Lions respect Bulls, but have no fear

2011-02-17 14:39

The Lions announced their team that would take on the Bulls at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday and also mentioned that they had a great amount of respect for the Super 14 champions, it was revealed today.

“Derbies are very special and we are respectful of what the Bulls have achieved in the competition,” said Lions coach John Mitchell.

“They have set benchmarks in South African Rugby and it’s up to us now to set our own.”

After a lengthy process of fitness and skills training, Mitchell selected his squad for the competition and wasted no time in including several of his new recruits.

Former Bulls hooker Bandise Maku will start in the front row next to Pat Cilliers, who used to be in the Sharks set-up.

Speedster Lionel Mapoe will also make his long awaited return to competitive rugby while Rory Kockott (Sharks) and New Zealand Sevens star Jamaes Kamana will make their debuts from the bench.

Mitchell says he is under no illusions as to the tough task his men have on Saturday, but is confident his charges will not let him down.

“It is important to start well and it is important to win and get early momentum,” he said.

“I believe we can win as long as we stay in touch with our feelings and thoughts, as longs as we continue to do what we do and believe in what we do and continue to move forward every week we will enjoy this journey.”

The former Western Force coach also made it clear that his men will not put all their eggs into one basket as the tournament will test the team’s player-depth.

“They are only one team, the Bulls are only this week and there are some very good teams we have to play in the competition so I will not be expecting my team to put all their energy into this one match.”

Looking ahead to the match, skipper Franco van der Merwe said that they are excited about testing their abilities against one of the best teams in the competition.

Van der Merwe and his men are also not anticipating anything less than traditional Bulls rugby.

“We expect them to stick to what has worked for them over the year’s even though they might change on or two things,” said the Lions captain.

“What they have been doing over the last five years has worked for them, and everyone knows how they play, but still they can’t beat them.

“So we will just have to focus on what we want to and how we want to play and hopefully the result will be in our favour.”

Apart from the match itself, the Lions have vowed to provide fans with an entertainment experience suitable for the entire family and have made arrangements for live bands, dancing groups and big screens to watch the Sharks take on the Cheetahs.

Team:
15 Jaco Taute,
14 Lionel Mapoe,
13 Waylon Murray,
12 Doppies La Grange,
11 Michael Killian,
10 Elton Jantjies,
9 Jano Vermaak,
8 Warren Whiteley,
7 Josh Strauss,
6 Derick Minnie,
5 Franco van der Merwe (capt),
4 George Earl,
3 Patrick Cilliers,
2 Bandise Maku,
1 JC Janse van Rensburg.

Replacements:
16 Martin Bezuidenhout,
17 Kevin Buys,
18 Wikus van Heerden,
19 Cobus Grobbelaar,
20 Rory Kockott,
21 Burton Francis,
22 James Kamana.

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