The Lions in fact lost the weekend promotion-relegation match at their Ellis Park home ground 23-18 to the Kings. But because they had won by seven points in Port Elizabeth a week earlier, they go through on aggregate.
Critics say the Lions were favoured by refereeing in PE and don’t deserve their place. Certainly the standard of play at Ellis Park was light years behind that in the Super Rugby final earlier on Saturday. At this rate the Lions will remain Super cellar dwellers. But it should never have come to this.
The Lions shouldn’t have been dropped from the tournament in the first place without promotion-relegation play-offs.
The SA Rugby Union (Saru) is at fault for making a politically inspired promise to secure a place for the Kings. Rugby hopes in the Eastern Cape have been raised, with matches attracting bigger crowds than Bulls and Sharks home games.
Now both the Lions and Kings are weakened, and PE’s hopes are shattered, thanks to Saru.