Lions interrogating their lack of bite as some hope emerges on sore key young trio

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Jordan Hendrikse. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
Jordan Hendrikse. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
  • They're not out of the woods yet, but the Lions are feeling more confident about a key young trio remaining fit for the rest of their four-week tour.
  • Jordan Hendrikse and Henco van Wyk are both on the mend after leaving the field against Munster though the imposing Ruan Venter looks more doubtful.
  • Meanwhile, the Lions are actively addressing their stale attack for Saturday's Challenge Cup clash with Stade Francais.

It's looking a tad less gloomier on the injury front for the embattled Lions, but they are still holding their breath over the fitness of three key youngsters ahead of a European Challenge Cup encounter with Stade Francais in Paris on Saturday.

Pivot Jordan Hendrikse and midfield dynamo Henco van Wyk both left the field early in last weekend's messy defeat to Munster with ankle problems, while it also emerged afterwards that the imposing Ruan Venter, who's been a marauder in the second row and on the blindside, is also doubtful.

Given that the men from Ellis Park are in the midst of a four-week tour, there had been fears that the players would miss the entirety of the remaining fixtures.

But assistant coach Ricardo Loubscher expressed some hope. 

READ | Lack of identity, Francke and tries: Factors behind Lions' sudden decline

"On Henco, we have some good news," he said.

"We started with agility work and he joined us for units but the doctor (Rob Collins) and Pam (Watts), our physio, will make a final call on Thursday.

"Jordy is also busy with straight line running, and Morgan Naude is doing the same. Ruan, with his groin; there is a little bit of concern regarding him." 

Those considerations though should paper over the cracks of what's been a poor three weeks for the side.

Their attack has particularly been stale, even in the presence of playmakers like Hendrikse and Van Wyk, predominantly because ball-carriers that have to lay the foundation are lacking punch.

"We need a good base to attack from in our set piece - that is one - and if you look at the teams applying the rush defence, they are stopping our ball carries behind the gain line,"  said Loubscher.

"That is one of the things that we discussed and it has been a work-on for us this week. We are working on our ball carries, getting quick ball and once we get behind teams, making good decisions and being more clinical.

"The last two days that has been a focus for us - that final pass, that final play, identifying and exploiting space. Munster, what they got right, was that they tackled us behind the gain line and we didn't have a lot of variation in our attack. That will be a focus for us going into the Stade Francais game." 

Kick-off is at 15:00 on Saturday. 

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