bulls in the Uunder 18 Academy Week and CAR Under 18 in 2006.

In 2007 He represented the Blue Bulls in the Under 18 Craven Week.

In 2008 he represented the Free State in the Under 19 and Under 21 Ccompetitions and in 2009 also the Free State in the Under 21 Competition.

In 2010 Robbie was at Tuks and played Varsity Cup and for the Blue Bulls in the Under 21 Competition and in 2011 he only represented Tuks in the Varsity Cup.

In 2012 Robbie made his senior breakthroughs, playing for the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup Premier Division.

In 2013 Robbie moved to the Golden Lions where he played in the Lions Challenge, Vodacom Cup, Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation games and the Currie Cup Premier division.

Robbie now has the chance to make his breakthrough to earn his Super Rugby debut in 2014 and should be one of the 2 prime choices for hooker for the Lions in Super Rugby but one feels he might be slightly behind Willie Wepener in the pecking order for starting positions.

 

Name: Francois du Toit:

Position Hooker
Height 1.78m
Weight 103 kg
Date of Birth 17 August 1990
Place of Birth Johannesburg
Provincial Debut 2012 for Golden Lions against Leopards in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 27
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Francois du Toit

Francois attended Hoërskool Florida and came through the Golden Lions youth system and played for them at various youth levels, including the Under 18 Academy Week (2007), Under 18 Craven Week (2008) and Under 19 Competition (2009).

I 2010 he played in the Under 21 Competition as well as for South Africa in the IRB Junior World Championship and also was named on the bench for the opening game of the 2010 Currie Cup Premier Division season, but did not play in the game.

In 2011 he played for UJ in the Varsity Cup and the Golden Lions in the Under 21 Competition.

In 2012 he played for UJ in the Varsity Cup and finally made his senior debut for the Golden Lions in the Vodacom Cup game against the Leopards. He also represented the SA Students side in 2012.

He was then also included in the squad for the 2012 Currie Cup Premier Division.

In 2013 he played for the Golden Lions in the Vodacom Cup and the Steval Pumas in the Currie Cup First Division and Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation games against Griquas.

Should he play Super Rugby in 2014, it would be his debut in the competition.

 

Starters:

The Lions will start with Willie Wepener as starting hooker but both Robbie Coetzee and Francois du Toit should also get Super Rugby game time in 2014.

 

Locks:

Name: Franco van der Merwe:

Position Lock
Height 1.98m
Weight 116kg
Date of Birth 15 March 1983
Place of Birth Paarl
Provincial Debut 2004 for Leopards in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 162
Provincial Points 90
Super Rugby Debut 2007 for Lions
Super Rugby Caps 93
Super Rugby Points 35
Test Debut 5 October 2013 vs All Blacks
Test Caps 1
Test Points 0
Franco van der Merwe

Franco is a product of Hartswater Primary School, Hartswater High School and North-West University.

If there was ever proof that hard work, good manners and a professional attitude will bring success in life, it is Franco van der Merwe. The Golden Lions lock has toiled away without any real reward for many seasons, but has never stopped giving everything for his team. He was rewarded with a call-up to the Springbok squad in June 2012 and again in November 2012 as well as June 2013 and during The Rugby Championship in 2013. He has played 1 Test at the age of 30, on 5 October 2013 against the All Blacks. He has kept on working hard, giving his all for the team. Van der Merwe is a hard-working lock that is very good in the lineouts, but also not shy of getting his jersey dirty.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2002 – Leopards – U19 Competition
  • 2003 – Leopards – ABSA U20 A Section
  • 2004 – Leopards – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB U21 World Championships, Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2005 – Impala Leopards – Vodacom Cup, Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round, Impala Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2006 – Impala Leopards – Vodacom Cup, Impala Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2007 – Lions – Vodacom Super 14, Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2008 – Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Auto & General Lions – Vodacom Super 14, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2009 – Lions – MTN test, Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Auto & General Lions – Vodacom Super 14, Emerging Springboks – British & Irish Lions Tour, Xerox Golden Lions – British & Irish Lions Tour, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2010 – Auto & General Lions – Vodacom Super 14, Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions Vodacom Super Rugby, Springbok squad member Castle Incoming Tours, MTN Golden Lions ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springbok squad member Castle Outgoing Tours
  • 2013 – Sharks Vodacom Super Rugby, Springbok squad member Castle Lager Incoming Series, MTN Lions Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions Absa Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks The Rugby Championship

Franco is one of the most experienced Lions players in Super Rugby and is a sure starter for 2014.

 

Name: Luvuyiso “MB” Lusaseni:

Position Lock
Height 1.95m
Weight 106kg
Date of Birth 16 December 1988
Place of Birth East London, SA
Provincial Debut 2009 for Sharks XV in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 61
Provincial Points 15
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
MB Lusaseni

MB Lusaseni is a product of Selbourne Primary, Selbourne College, Ethekwini College and the University of Pretoria.

He started playing for the Border Bulldogs and represented them at Under 16 and Under 18 level between 2004 and 2006. He earned a call-up to the SA Schools team in 2006 and also joined the Natal Sharks academy in 2007. The following year, he was included in the SA Under 20 team for the 2008 IRB Junior World Championship.

He made his first class debut in the 2009 Vodacom Cup against a Free State XV. A few further games followed over the next year before he had a short spell with the Griquas during the 2010 Currie Cup Premier Division.

In 2011, he joined the Leopards, where he established himself as a first choice player.

He joined the Golden Lions for the 2014 season.

He also represented Varsity Cup teams UP-Tuks in 2011 and NWU-Pukke in 2013 and was named in a South African Universities team that played against Namibia in 2013.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2004 – Border – U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2005 – Border – U18 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2006 – Border – U18 Coca Cola Craven Week, South Africa – SA Schools
  • 2007 – Sharks – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2008 – South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2009 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, GWK Griquas – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Platinum Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – Leopards – Vodacom Cup, SA Barbarians North – Castle Incoming Tours, Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2013 – Pukke – Varsity Cup, Leopards XV – Vodacom Cup, Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup First Division

He needs to step up to the plate for Super Rugby and will have a lot to prove in 2014.

 

Name: Christopher Machiel “Chris” van Zyl:

Position Lock
Height 1.97m
Weight 112kg
Date of Birth 12 July 1986
Place of Birth Cape Town
Provincial Debut 2013 for MTN Golden Lions in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 10
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Chris van Zyl

Chris is a product of Rondebosch High School and the University of Stellenbosch (Maties), where he played some Varsity Cup rugby, representing Maties in the 2011 Varsity Cup competition and making 3 appearances.

He then moved to Johannesburg, where he played amateur rugby for Pirates, also captaining the side.

He joined the Golden Lions senior side in 2013. He made his first class debut in the 2013 Vodacom Cup competition, in a 22–27 defeat to the Falcons in Kempton Park, a match where he was also named captain of the side. He made a further 2 appearances in the 2013 Vodacom Cup competition.

His Currie Cup debut came in the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division match against the The Sharks in Durban.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2011 – Maties – Varsity Cup
  • 2013 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

This is a step up to the big games for Chris, in a squad suddenly back in Super Rugby.

 

Name: Francois John “Franco” Mostert:

Position Lock
Height 1.98m
Weight 103kg
Date of Birth 27 November 1990
Place of Birth Welkom
Provincial Debut 2012 for the Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 15
Provincial Points 5
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Franco Mostert

Franco Mostert is a product of Elandskraal Primary School, Brits High Scool and the University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He joined the Golden Lions for the 2013 season, but was seriously injured in a car crash shortly after joining, which ruled him until at least the end of 2013.

He also played for UP-Tuks in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Varsity Cup competitions.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2010 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Golden Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup

Franco Mostert has huge potential and hoping his injuries from the car crash is a thing of the past, he stands a good chance to get good game time in 2014.

 

Name: Martin Dirk “Martin” Muller:

Position Lock
Height 1.98m
Weight 110kg
Date of Birth 23 March 1988
Place of Birth Cape Town
Provincial Debut 2009 for WP in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 45
Provincial Points 10
Super Rugby Debut 2009 for Stormers
Super Rugby Caps 14
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Martin Muller

Martin Muller is a product of Bishops Preparatory School, Bishops, UCT and Unisa.

He represented Western Province at youth level and made his debut for them during the 2009 Vodacom Cup, coming on as a substitute in their match against the Mighty Elephants. Less than two months after his first class debut, he also played his first Super Rugby match for the Stormers in their match against the Chiefs.

In 2010, he moved to Kimberley to join Griquas. After just one appearance, he was included in the Cheetahs Super Rugby team and made 11 appearances for them.

He joined the Free State Cheetahs at the start of 2013, but suffered a groin injury and never made an appearance for them.

After it was initially announced that he would join Welsh team Newport Gwent Dragons for 2013–14, the deal fell through and he linked up with the Golden Lions for the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division instead.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2006 – WP – U18 Coca Cola Craven Week, South africa – SA Schools B
  • 2007 – Vodacom WP – ABSA Under 19 Competition, South Africa – IRB Under 19 World Championship
  • 2008 – UCT – Varsity Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, Vodacom WP – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2009 – UCT – Varsity Cup, WP – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Stormers – Vodacom Super 14, WP – British & Irish Lions Tour, Vodacom WP – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, WP – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom WP – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, SA Students
  • 2-10 – UCT – Varsity Cup, WP – Vodacom Cup, WP – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom WP – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – GWK Griquas – Vodacom Cup, Toyota Cheetahs – Vodacom Super Rugby, GWK Griquas – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory friendlies, GWK Griquas – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – GWK Griquas – Vodacom Cup, GWK Griquas – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Martin has the pedigree and Super Rugby experience, to be counted as a Super Rugby player, but is far removed from any likelyhood of senior national honours.

 

Starters:

The Lions should start with Franco van der Merwe as one of the first names on any of their team sheets but the rest of the available locks will have to fight it out for the remaining starting spot and the bench spot. As with many other positions, the Lions is somewhat of an unknown quantity for Super Rugby 2014.

 

Loose Forwards:

Name: Warren Roger “Warren” Whiteley:

Position Loose Forward (No 8)
Height 1.92m
Weight 97kg
Date of Birth 18 September 1987
Place of Birth Durban
Provincial Debut 2008 for Natal Sharks
Provincial Caps 71
Provincial Points 75
Super Rugby Debut 2011 for MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 23
Super Rugby Points 15
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Warren Whiteley

Warren is a product of Dirkie Uys Primary School, Glenwood High School and the Sharks Academy.

He came through the KZN and Sharks junior ranks from Under 18 level in 2005 to Under 21 level in 2007 and 2008 and also played for the Wildebeest in 2008. In 2009 he played for the Mighty Elephants in the Currie Cup First Division, whereafter he moved to the Golden Lions in 2010.

On 21 November 2012 Whiteley earned his call-up to the Blitzbokke squad.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – KZN – U18 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2007 – Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2008 – Wildebeest – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2009 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Mighty Elephants – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2010 – Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Blitzbokke – Dubai & South Africa tournaments
  • 2013 – Blitzbokke – New Zealand tournament, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Blitzbokke – USA tournament, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Warren has been named Lions captain for the 2014 Super Rugby season and already has 23 Super Rugby caps to his name and as captain of the team, he is a sure starter in the Lions side .

 

Name: Derick Johannes “Derick” Minnie:

Position Loose Forward (mostly Openside)
Height 1.86m
Weight 95kg
Date of Birth 29 October 1986
Place of Birth Alberton
Provincial Debut 2006 for Golden Lions in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 83
Provincial Points 125
Super Rugby Debut 2010 for Lions
Super Rugby Caps 47
Super Rugby Points 50
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Derick Minnie

Derick Minnie is a product of Randhart Primary School, Marais Viljoen High School and University of Johannesburg (UJ).

He has stayed loyal to the Golden Lions and Lions from his Under 19 days to the present but with the Lions not participating in Super Rugby in 2013 was loaned out to the Sharks in Super Rugby, where he played in 3 games for them. He played for UJ in the 2008 Varsity Cup, represented the Golden Lions Under 19 & Under 21 sides in 2005, and the Under 21 and Vodacom sides in 2006. 2007 Was his breakthrough to the Currie Cup Premier Division for the Golden Lions and 2010 he started playing Super Rugby and now has 44 caps in Super Rugby for the Lions in addition to the 3 for the Sharks.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Golden Lions – SA Under 19, Golden Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2006 – Golden Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Lions – Vodacom Cup
  • 2007 – Lions – Vodacom Cup, Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Golden Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2008 – UJ – Varsity Cup, Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2009 – Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Lions – MTN test, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2010 – Auto & General Lions – Vodacom Super 14, Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Derick is a try-scoring machine and had it not been for his propensity to concede too many penalties he might have been considered for national honours as openside flank and true fetcher. He will be a sure starter in the Lions side.

 

Name: Willem Stephanus “Willie” Britz:

Position Loose Forward (Blindside or No 8) & Lock
Height 1.93m
Weight 105kg
Date of Birth 31 August 1988
Place of Birth Cape Town
Provincial Debut 2009 for Free State Cheetahs
Provincial Caps 61
Provincial Points 70
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0 (only played in the 2 Promotion / Relegation games in 2013)
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Willie Britz

Willie is a product of Staatspresident Swart Primary School and Diamantveld High School in Kimberley and attended the University of the Free State (Shimlas).

He looks like a lion with his wild mane of hair and singular robust style of play and represented Griquas for 2005 and 2006 at Under 18 Craven Week as well as at Under 19 level in 2006 before heading to the Free State Cheetahs where he played Free State Under 19 in 2007. In 2008 he played for Shimlas in Varsity Cup and Free State Under 21.

In 2009 he made his provincial debut for Free State in the Vodacom Cup.

He spent a spell at the Griffons in 2010 to 2011 where he played Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup First Division rugby and still played for Shimlas in Varsity Cup.

Willie broke through to play Currie Cup Premier Division rugby for the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in 2011.

In 2012 he played for Shimlas and the Griffons before moving to the Golden Lions to play Currie Cup Premier Division rugby and is still at the Golden Lions where he plies his trade and has become more of a feature in the Golden Lions sides.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Griquas – U18 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2006 – Griquas – U18 Coca Cola Craven Week, Griquas – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2007 – Free State – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2008 – Shimlas – Varsity Cup, Free State – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2009 – Shimlas – Varsity Cup, Free State – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Free State – Vodacom Cup
  • 2010 – Shimlas – Varsity Cup, Griffons – Vodacom Cup, Griffons – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Griffons – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2011 – Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Vodacom Cup, Shimlas – Varsity Cup, Emerging Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory friendlies, Tasol Solar Griffons – ABSA Currie Cup First Division, Toyota Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – Shimlas – Varsity Cup, Griffons – Vodacom Cup, Griffons – ABSA Currie Cup First Division, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Willie makes an excellent impact player from the bench with his booming runs, but 2014 might be the year where e locks down a regular starting berth as blindside flank at the Lions .

 

Name: Jacobus Albertus “Jaco” Kriel:

Position Loose Forward (Openside)
Height 1.84m
Weight 97kg
Date of Birth 21 August 1989
Place of Birth Standerton
Provincial Debut 2010 for Golden Lions in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 49
Provincial Points 70
Super Rugby Debut 2011 for MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 9
Super Rugby Points 15
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel is a product of Standerton Primary School, Standerton High School and the University of Johannesburg (UJ).

He played representative Under 18 rugby for Mpumalanga Country Districts in 2006 and the Pumas in 2007.

In 2008 he moved to the Lions to play Under 19 rugby and Under 21 rugby in 2009. He made his senior debut in 2010 for the Golden Lions in the Vodacom Cup and later in the year played in the Currie Cup Premier Division.

In 2011 He started playing Super Rugby for the MTN Lions whereas 2012 was chock full of rugby, from Varsity Cup for UJ, to Vodacom Cup, to Super Rugby, to Currie Cup Premier Division rugby.

In 2013 Jaco had a rapid rise to prominance where people started taking notice and where his play as openside flank became more and more prominent.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2006 – Mpumalanga Country Districts – U18 Academy Week
  • 2007 – Pumas – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – Golden Lions – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Xerox Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – UJ – Varsity Cup, MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – Absa Currie Cup Premier Division

Jaco is bound to get some quality game time in 2014 but one must remember that Derick Minnie regularly keeps Jaco from starting at openside flank.

 

Name: Thabo Mamojele:

Position Loose Forward (Blindside & No 8)
Height 1.95m
Weight 110kg
Date of Birth 29 July 1986
Place of Birth Witbank
Provincial Debut 2007 for Sharks in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 39
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut 2013 for Southern Kings vs Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 1
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Thabo Mamojele

Thabo Mamojele is a product of Clewen Primary School, Patriot High School, the Sharks Academy and North-West University (Pukke).

He came through the youth ranks of his local team, the Pumas until he moved to the rugby academy of the Sharks in 2006. He played two games in 2007 for their Vodacom Cup side, the Natal Wildebeest, but failed to make the breakthrough to the first team.

He had a short spell at the Falcons for the 2008 Currie Cup Premier Division, before joining the Leopards in 2009. He played for them for three seasons and also represented the NWU-Pukke in the Varsity Cup in 2009 and 2010.

In 2012, he joined the Eastern Province Kings.

He was named in the Southern Kings wider training squad for the 2013 Super Rugby season, but was subsequently released to the Vodacom Cup squad. However, he did make his debut for the Southern Kings when he came on as a substitute for their final Super Rugby match of the regular 2013 Super Rugby season against the Sharks.

He joined the Golden Lions for the 2014 season.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2004 – Mpumalanga – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, @lantic Pumas – ABSA U20 Competition Section B
  • 2005 – Pumas – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2006 – KZN – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2007 – Wildebeest – Vodacom Cup, The Sharks (squd member) – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2008 – Valke – ABSA Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation, Wildebeest – Vodacom Cup, Valke – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2009 – Sharks – Vodacom Cup, Platinum Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation
  • 2010 – Pukke – Varsity Cup, Platinum Leopards – Vodacom Cup, Platinum Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – Leopards – Vodacom Cup, Pukke – Varsity Cup, Platinum Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – EP Kings – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2013 – EP Kings – Vodacom Cup, Southrn Kings – Vodacom Super Rugby, EP Kings – ABSA Currie Cup First Division

Thabo is somewhat of a rugby mercenary and journeyman, seemly fitting in nowhere special and it appears he will be rarely used in 2014 if ever .

 

Name: Warwick John “Warwick” Tecklenburg:

Position Loose Forward (Opnside)
Height 1.89m
Weight 105kg
Date of Birth 22 January 1987
Place of Birth Nelspruit
Provincial Debut 2008 for Vodacom Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 40
Provincial Points 30
Super Rugby Debut Has only played in the Promotion / Relegation games in 2013
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Warwick Tecklenburg

Warwick is a product of Baberton Primary School, Uplands College and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He represented Mpumalanga Country Districts at Under 18 level and the Falcons at Under 19 level before joining the Blue Bulls.

He made his first team debut for the Blue Bulls against Western Province in the 2011 Currie Cup Premier Division season.

He signed a two-year contract with the Golden Lions for the 2013 and 2014 season.

He also represented Tuks in the Varsity Cup.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Mpumalanga Country Districts – U18 Academy Week
  • 2006 – Medicover Valke – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2007 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2008 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Tuks – Varsity Cup
  • 2011 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory friendlies, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Warwick could get the odd Super rugby game, but probably from the bench and only on occasion when one of the frontrunners at openside is injured or rested.

 

Name: Lambert Smith “Lambert” Groenewald:

Position Loose Forward
Height 1.89m
Weight 113kg
Date of Birth 1 February 1989
Place of Birth Worcester
Provincial Debut 2010 for Sharks XV in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 19
Provincial Points 5
Super Rugby Debut 2011 for Sharks vs Blues
Super Rugby Caps 1
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Lambert Groenewald

Lambert Groenewald is a product of Worcester Primary School and Paul Roos Gymnasium.

At youth level, he captained his high school team at Paul Roos Gymnasium and represented Western Province at the 2007 Under 18 Academy Week and Craven Week tournaments before moving to the Natal Sharks. He represented them at Under 19 and Under 21 level between 2008 and 2010.

He made his first class debut for the Sharks XV in the 2010 Vodacom Cup competition. He started the opening match of the season against the Border Bulldogs and scored a try after 29 minutes to help the Sharks XV to a 69–8 victory. A further 5 appearances followed in the 2010 Vodacom Cup, as well as 8 appearances in the 2011 competition.

He did not play any Currie Cup rugby, but he did make 1 Super Rugby appearance for the Sharks when he came on as a late substitute for Ryan Kankowski in their match against the Blues.

He left the Sharks in 2011 to join Rugby Brescia in the Italian Serie A. He spent 1 season in Brescia and then joined Basque side AMPO Ordizia for the 2012–13 División de Honor de Rugby.

He returned to South Africa in 2013, joining the Golden Lions in time for the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division season. .

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – WP – U18 Academy Week, WP – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – Sharks – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, Rugby Brescia in Italian Serie A
  • 2012 – Rugby Brescia in Italian Serie A, AMPO Ordizia in División de Honor de Rugby
  • 2013 – AMPO Ordizia in División de Honor de Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Lambert is not one of the premier loose forwards at the Lions but could be included in their Super Rugby larger squad.

 

Starters:

The Lions would probably start with Derick Minnie, Willie Britz and Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel and Warwick Tecklenburg could spend some time on the bench. I personally do not see eiether Thabo Mamojele or Lambert Groenewald getting much chance, unless the Lions are hit with injuries.

 

Scrumhalves:

Name: Michael Bondesio:

Position Scrumhalf
Height 1.76m
Weight 84kg
Date of Birth 10 March 1985
Place of Birth Middelburg
Provincial Debut 2007 for Leopards
Provincial Caps 91
Provincial Points 85
Super Rugby Debut 2011 for MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 7
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Michael Bondesio

Michael is a product of Dennesig Primary School, Lichtenburg High School and North-West University (Pukke).

He started playing for the Leopards in the ABSA Under 21 Competition in 2006 and made his senior debut for the Impala Leopards in the Vodacom Cup in 2007. In 2008 he first played Currie Cup First Division rugby. In 2009 he played for the Royal XV against the British & Irish Lions and also played Currie Cup Premier Division rugby for the Platinum Leopards in 2009 and 2010.

Michael made his Super Rugby debut for the MTN Lions in 2011.

He has a degree in teaching.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2006 – Leopards – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2007 – Impala Leopards – Vodacom Cup
  • 2008 – Platinum Leopards – Vodacom Cup, Platinum Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Profert Platinum Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2009 – Platinum Leopards – Vodacom Cup, Royal XV – British & Irish Lions Tour, Platinum Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation
  • 2010 – Platinum Leopards – Vodacom Cup, Platinum Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation
  • 2011 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

In a team with a real problem at scrumhalf, Michael Bondesio is probably their prime weapon at scrumhalf, but that does not mean he is that good… he is just better than the rest of the candidates.

 

Name: Ross Cronjé:

Position Scrumhalf
Height 1.80m
Weight 88kg
Date of Birth 26 July 1989
Place of Birth Johannesburg
Provincial Debut 2009 for the Natal Sharks
Provincial Caps 59
Provincial Points 60
Super Rugby Debut 2009 for the Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 8
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Ross Cronjé

Ross Cronjé is a product of Trinity House Primary School, Michaelhouse High School and the University of South Africa.

He played Under 18 rugby for Natal Country Districts in 2006 and Craven Week Under 18 rugby for KZN in 2007. In 2008 he played for the Sharks in the ABSA Under 19 Competition.

Ross made his senior debut for the Sharks XV in the Vodacom Cup in 2009 and played in 1 Super 14 match for the Sharks. In addition he played for South Africa in the IRB Junior World Championships in the same year and also made his Currie Cup Premier Division debut apart from playing for the Sharks at Under 21 level. In 2011 he once again played for the Sharks in the Currie Cup Premier Division before joining the Lions in 2012 where he played Super Rugby ad Currie Cup. In 2013 he played for the Lions in all their competitions.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2006 – Natal CD – U18 Academy Week
  • 2007 – KZN – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2008 – Sharks – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Sharks – MTN test, Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – Vodacom Super 14, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships, Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup, Sharks XV – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, The Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MT Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Ross & his brother Guy are both candidates for scrumhalf at the Lions for Super Rugby in 2014 but Guy is a scrumhalf and flyhalf candidate, whereas Ross is a scrumhalf specialist, therefor he gets the nod from me in favour of his twin brother… not that it matters much because he is a pretty ordinary player.

 

Name: Rick Darryl “Ricky” Shroeder:

Position Scrumhalf
Height 1.69m
Weight 76kg
Date of Birth 5 January 1991
Place of Birth Worcester
Provincial Debut 2012 for WP in Vodacom Cup vs Boland
Provincial Caps 16
Provincial Points 0
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Ricky Schroeder

Ricky is a product of De Vrije Zee Primary School, Paul Roos Gymanasium and University of Cape Town (UCT).

He came up through the Western Province youth ranks, representing them at the Under 16 Grant Khomo Week in 2007 and the Under 18 Craven Week tournaments in 2008 and 2009.

In 2010, he was included in the Western Province Under 19 team for the Under 19 Currie Cup competition, where he made 13 appearances. He also captained a side that contained future Springboks such as Eben Etzebeth, Siya Kolisi and Frans Malherbe and eventually won the title, beating the Blue Bulls Under 19 in the final.

He almost repeated the feat in 2012 with the Western Province Under 21 side, starting 13 of their 14 games during the 2012 Under 21 Currie Cup season, but this time ending on the losing side against the Blue Bulls Under 19 team.

He also represented the UCT Ikey Tigers in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Varsity Cup competitions, picking up another winner’s medal in 2011, making 4 appearances during the campaign, although he was an unused substitute in the final against Tuks.

His senior debut came during the 2012 Vodacom Cup season, coming on as a late substitute for Nic Groom in their first match of the season against near neighbours Boland Cavaliers. He appeared an additional 4 times in that competition, as well as being an unused substitute on 5 occasions. He made 1 further appearances for them during the 2013 Vodacom Cup competition.

After failing to break into Western Province’s Currie Cup team, he then joined Wellington-based side Boland Cavaliers on loan during the 2013 Currie Cup First Division season. He made his Currie Cup debut in their opening day defeat to the Leopards and made a total of 3 starts and 7 substitute appearances.

He has now moved to Johannesburg to join the Golden Lions on a two-year deal for 2014 and 2015.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – WP – U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2008 – WP – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2009 – WP – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2010 – WP – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2011 – DHL WP – Vodacom Cup, UCT – Varisty Cup, WP – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – UCT – Varsity Cup, DHL WP – Vodacom Cup, DHL WP – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2013 – DHL WP – Vodacom Cup, UCT – Varsity Cup, Regent Boland Cavalliers – ABSA Currie Cup First Division

Ricky will be trying to break into Super Rugby in 2014 and he chose the franchise with the least scrumhalf talent to do it, where he might be third in the pecking order.

 

Starters:

The Lions should start with Michael Bondesio but he is rather injury prone so it will be up to Ross Cronjé and Ricky Shroeder… and even possibly Guy Cronjé to fill the boots at scrumhalf. It is a position where the Lions are extremely frail.

 

Flyhalves:

Name: Elton Thomas “Elton” Jantjies:

Position Flyhalf
Height 1.76m
Weight 88kg
Date of Birth 1 August 1990
Place of Birth Graaff Reinet
Provincial Debut 2011
Provincial Caps 42
Provincial Points 479
Super Rugby Debut 2011 for MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 39
Super Rugby Points 239
Test Debut 29 September 2012 in The Rugby Championship vs Wallabies
Test Caps 2 PLUS 1 Tour match
Test Points 6
Elton Jantjies

Elton Jantjies is a product of Mooirivier Primary School, Florida High School and University of Johannesburg.

He has received several significant sporting awards, including the SARU Young Player of the Year award (2010), and the SA U20 Player of the Year award (2010).

He was regarded as one of South Africa’s most promising rugby players.

At the Lions and Golden Lions Jantjies gained a reputation as being a clutch performer after he successfully converted every goal attempt in the 2011 Currie Cup final, a game in which the Golden Lions defeated the Sharks 42-16. This performance earned him the Man of the Match award.

Although Elton Jantjies made his Super Rugby debut in 2011 for the Lions, the Lions did not participate in Super Rugby in 2013, so he joined the DHL Stormers for the 2013 season on a loan deal, where he underperformed to alarming proportions.

He made his international rugby Test debut for the Springboks during The Rugby Championship against Australia on 29 September 2012, at Loftus Versfeld, however his debut for the Springboks came in a non-Test, uncapped game against the Barbarians in the 2010 end of year tours.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2006 – Lions – U16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2007 – Lions – U18 Academy Week, Golden Lions – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2008 – South Africa – SA Schhols, Lions – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, Golden Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2009 – Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships, Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – Outgoing Tours (played the Non-Test vs Barbarians)
  • 2011 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springbok squad member – Castle Tri-Nations, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, Springbok squad member – Castle Incoming Tours, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springboks – The Rugby Championship, Springboks – Castle Outgoing Tours
  • 2013 – DHL Stormers – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Elton seems to have regained some form after a disasterous season at the DHL Stormers, where everything went pear-shaped, from his goal kicking to general play, but one must also remember that his lost his father, who died, at the beginning of the 2013 season. He should be the regular starter at flyhalf, but may be hard pushed by Marnitz Boshoff for the starting berth.

 

Name: Marnitz Louis “Marnitz” Boshoff:

Position Flyhalf / Fullback
Height 1.79m
Weight 87kg
Date of Birth 11 January 1989
Place of Birth Nelspruit
Provincial Debut 2008 for Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 54
Provincial Points 355
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Marnitz Boshoff

Marnitz Boshoff is a product of Bergland Primary School, Nelspruit High School and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He represented Mpumalanga in 2005 to 2007 at Under 16, and Under 18 levels and also made the SA Schools side in 2006 and 2007.

In 2007 he joined the Vodacom Blue Bulls and started representing them at Under 19 level. In 2008 he made his senior debut, representing the Blue Bulls in the Vodacom Cup, in addition to representing the Blue Bulls in the Under 19 and Under 21 Comptitions.

He also represented Tuks at the Varsity Cup in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

In 2009, 2010 and 2011 he went on to represent the Vodacom Blue Bulls senior side in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.

Marnitz then joined Griquas in 2012 and a year later joined the Golden Lions in all their competitions. 2013 was a specially revealing and highlighted year for Marnitz, so much so that I consider him better than Elton Jantjies for a starting berth at flyhalf, something which he will no doubt be aspiring to.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Mpumalanga – U16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2006 – South Africa – SA Schools B, Mpumalanga – U18 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2007 – Pumas – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, South Africa – SA Schools, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2008 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – GWK Griquas – Vodacom Cup, GWK Griquas – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Marnitz has lots of talent and if he could build on the markers he has set in 2013, he could usurp Elton Jantjies and also provide a viable alternative for possible Springbok flyhalf.

 

Name: Willem Nicolaas Frederik “Willie” du Plessis:

Position Flyhalf
Height 1.85m
Weight 91kg
Date of Birth 5 June 1990
Place of Birth Pretoria
Provincial Debut 2012 for Blue Bulls vs Valke in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 16
Provincial Points 88
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Willie du Plessis

Willie du Plessis is a product of Hennopspark Primary School in Centurion, Afrikaanse Hoër Seunsskool (Affies) and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He played for the Blue Bulls at the 2008 Under 18 Academy Week competition before moving to Durban to join the Natal Sharks. He played for the Sharks in the 2009 Under 19 Currie Cup and for the Sharks Under 21 team in the 2010, scoring 96 points in 12 matches. He was named in the Sharks’ squad for the 2011 Vodacom Cup competition, but failed to make an appearance. He made 2 more appearances for the Sharks in the 2011 Under 21 Currie Cup, before returning to the Blue Bulls Under 21 team for the latter part of the competition, making a further 4 appearances.

He was included in the Blue Bulls squad for the 2012 Vodacom Cup competition and made his first class debut against the Valke, coming on as a halftime substitute and scoring a try within 5 minutes of his debut, as well as nailing 2 conversions. He also appeared as a substitute in 2 of their remaining fixtures in the competition. He was once again included in their squad for the 2013 Vodacom Cup competition and made his first start for the Blue Bulls, once again against the Valke, this time scoring 7 conversions.

His next game in the competition came against the Limpopo Blue Bulls, with the Blue Bulls running out 110–0 victors. Du Plessis weighed in with 2 tries and 15 conversions (missing just 1 attempt), scoring 40 points in 1 match, a Vodacom Cup record.

He joined the Free State Cheetahs on a short-term deal for the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division.

He signed a two-year deal with the Golden Lions, joining them in November 2013.

Willie also played Varsity Cup rugby for Tuks, making 12 appearances in 2012 and 2013.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2008 – Blue Bulls – U18 Academy Week
  • 2009 – Sharks – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2010 – Sharks – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Sharks XV – Vodacom Cup squad member (did not play)
  • 2012 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Toyota Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

I have touted Willie’s rise for a while and it is possible that 2014 might see him playing some Super Rugby, but I expect it to be from the bench, if at all.

 

Starters:

The Lions should start with the tried and trusted Elton Jantjies, but do not be surprised if Marnitz Boshoff gets a starting spot anyway at fullback and I certainly won’t be surprised if he usurps Elton Jantjies at flyhalf in 2014.

 

Midfield:

Name: Alwyn Wilhelm Cornelius Johannes “Alwyn” Hollenbach:

Position Centre
Height 1.89m
Weight 99kg
Date of Birth 14 June 1985
Place of Birth Johannesburg
Provincial Debut 2005 for Free State Cheetahs
Provincial Caps 78
Provincial Points 100
Super Rugby Debut 2006 for Cheetahs
Super Rugby Caps 15
Super Rugby Points 5
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Alwyn Hollenbach

Alwyn Hollenbach is a product of Newton Primary School, Grey College and University of the Free State (Shimlas).

As with so many Grey College products he went on to play for Free State age group rugby (Under 20). He also represented South Africa at the 2004 IRB Under 19 World Championships. He then went on to represent Free State at Under 21 and Vodacom Cup level before playing Currie Cup Premier Division rugby in 2005 and 2006.

In 2007 he started playing Super Rugby for the Cheetahs as well as playing Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup rugby.

In 2008 he played Currie Cup Premier Division rugby for both Free State and Griquas. In 2009 he eventually moved to the Xerox Lions where he continued playing Currie Cup Premier Division rugby.

The year 2010 was the year he first played Super Rugby for the Lions in addition to playing Vodacom Cup rugby at the Lions as well as more Currie Cup rugby.

2012 Was a year where Alwyn was injured a lot but he nevertheless played Super Rugby and Currie Cup rugby.

In 2013 Alwyn played in all competitions for the Lions, interrupted by more injury worries from time to time.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2004 – Free State – ABSA U20 Competition Section A, South Africa – IRB U19 World Championships
  • 2005 – Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – Vodacom Cup, Free State – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2006 – Vodacom Cheetahs – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2007 – Vodacom Cheetahs – Vodacom Super 14, Free State – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies
  • 2008 – Wildeklawer Griquas – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom FS Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2009 – Lions – MTN test, Free State – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2010 – Auto & General Lions – Vodacom Super 14, Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies
  • 2011 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

If Alwyn can stay injury free, he is a very consumate and exciting centre, with lots of promise and should start for the Lions in Super Rugby 2014.

 

Name: Nicolaas Johannes “Stokkies” Hanekom:

Position Centre
Height 1.93m
Weight 101kg
Date of Birth 17 May 1989
Place of Birth Citrusdal
Provincial Debut 2012 for SWD Eagles
Provincial Caps 16
Provincial Points 30
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Stokkies Hanekom

Stokkies Hanekom is a product of Citrusdal Primary School, Paarl Gymnasium and University of Stellenbosch (Maties).

As a pupil at Paarl Gimnasium, he started his career playing for local team Western Province at youth level, playing for their Under 19 team in 2008 and their Under 21 team in 2009 and 2010.

In 2009, he was included in the SA Under 20 team for the 2009 IRB Junior World Championship.

He had a short spell for Griquas during the 2011 Vodacom Cup tournament, but failed to make a first class appearance, despite twice being named on the bench. He was then included in the Western Province squad for the Compulsory Friendlies prior to the 2011 Currie Cup Premier Division season, but failed to break into the team.

He moved to SWD Eagles for the 2012 Currie Cup First Division season, starting all 14 games that season.

At the start of 2013, he joined the Golden Lions and was included in their squad for the 2013 Lions Challenge Series, as well as the Golden Lions’ 2013 Vodacom Cup squad.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2008 – Vodacom Western Province – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Western Province squad member – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships, Western Province – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Maties – Varsity Cup, Western Province – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – GWK Griquas squad member – Vodacom Cup, Maties – Varsity Cup, DHL Western Province squad member – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies
  • 2012 – Maties – Varsity Cup, SWD Eagles – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

It has so far been a career of near misses for Stokkies but I rate him as a starter for the Lions at centre in Super Rugby.

 

Name: Lionel Grenton Starlone “Lionel” Mapoe:

Position Centre
Height 1.82m
Weight 87kg
Date of Birth 13 July 1988
Place of Birth Port Elizabeth
Provincial Debut 2008 for Free State
Provincial Caps 32
Provincial Points 50
Super Rugby Debut 2010 for Cheetahs
Super Rugby Caps 40
Super Rugby Points 25
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Lionel Mapoe

Lionel Mapoe is a product of Koot Niemann Primary School and Fichardtpark High School in Bloemfontein.

He is a well-travelled young man, having represented 4 of the 5 major Unions (FS Cheetahs, Sharks, Golden Lions, Bulls).

Lionel represented Free State from Under 16 level (2004) to Under 18 level (2005 & 2006), then played Vodacom Cup rugby for Free State as well as Under 19 rugby. In 2008 he prepresented Free State at Vodacom Cup and Under 21 levels and also represented South Africa at the IRB Junior World Championship.

In 2009 he represented South Africa at Sevens rugby, at the IRB Men’s Rugby World Cup Sevens and represented the Vodacom Free State Cheetahs in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division. and at Under 21 level.

In 2010 he made his Super Rugby debut in the Vodacom Super 14 for Vodacom Cheetahs but moved on to the Sharks for part of the Currie Cup Premier Division due to not being contracted and offered enough at the Free State Cheetahs. His stay at the Sharks was brief.

In 2011 he joined the Golden Lions where he played Super Rugby and Currie Cup.

In 2012 he once again played Super Rugby and Currie Cup and was then eventually selected for national honours at the end of year tour, where he did not earn a cap.

In 2013 he was loaned out to the Vodacom Bulls for Super Rugby and returned to the MTN Golden Lions to playe Currie Cup Premier Division rugby.

Injuries have caused havoc with Lionel Mapoe’s career, but once he shrugged off the worst, he’s constantly been performing well at Currie Cup and Vodacom Super Rugby level.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2004 – Free State – U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2005 – Free State – U18 Academy Week
  • 2006 – Free State – U18 Coca Cola Craven Week
  • 2007 – Free State – Vodacom Cup, Free State – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2008 – Free State – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championship, Free State – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2009 – South Africa – IRB Men’s Rugby World Cup Sevens, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Free State – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2010 – Vodacom Cheetahs – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Free State Cheetahs – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Sharks – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Springbok squad member – Castle Outgoing Tours
  • 2013 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Lionel will be able backup to the Lions centres, but is also versatile enough to play wing, so he is a good bench option.

 

Name: Dylan des Fountain:

Position Centre
Height 1.87m
Weight 95kg
Date of Birth 7 June 1985
Place of Birth Cape Town
Provincial Debut 2004 for Mobil Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 50
Provincial Points 35
Super Rugby Debut 2007 for Stormers
Super Rugby Caps 27
Super Rugby Points 20
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Dylan des Fountain

Dylan des Fountain is a product of Noord-Eind Primary School and Paarl Gymnasium.

His career started in 2004 when he played Vodacom Cup rugby for the Mobil Blue Bulls. In 2005 and 2006 he represented the Blue Bulls at Under 21.

In 2007 he relocated to Western Province and played Super 14 for the Vodacom Stormers and Currie Cup Premier Division rugby and Vodacom Cup for WP till 2010.

In 2011 he joined the MTN Golden Lions for Vodacom Cup, the MTN Lions for super Rugby and the Currie Cup.

2012 Only saw Dylan play Currie Cup Premier Division rugby and in 2013 he played for the MTN Golden Lions in Vodacom Cup and in the Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation games against the Southern Kings before playing Currie Cup Premier Division rugby towards the end of the season.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2004 – Mobil Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup
  • 2005 – Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2006 – Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2007 – Vodacom Stormers – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom Western Province – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Vodacom WP – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies
  • 2008 – Vodacom Stormers – Vodacom Super 14, Vodacom WP – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Vodacom Western Province – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2009 – Western Province – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Stormers – Vodacom Super 14
  • 2010 – Western Province – Vodacom Cup, Aironi
  • 2011 – Aironi, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Dylan has been around the block a few times, never seeming to make it big… or big enough.

 

Name: Robert James “Robert” de Bruyn:

Position Centre
Height 1.79m
Weight 90kg
Date of Birth 28 February 1991
Place of Birth Johannesburg
Provincial Debut 2011 for Golden Lions vs Valke
Provincial Caps 15
Provincial Points 20
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Robert de Bruyn

Robert de Bruyn is a product of Michaelhouse in Natal and University of Johannesburg (UJ).

He played for the Natal Sharks at the 2007 Grant Khomo Week and 2008 Craven Week tournaments and was also included in the 2008 Under 18 Elite squad.

He then returned to Johannesburg and played for the Golden Lions Under 19 team in 2009 and 2010 and for the Golden Lions Under 21 team in 2011 and 2012.

He made his senior debut for the MTN Golden Lions senior team in a 2011 Currie Cup compulsory friendly match against the Falcons. He started the match and scored a try in a 28–25 victory.

He made 7 starts in the 2012 Vodacom Cup competition, scoring 3 tries, the joint-third highest for the Golden Lions.

His made his first appearance in the Currie Cup competition when he appeared as a substitute against the Toyota Free State Cheetahs in the 2013 Currie Cup Premier Division.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – KZN – U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2008 – South Africa – U18 Elite Squads, Kwazulu-Natal – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2009 – Lions – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2010 – Xerox Lions – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2011 – MTN Golden Lions XV – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2013 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Robert is still young and has potential. I would say he might get Super Rugby game time at centre before Dylan des Fountain, in 2014.

 

Starters:

If I were the Lions, I would start with Alwyn Hollenbach and Stokkies Hanekom as starting centre pairing. In Lionel Mapoe they have an excellent bench option who can cover both outside centre and wing.

Dylan des Fountain is too injury prone and inconsistent and Robert de Bruyn still has a lot to prove in big time rugby.

In a long season of super Rugby, a team needs 4 competent centres.

 

Back Three:

Name: Anthony Alfred “Anthony” Volmink:

Position Left Wing
Height 1.80m
Weight 85kg
Date of Birth 10 February 1990
Place of Birth Bredasdorp
Provincial Debut 2009 for Boland
Provincial Caps 32
Provincial Points 147
Super Rugby Debut 2 June 2012 for MTN Lions vs Sharks
Super Rugby Caps 6
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Anthony Volmink

Anthony Volmink is a product of Klipdale Primary School and HTS Bredasdorp.

He first represented Boland in 2006 at the Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week and representd Boland again in 2007 and 2008 at Under 18 Level. In 2009 he made his senior debut at Boland in the Vodacom Cup and in the same year also played Under 19, Under 21 and Currie Cup Premier Division rugby at Boland.

In 2011 he played Varsity Shield rugby for UWC and moved to the Lions where he played in the Under 21 Competition.

The year of 2012 was where his rapid rise happened and where people began to take serious notice of Anthony, as he played Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Cup and Currie Cup Premier Division rugby. In 2013 he played in all competitions for the MTN Golden Lions.

He made his Super Rugby debut on 2 June 2012 for the Lions against the Sharks in Johannesburg. Volmink started the game before being replaced by Ruan Combrinck in the 61st minute of a 38-28 MTN Lions victory.

On 27 April 2013, he broke the South African tries-per-game record when he scored an incredible 9 tries in the MTN Golden Lions 161–3 victory over the hapless Limpopo Blue Bulls in the 2013 Vodacom Cup.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2006 – Boland – U16 Coca Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2007 – Boland – U18 Academy Week
  • 2008 – Boland – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week
  • 2009 – Boland Cavaliers – Vodacom Cup, Boland – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Boland – ABSA Under 21 Competition, Boland – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2011 – UWC – Varsity Shield, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Anthony Volmink has the speed and the attacking prowess to make the starting No 11 (left wing) berth his own at the Lions and the only suspect part of his play seems to be on defence, where he is not without faults.

 

Name: Andries Gideon “Deon” van Rensburg:

Position Right Wing
Height 1.75m
Weight 94kg
Date of Birth 24 January 1982
Place of Birth Potchefstroom
Provincial Debut 2004 for Leopards
Provincial Caps 78
Provincial Points 165
Super Rugby Debut 2009 for MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 41
Super Rugby Points 15
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Deon van Rensburg

Deon van Rensburg is a product of Hendrik Potgieter Primary School, Potchefstroom HTS and North-West University where he achieved his B Pharm and M Pharm degrees (chemist).

From 2002 he represented the Leopards at Under 19 and Under 21 levels. In 2004 he first played Vodacom Cup rugby before playing Currie Cup First Division rugby at the Leopards. In 2005 and again in 2006 he gravitated to Currie Cup Premier Division rugby at the Leopards and in 2007 and 2008 the Leopards were back in the Currie Cup First Division and Deon had to follow suit.

In 2009 he played Super 14 rugby for the Leopards’ Super Rugby franchise, the Auto & General Lions and also represented the Emerging Springboks and Royal XV against the British & Irish Lions before playing Currie Cup Premiership rugby for the Platinum Leopards.

He continued to play Super 14 rugby for the Auto & General Lions in 2010 and also made a permanent move to the Xerox Lions for whom he played Currie Cup Premier Division rugby and followed up for 2011 and 2012 to play Vodacom Super Rugby for the MTN Lions and Currie Cup Premier Division rugby. In 2013 he played in all local rugby competitions at the Lions.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2002 – Leopards – Bankfin Under 21, Leopards – U19 Competition
  • 2004 – Leopards – Vodacom Cup, Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2005 – Impala Leopards – Vodacom Cup, Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Qualifying Round, Impala Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2006 – Impala Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup First Division, Impala Leopards – Vodacom Cup
  • 2007 – Impala Leopards – Vodacom Cup, Impala Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup First Division, Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies
  • 2008 – Platinum Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation, Profert Platinum Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup First Division
  • 2009 – Platinum Leopards – Vodacom Cup, Auto & General Lions – Vodacom Super 14, Emerging Springboks – British & Irish Lions Tour, Royal XV – British & Irish Lions Tour, Platinum Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Leopards – ABSA Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation
  • 2010 – Auto & General Lions – Vodacom Super 14, Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsory Friendlies, Xerox Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2011 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

It almost seems that Deon has been around forever and Deon has reached and passed his peak and the open question is can he keep some of the youngsters back from passing him and taking ownership of the No 14 (right wing) berth in 2014.

 

Name: Gideon Gerhardus “Deon” Helberg:

Position Wing
Height 1.86m
Weight 96kg
Date of Birth 27 September 1989
Place of Birth Lichtenburg
Provincial Debut 2010 for Vodacom Blue Bulls in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 35
Provincial Points 55
Super Rugby Debut 2010 for Vodacom Bulls
Super Rugby Caps 1
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Deon Helberg

Deon Helberg is a product of JJ van der Merwe Primary School, HTS Middelburg and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He represented Mpumalanga in 2005 at the Under 16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week, in 2006 at the Under 18 Academy Week and the Pumas in 2007 at the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week before also representing South African Academy at SA Schools level.

In 2008 he had moved to Pretoria and represented the Blue Bulls at Under 19 level.

In 2009 he was part of the Vodacom Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup squad and played for the Blue Bulls in the Under 21 Competition.

In 2010 he played 1 game for the Vodacom Bulls at Super 14 and played for Tuks in the Varsity Cup (also played for Tuks in Varsity Cup in 2011 and 2012). In 2010 he also became a regular member of the Vodacom Blue Bulls Vodacom Cup side and still played some Under 21 rugby as well.

Deon moved to the Golden Lions in time for the Currie Cup Premier Division season in 2012 and since then has taken part in all the Lions competitions at senior level.

In 2011 it was revealed that he was involved in an affair with his girlfriend’s mother, which led to a fake death photo of Helberg being supplied and has also led to widely publicised court proceedings against the mother. This episode earned him the nickname of “Mamma se Liefie”.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2005 – Mpumalanga – U16 Coca-Cola Grant Khomo Week
  • 2006 – Mpumalanga – U18 Academy Week
  • 2007 – Pumas – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, South Africa – SA Schools Academy
  • 2008 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition, South Africa – IRB Sevens Series in George
  • 2010 – Vodacom Bulls – Vodacom Super 14, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Tuks – Varsity Cup
  • 2012 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Lions – Super Rugby Promotion / Relegation, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Deon Helberg is an ordinary winger, to ay the least, a mediocre player and he will be usurped by all the wings in the squad around him.

 

Name: Courtnall Douglas “Courtnall” Skosan:

Position Wing
Height 1.84m
Weight 90kg
Date of Birth 24 July 1991
Place of Birth Cape Town
Provincial Debut 2011 for Vodacom Blue Bulls vs Sharks XV
Provincial Caps 12
Provincial Points 35
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Courtnall Skosan

Courtnall Skosan is a product of Simonsberg Primary School, Brackenfell High School, Northlink College and the University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He played for the Blue Bulls at Under 19 and Under 21 level, earning a call-up to the SA Under 20 team for the 2011 IRB Junior World Championship. He graduated to the senior team at the Blue Bulls, making his debut for the Blue Bulls in the 2011 Vodacom Cup game against the Sharks XV.

He remained at the Blue Bulls until the end of the 2013 season, making just 12 appearances at senior level. He then moved to the Golden Lions for 2014.

He also played for Tuks in their victorious 2012 and 2013 Varsity Cup campaigns.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2010 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2011 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, South Africa – IRB Junior World Championships, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2013 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – Vodacom Cup, Tuks – Varsity Cup, Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Courtnall is relatively young and has steadily built his career. 2014 Could be the year where he breaks into Super Rugby and stays there.

 

Name: Andries Coetzee:

Position Fullback / Wing / Centre
Height 1.81m
Weight 86kg
Date of Birth 1 March 1990
Place of Birth Bethal
Provincial Debut 2012 for MTN Golden Lions
Provincial Caps 21
Provincial Points 37
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 13
Super Rugby Points 3
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Andries Coetzee

Andries Coetzee is a product of CR Swart Primary Schoo, Middelburg Technical High School and University of Pretoria (Tuks).

He started his career at the Pumas in 2008 where he played Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week rugby for them and also played for Mpumalanga in the ABSa Under 19 Competition.

In 2009 he played for Western Province in the Under 19 Competition.

In 2010, having moved back up to the Vodacom Blue Bulls, he played Under 21 rugby.

In 2011 he played for Tuks in Varisty Cup and then moved to the Golden Lions (his 4th Province and aged only 21 years old. Here he played ABSA Under 21 rugby.

In 2012 he played Vodacom Super Rugby, Vodacom Cup and ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division rugby at the Lions.

When the MTN Lions were relegated from Super Rugby for the 2013 season, he was loaned to the Sharks where he played 1 solitary Super Rugby game befor getting seriously injured and not playing Super Rugby for the rest of the season. he made his return to the Golden Lions and the return from injury in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division campaign of the MTN Golden Lions towards the end of 2013.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2008 – Pumas – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, Mpumalanga- ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Western Province – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2010 – Vodacom Blue Bulls – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2011 – Tuks – Varsity Cup, MTN Golden Lions XV – ABSA Currie Cup Compulsary Friendlies, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Under 21 Competition
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, Sharks – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Andries is a very talented player but it worries me that he has already played for 4 Provinces and a further 5th Super Rugby franchise, at the slender age of 22 already, indicating quite a mercenary nature.

 

Name: Chrysander Antonio “Chrysander” Botha:

Position Fullback
Height 1.88m
Weight 78kg
Date of Birth 13 July 1988
Place of Birth Walvis Bay, Namibia
Provincial Debut 2010 for Welwitschias in Vodacom Cup
Provincial Caps 37
Provincial Points 187
Super Rugby Debut
Super Rugby Caps 0
Super Rugby Points 0
Test Debut 2 August 2008 for Namibia vs Zimbabwe
Test Caps 18
Test Points 102
Chrysander Botha

Chrysander Botha is a product of Walvis Bay High School, Boland College and University of Johannesburg (UJ).

It appears Chrysander Botha made his Test debut for Namibia before he made his Senior debut in the Vodacom Cup for the Welwitschias. He played for the Welwitschias in 2010 and 2011 and the Valke in 2010 and moved to the Golden Lions in 2013.

Botha possesses an impressive try scoring record having crossed the line many times in his 18 apperances for the Namibian side. He made his debut in August 2008 against Zimbabwe and marked the occasion with an 8-point haul from his boot. He scored his first try a year later in the August 2009 Test against the Ivory Coast and finished the match with an impressive 29 points to his name. He took part in the 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup where he scored a try against Fiji.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2008 – Namibia – Test Rugby
  • 2009 – Namibia – Test Rugby
  • 2010 – Welwitschias – Vodacom Cup, Valke – Curie Cup, Namibia – Test Rugby
  • 2011 – Welwitschias – Vodacom Cup, Namibia – Test Rugby, Namibia – IRB Rugby World Cup
  • 2012 – Namibia – Test Rugby, UJ – Varsity Cup
  • 2013 – UJ – Varsity Cup, MTN Lions – Lions Challenge, MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division, Namibia – Test Rugby

Chrysander has potential but just cannot make a permanent break through and stay at top level, but nevertheless should get some game time from the bench in 2014.

 

Name: Ruan Jacobus “Ruan” Combrinck:

Position Fullback / Wing / Centre
Height 1.83m
Weight 97kg
Date of Birth 10 May 1990
Place of Birth Vryheid
Provincial Debut 2010 for Western Province
Provincial Caps 15
Provincial Points 41
Super Rugby Debut 2012 for MTN Lions
Super Rugby Caps 9
Super Rugby Points 3
Test Debut
Test Caps 0
Test Points 0
Ruan Combrinck

Ruan Combrinck is a product of Lucas Meyer Primary School in Vryheid, Michaelhouse and University of Stellenbosch (Maties).

He started his career for KZN in 2007 where he represented them at the Under 18 Academy Week. In 2008 he played for KZN in the Under 18 Elite Squads and at the Under 18 Coca-Cola Craven Week as well as in the Under 19 Competition.

In 2009 he played for Western Province at Under 19 level and in 2010 at Vodacom Cup level.

In 2011 he played for Maties in Varsity Cup and for DHL Western Province in the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division.

In 2012 he played Super Rugby for the MTN Lions and Currie Cup Premier Division rugby for the Golden Lions and in 2013 he played for the MTN Golden Lions at Vodacom Cup and ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division levels.

His playing career is as follows:

  • 2007 – KZN – U18 Academy Week
  • 2008 – South Africa – U18 Elite Squads, Kwazulu-Natal – U18 Coca-Cola Craven Week, Sharks – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2009 – Western Province – ABSA Under 19 Competition
  • 2010 – Western Province – Vodacom Cup
  • 2011 – Maties – Varsity Cup, DHL Western Province – BSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2012 – MTN Lions – Vodacom Super Rugby, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division
  • 2013 – MTN Golden Lions – Vodacom Cup, MTN Golden Lions – ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division

Depending on injury situations and rotation policies at the Lions, Ruan Combrinck could see some Super Rugby game time in 2014.

 

Starters:

The Lions should logically start with Anthony Volmink at No 11 (left wing) but the position of No 14 (right wing) is not so cut and clear, probably with Deon van Rensburg the favourite due to his experience. At fullback it makes sense if Andries Coetzee gets the nod but there is also a possibility that coach Johan Ackermann would want both Elton Jantjies and Marnitz Boshoff in the starting lineup, resulting in Marnitz Boshoff getting the nod ahead of specialists in fullback position.

With the Lions having been out of Super Rugby for a season and because there are relative rookies and new squad members amongst the back three, it is going to be interesting times at the Lions.


RugbyIQ


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