Rested Lions raring to go


The last time the Lions were in action they took a beating by the Hurricanes and have had to mull over their poor performance, having not played this last weekend.

But on Saturday, at Ellis Park, they get a chance to rectify what went wrong in the 50-17 defeat when they host the unpredictable, but dangerous Blues.

“It’s certainly been a little different this week, coming back after a defeat and the bye,” admitted assistant Lions coach Swys de Bruin yesterday.

“After the loss last time out there’s a feeling of wanting to get right back in it to get it out of the way as quickly as possible.

“So, yes, it’s been more difficult than in the past, having all this time to reflect, but we’ve had a good week and what happened in the Hurricanes game is now well and truly forgotten.

“It is two weeks ago. Our focus now is only on the Blues.”

The Lions were out-played in several departments by the Hurricanes, something that also happened against the Highlanders and Crusaders, but then Johan Ackermann’s men did pull off a major surprise by beating arguably New Zealand’s best team, the Chiefs, in Hamilton.

On Saturday they’ll be hoping to make it two from five against New Zealand opposition, but De Bruin says the Blues will be no push-overs. This despite the men from Auckland experiencing a topsy-turvy season.

“They’re a much-improved outfit under Tana Umaga. They’re playing with a lot of passion - a lot more than was the case last year and I believe Tana has a lot to do with that,” said De Bruin. “They’re a well-balanced team and will ask questions in many areas.”

That said, the Lions aren’t too interested in who they’re up against this weekend.

“The thing is if you analyse a team and prepare for a certain opponent you can get caught out on matchday if they bring something different to the table. That’s why we’re not worried about who we’re facing - all our focus and attention is on what we have to do to win again.

“We’ve got a certain style and strategy and as long as we stick to it I’m sure we’ll bounce back,” said De Bruin.

The good news for the Lions is that front rowers Julian Redelinghuys and Malcolm Marx will be back in the team this week after missing the Hurricanes game because of injury. However, there is still some concern around flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who hurt his knee last time out. He will be given until tomorrow to prove he is fit enough to start against the Blues on Saturday.

“Pieter Scholtz and Ramone Samuels, who stood in for Julian and Malcolm did well for us, but, of course, it’s a boost for the team to get those guys back,” said De Bruin. “They’ve been in great form this season so we’re confident they’ll be ready to play.

“Elton hasn’t been able to train fully yet so we’ll give him more time to show he’s ready.”

Ackermann will name his team today. The match on Saturday kicks off at 7.15pm. - The Star

Original source: Rested Lions raring to go