Golden Lions hoping to lift themselves out of the Currie Cup basement

31 August 2017 - 16:56 By Liam Del Carme
Victor Matfield (Forward Coach) during the Xerox Golden Lions team announcement at Emirates Airline Park Media Centre on August 10, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Victor Matfield (Forward Coach) during the Xerox Golden Lions team announcement at Emirates Airline Park Media Centre on August 10, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

In anticipation of his team eventually clicking‚ Golden Lions coach Swys de Bruin is like a coiled spring waiting to go... boing!

His team is rooted to the bottom of the Currie Cup points table but he has witnessed enough improvement in the last few weeks in defeat to be sanguine about the team's prospects.

On Saturday they play the Pumas at Ellis Park and they can't leave a resurgence much longer.

“There are no must wins‚” said De Bruin‚ however.

He believes things eventually will fall into place.

“Stick to what we set out to do. The results will come. We're waiting in anticipation. We are waiting for the team to click‚” said the expectant coach.

Increasingly De Bruin has had to call on very young talent and the Lions' urge to fast track is starting to bear fruit‚ although not on the scoreboard yet.

Precocious backrower Hacjivah Dayimani hasn't figured out where he best fits into the team.

“I'm still finding myself. I haven't decided yet. I'm waiting for the coach to tell me which position I should specialise in. At school I played eight‚ and sometimes wing‚” said Dayimani‚ who has been used as an impact player who terrorises defences.

Dayimani was still at school last year and it is clear in his giddy responses.

Asked if he had role models who helped shape his game‚ Dayimani said: “A few of them are still in the team.

“It's life-changing playing with guys like Anthony Volmink and Kwagga Smith.”

It hasn't however been all plain sailing this season. He was left out of the Junior Bok team and it hurt.

“I was very disappointed that I didn't make it. I told my parents I'm disappointed but they said there is nothing I can do about it.

"They said you can sulk or pull up your socks and play.”

That he did.

“That is why we only have two backline reserves‚” De Bruin sang his praises.

“You can play him anywhere. He is a bit like a Kwagga (Smith).”

Dayimani's emergence is a fillip for the Golden Lions. Their transformation credentials had been questioned during Super Rugby but they suddenly boast a more inclusive team.

“I'm very excited for that‚” said De Bruin.

He also noted the development of flyhalf Ashlon Davids.

“He is putting his hand up as well in terms of leadership.

De Bruin has had to make some injury enforced amendments to his team. Centre Harold Vorster has a hand injury and will be replaced by Manuel Rass.

“He played for our champion u19 last year. He's stocky but has good ball skills. He is one for the future.”

The pack suddenly has a more grizzled look with Bok tighthead and new dad Ruan Dreyer and erstwhile national No8 Ryan Kankowski back in the squad.

The Lions team to play the Pumas is:

Sylvian Mahuza; Madosh Tambwe‚ Manual Rass‚ Rohan Janse van Rensburg‚ Aphiwe Dyantyi; Ashlon Davids‚ Marco Janse van Vuren; Ryan Kankowski‚ Fabian Booysen‚ Cyle Brink; Marvin Orie‚ Andries Ferreira; Ruan Dreyer‚ Robbie Coetzee‚ Jacques van Rooyen (captain).

Substitutes: Pieter Jansen‚ Corné Fourie‚ Jacobie Adriaanse‚ Robert Kruger‚ Hacjivah Dayimani; Branco du Preez‚ Jaco van der Walt.

- TimesLIVE