JOHANNESBURG - A backline to thrill, but a pack that’s lacking punch. That’s what Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen has gone for ahead of tomorrow’s Currie Cup semi-final against the Sharks in Durban.
With Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi back in the red and white No 11 jersey and joining the likes of Nic Groom, Elton Jantjies, Howard Mnisi, Lionel Mapoe, Courtnall Skosan and Sylvian Mahuza the Lions have a backline with skill and speed and good enough to cause havoc in the semi-final.
But by managing the game-time of hardcore tight-five operators Malcolm Marx and Franco Mostert - who have played a lot of rugby this year - ahead of the Boks’ year-end tour and not picking them for the Sharks game, the Lions look a little soft up front.
They’re also without the powerhouse hooker Corne Fourie, who’s not available because of an invitation game he is playing in Japan in the coming days. The good news though is that regular No 8 and inspirational captain Warren Whiteley is back in the mix after missing the two home Tests against Australia and New Zealand recently because of injury.
And while Lions boss Van Rooyen said he hadn’t specifically picked the team to take on the Sharks, who’re normally an abrasive and powerful unit up front, he was expecting big things from his No 8 and his back division.