De Bruin won’t sway Li­ons’ ex­cit­ing game


NEW Li­ons head coach Swys de Bruin has promised fans the team will con­tinue to play an ex­cit­ing brand of rugby un­der his stew­ard­ship.

De Bruin took over the reins from Jo­han Ack­er­mann this week. The former Spring­bok lock is now coach­ing Gloucester in Eng­land.

“I want to pol­ish the brand even fur­ther,” in­sisted De Bruin, pic­tured, yes­ter­day when he named his team for to­mor­row’s Cur­rie Cup match against the Sharks at El­lis Park.

“We’re not go­ing to de­vi­ate from how the Li­ons have played in re­cent times ... we’re go­ing to carry on play­ing the same brand of rugby. It would be fool­ish to break down the house now. If I do any­thing I’ll maybe add a new tint to one of the win­dows,” joked De Bruin.

He takes over at a dif­fi­cult time in the sea­son with the Cur­rie Cup al­ready head­ing into the fourth round of matches. But De Bruin’s in­volve­ment with the Su­per Rugby side pre­vented him from do­ing much more than con­sult­ing over the last two weeks.

Added to that, De Bruin has to make do with­out sev­eral stars that will be turn­ing out for the Spring­boks in the com­ing weeks and months, while other Su­per Rugby play­ers have headed to Ja­pan to play club rugby there.

Also, Akker van der Merwe has joined the Sharks, Ruan Ack­er­mann has joined his father at Gloucester, and Kwagga Smith is sit­ting out the next four weeks af­ter cop­ping a ban this week.

It is there­fore a new-look team that will do duty this weekend, but there are also some fa­mil­iar names on the team sheet, among them cap­tain Ryan Kankowski, Syl­vian Mahuza, Ro­han Janse van Rens­burg, Cyle Brink, Rob­bie Coet­zee, Corne Fourie and fit-again Jaco van der Walt.

De Bruin said it would be im­por­tant to build even greater depth at the union ahead of the 2018 Su­per Rugby cam­paign.

“We must de­velop new fu­ture stars, and you can see that in the team that’s been se­lected,” he said.

“The Cur­rie Cup is very im­por­tant to us, even if one could ar­gue we’re start­ing at a dis­ad­van­tage (be­cause the Li­ons are now only com­ing in with their full team). On Mon­day we turned the clock back to zero ... be­cause this is a new man­age­ment with new play­ers. But it’s an ex­cit­ing time, too.”

To­mor­row’s meet­ing will be the fourth be­tween the Li­ons and Sharks this sea­son af­ter the team met three times in Su­per Rugby; the Li­ons win­ning all three those matches.

Robert du Preez’s men, how­ever, are com­ing off a good win against the Bulls and they’ll know they pushed the Li­ons close just a few weeks ago.

“They’re a re­ally good side. They com­fort­ably beat the Bulls at Lof­tus.

“They’ve got a bunch of Su­per Rugby play­ers in the ranks and they’re a set­tled team ... it’s go­ing to be a tough one.”

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