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Do Lions have the key?


Now the Lions must do what these teams failed to do – find a way to the tryline.

How to break the Stormers defence? In fact, how to score a point against the Stormers?

This would have been one of the main topics of conversation when the Lions management sat down yesterday morning to plan for the visit by John Dobson’s team this weekend.

Head coach Ivan van Rooyen and his assistants would have looked closely at the videos of the Stormers’ last two matches – against the Hurricanes and Bulls – to try figure out how those sides failed to score even a penalty against the men from the Cape.

Whether Van Rooyen and Co came up with the secret to unlocking the Stormers defence will be answered on Saturday, but what is clear is that a huge challenge awaits the Lions.

Shut out

The Stormers shut out the dangerous and normally free-scoring Hurricanes 27-0 and a Bulls side featuring the likes of Rosko Specman and Cornal Hendricks 13-0.

Now the Lions must do what these teams failed to do – find a way to the tryline.

The one positive is that the Lions are a team that have had success against the Stormers in the past and they’ll go into this weekend’s round three Super Rugby game on the back of scoring four tries against the Reds.

And while the Lions battled to ask many questions of the Jaguares in Buenos Aires in round one, they certainly asked the Reds a few questions last weekend.

Van Rooyen and Co would have been pleased with the way the Lions utilised their driving maul – even if it was a bit overdone at times and didn’t always bring the reward.

Marnus Schoeman scored a try from a maul and it’ll certainly be one of the go-to weapons again this weekend. The Lions have, generally, been good line-out maulers in the past.

Also, wings Tyrone Green (with two) and Courtnall Skosan scored tries last Saturday, and both men looked full of running and keen to get their team over the gain-line and onto the front foot.

The attacking skills of fullback Andries Coetzee will also, hopefully for the Lions, be a handful for the Stormers.

Flyhalf Elton Jantjies also looked to be back in good nick after a patchy showing in Argentina the week before, while new No 9 Morné van den Berg asked a good few questions of the Reds defenders and if he gets another chance this Saturday, will be keen to measure himself against the hero of the day, Herschel Jantjies.

The Stormers, though, remain a powerful unit, with class in almost all the positions and breaking them down over 80 minutes will take a big effort from the Lions.

Up front, the Joburgers will have to be stronger than they’ve been so far this year, with their scrum and line-out needing work this week.

Van Rooyen may consider making a few changes, too, such as bringing in Carlu Sadie at tighthead prop, Jan-Henning Campher at hooker and possibly one of Hacjivah Dayimani or Roelof Smit into the back-row.

Unfortunately, experienced loose-forward Willem Alberts has a bicep injury and won’t be available to play this week, while Jaco Kriel, who has also joined the Lions again, will also only be available for selection in April.

At the back, Van Rooyen may also consider his options in midfield, where Wandisile Simelane may get a look-in for one of Duncan Matthews or Dan Kriel; the new-look Lions centre pairing yet to fire this year. Van Rooyen will name his team on Thursday.

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