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Mitchell: My worst crisis ever
John Mitchell (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Lions coach John Mitchell has described their current injury crisis as the worst he's ever experienced in his coaching career.
After losing some of their props and centres, a hooker, lock, flank and wing over the last few weeks, they now appear to have a crisis at scrumhalf as well.
Michael Bondesio is struggling with a hamstring injury, while replacement scrumhalf Tian Meyer injured his back in practice on Monday.
They are hopeful that Meyer will be ready to face the Stormers on Saturday but it's a position in which they can hardly afford to lose personnel after the departure of Jano Vermaak and Rory Kockott last year.
Next in line at scrumhalf is former Shark Ross Cronjé, who fell behind Meyer in the pecking order after an injury in pre-season.
Another scrumhalf, Whestley Moolman from the Leopards, is also injured. This means that Rudy Paige, the University of Johannesburg's scrumhalf in the Varsity Cup, might be called upon as backup. Another option would be to play centre Doppies la Grange at No 9 - something he has done with success in the past.
The Lions' other injury casualties are: Elton Jantjies (flyhalf), CJ
van der Linde (prop) en Wikus van Heerden (lock), JC Janse van Rensburg (prop) and Alwyn Hollenbach (centre).
"This is the biggest injury list I have seen in my 16 years as a coach in professional rugby," Mitchell told the Beeld
"On most occasions there are two or three (injuries) per week you have to contend with. Now we have 33% of our senior group - and about 10 players that would have been certain of a spot in the starting line-up - out. But there's no room for excuses."
Their clash against the Stormers at Coca-Cola Park kicks off at 19:10 on Saturday evening.