Screw Lions, give us Kings

2012-05-02 13:00

David Moseley

Jake White was obviously taking the piss over the weekend when he told reporters that dropping the Lions out of the Super Rugby tournament would be a "tragedy".

Jake, pal, I’ve got news for you. Super Rugby itself is already a tragedy, with a good dollop of farce in the Australian conference, and a sprinkling of comedy on show whenever the Lions try to tackle or the Stormers attempt a backline move that doesn’t involve swinging the ball aimlessly wide.

The real tragedy, Jake, is that the powers-that-be, if one can even call them "powers", have let the once great tournament dilute into nothing more than a weekend of cloned 120kg meatheads barging into each other. If I wanted to see that on a regular basis, I’d simply go to the nearest farm and watch the cows wander around. At least then there’d be fewer reset scrums.

But the Lions. They’re rubbish. They’ve always been rubbish. Apart from two seasons when Laurie Mains produced miracles like getting them to the semi-finals and feeding an entire stadium by pulling an endless supply of two meter-long hake out of his fish tank, the Lions have underperformed to point of “tragedy”. Losing 13 games in a season? Come on. How can you possibly defend that?

As it stands, they’ve lost eight from nine this season. If they win again in 2012 it’s because the team will have rocked up at a junior school rugby festival, and taken part just to make themselves feel better. But even then I wouldn’t count on them finishing the tournament unbeaten.

Excuses, excuses

And don’t come with excuses about injuries, how sad the players are that they have to live in Joburg or how they may be feeling uncertain because the Kings look guaranteed to take the Lions place in 2013. Bollocks. Every sports hack is so up in arms about how unfair it is that the Kings may (will?) replace the Lions that they fail to see the obvious: the Lions don’t deserve Super Rugby (whatever that’s supposed to mean, because the tournament is far from super).

Jake reckons that a union with such a rich rugby history should be playing Super Rugby, “a franchise like the Lions has a lot of history”, are his words quoted in one story. Well, that’s just the thing Jake, the Lions Rugby Union has a lot of history, but the franchise only dates back to 1998. They have no more Super Rugby history than the Brumbies. There’s always been a distinction between the provincial teams and the Super Rugby teams in South Africa, so even attempting to play the history card is a fool’s game.

Don’t get me wrong. Whoever conceptualised the process of getting the Kings into Super Rugby should never work in South Africa again. The whole sorry debacle has once again made South African rugby a laughing stock in the southern hemisphere. In fact, whoever thought that we had the capability to provide five quality teams in the tournament was off their rocker. It’s blindingly obvious that five teams is one too many, and 15 in the tournament is a mockery. The final is in August for god’s sakes.

But more than anything, screw the Lions. They’ve had their chance and they’ve fucked it up. Give the Kings a chance. They can’t be any worse. And the people of the Eastern Cape could do with something to laugh at on a Friday night.

I was in a bar in Port Elizabeth watching the Lions play the Brumbies on Friday night. Not one person was watching the game (probably because the match was an affront to their delicate senses). No one so much as glanced at the score. That’s no way to spend your Friday night, man. PE needs rugby. It needs the Kings. It needs something to do on the weekend. And for that reason, bring on the Kings. Also, the Lions are embarrassing because they should be better. The Kings? Well, if they’re only marginally better than what people expect (ie they beat the Rebels) it’s boom time for Eastern Cape rugby.

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  • Dustin - 2012-05-02 13:45

    I agree in part, yes the Lions are rubbish and they probably deserve to get booted, and yes five teams are too many. but its the way in which The Kings get to play in the competition that pisses me off and I'm sure many who spend their entire saturday watching Rugby. a Franchise made of teams that can't even break into Currie Cup its just not fair to our other teams to push the Kings forward. Promotion Relegation starts at Currie Cup/First Division level, allow them the chance to get into the Currie Cup automatic promotion for the First Divison winners and automatic relegation for the Currie Cup last place then let second last currie cup team have a promotion/relegation playoff with runners up of First Divison even the Franchise system we employ irks me... Top 4 finishers in Currie Cup qualify for Super Rugby... DONE, it works... The Varsity Cup employs this sort of system why not our top level...

      Jack - 2012-05-02 15:57

      I don't mind the kings entering the fray - just means an automatic 10 points to all the other SA teams (and 5 to the other teams playing them). It'll put massive pressure on the kiwi conference and teach them a lesson about always going along with the aussies...

      adrian.bruwer - 2012-05-02 19:21

      Both the Lions and Kings are rubbish. Neither belong in a Super Series. But you can add 2 or 3 Ozzie teams and the Blues. Or change the format to 3 Pools where only the Top Teams go through to playoffs. Or have a relegation system for 3 or 4 teams and bring back the Super 12. Currently I watch way less games than when it was Super 12. Gets boring.

  • deonk - 2012-05-02 13:46

    If the Lions lose Super Rugby they will lose their players and it will kill the provincial team... Not much though was put into your argument was it? Your article is a desperate attempt to get as much attention as Mark Keohane has with the same type of article.

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-02 13:54

      I know it's hard for lions supporters to accept, but you cannot keep underperforming for 20 years and still expect to keep the union in tact. this self-implosion/collapse, was inevitable. Goodbye lions, R.I.P.

      David - 2012-05-02 14:04

      So they 'deserve' to be in the competition because why? Please don't compare me to Keohane. I'm much taller.

      Gareth - 2012-05-02 14:45

      Charles Dumbwin the last time I checked the Lions won the Currie Cup?

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-02 14:54

      They did Gareth, in a one sided final where they dominated at Currie Cup level. This is Super Rugby ... But besides that, when last did they win anything Gareth? Can you remember? Can we look at the Super12/14 log in the last 10 years, from 2002 onwards, and see where the Lions have finished every year?

      Gareth - 2012-05-02 15:14

      Charles Dumbwin - To the Lions credit, they have played in three Currie Cup Finals in ten years. I am scratching my head over why the Lions constantly under perform at Super Rugby level and I am a Sharks supporter. Even when they joined the Cheetahs and Lions to form the Cats did they under perform. The Lions have been ravaged by injuries in 2012 and I had hoped to see them kick on from their Currie Cup win under Mitchell and Spencer, but alas it hasn't happened. I would suggest a relegation play-off rather than merely dropping a team each season and promoting another. It might negate a yo-yo type effect. The fact that this years Super Rugby Tournament ends in August is a measure of just how poor this competition has become and putting in a side like the Elephants of PE, on current form, would only add to the circus. PS: I like the way you used my name several times to create emphasis on making your point very clear....good job.

      Ed - 2012-05-02 15:36

      gareth...firstly its only rugby. secondly, it aint rocket science. any team that can do as badly as the lions, does not deserve to be in the picture. trying to argue that a team should stay in because of their rich history is like trying to argue for ANC cadres getting the best job because their buddies gave it to them. they dont deserve it no matter what they did while in exile. as for a rich history and facts, ep is the tie oldest rugby province. it had the first rugby and cricket test. 75% of registered rugby players are from EP, so give the province something to work for. they will suck in the first year, but compared to 5 years ago they are much better. look even more recently, back to the 80's and early 90's and EP was one of the teams to beat. they can do it again, give em a chance, if they dont, then may the best team play in super rugby. in the end, rubgy benefits, the sponsors benefit and everyone is happy...

      Smell - 2012-05-02 16:15

      Moseley, don't lower yourself by responding to reactions by readers. This is not an "Ask Edna" forum. OK to be controversial, but just write in a way so that you do not have to explain yourself after.

      Matthew - 2012-05-03 14:22

      I can't believe I am agreeing with Charles Dumbwin!

      Michael - 2012-05-04 08:21

      @Charles Dumbwin - why not let the Lions play against the PE scrap heap and then we decide who is better!!!

  • JohhnyBGood - 2012-05-02 13:48

    This is what happens when someone who knows nothing about sport starts to write on sport. Ran out of ideas and just HAD to write something, hey ?

      David - 2012-05-02 14:02

      No, my man. This is what happens when someone can see that the Lions are utter tripe, and that 15 teams in Super Rugby is way too many. My feelings would be the same if any of the SA unSuper sides were bottom of the log. Very simple equation. Worst SA side goes out, Kings come in. Repeat, repeat and repeat. Makes no difference anyway, as the entire Super Rugby competition is a joke.

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-02 14:11

      David I have a better idea than simple relegation. Perhaps I'll share it with you and you can write another article on that.

      JohhnyBGood - 2012-05-02 14:36

      @David, one of my MAJOR issues with the whole Kings saga, is the way it is being handled / forced. Once again, because POLITICS meddled in sport. Sure, the Lions have not produced the goods, but the Kings are FAR WORSE -- and you know it! No beating around the bush. Everyone thought it would be the Cheetahs, oops that didnt' pan out. Lucky me. . . and some others.

  • CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-02 13:53

    Agree Dave. The Lions are bordering on total collapse and cannot string 5 minutes of half-decent play together on the field. The Kings, or ANY rugby side for that matter, could not possibly do any worse from next year. BRING ON THE SUPER KINGS !!! Like every new side (Force, Cheetahs, Rebels), they will take time to adjust and settle into the competition. We need to give them that time.

      Roger - 2012-05-02 19:14

      Damnation I thought you were only a lunatic fundamentalist christian now you have a voice about ruggar.

      Bryan - 2012-05-02 19:57

      I am not really going to reply to Mosely. I really do not think he gives a damn about rugby than he does about how many reads his article attains. But you sir charles are an idiot. The Kings will be an embarressment to the Super 15 competition. I seem to recall the Lions putting over 80 points on the Kings during the warm up games. The EP Kings can barely beat the griffons let alone the crusaders... The lions came off winning the currie cup and from misfortune and injuries they find them selves at the bottom of the table. The Kings have not earned the right to place in the Currie Cup let alone the super 15.

  • Barry - 2012-05-02 14:02

    I agree with Deon and Johnny. You don't have a clue what you are talking about do you? The Kings are pitiful as shown in the Super Rugby warm up games! And no, they are not even close to the Lions standard (although atrocious itself!). I also think your using of swear words are inappropriate! It only shows of your lack in character and the feeble quality of your writing and overall content. Please do not comment on sport again. Stick to whatever you get up to in trying to qualify as a writer.

  • qhuggett - 2012-05-02 14:05

    Pleas you cape townian fool. Never mind the Lions put 70 past the kings in warm up games this year. Kings will be a massive embarrassment

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-02 14:09

      As much as the lions are now? and have been in SuperRugby for the past 10 years? Kings are in, let's accept it and move on. Lions could do with a few years of regrouping anyway. Bring on something fresh, bring on the Super Kings !!!

      CharlesDumbwin - 2012-05-02 14:13

      Or maybe the lions supporters will embark on a mass boycott of super rugby games next year in protest. Their 112 fans will make one hell of an impact come next year's competition.

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-05-02 14:35

    you reckon the Kings can't be worse...I know you're only kidding regarding the laughing on a Friday night you will need Pieter Divvy as coach to ansure that...

  • Bomb - 2012-05-02 14:44

    Should go back to Super 12, 4 teams per country. As for the standard of rugby, it surely has become a boring bish bash affair, hasn't it. Whenever any team gets within 5 metres of the tryline, there is the automatic 20 phase effort to try and bash it over by each and every first receiver, predictable and boring. Not very much excitement elsewhere on the field as well....pass, bash up channel 1, pass, bash up channel 2, pass, bash up channel 1, loose possession. Scrums are a total farce. For some reason, years ago, rugby was way more entertaining and exciting. Super rugby SUCKS big time!

      Bomb - 2012-05-03 08:10

      Just as a footnote.......watched the world snooker championship last night, way more entertaining 2 hours of sport than any super 15 game the last weekend.

  • Gareth - 2012-05-02 14:51

    Dave you said it yourself, you were in a bar in PE watching Super Rugby 'Not one person was watching the game' what does that say about the people of PE? 'No one so much as glanced at the score' - that tells me a lot. 'It’s boom time for Eastern Cape rugby'? Based on your experience in PE, I would suggest not.

  • Vincent - 2012-05-02 14:54

    what would you have said when this was to happen a few years back when the bulls were the worst team in the comp? that cant be done that's wrong..... look the lions are bad and have not performed for 3 years if not more in super rugby. I've seem the Kings play. honestly i don't think they will be able to take the big knocks and long tours. they do good against the smaller teams in vodacom cup and yes they are in a good log position. but will they be able to take the brute power of the NZ teams. i don think they will win any game against NZ or AUS teams. headline - SADERS DEMOLISH KINGS. well have to wait and see but my gut feel is the kings wont lose by just 14 or 20 points. good luck to them if they get to play. Ill always be a lions supporter no matter how bad they play. my blood is red by nature.

  • Terry - 2012-05-02 15:16

    We should go back to a Super 12 tournament with 4 teams from each country. Now that the Aussies have got 5 teams going, they can create their own version of the Currie Cup - and if they want a few more teams they can invite Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga into their mix. This whole Super 15 farce with seperate conferences was the brainchild of the Aussies who said they wanted more local derbies - well if they have their own competition then they can have lots of those. If we went back to a Super 12 - with 4 teams from each country, then the Currie Cup would serve as the competition where the top 4 teams played in the Super 12 in the following year. The Aussies and NZ can have their own internal competition where their top 4 teams also go into the mix. Those top 4 teams can then arrange a loan of players from the unsuccesful teams to bolster their own resources - and to make sure all of the top players in the country are involved in the Super 12 competition.

  • Terry - 2012-05-02 15:22

    Another thought on the unfairness of South African teams having a 4 week tour and the NZ and Aussie teams only having a 2 week tour. Surely it is not too difficult to arrange it that the NZ and Aussie teams play 4 successive away games (including the 2 in South Africa), and they are not permitted to go back to their home base in those 4 weeks - i.e. for a NZ team they would play 2 games in Australia and 2 in South Africa, and they are not permitted to go back to their home during that tour. Is that too complicated to manage? I wouldn't have thought so!

      CliveK - 2012-05-02 21:23

      Excellent point, Terry. Another suggestion is that any team crossing the Indian Ocean, either east or west, has a bye either immediately before or after the tour - and preferably both, if possible. Last season the Sharks had to play in Durban on a Saturday and in NZ the following Friday. Probably not the first time it has happened to a SA team, but pretty unfair, if you ask me.

  • Paul - 2012-05-02 15:25

    What everyone seems to be missing here is the financial implication of being promoted. The idea in promotion/relegation is to give the promoted team the increased revenue stream so they can invest in players, coaches, infrastructure and so on to improve their onfield performances.. If teams are not promoted their financial situation will permanently dictate their lack of ability.

      Gareth - 2012-05-02 15:43

      Paul, I have heard that the Kings director of rugby Alan Solomons and Luke Watson's combined salary runs into hundreds of thousands of rands a month. Who has been paying for this? The union surely cant afford it? It looks crooked and the Kings havent even started yet.

  • Tommy - 2012-05-02 15:28

    Let the SA team ending at the bottom of the SA section (e.g. Lions) have a best of three matches against the challenging team (e.g. Kings). The winner earns the right to compete in the S14.

      Koos - 2012-05-04 01:15

      Just make sure you don't have a ref that is on saru's payroll.

  • Nicholas - 2012-05-02 15:54

    Thanks for the laugh! Its refreshing to read some truth about rugby for a change instead of all this PC "Rugby Speak" that is rammed down our throats before and after games. You can take one pre and post rugby interview with either a coach or a captain, copy and paste it before or after any game at you wouldn't know the difference!

  • Gerhardus - 2012-05-02 15:55

    I don't know much about rugby, but even though the lions aren't performing, they always gave players the chance to prove themselves on the field. The Lion players don't stay that long in the team, how can the Lions then think they are going to win, but still they provide a basis of getting new players into rugby. They create opportunity.

  • Master - 2012-05-02 16:18

    My only problem with the Kings is Chippy and Luck Luke's involvement in this team and that to me makes it a political choice and not an earned one

      Master - 2012-05-02 16:19

      Lucky Luke

      Koos - 2012-05-04 01:15

      puku luke

  • Paulo - 2012-05-02 16:30

    I reckon the first comment posted by Dustin makes the most sense. Personally i think it would be wrong to "hang out to dry" a worse team than the lions in the super rugby comp (its bad for the team and the region as a whole). You have to get there on merit, top 5 teams in the previous years Currie cup qualify for super rugby. Bottom 2 teams get relegated (bottom Currie cup team plays off with 1st division 2nd placed-over two legs)-simple as that-if the Lions get relegated and the Kings finish in the top 5 then so be it-no arguments.

  • Deon - 2012-05-02 16:32

    The Lions has got a Super title, unlike the Stormers. It would be sad to see them go.

      Charles Dumbwin - 2012-05-02 19:12

      Super10 doesn't count, it was an inaugural competition and no inter-provincial region tournament. Only really because Super Rugby from Super12 when the format changed. Where have the lions featured since that 1996 anomaly?

  • Fanie - 2012-05-02 16:52

    David, I almost read through half your article, then got to bored to take it seriously. The Kings wont do any better, in fact, since they thought they started playing rugby, they failed to impress, loosing to the "pathetic" Lions 88 - 8? if I recall correctly? The Kings STRUGGLE against teams like the Bull Dogs, come on, seriously? If the Kings think they are good enough, let them do a play - out against the Lions end of season, something fair. Obviously you are a rugby LOVER, not a rugby guru. Leave the rugby thinking to the pro's, and LISTEN to them before making an ape of yourself by criticizing modern rugby, you might even enjoy the game if you can grasp the concept thereof.

  • Margie - 2012-05-02 17:06

    Screw you too!

      CliveK - 2012-05-02 21:26

      What's the point - and meaning - of this vacuous comment, and who's it aimed at?

  • Anthony - 2012-05-02 18:20

    Agree with you totally about what rugby has become. It is an utter farce.

  • solstank - 2012-05-02 18:23

    Alas I feel like a dreadful liverpool supporter has felt for all these years, so much history and so little current promise. What could be worse? Ill tell you what a luke and cheeky watson led kings side full of even worse rubbish, and thats before luke and cheeky. If SA rugby is an embarrassment already because of the lions I feel desperately sorry if the kings come into the tournament.

  • Theunis - 2012-05-02 18:44

    Partly true,mostly not mr. Mosely,but with your view and attitude towards SA rugby in general,I suggest you do that thing...mosey off to the farm and check out some cows.

  • Raymond - 2012-05-02 20:15

    So what has this mighty Kings done to play in the Super 15.They cannot compete at Vodacom level so how will they cope 9n the super 15.Let this mighty Kings play in the Currie Cup and see how they perform.Probably see cricket scores at each game.What a ludicrous and stupid suggestion for a Vodacom team to jump into the Super 15.Come on people,get real man.I am not a Lions supporter but,they are a very competitive side and have some good players.Let the mighty Kings play the Lions on a home and away basis and you don't have to guess what the result will be.

  • Michael - 2012-05-02 20:24

    This morning I listened to en economic report; some economist saying that consumers in SA are better off this year than we were last year. In both instances, that report and this article are classic examples of taking freedom of speech and punting your opinion way past the limit of logic and understanding.

  • CliveK - 2012-05-02 21:12

    Yes, the Lions have been very poor this year, but to "promote" the Kings into Super Rugby without at least one season on the Currie Cup top section would be nothing short of disaster. But I guess we must accept that it's going to happen. The administrators must then be prepared to carry the can when the Kings lose match after match by a cricket score, thereby demoralising the players and retarding the further development of rugby in the E Cape.

  • boltonbarry - 2012-05-02 21:36

    So you want to take a bad team and replace them with a team that's as bad or will fair even worse...Good thinking there friend of Keo and kie

      Fanie - 2012-05-02 21:49

      well stated! can't agree more.

  • aiazmir - 2012-05-03 01:17

    It is sad that the team that has the largest "catchment" area of all the teams in Super Rugby, is languishing at the bottom of the log. It is all about the structures, and unfortunately, these structures have been pre-conceived. In other words there is no structure that suits rugby players, it suits the administrators. The Lions have been making the same mistake year-in and year-out, so I agree that the Kings can be no worse. John Mitchell is a good coach, but the administration he has to deal with is abysmal. I thought Kevin de Villiers would make a difference but unfortunately he inherited a flawed system.

  • Louis - 2012-05-03 07:01

    Biggest lot of crap I have read in a long time!

  • Rodney - 2012-05-03 10:11

    The Lions won the first ever Super Rugby championship in 1993 which invalidates a couple of the points made in your somewhat sensationalist article.

  • Paul - 2012-05-03 11:47

    One thing you are all forgetting about the Kings is that most of the player leave the Eastern Cape due to the fact that they do not play SuperRugby. This will now change and hopefully they can then start to attracted some new players and get some of the “old” born and bred Easter Cape boys back. So many of the players playing in other SA Super teams are from the Eastern Cape but are lured away by the attraction of playing SuperRugby. If you see a black player doing well for a Super team in SA the changes are he is from the Eastern Cape so why not just let them stay in their province of birth. I have played rugby in many provinces and this is a known fact. This look at the Bulls Loose forwards and you will see 2 of the group are from PE. The Stormers have Siya Kolisi who is from PE, Wesley Dunlop, The Ndungane brothers and many more.

      Michael - 2012-05-06 14:25

      Fair comments Paul. But! Why are the palyers leaving the region? How do you get to keep those players in PE? What the state of club rugby like in the EC/PE? (I remember Despatch rugby club winning the Toyota club cgampionship in the late 80's) Is there enough money in the region to retain the talented players?

  • Storm Chambers - 2012-05-03 17:57

    Who is this oak? He needs to be shot by a vet!!!! What do you think is going to happen to spears???? They can't even win vodacom cup!!!!! 50 points every time against these king folk

  • Michael - 2012-05-04 08:28

    The guys who are arguing that the Lions are pathetic and always end up last in the Super15 are correct, BUT there is the argument that the teams should be cut back to 12! So then we will problably have a team that alsways ends up last in the 12 - so then must they then also get the chop. So then lets cut the teams down to 9 (3 from each country). And then - ad nauseum. Leave them be and let the Lions play the brats from PE - who-ever loses can then be dropped!

  • andrew.crichton.9 - 2012-05-04 11:33

    I agree, by not relegating the Lions we would be giving poor performances a big thums up. Hopefully it will show the GLRU that the supporters deserve better..

  • Andrew - 2012-05-04 13:52

    Why worry about the Kings, most games this year got decided by the ref anyway................ the Super 15 does match up any more....... If I wanted to watch SA side playing each other twice I would have watch the Currie Cup. SARU should all be fired and take Supersport with you.... They cant even call a spade and spade always trying to be PC.

  • Donovan - 2012-05-07 17:37

    No doubt, saying that the Lions are playing poorly is an understatement, but do any of you remember the 14th of Feb when the Lions hammered the Southern Kings 88-0. So in that case, just imagine how poorly the Kings would fare in the Super Rugby. The only reason for the proposed inclusion of the Kings in Super Rugby would be for political reasons. Cheeky Watson who is the co-owner of the Kings franchise was involved in the 'struggle of apartheid' and now his masters, the ANC are rewarding him for it. If this goes through, South Africa's image as a proud rugby nation will forever be tainted.

  • PieterJGSwart - 2012-05-24 09:49

    Lets ALL get to Ellis Park for the SHARKS game and only wear RED or WHITE to show our support for the boys !!! Its all about the (spit, spit, spit ) Kings wanting to steal our place.... If we can fill up Ellis Park even when we are under performing, the Boys, Union and SARU just might get a wake up call...

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