Golden chance for Lions’ Roodt
Johannesburg - The spear tackle Cheetahs centre Andries Strauss was banned for after Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Lions will deprive the Gauteng side of one of their most experienced players on Friday.
Wikus van Heerden was stretchered off the field after Strauss' tackle in the 12th minute of the Lions’ 27-25 victory, but the relief was palpable when it was announced he had only suffered a concussion.
The timing could not have been much worse for the former Springbok as Saturday was his 33rd birthday.
He will now miss Friday’s game against the Hurricanes in the hope of being fully fit for his side’s third Super Rugby fixture against the Sharks in Durban.
Strauss became the first South African to be punished after the referee showed him a white card along with the obvious yellow his tackle warranted.
This white card calls on another official to scrutinise an isolated incident more closely.
Strauss admitted guilt to foul play and was subsequently banned for two weeks.
Van Heerden’s injury might not be serious, but it will no doubt encourage referees to be even stricter on needless tackles where players are lifted off their feet.
With Van Heerden on the sidelines, Lions newcomer Hendrik Roodt could well seize the opportunity to stake a claim on the position he filled when Van Heerden left the field.
The Lions’ lineouts were disappointing throughout on Saturday and Roodt, Franco van der Merwe and newcomer Callie Visagie will have to rectify the weakness this week.