Bring on the big guns, says De Bruin

The Mercury - - SPORT - Jac­ques van der Westhuyzen

BRING it on! We want to mea­sure our­selves against the best, said Li­ons coach Swys de Bruin yes­ter­day when quizzed about the make-up of the Chee­tahs team they will face in to­mor­row’s fi­nal-round Cur­rie Cup match at El­lis Park.

It is a win-or-bust game for both teams, with places in the last four up for grabs. The Chee­tahs have been boosted by the fact the Pro14 com­pe­ti­tion is on a two-week break and the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons have been able to pick their strong­est team, in­clud­ing sev­eral Su­per Rugby stars and men who un­til last week were play­ing in one of Europe’s most elite com­pe­ti­tions.

But De Bruin is un­fazed by the de­ci­sion of Chee­tahs head coach Rory Dun­can to pick the likes of Ray­mond Rhule, Rosko Spec­man, Nico Lee, Wil­liam Small-Smith, Oupa Mo­hoje, Paul Schoe­man and Torsten van Jaarsveld for the match.

“We want to mea­sure our­selves against the best ... es­pe­cially this young team of ours,” said De Bruin yes­ter­day.

“I’ve got no prob­lem with the Chee­tahs se­lec­tion ... in fact we’d be dis­ap­pointed if we were to be run­ning out against a B or C team. This is go­ing to be a great chal­lenge for us.”

It’s not only the Chee­tahs who have strength­ened their side; the Li­ons, too, have been


bol­stered by the re­turn of sev­eral of their Spring­bok play­ers and a few men who missed last week’s match against West­ern Prov­ince be­cause of in­jury and ill­ness.

De Bruin has in­cluded backs An­dries Coet­zee, Court­nall Skosan and Ross Cronje in the run-on side and hooker Mal­colm Marx on the bench.

Prop Ja­co­bie Adri­aanse and flank Cyle Brink are also back in the start­ing team after miss­ing out last Sun­day.

Bok No 3 Ruan Dreyer will sit out the match.

“Ruan’s got a bit of a rib prob­lem but it’s great hav­ing the other guys back,” said the Li­ons boss.

“You could see in train­ing on Tues­day al­ready there was a sense of ur­gency among the play­ers. And, with the brother­hood we have cre­ated here at the Li­ons, it’s like the team’s broth­ers came home this week.

“The Boks are all ea­ger to start and play, but we had to box clever and that is why Mal­colm is on the bench.

“We know these play­ers will al­ways give their all for the team and it’s good fos us know­ing we have them all avail­able for as long as we re­main in the com­pe­ti­tion.”

In one of the sig­nif­i­cant changes to the side that ran out last week­end, Jaco van der Walt re­places Ashlon Davids at 10.

“It’s a tac­ti­cal de­ci­sion,” ex­plained De Bruin. “Ashlon is a good young­ster who is a run­ning fly­half and he will come off the bench for us this week and make an im­pact. Jaco, though, has al­ways done well for us at 10 in the big games.”

Mean­while, the Li­ons con­firmed yes­ter­day that Franco Mostert, who is play­ing for his club in Ja­pan, will re­main a Li­ons player un­til at least the end of Su­per Rugby next year.

The Bok lock was be­lieved to be on English club Bris­tol’s shop­ping list..

“He is con­tracted with us un­til then, so he’s one of ours, he’s one of our best,” said De Bruin.

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