Coetzee cleared for Lions
Johannesburg - The Emirates Lions will welcome back Springbok hooker Robbie Coetzee, who returned to training on Monday from a neck injury.
According to the supersport.com website, the boost, which coincides with the return for Julian Redelinghuys and a clean bill of health following the loss to the Hurricanes will be a welcome relief for the Lions ahead of their Vodacom Super Rugby game against the Cell C Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
The only injury concern currently is lock MB Lusaseni, who is still recovering from a knee injury.
Coetzee returned home early from the Bok tour last year with the neck injury, had surgery and has been out of action since then.
But with Malcolm Marx’s fine display up front, Lions coach Johan Ackermann may decide not to use him just yet, and allow him to ease back into action.
Meanwhile captain Warren Whiteley believes his team will “bounce back” from their frustrating defeat at the hands of the Hurricanes.
The Lions dominated every facet of the game but were soundly beaten on the scoreboard, with Whiteley refusing to lament his decisions not to kick at goal on a night where the Lions were struggling with their place kicks.
“We just didn’t convert pressure into points. We had ample opportunities, they were struggling to stop our drives, they were on their last warning. We backed our lineout and they turned us over, so we didn’t convert. I think that is the most frustrating thing, is that we had opportunities and we worked so hard to get into that gold zone, and we couldn’t get the points,” Whiteley said in reference to chasing the tries rather than points through the boot.
The Lions need more patience, Whiteley believes, saying he knows this team is better than the one that was in last year’s competition. The time is now for the side to prove it.
“We worked so hard to get into that gold zone, that’s what we need to work on – the patience within that area, within the 22,” Whiteley explains.
“We worked so hard to get there and its almost as if we lose patience, and try to play a more expansive game where in that area you simply have to be more direct. You need to cut your losses and be direct. There are some encouraging signs for us though, some guys who haven’t played Super Rugby who did well and some guys who didn’t get opportunities that are putting pressure on the other guys.
“We have to bounce back, I know this team is better than we were last year. I know it in my heart.
“There are a lot of positives and we will bounce back, we will.”