They are the last remaining SA teams to tour Down Under with the Cheetahs, Stormers and Bulls returning empty handed after 12 attempts.
The Lions flew out last Friday and are currently based in Auckland ahead of their opening game against defending champs the Chiefs, in Hamilton on Saturday, who on the “bright” side, have lost a bit of steam lately.
The Lions are not out of the race mathematically, but being eight points adrift from the sixth-placed Waratahs, they probably have too much ground to make up in their remaining seven games.
But they have arrived on Kiwi soil in high spirits, even though just 10 of the 27-man playing squad have toured before, according to the lively Lions flanker Willie Britz.
“Great day of training here in Auckland, weather is nice, team is looking good, now for some recovery,” he tweeted in company of flanker Jaco Kriel and flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff.
One look at the combined log however, signals how poor the SA teams have been, with the lone exception of the Sharks. Four of the six teams at the bottom end of the table with a negative point-aggregate are from South Africa.
The ninth-place Blues on -16 are followed by the Bulls (-18), the Lions (-40), the Rebels (-29), the Reds (-40), the Cheetahs (-88) and the Stormers (-64).
On the up side, the Cheetahs seemed to have turned their season around, but now they are up against the Bulls at Loftus.
But realistically, the Sharks remain SA’s only hope, while the other sides can only regain lost pride.