21 December 2012 is supposedly the end of the world, or as some say, a Worldwide cataclysmic event that will bring end to life as we know it. 2012 is the end, but the end of a once mighty and proud Rugby union.
In my season Preview, I mentioned that SupeRugby 2012 would be the watershed season for the GLRU.
I believe – and it is with some sadness that I say this – that 2012 will be the last for the GLRU. The Lions have been absolutely shocking in SupeRugby, and even the most hardened Lions supporter must start agreeing that the Jo’burg side is just not good enough.
The Lions have had numerous coaches, numerous players, substantial cash injections, marketing campaigns, new and old supporters, yet, the Lions sit with a record of 15 from 81 matches, after the Cats project was called to a halt.
If all goes to plan, the Lions will not feature in SupeRugby 2013. I want to make it clear that I believe it’s not The Kings’ fault. There is only one entity to blame, and that is the GLRU. From Management, to the Coaches, to the Players.
Whether the Lions merge with another union, or whether the Lions have to sit out in 2013, I firmly believe that they have hit rock bottom, and there is no way the Lions will ever recover from this possible relegation. The Lions have at most 3 to 4 quality players in their squad, the rest all average. That is what the Lions have become, an Average union, driven by mediocrity and average decision making on and off the field.
By Miracles alone, the Lions have managed to keep head above water financially by getting Sponsors on board that were willing to pay quite a substantial amount to be associated with the “Pride of Jo’burg.”
Most of the Lions player’s contracts comes to an end within the next two seasons. I cannot for the life of me see how the Lions’ handful of quality players will recommit to stay in Johannesburg. The relegation fear will be there until such time that SANZAR changes the format of the most grueling and respected competition in the world. The Promotion and Relegation process will always see the Lions and Kings rotate positions until the format is changed to the “Super 16”.
We can expect a player exodus of the players we really don’t want to see leave, with the average ones remaining in Johannesburg, weakening the side even more. I can’t see MTN, Redefine or Discovery staying with the Lions once their Sponsorship contracts come to an end. I cannot see any substantial sponsor getting involved again, once the Lions are relegated. The Worst, is that even if the Lions aren’t relegated, we can expect the likes of Taute, Jantjies, Rhodes and Willemse leaving the Lions in search of the elusive Green and Gold.
Becoming a Springbok is probably one of the most difficult challenges in World Rugby, now imagine playing in a side that absolutely smacks of mediocrity against the best in the world.
This was the season the Lions could have affirmed their rejuvenation, or watched each-other die on and off the field. Unfortunately we saw the latter unfold before our eyes. The Once mighty Transvaal union died years ago, but the Lions’ class of 2012 will always be remembered for the year the inevitable happened. The year all hope for a new start died.
The Lions will fall away, disappear and become a minnow. The Currie Cup of 2011 will always be remembered as their last Hurrah. The Last and most deserving celebration for the most loyal Sports fans in the World.