No red letter day as the Lions lose Marx
● It was perhaps just a tad ironic that Malcolm Marx’s durability was brought into question on the day marking namesake, and fellow celebrated Red, Karl’s birth date 200 years ago.
The groin injury Marx suffered was part of a Super Rugby double whammy for the Lions in Wellington yesterday as they slipped to a 28-19 defeat against the Hurricanes.
Marx will return to South Africa tomorrow and will undergo a scan which will shed light on the severity of the injury.
While the Lions will hold their breath the injury is not serious, Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus will also be on tenterhooks that the knock will not keep Marx out of next month’s engagements against Wales and England.
The Boks play Wales at the start of next month in Washington, an assignment Marx is likely to miss if it places doubt on his ability to front up for the more pressing three-test series against England.
“It was a big setback for us losing the South African player of the year so early,” acknowledged Lions coach Swys de Bruin. “He will do all his scans in Joburg, that’s how the doctor prefers it.”
The injury comes as a huge blow for a player who has continued his barnstorming form of last season. Marx has towered head and shoulders above his teammates this season.
They have unearthed a dynamic loose
When he departed the field yesterday his absence was keenly felt. His replacement, Robbie Coetzee, admittedly in blustery conditions, struggled to consistently find his jumpers. Equally, Marx was missed in bashing away at the gainline and exacting steals at the ruck.
Fortunately for the Lions, they have unearthed a dynamic loose forward in Marnus Schoeman who punches well above his weight at the breakdown.
Despite being well off the pace, the Lions went into the break just seven points adrift.
Earlier, poor marking from Ruan Combrinck on Ben Lam allowed the Hurricanes left wing the first of his three tries.
To compound matters the visitors’ lineout was a mess, but the Lions deserve credit for hanging tough when the hosts threatened to run amok.
At 28-7, the Lions looked like dropping their bundle, but their fortunes changed once they turned to their bench. It was in the scrum where their game got the most traction as props Ruan Dreyer and Johannes Jonker put the squeeze on the Hurricanes. Dreyer, who packed down at loosehead, was particularly forceful.
“I’m disappointed in the defeat, but I can’t judge the guys on effort,” said De Bruin. “We showed a lot more effort than against the Reds. This was against a strong team.
“We had opportunities we didn’t convert. We’ll keep on fighting and we’ll keep on working hard. We’ll see if we can end this tour on a high [against the Highlanders],” said De Bruin.