Lions take a leaf out of Springboks' book for Super Rugby opener
The Lions have gone for a six/two split on the bench for their Super Rugby opening clash on Sunday morning (1am SA time) against the Jaguares at Jose Amalfitani Stadium in Buenos Aires.
Perhaps emboldened by what they saw from the Springboks‚ who deployed a similar selection tactic with their so called ‘Bomb Squad’ in last year’s Rugby World Cup‚ the Lions have also opted for more heavies to come off the bench.
“They have big heavy forwards‚” said Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen of the Jaguares.
“We want to see if we can make it a set piece game. Hacjivah (Dayimani) and Ruan (Vermaak) have trained well over the last three weeks even if they didn’t play.
“They know all the detail. We are training in such a way. In some cases we mimic game intensity‚” said Van Rooyen.
Dayimani is a fleet footed and dextrous operator who has sufficient pace to play in the backline if needed.
Flyhalf and playmaker Elton Jantjies will lead the side in this campaign starting with this weekend’s game.
Bar a short stint at the Stormers‚ Super Rugby’s fourth highest points scorer has played almost all his rugby at the Lions and has long been the general who dictates matters in backline.
The Lions are without regular captain Warren Whiteley who has been sidelined indefinitely due to injury.
In fact‚ Whiteley has been assigned the role of line-out coach for this campaign.
Also as expected Springbok tighthead Jannie du Plessis will play his first Super Rugby match for the Lions‚ while their will be debuts for Morne van den Berg and Manuel Ras off the bench.
Lions: Tiaan Swanepoel; Tyrone Green‚ Duncan Matthews‚ Dan Kriel‚ Courtnall Skosan; Elton Jantjies (captain)‚ Andre Warner; Len Massyn‚ Vincent Tshituka‚ Marnus Schoeman; Marvin Orie‚ Ruben Schoeman; Jannie du Plessis‚ Pieter Jansen‚ Dylan Smith.
Substitutes: Jan-Henning Campher‚ Sti Sithole‚ Carlu Sadie‚ Wilhelm van der Sluys‚ Ruan Vermaak‚ Hacjivah Dayimani‚ Morné van der Berg‚ Manuel Rass.