JOHANNESBURG - The Lions face their biggest test so far in the Currie Cup when they host Western Province tomorrow, with former Capetonian, scrumhalf Nic Groom, suggesting the visitors to Ellis Park will be tough to beat.
Both teams are undefeated so far in the competition, with the Lions having won all three their games up to now, while Western Province are two-from-two. Lions back-up scrumhalf, Groom, who played for many years under the guidance of WP boss John Dobson, said this week the Lions were in for a big challenge.
“Dobbo is a brilliant coach and we shouldn’t be lured into thinking their form now is the same as it was in Super Rugby,” said Groom, who is back in the selection frame after recovering from a wrist injury.
“He would have planned meticulously for every game in the competition so they’ll be a tight-knit, determined group coming here. Dobbo has that unique ability to get the best out of his players, so we’re in for a big challenge.”
Groom added the Lions had to put together an 80-minute performance this weekend. “There were some good signs in our last game we played well in the first half (against the Cheetahs), but it’s generally been in patches. We need to string together a full performance now,” said the little No 9.
“There are going to be some big moments this weekend be it us having to up the tempo, make the right decision, so we’re going to have to take control. Besides the Bulls game (of two weeks ago when the Lions just pipped their northern neighbours), we haven’t really been tested, so we’re looking to be sharp in our detail this week, accurate in everything we do.”
Regarding his return to action in time to face his old teammates, Groom said: “The most frustrating part about picking up the injury when I did is that I was feeling in the best form physically.
“It always takes a while to get used to the different structures (at a new union), and I was just starting to understand the way and principles here, so in that sense it sucked a bit. But, at least I get to play some rugby before the end of the year.”
Meanwhile, Lions boss Ivan van Zyl has brought back Bok fullback Andries Coetzee for the match, with Sylvian Mahuza shifting to the wing to take the place of the injured Madosh Tambwe. Kick-off is 3pm.
#LIOvWP | Team Announcement— Xerox Golden Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) September 13, 2018
3 Jacobie Adriaanse
4 Rhyno Herbst
6 James Venter
7 Len Massyn
9 Dillon Smit
10 Shaun Reynolds
14 Sylvian Mahuza