Lions vs Force Super Rugby Preview

It’s been four years since the Lions managed back to back Super Rugby victories but that will be that is what they will be attempting to do against the Force.

The Lions won their first game since May 2009 – ending a 17 match winless streak – when they beat the Cheetahs by 25-20 last weekend and will now be aiming for another victory for their first set of consecutive wins since 2007.

Four years ago the Lions enjoyed a series of four consecutive victories, which included a win over their opponents this weekend, the Force, then still coached by current Lions mentor, Mitchell.

They beat the Highlanders (11-6), Crusaders (9-3), Western Force (25-24) and the Reds (26- 20) in 2007.

Those four wins also broke a four year drought of back to back wins, as the Lions (then still grouped with the Cheetahs and known as the Cats) had to wait from 2003 to achieve this feat when they beat the Brumbies (34-32) and Highlanders (33-21).

Before that, victories came more frequently to the men from Johannesburg. In 2001, when the Cats reached the Super 12 semi-finals, they achieved three sequences of consecutive victories.

They beat the Stormers (29-24) and the Highlanders (56-21); then secured back-to-back wins over the Waratahs (28-21), Hurricanes (18-15) and Sharks (26-25); and were consecutive victors during their matches against the Blues (26-23) and Crusaders (32-31).

The Lions kicked off their 2011 Super Rugby season with three consecutive defeats against the Bulls (24-20), Stormers (19-16) and the Blues (41- 32) before breaking their winless run last weekend in Bloemfontein.

The Lions have played the Force five times but only won once. The Force have won on three occassions and there was one draw.

Lions coach John Mitchell obviously likes Johannesburg because when he was with the Force his team never lost a match in the city.

On average the Lions usually score 20 points against the Force who normally score 33 points on average.

Last week the Blues needed a last minute penalty to deny the Force their first win of the season. They stood up to and even match the Blues who were littered with All Blacks. The question is were the Force that good or were the Blues that bad.

The Lions will be relieved to have gotten the monkey off their backs now that they have ended their losing streak. That result should lift their confidence no end.

At the time of writing the Force had not named their team so we expect the Force to name a similar team to the one that drew with the Blues last week.

The Bookies have given the Force a 4 point start – and they have an offer for our users of Bet 10 and Get 20. We think that Force coach Richard Graham is developing the Force into something stronger than Mitchell did and the Force might just pip the Lions here. Force to win by two.

Last five results.
01 May 2010 Lions v Force 12-33 Johannesburg
24 Apr 2009 Lions v Force 14-55 Perth
29 Feb 2008 Lions v Force 16-18 Johannesburg
24 Feb 2007 Lions v Force 25-24 Perth
28 Apr 2006 Lions v Force 34-34 Johannesburg

Lions overall record against the Force
Played 5, Wins 1, Losses 3 , Draws 1

Match : Lions vs Force
Date: Sat 19 March
Venue : Johannesburg
Kick Off local: 15.05
Kick Off GMT: 17.10
Referee: Mark Lawrence
Assistant Ref 1:Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 2:Reuben Rossouw
TMO:Johann Meuwesen


Lions: Jaco Tau

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