Earl Rose, Walter Venter and promising flanker Johan “Biscuit” van Deventer have become some of the latest casualties in Lions land as new new coach John Mitchell (newer than the old new coach Dick Muir) plays the new broom trick in yet another attempt to try and wring some success out of the perennial no-hopers from the Coke Tin.
Flyhalf Rose – nicknamed the “Tiger Woods of rugby” by Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, really doesn’t have any further to fall now. He was dropped from the Lions Super 14 group by Muir earlier in the year and Mitchell has in turn decided that he’s not good enough for the Currie Cup squad. Attempts to offload him to the Cheetahs failed, so the enigmatic pivot will have to make do with playing club rugby until his fortunes pick up again.
Venter and van Deventer are both fan favourites that have never quite managed to convince the coaching staff of their attributes. The former was recently very keen on a move to the Sharks, which unfortunately went nowhere, while the latter has been roundly labelled “too small” by the same geniuses who let Jean Deysel go on the grounds that he wasn’t quick enough to be an opensider! Former Sharks under 21 player Warren Whiteley has been plucked from the obscurity of the Joburg club scene in van Deventer’s place, while another former Shark, Waylon Murray, looks set to establish himself as the Lions’ first choice at inside centre.
Mitchell has named his team to face Boland in a warm up game this weekend – this after the Lions somehow conspired to lose their first warm-up game to the lowly Pumas by 5 points. Herkie Kruger will run at flyhalf, with promising Baby Bok centre Jaco Taute named in the last line of defence. Murray is not the only discard from another province in the three quarter line, though – Marius Delport and Tonderai Chavanga will be there too, courtesy of being surplus to requirements in Pretoria and Cape Town respectively.
Exactly what the Lions are hoping to achieve here is a mystery. Mitchell has regularly finished in the bottom four of the Super 14 with a far stronger Western Force team than the rag-tag bunch he’ll be coaching in this year’s Currie Cup. Expect much wailing, gnashing of teeth and the inevitable soul-searching as the season progresses.
Lions to face Boland – 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Tonderai Chavhanga, 13 Marius Delport, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Herkie Kruger, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Jonathan Mokuena, 7 Franco van der Merwe, 6 Derek Minnie, 5 David Bulbring, 4 George Earle, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Hans van Dyk, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Subs: Martin Bezuidenhout, Wayne Swart, Warren Whiteley, Robert Kruger, Chris Jonck, Elton Jantjies, Deon van Rensburg, Alwyn Hollenbach
Lions squad – Alwyn Hollenbach, Burton Francis, Charles Emslie, Chris Jonck, David Bulbring, Deon van Rensburg, Derrick Minnie, Doppies la Grange, Elton Jantjies, Franco van der Merwe, George Earle, Hans van Dyk, Herkie Kruger, Jaco Kriel, Jaco Taute, Jano Vermaak, JC Janse van Rensburg, Johan Snyman, Jonathan Mokuena, JP Joubert, Kevin Buys, Marius Delport, Martin Bezuidenhout, Michael Killian, Pieter Engelbrecht, Robert Kruger, Ross Geldenhuys, Ruan Vermeulen, Tonderai Chavhanga, Wandile Mjekevu, Warren Whiteley, Waylon Murray, Wayne Swart, Wikus van Heerden.Tweet