JOHANNESBURG – Having to make some tough selection choices each week has been a recurring theme for Lions boss Swys de Bruin this year.
And it is no different this week, ahead of his team’s final regular season Super Rugby game against the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday. Injuries to several key players and the potential to select Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies means De Bruin will again have some head-scratching to do before naming his team for the match. And what an important fixture it is.
The Bulls, in fifth place, and the Lions in sixth are just about assured of their place in the top eight - and playoffs - but if things go horribly wrong for one of them on Saturday and results favour a few other teams one of the Gauteng sides could miss out completely. It’s that close in the race for the final quarter-final places.
Fresh injuries to Lions loose-forward Kwagga Smith (hamstring), lock Stephan Lewies (knee) and prop Sti Sithole (hamstring) - who will all miss this weekend’s match in Pretoria and probably the playoff games, too, if the Lions get there - mean De Bruin has to quickly find suitable back-up players who will move into the team without too much disruption.