Lionel Mapoe. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/JOHAN PRETORIUS
Lionel Mapoe. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/JOHAN PRETORIUS

He has a rotation policy but Lions coach Swys de Bruin will limit changes to his team for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash against the Reds in Brisbane.

Speaking from the coastal suburb of Coogee in Sydney‚ where the team is preparing before heading for Queensland‚ De Bruin made it clear that unnecessary tinkering was not part of the plan.

"We have a rotation policy but because we won‚ we will have to keep continuity‚" he said about last Saturday’s impressive 29-0 victory over the Waratahs.

"If there are no injuries‚ and it doesn’t look like we have any‚ there is no need to tinker with the team‚" he said before suggesting there might be some changes on the bench.

De Bruin may‚ however‚ be forced into a change in midfield where Lionel Mapoe is struggling with a sore groin.

"We’ll look at that tomorrow and make a final call‚" he said. "We won’t change much."

Should Mapoe be ruled out Rohan Janse van Rensburg’s burly presence may just be the antidote in what is likely to be a busy inside channel with Reds centre Samu Kerevi barrelling down at Elton Jantjies.

Apart from Mapoe‚ there are no other injury concerns.

"The knock Kwagga Smith took on his shoulder isn’t serious‚" he said. "He got a bit of a stinger in a tackle‚ that’s all."

De Bruin was still stoked after the Lions’ win over the Waratahs. It was their first win over the Sydneysiders on their home turf.

"The first win on tour is always huge‚" he said. "Hats off to Joey [Mongalo‚ defence coach]. I think it is the first time the Waratahs couldn’t score a point. For our confidence that is massive. Our challenge is to stay humble and focus."

The Reds‚ however‚ will pose a different challenge. They are more confrontational since former All Blacks enforcer Brad Thorn took over the reins.

"Under their new coaching staff they are more physical‚" said De Bruin. "They come with a pressure approach‚ which is not something you got in the past from a Reds team. We are ready for whatever they bring."

The Lions have had to soldier on in the absence of regular captain Warren Whiteley, who is yet to recover from a knee injury.

De Bruin could not say whether the No8 would be available for any of the remaining tour matches.

"We are just wanting to see how he has improved‚" he said. "The MRI scan showed that there isn’t a lot wrong.

"There is one little thing that is an irritation. It is a question of time before he regains fitness‚ but whether we’ll get him back in time I’m unsure."

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