Rugby and more Rugby!

The Rugby Championship and Currie Cup are in full swing. Who are the early title favourites? Have your say on our Forum!

LIVE

    Lionel's big chance

    2011-04-29 07:38
    Stephen Nell

    Cape Town – Will Lionel Cronjé finally make his mark after a rollercoaster ride at Western Province?

    The 22-year-old has not yet realised his potential following the decision to leave Bloemfontein for the Cape in 2010.

    However, the Stormers’ hopes are now pinned on him after both Peter Grant and Gary van Aswegen suffered injuries.

    Cronjé got more than an hour’s game time in the Stormers’ last Super Rugby match – a 33-19 win over the Lions in Johannesburg – after Van Aswegen had to leave the field with a knee injury.

    He did a few good things on attack and clearly has an educated boot. At the same time his unforced errors – he twice kicked the ball directly into touch from kick-offs – is a source of concern.

    Cronjé was used a few times as fullback in WP’s Vodacom Cup team this year, while the Stormers preferred Van Aswegen as back-up to Grant.

    It is a fact that the Stormers’ brains trust are mostly accurate in their judgement on players, but in the case of Cronjé it’s debatable whether they have really managed to make full use of his talent.

    Cronjé, after all, was named South Africa’s under-20 player of the year at the end of 2009 after the Baby Boks had won the bronze medal at the Junior World Championships in Japan.

    He was then signed up with great fanfare by WP together with senior Springboks such as Bryan Habana and Jaque Fourie.

    Cronjé was on the Stormers’ substitutes bench for their first five games last year, but was only sent on against the Lions and Highlanders for 10 and 8 minutes respectively.

    His career at WP went into a downward spiral when he got involved in a fight after last year’s 37-13 win over the Hurricanes and was briefly in police custody.

    The Stormers then suspended him for two weeks for breaching their code of conduct. Willem de Waal was then used off their bench and Cronjé did not play Super Rugby for the rest of the tournament.

    Coetzee then also made the decision that De Waal’s boot would be a crucial component in his Currie Cup campaign. That meant that Cronjé only started once – against the Leopards at Newlands. He was used nine times as a substitute in the Currie Cup.

    Van Aswegen was ever-present for the WP under-21 side and progressed to Grant’s understudy at the Stormers this year.

    In contrast to WP’s management of Cronjé, the Sharks gave Patrick Lambie a baptism of fire at senior level last year. Lambie still played fullback for the SA under-20 side last season, but was a key player for the Sharks in the Currie Cup and started 10 games at flyhalf.

    His highlight was the final against WP in which he scored 25 of the Sharks’ points in their 30-10 victory.

    On Saturday, Lambie and Cronjé will face off at Newlands.

    The Sharks star got substantially more opportunities from his coaching staff over the past year.

    Even so, Cronjé could not have asked for a better opportunity to show that he has a future in the Cape. It’s time for him to serve WP a reminder why they contracted him in the first place.

    Cronjé will also have to deal with the pressure of goalkicking. If he shows he’s up to it in this encounter, he will surely get the recognition that has thus far evaded him in the Cape.

    Read News24’s Comments Policy

    24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

    Comment on this story
    37 comments
    Add your comment
    Comment 0 characters remaining
    Live Video Streaming
    Video Highlights
    Sport Talk
    Most Read
    Commented

    Results

    02 August 2014
    26 July 2014
    19 July 2014
    12 July 2014
    11 July 2014
    06 July 2014
    05 July 2014
    04 July 2014
    28 June 2014
    27 June 2014
    31 May 2014
    30 May 2014
    24 May 2014
    23 May 2014
    18 May 2014
    17 May 2014
    16 May 2014
    11 May 2014
    10 May 2014
    09 May 2014
    03 May 2014
    02 May 2014
    26 April 2014
    25 April 2014
    19 April 2014
    18 April 2014
    12 April 2014
    11 April 2014
    05 April 2014
    04 April 2014
    29 March 2014
    28 March 2014
    22 March 2014
    21 March 2014
    15 March 2014
    14 March 2014
    08 March 2014
    07 March 2014
    01 March 2014
    28 February 2014
    23 February 2014
    22 February 2014
    21 February 2014
    15 February 2014

    Logs

    Rank Team P W Pts

    Opinion Poll

    Does the Waratahs' Super Rugby victory give the Wallabies an edge heading into the Rugby Championship?

    Monday Quiz Madness!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.