stoltz beefs up lions pack

A THREE-HOUR flight across the Tasman Sea and a date with the Canberra-based Brumbies awaits the Gauteng Lions on Friday.

With a disappointing start to their 2010 Super 14 campaign - three losses from three games - it does not get any easier taking on a Brumbies side high on confidence after a win over the Stormers in Cape Town last Friday.

One positive for Lions coach Dick Muir is that he has lock Willem Stoltz at his disposal after the 2,08m beanpole sat out last week due to suspension for foul play.

Not flash by any means, Stoltz does add experience and a touch of "mongrel" to a side that so often promises a lot but seldom delivers.

In favour of the Lions is the fact that they have had a couple of extra days in the Australian capital to acclimatise, whereas the Brumbies have only just arrived home from South Africa.

Though only naming his starting line-up later in the week, coach Muir will probably stick pretty much to the starting XV he used last weekend.

In Ross Geldenhuys, Hannes Franklin and Heinke van der Merwe, Muir has a solid front row and one that hasn't taken a back step to any of the opposition in the games played so far.

It's in the midfield that there appears to be a problem.

To concede 15 tries in only three matches means they are always playing catch-up and their defence needs tightening up.

A lot of work has been done by Muir in this regard but Deon van Rensberg and Doppies le Grange had better be on their guard come Friday night against the experienced Brumbies duo of captain Sterling Mortlock and Christian Lealiifano.