Lions

Lions not in a hospitable mood

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The Lions won’t be in a very hospitable mood when the Crusaders visit them for a Super 14 Round Three match at Ellis Park on Saturday.


Andr’ Pretorius, the Lions’ injured captain, has revealed that they plan to make it as difficult as possible for the defending Super rugby champions.


Pretorius, who has not played in any of his team’s matches this season and will also miss the encounter with the Crusaders because of a hamstring injury, said home ground advantage is something that should be treasured.


He said the Crusaders remain one of the tournament’s top sides, despite missing seven of their All Blacks – who are all on a World Cup conditioning programme.


“You know exactly what to expect from the Crusaders, regardless of how many players are out,” Pretorius told this website.


“You don’t want to put more pressure on yourself, thinking about these things – but you know they will start running from inside their own 22. They control the ball and protect it very well. Also, their defence is very, very good and you know they won’t leave many gaps.


“There is nothing you can do about that, you simply have to ensure the things you do is better than what they do.


“The Lions will simply have to lift their game to that [the Crusaders’] level.


“They are coming to our home [ground] and you can’t allow anybody to do in your house whatever he wants. You must go out and make it tough for them by ensuring you standard is higher,” Pretorius said.


He also spoke about his frustration at not being able to play, after being named captain for the season.


He was again ruled out this week, after a scan revealed that the tear in his hamstring has not yet healed properly.


While he is missing the encounter with the Crusaders this Saturday, Pretorius should be fit and ready to go on tour with the team when they depart for Australasia next week.


“This year is the worst for me, because this year I have the extra responsibility of captaincy and it is very difficult to be a leader if you are not part of everything,” Pretorius said of his injury.


However, he has remained involved with the team’s activities as much as possible.


“I could easily have said I’m injured and don’t need to be involved, but for me I want to be involved.


“I’m at most of the practice session when I’m not at the physio. I’m part of all the video analysis and the decisions together with the team management, so I am very involved in the team.”


He confirmed that the initial nervousness, which existed, before the team’s opening game against the Waratahs, should not be a factor anymore.


“They [the Lions players] were very nervous before the first game [against the Waratahs], but now they have played two games and that should not be an issue anymore.”


By Jan de Koning 365 Digital

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