The proud heritage and history of the Golden Lions Rugby Union stretches back to 1889. The union was formed in 1889 to look after the well-being of the Gauteng rugby clubs. Its first elected president was Bill Taylor (born 1858).
The Union celebrated its 130th birthday in 2019. A rich tapestry of rugby development and excellence on the field make for fascinating reading. The Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU), formerly known as the Transvaal Rugby Union, changed to the Lions in 1993, then to the Gauteng Lions in 1997, before being re-branded the Golden Lions in 1998. In 2018 three companies were formed, Lions Rugby Company (professional rugby), Golden Lions Rugby Union (amateur rugby) and the group of stadiums called EPS (Pty) Ltd.
Use the arrows or swipe to navigate
2021 – Preparation games 27 February – 27 March; Rainbow Cup SA
The Emirates Lions played five Vodacom Super Rugby games in 2020, before play was suspended due to COVID-19.Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked kicked off on 10 October as a replacement for Super Rugby (between local teams)
The Xerox Golden Lions beat Griquas 34-19 in the semi-final at Emirates Airline Park. They lost 31-28 against the Free State Cheetahs in the final in Bloemfontein.
Lions win third consecutive Vodacom Super Rugby SA conference title Went on to qualify for third successive final, losing to the Crusaders in Christchurch Xerox Golden Lions reached the semi-final stage of the Currie Cup, losing 37-21 away to the Sharks
Johan Ackermann resigns as coach to join Gloucester Rugby in England. Swys de Bruin (Ackermann’s right hand man) appointed new Golden Lions/Emirates Lions head coach
Lions win 16 games in the run-up to the final, breaking their previous franchise record. Lions go on to lose the final 17-25 to the Crusaders
Lions win 11 games in the regular season, reach the final to notch up 13 wins for the season – a new record for the franchise. Lions lose the Super Rugby final 3-20 to the Hurricanes in Wellington, New Zealand
An unbeaten Lions team won the Currie Cup for the first time in nine years
Emirates Airlines announced as new title sponsor from 2015 to 2019, a deal believed to be worth just over R150m. Ellis Park rebranded Emirates Airline Park
Lions won their place in 2014 Super Rugby
Rudolf Straeuli takes over as the new Lions CEO
Saru general council vote Lions out of Super Rugby with a majority of 23-6, only the Bulls and Sharks unions supported the Lions
Lions announced Manie Booysen as new CEO starting January 2013
John Mitchell’s job changed to a consultancy role. Johan Ackermann named new head coach
Coach John Mitchell suspended after player complaints. Johan Ackermann temporarily appointed new coach
Redefine Properties named sponsor for the 2012 to 2014 seasons
Lions won Currie cup for the first time since 1999, beating the Sharks 42-16 at Ellis Park. CEO Manie Reyneke leaves the union to join Stadium Management SA
MTN named as new sponsor for the 2011 to 2013 seasons
Dick Muir axed as Lions coach John Mitchell named as new Lions coach
Lions elect Kevin de Klerk as the new President. Dick Muir appointed coach
President Jannie Ferreira and Vice-President Manie Reyneke step down after facing a pressure group of former players and all 21 clubs. Reyneke stayed on as CEO of the Lions
Eugene Eloff asked to step down as coach. Hans Coetzee appointed caretaker coach in his place
Forwards coach Leon Boshoff accused of making racial remarks. Although he was found not guilty in a hearing, he was still relieved from his contract with the Lions
Coca-Cola sign four and a half year sponsorship deal, with naming rights to Ellis Park
Auto & General announced a three-year sponsorship deal worth R30m with the Lions
Manie Reyneke replaced Andy Turner as Lions CEO
Andy Turner resigned as Lions CEO
Eugene Eloff appointed as coach of the Lions, replacing Frans Ludeke, who moved to the Bulls
Lions won Currie Cup beating the Sharks 32-9 in Durban
Union name changed from Lions to the Golden Lions
Transvaal reached Super 10 final but lost to Queensland
Lions beat Orange Free State by 56-35 in Bloemfontein to win Currie Cup
Union name changed from Transvaal to the Lions. Won Super 10 with a 20-17 win in Johannesburg over Auckland, New Zealand, making the union the
first South African team to win a trans-national title. Won Currie Cup 21-15 over Natal in Durban
Match vs touring Italian XV was the last game to be played as Transvaal
Ellis Park Stadium upgraded to a capacity of 62,500. During this time matches were once again played at the Wanderers.
First home game played at Ellis Park Stadium (Previously all home fixtures were played at Wanderers).
TRFU entered negotiations with JD Ellis (after whom Ellis Park was named) from the Johannesburg City Council to acquire 13 acres of land in Doornfontein. Building of Ellis Park Stadium commences.
Transvaal’s first rugby match was played against Griquas in Kimberley.
Transvaal Rugby Union was founded making it the 4th oldest rugby union in South Africa.
Take a stroll through Lions rugby history and relive unforgettable moments. Stand before the legends of yesteryear and the heroes of today and relive glorious moments at the Ellis Park Rugby Museum.
Browse through hundreds of unique exhibits by stepping into our ‘time-machine’. You can’t afford to miss it. Make sure its on your ‘to-do’ list on your next visit.
Where to find the museum? Going into Ellis Park Stadium through the main entrance, the museum is located on your right.
For more information on the museum, or to book a tour, please contact Natascha Vorster on 011 402 2960 or email email@example.com.More about the museum
The striking red, white, black and gold have not always been the Lion's designated colours.
The original colours used by Transvaal were dark blue and white jerseys, blue shorts and blue-and-white socks. It is unsure when the union decided to switch over to a white jersey with a red hoop with black shorts and socks. There is a school of thought that the union adopted the famous Kilmarnock strip of white top with red hoop as a Kilmarnock member, Alex Frew, captained them when they beat The British Isles touring team in 1903. These colours are still in use today. It is also from these colours that the teams’ nickname, "Rooibontes" came from.
In 2021 the Lions reveal three jerseys, the first a starkly contrasted red and black jersey for the Rainbow Cup SA, one that will sport the more traditional red stripe true to their tradition, and the final a clean and stylish jumper on par with top global brands.
Established in 2009 in Braamfontein, the Ernie Els Centre for Autism aims to raise awareness for Autism within South Africa. It also assists low-income families with receiving free intervention, and provides invaluable advice and guidance to parents and caregivers.
The Blue Pie Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises funds to focus on Welfare, Humanitarian, Conservation, Environment and Animal Welfare Issues.
If you would like to get involved with any of the projects we assist, or have a CSI project that you believe aligns with our vision, please email Yolandie Venter on firstname.lastname@example.org