Those are the words I tweeted on Saturday afternoon after the mighty Emirates Lions got off to a brilliant start in their tour of Australia, by beating the Western Force 24-15 in Perth, much to the welcome reaction of many a lover of the Jo’burg-based franchise.
Or was it general lovers of rugby or even South Africans who just love seeing anything anti-Aussie, I don’t know, but what I do know is that I ended up getting eight retweets and four ‘likes’ for my thumbs’ efforts.
Very heartwarming for someone who rarely gets any sort of reaction to tweets, but not as heartwarming as it was to witness my beloved Lions get a first offshore win of the season. That win was in the first of three matches that we’ll play Down Under, and it was very encouraging to see us getting off to the right start, not to say I ever doubted that we’d beat the Force.
In fact I was thinking to myself last week that we’ll probably win all of the matches on tour, and as you can imagine, I’m sticking to that prediction. Apart from having faith in the strength of the mighty Lions, two other facts aid my confidence in my prophecy: that the Cell C Sharks managed a win at the Brumbies earlier this season and that the Rebels were crushed by the Southern Kings (yes, you read right!) on the same Saturday.
What do the Sharks and the Kings’ wins have to do with anything, an ill-informed someone might ask. Well, because if those two teams could do it, then surely the Lions could do it as well. By the way, the Lions are obviously better than both Sharks and Kings, in fact there isn’t a South African Super Rugby franchise that isn’t better than the Kings. And as much as many might argue that there is no ‘therefore’ in sport, i.e. that what the Sharks and Kings could achieve could ‘therefore’ also be achieved by the mightier Lions, but the fact is it would be very risky, to say the least, to bet against the Lions beating both the Rebels and the Brumbies in their next two matches.
But as to how far we’ll go in this year’s competition, I don’t have the confidence to predict that as yet, mainly because we haven’t played against the best of the best. It’s obvious that the New Zealand sides still call the shots in Super Rugby, you have to look at what has happened to the DHL Stormers in their last two matches to see what I mean.
What with the BNZ Crusaders winning all nine of their matches so far and the defending champions, Hurricanes, having a point difference of 200+ after just eight outings, I mean that just tells you all you need to know.
It certainly would have been easier to predict our fate in this year’s competition had we had the opportunity, like last year, to face the Kiwis in the conference stages because that would have given us the chance to size ourselves up against the crème de la crème, which I think is what helped us to reach as far as the final last term.
But having said that, I don’t think our consistency and ability to grind out results like we did away at the Toyota Cheetahs and twice at home against Sharks and the Jaguares, who both gave very little away, should be taken from granted.
Should my prediction of winning all three matches on the Australian tour be proven to be accurate, that should also provide a reason for why we shouldn’t be overlooked as one of the potential champions for this year, I think.
But for now it’s one Aussie down, two to go.
*Picture taken from: rugby15.co.za.