‘Prodigal son’ plans to spoil Stormers’ party

Lions lock Anton van Zyl, born and bred in Cape Town and with his parents still living in the Newlands area, admits he would love to “put one over” on the Stormers.

The Lions face the Stormers in a Super 14 Round 10 match at Newlands on Saturday and Van Zyl will be one of the key players in the Lions pack.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s derby match Van Zyl said the game could be a “cracker” that could produce some stunning rugby.

The Lions need to win this, the first of four matches against South African opposition, to keep their play-off hopes alive.

Van Zyl suggests the key to victory for the home team will be to get on top in the first 20 minutes and not allow the Stormers back into the game.

“We’ve shown throughout the season that we’ve got the attacking ability,” Van Zyl told this website.

“One aspect that we haven’t been as sharp in as we would have liked would be our ability to finish – turning opportunities into points.”

He said the fact that the Stormers had a week off means they will be well rested and fresh .

“They will be raring to go and they have a massive point to prove [in 12th place on the standings with just three wins from eight starts].

“We are just going to have to counter that very quickly. The first 20 minutes will be crucial, we’ll have to stamp our authority on the game, especially up front in the forwards.

“We are just going to have to take the game by the scruff of the neck and the key is not to let them into the game at all.”

He said he expects the game to be a “cracker”, considering the enormous untapped attacking potential in both sides.

“The Stormers have a backline with a hell of a lot of attacking potential, quality performers in that backline. I feel the same about our backline – which has shown on so many occasions that they have the ability to run from anywhere if the opportunity presents itself

“We’ve got a hell of a lot of pace and if the opportunity presents itself it will be on and I think Saturday will be a cracker in that regard,” Van Zyl added.

The 27-year-old former Rondebosch Boys High pupil, had twice almost given up on his rugby career.

The first was after six years of studies at Stellenbosch, when he wanted to finish his article and qualify as a Chartered accountant.

He then went to study at Oxford University for two years and after playing in a couple of Varsity matches – against Cambridge, the first an 11-all draw and the second a 18-11 victory for Oxford – he returned to South Africa.

He went to Johannesburg, again to do his article, but rugby again intervened.

Now, on Saturday, he will return to Newlands – the venue where he made his Currie Cup debut for the Lions against Western Province last year.

“I am looking forward to going back to Newlands, that’s where I made my Currie Cup debut and it is a special place for me,” he said.

“I certainly look forward to putting one over on the Stormers,” he said.

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital 

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