Green has been one of the star players of this year’s Currie Cup, helping his side to three wins in a row and second spot on the points table before this weekend’s matches. His swerving run of 60 metres to score the winning try against Western Province two weeks ago is so far the stand-out five-pointer of the competition.
The 21-year-old has risen quickly from representing the Lions at school level just three years ago. He made his first big mark in the 2017 and 2018 Wits Varsity Cup sides and then also featured prominently for the SA U-21s last year. He said this week his time at Wits had made the transition from juniors to seniors a lot easier.
“I really enjoyed Varsity Cup rugby and I think it’s a great place to start in the seniors,” said the fullback dynamo, who also played some Super Rugby earlier this year.
“And for a young guy like me coming into the senior Lions set-up it’s helped having experienced men like Ross Cronjé, Malcolm Marx and Elton Jantjies around ... they’ve all played a big part in guiding me and the other guys.”
A player who loves nothing more than having the ball in his hands and having a go, Green said he was just enjoying playing his rugby right now. “There’s such a nice vibe in this team. We’re really just a bunch of friends having fun, learning each week, and every day. But, of course, we’ve also got a job to do.
“I just want to give it my all every time I get onto the field, do my part for the team. And the Bulls this week are another great challenge for us; it’s always exciting playing against our neighbours.”
Besides Green, the Lions boast several other promising rookies who’ll be in action today, among them wings Madosh Tambwe and Stean Pienaar, centres Wandisile Simelane and Eddie Fouche, while up front Hacjivah Dayimani is a player who’s developing into a class act at No8.
The Bulls side is far more senior than the Lions today, with the seasoned Cornal Hendricks, Johnny Kotze, Dylan Sage, Tim Agaba, Andries Ferreira and props Wiehahn Herbst and Dayan van der Westhuizen all experienced campaigners. The young flyhalf Manie Libbok, scrumhalf Ivan van Zyl and rookie forwards Fred Eksteen, Ruan Nortjé and Johan Grobbelaar will have plenty of pressure on their shoulders.
The Lions are chasing a fourth straight win today, while the Bulls are desperate for a second win, having lost three of their previous four games. Kick-off is 5.15pm.
Golden Lions: Tyrone Green, Madosh Tambwe, Wandisile Simelane, Eddie Fouché, Stean Pienaar, Shaun Reynolds, Ross Cronjé (capt), Hacjivah Dayimani, Len Massyn, Marnus Schoeman, Reinhard Nothnagel, Ruben Schoeman, Johannes Jonker, Pieter Jansen, Sti Sithole
Replacements: Jan-Henning Campher, Leo Kruger, Chergin Fillies, Rhyno Herbst, Vincent Tshituka, James Venter, Dillon Smit, Duncan Matthews
Blue Bulls: Divan Rossouw, Cornal Hendricks, Johnny Kotze, Dylan Sage, Rosko Specman, Manie Libbok, Ivan van Zyl (capt), Tim Agaba, Wian Vosloo, Fred Eksteen, Ruan Nortjé, Andries Ferreira, Wiehahn Herbst, Johan Grobbelaar, Dayan van der Westhuizen
Replacements: Jaco Visagie, Madot Mabokela, Conraad van Vuuren, André Smith, Jean Droste, Embrose Papier, Marnitz Boshoff, Stedman Gans@jacq_west