Can The Struggling Lions Recover?
- Published: 29 Apr 2019
The Lions are struggling in 2019 after playing in three consecutive Super Rugby finals. Pundits have speculated not only abut the reasons for this but also about their chances of ever getting back to the top os the South African heap.
The Lions’ Super Rugby season have been a roller coaster ride with deep peaks and valleys, recording some good wins but also some heavy losses.
The season for the Lions was always going to be a difficult one and a difficult one to predict after losing a number of key players overseas and suffering injuries to some more key players. The loss of players like Ruan Dreyer, Jacques van Rooyen, Franco Mostert and Rohan Janse van Rensburg to UK clubs and then losing key players like Lourens Erasmus, Warren Whiteley and Dylan Smith to injury meant that fringe players and juniors would have to make a step up in 2019.
In 2018 there were already signs that the Lions will have to start rebuilding in 2019, with a number of senior players seemingly having plateaued out and the competition winning juniors coming through, looking for opportunities.
An this is what is happening.
During the first five rounds of Super Rugby coach Swys de Bruin had already blooded 12 rookies as well as a number of new recruits, at times fielding up to eight or nine new players in the match 23.
2019 has been a year of experimentation so far with not only new players coming into the team but with the coaches also trying new combinations in most of the positions. In 10 games the Lions have fielded:
Front row: 4 combinations
Second row: 5 combinations
Back row: 9 combinations
Halfbacks: 4 combinations
Midfield: 6 combinations
Back three: 9 combinations
To add to the Lions problems they lost both their defence coach and their head coach in recent weeks.
The Lions have been an unsettled team this season as they try to rebuild for next season.