Australia vs Wales

Cronjé ready to 'express' himself

Wed, 30 Jan 2013 06:55
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Injuries and a lack of game time may have curtailed Lionel Cronjé's career in the last two years, but he is ready to express himself at Ellis Park.

Injuries and a lack of game time may have curtailed Lionel Cronjé's career in the last two years, but he is ready to express himself at Ellis Park.

Released to the Lions after signing with the Bulls last year, Cronjé now gets the opportunity he so craved after moving from Cape Town - where the 23-year-old played 20-odd matches for Western Province and had seven Super Rugby outings with the Stormers in 2010 and 2011.

A talented player who can play both a kicking and a running game, he can also play fullback and centre.

He was rated very highly by the coaching staff in the Western Cape, but injury put the breaks on his progress. Cronjé then moved to the Bulls last year, but was forced to undergo surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle and missed the entire Super Rugby season. He eventually made four Currie Cup appearances late in the year.

But that could all change now that he is in the Lions squad for their challenge series - which have already seen them thrash both Russia and the Cheetahs.

It was against the Cheetahs last Saturday, a 33-17 win, that Cronjé showed just why he had so many fans before his departure from Cape Town.

He was one of the key instigators in the Lions' second-half rally - which saw them come back from 7-17 down to score 26 unanswered points and ease clear of the Cheetahs.

"Having had a big knee injury in 2011 and my pectoral injury last year limited me personally from playing at Super Rugby level," Cronjé said, adding that the goal had always been to play at the highest level.

"Just to get on the field and get the exposure is definitely a big part of my goal this year and I am fortunate enough to have that opportunity at the Lions this year," told this website in an exclusive interview.

Obviously the Lions' expansive style of play is vastly different to the more structured approaches employed by both the Bulls and Stormers.

However, Cronjé is happy to play an game.

"Both styles of rugby [expansive and structured] have their pros and cons," he told this website.

"Obviously I enjoy having the opportunity to express myself a lot more, but also more than that it is a team environment.

"As a team at the Lions we understand the way we want to play and we really enjoy that."

While expansive and the Lions are synonymous, Cronjé has dismissed the notion that the men from Johannesburg lack structure.

"We definitely have systems in place on defence and attack," he said, adding: "I would not say we play just off the cuff at the Lions.

"We do have some structure in place, but we also have the freedom to make whatever choices we are comfortable on the field.

"While we definitely have structures in place, which we work very hard on, we also do have the freedom to express ourselves when the opportunity arises."

By Jan de Koning

Australia vs Wales
sast: 17h45 | local: 19h45

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Sat, 10 October 2015
England v Uruguay 19h00 Manchester
Sun, 11 October 2015
Argentina v Namibia 11h00 Leicester
Italy v Romania 13h30 Exeter
France v Ireland 15h45 Cardiff
United States v Japan 19h00 Gloucester
Fri, 16 October 2015
Blue Bulls v Western Province 17h00 Pretoria
Connacht v Zebre 18h30 Sportsground
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 18h35 Scotstoun
Scarlets v Leinster 18h35 Parc y Scarlets
Edinburgh v Ulster 18h45 BT Murrayfield
Sat, 17 October 2015
Munster v Cardiff Blues 12h30 Irish Independent Park
Treviso v Ospreys 13h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Sat, 10 October 2015
Golden Lions v Griquas 29 | 19
Samoa v Scotland 33 | 36
Free State Cheetahs v Sharks 34 | 34
Fri, 09 October 2015
New Zealand v Tonga 47 | 9
Western Province v EP Kings 45 | 14
Pumas v Blue Bulls 24 | 25
Wed, 07 October 2015
Namibia v Georgia 16 | 17
South Africa v United States 64 | 0
Tue, 06 October 2015
Fiji v Uruguay 47 | 15
Canada v Romania 15 | 17
Sun, 04 October 2015
Ireland v Italy 16 | 9
Argentina v Tonga 45 | 16
Zebre v Scarlets 8 | 20
Sat, 03 October 2015
England v Australia 13 | 33
Connacht v Cardiff Blues 36 | 31
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Waratahs 16 11 0 5 52
Brumbies 16 9 0 7 47
Rebels 16 7 0 9 36
Reds 16 4 0 12 22
Force 16 3 0 13 19
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 16 14 0 2 66
Highlanders 16 11 0 5 53
Chiefs 16 10 0 6 48
Crusaders 16 9 0 7 46
Blues 16 3 0 13 20
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 16 10 1 5 45
Lions 16 9 1 6 42
Bulls 16 7 0 9 38
Sharks 16 7 0 9 34
Cheetahs 16 5 0 11 26