Vodacom Super 14

Delport out to prove a point

2010-04-20 22:33
Marius Delport (Gallo Images)
Pieter Jordaan

Johannesburg – The Lions will have to take on the Bulls without centre Doppies la Grange on Saturday, but it’s the other Lions centre that will be out to prove a point in the Super 14 clash at Loftus Versfeld.

Marius Delport, 25, will be out to show the Bulls what they are missing out on when he plays for the Lions against his former team.

Walter Venter was picked as Delport’s centre partner for the match after La Grange suffered a small ankle ligament tear. Venter was limping after Tuesday afternoon’s training session following the recent knee injury he suffered against the Reds.

The Lions coaching staff believes he will be fit to play. If not, Deon van Rensburg will run out as Delport’s centre partner.

For Delport, who still lives in Pretoria, it will be a clash with players that he has regularly played with before.

The same applies to Wynand Olivier and Jaco Pretorius, who will be his direct opponent in the No 13 jersey.

Delport does not believe that their knowledge of each other’s game will have a noticeable impact.

“We did our video sessions and I looked at the things I remember about them,” said Delport, who played 11 Super 14 games for the Bulls.

“But Pieter Rossouw (Bulls backline coach) introduces new things to their game every week. For us the important thing will be not to start poorly and to have to chase the whole game again.

“The Reds achieved success against the Bulls by keeping the ball away from them, so the Bulls will be out to change that against us.”

Delport, who played for the SA under-19 side for two years and for the SA under-21 team for three years, moved to the Lions in search of regular game time after mostly being used as a substitute by the Blue Bulls and Bulls.

He nevertheless had to be satisfied mostly with Vodacom Cup rugby at his new union until getting opportunities in the wake of the Lions’ tour to Australia and New Zealand.

Two players that have received similar treatment to Delport this week are Springbok prop Heinke van der Merwe and lock Willem Stoltz. Both have been released to play in Friday’s Vodacom Cup quarter-final against the Free State Cheetahs.

Kevin Buys and Wouter Moore have joined up with the Super 14 squad and may play against the Bulls.

The Lions are encouraged that they played with the kind of attitude and pride against the Sharks that had been missing for a large chunk of their campaign.

They have a swagger for the first time this year, and that is bad news for the Bulls.

Read more on:    lions  |  super 14

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