Lions look for winning habit
Johannesburg - Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann said his side was looking to develop a winning mindset after suffering consecutive defeats at the start of their Currie Cup season.
“A win is a priority especially after we’ve lost two matches,” Ackermann said ahead of their Jukskei derby against the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
“If you can win your five home matches, then you only need one or two away victories to make it through to the semi-finals.
“The mindset is to win and we didn’t do it in the first round, so now we want to go out and do it on Saturday…we must just start getting momentum and create that winning habit.”
The Golden Lions would be buoyed by the inclusion of Franco van Merwe and Willie Wepener for their third-round clash.
Van der Merwe returned to the side after being released from the Springboks, while Wepener was back at the union where he first made his name before taking up a contract with French club Clermont Auvergne in 2009.
Wepener replaced Martin Bezuidenhout at hooker, while Van der Merwe would take Hugo Kloppers’ place in the second row.
“We’ve lost a lot of players like Michael Bondesio, Alwyn Hollenbach and Ruan Combrinck, who were heavily involved in the Currie Cup last year," Ackermann said.
“So it is great to have those quality guys back especially with the situation we are in, where we have to win.”
In other changes to the starting XV, Marnitz Boshoff moved from fullback to flyhalf where he replaced Elton Jantjies, who would be back-up from the bench. Chrysander Botha received a starting berth at fullback.
While the record showed the Lions had lost two matches in as many weeks, the results against the Cheetahs and the Sharks could have gone either way.
The Bulls had achieved a scrappy and unconvincing victory over Griquas last Friday which, Ackermann felt, was sometimes the nature of matches played at Loftus.
“Hopefully both sides will be a bit more positive and play a bit more rugby, but it’s always tough at Loftus and it is not easy to get your points,” he said.
“Griquas always make it tough to get points against them and that is why I think the result was all down to kicking and very close.
“We want to play a good brand of rugby and hopefully that will lead to a good game.”Teams:Blue Bulls:
15 Jürgen Visser,
14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Travis
Ismaiel, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Ruan Snyman, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7
Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul
Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger
, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Morné Mellett
Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku
, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Waylon Murray
, 22 Clayton BlommetjiesGolden Lions:
15 Chrysander Botha 14 Deon Helberg
13 Robert De Bruyn 12 Dylan Des Fountain 11 Anthony Volmink 10 Marnitz
Boshoff 9 Guy Cronje 8 Willie Britz 7 Derick Minnie (captain) 6 Jaco
Kriel 5 Franco van der Merwe 4 Chris van Zyl 3 Ruan Dreyer 2 Willie
Wepener 1 Jacques Van Rooyen
Substitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee 17 CJ van der Linde 18 Lambert Groenewald 19 Warwick Tecklenburg 20 Tiaan Meyer 21 Elton Jantjies
22 Lionel Cronje