The Lions sweat on Dyantyi ahead of final against the Crusaders

Aphiwe Dyantyi of the Lions evades tackles from Joaquin Tuculet, Nicolas Sanchez and Bautista Delguy of the Jaguares to score during the 2018 Super Rugby match at Ellis Park, Johannesburg on 24 February 2018.
Aphiwe Dyantyi of the Lions evades tackles from Joaquin Tuculet, Nicolas Sanchez and Bautista Delguy of the Jaguares to score during the 2018 Super Rugby match at Ellis Park, Johannesburg on 24 February 2018.
Image: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

The Lions will be sweating on the availability of star left wing Aphiwe Dyantyi ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

Dyantyi‚ who scored the most gloriously individualistic try against the Waratahs in the Lions 44-26 semi-final win‚ did not return for the second half due to a hamstring injury.

The Springbok was replaced by fellow international Courtnall Skosan‚ who scored a try shortly before the full time siren.

“Let’s hope he’s fine‚” said coach Swys de Bruin about Dyantyi. 

“He has a hamstring that twitched. But what a guy to sub him with? Courtnall is brilliant as well.”

Dyantyi‚ however‚ possesses the star quality the Lions will need in large supply if they are to rewrite history in Christchurch where the Crusaders are yet to lose a knockout match.

He has the speed and the skill to make inroads against the Crusaders‚ particularly the man he is likely to go up against Seta Tamanivalu‚ who scored the first try in last year’s final at Ellis Park.

Apart from Skosan‚ De Bruin was full of praise for the Lions substitutes after their win over the Waratahs. 

“The subs were fantastic‚" De Bruin said.

"How was Marnus Schoeman? Every single sub made a massive difference.”

The unheralded Schoeman has made quite an impact while on loan from the Pumas.

 He ups the intensity and provides thrust in the last quarter.   

Not that the Lions forwards failed to make an impact against the Waratahs. 

They made significant gains in the scrum‚ while their driving maul had the visitors on the backfoot. 

They will need both facets to operate optimally against the well drilled Crusaders.

“The pack was unreal. They laid a fantastic platform‚” said De Bruin.

While lamenting the team’s poor start‚ De Bruin was chuffed with his team’s ability to again bounce back. 

“(There was) brilliant leadership from Warren Whiteley‚" he said.

"The calling was good. They stuck to the plan and that is massive for the belief. It speaks a lot about the character in the team.

“Elton (Jantjies) will make calls other flyhalves won’t make. Look at that cross kick. Pin point. 

"That is what I like about the decision makers. Ross (Cronjé) when he kicks‚ Kwagga (Smith) when he sets off. 

"He’s just relentless. He was special. He was the injection.”

De Bruin‚ however‚ recognises that the exceptional will have to be the order of the day if they are to cause an upset in Christchurch.

“I saw a few miracles (against the Waratahs). The bounce of the ball went our way. 

"We are blessed to get the chance to go to the best team in the world. I watched them (against the Hurricanes). 

"They are unreal. We have to find a crack in that armour.”

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