Franco van der Merwe (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg – About 1000 less big matches.
That is how the experience in the Lions’ starting line-up compares with that of the Bulls.
Gauteng’s two rugby giants take each other on in a Super Rugby match at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday.
The Lions picked a starting line-up in which the players collectively share 266 Super Rugby matches and 4 Tests.
The Bulls’ starting line-up boasts 823 Super Rugby matches and 400 Tests – a total of 1223 games.
Bulls captain Victor Matfield has played a joint total of 214 Super Rugby games and Tests – not significantly less than all the players in the Lions’ starting line-up put together.
Matfield’s direct opponent, Franco van der Merwe, is also the Lions’ new captain.
He said that the Lions have no illusions about the task ahead.
“They are the champions and will be a good measure for us. We’d like to measure ourselves against the best, even if we have not performed well in the past. They have a good side with massive experience. But we are a different team now,” said Van der Merwe.
It’s not titles that win games. Rather, it’s confidence, commitment, opportunism, calmness under pressure and tactics.
The Lions team is:
Jaco Taute, Lionel Mapoe, Waylon Murray, Doppies la Grange, Michael Killian, Elton Jantjies, Jano Vermaak, Warren Whiteley, Josh Strauss, Derick Minnie, Franco van der Merwe (capt), George Earle, Patric Cilliers, Bandise Maku, JC Janse van Rensburg. Substitutes: Martin Bezuidenhout, Kevin Buys, Wikus van Heerden, Cobus Grobbelaar, Rory Kockott, Burton Francis, James Kamana.