Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen: Sharks thrive in chaos
The Lions will be hell bent to keep their game to script when they take on the Sharks in their Rainbow Cup SA encounter in Durban on Saturday.
The Sharks‚ the Lions have noted‚ come into their own when matches deviate from structured play with the Durban side particularly adept at bringing clarity to their own game in times of mayhem.
“They are a team that plays well under pressure and they thrive on chaos when they are on attack because they have a good offload game‚” said Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen.
“They can be quite physical and have the ability to kick into space. Because of the way they get off the line defensively they put you under pressure‚” Van Rooyen sized up his team’s opponents.
Van Rooyen was pressed into making four changes for the clash. “Unfortunately we have a couple of injuries from last week’s game‚” he said in reference to last week’s 24-9 defeat at the hands of the Bulls.
Tiaan Swanepoel‚ Sibusiso Sangweni‚ Stean Pienaar and Wilhelm van der Sluys were not considered due to injuries while Willem Alberts is still sidelined.
Jordan Hendrikse has been recalled from the SA Rugby Under 20 Academy alignment camp‚ while Jaco Visagie and Burger Odendaal return from injury and are included on the bench.
Dan Kriel retains the captaincy in midfield and the exciting loose trio of Francke Horn‚ Vincent Tshituka and MJ Pelser get the nod again after sterling performances last weekend.
“They went well‚” said Van Rooyen about the loose trio. “They also played together against the Sharks in the preparation series match. They complement each other well. They are hard workers and have specific roles.”
The Lions who went down in their away clash against the Bulls last week will be desperate to chalk up a win at a venue where they have found the going tough. In Super Rugby the Lions won just three of their 15 matches in Durban.
Lions team: EW Viljoen; Rabz Maxwane‚ Wandisile Simelane‚ Dan Kriel‚ Courtnall Skosan; Fred Zeilinga‚ André Warner; Francke Horn‚ Vincent Tshituka‚ MJ Pelser; Reinhard Nothnagel‚ Ruben Schoeman; Carlu Sadie‚ PJ Botha‚ Sti Sithole. Substitutes: Jaco Visagie‚ Nathan McBeth‚ Asenathi Ntlabakanye‚ Len Massyn‚ Emmanuel Tshituka‚ Morné van den Berg‚ Jordan Hendrikse‚ Burger Odendaal.