And yesterday it extended to selection, where coach Johan Ackermann bravely decided to include two stars summarily after recovering from long-term afflictions for their vital meeting with Western Province at Newlands tomorrow afternoon.
Lionel Mapoe (shoulder) and Michael Bondesio’s (knee) services have been deemed so essential that they’ll need to cultivate their match fitness from the outset, instead of from the bench.
These are moves that can be justified, especially in the case of the versatile Mapoe, who provides much-needed relief in a casualty-stricken midfield.
“We know how good he is,” enthused Ackermann.
“He’ll obviously need some match fitness but he’s an exciting player with the X-factor, there’s no doubt. He also brings something special to the group with his energy. If we can get him fit and ready, he could add real value if we make the semifinals. It’s been the midfield where we’ve had problems, so his return is timely.”
The Lions will certainly take a leaf out of last season’s notable 22-9 victory in the Cape last year, an adventure where they showed the tighter side to their game, though it’s unlikely that they’ll be fundamentally metamorphosed on the weekend.
“We won’t change entirely and our attack is our strength. If we keep the ball well, the cracks will appear,” said Ackermann.