Rebels have ‘inside intel’ on the Lions
Jacques van der Westhuyzen highlights the Rebels who will know a thing or two about their visitors.
Coach Dave Wessels
The highly-rated 38-year-old hails from Cape Town. He started out as a defence consultant for the Stormers in 2008/09, assisted Ikeys in the Varsity Cup and then joined the Brumbies in 2012 as Jake White’s defence coach.
Wessels’ big break came in 2016 when he took over at the Western Force, and when they were shut down three years ago, he moved to the Rebels.
He’ll want revenge on Saturday after the Lions turned around a 33-5 deficit to beat the Rebels 36-33 a year ago.
Lock Gideon Koegelenberg
The giant second row forward, who stands 2.01m tall and weighs a whopping 122kg, played for the Sharks last year after previously turning out for Zebre in the Pro14.
A real powerhouse lock, Koegelenberg was born in Wellington in the Cape 25 years ago and learned his rugby in the Western Cape.
Prop Ruan Smith
The twin brother of Queensland Reds prop JP Smith - who just a few weeks ago gave veteran Lions and Springbok man Jannie du Plessis a proper working over in the scrums - Smith has played Super Rugby for the Force, Brumbies and Reds and also club rugby in Japan.
He is 30 years old and was born in Vryburg in the Northern Cape.
Prop Mees Erasmus
The little-known Erasmus played three games for the Sharks in 2014/15 before moving to Australia, where he played club rugby in Perth and Melbourne.
His big break came last year when he was drafted into the Brumbies squad and played in one game.
He is 25 and was born in Johannesburg.
Prop Cabous Eloff
Another South African prop recruited by the men from Melbourne, Eloff is still very much in the background at the Rebels, but a player believed to have a bright future.
He is just 19-years-old and was previously a member of the Bulls Academy in Pretoria.
He grew up in Pretoria and is a man mountain at 1.93m and 125kg.
Scrumhalf Ryan Louwrens
Born in Joburg and a product of Hoërskool Kempton Park, the 28-year-old is now finally getting an opportunity in Melbourne.
His family moved to Australia when he was 16, although he later returned to South Africa to play for the Valke.
He previously featured for the Western Force and also played club rugby in Japan.
Flyhalf Matt Toomua
Certainly not a South African but the experienced Wallabies flyhalf, who is now 30-years-old, should know a good few of the Lions players, having spent some time playing here.
The thing is, Toomua spent a season in Cape Town in the early stages of his career in 2009 and played a handful of games for Western Province.@jacq_west