State of the Franchise: Lions

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In part one of our series on the state of South African Super Rugby sides at the unprecedented suspension of the tournament after the seventh round due to the global coronavirus pandemic, Quintin van Jaarsveld takes an in-depth look at the Lions.

The Lions are a team in turmoil. They’ve gone from powerhouse – having reached three consecutive finals from 2016 to 2018 – to propping up the South African Conference and languishing in 13th place overall on a mere five points, with just a solitary win from six outings. They’re a franchise freefalling without a parachute…one up you-know-what creek without a paddle.

It’s sad to see the Lions in such a sorry state, especially after their fairy-tale resurgence upon returning to Super Rugby in 2014 – an impassioned response to having been booted out of the tournament to make way for the Southern Kings after the 2012 season. They’ve been South Africa’s traditional ‘underdog’ franchise, who despite their lack of depth and superstars, managed to thrive in the toughest tournament of its kind in recent years.

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