Super Rugby team preview: Lions

In our final Super Rugby team preview we look at Johannesburg-based outfit, the Lions.

After being crowned 2011 Currie Cup champions the Lions will certainly want to build on their momentum going into this year’s tournament. With the threat of relegation hanging over the bottom placed South African team this season, they will certainly have every incentive to make some drastic improvements.

Their overall result will, however, depend largely on their tour of the Antipodes. Like the Stormers, they will have a chance to get their season off to a good start with home advantage as they play six of their opening eight fixtures in Johannesburg.

If they can be amongst the top teams on the table by the time they head abroad, it could bode well for them for the remainder of the tournament.

However, a lot will depend on the performances of flyhalf Elton Jantjies and captain Josh Strauss if they are to avoid demotion. Strauss is arguably one of the country’s top loose forwards who has done a brilliant job leading the Gauteng team and he will once again look to lead by example this season.

Prediction: The Lions may have a good draw but they don’t seem to have the depth or the big names to stand out this season. They look set to battle it out with the Cheetahs for the bottom spot in the South African conference and should finish in the bottom five teams overall.

2012 extended Lions squad:

Alwyn Hollenbach, Bandise Maku, Burton Francis, Butch James, Callie Visagie, CJ van der Linde, Cobus Grobbelaar, David Bulbring, Deon van Rensburg, Derick Minnie, Doppies la Grange, Dylan Des Fountain, Edgar Marutlulle, Elton Jantjies, Franco van der Merwe, Guy Cronje, Jaco Kriel, Jaco Taute, Jacobie Adriaanse, James Kamana, Jannie Boshoff, JC Janse van Rensburg, Joe Snyman, Josh Strauss, Lionel Mapoe, Martin Bezuidenhout, Michael Bondesio, Michael Killian, Michael Rhodes, Patric Cilliers, Ross Cronje, Rudy Paige, Warren Whiteley, Waylon Murray, Wikus van Heerden.

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