British & Irish Lions

No bitterness for Lions after British & Irish Lions fixture snub

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A general view of Ellis Park.
A general view of Ellis Park.
David Rogers/Getty Images
  • Despite being the only Super Rugby franchise to miss out on a fixture against the British & Irish Lions next year, the Lions have been given ample consolation by hosting the third Test between the Springboks and the tourists.
  • Rudolf Straeuli, the franchise's CEO, points out that Ellis Park is the only regular rugby venue being utilised for the showpiece matches.
  • Meanwhile, the former Bok coach also expressed his pleasure at an impressive spending spree over the past few weeks.

The Lions' disappointment of not being earmarked for a meeting with the British & Irish Lions next year is smoothed over by SA Rugby's confirmation that the union will host the third and final Test at Ellis Park.

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A few eyebrows were raised when Ivan van Rooyen and his charges were left out of the itinerary, the only Super Rugby franchise to befall that fate.

But you won't find much bitterness in Doornfontein.

"Look, it's always a privilege for any of the local teams to play against the tourists," Rudolf Straeuli, the Lions' chief executive, told Sport24.

"We've would've been very excited and motivated to test our mettle against them, but we're not going to dwell on this. To play host for a Test is ample consolation for us."

Indeed, the former Springbok flanker and head coach points out that SA Rugby's decision to utilise Ellis Park is significant.

"Our stadium is the only regular rugby facility that is hosting a Test," he said.

"The other two venues are both multi-purpose stadiums built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It illustrates once again that we run a world-class facility that organisers believe will befit the occasion.

"We've had lots of fun and fulfilment in the past hosing Tests with SA Rugby and we're looking forward to doing so again. I believe this is a feather in our cap."

Meanwhile, Straeuli also expressed his satisfaction with a fairly impressive spending spree over the past two weeks.

Following the recruitment of prolific Cheetahs winger Rabz Maxwane, the Lions announced the signings of Bulls skipper and centre Burger Odendaal, former Stormers and Leicester midfielder EW Viljoen and Bulls hooker Jaco Visagie.

"We believe we've recruited with purpose. We needed to strengthen in certain areas, but also place a premium on experience and leadership," said Straeuli.

"Our coaching staff will now how to scratch their heads properly to determine who they pick. It's great to have nice competition within the group."

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