Lions to face 'pressure game' without Whiteley

Tue, 25 Jul 2017 19:24

SUPER RUGBY SEMIFINAL: The Lions will head into their showdown with the Hurricanes without the services of captain Warren Whiteley.

The Lions and Bok skipper remains sidelined with a groin injury.

Should the Lions advance to the Final, his condition will be reassessed next week Monday.

Lions assistant coach Swys de Bruin confirmed to rugby365 that they have no injuries from their 23-21 win over the Sharks in the quarterfinal last week.

It means there will be continuity in selection and Jaco Kriel will continue to lead the pride of Johannesburg into battle.

De Bruin said the Lions are ready to raise the bar, after a mediocre performance against the Sharks - a team they often struggle against.

"They are an extremely good 'suffocating' team and that was certainly the case," he said of their fortuitous victory over the Sharks at Ellis Park.

He spoke of missed chances, their failure to convert a few chances while they dominated.

Then the Sharks scored from an intercept to take an 8-3 lead and the Lions struggled to get into the game.

"It was almost like a golfer who hits a great shot, but then three-puts the first three holes," De Bruin said.

The Lions will face a team even better at the pressure game when they meet the Hurricanes at Ellis Park on Saturday.

"We have worked on a few things to adjust to that," the Lions' attack coach said.

"We won't change much to our systems and approach, but there are a few things we will do to ensure that we do not get suffocated like that again."

De Bruin said the they are "good enough" at getting out of their own area.

"We just have to ensure that when we get in their half we must leave with points."

He admitted something was amiss in the game against the Sharks and suggested the players may have tried too hard, instead of playing their natural game.

"We have spoken about it in dept and we are looking at putting smiles back on the faces and play, bring the enjoyment back.

"Maybe we forced the result a bit."

By Jan de Koning

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