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Founded in 1996, the Lions – formerly known as the Cats – were long considered the easybeats of Super Rugby. A 15-year finals drought that saw five last-place finishes was broken in 2016 with a maiden grand final appearance.
While not being quite as dominant as the two years prior, the Lions were good enough to top the South African conference once more. They battled through the finals series to reach their third straight decider but, unfortunately, were defeated in the big dance yet again.
It’s hard to see the team regaining the form that saw them dominate the competition a few years back. That said, most experts still see them as the best team in the South African conference, putting them on track for another finals appearance.
Coach: Swys de Bruin
Captain: Warren Whiteley
2018 finish: 1st South Africa conference, 2nd overall. Lost final to Crusaders.
Lions 2019 Super Rugby squad
Jacobie Adriaanse, Johannes Jonker, Danie Mienie, Sti Sithole, Dylan Smith, Malcolm Marx, Lourens Erasmus, Rhyno Herbst, Robert Kruger, Marvin Orie, Cyle Brink, Hacjivah Dayimani, Len Massyn, Marnus Schoeman, Kwagga Smith, Warren Whiteley, Ross Cronje, Nic Groom, Dillon Smit, Elton Jantjies, Shaun Reynolds, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Ruan Combrinck, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Courtnall Skosan, Madosh Tambwe, Andries Coetzee, Sylvian Mahuza.