KWAGGA ONLY BACK NEXT MONTH
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.