Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
10 Jan 2022
5:59 pm

Lions brace for demanding Currie Cup start

Ross Roche

The young Lions side will face a short turnaround between their first two matches.

James Mollentze is among the players in line to captain the Lions this weekend. Picture: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

The Lions are excited for a tough opening two Currie Cup games as they head to Cape Town this weekend to take on Western Province before hosting the Pumas next Wednesday.

The Lions’ United Rugby Championship side ended their year last month with a resounding win over the Stormers at Cape Town Stadium, and though barely any of those players will be involved this weekend, the home side will still be keen for a bit of revenge.

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“We are very excited. Western Province has a very experienced coaching team and quality players at their disposal,” said Lions head coach Mziwakhe Nkosi.

“So it’s an exciting match for us to kick off our campaign with and a positive result there will set us up quite nicely for the season.”

The young Lions side then face a short turnaround before playing their first home match of the campaign. They will then have a bye, which means they will have a month’s break before they play again in the competition.

“The start of any competition is crucial and all the teams will want to get off to a good start, so going into that month break after the second game will be much better with points in hand on the log, so the start for us is massive,” admitted Nkosi.

“We probably have the most difficult start of any side, but at some point you have to play everyone, so it is what it is and we will just have to take it one game at a time.”

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The Lions will be led by a core group of former Junior Springboks, who will all be eager to raise their status and show that they can make the step up to senior level.

“We have identified a few guys who can take up the captaincy role, but we have a very good leadership group in former Junior Springboks Lunga Ncube, James Mollentze, Aidynn Cupido and Dameon Venter, so we have quite a few candidates,” said Nkosi.

“But it’s not something that fazes us. Whoever from that group ends up leading the side, he will be backed up by the others.”