Spicy SA derby duel in store
Johannesburg - It’s the top goal kicking side against the top points scorers at Ellis Park on Saturday evening when the Lions host the Cell C Sharks in the only South African Super Rugby derby this weekend.
The Lions, with a magnificent success rate of 92%, have been setting the pace this season when it comes to goal kicking, with their flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff also the first player to reach 100 season points in 2014.
Furthermore, the Joburgers’ scrum success rate – incidentally also at 92% – is also a joint-high in the competition.
But they will face a different beast (‘scuse the pun) against the Cell C Sharks this weekend against an all-Springbok front row and a pack boasting seven Boks.
Built on the platform created by their pack, the Cell C Sharks have averaged a competition high of 30.2 points per game this season. They also boast the best defensive record, conceding just 16.8 points and 1.3 tries per game so far.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann said his team will not necessarily take a more conservative approach on Saturday, but they would look at correcting the mistakes they made last week against the Crusaders.
"We don't want to lose our adventurous side, but we need to know when to play conservatively.
"We need to get the right balance of kicking and passing.”
However, Jake White
, the Cell C Sharks’ director of rugby, realises it will be tough against the Lions on Saturday, especially upfront, where they’ve done very well.
"The Lions’ forward pack has been outstanding and I think Johan Ackermann has done a fantastic job," said White.
"Their front row was supposedly young players who’ve come along and staked a claim.
"That’s just three players in a whole team, but it epitomises everybody in that group: no-namers who have really stuck their hands up and played above themselves.
"They have a lot of pace in the backline and a lot of skills, and the fact that Elton Jantjies
, a Springbok, isn’t in their starting line-up proves that they’re obviously quite comfortable with the way they’re playing.
"The last time we played them, Elton started against us.
"Now he’s not in the mix, so it will be a completely different challenge for us."Teams:Lions
Andries Coetzee, 14. Deon van Rensburg, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Stefan
Watermeyer, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Faf de Klerk,
8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Willie Britz, 6. Derick Minnie, 5.
Franco Mostert, 4. Martin Muller, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 2. Willie
Wepener, 1. Schalk van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16. Robbie
Coetzee, 17. Corne Fourie, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. MB Lusaseni, 20. Jaco
Kriel, 21. Ross Cronje, 22. Elton Jantjies
, 23. Alwyn Hollenbach Sharks
, 14. Odwa Ndungane
, 13. S’bura Sithole, 12. Frans Steyn
11. JP Pietersen
, 10. Fred Zeilinga
, 9. Charl McLeod, 8. Ryan Kankowski
7. Jean Deysel
, 6. Marcell Coetzee
, 5. Stephan Lewies
, 4. Willem
Alberts, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1.
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper
, 17. Dale Chadwick
18. Lourens Adriaanse
, 19. Etienne Oosthuizen, 20. Keegan Daniel
, 22. Paul Jordaan
, 23. SP Marais