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Warren Whiteley

Warren Whiteley

Golden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man outfit to face the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.

Ackermann has made a few changes to the Lions backline, following last weekend’s 27-14 loss to Western Province at Newlands.

Ruan Combrinck will start at his preferred position of fullback, Lionel Mapoe will run out at right wing and Stokkies Hanekom reverts to the outside centre berth for this match.

Alwyn Hollenbach returns to action and will start at inside centre, while Andries Coetzee will fill the flyhalf slot.

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Kobus van Wyk

WP flyer, Kobus van Wyk

Surprise, surprise… there are the Sharks and Western Province, back dominating Currie Cup rugby.

Many changes could still happen, of course, given that the 2014 competition is not quite a third of the way through the pre-knockout phase, but it is interesting nevertheless that the two coastal powers have already seized just a hint of a grip.

It will only increase speculation that the pair may be set for a third successive meeting in the final this year, something that has not happened since the Blue Bulls and Cheetahs met in each of the 2004, 2005 and 2006 showpieces.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann knows exactly where things went wrong for his team at the weekend.

And the wily mentor will not reach for the panic button, after his side dropped from first place to third on the Currie Cup standings in the wake of a 14-27 loss to Western Province at Newlands.

Even the return of stalwarts Alwyn Hollenbach and Deon van Rensburg will not result in panic selections this week.

Ackermann, addressing a media gathering after his team’s Round Three loss, said the big problem was that they “lost patience” in their game plan and also lacked in their execution.

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Allister Coetzee

Allister Coetzee

It was not performance that sounded a Currie Cup championship warning but the victorious Western Province showed their attacking prowess in their 27-14 victory over the Golden Lions at Newlands on Saturday.

Speaking after the match, Province coach Allister Coetzee said the importance of starting well was once again underlined.

“Later in the match the Lions put us under tremendous pressure and there were not many opportunities again,” Coetzee said.

“It cost really hard work for us to survive in what was a tough game.”

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Cell C SharksA long-range penalty by Fred Zeilinga four minutes from time helped the Sharks snatch a last-ditch 19-16 victory over the Free State Cheetahs in their Currie Cup clash at Kings Park on Saturday night.

The home flyhalf kicked 14 points in total, with the other five coming through a late try by Tonderai Chavhanga.

However, the visitors will rue what might have been after leading the game for most of the evening thanks to a brilliant Clayton Blommetjies’ try and the boot of Willie du Plessis.

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Xerox Golden LionsGolden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his 22-man side to take on Western Province at Newlands this Saturday.

In the forwards, Willie Britz and Warwick Tecklenburg move up into the starting side, joining Derick Minnie in the loose trio. Minnie will captain the side.

Meanwhile in the backline, Ackermann has opted for consistency, selecting the same group which beat the EP Kings 60-19 at Ellis Park last Saturday.

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WP RugbyHead coach Allister Coetzee has named an unchanged line-up for Saturday’s top-of-the-log Absa Currie Cup clash between DHL Western Province and the Xerox Golden Lions at DHL Newlands (kick-off 17:05 SA Time).

Hookers Tiaan Liebenberg (back) and Scarra Ntubeni (calf muscle) remain sidelined, meaning Stephan Coetzee continues in the No 2 jersey with Neil Rautenbach again warming the bench.

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Derrick Minnie

Derrick Minnie has been entrusted to take over the Lion’s captaincy from Warren Whiteley

Derrick Minnie will reclaim the Golden Lions’ captaincy armband when they head to Cape Town for a top-of-the-table Currie Cup clash with Western Province.

The Lions, who top the table on points difference ahead of WP, will head to Newlands without regular skipper Warren Whitely – who was called up to the Springbok squad in place of the injured loose forward Willem Albert, for the Test against Argentina in Salta on Saturday.

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Currie CupThis past weekend saw Round 2 of the ABSA Currie Cup of 2014.

As usual 4 games were played, with the Cell C Sharks beating Steal Pumas 34 / 17, DHL Western Province demolishing the Vodacom Blue Bulls by 41 / 17, Xerox Goldenlions hammering EP Kings by 60 / 19 and the Toyota Free State Cheetahs beating GWK Griquas 34 / 27.

 

WP demolish Blue Bulls

DHL Western Province scored three tries either side of halftime as they demolished the Vodacom Blue Bulls 41-17 (halftime 19-6) in a scintillating Absa Currie Cup encounter at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.

Province ran in six tries through Pat Cilliers, Michael Rhodes, Nizaam Carr, Juan de Jongh and a brace from Seabelo Senatla while replacement hooker Bongi Mbonambi nabbed one for the visitors.

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Xerox Golden LionsGolden Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has opted for consistency in naming his side to play the EP Kings in a Currie Cup Premier division match this weekend

Ackermann has made just one enforced change in the run on 15, where youngster Jaco vd Walt starts at Fly Half in place of injured Springbok Marnitz Boshoff.

On the bench Ackermann has included Sevens Bok Kwagga Smith who, if he gets onto the field will make his Currie Cup debut.

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Derick Minnie

“Cheers vir eers!” Derick Minnie op pad vorentoe Saterdag teen die Bloubulle op Ellispark.

Niemand wil dit hard sê nie, maar almal weet dit: Suid-Afrikaanse rugby is in die #2%$.

Vir diegene wat onlangs uit ’n diep slaap uit ontwaak het, hier is die feite: Net een Suid-Afrikaanse span kon dit tot in ’n Super Rugby semi-finaal maak. En daar het hulle ook in die pomp geduik. Die ander klomp – die Bulle, Stormers, Leeus en Cheetahs het redelik swak gedoen.

Hoe kan ’n land soos Suid-Afrika, wat meer spelers as Nieu-Seeland en Australië saam het, so sleg uit die bus uit bliksem?

Om daardie vraag te beantwoord, moet ons teruggaan tot ons terugkeer tot internasionale rugby in 1992.

Dan sal ons sien dat ons intussen nooit pasaangeërs was nie. Nie met taktiek nie en nie met afrigting nie.

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Marnitz Boshoff

Marnitz Boshoff

The Lions have been dealt a huge blow with Springbok flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff ruled out of the entire Currie Cup season with a fractured arm.

The Lions, against all injury odds, put on the performance of the opening round when they defeated the Bulls 41-13 in Johannesburg on Saturday.

However, coach Johan Ackermann will have more injury headaches other than Boshoff who is due to undergo surgery on Monday and is expected to be out for 12 weeks.

Both Anthony Volmink (shoulder) and Lloyd Greeff (knee) are also expected to be out of action for the remainder of the Currie Cup tournament.

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Marnitz Boshoff

Marnitz Boshoff

The Golden Lions’ comprehensive 41-13 defeat of the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday could prove costly after star flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff left the field with an arm injury.

“We are a bit concerned but we don’t want to jump to conclusions before he’s had his scans,” Lions coach Johan Ackermann said after the match.

“Jaco van der Walt (replacement) is a talented player but obviously Marnitz is also a match winner and it will be a big loss if he is out.”

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Golden LionsThe Xerox Golden Lions will run out in navy blue jerseys as they kick-off their Absa Currie Cup campaign against the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The match, which will mark the Golden Lions Rugby Union’s 125th anniversary, will see the Xerox Golden Lions forgo their standard white jersey with the red strip in order to commemorate this special occasion.

The jersey will be unveiled at a 125-year celebration banquet, to be held at Ellis Park this evening. Guests will include past and present players, staff and administrators as well as supporters and sponsors who have all been involved in building the GLRU legacy.

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Golden LionsGolden Lions coach Johan Ackermann has named his 23-man side to take on the Blue Bulls in their opening Currie Cup clash at Ellis Park on Saturday.

In the forwards, Ackermann has opted to select Ruan Dreyer at tighthead after Julian Redelinghuys suffered a minor calf injury last week. Schalk van der Merwe and Robbie Coetzee make up the rest of the front row.

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Golden LionsThe Golden Lions have announced the signing of centre Howard Mnisi from Griquas on an 18-month contract.

According to the Lions’ official website, the centre linked up with theGolden Lions squad last week, however his contract was only finalised on Wednesday.

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Johan Ackermann

Lions coach, Johan Ackermann

The Lions have suffered key injury blows ahead of their opening Currie Cup clash against the Blue Bulls at Ellis Park this weekend.

According to reports, promising front ranker Julian Redelinghuys has injured his calf muscle and could be sidelined for up to six weeks.

To make matters worse, wings Anthony Volmink and Courtnall Skosan and scrumhalf Michael Bondesio were also injured in training last week.

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Chrysander Botha

English club Exeter Chiefs have signed Lions fullback Chrysander Botha ahead of the new Premiership season.

According to Exeter’s official website, the 26-year-old Namibian international touched down at Sandy Park on Wednesday and will join up with his new team-mates next week.

Botha has been tracked by the Chiefs coaching team for some time and assistant coach Ali Hepher believes his arrival will give the Devon club another attacking weapon in their arsenal.

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Kick-off for 2014′s Currie Cup is almost upon us with a full set of fixtures scheduled for 9 August.

Sportingbet have come to the party by pricing up a market for the overall winner of this tournament.

With that in mind, here’s our take on who has a major shot at the trophy and which sides may struggle to keep up with the pace.

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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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Warren Whiteley

Inspirational Lions captain, Warren Whiteley

The Lions exceeded expectations in their comeback season, while the Bulls, Cheetahs and Stormers all regressed, writes JON CARDINELLI. Take a bow, Johan Ackermann. The Lions came into this year’s competition with a public ambition to be competitive and a private ambition to avoid the wooden spoon. They exceeded expectations on every front, finishing the league stage with seven wins and in 12th place. That win total alone will ensure that the class of 2014 goes down in history. Their 34-10 hammering of the Stormers shouldn’t be forgotten, nor their two victories against the Cheetahs, nor that resounding win against the Bulls.

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Luther Obi

Luther Obi

The Vodacom Bulls have already lost their chance to bring Jacques Potgieter back, and now it seems they’re likely to lose another tussle with the Lions for the services of promising winger Luther Obi.

Obi has been seen as the long-term replacement at the Pretoria union for veteran winger Akona Ndungane, whose contract runs out at the end of the season.

But the Bulls were negotiating with Obi anyway, until they were told to stop by the Leopards Rugby Union as he still has a year to run on his contract.

The Leopards have made it clear that they will entertain a move for Obi for Vodacom Super Rugby if the Bulls want him, but that this will be subject to a transfer fee negotiation.

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Special EditionSuper RugbyThe Cell C Sharks will be the only South African team contesting the Vodacom Super Rugby playoffs this year after the Vodacom Bulls slipped up in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon, shortly before the KwaZulu-Natalians’ title hopes were dealt a blow in Bloemfontein.

The team from Durban dropped one position to third on the overall standings after their shock defeat by 27-20 to the Toyota Cheetahs at the Free State Stadium. It was arguably the team from Bloemfontein’s best performance of the season as they moved up from the last spot on the log to 14th.

Earlier on Saturday afternoon, the DHL Stormers recorded the fourth-ever clean sheet in a local derby when they beat the Vodacom Bulls by 16-0 at DHL Newlands. Just before the June-break, the Capetonians did the same when they beat the Toyota Cheetahs by 33-0 in Cape Town.

It will be only the third time in the last 10 years that the Vodacom Bulls will not feature in the playoffs.

The other two times a South African side failed to score any points in local derbies, were in 1999 when the Cell C Sharks beat the Vodacom Bulls by 29-0, while the team from Pretoria beat the Southern Kings by 34-0 last year.

In total, it was the sixth time ever a South African team were kept point-less in Vodacom Super Rugby and the Vodacom Bulls’ third zero. The Pretorians lost 27-0 to the Crusaders in Timaru in 2011 and the DHL Stormers lost 22-0 to the Crusaders in Cape Town in 2008.

On Friday evening, the Lions recorded their sixth win of the season when they beat the Rebels by 34-17 at Ellis Park, meaning 2014 will go down as the most successful for the team based in Johannesburg since the Cats franchise was dissolved before the 2006-season. Their previous best was five wins in 2007.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

With only two matches left in the round-robin stage of the 2014 Super Rugby competition, the Lions will be looking to finish with a flourish to complete one of their best seasons.

Coach Johan Ackermann said on Tuesday his team would be looking to bow out of this year’s edition with seven victories but they would first have to move past their first challenge against the Rebels in Johannesburg on Friday.

“After the break, these two games are almost a campaign on its own and in rugby you only get remembered for the last game you played,” Ackermann said at the team announcement on Tuesday.

“And if we don’t do well in the last two games, the Super Rugby season will be remembered as not being too good. The opposite side of the coin is that if we win the games, we can look back on a good season with a few mistakes.”

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Cell C SharksBullsStormersLionsCheetahsThe South African Conference resumes this weekend in Round 18, after watching the Australian and New Zealand franchises in action which ensured that there is likely to be only one team from the Republic in the finals.

The Sharks, long guaranteed the South African Conference, will finish in the top three while two more victories will ensure that Jake White’s team finish in the top two position and lock up a home Semi Final.

The Bulls still have an outside chance of reaching the Finals Series, but their hopes were dealt a blow with a 32-21 loss to the Lions before the June break.

The Stormers have become one of the premier spoilers in Super Rugby so far, while the Lions and Cheetahs have likely already begun planning for the Currie Cup and 2015 season.

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Franco van der Merwe

Franco van der Merwe

LionsSpringbok lock forward Franco van der Merwe has recovered fully from the ankle injury that forced him to miss much of the Lions’ Super Rugby campaign, and has been drafted straight in to the starting side by head coach Johan Ackermann for Friday nights clash against the Rebels at Ellis Park.

The big Springbok’s inclusion will add some most welcome steel to the Lions second row for the clash against the team currently 1 place below the home side on the combined log.

In is a game the Johannesburg based outfit will be desperate to win before faceing the Cheetahs in their final round robin game which may well decide the Wooden Spoonists of the SA conference, Ackermann will be hoping for a dispaly at least as intense as that which saw the Lions to victory over Gauteng neighbours the Bulls just ove a month ago.

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