Pride on line

WITH the Bulls having a bye this weekend in the Super 14, it's the turn of the other four South African teams to step up to the plate and deliver some winning rugby.

Last week the Bulls flew the Rainbow Nation's flag with pride while the rest appeared to raise the white flag in surrender.

The Lions have the first opportunity to restore some pride when they take on the Brumbies in Canberra, Australia, today. Lions coach Dick Muir has kept his promise to rotate players throughout the tour and has made eight changes to last week's starting line-up.

The front row has a completely new look to it - JC Janse van Rensburg, Charles Emslie and Kevin Buys will shoulder the responsibility of securing the scrum while Deon van Rensburg makes way for Walter Venter in the backline.

At flyhalf import Carlos Spencer is dropped for Burton Francis, Michael Killian takes over from Earl Rose and Dusty Nobel gets a run on the wing at the expense of Wandile Mjekevu.

Lock Willem Stoltz also makes a return after a week's rest through suspension.

Muir said he was "quite happy where we're at. We're looking forward to a big one against the Brumbies".

In Bloemfontein tomorrow evening Naka Drotske's Cheetahs are up against the unpredictable Hurricanes. The Cheetahs are another team ringing the changes in week four of the competition. Drotske has made four changes with the most exciting being the introduction of 21-year-old Robert Ebershon to Super 14 rugby. Lionel Mapoe, Hennie Daniller and Sarel Pretorius will also start this weekend.

After a dream start to this year's competition, the Highlanders are only one point behind the Bulls on the log, with the perfect record of three from three.


Today: Chiefs vs Reds (Hamilton); Brumbies vs Lions (Canberra).

Tomorrow: Crusaders vs Blues (Christchurch), Stormers vs Highlanders (Newlands), Cheetahs vs Hurricanes (Bloemfontein).