It’s been a tough start to the 2014 Super Rugby season for the Reds. This is the fifth of their first six games that have been away from home and the quality of the opposition is not dropping off at all. The Lions have been one of the surprise packets of 2014, taking on and defeating some more fancied opponents. The good news is that the Reds know the game plan. Work hard, win the penalty and give the ball to Marnitz Boshoff!
Key Match ups
The Reds v the Ref and Marnitz Boshoff
Lions flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff has racked up 94 points in five matches the year and is slotting kicks from 60 metres out with ease. With the Reds leaking about 15 penalties a game there has never been a better time or reason to tighten their discipline. The talk coming out of the Reds camp is that they know there is a problem and they are working on a fix! But these things don’t happen overnight! Do they?
Kicking – Quade Copper v Marnitz Boshoff
One way to shut Boshoff down is to play the game at the other end. Coopers and Genias boots will play a big part in this. But handing the ball to the Lions 50 or 60 metres out is just not going to work. We may see the Reds run the ball out of their half rather than kick for touch. What ever happens both halves will have to be on their games and Genias box kick will have to improve.
The Back rows – Kriel, Britz and Whiteley v Quirk, Gill and Schatz.
The Reds have lost Higginbotham and Samo in recent years and frankly they miss them! The Reds #1 back row are all great players but are more workhorse than thoroughbred. There has been a heap of work in the off season to get these guys more involved in attack and I think it’s starting to show. The Lions back row set up is similar to the Reds with #8 Whiteley’s defensive stats standing out. Whoever comes out on top here could well decide this match.
The Lions have lost Hooker Johan Ackermann to injury while for the Reds Chris Feauai-Sautias dodgy hamstrings are playing up again giving Ben Tapuai a run at Outside Centre. While reserve prop Ben Daley has also succumbed to a hamstring tear giving Albert Anae a chance on the bench.
Lions v Reds
|Date:||Sun 23 Mar|
|Schalk van der Merwe||1||James Slipper|
|Willie Wepener||2||Saia Faingaa|
|Julian Redelinghuys||3||Greg Holmes|
|Franco Mostert||4||Rob Simmons|
|Franco van der Merwe||5||James Horwill (C)|
|Jaco Kriel||6||Eddie Quirk|
|Willie Britz||7||Liam Gill|
|Warren Whiteley (c)||8||Jake Schatz|
|Faf de Klerk||9||Will Genia (VC)|
|Marnitz Boshoff||10||Quade Cooper|
|Courtnall Skosan||11||Lachie Turner|
|Stefan Watermeyer||12||Mike Harris|
|Deon van Rensburg||13||Ben Tapuai|
|JW Jonker||14||Rod Davies|
|Coenie van Wyk||15||Aidan Toua|
|Mark Pretorius||16||James Hanson|
|Corne Fourie||17||Albert Anae|
|Ruan Dreyer||18||Jono Owen|
|MB Lusaseni||19||Ed ODonoghue|
|Stephan de Wit||20||Beau Robinson|
|Ross Cronje||21||Nick Frisby|
|Lionel Mapoe||22||Anthony Faingaa/Ben Lucas|
|Ruan Combrinck||23||Dom Shipperley|
|Assistant Ref 1:||Marius van der Westhuizen|
|Assistant Ref 2:||Francois de Bruin|
|TMO :||Johan Greeff|
The fearless Prediction
Is it still fearless if I pick the same team every review? But seriously the Reds should take this. But it could just as easily go the other way. It will take a huge effort and some REAL dedication to stop the infringements. If the Lions forwards get on top then it could be a long day for the Reds.
Reds to win by 10 with a four try bonus.