Lions backline ready for Jaguares
The team's defence line has let in 20 tries in five Super Rugby matches so far
Changes to coaching staff have not led to the Lions leaking more tries at the start of this season.
Centre Harold Vorster‚ one of the backline organisers‚ insists the changes in their defensive system have been minimal since former head coach Johan Ackermann and defence coach JP Ferreira packed their bags for Europe in 2017.
The Lions have let in 20 tries in their five matches thus far in Super Rugby‚ conceding on average four tries per match.
In 2017 they let in 27 tries in the league stages at just 1.8 tries per match. But they also made a shaky start in 2017 as their opponents ran in 15 tries in their first five games.
Vorster‚ however‚ insists that the coaching staff under Swys de Bruin has not tinkered too much with the system Ferreira left in place before leaving for Munster. "They know the system‚" reassured Vorster about the coaching staff.
"There hasn’t been radical change. Coach Joey [Mongalo] has his own way of coaching‚ his own system. There are definitely no big changes. They are great‚" he said about the coaches, who are largely inexperienced at Super Rugby level.
"Their passion is so huge they almost want to play with.
"That inspires you. It’s joyful when we practice."
The Lions had better keep their defensive lines intact this weekend as they tackle the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
On their previous two visits to Argentina their defence was under the cosh and they will be well aware of the Jaguares side’s potency with the ball in hand when they get their tails up.
"When they get a sniff and the game gets a bit loose, they throw those short passes. On defence we have to make sure we connect with our fellow defenders. We have to go up in one line‚" advised Vorster.
"As a team we have to switch on. Against the Blues we started well‚ as we did against the Sunwolves. We just have to finish the game‚ put in a performance over 80 minutes. You can’t go flat. The best thing that could have happened is that it has been difficult for us the last two weeks. Then you see your own mistakes. It’s human. When things go smoothly you don’t necessarily see it."
As for their hosts this weekend‚ he believes the Jaguares’ mercurial temperament may play into the Lions’ hands.
"They play with a lot off emotion in front of their supporters. It gives them a boost. However‚ emotion only really lasts the first 10 minutes of a game. Then your plans better fall into place. The first 20 minutes will be tough but we are looking forward to that challenge."
Vorster‚ however‚ misses out on selection this weekend. Still‚ he talks up the virtues of coach De Bruin’s rotation policy.
"Competition at centre is great. Coach Swys brings in good rotation. He can play around with selection and it is a good thing for us. You can get rest and get yourself refreshed for the following weekend.
"I don’t think it is disruptive. The rest is good. The guys who come in know the drill."
Vorster said the Lions have to factor next Sunday’s clash against the Crusaders into their deliberations.
"To get rid of the jet lag within a week can be challenging. I trust our recovery processes are in place."