Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
18 Mar 2014
6:10 am

Lions struck by hooker crisis

Rudolph Jacobs

The Lions face a minor hooker headache ahead of hosting the Reds at Ellis Park this weekend with two of their top No 2s confined to the injured list.

Robbie Coetzee of the Lions during the Lions training session and press conference at Johannesburg Stadium on March 06, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images.

Robbie Coetzee left the field with a knee injury against the Blues last weekend and was replaced by Willie Wepener, but now the next hooker in line, Malcolm Marx, is also on the injured list.

Coetzee picked up a hairline tear to his right medial cruciate knee ligament, while Marx fractured his right hand in the Vodacom Cup match between the Golden Lions and Valke last weekend.

But fullback Andries Coetzee, centres Alwyn Hollenbach and Lionel Mapoe, and scrumhalf Michael Bondesio, have all recovered from injury and will be ready to return to action this weekend.

They will be considered for either the Lions’ Super Rugby side or the Vodacom Cup team.

Having returned to winning ways, the confident Lions are not overly concerned with their defensive structures ahead of the Reds match.

They conceded nine tries in their last two matches against the Sharks and the Blues after only conceding four in their first three games – against the Cheetahs, Stormers and Bulls.

But coach Johan Ackermann has lauded the team’s defence, especially in the first half against the Blues when they were stuck in their own territory in the first 10 minutes and hardly laid a hand on the ball.

“I think the tries we conceded in the second half were not necessarily down to anything wrong with our defensive structures but rather down to individual errors,” he said.

Ironically, two of those errors were made by debutant left wing Courtnall Skosan, who scored the Lions’ second try on the stroke of halftime after a quick tap.