Super Rugby 2020: Five players who could provide a spark for the Lions

The Lions will face many challenges in the 2020 Super Rugby season after losing a chunk of their 2019 squad but they still have players capable of magic.

super rugby 2020 five players who could provide a spark for the lions 1024x576 - Super Rugby 2020: Five players who could provide a spark for the Lions

The post-Rugby World Cup shape up ahead of the 2020 Super Rugby season seems to have hit the Lions the hardest.

The Lions led the South African charge in Super Rugby in the years that followed the 2015 Rugby World Cup but preseason departures, retirements and doping bans have stripped their squad of experience and x-factor players.

The Lions in Super Rugby 2020

An incredible 16 members of their 2019 squad have either moved to other organizations or retired, threatening to consign the Lions nightmare campaign in what remains the toughest provincial competition in the world.

Here are five players that the Lions could look to, to provide a spark or a moment to lift the whole squad.

Elton Jantjies

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Elton Jantjies of the Lions during the 2019 Super Rugby season. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The Springbok flyhalf had a quiet but consistent 2019 and continues to grow as a player. The Lions will need their anointed number 10 to bring his A-game throughout the 2020 campaign.

His kick-pass to Warrick Gelant in the Springboks Rugby World Cup match against Canada is a taste of the kind of creative attacking play Jantjies can produce.

As a maturing player, the pressure will be on Jantjies to make the right decisions for what will be a young Lions side. His partnership with Ross Cronje is perhaps the strongest combination in any potential Lions XV.

Courtnall Skosan

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 01: Courtnal Skosan of the Lions scores a try during the Super Rugby match between Emirates Lions and DHL Stormers at Emirates Airline Park on June 01, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images)

The Springbok winger is still in his prime and on his day can be a veritable human highlight reel.

Skosan’s speed and attacking instinct make him a danger to any defence; he also has an established relationship with flyhalf Jantjies.

His quick feet can create danger out of nothing from anywhere on the field. Injuries have kept him from pressing for a Springbok place, but 2020 will offer him a fresh opportunity to stake a claim.

Hacjivah Dayimani

Hacjivah Dayimani - Super Rugby 2020: Five players who could provide a spark for the Lions
Latest sports news: Hacjivah Dayimani of the Lions during the Currie Cup match between Xerox Golden Lions XV and Vodacom Blue Bulls at Emirates Airline Park on August 10, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Dayimani has promised a lot in his career to date but come 2020 it is time for the loose forward to deliver for the Lions.

We know that the fleet-footed flanker-cum-eighthman can be dangerous on attack, but he needs to show that he can also mix it in the loose to ensure the Lions get the ball they need to unleash their backs. 

At times Dayimani seems as though he would be more at home at centre than on the side of the scrum and played in the backline in 2019’s Supersport Rugby Challenge. Former coach Swys de Bruin inspired that move, but Ivan van Zyl might be more inclined to play it safe.

Marvin Orie

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South Africa lock Marvin Orie looks on during the national anthems ahead of the 2019 Rugby Union World Cup warm-up test match between South Africa and Argentina at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, on August 17, 2019. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP)

Like Jantjies the Springbok lock needs to start taking control of matches for his Super Rugby team. Orie has achieved a consistency that has brought him into the Bok frame.

He narrowly missed out on the Rugby World Cup squad, however with the Boks top locks all plying their trade abroad in 2020, Orie will need to establish himself as the number one lock in domestic rugby.

Orie is currently on loan with the Ospreys. The Welsh side play their rugby in the Guinness Pro14 and the Heineken Cup.

He was deployed on the flank for Ospreys as they went down 44-3 to Saracens in their second Champions Cup match of the 2019 season. 

Orie’s future may not lie in converting to flank like Pieter-Steph du Toit, but versatility is a valuable asset in both Super Rugby and the Test arena.

Jannie du Plessis

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LYON, FRANCE – MAY 13: (L-R) Jannie Du Plessis, Francois Steyn and Bismarck Du Plessis of Montpellier celebrate with the trophy following their team’s 26-19 victory during the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final match between Harlequins and Montpellier at the Grand Stade de Lyon on May 13, 2016 in Lyon, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

It’s not often that a side looks to a 37-year-old prop to provide a spark but the veteran frontranker, who quit Montpellier early in November has been linked with a move to Ellis Park.

He has not been officially announced, but du Plessis is believed to have agreed in principle to play the 2020 Super Rugby season for the Lions. 

They start their 2020 Super Rugby season against last season’s beaten finalists the Jaguares, in Buenos Aires.

Du Plessis would bolster a pack that loses nine players from the 2019 squad including Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx.

The Lions have a new coach and young squad but cannot afford to give up ground to their domestic rivals in the upcoming season.

Check out all the 2020 Super Rugby Fixtures here

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