Rugby: Explosive start to the New Year expected in the Lions’ den

Vernon Horne scores one of his six tries for the Lions against Longton. Photo: Mick Sutterby

Vernon Horne scores one of his six tries for the Lions against Longton. Photo: Mick Sutterby

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The first game of 2015 in the Lions’ den at Bretton Park promises to be an absolute cracker.

Peterborough Lions entertain Nuneaton (kick-off 2.15pm) on Saturday (10 January) and the sparks are sure to fly in a game that could go a long way to determining who wins a promotion play-off place in National League Division Three.

South Leicester are running away with the title race - they’re 14 points clear - but several teams fancy their chances of finishing runners-up to clinch a play-off spot.

And Nuneaton and the Lions are at the moment the two most fancied teams.

Nuneaton are second and the Lions are two points behind them in third spot.

The Lions also have revenge on their minds after losing a very closely-fought contest at Nuneaton by just six points (24-18) in September.

“They went 14-0 up but we came back at them and if they’d have been another five minutes to go I’m sure we’d have won,” recalled Lions chairman Andy Moore.

“Let’s put it this way, they were mightily relieved to hear that final whistle.

“It’s a massive game for both sides and a great way to kick off the New Year at the Den.

“We want revenge, both sides need the win and we’ll have the hottest property in the division strutting his stuff. What more can you ask for?”

The ‘hot property’ Moore refers to is dynamic winger Vernon Horne, who is in unstoppable form at the moment.

Last Saturday he set a new league and club record when racing in for a superb six tries in a 51-12 win at Longton.

“It was an unbelievable display - I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Moore.

“Everything he touched turned to gold. He is on fire at the moment - he’s a phenomenal player and an absolute joy to watch.”

And there’s also good news for the Lions on the selection front with the second row pairing of John Harlock and Matt Dunn plus prop Manny Van Niekirk all available again after missing the last couple of games.