Sport / Rugby

Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
26 Nov 2021
7:51 am

Hungry Lions eager to attack Cardiff Blues in URC clash

Ross Roche

Following a four-week international break, the Lions will play their first home games in the United Rugby Championship over the next two weekends.

Lions coach Ivan van Rooyen. Picture: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images

The Lions are set to bring a more attacking mindset to their two home clashes in the United Rugby Championship, starting with their match against the Cardiff Blues at Ellis Park on Sunday afternoon.

A bit of wet weather is expected, but coach Ivan van Rooyen is backing his side to try and be a bit more expansive and attack minded, and to try keep the ball in play as much as possible.

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“The forecast looks like it might be wet, so the pitch could be a little bit wet, but luckily the drainage is awesome at Ellis Park,” said Van Rooyen.

“So I think it (the Lions game plan) depends on how the game is going. Obviously our mindset will be a little bit more attacking and ball in hand and hopefully we can get a high ball in play (percentage).

“But also, as the game develops in terms of pressure and territory and possession, we should be able to adapt either way.”

It was a difficult start to the URC for the Lions, who headed straight into a four-week European Tour shortly after the Currie Cup ended.

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Following a four-week international break, they now play their first home fixtures over the next two weekends, before breaking for another month ahead of their next fixtures back on tour in Europe.

“I think this type of system is going to be the future of rugby. The amount of games are going to increase and the pre-season times are going to decrease,” explained Van Rooyen

“So the format going forward is going to be three or four games followed by a week or two off. I don’t think we will have too many long four-week breaks again, but with the limited time we had after the Currie Cup into our (URC) tour, we saw this as a pre-season.

“So for us we have not been frustrated by it. It gave us additional time to work on the individuals and the system.”