Lions a 'fantastic' side

    2011-04-14 07:52
    Stephen Nell

    Cape Town - Veteran flank Schalk Burger was in a generous mood on his 28th birthday on Wednesday when he described the Lions as a "fantastic side".

    VIDEO: Allister Coetzee chats team selection and Lions

    So fantastic are the Lions that they have lost their last 11 home games in Johannesburg in Vodacom Super Rugby. But considering the Stormers' performance against the Reds, it's probably better to carry Burger's attitude into Saturday's match at Coca-Cola Park.

    Burger's Stormers team lost for the first time this year against the Reds on Saturday after kicking off with six straight victories. And now they have to guard against a downward spiral.

    "Every game is important, but especially after you played so poorly the previous week. It's very important for us to bounce back before next week's bye," said Burger.

    "We saw with the Sharks that their first defeat led to a slump after they were on a roll at the start. We don't want to go down the same track."

    Considering the frustration that the Lions have caused the Stormers in the past, a little exaggerated respect may not be out of place.

    In 2008 the Stormers had to beat the Lions with four tries to make the semi-finals, but could only score three tries in their victory and were denied the crucial log point.

    Once again this week the bonus point will be just that - a bonus. As long as the Stormers just get back to winning ways.

    "Next week's bye won't mean much if we don't play well this weekend," said Stormers coach Allister Coetzee.

    "We have to play well and then we can really enjoy the bye. It will be coming at just the right time."

    Coetzee has made four changes to the side that just lost against the Reds.

    Bryan Habana will be sidelined for this game with a shoulder injury. That means there is a change and positional switch in the back three.

    Gio Aplon moves from fullback to left wing, with Conrad Jantjes returning at fullback.

    Jantjes has played for Western Province's Vodacom Cup team the past two weekends. His boot and experience probably got him the nod over youngster JJ Engelbrecht.

    De Kock Steenkamp also got the nod at lock as Rynhardt Elstadt is out with a leg injury.

    Brok Harris gets a well deserved break from starting, which means that CJ van der Linde will run out as tighthead prop.

    "Brok has played a lot of rugby since last year. Why not make the switch when you have a Springbok on your bench? CJ has played very well when coming on as a tighthead prop and it's important that he also gets to start," said Coetzee.

    The Stormers are expected to take the Lions on in the set phases.

    Last week the Lions only won 9 of their 14 lineouts against the Sharks and that is why Andries Bekker could be a trump card for the Stormers.

    Coetzee also wants his team to start well and maintain good discipline throughout.

    "We started well in all our games except last week's one. We have also put a lot of pressure on opponents in the set phases. It's difficult for any team to function if it does not get good possession."


    Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14Danie Poolman, 13Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (capt), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Wicus Blaauw.

    Substitutes: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Anton van Zyl, 19 Nick Koster, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Johann Sadie.


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