KSA Shark ©

Mitchell wields the Axe

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :In the news, Lions, Super Rugby on 14 Apr 2011 at 18:01
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lions coach John Mitchell has lost patience with his under-performing team and wielded a heavy axe ahead of their encounter with the Stormers on Saturday.

Rugby 365 reports that after seven defeats in eight matches – and with injuries also cutting a swathe through the side – Mitchell made seven changes to the starting line-up.

However, it is his unprecedented attack on the form of some players that will raise the eyebrows.

“There is no place for mediocrity,” Mitchell told a media gathering in Johannesburg.

The New Zealand coach made it clear that “action had to be taken” as some of the players weren’t playing at their optimum level.

Out go lock Franco van der Merwe, tighthead prop Patric Cilliers and flyhalf Elton Jantjies.

Injuries have also ruled out fullback James Kamana (fractured leg), veteran Springbok flyhalf André Pretorius (leg), flanks Derick Minnie (knee) and Josh Strauss (concussion), as well as lock George Earl (concussion).

Veteran lock David de Villiers, imported from the Cheetahs this season, former Griquas prop Jacobie Adriaanse and former Sharks flank Michael Rhodes come in for first starts for the Lions in the Super Rugby competition.

There is also a rare start for flyhalf Burton Francis.

Fullback Michael Killian and lock Wikus van Heerden return from injury to claim starting places, while veteran loose forward Cobus Grobbelaar gets another start after playing for the Vodacom Cup side last weekend.

Van der Merwe, who stepped down as captain a fortnight ago, has been demoted to the bench as the result of the side’s poor line-out performances in recent matches.

Mitchell told the media gathering that this first phase facet was “the root of all evil”.

The coach is hoping that the selection of De Villiers, a line-out specialist, and the tall Rhodes at flank, will help to alleviate these problems.

The selection of Francis at flyhalf comes as no surprise after performances by Jantjies that fluctuated between very good and very poor. The leg injury suffered by the Lions’ World Cup-winning No.10, Pretorius obviously contributed to the headache.

Francis, according to Mitchell, fits the game plan of the Lions.

Lions: 15 Michael Killian, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Doppies la Grange (captain), 11 Deon van Rensburg, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Patric Cilliers, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Dries van Schalkwyk, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Jaco Taute


  • He takes no prisoners this guy. 🙂

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.04.11 18:17:47 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Would have thought Mike Rhodes will take lock and Wickus flank. Mitchell has his head screwed on right though. Does not take sh|t….. 😯 mean prisoners

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.04.11 18:27:33 by JustPlainSHARK Reply
  • Burton was not even man enough for Bulls Vodacom team. Big mistake.

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.04.11 18:30:44 by Bloubloubul Reply
  • Burton is a problem. But does he dare risk Jantjies? With Mr P not available they`ll be in trouble untill Butch rolls into Jhb .. .

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.04.11 18:35:54 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • The Sharks must stop hurting so many players from other teams. Every team that plays a team the Sharks played the week before will have it easier, with injured players out, and their heads in the wrong place after being thrashed by the Sharks the week before. 😉 😛 :mrgreen: 😈

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.04.11 18:38:38 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • What has Taute done wrong? Can’t seem to get a start at 15, and I thought he was superb in the CC last year.

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.04.11 18:39:34 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 6) : I`d want him in the starting lineup as well.

    Who to drop though? Mapoe`s defense is the weakest . . .

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.04.11 19:00:36 by Original Pierre Reply
    Original Pierre
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 7) : van Rensburg or Killian, well I would drop one of them for Taute.

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.04.11 19:04:49 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • @Original Pierre (Comment 7) : I would keep Mapoe, his pace will always make him difficult to tackle.

  • Comment 9, posted at 14.04.11 19:05:57 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • Gonna get smashed. 30 points I think.

  • Comment 10, posted at 14.04.11 19:08:30 by Speed7 Reply

  • @Speed7 (Comment 10) : It will be interesting to see how the Stormers perform without Peter Grant. I think it will be closer than you think. Just my opinion.

  • Comment 11, posted at 14.04.11 19:12:09 by Dancing Bear Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Dancing Bear
  • Go Lions!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Comment 12, posted at 14.04.11 19:54:13 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • @Dancing Bear (Comment 5) : I agree , I have also picked that up. Every game the Sharks play the are so many crocks on the other side its just not true…lol GO Sharks, eat them! 🙂

  • Comment 13, posted at 14.04.11 22:55:40 by Uli Reply
    Valued Sharksworld Supporter
    Uli Boelie
  • Mapoe out injured. It happened at training yesterday.

    Killian moves to wing, Taute starts at fullback

  • Comment 14, posted at 16.04.11 08:14:26 by KSA Shark © Reply

    KSA Shark ©
  • Mitchell simply doesn’t have enough quality players.

    He can chop and change all he wants, will make little difference.

  • Comment 15, posted at 16.04.11 08:59:54 by McLovin Reply


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