Lions announce squad for Bulls showdown
The Lions have been forced into a significant change in their backrow for Saturday’s Jukskei Derby against the Bulls.
Flank Kwagga Smith is on compassionate leave this week and will miss the crunch clash against the Lions’ neighbours.
Given Smith’s sheer industry and explosiveness around the contact areas the Lions‚ perhaps in recognition that they cannot make a like for like replacement‚ have opted to move Franco Mostert from the second to the back row.
He will wear the No7 jersey while the Kyle Brink moves to six with Marvin Orie replacing Mostert in the second row.
The reshuffle in the pack is a calculated risk but the Lions may also have been guided by the dominant performance of Bulls’ locks RG Snyman and Lood de Jager against the Hurricanes last weekend.
The Lions have opted to bolster their options in the one area where they have been off the mark in their first two matches against the Sharks and the Jaguares.
Mostert’s move to the No7 jumper will give the Lions more bulk and height at the tail of the line-out but they will miss his presence in the middle where he has performed as their banker in recent seasons.
Still‚ it leaves the elongated Orie and the more muscular Andries Ferreira to rise to the occasion.
They had better.
Quick off the top possession will suit the Bulls’ quick tempo-ed approach and may for the second week running provide a platform for their second rowers to poke holes from second phase onwards.
Smith will be sorely missed as he would have been one of the Lions’ most potent counter punchers this weekend. Instead the burly Brink will have to play towards the ball with captain Warren Whiteley maintaining roving role at No8.
His ability to get around the park will be key as the Bulls are likely to stretch play at Loftus.
It it however worth noting that Whiteley is still in the throes of getting up to speed following long term injury.
Among the backs the confrontational Rohan Janse van Rensburg has been introduced into the midfield at the expense of Harold Vorster who drops to the bench.
Vorster’s demotion means Howard Mnisi falls out of the match day squad but Madosh Tambwe returns to the timber.
Lions team to play the Bulls:
Andries Coetzee; Sylvian Mahuza‚ Lionel Mapoe‚ Rohan Janse van Rensburg‚ Aphiwe Dyantyi; Warren Whiteley (captain)‚ Franco Mostert‚ Cyle Brink; Marvin Orie‚ Andries Ferreira; Ruan Dreyer‚ Malcolm Marx‚ Jacques van Rooyen.
Robbie Coetzee‚ Dylan Smith‚ Jacobie Adriaanse‚ Lourens Erasmus‚ Marnus Schoeman; Marco Jansen van Vuren‚ Harold Vorster‚ Madosh Tambwe.