Bulls, Lions have different goals for Super 14 warm-up
IT WILL be two teams with totally different objectives that take the field in the main warm-up match at Polokwane tonight when the Bulls and the Lions get their Super 14 seasons under way.
While the Bulls will concentrate on getting their structures and teamwork in place, the run-out for the Lions will be more of a stocktaking exercise for coaching director Dick Muir and the Lions’ coaches.
Both sides will also have the obvious pressure to perform, but the Bulls will look to retain their title this season while the Lions are out to improve on last year’s poor campaign.
The Lions have set realistic targets for 2010. Muir says they simply want to improve on a weekly basis, and he was very careful to emphasise that they were aiming at a gradual improvement.
“We’ve set certain goals, and we do have a target in mind,” said Muir. “It’s a process and we want to improve every week and we want to refine the side.”
While Bulls coach Frans Ludeke has picked his strongest available team for the main game, and his second stringers for the earlier match, Muir has divided his best players in two separate teams of virtually equal strength.
The Lions’ new director of coaching views it solely as a trial game and it’s a make or break opportunity for a number of players to remain in his plans.
It’s impossible to list what Muir and company will be looking at, and a real glimpse of their side will probably only be available when they select for the warm-up against the Pumas next week.
On the Bulls side, there will be special interest to see how returnees Gary Botha (from London Harlequins) and Jacques-Louis Potgieter (from the Cheetahs) perform.
In both instances, positions other than their own will be under scrutiny.
In the case of Botha, his return sees Derick Kuün revert to flank, where he was one of the best before his switch to the middle of the scrum. Whether or not Botha will improve one of the Bulls’ weaknesses last year, the scrum, will be of particular interest – even at this early stage.
Flyhalf Potgieter will fill in at inside centre with Wynand Olivier still not available – and will conceivably be used there regularly during the season. – Sapa