The Lions won’t allow Stormers coach Rassie Erasmus to play mind games with them ahead of the crucial Super 14 rugby match at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Erasmus, whose team must collect a full haul of five log points to remain in the race for a semi-final berth, is known as a coach who likes to play games with his opponents.
Hennie Brandt writes in Beeld that Lions coach Eugene Eloff said on Monday he would take no notice of what Erasmus might say about Saturday’s match.
“I don’t know whether he will play games,” Eloff said. “But we won’t take notice of anything that is said. I also won’t read any newspapers this week. All I am focussing on is what we should do to win the match.
“The Stormers are coming to Ellis Park well prepared. They are a good team. But we have the ammunition to beat them if we retain possession, defend well and finish our attacks.”
The Lions start their preparations on Tuesday. They enjoyed a day off on Monday after the physical match against the Chiefs last Saturday.
Needed several stitches
The rest day was certainly a welcome break for flankers Joe van Niekerk and Cobus Grobbelaar and No 8 Willem Alberts. Grobbelaar needed several stitches to sew up a wound in his left eyelid last Saturday.
The trio and their tight five will play an important role against the Stormers.
Eloff and his assistants, Leon Boshoff and Wimpie Vermeulen will finalise their 22 on Wednesday. Unless something dramatic happens, they are likely to field the same 22 that shared in the 33-27 victory over the Chiefs.
“I don’t think there will be many changes. One does not change a winning combination for nothing,” Eloff said.
However, he and Vermeulen will have to think long and hard about the scrumhalf in the starting lineup.
Chris Jonck was promoted to the run-on team last week when Jano Vermaak went down with the flu. Jonck grabbed the opportunity and played extremely well.
Vermaak has now recovered and the coaches have to decide who will wear No 9 against the Stormers.
The lineout battle will be particularly important on Saturday. Gerhard Mostert was outstanding last week and when Franco van der Merwe replaced Dewald Seneral at lock, the Chiefs had major problems.
The Stormers have an outstanding lineout and Eloff and his staff will pay much attention to the selection of their lock-forward combination.
The likely Lions team: Earl Rose, Louis Ludik, Jaque Fourie, Walter Venter, Ryno Benjamin, Jaco van Schalkwyk, Chris Jonck, Willem Alberts, Joe van Niekerk, Cobus Grobbelaar (c), Gerhard Mostert, Dewald Senekal, JC Janse van Rensburg, Willie Wepener, Heinke van der Merwe.
Substitutes: Ethienne Reynecke, Ross Geldenhuys, Franco van der Merwe, Wilhelm Koch, Jano Vermaak, Jannie Boshoff and Dusty Noble.Tweet