JOHANNESBURG – Rangy rather than beefy, but just as productive. That’s how rookie Lions loose-forward Len Massyn would like to be described.
The 21-year-old who has started every Currie Cup game this season is making quite a name for himself alongside fellow loosies James Venter and Hacjivah Dayimani.
Massyn has helped his side pick up wins against Griquas, the Blue Bulls and the Free State Cheetahs in recent weeks.
Next up for him and his Lions team-mates is the Sharks in Durban this weekend that will pit him against some quality loose-forwards, including Springbok Dan du Preez.
It’s a big game for the Lions, who copped a 65-38 hiding from defending champions Western Province last weekend.
Massyn said it would be important for the Lions to focus on their own game, to right the wrongs of last Saturday, rather than think about who they’re up against.
“We know they’re a physical side up front but we can’t fall into that trap and only think about that,” said the former Monument High and SA Under-20 player this week. “We need to play to our strengths.”
Massyn, who is comfortable on both sides of the scrum, said he has tried to model his game on Springbok No 8 Warren Whiteley.
“When I was younger at high school, I looked up to Warren. He was my role model, probably because he’s also not your typical big loose-forward. He’s more fleet-footed, a player who uses his skills.
“But everyone here at the Lions has played a part in my development. It was very important for my development that while I didn’t get any Super Rugby games this year, I was able to be part of the training squad and learn from the seniors. That has been very good.”
Massyn, at 1.95m and 100kg, is built like Whiteley, tall and rather slim and certainly not your conventional SA-type loose-forward.
After last weekend’s big loss to the men from the Cape, one would think there is some pressure on the Lions to hit back immediately, especially with the round-robin phase being just six games, but Massyn said the Lions were more concerned about getting their processes working again.
“I don’t believe there's more pressure on us this week. The only thing is with the competition just one round of games, unlike in the Under-19s where you’ve got time to make mistakes and fix them, here there is no place to slip up. We simply have to be well prepared for every game.”
The Lions were boosted this week by the availability of Springbok scrumhalf Ross Cronje, who has been released to play Currie Cup rugby this weekend.
Lions boss Ivan van Rooyen will announce his line-up for the Sharks game today.