AUDIO: Euro 'import' to pull the strings for Lions
AUDIO: Euro 'import' to pull the strings for LionsSHARE
Injuries have left the Lions thin in some key positions, with scrumhalf one area where they are lacking some experience.
Former Stormers stalwart Nicholas Groom has been roped in to provide that 'experience' behind the pack, when the team from Johannesburg starts its tour against the Waratahs in Sydney on Friday.
Relatively inexperienced Dillon Smit will start in Sydney, with Groom set to make his Lions debut off the bench.
He brings with him over 100 games worth of experience for the Stormers (Super Rugby) and Western Province (Currie Cup), as well as 50-odd games for Northampton Saints in European competitions.
The 28-year-old No.9, a Currie Cup winner with WP in 2012 and 2014, also has one appearance for South Africa 'A' to his name.
He said a lot goes into a decision like that, making your next career move.
"I had chats with them [Lions] and liked what I heard," he said about his decision to return to South Africa.
"I enjoy their style of play and the environment they create," Groom said of the Lions.
"That made my decision really easy."
He described the Lions as "a very welcoming environment" and suggested he was a better player since he left South Africa.
"There is a different focus on aspects of scrumhalf play – in terms of the kicking game and being more in control, relieving the pressure," he said of the game in the Northern Hemisphere.
"[It is a] very high pressure environment in the Northern Hemisphere.
"Every game you play in there is something on the line.
"Using that experience, playing [under that pressure] week in and week out, I will bring that with me.
"A big part of my role will be to fit in with the style of play.
"I just need to do my job and pull the strings.
"There are more than enough exciting players to do the rest."
Lions coach Swys de Bruin said Groom 'fitted like a perfect piece of the puzzle' in the team.
"I like the way he goes about things [doing his job]," the coach said.