Lions are already the pride of SA
SItaly. OUTH African rugby was at a possible all- time low last year when the national team suffered a disheartening run of defeats, including the horror of a first-time loss to This year morale has been restored thanks to the Lions who have not only won through to today’s Super Rugby final in Johannesburg against New Zealand’s finest, the Crusaders, but also provided the backbone for the Springbok whitewash of the touring French in June. The resurrection of the Lions from the dead – four years ago they were relegated from Super Rugby into the rugby wilderness – is a salutary lesson for South Africans in so many spheres of our lives. Teamwork, strong leadership, a positive attitude and enjoyment in collaborating towards a greater good are hallmarks of the metamorphosis of the Lions. They are 80 minutes away from becoming the champions of the Southern Hemisphere and argu- ably the best team in world rugby. And all done with a smile on their faces as they prove what can be done when everybody pulls in the same direction The Lions are an incredible story of fellowship built around a powerful, inspiring coach in Johan Ackermann, who departs the Lions this evening to take up a position at an English club. The Lions players will be straining every sinew to reward their coach with the Super Rugby title. Former Springbok Ackermann, a colossal figure literally and metaphorically, deserves nothing less. Whatever the result at the final whistle this evening, these Lions are already the pride of South Africa. The Lions have shown that professional rugby is not all about money – it remains a team sport where can achieve the seem- ingly impossible. Four years ago the Lions were in the rugby equivalent of the gutter. This evening they could be crowned Super Rugby champions. The Lions story is already a remarkable one. Let’s hope the final chapter is a fitting one.