war1

Desperate Lions talking big


Written by Warren Smith (war1)

Posted in :Lions, Original Content on 6 Nov 2010 at 11:58
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It appears the Lions new shareholders, buoyed by the signing of Lionel Mapoe, have declared that money will not be an issue when acquiring new players for the now suddenly cash flush Johannesburg union.

The Lions are claiming that the Mapoe signing is a statement of intent for the Joburgers. This after John Smit, Ryan Kankowski and JP Pietersen all were rumoured to be on the shopping list of the Lions and all decided to stay with the Sharks. With Lions director of rugby Dick Muir having lots of sway with KZN-based rugby players, the Lions have seen Durban as a perfect place to find players to boost their squad. Up to now the guys who have gone to the Lions were fringe players who were not getting enough game time and moved up North to boost their chances of playing with the Pat Cilliers and Michael Rhodes joining Waylon Murray, Warren Whitely and Johan Snyman at the Lions.

In their wisdom, the Lions new shareholders have reportedly tried to lure Beast Mtawarira, who recently signed a 3 year contract with the Sharks, to the Lions although according to Beeld, Mtawarira was happy in Durban and did not want to move. Firstly the bold Lions, having signed Cilliers then showed interest in the guy whom he was benching behind at the Sharks. How would this make Cilliers feel? How’s that for unsettling a player you have just signed? I have it on quite good authority that the reason why players like Mostert, Alberts and Ludik wanted to leave the Lions was because they were treated so badly by their union. It might be a better option for the Lions to clean up their own house first before trying to populate that house with expensive furniture. It is probably quite plausible that all Smit, Kanko and JPP needed to do to make up their mind about the Lions was talk to one of Mostert, Alberts and Ludik and ask them how they were treated in Johannesburg to quickly make their mind up not to make the move and turn down the big money.

The Sharks were crowned Currie Cup champions and a big role in that victory was the team spirit within the squad. While the Lions have probably succeeded in gettting their fans excited with their bold claims, I can imagine there are some good players in the Lions set up shifting uncomfortably in their seats as the new shareholders roll out a list of names of players whom they want to sign. According to the Beeld the Lions will probably have to look overseas for new recruits in their desperate PR campaign as most of the top South African-based players already had contracts.

Forgive me if I think that this approach is not the right way to go about re-building a once proud union. It’s all well and good whipping your fans into a frenzy by signing big name players but in order to build a team, the foundations need to be solid. That means setting up a proper academy and bringing young players through from Craven Week through the age group teams and into the senior team. If we look at the Lions improved Currie Cup performance this year it was the younger players who brought the most to the team. Players like Elton Jantjies and Jaco Taute were brought through and did well at Currie Cup level. The Lions have lost countless quality young players by not recognising the talent that they had at their disposal and losing them to other unions. This will probably continue if the Lions continually look at signing any player who might lift their public relations profile. Heyneke Meyer rebuilt the Bulls at the beginning of the last decade not by desperately looking to buy any big name player who is remotely available but rather by building strong junior foundations and building a strong team spirit around the whole union. Surely this is a better way of going about it for the Lions?



51 Comments

  • Nice work Warlock.. I see the Lions boss Robert Gumede has also had his business ethics tarnished in the media this week.

    What perplexes me is that both Robert and Ikor were on record saying they will leave the rugby things to the rugby people but they were the ones who reportedly met with The Poo in his flat in Durbs? Walk the talk lads or don’t say it at all.

  • Comment 1, posted at 06.11.10 12:03:37 by Sportbilly Reply
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  • @Sportbilly (Comment 1) : Warlock, :lol:

  • Comment 2, posted at 06.11.10 12:09:02 by war1 Reply
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  • Nice article. I was also wonder about the unscrupulous nature of the way the Lions have been acting. It seems to be inline with the new boss’ business ethics…

    I just hope that they can build the union back up to what it used to be in the 90′s in a decent honest fashion.

  • Comment 3, posted at 06.11.10 12:14:29 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 3) : IMHO they should have hired Heyneke Meyer instead of Muir.

  • Comment 4, posted at 06.11.10 12:16:50 by war1 Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 4) : Isn’t Meyer contracted to the Bulls.

    I am not the biggest Muir fan, he did good when he first came to the Sharks but then again but he was replacing Putt so even a talking sheep would have been an improvement ;-)

    As you mentioned in the article, Meyer has the vision to build rather than opting for the quick fix that doesn’t really hold too many long term benefits.

  • Comment 5, posted at 06.11.10 12:24:02 by lostfish Reply
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  • @lostfish (Comment 5) : Yes he is, that’s why I said “should have”. Muir and Meyer were the two big contenders for the job this time last year and the Lions went for Muir because Meyer wanted to bring a lot more of his own people in with him.

  • Comment 6, posted at 06.11.10 12:28:07 by war1 Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 6) : I wasn’t up to speed with that part of it. I didn’t realise Meyer was in contention. Oh well, their loss.

  • Comment 7, posted at 06.11.10 12:33:22 by lostfish Reply
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  • Well Written Warlock!!

  • Comment 8, posted at 06.11.10 12:58:33 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 2) : Its kinda got a ring to it I see Richfergie is catching on too..

  • Comment 9, posted at 06.11.10 13:37:37 by Sportbilly Reply

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  • Naais won bru.

    Good luck to the Lions, but you are correct – they need to fix their house too.

    Signing a few fringe players can be a real stroke of genius, but it doesn’t mean you have turned the corner.

    The failure to sign Smit, JPP, Kanko and Beast speaks volumes of the Sharks team spirit.

    I know this won’t be a popular suggestion, but I would still like us to one day sign a more mature Fransie Steyn to play a 12 along Lindeque: let’s save our signing fees till then.

  • Comment 10, posted at 06.11.10 13:51:49 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Sportbilly (Comment 9) :

    Where did you see that? hehe

  • Comment 11, posted at 06.11.10 14:30:54 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • The Lions suck. Pass it on!

  • Comment 12, posted at 06.11.10 15:50:33 by wpw Reply
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  • Great one thanks but the snoils are going now where and i think because they couldn’t get the other sharks they went for the one we wanted but they can hv him and in the old run we will get him back how long was the Contract he signed nt for long he’ll want to come back and then to late we will c our own coming through and that is where the Sharks in the old end ,end up top and with great spirit :mrgreen:

  • Comment 13, posted at 06.11.10 17:21:53 by chaz Reply

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  • @wpw (Comment 12) : ok, weepee sucks, who’s next?

  • Comment 14, posted at 06.11.10 18:04:34 by Greg Reply

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  • @Greg (Comment 14) :

    It’s ALWAYS the Lions.

  • Comment 15, posted at 06.11.10 18:07:11 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 15) : oh, I thought we were passing it on?

  • Comment 16, posted at 06.11.10 18:25:46 by Greg Reply

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  • @Greg (Comment 16) :
    Listen, if you guys knew anything about passing maybe you woulda made the semis. :twisted: :mrgreen:

  • Comment 17, posted at 06.11.10 18:37:50 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Greg (Comment 16) :

    You guys have a looooooooooooooooooooooong way to go before you can pass that tag on.

  • Comment 18, posted at 06.11.10 18:39:35 by KSA Shark © Reply

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  • :mrgreen:

  • Comment 19, posted at 06.11.10 19:08:11 by wpw Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 17) : we know all about passing, we passed you McCleod, Kockot, Deysel……

  • Comment 20, posted at 06.11.10 19:47:28 by Greg Reply

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  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 18) : Will get there, though!

  • Comment 21, posted at 06.11.10 19:49:05 by Greg Reply

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  • Is this post for real? The Sharks passing judgement on the Lions when it comes to shopping for talent? Oh dear chaps me thinks that wonderful Currie Cup victory has turned some of your brains to mush!

  • Comment 22, posted at 06.11.10 22:30:42 by Rugby Guru Reply

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  • War 1 Only just read you post, and have to disagree with you. The lions have actually gone about it (in my opinion) quite correctly. They have acquired a coach whose work ethic is very good, as he showed in the Currie Cup, but like all good teams you need a good squad with a mix of experienced and talented youngsters, now I think we all agree that there is a dearth of talent at the Lions, so what they are doing, is getting a whole lot of talented players both youngsters as well as experienced players. So maybe you can tell me what it is that the Lions are doing that is wrong, apart from the way that they approached Mapoe, which was a little underhand, but not any more so than the Sharks have acted in the past, but we have already debated that in another post so let’s not go back to that. My Point is, How Do you propose the Lions should be getting their house in order, apart from firing that twit Reyneke. They have the structures in place and now they are getting talented players and building a squad that Mitchell will be able to utilize in the S15, Sounds pretty sound to me. In answer to you Pat Cilliers question probably much the same as he did at the Sharks, but rugby is a team game and more to the point a squad is required especially in S15 and if they had acquired the beast that would have been the reason, not to undermine him, look at it rationally not as a one eyed shark supporter, bitter about the underhanded acquisition of Mapoe.

  • Comment 23, posted at 07.11.10 10:27:21 by Whindy Reply
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  • Something must be going right as there are alot more posts and interest in the Lions these days ..

    I’m under no illusions that the Lions are going to buy a bunch of class players and go and win everygame ..Even the mighty Chelsea had to wait a season or 2 before silverware came their way.

    Mitchell is certainly the right coach to get the team to gel and he has shown he has an eye for talent having entrusted Jantjies this season.

    There is a long way to go before the Union is operating as it should. The Bulls and Sharks have had their house in order for sometime hence the sucess.

    Hey everybody needs to start somewhere ..

    This is also not the first time the Union has been bailed out with big investment and we know how that turned out ..

  • Comment 24, posted at 07.11.10 12:07:54 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

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  • @Whindy (Comment 23) :

    @CoffeeShopBok;-) (Comment 24) :
    I think any union needs to shop for players in positions they don’t have quality.

    But seriously, how can anyone say the Lions have a dearth of players? They produce good players in Joburg, and they acquired many talented juniors as well: I’m with War1 that if the focus is on acquisition of new players, as opposed to identifying and retaining existing Lions talent, then they are going about it wrong.

    Do this fun exercise: make up a team of ex-Lions playing for other unions today, and gauge just what has been lost from other your noses – their is no talent shortage in Joburg!

  • Comment 25, posted at 07.11.10 12:21:16 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @Big Fish (Comment 25) :

    Absolutly agree here , I just hope we concentrate alot more on retaining and developing the talent coming through.For starters make sure they happy and have a sound contract..

    Jantjies,Taute comes to mind even Killian.

    It depresses me too much to make that team .. ;-)

  • Comment 26, posted at 07.11.10 12:26:30 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

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  • What it comes down to is the Lions need to create an environment that their players are comfortable in, and they have made steps in that directioon with Mitchell as coach for example but chasing after stars when they have ample talent in that position would only unsettle those players. For me, Pat Cilliers is an example of a very exciting prospect for the Lions but they still wanted to go after Beast which, if they had pulled it off, would have left Cilliers benching behind Beast again which was probably a big reason why he left the Sharks in the first place, I can’t imagine Cilliers was too impressed with that.

  • Comment 27, posted at 07.11.10 13:51:26 by war1 Reply
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  • The Lions need to sort out their junior structures as well and we just need to look at the performances of the Lions under 19 and 21 teams to see that they need to do something about that. The Bulls, Sharks and WP are the 3 strongest age group provinces, they all have strong academy structures and this is reflected in the senior squads as well.

  • Comment 28, posted at 07.11.10 13:54:13 by war1 Reply
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  • @CoffeeShopBok;-) (Comment 26) : I believe if a player is happy you don’t have to worry too much about whether his contract is sound or not. If he doesn’t want to leave, he won’t try and find a way out.

  • Comment 29, posted at 07.11.10 13:55:34 by war1 Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 29) :

    Just look at the players who have all signed with the Sharks again.. they must be happy..

  • Comment 30, posted at 07.11.10 13:57:31 by Richard Ferguson Reply
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  • @Richard Ferguson (Comment 30) : Yes, and JPP turned down more money for a fact and the other guys probably had some good offers as well. The happiness within the squad played a huge role in winning the the last two Currie cups and is also a big part of the Bulls recent success as well.

  • Comment 31, posted at 07.11.10 14:01:25 by war1 Reply
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  • @war1 (Comment 29) :

    Its always been a problem ..lets face it one would rather play rugby at a happy Union on the coast ..The Bulls pulled it off and now we must create a enviroment that will keep players in Jo’burg…

  • Comment 32, posted at 07.11.10 14:08:32 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

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  • @Big Fish (Comment 25) : Big Fish I am not disagreeing on that point, what I am saying is that the Lions are putting these things in place and have started the process, The Loffie debacle was the loss of an entire team imagine what a team we would have had, had we not lost those guys what I am saying is that things are on the go and to many people are taking the Mapoe thing personally. I have no doubt that the Mapoe thing was underhand and as a Lions fan of many years it broke my heart to see a team of potential, under Loffie, just disappear. But Loffie was as guilty in that whole process as anybody else. The fitness was a joke, but nobody was keeping an eye on him, so Management were guilty of no management. Something that has been prevalent and I think unfortunately may still be there in my mate Reynike, how can he still be there?? I believe John Mitchell has already identified a bunch of youngsters in the team that played in the Curry Cup and who proved what they are capable of, but you need experience and that is the one thing that is lacking in that team they have Franco, Vermaak and Doppies. That is not enough for the S15, so they have cash and are reinforcing the team. I am still not totally sold on the new backers, but history will tell the tale. When I said dearth I was talking experienced players as you said do the exercise, heartbreaking for any lions fan!!

  • Comment 33, posted at 07.11.10 14:32:43 by Whindy Reply
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  • Lions in talks with potential new lions captain…and the players name is…..Andries Bekker…he will get dubble his salary at the lions and will lead the Pack!!!!

    This is not the only bok according to roomers in province, a couple of province youngsters on the shopping list like danie poolman…will see what pans out in the next month…

  • Comment 34, posted at 07.11.10 17:54:15 by BoerSeun Reply

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  • @BoerSeun (Comment 34) :
    Wow! That’s ballsy, and would be a coup of note! Don’t see Bekker leaving though – his old man is on the WP board after all.

    @Whindy (Comment 33) :
    You know, Lions were my second team for a long time. Its only recently that some annoying fans have started to turn me a bit.

    So believe me, I have long mourned the bleeding of talent from the union over the years.
    Loffie is a good case in point: the admin fiddled while their team burnt. Mind you, even the Lions fans kept insisting that he was good – despite the kak his team kept dishing up.

    I reckon the Lions would do well to lure back a few battered warhorses from Europe just before they retire, and use them to school the youngsters.

    Could do a lot worse than following Dick’s example at the Sharks – keep a few balies like AJ Venter and van den Bergh, and look amongst the clubs for young talent.

  • Comment 35, posted at 07.11.10 18:43:57 by Big Fish Reply
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  • @BoerSeun (Comment 34) : Wasn’t John Smit going to captain them for like 4 mil a year or something? I’d be surprised if Bekker leaves. But then again money talks. Double my pay and I’ll be listening too. :mrgreen:

  • Comment 36, posted at 07.11.10 18:47:43 by McLovin Reply

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  • Bekker salary is in the area of 1.6 mil half that of habana burgar and fourie!!! And that was pritty much a slap in the face for burger…

  • Comment 37, posted at 07.11.10 19:34:30 by BoerSeun Reply

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  • Sorry for bekker!!!

  • Comment 38, posted at 07.11.10 19:35:12 by BoerSeun Reply

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  • I doubt Bekker would leave. WP have signed some world class players and were in two finals this year.
    The Lions on the other hand failed to win a single game during the S14 and failed to make the CC semi finals.
    Bekker won’t leave WP! :roll:

  • Comment 39, posted at 07.11.10 19:37:13 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 39) :
    Like McL said: doubling someone’s salary (and offering then captaincy) can be a big carrot.

    I do think it will be hard to move him though.

  • Comment 40, posted at 07.11.10 19:51:30 by Big Fish Reply
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  • Also maybe Mrs Bekker wants to get him away from some of the ‘distractions’ in Cape Town. :twisted:

  • Comment 41, posted at 07.11.10 20:27:45 by McLovin Reply

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  • @CoffeeShopBok;-) (Comment 24) : ok but one more thing do u really in ur heart think that the Lions will get next year right with all the signing and poaching :???: in the next 3 years ur coach will most likly go home and then what :?:
    And all the other teams Sharks, Bulls and well ok The Province at the last moment had to hv sth :roll:

    Its nt what or who u are buying 4 me it’s all about the team :cool: team work etc and if they get along and amoung other thinks who is going to get benched and who is going to be capped :roll:

    ;-)

  • Comment 42, posted at 07.11.10 21:21:50 by chaz Reply

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  • @chaz (Comment 42) :

    the sharks have the same problem dont they ? ‘who to cap and who not’. thats why guys like Cilliers , Rhodes , Bothma , Whatly , Murry left …

  • Comment 43, posted at 08.11.10 07:47:44 by Zibbie Reply
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  • @chaz (Comment 42) :

    Luckily Im not the coach ..I have full confidence in Mitchell :razz:

    Some of you are not giving any credit here ..Mitchell is no idiot and Im sure he knows that money alone can’t buy you success.

    Anyway I frankly don’t care what anyone thinks all I know is that things are different now and hopefully our days at the bottom of the log are over.

    @Big Fish (Comment 35) :

    That would be the route I would take , Big Joe would be first on the list for me.

  • Comment 44, posted at 08.11.10 08:18:45 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

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  • And Bekker can stay where he is thank you !

  • Comment 45, posted at 08.11.10 08:20:41 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

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  • @CoffeeShopBok;-) (Comment 44) :

    You don’t rate him?? :shock:

  • Comment 46, posted at 08.11.10 08:25:29 by wpw Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 46) :

    I do but not so much that we have to double his salary ..anyways I can’t see him at the Lions he has WP blood through and through and it wouldn’t work imo ..

  • Comment 47, posted at 08.11.10 08:33:06 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

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  • @CoffeeShopBok;-) (Comment 44) : I wouldn’t say no if he came to the lions. He is a hell of an athlete and will take Matfields place after the world cup. There is no way he will leave Capetown though!!

  • Comment 48, posted at 08.11.10 08:34:10 by Whindy Reply
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  • @wpw (Comment 46) :

    I see there is life in Torress afterall ..Chuffed you guys knocked the blues over!

  • Comment 49, posted at 08.11.10 08:35:32 by CoffeeShopBok;-) Reply

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  • @CoffeeShopBok;-) (Comment 48) :

    Thanks!! Torres IS a freakin LEGEND!! :cool:

  • Comment 50, posted at 08.11.10 09:12:28 by wpw Reply
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  • The Lions have had some good Captains in the last 5 years and how much did that help them.

    They shouldn’t be buying Captains, they should be buying players.

  • Comment 51, posted at 08.11.10 09:22:53 by KSA Shark © Reply

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