Ross Roche

By Ross Roche

Senior sports writer

Like Boks, Lions’ scrum depth key to team’s power up front — Julian Redelinghuys

The Lions face a massive challenge against an in-form Munster team who will be fired up after their good win over the Bulls.

An impressive performance from the Lions forward pack against Leinster over the past weekend highlighted one of their biggest strengths as they prepare to welcome another Irish giant in Munster to Ellis Park on Saturday.

The Lions forwards laid a strong platform for their backs to attack off, which worked to perfection as they powered to a big 44-12 win over the table toppers.

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They now face a massive challenge against an in-form Munster team who will be fired up after their good win over the Bulls at Loftus, and the Lions will need another power forward effort to give them the best chance of winning.

Lions scrum coach Julian Redelinghuys claimed that it was the huge competition among the front rankers that has seen them take their game to the next level during the current season.

“I really believe the strength in the pack at the moment is the competition between the guys. If you look at our tightheads we have (Ruan) Dreyer, Asa (Asenathi Ntlabakanye), Ruan Smith, and Beetjie (Conraad van Vuuren) who played really well recently,” explained Redelinghuys.

“At loosehead we have Morgan (Naude) and JP (Smith). These guys scrum against each other every week and make each other better.

“I think all of us have watched Chasing the Sun and that’s what you see with the Boks as well. Their toughest scrumming opposition is (in training) on Wednesday and not (in the game) on Saturday. I really believe that is the strength of our pack at the moment.”

Game by game

Against Leinster the Lions started with Dreyer and Naude, who have largely played off the bench this season, before bringing on Ntlabakanye and Smith, who usually start, in the second half and Redelinghuys said that the selection is done on a game by game basis.

“For us it depends on what the game needs, there are a lot of things to consider. Obviously the scrum is a big part of the front row’s job. But also the way we want to play on the weekend and what we are expecting from the opposition has to be considered.

“So it’s about starting with who we think are the best guys for a specific game, in terms of how we are expecting the game to start and finish.

“It is a bit of strategy from our side. It’s not about who is the best or second best guy, it is about what is the best player and combination for each specific game.”