Lions ready to attack

Lions coach Eugene Eloff will be throwing everything at the Crusaders besides the kitchen sink when the two sides go head-to-head in the much aniticipated Ellis Park battle on Saturday.

The Johannesburg-based Lions have adopted an all-out-attack strategy to take on the defending Super 14 champions by selecting a back-line full of attacking potential.

The most exciting of which is Springbok Jaque Fourie’s shift to inside centre, who many feel has the attributes to make a good number 12.

Fellow Bok Jaco Pretorius will join Fourie in the Lions’ midfield after being moved there after his run on the left wing against the Highlanders last weekend.

That means Jaco van Skalkwyk will make his way off the bench and fill the vacant spot left on the wing, displacing Doppies le Grange.

“It’s great to have Jaco Pretorius back at centre,” said Eloff.

“He deserves to play in a position that he likes, and I’m looking forward to him and Jaque Fourie playing next to each other.”

Scrum-half Ricky Januarie, another Springbok in the Lions squad, has been left on the bench for the second week running. Jano Vermaak will continue where he left off in the number nine jersey.

Bok fly-half and Lions captain Andre Pretorius is still out with a hamstring injury but new recruit Jacques Cronje (formerly of the Bulls) is named among the replacements after recovering from injury.

The South Africa loose forward will make his Lions debute, should he come off the bench on Saturday.

Eloff has put faith in his pack that did him proud against the Highlanders and once again has selected the same bunch of forwards to do battle with the Crusaders.

“It’s definitely a bonus having the same tight five as we’ve had for the past two weeks,” Eloff said.

“However, to expect them to play 12 or 13 weeks of straight rugby is a bit much, so after this weekend’s game I will look at resting a few of the players.”

The two teams have met at Ellis Park on five previous occasions, with the Crusaders shading the Lions (also known as Cats and Transvaal in the previous clashes) three victories to two, but these have all been narrow, whilst the Lions have two big victories to look back on as motivation for this match, scoring half-centuries in both.

Lions: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Wylie Human, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Jaque Fourie, 11 Jaco van Schalkwyk, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Ernst Joubert, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Cobus Grobler, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Heinke van der Merwe
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Bertus Smit, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Jacques Cronje, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Jannie Boshoff 22 Earl Rose

Date: Saturday 17 February
Time: 18:30 (16:30 GMT)
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Referee: Brett Bowden (Australia)
Touch judges: Paul Marks (Australia), Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Television match official: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)

365 Digital

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