Aphiwe Dyantyi starts on the bench for Lions Super Rugby final against Crusaders
Aphiwe Dyantyi will have to save his potentially explosive impact for the second half in Saturday’s Super Rugby final after he was named on the bench for the Lions.
They take on the defending champions the Crusaders in Christchurch with a team that shows two changes from the one that beat the Waratahs in the semi-finals.
Having sat out the second half last week with a hamstring injury‚ Dyantyi will this week make room for Courtnall Skosan in the starting line-up‚ while Cyle Brink returns to flank in the place of Lourens Erasmus who drops to the bench.
Brink has recovered from the shoulder injury that kept him out of action last week. With with his slightly lower centre of gravity than Erasmus‚ Brink will be one of the Lions’ go-to ball carriers in what is expected to be a damp Christchurch on Saturday.
His confrontational defence should be equally valuable in stunting the home team’s momentum.
With him back on the side of the scrum the Lions pack has a familiar look to it.
That familiarity has been built over the last few years as captain Warren Whiteley reminded.
“The continuity we’ve built is unheard of in South Africa‚” said Whiteley.
“It is indicative of the culture we’ve established at the Lions. We love what we do.”
The backs too have a familiar look about it‚ especially with Skosan‚ who scored a late try last weekend‚ back in the No11 jersey.
Dyantyi’s tiptoeing jet shoe act will be reserved for the second half‚ as will the chaos flank Marnus Schoeman inflicts on the opposing defence.
The Lions however‚ will have to do the bulk of their grunt early on if they want to keep the Crusaders in check. They will certainly need to start better than they have in recent weeks.
Against the Bulls‚ the Jaguares and the Waratahs they conceded two tries inside the first 20 minutes. That would be near suicidal against the Crusaders at sea level in Christchurch.
The Lions team:
Andries Coetzee; Ruan Combrinck‚ Lionel Mapoe‚ Harold Vorster‚ Courtnall Skosan; Elton Jantjies‚ Ross Cronjé; Warren Whiteley (captain)‚ Cyle Brink‚ Kwagga Smith; Franco Mostert‚ Marvin Orie; Ruan Dreyer‚ Malcolm Marx‚ Jacques van Rooyen.
Corne Fourie‚ Dylan Smith‚ Johannes Jonker‚ Lourens Erasmus‚ Marnus Schoeman; Dillon Smit‚ Aphiwe Dyantyi‚ Howard Mnisi.