VIDEO: Lions coach set to ring the changes
SPOTLIGHT: Lions head coach Ivan van Rooyen is ready to put his squad’s depth to the test over the next few weeks as they switch their attention to the Challenge Cup.
After back-to-back home wins against Zebre and the Dragons in the United Rugby Championship, the Lions are currently on their way to France for a match against Perpignan.
They will then return to Johannesburg and face Newcastle Falcons at Ellis Park.
With the Round One fixture in France happening on Sunday before the Falcons clash on the following Saturday, it will be a short turnaround for the Lions.
After seven games in a row in the URC, which included a four-match tour, Van Rooyen is ready to ring the changes.
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“I think we started flat,” said Van Rooyen after his team’s 49-24 victory over the Dragons at Ellis Park.
“But [it was due to] the month away, the travel and a busy week. We are probably going to rotate a little bit for the trip to France and use the squad over the next two weeks.
“The one away game we are playing Sunday afternoon and then we only come back on a Tuesday night.
“To get the best performance from both those games and see if we can win both of them, we are going to have to rotate a little bit and use the squad.
“I’ve got great confidence in using the squad. We also prepared like that for the last two or three weeks, so I think we are ready to go.”
The Lions had to show a lot of character against the Dragons as they played most of the match with 14 men.
Lock Ruben Schoeman was shown a red card in the 25th minute after he collided with an opponent’s head after an attempted charge down.
“I think there was a slight adjustment at half-time. There was a tactical change or two, to be honest.
“Well done to the players for adapting to that and understanding what we wanted to do.
“We felt that with good quick ball, we probably would get some purchase out wide.
“To have the ability and willingness to go there with 14 guys, I think is good.”