No qualms with updated URC schedule says Lions boss
REACTION: Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen revealed he has no qualms regarding the latest rescheduling of fixtures announced by the United Rugby Championship (URC).
New changes will see postponed fixtures from Round 6 and Round 7 due to take place in South Africa be moved to the weekends of March 11/12 and March 18/19.
This means the Johannesburg-based side will face Cardiff Rugby and Munster respectively on the abovementioned dates.
In addition, the team will travel away to face Irish outfit Leinster on February 25 as part of the rescheduling of fixtures.
There have been concerns expressed by Cardiff Director of Rugby Dai Young, stating will “take a bit of convincing” to return to South Africa after their last visit to Cape Town led to quarantine for players and staff due to Covid-19.
However, the Lions coach expressed delight over the rescheduling, handing the South African franchise an extra fortnight to prepare for what will be a gruelling five months of tournament play.
“We obviously quite pleased with the latest announcement by the URC as it gives us an opportunity to get stuck in and play rugby again,” said van Rooyen.
“Having played five away games in the tournament thus far, we look forward to finally fronting up against local and European opposition with the majority of those games at Ellis Park,” he added.
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Attacking local derbies
Van Rooyen says he looks forward to the excitement factor ahead of the series of local derbies commencing on January 22, 2022.
“I believe there’ll be an urge to play attacking rugby come local derbies time,” predicts Van Rooyen.
“The emphasis on set piece play and physicality are some of the key features of our local derbies. These fixtures always seem to carry a bit of spice, coupled with bragging rights as all four home franchises are keen to make an impression in this tournament”.
Van Rooyen believes his side won’t be short of motivation upon their return and will be raring to go with their preparations.
“I reckon the guys will be motivated by the revised schedule. It’s an opportunity to build on our last performance in the competition before the break which we were pretty pleased about.”