Super Rugby is forgotten – Lions coach

2012-08-08 14:41

With a new captain in JC Janse van Rensburg and a new coach in Johan Ackermann, the Lions start their Currie Cup defence against the Cheetahs at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday evening.

Their Super Rugby side had a very tough and disappointing season, finishing last in both the combined and South African logs.

Janse van Rensburg said that the Super Rugby tournament was now water under the bridge and their focus had shifted to defending the Currie Cup. They beat the Sharks 42-16 in last year’s final at Coca Cola Park.

“We are going flat out to defend it. Super Rugby is gone and we have almost forgotten about it. Now it is the Currie Cup. What happened in the Super Rugby happened and now we are past it. It is a new page and we are looking to defend the Currie Cup,” he said.

The Cheetahs have been unable to retain most of their quality players, but they remain one of the most dangerous sides in the tournament. Their free running style has seeped down from their Super Rugby side and Janse van Rensburg has an eye on that.

“The Cheetahs are a very good side and they can turn up on any day and destroy you. The guys who are not in the Springbok side are going to step up and try to impress the the coach as best they can because at the end of the day, everybody wants to play for the Springboks,” he said.

Like the Cheetahs, the Lions have not been affected by Springbok call-ups and Ackermann said this could work to their advantage.

“It is an advantage in the first few rounds because we have a bit more continuity,” he said.

“But if you look at the Sharks squad, they are still left with quality players and even Springbok class players. It still won’t be easy to play the Sharks nor Western Province though.”

Kick-off is at 5.05pm.

Teams
Lions: 15. Andries Coetzee, 14. JR Esterhuizen, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Waylon Murray, 11. Anthony Volmink, 10. Butch James, 9. Michael Bondesio, 8. Derick Minnie, 7. Joshua Strauss, 6. Cobus Grobbelaar, 5. Franco van der Merwe, 4. Hendrik Roodt, 3. Jacobie Adriaanse, 2. Callie Visagie, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg (c)

Substitutes: 16. Francois du Toit, 17. CJ van der Linde, 18. Willie Britz, 19. Warren Whiteley, 20. Ross Cronje, 21. Guy Cronje, 22. Ruan Combrinck

Cheetahs: 15. Hennie Daniller, 14. Nico Scheepers, 13. Robert Ebersohn (captain), 12. Andries Strauss, 11. Raymond Rhule, 10. Riaan Smit, 9. Pieter van Zyl, 8. Davon Raubenheimer, 7. Lappies Labuschagné, 6. Boom Prinsloo, 5. Izak van der Westhuizen, 4. Waltie Vermeulen, 3. Marcel van der Merwe, 2. Hercu Liebenberg, 1. Trevor Nyakane

Substitutes: to be announced 

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