Lions

Pretorius to remain on Lions’ bench

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Ernst Joubert will lead the Lions into Super 14 battle for another week. They face the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday.

Lions coach Eugene Eloff confirmed on Monday that Springbok fly-half Andr’ Pretorius will again be named on the bench this week, his second match since returning from injury.

Pretorius played just under 30 minutes in the 25-24 win over the Western Force in Perth at the weekend, and kicked the winning penalty in the 80th minute.

But Eloff will resist the temptation to start with his match-winning fly-half and regular captain against the Reds.

“We will look at starting with him [Pretorius] next week [against the Blues in Auckland],” Eloff told this website.

“He is still short of some match fitness and we will give him another run off the bench this week,” he added.

The Lions don’t have any major injury worries, but utility back Louis Ludik is struggling with a calf injury. According to the coach it doesn’t look serious, but a call will be made later in the week.

The good news is that Springbok Jacques Cronj’ has finally overcome his injury concerns and will be considered for a starting spot among the loose forwards.

Star lock Cobus Grobler, who missed the win over the Force with a knee strain, has recovered sufficiently to be considered.

Eloff expects a major backlash from a Reds team that slipped to second from last on the standings after three successive defeats.

The Brisbane-based franchise started with a credible 25-16 win over the Hurricanes in Brisbane in Round One, but have shown little progress in the last three weeks – losing (33-22) to the Crusaders, Brumbies (6-3) and Blues (38-13).

However, Eloff expects them to be fired up at home.

“They have their backs against the wall [after three defeats],” Eloff said.

“They remain a tough team to beat on their home ground and [coach] Eddie Jones has done some wonderful work with the side.

“They know they have to win and they will target this game [against the Lions] as a gamer they can win. It’s going to be tough.”

By Jan de Koning 365 Digital 

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