Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer


Lions pack has ‘stepped up’ after wobbly URC start, says Francke Horn

Horn has built an impressive loose-forward partnership with Sibusiso Sangweni and Emmanuel Tshituka.


A poor performance from the Lions pack in their opening United Rugby Championship (URC) game of the season against the Bulls at Ellis Park was the wake-up call they needed to respond with two big performances in wins over Ospreys and Cardiff in Wales.

Their performance in Swansea helped the team fight back in the second half to steal a tight win at the end, while in Cardiff their performance was integral in weathering a massive first-half storm, before powering over the hosts in the second half.

They will now be targeting another big effort as they chase an unprecedented third away win on tour, with a huge clash against Edinburgh in Scotland on Friday night.

“The forwards came together after the Bulls game and we thought we lacked a bit in the forward department. So coming on tour and having an idea of the conditions we were going to play in, we knew we had to make a big step up,” explained Lions eighthman Francke Horn.

“Obviously there is a lot of confidence within the pack now (after the wins over Ospreys and Cardiff).

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“I think the weather on Friday may be the same so we can actually stick to the same game plan against Edinburgh,” he added.

“Edinburgh is a quality side and they have a lot of international players. With them coming back from South Africa they might have a bit of travel fatigue, but they are back at home and they’re a very tough team to beat. So it’s going to be a very big game for us, trying to end the tour on a high.”

Loose-forward partnership

Having lost star loose forward Vincent Tshituka in the off season, and with Jaco Kriel still not back to full fitness, Horn has been building an impressive loose-forward partnership with Sibusiso Sangweni and Emmanuel Tshituka over the past few matches.

They will be keen to put in a massive shift again in Friday’s game, as they prepare to potentially front up against a ferocious Scottish international trio of Hamish Watson, Jamie Ritchie and Nick Haining.

ALSO READ: ‘Lions have grown immensely in the last year’, says Ivan van Rooyen

“Sibu (Sangweni) and I have been coming along together since playing for the SA U-20s in 2019, so we know each other quite well, and last season I played a lot with Manu (Tshituka),” said Horn.

“So there is a good understanding between the three of us. Obviously we don’t have a lot of experience, but that gives us something new to bring to the team.”

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