De Bruin needs to find a leader, and soon
One of the two Springbok forwards is set to lead the Lions again until such time that regular skipper Warren Whiteley returns to action in the next few weeks.
It is one of the big decisions that head coach Swys de Bruin will have to make in the coming days after his return to the squad after stress-related time off.
De Bruin left his Lions squad on the eve of the Super Rugby match against the Chiefs in Hamilton to return to South Africa because of a medical condition, but is expected to be back in charge of matters when the Lions start their preparations today for Saturday’s round 12 match against the Waratahs at Ellis Park.
It is understood De Bruin has received treatment to help him cope with the pressures of his job.
In his absence regular conditioning coach Ivan van Rooyen lead the side, but with defence boss Joey Mongalo also back in his job this week order, it seems, has been restored at Lions head-quarters.
Mongalo also left the squad during the recent tour of Australasia after being convicted and sentenced by a Sydney court for indecent assault, a charge he has said he’ll appeal.
He has also faced an internal hearing at the Lions and been sanctioned, but will continue in his role as defence boss.
Who will lead the Lions in the absence of Whiteley again is anyone’s guess at this stage.
When the first choice man was ruled out for seven weeks after the round two match against the Stormers, Marx took charge, but when he returned home before the Lions’ last tour match against the Crusaders two weeks ago, Smith, pictured, was handed the reins.
Whiteley won’t be in action for at least two to three more weeks, because of a knee cartilage problem, meaning De Bruin will have to back Marx or Smith in the role for the time being.
Meanwhile, powerhouse loose-forward Cyle Brink, who only recently returned to action following a lengthy injury lay-off, will have to prove his fitness in the coming days after suffering a mild strain of his knee against the Crusaders, while further details are expected about the knee injury suffered by utility back Sylvian Mahuza, also in the match against the Crusaders.
The Lions go into round 12 with a record of played 10 and won five, to be in fifth position on 22 points in the SA Conference.
Their remaining games are against the Waratahs (home), the Highlanders (home), the Sharks (away), the Stormers (home), Hurricanes (home) and Bulls (away).@jacq_west