Lions are lacking experience

2014-02-04 09:58
New-look Lions jersey (Twitter)

Willie le Roux, Raymond Rhule, Adriaan Strauss and Coenie Oosthuzen all feature in Fox Sports' guide to the Cheetahs.

Looking at the potential Super Rugby squad it is not so much a case of not having talented players but the fact that the players in certain key positions are young and/or inexperienced at a higher level of rugby.

Potential squad:
(Players in brackets replacing currently injured players)

Hooker: Willie Wepener, Robbie Coetzee, (Malcolm Marx)
Prop: Bees Roux, Julian Redelinghuys, Schalk van der Merwe, Jacques van Rooyen
Lock: Franco van der Merwe, Martin Muller, Franco Mostert, Hugo Kloppers, Ruan Venter
Loose forward: Willie Britz, Jaco Kriel, Derick Minnie, Warwick Tecklenburg, Warren Whiteley, Lambert Groenewald
Scrumhalf: Michael Bondesio, Ross Cronje, Faf de Klerk
Flyhalf: Marnitz Boshoff, Willie du Plessis, (Guy Cronje)
Centre: Alwyn Hollenbach, Stefan Watermeyer, JW Jonker, Stokkies Hanekom
Wing: Deon van Rensburg, Lionel Mapoe, Deon Helberg, (Courtnal Skosan)
Fullback: Ruan Combrinck, Chrysander Botha, (Kobus de Kock)

Beseer: Francois du Toit, Ruan Dreyer, Chris van Zyl, Elton Jantjies, Dylan Des Fountain, Anthony Volmink, Andries Coetzee

There are a number of area of concern:

Props: Apart from Bees Roux the Lions props are either young and inexperienced or just plain inexperienced.
Locks: The Lions have experience in Franco van der Merwe and Martin Muller but their back-ups are inexperienced.
Scrumhalves: A serious lack of quality back-ups for Michael Bondesio, who has become more and more injury prone.
Centres: The first choice midfield of Hollenbach and Hanekom are injury prone and we will probably have to rely on Watermeyer and Jonker to see us through the season with the youngsters serving as further back-up.
Wings: While the Lions now have a number of real speedsters out wide their defence will be a worry.
Fullbacks: With Andries Coetzee out injured again only Ruan Combrinck really inspires any confidence at the back.

The only areas where the Lions seem to be well covered are in the loose forwards and at flyhalf with the first choice lock pairing solid enough as well.

I am not saying that the inexperienced players won’t be able to make the grade but 2014 will be a year when they will have to step up and use the opportunities they get to become household names.

My first choice match 23 with currently available players:

15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Lionel Mapoe, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Willie Britz, 6, Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Willie Wepener, 1, Bees Roux

Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Schalk van der Merwe, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Willie du Plessis, 23 Chrysander Botha

What will your’s look like?

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