SUPER RUGBY Preview : Lions vs Blues

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There should be plenty of thrilling action when the Lions host the Blues in their Super Rugby hit out in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Both sides enjoy the ball in hand approach so don’t be surprised if this encounter is a high scoring affair with plenty of tries scored.

The sides’ expansive playing styles have certainly paid off with the Lions (27.6) and Blues (27.1) averaging the most defenders beaten of all the sides in Super Rugby 2016.

Time wise, no side has enjoyed more possession than the Blues this season, with an average of 18mins 10sec per game.

The Lions enjoyed a bye last weekend, but are trying to get their campaign back on track after they were on the wrong end of a 50-17 result at the same venue against the Hurricanes two weeks ago.

The home side will be buoyed by the fact that they have won their last two matches against the Blues. Before those victories in Albany and Johannesburg, Johan Ackermann’s troops never won back-to-back games against the men from Auckland, losing seven of the eight prior to that.

The Lions have lost their last two home matches with that defeat against the Hurricanes preceded by a Round Six loss to the Crusaders. They have not lost more in a row on home soil since 2012 when they lost five consecutive matches.

The Blues have got their campaign back on track in recent weeks, after some mixed results earlier in the competition. They might be at the bottom of the standings in the New Zealand Conference, but they certainly haven’t disgraced themselves, winning five of their nine matches played so far.

The form of the teams from the land of the long white cloud has been so impressive that the 25 points which the Blues have amassed from their previous matches is just two less than the Lions, who are sitting at the top of the Africa Conference Two table.

Previous results:

2015: Lions won 13-10 in Albany
2014: Lions won 39-36 in Johannesburg
2012: Blues won 25-3 in Auckland
2011: Blues won 41-32 in Johannesburg
2010: Blues won 56-14 in Johannesburg
2009: Blues won 36-12 in Auckland
2008: Blues won 55-10 in Johannesburg
2007: Blues won 41-14 in Auckland

The teams:

Lions: 15 Jaco Van Der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements: 16 Armand Van Der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques Van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Faf De Klerk, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza

Blues: 15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 George Moala, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Hoani Matenga, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (c), 1 Sam Prattley
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Kara Pryor, 20 Joe Edwards, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Male Sau

Date: Saturday, May 14
Venue: Emirates Airlines Stadium, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19:15 local (17:15 GMT)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper, Pro Legoete
TMO: Shaun Veldsman


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