Lions: Coach targets cheetahs’ scrum energy

2011-05-06 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — MTN Lions coach John Mitchell has set his team the target of scoring a perfect victory against the Toyota Cheetahs tonight.

The Lions are under pressure after a six-game losing streak, which started after their victory over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein earlier in the year.

It can be argued that the Cheetahs — with an away win against the Waratahs in Sydney, and another over the Brumbies in Bloemfontein last weekend — are on a somewhat upward curve, while the Lions have remained stagnant.

Mitchell will be looking for an improved performance from his personnel, especially as they head off on their overseas tour next week.

To do this he has targeted the Cheetah setpiece and in particular the scrum energy of Coenie Oosthuizen, who continues to be one of the standout players in Bloemfontein.

Mitchell has brought in specialist tighthead Kevin Buys, who is known for his scrumming prowess. The same goes for David de Villiers in the lineouts.

“It is not to counter the threat, it is to attack it. Kevin is technically a very good scrummager,” Mitchell said.

“The challenge for Kevin is to go for 80 minutes and the other change is David de Villiers in the middle of the line-out. He drives the line-out better and we lost seven line-outs against the Chiefs in the first half and we need to deliver a line-out.”

“This team have been deprived of their opportunities to attack because of our non-performance at line-out time and David brings that composure and that decision making that is vital in that area,” he added.

Mitchell is wary of the Cheetahs attacking abilities, and in particular Sarel Pretorius’ sniping breaks around the fringes, but believes their defensive frailties are an opportunity to exploit.

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