Lions vs Chiefs Super Rugby Preview

This match last year in Johannesburg saw one hundred and thirty seven points scored (72-65) between the teams in 84 minutes and is still a record score for a Super Rugby match.

No less than 18 tries were scored when these sides met during round two’s action in the 2010 Super 14 with each franchise running in nine tries on that historic evening.

Travelling all the way from New Zealand to South Africa is a daunting task for any team, but the Chiefs have struggled in this department, losing six out of their last 10 games at the start of a Super Rugby tour to the Republic.

The Lions, who have twice beaten the Chiefs in corresponding fi xtures over the years, will be looking to take advantage of this scenario when they host the team from Waikato at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.

While the Chiefs have won their previous two “tourstarters” in South Africa – in 2009 against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein (28-10) and in 2010 against the Sharks in Durban (19-18) – they lost six on the trot before that.

Two of these defeats came at the hands (or rather claws) of the team based in Johannesburg. In 2008, the Lions beat the Chiefs by 33-27 and in 2004 the Cats (then consisting of the Lions, Cheetahs, Griffons and Griquas) won 23-21 against the team from Waikato.

Their other four defeats in tour openers in South Africa came against the Stormers in 2003 (24-23) and 2007 (21- 16); the Bulls in 2005 (25-26), and the Sharks in 2006 (30-21).

Strictly speaking, their trip to Pretoria for the Super 14 final in 2009 was not a tour opener, but it was after a long flight from New Zealand and the Chiefs lost that game by a record margin of 61-17.

The Lions don’t have a particularly good record against the Chiefs as they have played 13 and won just 4 of those. All of those victories have come at Ellis/Coca Cola Park.

On average the Lions score 29 points against the Chiefs who score 33 points against the Lions. In Johannesburg the Lions perform better and their average score increases to 36 points to 30.

The Lions are now on a five match losing streak. That means that the Lions have won 1 match out of their last 23 Super Rugby matches. The Chiefs might be struggling for confidence but in comparison to the Lions their three match losing streak looks like a walk in the park.

The Bookies have given the Lions a four point start with an offer of Bet 10 and Get 20. This match could go either way. If it had come earlier in the season when the Lions confidence was higher we would have backed the Lions but much of that confidence and hunger has faded. The Chiefs should win this by 6.

Last five results
19 Feb 2010 Lions v Chiefs 65-72 Johannesburg
04 Apr 2009 Lions v Chiefs 29-36 Hamilton
10 May 2008 Lions v Chiefs 33-27 Johannesburg
16 Mar 2007 Lions v Chiefs 7-34 Hamilton
17 Feb 2006 Lions v Chiefs 21-16 Johannesburg

Lions overall record against the Chiefs
Played 13 , Wins 4 , Losses 9 , Draws 0

Match Officials
Marius Jonker (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee (South Africa)


Lions:Michael Killian, Lionel Mapoe, Waylon Murray, Doppies la Grange (capt.), Deon van Rensburg, Burton Francis, Jano Vermaak, Warren Whiteley, Michael Rhodes, Cobus Grobbelaar, Franco van der Merwe, Wikus van Heerden, Patric Cilliers, Martin Bezuidenhout, JC Janse van Rensburg.

Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Kevin Buys, David de Villiers, Josh Strauss, Rory Kockott, Elton Jantjies, Jaco Taute

Chiefs :1. Toby S

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