Jantjies braces for physical Kerevi threat
Cape Town - Following their clinical 29-0 dismantling of the Waratahs last week, the Lions will be overwhelming favourites to see off the Reds in a Super Rugby clash in Brisbane on Saturday.
With just three wins from eight this season, the Reds are second from bottom in the Australian Conference ahead of only the winless Sunwolves.
On paper, the 2016 and 2017 runner-ups should have enough to get the job done.
Coach Swys de Bruin, though, knows that the Reds have a massive weapon in the form of Wallaby Samu Kerevi.
The 24-year-old No 12 was the shining light for the Reds this past weekend as they fell to a 36-12 loss to the Chiefs, and De Bruin is expecting him to provide the biggest threat to the Lions.
"Their No 12 is their best player and a very direct runner," De Bruin said.
The coach is expecting Kerevi to run at Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies, but he has faith that his playmaker is solid enough on defence to deal with that.
"He (Kerevi) will make cut-backs on Elton, but the way Elton stopped that big monster of an 11 from the Waratahs ... he's a very gutsy player and he defends well,” said De Bruin.
"Whoever runs at him in his channel, he will be ready, I'm sure of that."
De Bruin was referring to Waratahs left wing Taqele Naiyaravoro, who Jantjies and the Lions stopped in Sydney.
"Under the new coaching staff, they are more physical and they come with a pressure approach, which you didn't get in the past from a Reds team," De Bruin added, before heaping more praise on his flyhalf.
"Elton has been in very good form again. From an attacking point of view, we're very satisfied with Elton and he understands where the pressure is and he helps the team."
The Lions, meanwhile, are sweating on the fitness of outside centre Lionel Mapoe, who is struggling with a groin strain.
Kick-off on Saturday is at 07:05 (SA time).