JOHANNESBURG – The Lions players have had a good and honest conversation with each other and will be back to their best this weekend when they host the Crusaders in a round seven Super Rugby match at Ellis Park.
That’s the view of well-travelled and experienced tighthead prop Jacobie Adriaanse, who should be back in the matchday squad this week after missing the trip to Buenos Aires seven days ago because of injury.
The Lions will go into this match on Easter Sunday – a repeat of last year’s final which was won by the men from New Zealand – on the back of two losses in three matches, against the Blues and Jagaures, last weekend.
Questions have been asked about the Lions’ form and leadership in the wake of the form slump, but Adriaanse said this week the vibe in the Lions camp is as good as ever. They are currently missing key leaders Warren Whiteley and Jaco Kriel.
“After the last three weeks we’ve had a good talk to each other,” said Adriaanse. “We need to make sure we tick all the little boxes this week, stick to our processes, go out to make the fans proud, and then the result will take care of itself.”
Adriaanse is one of the true journeymen of South African rugby, having played for, among others, Boland, Griquas, the Kings, Bulls and abroad, the Scarlets and Montpellier. But the Lions, he said, is home.
“I’ve been around, but coming back to the Lions you realise what you have missed out on. It’s a real honour and privilege to again be here.
“I’ve learned a lot over the years from all the different players (I’ve come up against and been with as a team-mate), but this is where I fit in easily.”
The 32-year-old, and brother of Springbok Lourens, said he believed the Crusaders – winners in the final last year for their eighth title – would bring out the best in the Lions on Sunday.
“We’ve trained hard this week and gone back to our processes. I believe the Crusaders will bring out the best in us; they’re certainly a team that falls into the category that you want to measure yourself against. I’m confident we’ll go out and play the way I know we can.”
The match kicks off at 2.30pm.