Experienced Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies believes the team could face a different kind of Super Rugby challenge after the injury of their inspirational captain Warren Whiteley.
Flank Franco Mostert takes over the leadership in this afternoon’s clash against the Sunwolves at Ellis Park, with a tough away match against the Jaguares and a home game against the Crusaders to follow.
“Wazza is always a great loss on the way he leads the side,” said Jantjies after Whiteley was ruled out for four weeks with a knee injury.
“His work ethic on the field and also his leadership qualities off the pitch, the way he works with the younger guys, so we will miss him.”
But the Bok flyhalf said he, scrumhalf Ross Cronje, flank Kwagga Smith and centre Lionel Mapoe are there to assist Mostert.
“It now gives an opportunity what ‘Sousie’ (Mostert) can bring and for us as leaders who are really leading the side in obvious different roles, so it’s a nice challenge lying ahead,” he said.
Jantjies said they expect a different Sunwolves side this year despite their 50-22 loss to the Sharks in Durban last weekend.
“I think the biggest difference that I’ve seen is that they have taken in a lot of overseas-based players to mix with their Japanese players but I think the fundamentals stay the same,” said Jantjies.
“They have guys like flank Lappies Labuschagne who used to play for the Bulls as well as No 8 Willie Britz who used to play here with us as well as a mix of New Zealanders.”
Jantjies reiterated the Blues game was done and dusted and said they have a different challenge ahead of them.
“We have put last weekend behind, we came together on Monday and we were upfront with one another.
“Like coach Swys (de Bruin) said, we close the book at 12pm, we learned a lot of things out of that game which could aid the team on the road ahead when more tough games will come around,” said Jantjies.
Lions: Andries Coetzee, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Ross Cronje, Len Massyn, Franco Mostert (c), Kwagga Smith, Marvin Orie, Andries Ferreira, Jacobie Adriaanse, Malcolm Marx, Dylan Smith. Bench: Robbie Coetzee, Sti Sithole, Johannes Jonker, Robert Kruger, Marnus Schoeman, Marco Janse van Vuren, Howard Mnisi, Shaun Reynolds.