Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
1 minute read
24 May 2014
10:00 am

Lions out to break Perth hoodoo

Rudolph Jacobs

The last time the Lions beat the Force in Perth, former Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius still played for the men in the red and white.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann. Picture: Gallo Images

This is how long ago it has been since the Lions achieved success against the men from Perth. Pretorius kicked a last-minute penalty to secure a 25-24 win back in 2007.

Since then, the Force have won five straight games and did struggle to beat the Lions 17-11 when they last met in Perth in 2012.

But after three losses on a winless tour and six straight defeats, not many people would put money on the tourists.

Lions coach Johan Ackermann, making wholesale changes due to injuries and rotation, believes that the Force are a formidable side this year, having only lost four times in 11 games.

“I think the Force have been performing very well in this year’s competition, I think they have showed a lot of team spirit and effort,” said Ackermann, pictured.

One of the Lions’ biggest weapons this year, their powerful scrum, has been separated for today’s clash due to a heavy workload and injuries.

Both powerful props Schalk van der Merwe, rested completely due to wear and tear, and Julian Redelinghuys, who starts from the bench, have been rotated, while hooker Robbie Coetzee starts from the bench to give promising “Akker” van der Merwe a first start.

All three of the players, who only joined the squad this week, have been thrown directly into the matchday 23 with centre Alwyn Hollenbach and fullback Coenie van Wyk starting, and flank Stephan de Wit named on the bench.

Big things are expected from powerful lock Rudi Matthee, who finally gets a start, while his lock partner, Franco Mostert, should be well rested after getting a break last weekend.

Kick-off is at 11.40am.