Brenden Nel - SuperSport
Johannesburg - As if they weren’t already struggling with form, the MTN Lions now also have to contend with a host of injuries ahead of Saturday’s derby against the Stormers at Coca Cola Park.
The Lions confirmed on Monday they had lost Kiwi fullback James Kamana to a calf injury, effectively ruling out the fullback for the rest of the Vodacom Super Rugby season.
But then, just as they contemplate picking themselves up from the 27-3 mauling at the hands of the Sharks this past weekend, the Lions will have to find replacements for two other players.
Both lock George Earle and flanker Joshua Strauss have been diagnosed with concussion and should sit out the game against the Stormers, which is not a great situation for coach John Mitchell considering the problems the team has been having in the lineouts.
Earle will likely be replaced by David Bulbring or David de Villiers if he is ruled out, while veteran Cobus Grobbelaar could be called up to replace Strauss.
The Lions will be hoping to put the Stormers to the sword with their own limited firepower, but will need to up the concentration levels if they are to trouble to Cape side.
Against the Sharks the team was unable to sustain pressure and turn it into points, with the setpiece being their biggest cause of concern. On one occasion, the Lions had three attacking lineouts overturned, and not just due to opposition pressure, but more because of their own mistakes.
Mitchell spoke last week again of taking the step up and shedding the losing culture. Injuries aside, the character within the Lions will need to come to the surface if they are to break that this weekend.