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, 21 April 2018
Crusaders v Sunwolves 07h35 Christchurch
Reds v Chiefs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Bulls v Rebels 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Leinster v Scarlets 14h30 Dublin
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Durban
Zebre v Ospreys 16h45 Parma
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 17h05 Kingspan Stadium
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 06h05 Canberra
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 8 5 1 2 24
Rebels 6 4 0 2 20
Brumbies 7 3 0 4 14
Reds 7 3 0 4 13
Sunwolves 7 0 0 7 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 7 6 0 1 27
Crusaders 7 5 0 2 24
Highlanders 7 5 0 2 24
Chiefs 7 5 0 2 21
Blues 7 2 0 12
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 9 6 0 3 30
Bulls 7 3 0 4 14
Sharks 8 2 1 5 14
Stormers 8 3 0 5 13
Jaguares 6 2 0 4 8