3 minute read
13 Mar 2014
1:54 pm

Boshoff back as Lions pivot

Lions coach Johan Ackermann says flyhalf Elton Jantjies is still in need of match fitness and has opted to replace him with in-form pivot Marnitz Boshoff for Saturday's Super Rugby match against the Blues at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

FILE PICTURE: Marnitz Boshoff of the Lions during the Lions training session and press conference at Johannesburg Stadium on March 06, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images.

Boshoff shifted to fullback for last week’s encounter against the Sharks — despite a superb run of form in their opening three matches — to make way for Jantjies.

The Lions lost 37-23 against the Sharks in Durban and will come up against a Blues side which lost to the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.

“I can only judge a player on what he does on the training field and, attack-wise, Elton really brings something to us when we run the plays and it didn’t look like I rushed him back,” Ackermann said.

“Obviously on the day, with the pressure and two quick tries against us, our discipline and Frans Steyn kicking long-distance penalties didn’t work in his favour.”

All things considered, Ackermann said Jantjies should not shoulder the blame for his side’s defeat to the Sharks and he would ease the player back into rugby at this level.

Ackermann said he explained to Jantjies he would always be in the line of fire when the team did not win and he would rather build his confidence from the bench.

“He will bounce back, he is a positive guy and we will back him,” Ackermann said.

Jantjies’ move to the bench was one of many in the backline in particular, with only the centre combination of Deon van Rensburg and Stefan Watermeyer remaining the same as last week.

The former Springbok lock selected a new back three with Coenie van Wyk receiving a starting berth at fullback, and JW Jonker and Courtnall Skosan replacing Ruan Combrinck and Chrysander Botha on the wings.

The two changes to the forwards, Ackermann said, were tactical, with Willie Britz replacing Warwick Tecklenburg at flank and Robbie Coetzee coming in for Willie Wepener as hooker.

“Willie Britz is a lineout option and we would also like to share the load between the loose forwards, then Robbie Coetzee had his rotation so he’s back at hooker,” Ackermann said.

Boshoff’s inclusion may suggest the Lions would take a more tactical approach against the Blues, who employed an expansive game plan.

Ackermann, however, said his side may have placed too much emphasis on a tactical game-plan and they would be looking to revert to typical Lions-running rugby.

“We won’t change and we maybe overdid the tactical side and we allowed to be dictated by the weather (against the Sharks),” he said.

“In Marnitz we can play both games (tactical and expansive) and hopefully the outside backs will perform well.

“In the last two weeks we didn’t perform that well on the outside, but it is an exciting team with a lot of guys with X factor in Courtnall, Coenie, Stefan and Faf (de Klerk) so if we want to run we can do it.”

Ackermann said the team was excited to play at home against their first overseas opposition of the season after their first four matches were against South African teams.

He stressed it was still a home game and they needed to capitalise on the advantage if they wanted to stay in the running.

“If you want to stay in the competition you have to look at your home games,” Ackermann said.

“The Blues like to have an open running game where they bring the outside backs into play.

“You have to kick very well, they will probably look to run before they kick back and that makes them dangerous.

“The secret is to keep the ball away from them and give them less possession then we will do well.”

Lions team: Coenie van Wyk, JW Jonker, Deon van Rensburg, Stefan Watermeyer, Courtnall Skosan, Marnitz Boshoff, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley (Captain), Willie Britz, Jaco Kriel, Franco van der Merwe, Franco Mostert, Julian Redelinghuys, Robbie Coetzee, Schalk van der Merwe.

Replacements: Willie Wepener, Corne Fourie, Ruan Dreyer, MB Lusaseni, Warwick Tecklenburg, Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Ruan Combrinck.