With a young Lions squad set to do business in the Currie Cup competition that kicks off next weekend, the union is keen to use it as an opportunity to blood their exciting up and coming talents and get them prepared to make the step up to the United Rugby Championship squad.
New coach Mziwakhe Nkosi is also taking on his biggest challenge so far, having moved up to take over the Currie Cup reins after a successful stint as co-coach of the Lions U20s.
“This is my biggest appointment so far and I am excited for the challenge. I am lucky that a big part of the group that I am working with is the same as I have worked with in the junior ranks, so there is a bit of chemistry there,” explained Nkosi.
“It is going to be a challenge for us, we are probably going to be one of the more youthful groups, but our union sees it as an opportunity to blood a few of our youngsters and get them ready for the URC.”
Despite the relative inexperience at senior pro level, the Lions management believe these players have exactly what it takes to make the step up and take on some strong opposition in the Currie Cup.
With the other SA URC sides splitting their resources to compete in both competitions, it opens the door for sides like the Pumas and Griquas to assert themselves as the dominant powers in the competition.
“We have a group of guys here who are on the verge of senior pros and have had good success at junior levels,” said Nkosi.
“They will have an opportunity to play against more seasoned guys, like the Pumas who have a really settled team and the Griquas who have had a change of management, but still have a number of experienced players in their ranks.
“So it is a great opportunity for them and if this group can put their hands up and be competitive they can really cause some headaches for Ivan van Rooyen and his management in the URC.”