Clever relishes Lions visit

Sun, 24 Feb 2013 13:09
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It’s going to be great for our players

USA Eagles captain Todd Clever is looking forward to welcoming the Lions to Southern California for their clash against the North American All Stars at Cal State Fullerton in April.

Clever - who played for the Lions during 2009 and 2010 and became the first American to play in the Super Rugby competition - will lead the North American All Stars in this exciting fixture against the Johannesburg-based franchise.

He said the Lions’ visit will be a great opportunity for the North American All Stars, who will be boosted by several foreign international players, to measure themselves against a strong South African side.

“South Africa has a huge rugby tradition, and to be a part of the Lions was a privilege. As Americans we don’t get to play against top quality opposition all the time, so it’s going to be great for our players to take on the fully professional Lions,” said Clever.

The South African Rugby Union decided to relegate the bottom-placed South African Super Rugby team following the 2012 season, which saw the Lions being replaced by the Southern Kings.

The Lions originally faced a challenge in securing competitive fixtures ahead of their promotion/relegation clash, but have managed to secure matches against the other South African Super Rugby franchises, Samoa, several French clubs and now the North American All Stars. Earlier this season the Lions defeated Russia.

“Credit to the Lions for getting their brand out there in the overseas market. Their management has done a superb job in arranging these fixtures, and we’re extremely excited to have them come to North America,” expressed Clever.

The teams will collide on April 13 at California State University's Titan Stadium and a week later, on April 20, in Vancouver in a series named the Rugby Showdown.