JOHANNESBURG – The next phase in the experiment of possibly turning Hacjivah Dayimani into a midfielder will take place in Durban on Saturday when the Lions run out against the Sharks in a round 15 Super Rugby match.
The exciting 21-year-old, who normally plays at flank or eighthman, has been picked on the bench for the match and according to Lions head coach Swys de Bruin, he’ll be considered as a cover for the loose-forward positions as well as in the midfield.
Dayimani’s first taste of playing in the centres came two weeks ago when he wore the No 12 jersey in the Golden Lions’ SuperSport Challenge match against the Valke. Before the game De Bruin said Dayimani could be a star midfielder due to his pace and power and good skills set.
“Hacjivah has done well at loose-forward and I’m not saying he won’t play there again, but I want to try him at centre. I’ve had a good look at his profile and believe he has all the attributes to be a brilliant centre.”
Now, after a quiet outing against the Valke, Dayimani could face his big test in the midfield.
“He’s been picked on the bench as a loose-forward and as a back,” confirmed De Bruin yesterday.
“We’re expecting another hard and physical match from the Sharks, so have decided to go in with six forwards on the bench and just two backs, Shaun Reynolds and Tyrone Green. But, in Hacjivah, we have a player whose versatility gives us a few options.”
De Bruin added he was expecting another big battle with Robert du Preez’s team, who beat them 42-5 Ellis Park when they met earlier in the competition.
“They’re a very good side and, like us, have slipped a few games they probably should have won,” said the Lions boss.
“They had a good tour, they’re really powerful and they’re definitely going to pitch up for this game. We’re going to have to be at our best if we want to get the right result.”
The Lions will be without key hooker Malcolm Marx as the Springbok-contracted player is required to sit this match out. No 8 Kwagga Smith will lead the team in his absence, while young Jan-Henning Campher will start at hooker.
“Malcolm has had two big games now (against the Waratahs and Highlanders) and we have to rest our top guys,” explained De Bruin.
“But this is a big opportunity for our two young hookers, Jan-Henning and Pieter Jansen.
Jan-Henning has been impressive when he’s got his chances this year and you can see he’s hungry to get a proper go. I’m keen to see what he can do from the start.”
#SHAvLIO | @SmithKwagga will lead the @emirates Lions at Jonsson Kings Park against the Cell C Sharks on Saturday as @M_marxi2 sits this round out to give Jan-Henning Campher a starting berth.#LionsPride pic.twitter.com/u2uQxhbn0q— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) May 23, 2019
In the other changes to the side that beat the Highlanders last week, prop Johannes Jonker comes in for Carlu Sadie, while at the back Nic Groom replaces Ross Cronje, who is not available this week.
The game kicks off at 5.15pm at Jonsson Kings Park.@jacq_west