Lions Super Rugby


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1996 (24 years old)


Emirates Airline Park
(62,567 Capacity)

Jersey or Equipment Clearart



Super Rugby

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Ovokx: 04/Apr/19
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The Lions (known as the Emirates Lions for sponsorship reasons) are a South African professional rugby union team from Johannesburg who compete in the Super Rugby competition. They were previously known as the Cats between the 1998 and 2006 seasons. They had varied results in the competition, finishing at the bottom of the table six times (in 1998, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2012), but reaching the semifinal stage five times (in 2000, 2001, 2016, 2017 and 2018). They reached their first final in 2016 – where they lost to the Hurricanes 20–3 in Wellington – and repeated the feat in 2017, losing 17–25 to the Crusaders in Johannesburg.

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.

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. The Lions 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 play-offs, 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.

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Stadium or Home

Ellis Park Stadium (known as Emirates Airline Park for sponsorship reasons) is a rugby union and association football stadium in the city of Johannesburg, Gauteng Province, South Africa. It hosted the final of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, which was won by the country's national team, the Springboks. The stadium was the country's most modern when it was upgraded in 1982 to accommodate almost 60,000 people. Today, the stadium hosts both football and rugby and is also used as a venue for other large events, such as open-air concerts. It has become synonymous with rugby as the only time when rugby was not played at Ellis Park was during 1980 and 1981, when the stadium was under construction during the upgrade.

The stadium was originally named after Mr J.D. Ellis, who made the area for the stadium available. A five-year ZAR 450 million (US$58 million/£30 million) naming rights deal was signed in 2008 with The Coca-Cola Company, resulting in the stadium being named Coca-Cola Park between 2008 and 2012.

League, provincial, and international soccer games have all been played at the stadium, and it has seen such teams as Brazil, Manchester United and Arsenal play. Ellis Park Stadium is the centerpiece of a sporting sector in the south-east of Johannesburg, where it neighbours Johannesburg Stadium (athletics), Standard Bank Arena, Ellis Park Tennis Stadium, and an Olympic-class swimming pool.

Ellis Park is home to the following teams:

Lions (Cats until September 2006), Super Rugby Southern Hemisphere rugby competition
Golden Lions, Currie Cup domestic rugby competition

Cricket matches were held at the stadium in the past. Ellis Park hosted six Test matches between 1948 and 1954, but it has not been used for first-class cricket since New Wanderers Stadium opened in 1956 and is now used only for rugby and soccer.



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