History points to Lions win

The record books suggest the Lions will be pushed hard by the Emerging Boks at Newlands this evening, but should still come out victorious.

The Lions first played the Junior Boks back in 1955 in Bloemfontein and just managed to scrape through with a narrow 15-12 victory.

On their last tour of South Africa, they came up against an Emerging Boks side featuring a number of players who would later go on to represent the Springboks.

The hosts held their own in the first half before the tourists eventually ran out comfortable winners.

While the Lions have won all four of their previous clashes against the Emerging and Junior Springboks, games between the two sides have been close encounters.

Keo.co.za looks back at their last four meetings:

14 September 1955 – Junior Boks 12 Lions 15, Bloemfontein

It was the first time the Lions had faced the Junior Boks and the youngsters were keen to make a name for themselves.

The Junior Boks led 6-5 at the break, scoring two tries to one. The youngsters registered a penalty and a drop goal in the second half, while the Lions responded with two more tries.

However, the difference between the two sides was the visitors’ accuracy in front of goal. While the hosts missed both their conversion attempts, Welsh fullback Alun Thomas was successful with all three of his as the Lions hung on for a narrow win.

7 July 1962 – Junior Boks 11 Lions 16, Pretoria

After a disappointing 14-all draw against Free State in midweek, the Lions arrived in Pretoria to take on the Junior Springboks at Loftus Versfeld.

As was the case seven years earlier, the Junior Boks had the better of the first half and went into the break with a 6-3 lead.

The Junior Boks crossed the line again in the second half but the tourists replied with two tries of their own and a drop goal to seal victory by just five points.

18 June 1980 – Junior Boks 6 Lions 17, Johannesburg

After a 26-19 defeat to South Africa in the second Test in Bloemfontein, the tourists once again moved up to the highveld, this time to face the Junior Boks at the old Wanderers Ground.

The Junior Boks, led by flanker Wynand Claassen, featured some of the country’s top rugby talent, including a young Danie Gerber at centre.

The Lions were caught napping in the first half as Burger Geldenhuys scored a try and Gavin Cowley converted to give the Junior Boks a 6-3 half-time lead.

But in the second half the men in red came back hard at the youngsters, running in three tries through Andy Irvine, Elgan Rees and Paul Dodge to seal a 17-6 victory.

17 June 1997 – Emerging Boks 22 Lions 51, Wellington

The Lions made their way down to the Boland to face a hungry Emerging Boks side just three days after their comfortable victory over Natal in Durban and four days before the first Test against the Springboks at Newlands.

The Emerging Springboks were mentored by Nick Mallett, who would later go on to replace Carel du Plessis as coach of the senior national side.

Local hero Dale Santon skippered a side that featured the likes of Robbie Kempson, Deon Kayser, Percy Montgomery and current Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu.

Mallett’s troops were right in the contest at the break, trailing by just a single point, but in the second stanza the tourists cut loose, scoring 35 points as they hammered the youngsters 51-22.

Warren Brosnihan, Marius Goosen and Treu all crossed the line for the Emerging Boks, while Nick Beal scored a hat-trick and Tim Stimpson, who successfully slotted all six of his conversion attempts, bagged a personal haul of 26 points.

By Andrew Worling