Lions excited to welcome unbeaten Stormers to their den
JOHANNESBURG – Scrum coach Julian Redelinghuys is quietly confident that the Lions have the game and the mental sharpness to stop the high-flying Stormers in their tracks when the teams meet in a round three Super Rugby match at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The Stormers will arrive in Joburg with two big wins in the bag - against the Hurricanes and Bulls - as well as having not conceded a point to their opponents so far this year.
The Lions, on the other hand, copped a 38-8 beating by the Jaguares in Buenos Aires and scraped past the Reds 27-20 last Saturday.
The Lions struggled in several departments against the Reds, their scrumming in particular was well below the lofty standards achieved in the last few years.
And on Saturday, the Lions pack face an even bigger test against the likes of Frans Malherbe, Steven Kitshoff and Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Redelinghuys was in bullish mood yesterday about the prospect of facing the unbeaten Capetonians.
“We know they’re coming for us so we can do one of two things - run away or go to them. We know that if we stick to our system, we have more than what we need to do the job,” he said.
Having a firing scrum would be a good start to rectifying the wrongs of the last weekend.
“I watched the video (of the Reds game) on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and the main thing for us is to get back into the system. The Reds had a good scrum, as the Stormers will do, so you’re going to be up against a good scrum each week; this is Super Rugby.
“Of course, we’re proud of our scrumming and we’re not happy with what went down last weekend,” added Redelinghuys, whose team were heavily penalised at scrum time. “What we’re after is eight guys working together for a common goal; it’s that simple.”
In what is expected to be hard and thrilling match, the Stormers may well start as the favourites but it’s something that Redelinghuys said excited the Lions players.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in the team; I back the boytjies,” said the former Springbok prop who is now in charge of the Lions scrum-work. We respect this Stormers team, there are some World Cup winners there, but what a challenge to look forward to.
“The local derbies also always bring a lot of excitement. The players want to go out and jol, play against guys who they’ve played against regularly before. They always know what to expect in these games; I’m sure it’s going to be a good contest.”
But will the Lions be the first team this year to put some points past the Stormers, and do they have a game-plan and the players to score a try against the stingiest defence in the competition?
“They’ve done well to keep two teams scoreless,” said Redelinghuys. “We’ll just stick to our processes and keep knocking, for the next opportunity, and for the next opportunity.”
The Lions will name their team for the match tomorrow.@jacq_west