The Xerox Lions, with just one injury-enforced change to the starting line-up that beat Western Province, will be looking to redouble their efforts when they take on the Vodacom Blue Bulls in their Absa Currie Cup derby at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.
Ken Borland writes on Superrugby that that Lions coach Eugene Eloff is in the cosy position of having to make just one change to the team that overpowered the Streeptruie in Johannesburg last weekend, but it is at lock, with the hard-hitting Dewald Senekal limping around Coca-Cola Park on Wednesday with a hamstring injury.
Apart from Senekal, the Lions’ injury toll seems to be easing with Gerhard Mostert returning for Senekal and Ernst Joubert back in action on the bench. Eloff is also pleased to welcome back flyhalf Louis Strydom from a groin injury and he will start on the bench as back-up to Earl Rose.
“Losing Dewald because of his hamstring is definitely a blow, but you see Ernst Joubert is back and Anton van Zyl has been playing very good rugby as well, so it’s worked out very well,” Eloff said.
Lions captain Cobus Grobbelaar said he expected the bulky Bulls pack to try and soften them up first.
“They will try to disrupt us in the tight phases and Deon Stegmann and Wikus van Heerden are both very good, hard players on the ground. And if the pack is constantly tackling you back then it becomes even easier to contest the ball,” Grobbelaar said.
But the Lions’ fetching king said the Bulls also had the backline to play adventurous rugby.
“They have very good backs who have been in the system a long time and if they get quick ball then they will be dangerous – they finish things like overlaps very well,” Grobbelaar said.
The skipper said the Lions would be focusing on the simple matter of execution against the Bulls.
“The one thing we took from the Western Province win was that if you take your opportunities then you will win. We believe that and we’re starting to do it. If we don’t take that attitude and mindset into the match against the Bulls then we can’t expect to get anywhere,” Grobbelaar said.
Either way, the fur is bound to fly when the two Gauteng arch-rivals clash on Friday night.
Team – 15-Louis Ludik, 14-Michael Killian, 13-Jaco Pretorius, 12-Doppies la Grange, 11-Rayno Benjamin, 10-Earl Rose, 9-Jano Vermaak, 8-Willem Alberts, 7-Franco van der Merwe, 6-Cobus Grobbelaar (captain), 5-Gerhard Mostert, 4-Anton van Zyl, 3-Lawrence Sephaka, 2-Willie Wepener, 1-Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16-Ethienne Reynecke, 17-Gert Muller, 18-Ernst Joubert, 19-Justin Wheeler, 20-Chris Jonck, 21-Louis Strydom, 22-Jaco van Schalkwyk.Tweet