Planet Rugby

Preview: Lions v Melbourne Rebels

03rd July 2014 09:17

Share:

Marnitz Boshoff Lions SR 2014

Marnitz Boshoff: Key man for the Lions

With two Springboks in their starting team, confidence in the Lions squad should be further boosted by the fact that they have never lost to the Melbourne Rebels.

The Lions head into their penultimate showdown of the season having claimed many big scalps in their backyard and should be fired-up to add another overseas opponent to a collection that includes the Reds and Blues.

Although their undefeated status against the Rebels only represent a single showdown between the sides, is undoubtedly a record Johan Ackermann's charges would like to extend as it also presents an opportunity to further highlight the outstanding form they have enjoyed at home.

The Lions are targeting a sixth triumph at Ellis Park this year in what has been a solid comeback season while the Rebels have only four wins to show with two testing highveld clashes - they face the Bulls in Pretoria next weekend - left for the season.

Tours of South Africa have been atrocious for the men from Melbourne who, the last time they visited, made the headlines for the turmoil inside their set-up and not what transpired on the field of play.

The last time they travelled to Africa they conceded 98 points in defeats to the Sharks and Cheetahs.

They were battling as their defensive structures at that time was reflective of a lack of trust that prevented any sort of continuity in the side.

The Rebels do, however, have a slight advantage this week as they have already been involved in a hit-out following the June international break.

But it remains to be seen whether that rust removal session against the Reds will compensate for the effects the long distance travel is likely to have on the side.

Failure to get out of the blocks flying could again put the Rebels in a situation where they spend most of their tour behind their own goal line, although there were some promising signs from their previous match which indicates that there has been tremendous growth.

In contrast, the Lions have a first-ever Super Rugby victory against the Bulls to show from their last outing, and although that happened more than a month ago, it might take another month for the effects of a splendid victory over their arch rivals subside.

In what is set-up to be a fitting end to a stellar career at the Lions, lock Franco van der Merwe was included in the run-on team ahead of Rudi Mathee while fellow veteran Deon van Rensburg received the nod at wing ahead of Cortnall Skoskan.

Ackermann said in the build-up to this contest that he would like nothing more for his men than to end the season on a positive note in order to leave a lasting memory of what they have accomplished in their first year back.

"If we don't do well in the last two games, the Super Rugby season will be remembered as not being too good. The opposite side of the coin is that if we win the games, we can look back on a good season with a few mistakes.

Form: The Lions were on fire prior to the June international break and will be desperate to retain the same intensity when they play in front of their home crowd. The Rebels played in fits and starts against the Reds last week and need a complete performance. Rugby history, with the Hurricanes winning 12 of those matches, the Chiefs 10, and one ending in a draw.

Previous result:

2012: Lions won 37-32 in Johannesburg

Prediction: The Lions will be playing for one of their most realiable stalwarts and have a fly-half who would like to further impress the national selectors. This could become rough for the Rebels. Lions to win it by nine points.

The teams:

Lions: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (capt), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen/Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Lionel Mapoe

Rebels: 15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Tamati Ellison, 12 Mitch Inman, 11. Tom English 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burges, 8 Scott Higginbotham (capt) 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Colby Fainga'a, 5 Luke Jones, 4 Hugh Pyle 3 Laurie Weeks 2 Shota Horie 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Cadeyrn Neville, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Jason Woodward, 23 Telusa Veainu.

Date: Friday, July 4
Venue: Ellis Park
Kick-off: 19:10 local, 18:10 BST
Referee: Jaco Peyper (SA)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Cobus Wessels (both SA)
TMO: Johan Greeff (SA)

By Michael Mentz

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton830
2Exeter828
3Bath828
4Saracens825
5Leicester Tigers821