Vodacom Super Rugby
Butch rushed into Lions squad
Johannesburg - The initial plan was to give him a run during the second week on tour after saying his farewells at English Premiership club Bath, but Rugby World Cup-winning flyhalf Butch James will now have two training sessions before making his first Super Rugby appearance for the Lions.
"Butch arrives on Wednesday and we are looking forward to a flyhalf calling the shots," Lions coach John Mitchell said after his team's humiliating 53-19 loss to the Cheetahs on Saturday.
"His experience will be outstanding for the team and I'm not sure whether he will start, but he will be part of the 22."
The Lions left for Canberra on Saturday ahead of next week’s match against the Brumbies in what could turn out to be their best chance of bagging a win on tour.
Their other three matches on the road are against the Waratahs, the Highlanders and the Hurricanes.
"When he (James) gets there, we will have one session and a captain's run and he's experienced enough to pick up things pretty quickly," Mitchell said.
While Mitchell was not totally disappointed in Burton Francis' showing against the Free State squad, he added that James could provide a solution as far as tactical decision-making is concerned.
Elton Jantjies was given an extended run at the start of the competition before Francis had his chance, but the Lions' mentor was not concerned that bringing in another pivot would further upset the already unstable apple cart.
"It is all about putting out the best players in your squad and it is a professional game," Mitchell said.
"We are entitled to purchase players and we have purchased Butch James who is better than the rest.
"He's also more experienced, but he will have to earn his right off the bench."