Jano Vermaak may have to carry an extra burden when the Lions play the Sharks in a Super 14 rugby match at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The 23-year-old scrumhalf, one of the few consistently outstanding players in the Lions team, is likely to be given the goal-kicking duties against the unbeaten visitors.
Beeld writer Hennie Brandt reports that Lions coach Eugene Eloff is expected to bring in Jaco van Schalkwyk at flyhalf. If that happens, someone else will have to take over the goal-kicking duties from Louis Strydom.
After three consecutive defeats, the Lions just cannot afford another defeat at Ellis Park.
They have lost at home twice, to the Blues and the Western Force, and at Loftus Versfeld against the Bulls.
Eloff and his coaching staff have some tough choices to make this week.
At the same time, the players have to take responsibility to eradicate the errors that have caused most of their problems.
Vermaak is a shining example of what Eloff and his assistants, Leon Boshoff and Wimpie Vermeulen, expect from their players. He has been brilliant on attack and defence, and his tactical kicking is outstanding.
Strydom did not convince against the Bulls. His wayward tactical kicking put his team under pressure and allowed the champions to launch counter-attacks.
But Eloff is not about to give up. “As in our previous games, we did not make use of our opportunities,” he said after the Loftus match.
“In addition to our lack of experience, we also lack patience. We keep losing the ball in contact situations. Derick Hougaard sank us with his six penalties and a drop-goal.”
“We had to play catch-up from early in the match but with the score at 25-17 I still believed we could win.”
However, even when the Bulls were down to 13 men, the Lions were unable to capitalise.
Captain Ernst Joubert said his players tried too hard to wipe out the deficit and, as a result, made too many errors.
“But we’re not throwing in the towel. We must try and get it right against the Sharks,” Joubert said.