Savea to meet his match at Ellis Park?
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: The Lions will have to try and limit Ardie Savea’s influence when they meet the Hurricanes at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Savea has been in outstanding form for the Wellington side this season and he was the star in his team’s 30-17 victory over the Sharks in Durban.
The 25-year-old gave the Sharks plenty of problems at the breakdowns and his powerful carries got his side over the gain-line with ease.
However, he could meet his match in a loose-forward battle with Kwagga Smith, who has been excellent in open play for the Lions.
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The Lions also have the young Vincent Tshituka who produced a “man-of-the-match” performance in the 41-22 win over the Stormers last weekend.
The loose-forward battle should be an intriguing one and Hurricanes assistant coach Carlos Spencer is banking on Savea to come up with the goods again on Saturday.
“He has been massive for us all year with his physicality and presence,” said Spencer. “He is an experienced player in a young pack.
“He doesn’t say a lot, but he leads by his actions and the players follow [him]. He has been vital for us all year and he produced another massive performance last weekend and I’m sure it will be no different this weekend.
“We probably got a pretty good challenge this week with what’s coming from the Lions’ loose forwards because they are pretty formidable as well.
“It should be a great match-up between him and those guys.”
Spencer was impressed with his team’s physicality against the Sharks and he will be looking for more of the same against the Lions.
“Physically, it was a tough battle [against the Sharks].
“The forwards did a massive job and we put a big emphasis on physicality during the week. Our defence, individual contact and our set-pieces were very pleasing, which we will take into this week against a Lions’ pack that is pretty formidable, especially in the set-piece,” Spencer added.
Meanwhile, the Hurricanes will go into the match without All Black Vaea Fifita who has been suspended for three weeks for a high shot on Daniel du Preez at Kings park.
The Hurricanes will also be without wing Wes Goosen who has to New Zealand after he suffered a hamstring injury against the Sharks.
Matt Proctor is also on his way back to New Zealand after suffering a pectoral injury.
The Hurricanes have called up wing Salesi Rayasi and midfield back Danny Toala to join the squad in South Africa as cover.