Minnie new leader of the Pride

Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:12
Large lionel mapoe   derrick minn

EXCLUSIVE: Golden Lions coach Johan Ackermann spoke to Jan de Koning about a change in captain ahead of this week's big game.

Derrick Minnie will reclaim the Golden Lions' captaincy armband when they head to Cape Town for a top-of-the-table Currie Cup clash with Western Province.

The Lions, who top the table on points difference ahead of WP, will head to Newlands without regular skipper Warren Whitely - who was called up to the Springbok squad in place of the injured loose forward Willem Albert, for the Test against Argentina in Salta on Saturday.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann, speaking to rugby365 ahead of the trip to Newlands on Saturday, confirmed that Minnie will captain the team, because he was captain last year.

"There will also be a [leadership] role for Lionel Mapoe,"the Lions mentor said, adding: "He [Mapoe] is one of the other senior guys in the team and will help Derrick."

Ackermann said the Lions have a "very open line of communication", which ensures that if Mapoe needs to share something with the team he will get he message across.

"The guys will know he is vice-captain and they will listen to him," Ackermann said, adding that he is in favour of just one captain - ass opposed to a dual captaincy used by some teams.

"Derrick, last year, when things were a bit rocky in the Currie Cup and Warren [Whiteley] was out, he took the leadership and did a great job," Ackermann said.

With Whitely called up for Bok duty, the Lions will be looking for a replacement at No.8.

"We are very privileged with the loose forwards we have," the coach said, adding: "We have Warwick Tecklenburg and Willie Britz who can both come into the starting XV.

"They are both hungry and desperately keen to get an opportunity. They understand they are below Warren [Whiteley] in the pecking order, who is [the regular] captain.

"Warren Whiteley is in great form and he is our leader, so it is a setback, but I do believe those guys will grab the opportunity to prove they are also worthy of regular starting spots."

Apart from the change among the loose forwards, he Lions team is unlikely to be altered too much for the trip to Newlands.

"There are a few bumps and bruises," the coach said.

Courtnall Skosan could be cleared from his cheek bone injury by Wednesday or Thursday, and the Lions could consider him.

Alwyn Hollenbach could also be cleared after his shoulder injury.

"We have to make a call on whether to play him or not," Ackermann told rugby365.

"[Under-20 star] Harold [Vorster] did really well in his first two Currie Cup games," he said, adding: "The decision to be made is whether we recall the senior, experienced player or stick with the youngster who has not let you down.

"It is a tough call, but that call - between the experience of Alwyn [Hollenbach] or young Harold [Vorster] - is one I still have to make."

By Jan de Koning

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