The Rugby Showdown has confirmed that the Golden Lions from Johannesburg, South Africa, will travel to Southern California to take on the North American All Stars on April 13th at Cal State Fullerton.
USA Eagles captain Todd Clever will lead the North American All Stars in this exciting fixture against one of South Africa’s storied franchises. Clever – who played for the Lions during 2009 and 2010 – became the first American rugby player to play in the Super Rugby competition.
“South Africa has a huge rugby tradition, and to be a part of the Lions was a privilege. As Americans we don’t get to play against top quality opposition all the time, so it’s going to be great for our players to take on the fully professional Lions,” said Clever.
Several foreign international players will bolster the North American All Stars, with the team to be coached by USA Eagles Head Coach, Mike Tolkin. In the coming weeks The Rugby Showdown will reveal the names of that squad.
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) decided to relegate the bottom placed South African Super Rugby team following the 2012 season, which saw the Lions being replaced by the Southern Kings. Interestingly the Lions defeated the Southern Kings 41-31 during the Super 15 pre-season earlier in February.
The Lions originally faced a challenge in securing competitive fixtures ahead of their promotion/relegation clash (to take place at the end of 2013) but have managed to secure matches against the other South African Super Rugby franchises, Samoa, several French clubs and now the North American All Stars. Earlier this season the Lions defeated Russia.
“Credit to the Lions for getting their brand out there in the overseas market. Their management has done a superb job in arranging these fixtures, and we’re extremely excited to have them come to North America,” expressed Clever.
The union has undergone several name changes in recent years – first changing its name to the Lions in 1993, the Gauteng Lions in 1997, before finally changing to The Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) in 1998. The GLRU competes in the Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup competitions under the sponsorship name of MTN Golden Lions. The GLRU serves as the main feeder union for the Lions, in Super Rugby, which also encompass the Pumas and the Leopards. The Golden Lions and Lions share the same home stadium, Ellis Park, located in the suburb of Doornfontein in Johannesburg.
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Photo Credit: www.rugbyphoto.com / Garry Coldwells