JOHANNESBURG – The Lions are a happy pride again after getting the better of the Jaguares, but they will face an altogether different challenge when the red-hot Rebels come to town this weekend.
Dave Wessels’ men are one of only two unbeaten teams in the Super Rugby competition after four rounds of action; the other being the Crusaders.
The Rebels this year have taken a giant leap forwards and are now Australia’s leading side. And Lions boss Swys de Bruin knows it. “They’re a very dangerous team, with a great spine, and Australia’s best outfit,” he said at the weekend after his team’s win over the Jaguares.
The Rebels will be a confident bunch after they over-turned a 19-3 deficit at half-time last Friday to win 29-26 against the Brumbies. With former Reds and Australian 9-10 stars, Will Genia and Quade Cooper, pulling the strings, the Rebels have never looked more dangerous.
The Rebels though will clash with a Lions side which is also upbeat following their must-win clash against the men from Buenos Aires.
But De Bruin will also consider bringing back into the fold senior operators like Ruan Combrinck, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster and hopefully, too, Marvin Orie and Cyle Brink.
Meanwhile, De Bruin may even consider handing new recruit at the Lions, lock Wilhelm van der Sluys, an opportunity this week. The former Southern Kings and Exeter Chiefs man started training with his new team-mates on Monday.
“It was a great two years at the Chiefs,” said the 27-year-old.
“I learned a lot about myself, being away from home and out of my comfort zone, and the game, where in England forwards-play is a lot more technical than in South Africa.
But I’m happy to be back at the Lions, who play an attractive brand of rugby.”@jacq_west