Lions’ eggs not all in Pretorius’ basket



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Lions coach Eugene Eloff has revealed that he will not allow his team to become overly depended on Springbok fly-half Andr’ Pretorius and he has faith in the other options available at No.10.

The Lions went down to the Waratahs (25-16) last Friday, after Pretorius failed a fitness test just hours before the kick-off at Ellis Park.

Eloff said that the Bok fly-half, who was appointed Lions captain for the Super 14 season, was “almost read” – but he (Eloff) opted to be conservative in his approach and not risk the player.

While the late change clearly had a disruption influence on the team, Eloff feels that it was in the best interest to go with a fully fit player in a pivotal position.

He said he will not rush the player back this week either, when the Lions face the Highlanders at Ellis Park on Saturday.

“I will know on Monday, but the indication is that he and some others will be able to play – players like [utility back] Jaco Pretorius, Andr’ Pretorius, [hooker] Etthienne Reynecke and [prop] Bertus Smit,” Eloff told this website.

He added that he would only be making a final call on Wednesday.

However, as for his Bok fly-half, he doesn’t to take a chance.

“I’m very positive about him,” he said. “But Louis Strydom and Jaco van Schalkwyk can also play [at fly-half].

“I don’t want to be too depended on him [Andr’ Pretorius] and put too much pressure on him. I want to wait till he is 100 percent.”

The does not agree with criticism of Strydom, who came into the starting XV just hours before the game when Pretorius pulled out.

“I think he [Strydom] did well, he kept us in their half all the time. Yes, maybe we needed to do more when we got there and towards the end we kicked away some good possession. But it was wet and the ball was slippery, we wanted to get in their half and play there.

“He just followed instructions. At times it was on and he should have seen, but I’m happy with his game.”

Eloff said that wings Ashwin Willemse and Wylie Human, as well as Springbok loose forward Jacques Cronj’, will still be sidelined with injuries this week.

He did not put a timeframe on their possible return.

By Jan de Koning

365 Digital

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