Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Lions eager to end win drought against SA teams in URC

The Lions have lost their last six URC matches against SA franchises.

The Lions are eager to end a poor run of results against local South African franchises when they welcome the Stormers to Ellis Park for their United Rugby Championship match on Saturday afternoon.

The last time that the Lions beat SA opposition was last year in December, when they put in a superb performance against the Stormers in Cape Town to pick up an impressive bonus point win.

Since then however they have gone on to lose their next six games against SA franchises, including three defeats against the Bulls, two against the Sharks and one against the Stormers.


Four of those losses also came at home, so it is a record they will want to change and they will be aiming to do that against the Stormers this coming weekend.

“It is something that we have realised and spoken about. Against all the South African teams we have performed worse (in the URC) than against the foreign teams. Not in results necessarily but in performance,” explained Lions assistant coach Julian Redelinghuys.

“It is definitely something we are aware of and something we would like to correct, and there is no better chance than doing that at home this weekend.

“So it is an opportunity for us to change that perception and negative roll we are on (against SA teams) and put us back on the right path against them.”

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Despite their poor showing against local sides, the Lions have impressed against foreign teams in the URC and some strong performances so far this season have given the side hope that they can clinch a quarterfinal spot come end of the season.

Some big wins on the road, including against a Welsh laden Ospreys and Scottish laden Edinburgh, plus a great fightback against an Irish laden Ulster at home, has started to give the team belief that they can compete with the best in the competition.


“I think it started after the Ospreys game. Beating them by one point away on our first game on tour gave the team belief and that has continued to grow especially after beating Edinburgh (also away),” explained Lions eighthman Francke Horn.

“We were a little bit disappointed that we lost the Ulster game. But even there we showed a lot of character to fight back. So I think there is a lot of belief in the team and we know we can go far.

“It’s just about keeping our heads on straight, working hard and eventually the results will come our way. But you don’t win the competition in the first six games, so there is still a long way to go. I know everyone believes that we can be a dark horse team and cause a few upsets.”

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