Lions wary of Bulls

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iol spt feb27 Bulls Gallo Images Lions captain Warren Whiteley warned that his side will be facing a desperate Bulls side at Loftus Versfeld. Photo by Johan Pretorius/Gallo Images

Johannesburg – While they have received a confidence boost following their back-to-back Super Rugby victories, Lions captain Warren Whiteley warned that his side will be facing a desperate Bulls side at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.

“There is definitely confidence within the side especially looking at all the debutantes and winning two on the trot,” Whiteley said in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“Each week our process stays the same whether we win or lose.”

The Lions have come out firing since their return to the premier southern hemisphere competition beating the Cheetahs and Stormers in consecutive weekends.

The Johannesburg-based side will cross the Jukskei River to face a battle-bruised Bulls side that have lost their two opening Super Rugby games against the Sharks and the Cheetahs.

Whiteley said the Bulls remained a threat as they had seasoned campaigners and some Springbok players to call on.

“We know the threat they pose and the number of Springboks they have and we know they didn't captilise on a lot of opportunities in those two games,” he said.

“If they managed to capitilise on their opportunities we could have seen other results.”

Lions coach Johan Ackermann had to make two injury enforced changes to his run-on side.

Flanker Warwick Tecklenburg will receive a starting berth in the place of Derick Minnie, who fractured his cheek in the match against the Stormers.

Ackermann has been forced to select a new centre combination – the third in as many weeks – with JW Jonker slotting in at outside centre for the injured Alwyn Hollenbach.

Stefan Watermeyer, who has been in action in both their previous games will move back to inside centre with Jonker playing on his inside.

Ackermann said Hollenbach did not pass a fitness test on Thursday morning with the player also admitting he was not 100

percent ready to take to the field.

Willie Britz will provide loose-forward cover from the bench, having recovered from his hip flexor injury.

Utility back Courtnall Skosan also comes in on the bench and could make his Super Rugby debut.

Ackermann said the magnitude of the Super Rugby competition has taken some of the focus away from the traditional Jukskei Derby.

“If you are going to have a different focus than for the next game it is a problem, you have to have the same intensity, 1/8the 3/8 same preparation,” Ackermann said

Lions team: Chrysander Botha, Deon van Rensburg, JW Jonker, Stefan Watermeyer, Ruan Combrinck, Marnitz Boshoff, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley (captain), Warwick Tecklenburg, Jaco Kriel, Franco van der Merwe,Franco Mostert, Julian Redelinghuys, Robbie Coetzee, Schalk van der Merwe.

Replacements: Willie Wepener, Jacques van Rooyen, Ruan Dreyer, MB Lusaseni,Willie Britz, Ross Cronje, Courtnall Skosan, Coenie van Wyk. – Sapa


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