Swys: Lions 'underdogs' against Jaguares

    2018-03-19 13:15

    Johannesburg - Lions coach Swys de Bruin has labelled his side as "underdogs" ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby clash against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires. 

    Few will believe that, but De Bruin was basing that statement on the fact that the Lions have come up short on their last two trips to Argentina. 

    Last year the Lions lost 36-24 while in 2016 they were downed 34-22. On both of those occasions, however, coach Johan Ackermann had opted to field a significantly watered-down side. 

    It hurt in 2016, in particular, when victory would have given the Lions home ground advantage throughout the knockout stages of the competition. 

    Instead, they travelled to Wellington for the final where they were hammered 20-3 by the Hurricanes. 

    Following his side's nervy 40-38 win over the Sunwolves at Ellis Park on Saturday, De Bruin acknowledged that he would be picking his strongest possible side for the clash against the Jaguares. 

    That said, there are a couple of players who the coach knows need some time off. 

    "We might look at giving (hooker) Robbie Coetzee and one or two other guys a run," De Bruin said.

    "Malcolm Marx has been superb but he needs a break and we need to look after him from a national point of view, but we can't afford to leave anyone at home this time."

    De Bruin, perhaps playing a few mind games, then referred to the Jaguares as favourites for Saturday's match.

    "It's nice to go there as the underdog," he said.

    "We've never won there so that's a challenge that works in our favour.

    "It's good for the group to get away and get out of the situation for a while and go overseas.

    "We're looking to play maximum rugby there. We still want to score five or more tries but we'll work on our system not to give away so many."

    Saturday's match kicks off at 23:40 (SA time). 

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