JOHANNESBURG – Lions lock Lourens Erasmus has urged his teammates to show the right attitude when they take on the Jaguares in a round-six Super Rugby match in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
The Lions, who left for South America on Wednesday morning, are coming off two unimpressive performances; losing to the Blues after capitulating in the second half and just edging the Sunwolves last Saturday.
And now they have to play a fixture at a venue where they have lost in the last two years.
In both 2016 and 2017 former coach Johan Ackermann took a weakened Lions side to Buenos Aires and on both occasions his side lost.
It is a known fact that the travel to South America and back is not easy – because of the number of time zones that are crossed – but Erasmus said on the eve of the team’s departure that the travel aspect should not be a factor.
“If your mindset is right, if you have the right attitude, then it shouldn’t be so difficult going there,” said the big lock this week.
“You need to look past those bad points, like the travel. We’re taking an experienced team there this year, so hopefully that will help us handle those (difficult) situations better.
“If we stick together and play as a team, and maintain our brotherhood, we should be better off.”
The Lions beat the men from Argentina at Ellis Park in round two (47-27), but they have always been a different beast on home soil, in front of their own fans.
“They’re quality, they’re an international side,” said Erasmus, who’s likely to pack down with Marvin Orie in the second row on Saturday, with Franco Mostert again being utilised on the flank.
“They’re a big team upfront, who like the physical stuff, but we’re taking a heavy pack this time, too.
“They’re going to be a big challenge though, as is the case every weekend, but we’re looking forward to it; it’s why we play rugby.
“We’ve put the last two matches well and truly behind us. We’re ready to start again, to step up.”
Erasmus has become a key member of the Lions side in recent years, mainly because he is able to play at number four and five lock, and is especially potent off the bench.
He said he is just honoured to be part of the Lions franchise.
“There’s a lot of competition there among the locks, but it’s good for the team. It’s specifically that sort of depth that has helped make the Lions so good.
“We all learn from each other, back each other... and as long as the team wins and performs, it doesn’t matter who’s starting.
“Personally, I don’t mind if I play at four or five. There’s a difference in the roles, but I’m comfortable playing both.
“At the end of the day, one is still playing rugby, and that’s what matters. I’ve played in the second row all my life and am used to both positions. I just enjoy playing rugby.”
Lions boss Swys de Bruin will name his starting team for the match, which kicks off at 11.40pm on Saturday night, on Thursday.