JOHANNESBURG – Shaun Reynolds has been shown the love by the Lions coaching team and been retained at No 10 for their Round 17 Super Rugby encounter against the Hurricanes at Ellis Park tomorrow.
The 24-year-old came in for the axed Elton Jantjies last weekend and delivered a composed performance against the Stormers - so much so that coach Swys de Bruin has opted to keep him in the starting team this week, and pit him against the All Black Beauden Barrett.
Jantjies, who is back in the mix after sitting out last week following a breach of team protocol, will play from off the bench.
“Shaun was good last week and didn’t do anything wrong,” said Lions assistant coach Phillip Lemmer yesterday. “He was good for the team and good for the system and you have to reward a guy when he plays well,” he added.
Captain Malcolm Marx said it was nice to have Jantjies back in the matchday squad but backed the call for Reynolds to start again this week. “It’s definitely a good thing we have Elton back; he’s got the experience and leadership qualities, but Shaun did well for us last week.”
De Bruin has kept faith with the same starting team that did the business against the Stormers last Saturday, with the only changes coming on the bench. Besides Jantjies returning to the side, rookie prop Nathan McBeth is also back in the squad in place of Sti Sithole.
This week the media was taken to the players for the weekly press conference ahead of this weekend's Vodacom Super Rugby clash. @emirates Lions forwards coach, Philip Lemmer and captain @M_marxi2 addressed the media.— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) June 7, 2019
Photos: Jorina Raath#LionsPride #LIOvHUR pic.twitter.com/uc0KMmqjNi
The Hurricanes though have made several changes to their team following their win against the Sharks in Durban, among them dropping All Blacks flanker Ardie Savea to the bench. Lions forwards coach Lemmer said it was an interesting selection choice by the Hurricanes boss John Plumtree.
“I’m not sure why they would have done that,” said Lemmer. “Maybe it’s got to do with the fact they want a strong second half effort from their bench, especially considering we’re playing at 3pm. Everybody has their own tricks and does what they think is best for the team.”
Lemmer and Marx agreed it would be a hugely physical match.
“Definitely ... we know from the past, they like to focus on the breakdowns. They go out to disrupt, to be ugly, to be in your face ... it’s going to be up front where things will start,” said Lemmer. “The tempers flared a bit last week in Durban, but we know the Hurricanes and Sharks are the two most physical teams; it’s how they play. I don’t know what’s going to happen this week, but it’s going to be a big challenge.”
Marx said he was looking forward to coming up against the Hurricanes’ two hookers Ricky Riccitelli and Dane Coles. “We know from the past it’s always quick and physical when you’re up against the Hurricanes.
“And in Dane and Ricky they’ve got two quality hookers; they’re tough and physical so it’ll be an interesting matchup.”@jacq_west