Lions

Lions

Rugby

Established in

1996

Location

Johannesburg, South Africa

Club History

The Lions (known as the Emirates Lions for sponsorship reasons) are a South African professional rugby union team who compete in the Super Rugby competition. They were previously known as the Cats between the 1998 and 2006 seasons. They have not achieved great success in the competition, finishing at the bottom of the table six times (in 1998, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2012). However, they have managed to reach the semifinal stage three times (in 2000, 2001 and 2016). The Lions play in a red and white strip.

The team faced relegation from the Super 14 after the Southern Spears won a court ruling that they should be included in the competition in place of the lowest ranked South African team in the 2006 competition. However, the Spears and the country’s national federation, the South African Rugby Union, reached a settlement of their legal case. By the terms of the settlement, announced on 16 November 2006, the financially troubled Spears abandoned their case.[1]

As part of a second attempt to introduce Super Rugby into the Eastern Cape, after finishing bottom of the 2012 Super Rugby table, the South African Rugby Union mandated that the Lions be replaced in the 2013 competition by the Southern Kings from Port Elizabeth.[2] The Lion’s exclusion lasted just one season as they regained their place in Super Rugby for the 2014 season by beating the Southern Kings in a two-leg playoff after the Kings finished bottom of the 2013 South African conference.

During the 2016 Super Rugby season playoffs, the Lions defeated the South Island teams (Crusaders and Highlanders) to reach the championship final, in which they were defeated 20-3 by the Hurricanes.

01

Champion

Super Rugby

2016 Runners-up
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