Lions coach holds breath

2012-03-28 07:46

Cape Town - Lions coach John Mitchell is hoping several of his injured players will pass fitness tests in order to face the Crusaders in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Beeld reports that Alwyn Hollenbach's potential recovery from a hamstring injury could be a massive boost for Mitchell's side.

The Lions' current injury crisis means that Mitchell will only announce his side on Friday. He wants to give some players as much time as possible to recover.

The midfield positions are of particular concern. This comes after Doppies la Grange picked up a serious elbow injury in their loss to the Stormers last Saturday, with the centre becoming the latest in a long line of injured players.

Mitchell said before the Stormers game they had 11 players absent that would have made the starting line-up. He described it as the worst injury crisis he's ever experienced in his coaching career.

But Hollenbach's injury seems to be improving and he'll get a chance to prove that he's ready to tackle the Crusaders.

Besides Hollenbach, flyhalf Elton Jantjies and wing Lionel Mapoe will also have to prove their fitness to the coach.

Mapoe is a versatile player that can also be utilised at centre. He also has a hamstring injury, which has kept him out of all of their Super Rugby matches so far this season.

Jantjies started the Super Rugby season with a record nine penalty goals in a victory over the Cheetahs, but missed their last two games against the Stormers and Sharks due to a foot injury.

The Lions will know they have a massive task on their hand against the seven-time champions.

The Crusaders' scrum, headed by the Frank brothers, Owen and Ben, demolished the Cheetahs in that department over the weekend before injuries to the Cheetahs props resulted in uncontested scrums.

Caylib Oosthuizen and Pat Cilliers did well against the Stormers, but they are sure to be tested come Saturday.

Lineouts have also been the Johannesburg outfit's Achilles-heel this season, with them losing 13 of their own throw-ins in four matches.

But the Lions can take heart from the fact that the Cheetahs stole possession 23 times against the Crusaders last week, while the New Zealanders also slipped 24 tackles - a statistic the potent Lions backline will look to exploit.


  • Lionel - 2012-03-28 07:51

    One has got to feel sorry for this Lions team with all there injuries...........still hope you guys can give the Saders a good go like you gave the Stormers(happy Firehawk lol)

      Jason - 2012-03-28 08:24

      It would be great if they could, but im not sure they can put up another huge effort like last week so soon.

      Lionel - 2012-03-28 08:28

      I think to there advantage is that they did not have to defend at the end like we did!!! If they attack the Saders like the Cheetahs did Saturday,anything is possible!!!

      heinrich.beukes1 - 2012-03-28 08:41

      Lionel yes I am happy thanks lol and like everybody else I think there is going to be an upset this weekend. I think I am going to the game it is a nice early game.

  • John - 2012-03-28 08:01

    I smell an upset this weekend this crusaders team is just not the team of old....

  • Dave - 2012-03-28 10:00

    The Lions team could have every player fit and healthy and it wouldn't make any difference. NZ sides learnt a long time ago how to beat SA sides and this one is particularly pathetic. How many games have the Lions actually won in their Super rugby history? I am guessing it is probably less than the Crusaders in a single bad year.

      heinrich.beukes1 - 2012-03-28 12:14

      Blue Raven everybody forgets about that super 10 because they only see what they want to see. That was the very first super competition and the Lions won it! So Dave maybe go do some research before making stupid comments!

      Marius - 2012-03-30 07:54

      Maybe your right but I am a lions supporter my whole life maybe your just jealos of the lions go look at the 95 the captian of the boks was n lion we won the super 10 and the currie cup that year and could any other team done that uhm I don't think so your probaly a bull or a shark or a cheetha or a stormer suporter

  • Devon - 2012-03-28 10:20

    I'll be back from uni in Grahamstown to be supporting my boys on Saturday! :D CANT WAIT! Go Lions!

  • verweyc - 2012-03-28 10:20

    Mitchell said before the Stormers game they had 11 players absent that would have made the starting line-up. Wonder who the 4 are that were in the the starting line-up, (Strauss, Le grange, Minnie, ?) that would have joined the 11 injured players if they were all available. it is also time that the lions start showing us what they have learnt in all there games up to now, as we do here about them learning every week, but we never see the practical application thereoff. I am afraid this weekend will be abother learning phase for them and that the Crusaders will walk away with the 4 points for a win.

      heinrich.beukes1 - 2012-03-28 12:16

      They have learned alot you don't see it because you don't support them. Go look at the handling errors stats for instance. Yes they do make stupid mistakes but show me a team who doesn't!

      Lion - 2012-03-28 13:56

      Verwey... The Lions don't have to prove anything to you. They don't have to show you anything you idiot. Why the sudden interest in the Lions and the need for them to prove themselves to you? Stick to your team and what you know which I assume is very little. Don't you have some gardening or something else to do which will take your mind of rugby? You need some quiet time. Idiot!!!

  • BlouMasjien - 2012-03-28 11:29

    Go lions

  • bloedisblou - 2012-03-28 18:07

    go lions, julle het die "champs" laasweek amper getrap met julle c-span, hopelik neek julle nie al julle bal besit in die water in nie! Lions bo!

  • Priester - 2012-03-28 18:57

    This weekend I will support ALL the local teams except the papsakke. The Lions deserve a respite in their injuries. The Bulls should smear the papsakke and Lions the Crusaders. Blou Bul Groete!

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