Lions coach Swys de Bruin expecting the Stormers to bounce back
Guided by the belief that the Stormers cannot be any worse than they were against the Bulls at Loftus‚ the Lions coach Swys de Bruin is expecting to face a team on the rebound in their Super Rugby clash at Newlands on Saturday.
“It is Newlands‚ its Cape Town‚ it’s a very proud franchise.
"They will bounce back like never before. We all know it. We believe what happened at Loftus was a case of maybe they underestimated the Bulls‚” said De Bruin.
He reminded that the Stormers “still have 11 or 12 current Springboks”‚ before adding “we are under no illusions.
“We had games where we lost by 50 points and then won the next one‚” De Bruin underlined his point.
“Fleckie (Robbie Fleck‚ Stormers coach) said it. They are moving on. For us it is the first South African derby match and nothing more than that.”
De Bruin went on to suggest the brouhaha around Fleck and his continued suitability for the job isn’t commensurate with what has transpired. He went on to suggest those enthusiastically engraving Fleck’s coaching tombstone should not lose sight of the quality of the opposition they faced last weekend.
“Absolutely‚" he said.
"You almost laugh. The Bulls have a Springbok spine in their team. They are a strong team at Loftus. The hype is way too much.
"The Crusaders won the trophy how many times after losing the first couple of games? It is way too soon to make an issue about it.”
Apart from taking on a side potentially on the rebound the Lions need to shake the debilitating effects of their return journey from Buenos Aires earlier this week.
The coach admitted that it is tough travelling back.
“You leave 7.00am in the morning for Sáo Paulo and you spend three hours there before flying back here for 11 hours‚" he said.
"You arrive here 8.00am on a Monday morning. But we have great medical staff‚” the coach was quick to add.
De Bruin has amended his side that won against the Jaguares with Stephan Lewies due for a run on debut at lock‚ Kwagga Smith returning at flank and Ruan Combrinck being restored to the wing.
“The secret is this year‚ being a World Cup year‚ is to rotate players‚” said the coach.
“Stephan Lewies was picked for the game in Argentina but he got sick‚ while the rest of the changes are purely rotational. We won the game last week. No-one had a bad game.”
In having Smith and Marnus Schoeman operating in tandem from the start‚ the Lions are desperate to fight fire with fire at the breakdown.
“We’ve had Marnus and Kwagga together before. We did it against the Waratahs last year.
"The Stormers will come at the breakdown‚ especially them being on the rebound. That is an area we will have to be careful in. To play with two No6 flankers is at this stage perhaps not a bad idea.”
De Bruin highlighted Combrinck’s booming right boot as a factor that helped earn him selection.
He has stacked his bench with pace‚ a commodity that he expects will be less influential in the opening quarter of the match.
“The first 20 minutes will be fierce but in the last 20 minutes you might need some pace‚” said De Bruin.
The Lions team to play the Stormers:
Andries Coetzee; Ruan Combrinck‚ Lionel Mapoe‚ Harold Vorster‚ Courtnall Skosan; Elton Jantjies‚ Nic Groom; Warren Whiteley (captain)‚ Kwagga Smith‚ Marnus Schoeman; Stephan Lewies‚ Marvin Orie; Carlu Sadie‚ Malcolm Marx‚ Dylan Smith. Substitutes: Pieter Jansen‚ Sti Sithole‚ Jacobie Adriaanse‚ Rhyno Herbst‚ Hacjivah Dayimani; Gianni Lombard‚ Aphiwe Dyantyi‚ Sylvian Mahuza.