Lions’ season not yet finalised

Lions CEO Ruben Moggee says the team’s international fixtures for 2013 are still not confirmed.

Reports on the Lions’ plans for 2013 emerged on Thursday morning, after the Johannesburg franchise had a breakfast with its suit-holders, members and ex-players to discuss their way forward following their Super Rugby relegation.

The Lions were proud to announce fixtures against Samoa, Russia, European clubs, French and USA Barbarians sides and American teams. They will also compete in friendlies against South African franchises the Bulls, Stormers, Cheetahs and Sharks. (All teams listed below).

However, Moggee said the planning of these fixtures is still ongoing.

‘Only the fixtures against the South African franchises are confirmed,’ Moggee told ‘We will play against two local teams before Super Rugby, and then the other two during the break in June.

‘The feedback from the international clubs have been very positive, especially the reaction from the European clubs. They see this as an opportunity to add something fresh to their schedule. We’ve been discussing things for the past month now.’

Moggee believes the schedule will be finalised over the next fortnight.

These fixtures are set to be televised via SuperSport and most of the games will be played at Ellis Park. The Lions are likely to tour the USA to face the American teams.

This schedule will prepare the Lions for their Super Rugby play-offs against next season’s last-placed South African franchise.

Interim head coach Johan Ackermann, who led the Lions to the Currie Cup semi-finals, is favourite to take over from suspended Kiwi boss John Mitchell on a permanent basis next year. Mitchell is expected to join English club the Sale Sharks once his disciplinary hearing has been settled.

‘We are still waiting for the chairman’s response to the hearing,’ said Moggee. ‘Thereafter, we will have an open and transparent process to appoint a new head coach. But Johan is regarded as the favourite and he’s contracted to us until the end of 2013.’

Meanwhile, the Lions are to announce two more loan deals in the near future.

Speedster Lionel Mapoe is finalising a move to the Bulls, while flyhalf Elton Jantjies is closing talks with the Stormers.

The teams the Lions are planning to face in 2013:
* Bulls (confirmed)
* Stormers (confirmed)
* Cheetahs (confirmed)
* Sharks (confirmed)
* Russia
* Glasgow Warriors
* Agen
* Grenoble
* Samoa
* Montpellier
* French Barbarians
* US Barbarians
* Texas Cup club champions

By Gareth Duncan