The Lions’ unlikely hero

Josh Strauss has become a cult figure in Joburg but he very nearly fell into rugby obscurity.

Had it not been for Alan Zondagh, Sharks fans might have been spared the frustration inflicted on them by Strauss in the Currie Cup final, and he might instead have been attending to our furry friends in their hours of need. Before he was spotted playing club rugby by the former Western Province coach, the Strauss life plan was directed towards saving animal lives as a vet.

In the latest SA Rugby magazine, on sale this week, we reveal how Zondagh helped Strauss to play for Boland, and how his impressive performances for Maties in the Varsity Cup resulted in a trial at the Lions.

Strauss also reflects on the Lions’ triumphant Currie Cup campaign and looks ahead to next year’s Super Rugby tournament.

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Also in the new issue:

SA Rugby magazine reveals how the Lions went from Super Rugby chumps in 2010 to Currie Cup champs in 2011

– John Mitchell on transforming the Lions, living in South Africa, preparing for Super Rugby, and the Springbok coaching job

– The Sharks started to develop a new team dynamic during the 2011 Currie Cup

– Heyneke Meyer’s wants the Bulls to become the world’s best domestic side again. We reveal his master plan

– Boland Kavaliers coach Eugene Eloff on winning the Currie Cup First Division, losing half of his side afterwards, and Saru’s decision to have six teams in the Premier Division

– SA Rugby magazine assesses the candidates who will be vying for the Springbok flyhalf jersey next year

– In an extract from his new autobiography, Butch James reveals how he was promised the Springbok No 10 jersey at the World Cup only to fall behind Morne Steyn in the pecking order

– Graham Henry finally has his inner peace – and his World Cup. Now he can get on with the rest of his life

– From zero to hero, jeers to cheers, agony to ecstasy, no one has a better handle on the fickle world of international rugby than World Cup winner Stephen Donald

– Thierry Dusautoir is an inspirational leader and officially the best rugby player on the planet

– The inaugural Rugby Championship will kick off on 18 August next year, two weeks after the Super Rugby final

– Francois Louw speaks to SA Rugby magazine about his new life in Bath, the recent World Cup campaign and why he hasn’t given up on playing for the Boks

– The Springbok Sevens went into the 2011-12 World Series with a settled squad