Wrestling lions must turn things around to save face in URC

The Lions have no choice but to stand up and count in the United Rugby Championship or risk their first campaign turning into a farce in the coming months.

It was a disastrous start to the year for the association, losing nine games in just two months, including five URC games and four in the Currie Cup.

The poor results come as no big surprise, as the Lions have the weakest, deepest squad of the four URC franchises.

This following their dubious decision to split their squads for the Currie Cup campaign, which left a slew of inexperienced former and current players under the age of 20 up to the challenge, and this would always be a tough question, as has been proven.

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So their nine defeats weren’t exactly unexpected considering they went into each of those games as underdogs, but what was disappointing was the way some of those defeats went.

In their five URC losses, the Lions faced the Sharks, Stormers, the Bulls and Leinster in Ireland twice.

In their home game against the Sharks and their away game against the Bulls, they gave their best and were largely competitive despite losing in both.

But their two home games against the Stormers and Bulls were bitterly disappointing results, due to the way they simply failed to show up for both games, which meant they could easily be sidelined.

Their most recent loss to a strong Leinster team, which missed all of their Irish internationals, was a much better performance and they should build on hitting an essential home run of games.

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Of their seven remaining URC games, the Lions should aim for wins in at least four of their wins.

They should be competitive in their home games against Cardiff, Ospreys, Benetton and their away game against the Dragons, and with three of them playing at the Highveld they should be able to use that.

Their home games against Munster and Edinburgh and their away game against the Sharks will be very tough and they will not start as favorites in any of these.

Despite their struggles, the Lions are not a bad side. They have some very talented up and coming players who have proven themselves well enough, but how long will they be willing to hang out?

It will also be a few months now for head coach Ivan van Rooyen and his technical staff, and they will have to motivate their players in the coming weeks to avoid being left out in the cold.

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