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Lions v Blues Super Rugby Preview

Former Blues back Hadleigh Parkes is tackled by Lions defender Derick Minnie

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Article Published: Thursday 13 March 2014|

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The Lions can expect their defence to be heavily tested this weekend when they host the Blues at Ellis Park for the first time since 2011.

The Blues game is all about attack and they have made the most clean line-breaks thus far this season, with 22.

With a tackle success rate of 88%, the Lions’ defence is pretty solid, but they will have to improve their discipline otherwise they could find themselves on the back foot for most of the time.

Worryingly for the hosts, no team has conceded more than the Lions' 41 penalties this season, and they also lead the stakes in terms of yellow cards, with three.

The Lions have played the Blues 15 times in Super Rugby since 1998 and the Lions have won three times and lost 12 times.

That gives the Lions a record of winning just 20% of their matches at all venues against the Blues from Auckland.

The average score when the Lions play the Blues across all venues is : Lions 19 Blues 34.

This weekend the match will be played in Johannesburg and the Lions have the benefit of home advantage and the altitude. The altitude factor will not be as effective as it could be for the Lions as the Blues played the Bulls last week and have become a little more acclimatized.

The Lions have played the Blues 8 times in Johannesburg and they have won twice and lost six times. That gives the Lions a slightly improved record of winning 25% of their matches against the Blues at home.

The average score however when the Lions play the Blues in Johannesburg is : Lions 25 Blues 39 - The Blues on average score more when they are in Johannesburg.

The Blues have won their last three matches in Johannesburg so the Lions have not won at home against the Blues since 2006.

In terms of selection the Lions have reinstated Marnitz Boshoff at No.10 with Elton Jantjies on the replacements bench. Courtnall Skosan, JW Jonker and Coenie van Wyk all come into the starting line up.

In the forwards, Robbie Coetzee returns to the starting line-up and Willie Britz will start at flank. As a result, both Willie Wepener and Warwick Tecklenburg will provide cover off the replacements bench.

The Highlight of the Blues team is Benji Marshall earning his first start in the team and will be playing at fullback. Pita Ahki is starts at second five-eighths in place of Jackson Willison who moves to the bench, while Chris Noakes replaces Simon Hickey at first five-eighths.

In the forwards Steven Luatua moves to the back of the scrum to replace Peter Saili with Brendon O'Connor getting his first start of the season at blindside flanker.

The Lions have played four matches so far this season and although they made a fantastic start they have lost their last two matches and much of their early momentum has been lost. Being back at home would normally be an opportunity to restart their campaign but they are up against a team that plays a game that the Lions have struggled with for 16 years.

The Bookies have given the Lions a 5 point start for this Match - with an offer of a FREE $150 BET. The Blues head into this match with confidence given their track record in Johannesburg. The Lions are still finding their combinations are a little unsettled. The Blues should win by 6.

This Match will be shown on TV in NZ, Aus, SA and in the UK on Sky Sports 2/HD.

Average score: Lions 19 Blues 34

Last five results
11 May 2012 Lions v Blues 3-25 Auckland
04 Mar 2011 Lions v Blues 32-41 Johannesburg
08 May 2010 Lions v Blues 14-56 Johannesburg
10 Apr 2009 Lions v Blues 12-36 Auckland
23 Feb 2008 Lions v Blues 10-55 Johannesburg

Lions overall record against the Blues
Played 15,Wins 3 ,Losses 12 ,Draws 0

Match No.28 :Lions v Blues
Date : Saturday 15 March
Venue : Ellis Park
Kick Off local: 15:00
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Ref 1:Christie du Preez
Assistant Ref 2:Francois de Bruin
TMO : Johan Greeff

Teams

Lions

15. Coenie van Wyk,14. JW Jonker ,13. Deon van Rensburg ,12. Stefan Watermeyer,11. Courtnall Skosan,10. Marnitz Boshoff,9. Faf de Klerk,8. Warren Whiteley (c),7. Willie Britz,6. Jaco Kriel,5. Franco van der Merwe,4. Franco Mostert,3. Julian Redelinghuys,2. Robbie Coetzee,1. Schalk van der Merwe

Replacements : 16. Willie Wepener,17. Corne Fourie,18. Ruan Dreyer,19. MB Lusaseni ,20. Warwick Tecklenburg,21. Ross Cronje,22. Elton Jantjies,23. Ruan Combrinck

Blues

15. Benji Marshall,14. Frank Halai,13. George Moala,12. Pita Ahki,11. Charles Piutau,10. Chris Noakes,9. Piri Weepu,8. Steven Luatua,7. Luke Braid,6. Brendon O'Connor,5. Tom Donnelly,4.Patrick Tuipulotu,3. Charlie Faumuina,2. James Parsons,1. Tony Woodcock

Reserves,16. Tom McCartney,17. Sam Prattley,18, Angus Ta'avao,19. Liaki Moli,20. Jordan Manihera,21. Bryn Hall,22. Simon Hickey,23. Jackson Willison

 
 
 
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