Lions coach Swys de Bruin expects Elton Jantjies to find himself in heavy traffic against the Reds on Saturday.
De Bruin anticipates Reds midfield wrecking ball Samu Kerevi to set course for Jantjies in the hope of breaching the Lions’ defence‚ or at the very least get them on the front foot.
But De Bruin has a plan.
The inside channel may be even further congested should De Bruin decide to shore up that area with the sturdy presence of Rohan Janse van Rensburg ahead of Lionel Mapoe‚ who is struggling with a niggle.
"Their No12 [Kerevi] is their best player and a very direct runner‚" De Bruin said.
"He will make cut-backs on Elton but Elton is a gusty player and he defends well. He’ll be ready for whoever runs at him in his channel.
"The Reds have a different approach, with the No12 and their No8 very physical. They give you a lot more heat at the breakdown," said the coach.
De Bruin noted that Jantjies acquitted himself well on the few occasions the Waratahs’ block-busting wing Taqele Naiyaravoro barrelled down at him in Sydney last Friday.
It is‚ however‚ Jantjies’s ability with ball in hand that defines him most. He is the fulcrum of the backline and very little happens without his hand.
"The past five years I’ve been in charge of the attack [at the Lions] Elton has been the general‚" he said.
"He is in good form and his decision-making is good."
In Janse van Rensburg‚ Jantjies should have a sturdy wing man should the Reds’ heavy hitters come knocking.
As much as Kerevi is hoping to give his side some midfield punch‚ the Lions’ Janse van Rensburg has the capability to lend some thrust in the same area.