The Lions have to produce more than their A-game in Argentina‚ says coach Swys de Bruin
Lions coach Swys de Bruin admits his team will have to produce more than their A-game if they are going to record a maiden Super Rugby win in Argentina against the Jaguares on Saturday night.
The Lions kick off their campaign in Buenos Aires‚ a city where they have tasted defeat in all three of their previous meetings.
“They are a very‚ very good team. We will have to take our A-plus game if we want to beat them‚” said De Bruin on the eve of his team’s late departure via São Paulo on Wednesday morning.
Given their defeats in the Argentine capital the Lions opted to change things up in their preparations and by flying out later than usual they are hoping to re-enact historical precedent that has worked for them.
“The big change is that we are flying on a Wednesday and not a Saturday or Sunday as done previously.
"We finished practicing the bulk of our stuff at home‚” said De Bruin‚ who went on to suggest they previously weren’t afforded the privacy they would have liked.
“In the past we practiced there.
"It was difficult because people would stand and watch you.
"You feel as if you are under the magnifying glass. We decided to finish everything here. We will have a light flush out session there on Thursday.”
Flying closer to kick-off has in recent times paid off for the Lions.
“Last year we also flew out later when we went to play the Waratahs‚” said De Bruin about the Lions’ 29-0 win.
“It worked really well for us because we got a good win in Sydney. I know this is flying in the opposite direction but we consulted our senior players and they like leaving later.
“The big thing is if you do your homework on a Monday and a Tuesday and then fly over then you would have ticked all the boxes. It has its downside as well but it has worked for us in the past. That’s why we’ll again give it a go‚” said De Bruin.
Although their capricious performances have made the Jaguares an enigma in the competition‚ in personnel they are a team of Test match quality.
“They more or less have the same team that played two Tests against the Springboks last year‚” De Bruin noted.
“They have the same‚ actually 95 percent of the team that played against the Barbarians last year‚ when Rassie (Erasmus) coached and I was an assistant. We can’t look too much into that win they had against Uruguay (61-0).
"We know their players well and we know what they do‚” said De Bruin.
He admits losing two forwards in the build-up to the game was far from ideal.
Flanker Kwagga Smith was ruled out through injury and the Lions will go into combat with the accent on mobility in their backrow.
“We will want to stick to our DNA and play a high tempo‚” said the coach.
“They’ve got an international pack of forwards. We lost Kwagga with a calf muscle injury. We thought we could still press him into action but we decided not to risk him.
“We also lost Stephan Lewies with a pectoral muscle injury. The doctor told us they’ll both be ready to play against the Stormers.
“They are a big loss but I’m looking forward to seeing the guys who are coming in. A guy like Rhyno Herbst hasn’t dropped us but it is difficult to replace Kwagga because he is an exceptional player.”