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Marx back to boost the Lions

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Marx was forced to return home to rest before the Crusaders game

Malcolm Marx.Chiefs v Lions, Super Rugby, FMG Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, New Zealand. 19 April 2019. © Copyright Photo: Jeremy Ward / www.photosport.nz

The Lions, who return to Super Rugby action this week after their bye, are set to be boosted by the availability of Springbok hooker Malcolm Marx (pictured), who has had two weeks off.

Also, head coach Swys de Bruin and defence coach Joey Mongalo are expected to resume their on-field duties after a two-week period when their continued involvement with the Lions was uncertain.

De Bruin left the Lions on the eve of their tour match against the Chiefs in Hamilton due to stress-related matters, while Mongalo has been fighting for his job after being found guilty of indecent assault by a Sydney court. He has been sanctioned by the Lions and is appealing his conviction and sentence in Australia, but will continue to work on the team’s defence.

De Bruin meanwhile – having been treated and given professional help in Johannesburg in the last two weeks – will take over from team conditioning coach Ivan van Rooyen, who took charge of the side for the matches against the Chiefs and Crusaders.

Marx, last year’s SA Player of the Year, was forced to return home to rest before the Crusaders game – the Lions’ last match of their three-game tour – as stipulated by the Bok management team, but he is likely to be back in the No 2 jumper again this weekend when the Lions host the Waratahs at Ellis Park on Saturday.

In his absence in Christchurch the Lions were led by loose forward Kwagga Smith because Warren Whiteley had also returned home with a knee cartilage injury so one of De Bruin’s first big calls to make this week is to appoint his team leader.

When Whiteley was injured in round two De Bruin opted to hand the captaincy to Marx, but most recently Smith did a good job leading the side. Whiteley won’t be in action again for at least two to three weeks, so one of Marx or Smith will lead the team for the foreseeable future.

Meanwhile, powerhouse loose forward Cyle Brink, who only recently returned to action following a lengthy injury lay-off, will have to prove his fitness in the coming days after suffering a mild strain of his knee against the Crusaders, while further details are expected about the knee injury suffered by utility back Sylvian Mahuza, also in the match against the Crusaders.

The Lions go into round 12 with a record of played 10 and won five, to be in fifth position on 22 points in the South African conference.

Their remaining games are against the Waratahs (home), Highlanders (home), Sharks (away), Stormers (home), Hurricanes (home) and Bulls (away).