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Golden Lions

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Johan Ackermann

Lion’s Super Rugby and Currie Cup coach, Johan Ackermann

The Lions will field a revamped backline when they start their Currie Cup campaign early next month.

The high-flying Lions, fresh from their best Super Rugby season ever, face the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park on August 9 in the first round of South Africa’s premier domestic competition.

However, they will lose a host of their backline stars from the Super Rugby squad.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann, speaking to rugby365 in the wake of a three-match winning streak at the end of the Super Rugby season, said his forward pack will stay virtually intact.

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Lions & Golden LionsThe Golden Lions Rugby Union has named their CONTRACTED SQUAD for 2015. They also boast 4 Ex-Springboks amongst the Management and Coaching staff.

Kevin de Klerk, Rudolf Staeuli, Ashwin Willemse and Johan Ackerman, all Ex-Springboks are all in important positions at the Golden Lions Rugby Union, from President down to Head Coach.

 

Contracted Players:

The Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) has announced its new contracted player list for the 2015 season.

While financial constraints remain a challenge for the Lions, retaining talent remains their main priority. This is not unheard of as all South African unions have suffered financial constraints and must content with increasing pressure from the lucrative European and Japanese markets.

With the GLRU not yet covered by a title sponsor, the union has secured the input of several valuable partners to assist in the procurement process. Through building stronger relationships with stakeholders, the Lions put on a record-breaking Super Rugby showing, after the franchise’s return to top flight competition in 2014.

They finished the Super Rugby season in 12th spot, but surprised many pundits with their seven victories, capped by a 60-25 thrashing of the Cheetahs last weekend.

An established buy-in value system from coaching staff, players and management has seen the Lions secure the services of both top-class experienced and up-and-coming players.

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GWK GriquasVodacom CupGWK Griquas dethroned the defending champions to clinch the Vodacom Cup for the 5th time when they beat the Golden Lions by 30-6 in the final at GWK Park in Kimberley on Friday evening.

These 2 teams are now the undoubted kings of Vodacom Cup rugby, both with 5 titles out of the 17 on offer since the inception of the competition in 1998.

It was GWK Griquas’ first Vodacom Cup title since 2009 and also avenged their home defeat in the in the final seconds of the 2012 final against DHL Western Province. They won their other Vodacom Cup titles in 1998, when they also beat the Golden Lions in the final, as well as 2005 and 2007.

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Vodacom CupGolden LionsGWK GriquasThe 2 biggest ‘dogs’ in the history of the Vodacom Cup, the Golden Lions and GWK Griquas, take on each other in Kimberley on Friday evening in the grand finale of the competition in 2014.

Between these 2 sides, who will clash at 19:10 SA Time at GWK Park, they have won the Vodacom Cup 9 times since its inception in 1998. That means more than half of all the titles have gone either to Johannesburg or Kimberley.

It’s the Lions’ 2nd visit to Kimberley this year. They lost their Round 5 encounter at GWK Park by 33-18.

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Golden LionsGolden Lions Head Coach, Russell Winter, has announced his team to take on GWK Griquas in Kimberley on Friday night.

Should the Golden Lions win, they will remain as the team with the most victories in the competition with 6, but if Griquas triumph they will join the Golden Lions as 5 time winners of the competition.

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Vodacom CupThe two most successful teams in Vodacom Cup history, GWK Griquas and the Golden Lions, will contest the 2014 final after both won their semi-finals away from home this weekend.

In both matches, the team that scored more tries were knocked out and the points’ difference in the semi-finals in Nelspruit and Pretoria was a single point.

On Friday evening in Nelspruit, the Steval Pumas lost their first match of the season when they went down by 14-15 to four-time champions, GWK Griquas, after a last-minute penalty goal by fullback Gouws Prinsloo.

The visitors to the Mbombela Stadium had the best possible start when flyhalf Francois Brummer put them ahead by 3-0 after only 20 seconds with a well-struck drop-goal.

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Golden LionsGolden Lions head coach Russell Winter has named his 22-man side to front the Vodacom Blue Bulls in a Vodacom Cup semi-final clash on Saturday.

The team remains unchanged from last week’s side that trumped the Cell C Sharks XV 27-20 in Durban.

The venue for the game has been changed to take place at Loftus Versfeld, after carefull scrutiny of the rules of the tournament, leading to the conclusion that the Vodacom Blue Bulls are ahead of the Golden Lions on the Logs and therefore should host the semi-final.

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Vodacom CupWith 12 titles out of 16 between them, three of the four teams contesting the Vodacom Cup semi-finals this weekend – all of them from the North Section – know a thing or two about winning this competition.

It’s only the Steval Pumas, runners up in 2013 and the only unbeaten team this season, that hasn’t won the Vodacom Cup.

But the Golden Lions, whose title last year was their fifth, GWK Griquas (four-times champions) and the Vodacom Blue Bulls (three-time champions) have dominated the competition between them since its inception in 1998.

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Vodacom CupGWK Griquas scored the biggest playoff victory in the history of the Vodacom Cup as all four teams from the North Section proved too strong for their counterparts from the South and progressed to the semi-finals.

With three of the winning margins over the weekend between one and seven points, GWK Griquas’ 84-15 victory over the SWD Eagles perhaps best illustrated the dominance the North had over the South.

The previous biggest victory in a playoff match also involved the team from the Northern Cape, when they lost 73-7 to the Golden Lions in the 1999 Final.

The Golden Lions and Vodacom Blue Bulls, with eight Vodacom Cup titles between them, had to travel for their quarter-finals, while the Steval Pumas and GWK Griquas won their playoffs at home.

This means that for a second successive year the winner of the Vodacom Cup will come from the North Section – last year the Golden Lions proved too strong for the Steval Pumas in the Final in Nelspruit.

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Vodacom CupThe Steval Pumas, Cell C Sharks XV, GWK Griquas and Toyota Free State XV will host the four Vodacom Cup quarter-finals after the pool phase of the competition came to an exciting conclusion this weekend.

It was an exciting end to the competition in 2014, with a total of 75 tries scored in the eight pool matches at an average of just over nine per match, or one try every eight or so minutes.

While the North Section went pretty much as expected and the Steval Pumas managed the become the only team to go through their pool matches unbeaten, the last round in the South Section saw the log getting a proper overhaul following upsets in Durban and George on Friday evening.

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New Lions JerseyVox Telecom, a leading South African telecoms provider, has signed an associate / extended sponsorship agreement with the Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU).

The agreement allows Vox Telecom one title sponsor game during the Super Rugby tournament and also gives the company branding rights for the remainder of the competition and Currie Cup.

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Cell C SharksFollowing the pre-season hit-out against Saracens on 25 January, the next challenge on the Cell C Sharks schedule is a double-header set of matches against the Lions at Ellis Park next Friday night.

Their preparations for Vodacom Super Rugby – aside from what they do on the training pitch and in the gym – involve just two warm-up games before the competition gets going. Their first match will be against the Bulls at Growthpoint KINGS PARK in two weeks’ time, and by the time the match kicks off, they would have had the two warm-ups to prepare.

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BullsStormersVictor Matfield made his return to the playing field, but it was not enough to prevent the Stormers recording an impressive 26-19 win at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday.

The Super Rugby pre-season outing in Polokwane was a double blow for the Bulls, who will also be concerned about another knee injury suffered by star loose forward Arno Botha, the extent of which is knot known at this juncture, although it seemed  a serious injury.

It was a strong second half performance and a late try that secured the win for the Stormers, who outscored the Bulls by four tries to three.

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BullsStormersThe Bulls are expected to provide a stern pre-season test for the relatively young Stormers tight five in Polokwane on Saturday.

The versatile Rynhardt Elstadt is the oldest in the Stormers engine room at just 24, although he and loosehead prop Steven Kitshoff have three years of Super Rugby experience whilst Frans Malherbe and Scarra Ntubeni both toured with the Springboks at the end of last year.

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BullsThis weekend sees the only Vodacom Bulls warm-up fixture in preparation for Super Rugby in 2014. The Bulls play the DHL Stormers in Polokwane.

In an interesting twist, the Bulls will also use the curtain raiser game between the Vodacom Blue Bulls and Golden Lions as part of their Super Rugby preparations, with a strong side which closely resmbles their Currie Cup side, to face the 2nd string Golden Lions outfit. This Bulls side will include the likes of Piet van Zyl at scrumhalf, Handré Pollard at flyhalf and a number of Bulls players who will see enough Super Rugby time in 2014.

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GWK GriquasMartin BezuidenhoutTiaan MeyerGriekwas het die dienste van twee Leeus-staatmakers vir die Vodacombeker- en Curriebeker-reeks bekom.

Die haker Martin Bezuidenhout en die skrumskakel Tiaan Meyer, wat albei sterk aanspraakmakers op insluiting by die Cheetahs se Superrugby-span sal wees, sluit hulle later vandeesweek by die span in die Diamantstad aan.

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MTNGolden LionsThe partnership between the Golden Lions Rugby Union and MTN South Africa came to an end as of Friday 13 December 2013, with the company opting not to renew their sponsorship of the GLRU teams.

After a fruitful three-year relationship, the telecommunications giant have chosen to realign their sponsorship portfolio and will no longer sponsor a rugby outfit.

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