Cheetahs v Lions Super Rugby preview

The last time the Lions managed to beat a South African team in a Super Rugby derby, they trounced the Cheetahs early in 2009.

John Mitchell’s men will be hoping to repeat this feat and end their 17-match losing streak in Bloemfontein this weekend.

Since beating the Cheetahs in Johannesburg on 13 February 2009 in Johannesburg (34-28), the Lions have gone on to lose nine South African Super Rugby derbies on the trot.

Mitchell is the Lions’ third coach during this time in which they have won only a further four games – all of them in 2009.

The Lions have shown a lot of promise in their fi rst three games of 2011, making the Stormers and the Bulls work very hard for their victories.

Losing to the Stormers (19-16) and Bulls (24-20) were the closest the Lions have come to breaking their winless run against South African opposition.

The Lions’ worst defeat against a South African opponent was during last year’s Super 14, when their opponents for this weekend, the Cheetahs, ran in nine tries en route to a crushing victory of 59-10 in Welkom.

The Cheetahs reserve their finest attacking play for their annual cat fi ght against the Lions – the team from Bloemfontein’s try scoring average is just over two per game in Super Rugby, but against their former Cats partners it shoots up to more than three.

The Cheetahs have accumulated a total of 186 tries from their 79 matches played in the history of the competition as Free State in 1997 and as the Cheetahs since 2006 – at an average of 2.3 per game.

However against the Lions, their average is at 3.3 tries per game from a total of 20 tries in six games. During last year’s Super 14, the Cheetahs ran in nine tries before comprehensively defeating their Johannesburg opponents 59-10 in Welkom.

The Cheetahs’ other “favoured” opponents are the Bulls with a total of 21 tries from their seven encounters and the Chiefs, with a total of 15 tries from their six encounters.

The Bloemfontein team find try scoring most diffi cult against the Crusaders (nine tries from six games) and the Reds (10 tries from six matches).

Against South African opponents, the Cheetahs have struggled most against the Stormers, scoring just 11 tries in six games.

The Free Staters and Lions have met on six occasions in the history of the competition with each side securing three victories, however history suggests that the Bloemfontein team have always fancied their try scoring chances against the Lions.

The Cheetahs are bottom of the Super rugby standings and at home for a South African derby. For the Cheetahs there isn’t really a bigger prize.

The Bookies have given the Lions a 2 point start for this match. We think the Cheetahs will be up for this match. Cheetahs to win by 5.

Last five results
Sat, 15 May 2010 Cheetahs v Lions 59-10 Welkom
Fri, 13 Feb 2009 Cheetahs v Lions 28-34 Johannesburg
Sat, 16 Feb 2008 Cheetahs v Lions 22-23 Bloemfontein
Sat, 05 May 2007 Cheetahs v Lions 16-10 Johannesburg
Sat, 13 May 2006 Cheetahs v Lions 28-23 Kimberley

Lions overall record against the Cheetahs
Played 5, Wins 3 , Losses 2, Draws 0

Match No.27: Cheetahs v Lions
Date :Saturday 12 March
Venue : Bloemfontein
Kick Off local: 17:05
Kick Off GMT: 15:05
Referee: Keith Brown
Assistant Ref 1:Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 2:Cobus Wessels
TMO : Gerrie Coetzee


Cheetahs:1. C Oosthuizen , 2. R Barenes , 3. WP Nel , 4. M Muller , 5. W Steenkamp (VC) , 6. H Brussouw , 7. P van der Walt , 8. A Johnson , 9. S

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