Lions are pride of SA

Daily News - - VIEWS & ANALYSIS -

THE Lions si­lenced their doubters in the best pos­si­ble way by putting on a su­perla­tive sec­ond-half dis­play to beat the highly fan­cied Hur­ri­canes and set up a home Su­per Rugby fi­nal.

Af­ter go­ing into the break 10-22 down, it looked like last year’s cham­pi­ons were coast­ing to vic­tory, but the Lions roared back to score 32 points to seven in the sec­ond half for an em­phatic 44-29 win.

Af­ter sev­eral years in the dol­drums, which saw the Jo­han­nes­burg-based fran­chise suf­fer the ig­nominy of be­ing rel­e­gated, the Lions built up a squad to be reck­oned with and are now on the brink of Su­per Rugby his­tory.

Af­ter fin­ish­ing last in the 2012 Su­per Rugby sea­son, the Lions were re­placed by the Kings. Jo­han Ack­er­mann was ap­pointed head coach and in 2013 the re­build­ing phase be­gan. In 2015, they won the Cur­rie Cup and the fol­low­ing year lost in the Su­per Rugby fi­nal to the Hur­ri­canes in Welling­ton.

On Sat­ur­day, El­lis Park is set for prob­a­bly its big­gest rugby match since the 1995 World Cup fi­nal. The match will be the fi­nal one in charge for coach Ack­er­mann be­fore he heads off to take up the reins at Glouces­ter. A fairy tale win over seven-time cham­pi­ons Cru­saders would be a fit­ting farewell for the man who turned Lions rugby around.

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