The Lions are not convinced that veteran Springbok Ollie le Roux won’t be playing for the Stormers in their Super 14 rugby match at Ellis Park on Saturday.
But whether Le Roux plays or not, the spectators can look forward to a mighty front-row battle – between former team-mates Heinke van der Merwe and Brian Mujati.
Hennie Brandt writes in Beeld that the contest between Mujati, who now plays at tighthead prop for the Stormers, and Van der Merwe could have an important influence on the result of a match that the Stormers must win to qualify for a semi-final.
When the Lions heard on Wednesday that Le Roux had not been considered for the Stormers team because of a calf muscle injury they took the news with a pinch of salt.
“Everyone knows (Stormers coach) Rassie Erasmus. He likes to spring surprises,” said Leon Boshoff, coach of the Lions pack. “Rassie needs Ollie to get the Stormers into the semi-finals.
“If Ollie plays on Saturday he will try to intimidate the Lions. That’s why it’s nice to know Marius Jonker will be the referee. He will see what’s happening.”
Le Roux has been training with the Stormers because the Cape side have a problem as a result of JD Moller’s injury. Schalk Ferreira was named as loosehead prop on Wednesday.
Strong and weak points
“We’re not preparing to play against Ollie or any other prop,” Lions coach Eugene Eloff said.
“We focus on scrumming well, no matter against whom we play. I’m not running to get the newspapers every day to see who will play against us.”
Boshoff, who used to play Super rugby with Erasmus when they were both in the Cats team, said the Lions knew Mujati’s strong and weak points.
Mujati and Van der Merwe, both 23-years-old, made their Currie Cup debut for the Lions in a match against the Sharks in 2006. They were also Super 14 partners last year.
The combination broke up when Mujati left for Cape Town early this year.
Boshoff said Mujati had learnt to scrum at the Lions. “He is a good player and it was a big loss when he went to Cape Town. He and Heinke will have a huge battle.”
Boshoff, a former Transvaal and Cats hooker, feels the Lions’ forwards have been improving in every match. They were outstanding against the Chiefs last week.
“The guys are starting to do well because they’ve been working together for some time.
“We have two young props and our lock forwards have a different style to that of the Stormers’ locks.
“And in Willem Alberts, Joe van Niekerk en Cobus Grobbelaar we have loose forwards who know and complement each other,” Boshoff said.Tweet