Lions coach Eugene Eloff plans to ‘box clever’ in the next few weeks, as his team continues their build-up to the start of the Super 14 season – when they face the Cheetahs on February 13.
Eloff, who reiterated that he won’t be reading too much into his team’s 44-21 victory over the Bulls in their warm-up at the weekend, says the key to a successful pre-season is finding the right balance between physical match preparation and avoiding injuries.
“I’m happy we have a good foundation we can work from,” he said about the encounter with the Bulls, adding: “The players’ fitness levels are fine, the skill levels were good and the structures we wanted to set in place worked pretty well.”
He also revealed that there will be more “contact” sessions in the weeks to come, but not in a match as was the case against the Bulls.
“Now it is about working intelligently and preparing the team for the first match of the season [against the Cheetahs],” Eloff said.
“In the next two weeks we will be having live training sessions against our Vodacom Cup team, as well as against our Varsity Cup side – just to ensure that we are match fit when the season starts.
“The reason why I’ve only played one hard warm-up game is because of body fatigue.
“We have our bye early in the season [in Week Four], which means the guys will play continuously for 11 matches in row and I need to ensure that we can cope with the physicality for 13 weeks.”
Eloff is set to finalise his squad for the Super 14 competition this week and made it clear he was very happy with what was at his disposal – especially some of the more senior players.
Springbok wings Ashwin Willemse (back from an unhappy stint in France) and Henno Mentz (joined from the Sharks) added some additional strike power to an already impressive backline.
“I thought all the new players that came in added value to the team, even some of the young guns showed signs that they can play at this level,” the coach added.Tweet