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    Isaac Nauta Detroit Lions Jersey

    WELLINGTON Levine Toilolo Jersey , New Zealand (AP)The fifth round of the Super Rugby season may help answer a big question: How strong are the South African teams?The round features four matches between South African sides and teams from other conferences, and may help shine light on the perplexing issue of the performance of teams from South Africa in this and recent seasons.The Johannesburg-based Lions have reached the tournament final in each of the last two years, losing to the Wellington-based Hurricanes in 2016 and the Christchurch-based Crusaders last year.After four rounds of the current season, the Lions again top the African conference with three wins from four games while the Durban-based Sharks, Pretoria-based Bulls and Cape Town-based Stormers have only three wins among them.The Lions’ only loss this season came last week, at home to the Auckland-based Blues, and raised particular questions about the Lions strength as the Blues were winless and clearly the weakest of the five New Zealand teams.Confounding the estimation of South African strength, the Bulls’ only win so far came at the expense of the Hurricanes in the first round, the Sharks have drawn with the New South Wales Waratahs while the Stormers, after beating Argentina’s Jaguares in the first round, were at least competitive in tour matches against the Waratahs, Crusaders and Highlanders.In this weekend’s round, the Bulls play the Chiefs in Hamilton, the Sharks face the ACT Brumbies in Canberra, the Stormers meet the Blues in Cape Town and the Lions take on the Sunwolves Christian Jones Jersey , now part of the Australia conference, in Johannesburg.The Lions are expected to win against the Sunwolves who are the only team in the tournament without a win after four rounds, but the tasks of the other three teams are tougher.The Bulls desperately need a win over the injury-hit Chiefs to get their season underway and to have any chance of challenging the Lions for first place in the Africa conference. The Chiefs are without a number of key players this weekend: All Blacks props Nepo Laulala and Kane Hames, lock Dominic Bird, center Charlie Ngatai and winger Shaun Stevenson are all injured and Damian McKenzie has been forced to move from flyhalf to fullback.That opens a chance for the Bulls but their record in New Zealand is not strong, and the Chiefs have shown a strong fighting spirit this season, beating the Blues and putting up a good show against the Crusaders before last weekend’s bye.Bulls coach John Mitchell, who previously coached the Chiefs and played for the franchise’s central Waikato provice, said his team must seize the chance to reverse several seasons of under-performance.”Clearly we know where we want to head to and we know what we want to do,” Mitchell said. ”It’s just the timeline. We don’t know how long it will take.”The Sharks begin a four-week Australasian tour with their match against the Brumbies. The teams have in common the fact that their only wins this season came at the expense of Japan’s Sunwolves and both now need a win to remain competitive in their conferences.”They obviously have to get their campaign on the road and for us it’s really important that we start our tour well,” Sharks coach Robert du Preez said. ”They’re not scared to run the ball out of their own territory.We need to dominate their pack.”The Stormers have to recover quickly from a taxing tour to Australia and New Zealand to take on a Blues team whose spirits have been lifted by last weekend’s win over the Lions. Injuries to winger Seabelo Senatla and fullback S.P. Marais are costly to the Stormers, who have also been hit by a flu bug which passed through their camp this week, affecting players and management.”The guys pitched up for a training session and a meeting (on Tuesday), but we had to send half the management members home as well as a good few players, so it was pointless doing anything Devon Kennard Jersey ,” coach Robbie Fleck said.In other matches, the Jaguares host Queensland in Buenos Aires on Saturday and the unbeaten Melbourne Rebels, 3-0, play New South Wales at Sydney on Sunday. ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP)Eric Ebron ran under Matthew Stafford’s pass and gathered the ball in – a simple catch for the touchdown that put Detroit ahead to stay. Then again, nothing has been all that simple for Ebron in his four-year NFL career. The Lions can hope Ebron’s 29-yard touchdown catch Sunday was a turning point of sorts for the 24-year-old tight end. The 2014 first-round draft pick has been a target for Detroit fans frustrated with his inconsistency as a pass catcher, but he made an important contribution in a 38-24 win over Cleveland that enabled the Lions to keep pace in the postseason race. ”He had one bad game then the last couple games he’s been playing well,” coach Jim Caldwell said Monday. ”The object is to keep that going.” Ebron was taken with the 10th pick in the 2014 draft, two spots ahead of Odell Beckham Jr. He’s been a regular target for Stafford since then, but it would be an understatement to say Ebron has left Lions fans wanting more. Caldwell pointed out that Ebron’s numbers have improved each season, and that’s true. His receptions increased from 25 to 47 to 61, and his yards receiving went from 248 to 537 to 711. That trend hasn’t continued into this season, however. He has only 20 catches for 234 yards in nine games. There was speculation the Lions might trade Ebron before the deadline this season, but he remained with Detroit. Following the deadline, he had three catches in a win at Green Bay Isaac Nauta Detroit Lions Jersey , then caught the touchdown pass from Stafford in the fourth quarter to give the Lions a 31-24 lead against the Browns. Ebron was able to separate from a defender and caught the ball around the 10-yard line before breezing into the end zone. ”He ran a nice route and I threw like a punt,” Stafford said. ”That was not spinning real pretty, but it ended up in a good spot.” Ebron didn’t stick around to talk after the game, and Detroit players weren’t available Monday. The Lions (5-4) are two games out of first place in the NFC North, entering the grueling stretch in their schedule that includes a game at Chicago on Sunday, then a Thanksgiving matchup with Minnesota the following Thursday. Detroit rebounded from a three-game losing streak and has won two in a row, and a more reliable Ebron would certainly help down the stretch. Caldwell dismissed the idea that the Lions can be more creative with Ebron’s positioning now that tackle Taylor Decker is back from his shoulder injury, and Ebron’s overall stat line from Sunday – two catches for 39 yards – wasn’t exactly an eye opener. But Detroit doesn’t need Ebron to be spectacular to move the ball. The Lions need him to be dependable and make the simple catches. In that sense, last weekend was a start. NOTES: Detroit’s maligned running game finished with 104 yards on 19 carries Sunday against a Cleveland team that came in ranked fourth against the run. ”I think our guys did a better job of executing, getting them a man on a man, and giving our backs a crease to run in,” Caldwell said. ”So, I think the backs did a good job getting north and south or circling the defense. So, overall I think it was more execution than anything else.” —

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