Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
22 Mar 2014
10:30 am

Lions battle the Red tide of history

Rudolph Jacobs

The dismal record the Lions have posted against the Reds down the years will erase any complacency at Ellis Park this afternoon.

Warren Whiteley during a Lions training session at the Johannesburg Stadium. Picture: Gallo Images

The Lions have only beaten the Reds three times in 17 matches and only once in nine clashes at Ellis Park and, as captain Warren Whiteley cautioned this week, the visitors’ attacking intentions show a strong resemblance to that of the Blues of last week.

“In some ways they are the same kind of team, they have an experienced 9 and 10 and their attack launch from the set-piece is good,” he said.

And more importantly, Reds coach Richard Graham noted this week the Lions are one of the form teams and showing a big upward curve.

While the Lions’ tails are up after downing the Blues last week, the Reds were not happy in going down to the Sharks, where they questioned the applications of the breakdown law.

“I think our guys have done really well, but we know it’s a tough competition where you play at the highest level weekly and we realise it’s still a long way to go,” Whiteley said.

The return of some of the Lions’ stalwarts will also augur well for their away trip in May, with centre Lionel Mapoe on the bench at Ellis Park, and Andries Coetzee, Elton Jantjies, Alwyn Hollenbach and Michael Bondesio turning out for the Vodacom Cup team.

“Lionel can play at centre and wing and gives us another option,” said Lions coach Johan Ackermann.

“It’s also good to see guys like Andries and Alwyn returning. Hopefully, they won’t pick up any more niggles.”

As far as Jantjies is concerned, Ackermann said solid game time will do him good.

“I can’t guarantee him any game time, as we have a bye next week, so this will hopefully assist him in getting back some of his match sharpness,” said Ackermann.

Kick-off is at 5.05pm.