South Africa

Golden Lions have the Super disease

Tue, 02 Jul 2013 21:02
Michael-bondesio-lions Ruan-dreyer-lions Michael-bondesio-lions-pa2
Those are five big names
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The injury curse are haunting the Golden Lions to such an extent they feel they have a 'Super Rugby disease'.

Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann, speaking to this website ahead of his team's encounter with the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday, revealed that star scrumhalf Michael Bondesio has joined the ever-growing injury list.

"It looks like we caught something from the Super Rugby teams," the Lions mentor quipped.

"All the teams are struggling with injuries, with perhaps the Cheetahs the most fortunate.

"We have certainly not escaped [the injury bogey]."

The Lions lost star loose forward Warren Whiteley with a leg muscle injury two weeks ago, fellow loose forward Jaco Kriel with an ankle injury in the build-up to their 33-29  win over the Sharks just over a week ago and midfielder Alwyn Hollenbach tore his toe ligaments against the Sharks.

"Today [Tuesday] Michael Bondesio was injured [when he pulled his calf muscle] at training and [prop] Ruan Dreyer [shoulder, also at training]," Ackermann told this website.

"Those are five big names, especially when you add Andries Coetzee [who injured his shoulder while playing for the Sharks].

"It is a problem, but we hope to get some of them back before the promotion-relegation matches [against the Southern Kings later this month]."

The Lions coach said Kriel, Whiteley and Hollenbach are 50-50 to return in time for the play-offs.

"Michael [Bondesio] just stopped in time at training and we have three weeks [before the promotion-relegation matches], so we feel he will be fit.

"He is one of our most experience players, especially if you take guys like Andries Coetzee and Warren Whiteley out of the [selection] frame - even Jaco [Kriel] in a sense.

"Then Michael, along with Deon van Rensburg and Hendrik Roodt, are your more experienced players.

"He [Bondesio] also play in a key position.

"We will do everything we can to get him right, but we feel he stopped in time when he felt the calf tightening up."

Ackermann made a number of changes to the team for the trip to Loftus on Saturday, from the side which  continued the Lions' impressive build-up to the Super Rugby promotion-relegation series with a 33-29 win over the Sharks.

Michael Bondesio would have started at No.9, but his injury at training means Ross Cronje will again feature at scrumhalf.

The backline has been completely reshuffled.

The injury of Alwyn Hollenbach sees Dylan des Fountain partner Nicolaas Hanekom in the midfield, Deon van Rensburg comes in on the right win and Ruan Combrink moves to fullback - with Chrysander Botha dropping down to the replacement bench.

Up front there are also a few changes.

New recruit Lambert Groenewald starts at No.8 in place of Willie Britz, who drops down to the bench. Robbie Coetzee starts at hooker in place of Francois du Toit, who also features in an eight-man bench.

There is an interesting selection in the form of Guy Cronjé, twin brother of  Ross, who will cover the scrumhalf position from the bench - a move Ackermann hopes can become a more permanent switch down the line.

"We feel that [No.9] is his best position," the Lions coach said.

"We would like him to focus on that. We're not saying he must never play at No.10, but we feel he should consider focussing a bit more on No.9."

"Guy has trained with us all week and because he can play at No.9 and No.10, he is our option on the bench this week. - [Golden Lions Under-21 scrumhalf] Wian van der Watt could come into the frame next week as a specialist No.9

Golden Lions: 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Dylan des Fountain, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Lambert Groenewald, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 CJ van der Linde, 19 JJ Breedt, 20 Willie Britz, 21 Guy Cronjé,  22 Lionel Cronjé, 23 Chrysander Botha.

Date: Saturday, July 6
Venue: Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Kick-off: 16.30 (14.30 GMT)
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Jaco van Heerden, Sieg van Staden

By Jan de Koning

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