The Lions (formerly known as the Cats) were a South African Rugby Union team competing in the Super Rugby competition. They are based in Johannesburg, and have always been centred around the Golden Lions (Johannesburg) union, drawing players from that union since the inception of the competition as Super 12 in 1996. Currently, they also draw players from the Leopards (North West Province) and Pumas (Mpumalanga Province) unions.
Up until 2005, the Lions drew from the unions based in Free State Province the Free State Cheetahs (Bloemfontein) and Griffons (Welkom) and the Griquas (Northern Cape Province), but that arrangement ended when the Central Cheetahs became South Africa's new Super 14 franchise in 2006.
The Cheetahs draw their players from Free State, Griffons and Griquas, while the Leopards and Pumas were moved from the franchise area of the Bulls to that of the Lions. Prior to 1998, the Lions competed in the then-Super 12 as Transvaal.
They did not achieve great success in the Super 12 competition, finishing on the bottom of the table three times, with their best performances being in 2000 and 2001, when they reached the semi-finals. As you can see from the table of results below their best years came when they were coached by Laurie Mains.
The Lions changed their name to the Lions from the Cats for the 2007 season.
In 2010 the Lions became the most unsucessful Super Rugby team when they became the first team to have more than 500 points scored against them in a season.
The Lions were the lowest placed South African team in 2012 and due to their position they were replaced for one season by the Southern Kings who are a development team from the Eastern Cape. The Southern Kings will play the Lions in 2013 in a match outside of Super Rugby for the right to play in the 2014 season.
Super 15 postions
2012 .. 15th
2011 .. 14th
Super 14 positions
2010 .. 14th
2009 .. 12th
2008 .. 14th
2007 .. 12th
2006 .. 13th
Super 12 positions
2005 .. 11th
2004 .. 12th
2003 .. 12th
2002 .. 11th
2001 .. 3rd .. (lost semi-final to Sharks)
2000 .. 4th .. (lost semi-final to ACT Brumbies)
1999 .. 11th
1998 .. 12th
1997 .. 5th
1996 .. 10th