Johannesburg - Auto and General Lions coach Dick Muir believes even though his side are underdogs in this year’s Vodacom Super 14, they will reap the rewards for their hard work thus far.
Muir is cautiously optimistic ahead of a season where much is expected from the Lions side, even though they have underperformed on a regular basis in the competition in the past few years.
The signing of Carlos Spencer for the season has renewed such hope in the Lions fans hearts, that Muir knows his team will be forced to produce if they are not to disappoint once again.
But the current Springbok assistant coach is full of confidence ahead of a tough season. Muir believes he has enough firepower and talent in his squad, and has enjoyed the challenge thus far.
“Its been very exciting and quite challenging for me,” Muir said, “the co-operation and enthusiasm there has been within the union and with the players has been really pleasing for me. We’ll get the rewards for the hard work that has been put in.”
However, the Lions coach was the first one to put the brakes on when it comes to expectations, hoping for a quiet rising than a bang followed by a whimper.
“We’ve set certain goals, and we do have a target in mind. But we’ve got to be realistic to where we are at in this competition. It is a process, we want to improve every week that we play and we want to refine the side,” he added.
“The reason for having a big squad is to keep guys fresh, to ensure that when we get to the final stage of the competition we will have fresh legs available.
Muir was on hand when the Stormers demolished the Force’s second stringers at Newlands on Saturday, and was impressed by what he saw. The Lions open their Super 14 campaign against the Stormers at Ellis Park on February 13.
“I was fortunate enough to be there and the Stormers played incredibly well. It was what you’d come to expect from the Stormers. They have a formidable side and they seem to be playing a high tempo game which will do them good.
“The big thing about these warm-up games is to get away from injuries and they came through unscathed against the Force.” Muir’s team face the Bulls in two separate warm-up games in Polokwane on Saturday, followed by a double header against the Leopards and Pumas in Witbank on February 5.