VIDEO: Lions get 'creative' after lock setback.
Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen admitted they are fielding what amounts to five loose forward in a revamped set of forwards for the United Rugby showdown with the Bulls on Saturday.
The Lions host the Bulls at Ellis Park in the first of the back-to-back URC Trans-Jukskei derbies this week, with the return match at Loftus Versfeld next week.
The coach confirmed that veteran hooker Jaco Visagie, who played nearly 100 games for the Bulls before brief stints with Gloucester and Stade Toulousain, suffered an AC (acromioclavicular joint in the shoulder) injury.
“It is not that serious,” the Lions coach said, adding that he might be back next week or the following week.
However, the news about burly lock Pieter Jansen van Vuren is less promising.
The 30-year-old, who signed with the Lions from the Pumas this year after a loan stint in Johannesburg, is set to be sidelined for four to five months with a pectoral muscle injury – suffered during training this week.
“That is unfortunate for Pieter,” Van Rooyen said, adding: “Rugby is a collision sport.
“It is not great for Jaco [Visagie] and Pieter [Jansen van Vuren], but it also opens the door for someone else.”
The coach revealed that the lock’s arm got caught in an awkward position in a maul stop.
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“He was our main line-out caller.
“Also, losing Notties [Reinhard Nothnagel] to injury a while ago, that’s our No.5 locks sidelined.
“It is a bit of a setback in the line-ours,” he said, adding that they are playing with five loose forward or two No.4 locks – defending on how you look at the situation.
“That has its advantages in different areas,” Van Rooyen said.
“That’s the situation we are in. It forces us top get a bit more creative – playing with numbers [in the line-out] or how we want to play.
“We have to adapt and move on quickly.”
The Visagie and Jansen van Vuren setbacks come after the loss of star loose forward Vincent Tshituka recently.
Tshituka missed last weekend’s United Rugby Championship (URC) 37-47 defeat to the Sharks due to a shoulder injury.
The 23-year-old flank, who has been an integral part of the team set-up, is set to miss the Trans-Jukskei derbies against the Bulls the next two Saturdays.
He won’t be back in at least the next six weeks.