Johannesburg - Golden Lions lock Lourens Erasmus says the Currie Cup provides a great opportunity for his team-mates to make their own mark on the field.
The Lions have lost a number of first-choice players to Springbok duties and Japan commitments during the domestic season. This saw several new players called up to the Lions senior team.
Despite the number of new faces in the squad, the Johannesburg-based union made a big statement when they beat the Pumas 68-26 at Ellis Park in their Currie Cup opener last weekend.
And according to second-rower Erasmus, there’s much more to come from the defending champions.
“We were very happy with the big win against the Pumas, but there’s definitely much more room for improvement,” Erasmus told MyPlayers. “We did very well from broken play and made the most of our scoring opportunities. However, we can still improve, especially from a team perspective. Our structured player can be much better.
“Many of our players are in the Springbok squad, but we all see that as a positive,” continued Erasmus. “We know we need to do very well to fill their shoes and make sure we carry the team forward during the Currie Cup.
“The fact that there are so many Lions players in the national team motivates us. It makes us believe that if we work hard enough, we could earn our own opportunities one day.”
Erasmus also managed to make history against the Pumas last weekend as he scored the fastest Currie Cup try, which was clocked at 8.5 seconds from the opening kick-off.
“When I crossed the line, I wasn’t even thinking about the time. I just wanted to get close to the sticks to give the team an easier conversion,” said Erasmus. “It was only after the game when I got the call from the team manager, who told me my try was the quickest try in Currie Cup history. It’s a huge honour, but it all comes down to the team effort.”
Erasmus was a regular feature for the Lions during their memorable Super Rugby campaign, which saw the side make the tournament final for the first time. He believes that the culture and momentum experienced the season will be passed on to the new players in the Currie Cup squad.
“We’re big on culture here at the Lions. We play for each other on and off the field. This creates a positive environment for the players,” explained Erasmus.
“We don’t see this Currie Cup campaign as a title defence. This is a new squad, so we want to make our own statement. We need to prove ourselves as we aim to do well.”
The Lions face Griquas in their next encounter on Saturday (14:10 kick-off). Erasmus expects a tough challenge in Kimberley.
“Griquas are always a tough side, especially in Kimberley. We’re expecting a hard and physical battle against them. If we stick to our structures and make a big team effort this weekend, we will do well.”
15 AJ Coertzen, 14 JW Jonker, 13 Jonathan Francke, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Rudi van Rooyen, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 RJ Liebenberg (captain), 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 4 Sias Koen, 3 Stephan Kotzé, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Steph Roberts
Substitutes: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Devon Martinus, 18 Mzwanele Zito, 19 Stephan Vermeulen, 20 Renier Botha, 21 André Swart, 22 Eric Zana
15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Howard Mnisi (co-captain), 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje (co-captain), 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Steph de Wit, 5 Lourens Erasmus, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Armand ‘Akker’ van der Merwe, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Bobby de Wee, 19 Ruaan Lerm, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Jacques Nel
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