Lions left to count costs of victory

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Hooker Malcolm Marx (neck) and prop Julian Redelinguys (wrist) are likely to miss this weekend’s clash against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth – and could be out of action for much longer than that.

”That’s the one negative from what was a very satisfying performance,” said Lions boss Johan Ackermann. “They’ve both been in tremendous form and I’m concerned about both of them. They’re in a lot of discomfort,” said the coach after the bruising battle, “so it’s a nervy time waiting to hear what the prognosis is.

”Marx’s injury especially could have a major impact on the Lions going forward. The only available fit hooker with Super Rugby experience is Armand van der Merwe, who’ll probably start this weekend. Robbie Coetzee is sidelined because of injury so Ackermann and Co will have to find a back-up for Van der Merwe.

”I was planning to rotate a few guys this weekend... Julian and Malcolm being among those players, so this match was probably a week too far for them,” said Ackermann. “Injuries are part of the game and we’ll now just have to find someone else. We’re going to have to trust our squad and look at the juniors and hopefully they’ll step up.

”The win means the Lions are now in charge of Group 2 in their conference, while the Stormers still head their group; both teams have won five matches from seven.”It was a fantastic game and all credit to both teams,” said Ackermann. “It was always going to be a hard-fought game and I thought we showed great composure at times when we were put under pressure, while the impact made by the bench players was the big difference in the end.

”There were also some key individualistic moments by like Elton (Jantjies) and Faf (de Klerk), which may have swung the game our way.”Jantjies enjoyed a stunning outing, kicking all his penalties, slotting a drop-goal and playing a big hand in the Lions’ first try, while De Klerk scored his team’s second five-pointer and made a crucial tackle late on when the Stormers were chasing the game.

But this was a collective effort by the Lions where several men stood out, among them Franco Mostert, Jaco Kriel, Warwick Tecklenburg, Warren Whiteley, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Lionel Mapoe.Stormers boss Robbie Fleck said the Lions deserved to win.

“It was everything we expected it to be... there was intensity in everything and the game was played at a really high tempo. Both sides had moments where they took control, just for the other team to fight back.

”We created some turn-overs and opportunities but didn’t capitalise so I suppose the Lions deserved their win; they were the better side on the day. At least we can feel pleased we got a point out of it.”Fleck added the quality of the game was a good sign for Springbok rugby.

“Both sides brought it on attack and defence, while the collisions were immense. If this is where SA rugby is going then the signs are good. Both sides had the intention to play good footie and if we can do this week-in and week-out then we’re (SA rugby) heading in the right direction.”

The Star

Original source: Lions left to count costs of victory

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