Many flyer miles for Butch
Butch James playing for Bath (File)
Johannesburg - Butch James may well make his debut for the Lions in four weeks’ time when the team embarks on their overseas tour in the Super Rugby competition.
As things currently stand, any reinforcement will be welcomed for the Lions and that may mean that the Springbok flyhalf will soon be seen in his new jersey.
James (32) is expected to jet off to Johannesburg immediately after his last game in the English season.
It does not look as if his club side Bath will make the semi-finals of the English Premiership, which means that his league season will end on 7 May.
The Lions’ Super Rugby tour of Australasia starts a week later against the Brumbies in Canberra.
The travel demands between Bath, Johannesburg and Canberra could mean that James may not be played immediately on tour.
Then there is also the issue of his form.
Lions flyhalves Elton Jantjies and André Pretorius performed poorly behind a beaten pack against the Sharks on Saturday, but James’ recent form for Bath has not been good either.
He was criticised for his performance in Bath’s recent home defeat to the Leicester Tigers. It was his trademark shoulder charges that proved costly to his side as he was penalised for illegal play a few times.
For the Lions the way forward seems tough.
Their 3-27 defeat to the Sharks was their worst performance of the year, and even if team management doesn’t admit as much, it looks as if they doubt themselves.
Injuries have also struck and fullback James Kamana will be out for three months with a broken ankle. Kamana’s tournament is therefore over and another fullback, Michael Killian, recently suffered a hamstring injury.
Now a match against the Stormers awaits the Lions at Coca-Cola Park.
Lions coach John Mitchell believes in consistency of selection, but there may well be changes after the fiasco against the Sharks.
Fixing the problems in the scrums and lineouts will be high on the priority list.
The Lions are not a team with a lot of experience, but are capable of more and are under pressure to show that in upcoming home matches against the Stormers, Chiefs and Cheetahs.