JOHANNESBURG - Young and exciting No 8 Hacjivah Dayimani has grabbed all the headlines with his blistering pace, step and work-rate in the Currie Cup so far and on Saturday an equally exciting player in wing Madosh Tambwe gets his chance – again.
Tambwe, just 21, has already shown what he can do – in last year’s Currie Cup and in Super Rugby – but on Saturday, against Free State at Ellis Park in a round four match, he’ll join his fellow rising stars like Dayimani (20) in the Lions team for the first time in the competition this season.
And, if he is able to reproduce the kind of form he showed at times in Super Rugby on Saturday the men from Bloemfontein could be in for a bit of a hiding. It’s a star-packed Lions team, with the back division especially full of running. Tambwe gets his chance because Andries Coetzee is being rested, with Sylvian Mahuza moving to fullback.
Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen though has challenged his team to be more clinical this weekend. While they have won both their round-robin games up to now, scoring 14 tries in the process (nine against Griquas and five against the Bulls), they have also conceded 10. Van Rooyen said on Thursday the Lions had to be better in attack and defence this weekend.
“We’re obviously happy with the two wins we’ve picked up, but there’s still a lot of stuff we have to work on,” said the Lions coach. “We need to show the ball a little more respect ... and that means being more clinical on attack, but also sticking to the system in defence. We’re working hard so as long as we’re moving forward and there is skills and player development I’m happy.”
Van Rooyen, who is heading up the coaching team in the absence of Swys de Bruin who is on Springbok duty, said the Free Staters, despite being winless in three matches so far, would test his team’s defence on Saturday. “Look, they’re good from turn-overs, we know that. They also keep their width well on attack so it’s going to be a test for us,” said Van Rooyen.
#LIOvCHE | The Xerox Golden Lions host the Toyota Free State Cheetas at @emirates Airline Park on Saturday (kick-off 16:20). Sylvian Mahuza will don the 15 jersey while @Madoshtambwe14_ starts at wing. Pieter Jansen will start at hooker as will Jacobie Adriaanse. pic.twitter.com/BgGuHeSiu2
In other changes to the Lions team, prop Jacobie Adriaanse gets a chance because Johannes Jonker is suffering with concussion, while Pieter Jansen takes over from Corne Fourie at hooker. And, among the replacements, young prop Stephen Bhasera gets a chance to show what he can do.
Marvin Orie will again lead the side from the second row. He said he was enjoying captaining a rugby team again. “This is my second match now as captain; it’s something I haven’t done since my playing days in Pretoria.
“I’m relaxed about it, but it also helps that I’ve got great leaders around me, like Courtnall (Skosan), Lionel (Mapoe), Sylvian (Mahuza) and Andries Coetzee. They make captaining this team easy ... so I can make sure my game is on point, and I can lead by example.”
Meanwhile, the Free State team shows two changes from the side that went down to the Sharks last weekend, with loose-forwards Abongile Nonkwontana and Stephan Malan coming into the starting team.
Lions team: Sylvian Mahuza, Madosh Tambwe, Lionel Mapoe, Howard Mnisi, Courtnall Skosan, Shaun Reynolds, Dillon Smit, Hacjivah Dayimani, Len Massyn, James Venter, Marvin Orie (capt), Rhyno Herbst, Jacobie Adriaanse, Pieter Jansen, Sti Sithole. Replacements: Corne Fourie, Danie Mienie, Stephen Bhasera, Reinhard Nothnagel, Vincent Tshituka, Bradley Thain, Wandisile Simelane
Cheetahs team: Adriaan Carelse, Ali Mgijima, Carel-Jan Coetzee, Tertius Kruger, Lloyd Greeff, Louis Fouche, Rudy Paige (capt), Niell Jordaan, Stephan Malan, Abongile Nonkontwana, Dennis Visser, Louis Conradie, Gunther Janse van Vuuren, Reinach Venter, Kevin Stevens. Replacements: Jannes Snyman, Johan Kotze, Luigy van Jaarsveld, Nardus Erasmus, Dian Badenhorst, Vuyani Maqina, Reinhart Erwee