Cape Town - Western Province coach John Dobson was surprised by the Golden Lions’ late decision to play Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx off the bench in Saturday’s Currie Cup semi-final at Newlands.
Marx was initially picked in the starting team, but Lions coach Swys de Bruin changed his line-up shortly before kick-off.
Marx and tighthead prop Ruan Dreyer were both shifted to the bench, before entering the fray in the 33rd minute.
In fact De Bruin changed his entire front row at once after Western Province had dominated proceedings up front.
“It looked as though they were busy with some sort of clever plan. Even the team list we got from the Lions before kick-off was not the team which ran out. We half expected that to be their plan,” Dobson was quoted as saying by Netwerk24.
“We handled it well," Dobson continued. "Marx won turnover possession on one occasion and he carried the ball well. He is an exceptional rugby player. If I was a Lions fan I would have liked to see him spend more time on the field!”
WP also did well to disrupt the Lions' lineouts which exposed a weak area in Marx’s game.
De Bruin gave his reasons for not starting with Marx and Dreyer.
"Dreyer had a bit of a rib (injury) that he battled with," the Lions mentor told Rugby365.
"We had to inject him (with a pain killer) and I didn't want to put him under that pressure. Malcolm was an absolute folk hero for South Africa. The plan was to see how it goes and just bring him on a bit later. It wasn't a case of trying this or trying that."
WP won the match 19-5 to book their spot in the Currie Cup final against the Sharks in Durban this Saturday (16:00 kick-off).