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Lions look to open Cup account

South African captain Tshoboki Moagi and teammates familiarise themselves with Anthony Costa Oval. (krockfootball.com.au Image/Al Packer)

SOUTH African coach Benji Motuba says his team is honoured at being given the chance to play the first ever game under the new lights at Anthony Costa Oval.

The Lions will return to the ground tonight for a clash with Fiji in the AFL International Cup, three years after taking on Papua New Guinea.

“It is a very big honour,” Motuba said.

“The first time a game has been played under AFL standard lights at St Mary’s and the first opportunity for some of my boys to play a night game.”

South Africa is winless through the opening two rounds, suffering a 37-point loss to Great Britain on Sunday and a 47-point defeat at the hands of the United States on Wednesday.

“The two teams we’ve played against had plenty of height,” Motuba said.

“But I reckon my boys will come back in tomorrow night’s game.”

Motuba is expecting a fast, physical contest against the Fijians.

“I think we’re of similar height and same-sized bodies,” he said.

“It’s going to be pretty fast. They’re fast and we’re fast, too.”

Motuba has been involved with Australian Rules in South Africa since the game was introduced into the country in 1997, playing in five International Cups and coaching in another two, including this year’s edition.

“I’ve come to Australia a couple of times to play,” he said. “I’ve played in the South Australian Riverland.

“It was such a good experience for me, and I enjoy sharing my experience with these guys and making sure they improve their game.”

Motuba follows Port Adelaide as a result of the South Australian connection, with former Power hardman Byron Pickett and Hawthorn veteran Shaun Burgoyne his favourite players.

“I named my son after Shaun Burgoyne, so we called him Burgoyne.”

Twitter: @tom_king79