JOHANNESBURG – Reaching the semi-finals is cool and all, however allow us to not neglect the larger image that’s past the Carling Currie Cup.
When the Bulls, Stormers, Sharks and Lions made this season’s play-offs, they vindicated SA Rugby’s choice final yr to declare these franchises the nation’s representatives within the upcoming Rainbow Cup and Professional Rugby League. Certain, it was cruel on the Free State Cheetahs, and even perhaps unfair, however there will be no argument now that the proper choice was reached.
On this regard, this season has been a warm-up for these groups’ European expedition from April and the Lions aren’t any exception.
Whether or not or not they progress previous their semi-final in opposition to the
Bulls subsequent weekend, coach Ivan van Rooyen could have a fairly strong concept of who his squad is, what they’re able to, and whom remains to be required to bolster it for a brand new problem in opposition to groups from Eire, Italy, Scotland and Wales.
There will be little doubt that tactically the 38-year-old coach has grown in leaps and bounds, and that he has begun to completely develop and implement his taking part in type and gameplan on the Johannesburgbased crew. In latest weeks there was a noticeable step away, when so required, from the hallmark operating rugby that outlined the crew for near a decade. And it has paid dividends, the Lions successful 5 of their six video games in the course of the Currie Cup. A core of veteran gamers is now growing on the Lions, and whereas it has been a boon for the crew, it isn’t with out its personal considerations.
Jannie du Plessis (38), Willem Alberts (36) are within the twilight of their careers, and discovering ample replacements to name upon if the necessity arises within the close to future will likely be an essential step to solidifying the ever-growing presence of the Lions scrum.
So too, should there be a inkling of apprehension surrounding the No 10 spot.
Captain Elton Jantjies is a stalwart of the crew, a legend on the union and amongst his supporters, and he’s effervescent in his performances each matchday. However with Gianni Lombard on the side-lines for one more six months, the depth at flyhalf is perilous.
An damage to the 30-year-old wouldn’t be disastrous for the crew, there are kids and squad members who may fill in for him – Tiaan Swanepoel and Ross Cronje spring to thoughts – however few gamers posses the expertise and command of a completely match and in-form Jantjies.
Van Rooyen has carried out a stellar job of strengthening his crew, and taking the long-view, comparable to taking part in Wilhelm van der Sluys, whose most popular place is at lock, at flank, whereas additionally introducing new blood into the squad.
He now has a gaggle of props that may play on each side of the scrum, good hookers to service the line-outs, an intimidating pool of locks, and a enviable mixture of younger Turks and masters amongst his loosies.
He sports activities an thrilling backline of outdated heads and children that maybe wants a bit extra time to develop in stature and understanding, and particularly has 4 wonderful and versatile scrumhalves in Cronje, the injured Dillon Smit, Morne van den Berg and Andre Warner.
In hefty-footed Schoeman he has discovered a diamond within the tough, whereas his centres – Burger Odendaal and Dan Kriel – posses energy, whereas Wandisile Simelane the X-factor.
As he continues to develop, his crew will as nicely. All that’s now required is to determine the few deficiencies in his crew and shore them up.
This Currie Cup has proven the crew is on the proper path, now for the long run to achieve success, the proper selections have to be made.