The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

HAV­ING copped a bit of a hid­ing from the Blue Bulls (54-22) last week­end and reg­is­tered just one win from three out­ings, the Golden Li­ons have some work to do if they’re go­ing to be chal­lengers for Cur­rie Cup glory this sea­son. And com­pli­cat­ing mat­ters some­what is that they will be coached by a new man in Swys de Bruin from this week, while sev­eral men he would have been bank­ing on to play a cru­cial role for the Li­ons in the com­ing weeks won’t be avail­able. One of those men is flank Kwagga Smith. The live-wire open­side would have been a can­di­date for the cap­taincy and a key player, but he will miss the next four weeks of rugby be­cause of the red card he re­ceived in the Su­per Rugby fi­nal against the Cru­saders on Sat­ur­day. Smith yes­ter­day pleaded guilty to the of­fence of “mak­ing con­tact with an op­po­nent who is jump­ing for the ball in open play where there is no re­al­is­tic prospect of the player com­pet­ing for the ball.” He will only be able to play again af­ter the week­end of Septem­ber 2. The Li­ons cur­rently lie fourth on the Cur­rie Cup log. Their next as­sign­ment is on Sat­ur­day when they host the Sharks. De Bruin al­ready has to make do with­out seven play­ers who’ll be in­volved with the Spring­boks for the fore­see­able fu­ture, namely An­dries Coet­zee, Court­nall Skosan, El­ton Jan­tjies, Ross Cronje, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert and Mal­colm Marx. Lionel Mapoe, who was not picked for the Boks’ Rugby Cham­pi­onship dates, is off to Ja­pan to play club rugby there un­til early next year, while Akker van der Merwe has joined the Sharks and Faf de Klerk has headed to Eng­land. Ruan Ack­er­mann is also be­lieved to be on his way to Eng­land, along with his fa­ther, Jo­han. The good news for De Bruin is he still has sev­eral ex­pe­ri­enced cam­paign­ers in the mix – like Ruan Dreyer, Jac­ques van Rooyen, Harold Vorster, Ro­han Janse van Rens­burg and Ruan Com­brinck.

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