Lions vs Reds Super Rugby preview

The Reds have a very good track record against the Lions in South Africa as they have not lost to the Lions Coca-Cola (Ellis) Park ever and the last time the Lions beat the Reds in South Africa was in Bloemfontein way back in 2000.

After losing their first three home games in 2011, against the Bulls (24-20), Blues (41-32) and Western Force (27-15), the Lions should have more than enough motivation to break their duck and beat the Reds for the very first time in seven games at Coca-Cola Park.

The run of home defeats against the Reds for the Lions started in 1996, when the former Transvaal lost by 25-16. In 1998, the Cats lost 20-16 to the Reds.

The only “home win” over the Reds came back in 2000, when the Cats beat the Reds by 36-32 in Bloemfontein, home base of the Lions’ partners at that stage, the Cheetahs.

Back in Johannesburg in 2002, the Cats lost 27-15, while the Reds also got the better of them in 2004 in Bloemfontein (47-23).

Since the Cats split, the Lions lost to the Reds in Johannesburg in 2006 (23-16) and 2010 (41-26), with their best result coming in 2008 when the two teams drew (24- 24).

In South Africa the Lions on average score points 22 against the Reds who on average score 31 points against the Lions. The average across all venues is Lions 21 Reds 28 so the Lions still perform poorly against the Reds away from home but they do slightly better.

Overall the Lions have played the Reds 13 times and won just three times. With the one draw factored in that means the Lions have lost 9 times for a 23% win ratio against the Reds.

The Lions have brought in Andre Pretorius at fly half for this match and they have changed the captaincy from Franco van der Merwe to Doppies la Grange

The Reds on the other hand have been forced to leave fullback ben Lucas at home in Australia which means that Mike Harris starts in his place as one of five changes to the team that beat the Cheetahs.

The Reds are now the bookies favourites to win the Australian Pool and the Lions are joint favourites to come last.

An indication of the difference in the teams is that the Reds beat the Cheetahs last weekend 41-8 and the Lions beat the Cheetahs 20-25.

Given the above results and the Red history against the Lions it is hard to see the Lions beating the Reds this weekend.

The Bookies have given the Lions a 5 point start – with an offer of Bet 10 and Get 20. The is match up is Australia’s best team and South Africa’s 2nd worst and the tournament’s second worst team. The Reds should win by 13.

Last five results
10 Apr 2010 Lions v Reds 26-41 Johannesburg
18 Apr 2009 Lions v Reds 31-20 Brisbane
22 Mar 2008 Lions v Reds 24-24 Johannesburg
03 Mar 2007 Lions v Reds 26-20 Brisbane
08 Apr 2006 Lions v Reds 16-23 Johannesburg

Lions overall record against the Reds
Played 13 , Wins 3, Losses 9, Draws 1

Match Officials
Referee: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
Assistant referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand), Cobus Wessels (New Zealand)
Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)

Teams :

Lions:Michael Killian, Lionel Mapoe, Waylon Murray, Doppies la Grange, Deon van Rensburg, Andre Pretorius, Jano Vermaak, Warren Whiteley, Joshua Strauss, Cobus Grobbelaar, Franco van der Merwe, David Bulbring, Patric Cilliers, Bandise Maku, JC Janse van Rensburg.

Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Jacobie Adriaanse, Michael Rhodes, Derick Minnie, Rory Kockott, Elton Jantjies, Jaco Taute.

Reds: Mike Harris, Rod Davies, Digby Ioane, Anthony Faingaa, Luke Morahan,

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