South Africa

Preview: Golden Lions v WP

Thu, 13 Jun 2013 18:13
Nic-groom-gestures-630 Michael-bondesio-lions-pass Scarrantubenisharks Jc-janse-van-rensburg-charg
We felt in the Vodacom Cup semifinal we let ourselves down a bit
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Do not look at this fixture and think that it is going to be a watered-down affair, both sides are very much up for it.

The Lions are still on the road to their promotion/relegation game and Western Province have the opportunity to blood a number of youngsters against top opposition.

It will be an opportunity for Western Province coach John Dobson to see the depth of the squad as well as make up for their Vodacom Cup semifinal defeat at the hands of the Lions.

"We felt in the Vodacom Cup semifinal we let ourselves down a bit.

"12 of that starting team are back, so we have a point to prove there, we let ourselves down by not staying competitive in that game," added Dobson.

Establishing a base of players will be important for Dobson and looking at some young players and see if they can handle the pace against a Currie Cup side like the Lions.

"We will also be looking at a few youngsters to see where they are in terms of their physicality playing against these [established] Lions players.

A major factor that Dobson will be focusing on on Friday night is ball retention. He is trying to make sure that his side makes the opposition tackle and that they can use the ball that they have.

"Our plan is very much to keep the ball and pressure them.

"Our breakdown needs to improve and I want them to make 100-odd tackle on Friday," Dobson mentioned.

The Lions are just glad that they are getting an opportunity to play rugby. They have been unlucky with fixtures this year and a number of their scheduled fixtures have fallen through

"It has been difficult because a few of the French clubs didn't come out so we had to replace them with South African sides that weren't at full strength but they are still big challenges," Lions coach Johan Ackermann said.

The Lions will be playing a young Western Province side and they know that it will be different to the game they played against Samoa but they are grateful that they can play some rugby leading up to the promotion/relegation game.

"Regardless who we play it is a nice hit-out for the guys but obviously we would like to keep the momentum on the winning side," Ackermann said.

Building a squad of players is paramount for Ackermann and his side at the moment and having a group of players that understand the systems in place.

"For us now it is important that we have a team of 24-25 players that are comfortable and know the way that we want to play and be ready when we hit that game.

"We are more or less where we want to be at this stage and the players are starting to learn who the number one's are so I think we are almost there," Ackermann added.

Players to watch:

For the Lions: Two Springbok props for the Lions in the form of CJ van der Linde and JC Janse van Rensburg could pile on the pressure on the youthful Western Province frontrow. Michael Bondesio is another player that Province are going to have to keep tabs on around the fringes. Nicolaas 'Stokkies' Hanekom has been a revelation in the midfield for the Lions and playing alongside Alwyn Hollenbach means they will be causing problems all match.

For Western Province: Super Rugby scrumhalf Nic Groom will be asking questions of the defence throughout the game and he will be a player to watch for the Lions. The silky Dillyn Leyds is another player that the Lions will have to worry about if he gets the opportunity to counter-attack. A young forward pack will be lead by hooker Siyabonga 'Scarra' Ntubeni who is trying to force his way back into Super Rugby reckoning.

Head to head: They both have Super Rugby experience and are both complete live wire scrumhalves. The battle between Michael Bondesio and Nic Groom is going to be the contest to look out for as they are both going to be searching to get their side on the front foot.

Recent results:
2013: Lions beat Western Province 44-25 (Vodacom Cup semifinal)
2012: Western Province beat Lions 21-16 (Currie Cup semifinal)
2012: Lions beat Western Province 22-9 (Currie Cup)
2012: Lions beat Western Province 26-23 (Currie Cup)
2012: Western Province beat Lions 58-34 (Vodacom Cup)
2011: Lions beat Western Province 29-20 (Currie Cup semifinal)

Prediction: Western Province are going up to the Highveld with a fairly young and inexperienced team. The Lions have a few Springboks and a couple Super Rugby players in their squad. With this in mind, including the fact that the Lions players have been together for the whole years means that the Lions will win the game by at least 15 points.

Teams:

Golden Lions: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 CJ van der Linde, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Gavin Annandale, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Kobus de Kock, 24 Julian Redelinghuys.

Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Pat Howard, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Devon Williams, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Rayn Smid, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Joshua Katzen, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Taz Fuzani, 3 Dylan Rogers, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Ashley Wells.
Replacements: 16, Stephan Coetzee, 17 Allistair Vermaak, 18 Jean Kleyn, 19 Carel du Preez, 20 Ryan Olivier, 21 Godlin Masimla, 22 Kobus van Wyk.

Date: Friday, June 14
Venue: Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Kick-off: 19.00 (17.00 GMT)
Expected weather: A typically clear winters day expected on Saturday with a low of 5°C and warming to a high of 20°C.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Gerrie de Bruin
TMO: TBC
 

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