Axed Lions go 'international'

Wed, 10 Oct 2012 06:40
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The Lions will not be short on first class competition when they play in a Super Rugby promotion-relegation game after the conclusion of the 2013 season.

The Lions will not be short on first class competition when they play in a Super Rugby promotion-relegation game after the conclusion of the 2013 season.

Having been stripped of their status as a Super Rugby franchise, to make way for the Southern Kings, the Lions have set up a series of 'international' challenge matches that will ensure their players are not underdone.

Golden Lions Rugby Union CEO Ruben Moggee, in an exclusive and broad-ranging interview with this website, revealed that they will play against a range of teams - including one of the international teams facing the Springboks during the June internationals.

Scotland, Wales and Italy are schedule to travel to South African next year and one of them will face the Lions.

There will also be matches against other countries' national teams.

"Those matches will be in four groupings," Moggee told this website.

"The [first] one is against the existing South African Super Rugby franchises.

"They won't be all in January. There is a four-week break [in June] due to the B&I Lions tour of Australia ... the idea is to play two or three [of the SA Super Rugby franchises] at the start of the year and the others in the middle of the year."

Moggee also confirmed they will play teams in the United States.

"I can't comment too much on that at this stage," he said, adding: "There will be two games in the States.

"One of the teams that will play Tests against the Boks in June, will come out a week earlier and play against the Lions."

He also revealed that there will be a series of matches called the 'Lions Challenge'.

"The concept is that the Lions challenge eight or nine international, representative teams to come and play against the Lions," he told this website.

"The team that performs the best against the Lions wins the Challenge.

"That is the concept at the moment. Those will be once-off games all hosted in Johannesburg."

Moggee said it will be a combination of lower, tier two, countries and the more promising European club teams.

"There are some national teams, but also some club teams.

"We are looking at probably three different countries at this stage," the Lions boss added.

By Jan de Koning

* Keep an eye out for the rest of our exclusive interview with Ruben Moggee, when we talk about their relationship with the Kings and also the latest on the John Mitchell and Carlos Spencer saga.

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