JOHANNESBURG – The try-hungry Lions have made their intentions known ahead of facing the Brumbies in a Super Rugby match at Ellis Park tomorrow: they want to score more tries.
Swys de Bruin’s men lead the way in the competition for number of tries scored - 58, 17 more than the Bulls - but they’re still not satisfied. They want more, and De Bruin has picked a team to do that.
Following their disappointing tour of Australasia where they only won their first game, De Bruin has opted to bring new energy to the team. He’s picked fliers Sylvian Mahuza and Madosh Tambwe on the wings, and inside them, at 13, rookie Aphiwe Dyantyi will get a run for the first time in midfield. Next to him will be the attack-minded powerhouse Rohan Janse van Rensburg.
“Lionel Mapoe has a bit of a groin injury and Harold Vorster has the flu ... so we’re going with these guys this week. We want to have a go and get some more tries in the bag,” said De Bruin.
“We scored a lot of tries on tour, even though we didn’t win as much as we would have liked, but we want to keep scoring tries. I’m excited about Aphiwe at 13 ... it’s a position he loves and has played in before. He’s a massive talent and our plan will be to get the ball to him as often as possible,” added the Lions boss who up to now has only used Dyantyi on the wing.
Also back in the mix this week is No 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, while on the bench scrumhalf Ross Cronje is back to add depth to the scrumhalf role.
The Lions are desperate to hit back at home this weekend after copping three defeats in a row in Australasia and allowing the other teams in the SA Conference to catch up. De Bruin though isn’t too concerned about what’s gone down lately.
“This is a tough competition where anyone can beat everyone on a day. If you’d told me at the beginning of the competition that in week 12 or 13 we’d have 31 points and be conference leaders I’d have taken it. I’m happy where we are at the moment. We’re in the fight and that’s all that matters,” said De Bruin.
In other news, flyhalf Elton Jantjies will make his 100th Super Rugby appearance tomorrow, after making his debut in 2011. (See the Saturday Star tomorrow for more on the Lions No 10).
* Meanwhile, regular captain and No 8 Warren Whiteley is yet to be considered for action after aggravating a knee injury on the eve of the team’s departure to Australasia five weeks ago. According to De Bruin, Whiteley is “around the corner” from playing again. “We hope it’s soon,” said the Lions coach.
The Lions team is:
Andries Coetzee, Sylvian Mahuza, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Madosh Tambwe, Elton Jantjies, Nic Groom, Hacjivah Dayimani, Franco Mostert (capt), Kwagga Smith, Marvin Orie, Lourens Erasmus, Ruan Dreyer, Robbie Coetzee, Dylan Smith.
Replacements: Corne Fourie, Jacques van Rooyen, Johannes Jonker, Len Massyn, Marnus Schoeman, Ross Cronje, Shaun Reynolds, Ruan Combrinck