Lions no wooden spoon contenders

Tue, 18 Mar 2014 08:19
Large richard graham

Reds coach Richard Graham says the Lions bear no resemblance to the perennial wooden spoon contenders the team was before their hiatus.

Reds coach Richard Graham says the new breed of Lions bear no resemblance to the perennial wooden spoon contenders the team was before their hiatus in 2013.
 
The Lions are sitting fourth on the Super Rugby standings, having won three of their five matches so far this season and defeated the Blues 39-36 last weekend - their first victory over the side from Auckland since 2006. 
 
Graham is certainly not underestimating the challenge his team will face on Saturday.
 
He said that his side had travelled to Johannesburg early to get as much preparation at altitude as possible before the game against the revitalised Lions, who he feels are nothing like the franchise which was dumped from the competition last year.
 
"The 2014 Lions side is unrecognisable to the side from 2012," Graham told AAP.
 
"They've made a raft of changes in their squad having being relegated last year. [They] have come back with a young group, full of energy and playing a good brand of rugby.
 
"You've got a young group that doesn't bear the scars of their previous history."
 
Graham has also been impressed by in-form Lions flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff, and knows his team will have to improve their discipline (after they conceded seven penalty goals in their 20-35 loss to the Sharks last week) with the threat of Boshoff's boot looking to punish them.
 
"You've got a 10 at the moment, whilst he's only four games into his Super Rugby career, [and] he's full of confidence and kicking goals from anywhere, - from 60 metres out," Graham remarked.  
 
The weary Reds, who shed over 60kg of combined body weight in the humid conditions of Durban in their loss to the Sharks last weekend, will have to adjust quickly to the altitude and unusually rainy conditions in Johannesburg for the clash with the Lions.
 
Reds flank Eddie Quirk echoed his coach's sentiments and said making the most of limited opportunities to prepare for conditions will be crucial.
 
"The altitude's probably the main thing training-wise that you have to adapt to and it's just a different place.
 
"The majority of the South African teams are big and physical. 
 
That's exactly what we expected from the Sharks and they gave us that. We've got to take the same attributes into this week against the Lions.
 
"Nothing really changes except we've probably got to perform better," Quirk added. 
There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 29 July 2017
Crusaders v Chiefs 07h35 Christchurch
Golden Lions v Griquas 10h00 Johannesburg
Lions v Hurricanes 12h30 Ellis Park
Sharks v Pumas 15h00 Durban
Sun, 30 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Western Province 12h30 Bloemfontein
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 July 2017
Pumas v Golden Lions 43 | 36
Sat, 22 July 2017
Griquas v Blue Bulls 45 | 51
Stormers v Chiefs 11 | 17
Lions v Sharks 23 | 21
Crusaders v Highlanders 17 | 0
Fri, 21 July 2017
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 47 | 12
Brumbies v Hurricanes 16 | 35
Sat, 15 July 2017
Sharks v Lions 10 | 27
Bulls v Stormers 33 | 41
Force v Waratahs 40 | 11
Hurricanes v Crusaders 31 | 22
Chiefs v Brumbies 28 | 10
Sunwolves v Blues 43 | 21
Fri, 14 July 2017
Kings v Cheetahs 20 | 21
Rebels v Jaguares 29 | 32
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28