Marvin Orie. Picture: LEE WARREN/GALLO IMAGES
Marvin Orie. Picture: LEE WARREN/GALLO IMAGES

The lineout has been one of the Lions’ most potent weapons in Super Rugby and they therefore see aerial superiority as key to their success in the final against the Crusaders on Saturday.

Lock Marvin Orie is one of the men tasked with soaring above the opposition‚ but he recognises that the peak facing them this week towers above all they’ve faced this season.

"They are a fantastic lineout team‚" Orie said about the Crusaders’ jumpers.

"They’ve got two All Blacks locks. The lineout is one of their strengths‚ as is their scrum.

"We’ve got a lot of firepower in our lineout as well. Our captain is one of the best looseforward jumpers in the country‚ and the world.

"We’ve got Malcolm [Marx] and we’ve got Franco [Mostert]."

The Lions do not just have the greatest lineout return in the competition‚ they are also the team most likely to profit from it. They deploy their driving maul from the lineout and few teams have been able to repel it.

They are joint top try scorers‚ with the Crusaders‚ and a high percentage of those tries have come from deploying the human caterpillar.

The Lions’ dominance in the set pieces has gradually taken its toll on their opponents. Too often‚ however‚ it has been part of a rearguard action after handing the opposition the initial advantage on the scoreboard.

"We still have a few challenges. The way we’ve been starting is something that we have to address‚" Orie said. Even when they have fallen behind though, the Lions have played with assurance and belief.

After a mid-season slump the timing of the return of some experienced hands has helped their cause immeasurably.

"A lot of the guys coming back from injuries have been fantastic for us‚" he said, naming Marx, Warren Whiteley‚ Aphiwe Dyantyi and Courtnall Skosan.

"I think Elton [Jantjies] is playing fantastic rugby as well. We got a few key players back. The composure they bring to the team is fantastic.

"A lot of the talk between the players has been about belief and the psychological aspect. I’ve got absolutely no doubt that we can do this."

The opportunity to play in a Super Rugby final is something that a few years back looked well out of Orie’s reach.

"There was a stage where I thought things could go very well for me‚" he said.

"In 2013‚ when I was 20‚ I had a big injury that put me back. I had a bit of doubt.

"The move to the Lions was the best thing I could have done for my career. I’m grateful to be part of this team."

TimesLIVE


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