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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has announced his side to face the Reds in Brisbane on Friday.

In the forwards, Ackermann has made just 1 change for the game, as Robbie Coetzee starts at hooker.

Meanwhile, in the backline, Ross Cronje returns to the starting 15 at scrumhalf. He pairs up with Elton Jantjies who shifts back to flyhalf. Sampie Mastriet shifts to left wing, making way for Ruan Combrinck who starts at right wing.

Harold Vorster returns to the starting line-up at inside centre, while Andries Coetzee starts at fullback.

Kick-Off is at 11:00 SA Time on Friday.

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Super RugbyThe Emirates Lions won their 2nd tour match as the Vodacom Bulls and Cell C Sharks had to dig deep to win at home in an interesting 6th Round of Vodacom Super Rugby.

The men from Johannesburg weathered an early storm and clinched their 3rd successive win over the Melbourne Rebels, by 20 / 16, courtesy of a late try by Lionel Mapoe on Friday in Melbourne. With this victory, the Emirates Lions emulated their feats in 2007 and 2011, when they also won 2 tour matches.

On Saturday, the Toyota Cheetahs started well and were in front at the break against the Crusaders in Christchurch, but the home team took proper advantage of 2 second-half Yellow Cards against the visitors from Bloemfontein to win comfortably by 57 / 14.

2 Matches were played in South Africa on Saturday afternoon, both in less-than-perfect conditions.

First up, the Vodacom Bulls had to rely on a late penalty goal by Handré Pollard to pip the Force by 25 / 24 in Pretoria before the Cell C Sharks, playing for more than 50 minutes with 13 men against 14, following 3 Red Cards, had to dig deep to beat the Chiefs by 12 / 11 in Durban.

The DHL Stormers had a BYE.

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Melbourne RebelsMelbourne Rebels’ head coach Tony McGahan made just 1 enforced change to his side to face the Emirates Lions on Friday at AAMI Park in Round 6 of the Super Rugby season.

Rebels recruits Mike Harris and Dom Shipperley will each make their 50th Super Rugby appearances this week.

Australian Under 20 fullback Jonah Placid, who made 1 Super Rugby appearance before moving to Melbourne, prior to the National Rugby Championship, will make his Rebels debut alongside his half-centurion former Reds teammates.

Jack Debreczeni, who earlier this week appeared on track to play, has been withdrawn with a minor knee complaint, with Harris moving to flyhalf and Placid starting at fullback.

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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his team to take on the Melbourne Rebels in his side’s penultimate Vodacom Super Rugby tour match on Friday.

Ackermann has opted to rotate several players for the match.

In the forwards, Schalk van der Merwe, Armand van der Merwe and Ruan Dreyer will make up the front row. Robert Kruger will start at lock, while Derick Minnie has also been promoted to the starting line-up at flank.

Meanwhile, in the backline, Faf de Klerk will start at scrumhalf with Marnitz Boshoff linking up with him at flyhalf. Courtnall Skosan fills the left wing berth, shifting Sampie Mastriet to right wing.

Elton Jantjies will start at inside centre and Jaco van der Walt will start at fullback for the match.

Kick-off is at 10:40 SA Time on Friday.

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Blues vs Lions

The Blues went down to their fourth-straight loss of the Super Rugby campaign on Saturday as they lost 13 / 10 to the Lions at QBE Stadium in North Harbour.

Errors aplenty, low confidence in attack and a failure to turn pressure into points cost the Blues as they crashed to a disappointing home defeat.

Meanwhile, the Lions will take their smash and grab victory with both hands as they head to the Crusaders with a tour win under their belt.

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Super RugbyThe Toyota Cheetahs, Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers were victorious in 3 terrific Vodacom Super Rugby matches, as the competition really took off in the 3rd Round.

On Friday evening, the Toyota Cheetahs sneaked home against the Blues in Bloemfontein, winning their 2nd match of the season by 25 / 24 to remain 1 of only 4 unbeaten teams in 2015.

Saturday saw 2 local derbies of the highest calibre, with Test-like intensity. Mirrroing the encounter in Bloemfontein, the results of both these matches were in the balance right until the end.

The Vodacom Bulls prodcued their maiden win of the season when they beat the Cell C Sharks by 43 / 35 in a superb match in Pretoria. Then the DHL Stormers clocked their 3rd win from 3 matches when they beat the Emirates Lions by 22 / 19 in Johannesburg.

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Brent Janse van Rensburg

Brent Janse van Rensburg

The EP Kings have lured Brent Janse van Rensburg from the Golden Lions to replace Omar Mouneimne, as defense coach in Port Elizabeth.

Janse van Rensburg, a former NMMU Madibaz head coach, was released from his current contract by the GLRU following personal reasons.

“Brent approached us and asked us if he could be released from his contract for personal reasons, and he wished to return to Nelson Mandela Bay,” said CEO of the Golden Lions, Rudolf Straeuli.

Straeuli said he wished Janse van Rensburg all the best for his future.

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Andries Ferreira

Andries Ferreira

The Golden Lions Rugby Union announced that they signed more players at the Union as well as the re-signing of 2 Vodacom Super Rugby players.

The GLRU has secured the services of lock Andries Ferreira who has signed a 2-year contract. Ferreira recently returned from a stint in Italy at Pro12 side Zebre but also has previous Vodacom Super Rugby and ABSA Currie Cup experience with the Cheetahs.

Ferreira will join the GLRU with immediate effect and will look to bolster the lock stock at the Union and provide added physicality in the tight 5.

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Marcell Coetzee

Marcell Coetzee

Springbok forward Marcell Coetzee scored 2 tries as the Cell C Sharks defeated the Emirates Lions 29 / 12 at a drenched Growthpoint Kings Park in Durban.

Kick-off was very nearly delayed thanks to the torrential rain that hit Durban throughout Saturday, with only the most dedicated of fans remaining in the Kings Park stands.

The natural expectation therefore was an error-strewn contest with knock-ons galore, but to credit both sides the standard of their handling and execution was better than predicted.

The Lions grew in confidence and stature as the match progressed, doing their damage off the tee through Marnitz Boshoff, but ultimately came up significantly short.

A test of tactical nous in the wet, Springbok halfbacks Cobus Reinach and Pat Lambie both showed real intelligence in their decision-making, a fine example being the build-up to Odwa Ndungane’s try.

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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions head coach Johan Ackermann has named his team to face the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday.

The forwards see several changes as Jacques van Rooyen comes in at loosehead prop. Hence, Schalk van der Merwe shifts to the bench to provide cover. Additionally, Jaco Kriel has been withdrawn due to the recurrence of a groin injury. As a result, Derick Minnie will start at openside flanker and Warwick Tecklenburg is called up to the starting line-up to fill the blindside flank berth.

There are absolutely no changes to the starting Emirates Lions backline for this match.

Meanwhile, on the wood, both Robbie Coetzee and Julian Redelinghuys have recovered from their respective injuries and have been called up to cover the hooker and prop berths respectively.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

The Cell C Sharks may have had a less than auspicious start to their Super Rugby campaign, but they remain one of the fancied teams in the competition.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann, speaking to ahead of his team’s trip to Durban for their Round 2 match on Saturday, said the Cheetahs did not do his team any favours with their surprise 35 / 29 win over the Sharks last week.

On top of that, the Lions were also well below par in their 8 / 22 loss to the Hurricanes.

They are aware the welcome mat won’t be rolled out at Growthpoint Kings Park this week.

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Johan Ackermann

Johan Ackermann

Emirates Lions coach Johan Ackermann has refused to try and reign his players in, continuing to back them despite their frustrating Vodacom Super Rugby loss to the Hurricanes at Emirates Airline Park on Friday night.

Ackermann has defended his team’s inability to score despite dominating every facet of play except the scoreboard, saying the execution and decision-making needs to improve, not the game plan.

The coach staunchly defended his team’s expansive approach and feels they simply need to hone their play better to get the right results.

“Our attack worked for us, the execution let us down,” Ackermann said.

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HurricanesAll fit and available All Blacks in the Hurricanes’ squad are set to suit up against the Lions in Round 1 of the 2015 Super Rugby season.

A calf injury has ended Jeremy Thrush’s hopes of getting his season underway this week however, with the lock returning to New Zealand on Wednesday. He is expected to be available for selection in 4 to 6 weeks, depending on his recovery.

Thrush’s injury has made way for Mark Abbott to grab a starting spot, while his Hawke’s Bay teammate, Geoff Cridge, has flown over to join the team in Johannesburg.

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Emirates LionsThe Golden Lions Rugby Union have announced their 33-man squad which will compete as the Emirates Lions in the 2015 Vodacom Super Rugby tournament.

The Emirates Lions will get their Vodacom Super Rugby campaign under way on Friday 13 February as they take on the Hurricanes at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg. Tickets start at just R 40.00 and can be purchased online via Lionsrugby.computicket.com.

Season tickets are also still available for purchase from just R 800.00 and includes tickets to all Vodacom Super Rugby and ABSA Currie Cup home games, as well as the Springboks versus All Blacks Test.

The Emirates Lions boast a strong squad in 2015, with a number of Springboks and Springbok tourists in the squad.

The Springboks are: Marnitz Boshoff, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe, Julian Redelinghuys & Warren Whiteley.

The Springbok tourists (uncapped) are: Ruan Dreyer & Jaco Kriel.

The Lions improved tremendously during 2014, doing well in Super Rugby and reaching the Final of the ABSA Currie Cup Premier Division and they will want to continue this good form under the leadership of coach Johan Ackermann.

 

Emirates Lions Super Rugby squad:

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Emirates LionsThe Lions took to a wet Potchefstroom pitch to test out their Super Rugby squad in a warm-up match against the NWU-Pukke and the Leopards.

The 2 matches were split between the teams as the Lions took on Pukke for the first 40 minutes in their first game and where they were able to rack up a 26-0 lead.

The second 40 minutes saw the Lions then take on the Leopards with the Super Rugby team only managing to score an additional 7 points.

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Emirates LionsEmirates Lions Head Coach Johan Ackermann, and Lions (Vodacom Cup) Coach Russel Winter have named their respective extended squads for this weekend’s warm up matches against a NWU-Pukke XV and a Leopards XV respectively.

It appears that a “mix and match” approach has been taken as both squads include a mixture of both experienced Super Rugby, Currie Cup and junior players.

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Marnitz Boshoff

Marnitz Boshoff

Julian Redelinhuys

Julian Redelinhuys

Capped Springboks Marnitz Boshoff and Julian Redelinghuys as well current captain Warren Whiteley, have all extended their contracts until 2016 with the Lions.

Additionally, Jaco Kriel and Ruan Dreyer – both who joined the Springbok squad for their 2014 year-end tour of the Northern Hemisphere – have also opted to renew their contracts.

This positive news comes just 3 weeks before the commencement of the 2015 season, providing the team with an added boost and additional consistency.

Jaco Kriel

Jaco Kriel

Ruan Dreyer

Ruan Dreyer

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