Marais urges Lions to pick Boks

    2016-07-12 06:59

    Cape Town - Bulls head coach Nollis Marais has advised Lions counterpart Johan Ackermann to play his first-choice XV against the Jaguares on Saturday.

    There's been talk that the Super Rugby leaders might rotate so they're fresh for the knockout stage, thus risking their route to a home final.

    But Marais, whose side played the Jaguares in Argentina two weeks ago and lost 29-11, believes it would be foolish of Ackermann to not start his best XV.

    "I would play the Boks‚" he told Times Live ahead of the final game of the regular-season, which takes place at Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires.

    Marais though said he understood the thought-process behind wanting to rest some of your star players for the trip.

    "The problem with travelling there is that it is a 26-hour travel‚ and you must hope it doesn't rain. It is difficult to travel back (home) and play. The most difficult game is the one after the trip to Argentina."

    Marais added on their own experience in Argentina: "We only arrived around midday on Monday and didn't do anything (training)‚ and only got the guys ready again on the Tuesday. It is a very difficult trip. I understand why he would want to (rest his players)."

    Ackermann is clearly considering doing just that, despite recent big wins over the Sharks and Kings when they looked a fresh line-up.

    "I have to trust that (second-choice) players can play - all the guys in those positions. We have got the depth‚ it is only a matter of when is the right time to make that decision and back it,” he said following the 57-21 victory over the Port Elizabeth side last Friday.

    A win for the Lions would see them top the overall standings and earn the right to a home final if they get that far.

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    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15


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