Old hands don’t mask Lions’ flaws
It’s dangerous in these constrained economic times to be picky over experienced players returning to local Super Rugby franchises. In fact, by all accounts we can’t fairly say that any signing made in this “category” (for want of a better word) has proven a failure.
Schalk Brits and Duane Vermeulen were both hits at Loftus in 2019, and this season Morne Steyn and Juandre Kruger delivered encouraging showings in last weekend’s opener.
Welsh legend Jamie Roberts also didn’t look out of place at Newlands.
So it’s then with eager anticipation that we await Willem Alberts and Jaco Kriel running out onto Ellis Park’s hallowed turf.
However, Kriel won’t be seen until at least April and burly Alberts is only slated for a return next week.
In some ways, Alberts’ management is comforting because it suggests the Lions aren’t skimping on their top-class conditioning regime just to get the former Bok flanker back onto the pitch.
He will, of course, be joined by veteran Bok prop Jannie du Plessis.
But, to be really honest, I have reservations over how the Lions have recruited in that regard.
Perhaps the general negativity surrounding the management intrigue – it was revealed last week that the Lions issued communication to SuperSport saying they would not allow interviews with the squad if former coach Swys de Bruin was conducting them.
De Bruin is in the employ of a broadcaster as an analyst.
Question marks are hanging over the Lions’ “promote-internally-at-all-costs” policy when it comes to their coaching staff.
This is no underdog franchise anymore ... the Lions made three finals in succession.
They might be in transition, but is that a reason not to at least explore the possibility of a higher profile head coach taking over?
Which bring us back to the veterans returning.
Was the 38-8 thrashing at the hands of the Jaguares a blip on the radar?
Of does it point to structural deficiencies in the team’s coaching?