Lions replace injured Mapoe

2011-05-25 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — After the Stormers lost young flyhalf Lionel Cronjé to an injury­ on their tour on Friday, the Lions have had to deal with similar news about young wing Lionel Mapoe.

A broken jaw has probably brought an end to Mapoe’s Vodacom Super Rugby tournament after he was carried off the field in Saturday’s defeat to the Waratahs in Sydney.

Mapoe ran into the elbow of Waratahs centre Ryan Cross after just 10 minutes. That was just the beginning of the Lions’ wing woes in the game as Deon van Rensburg was sin-binned moments later.

Lions team manager Mustapha Boomgaard went to fetch Mapoe’s replacement at the airport in Auckland, New Zealand, on Monday. It is Michael Killian, who would have been a member of the tour squad from the outset, had it not been for a hamstring injury.

The injury is a setback for Mapoe, who is one of the few Lions players with a chance of playing his way into the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup plans later this year.

However, none of them will make it on the form they displayed in Sydney.

Three games remain for them to impress the Bok selectors and to display the growth that Lions coach John Mitchell expects of them.

Saturday’s game in Dunedin against the Highlanders is the next challenge that the Lions pack has to meet.

The Highlanders have not been so close to a place in the knock-out phase of the tournament for a long time and won’t forgive themselves if their dream is shattered by the team at the bottom of the log. The Kiwi side also had a bye at the weekend.

Meanwhile, Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) chief executive Manie Reyneke has still not received word on the possible return of Stormers and Western Province lock Anton van Zyl to the Lions.

It therefore appears that there is no truth in the rumours that the competition for places at the Stormers and WP has prompted Van Zyl to consider playing for the Lions in the Currie Cup.

Van Zyl was also in the Stormers’ 22-man squad in their 28-26 win over the Blues in Auckland on Friday.

There were also rumours that former Springbok lock Marco Wentzel would become a Lion after ending his contract with Leeds Carnegie in England last week. Wentzel (32) was Leeds’ captain and has also previously had a successful spell with the Leicester Tigers.

However, Leeds have been relegated from the English Premiership and Wentzel has been allowed to seek out greener pastures, but Reyneke confirmed that those pastures are not with the GLRU in Johannesburg.

Reports on Monday indicated that Wentzel had joined London Wasps. Tight forward acquisitions to strengthen the side top the GLRU’s list of priorities.

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