Will Lions release URC players in Currie Cup clash with Cheetahs?
The Lions are set to finally unleash their United Rugby Championship (URC) stars on the Currie Cup over the next two matchweeks, starting with the Cheetahs at Ellis Park on Friday.
The Currie Cup campaign has been a trying one for the Lions so far, after they decided in January to split their squads, with a largely young and inexperienced squad full of U20 players competing in the first local competition in the country.
So it’s been a terrible campaign, with them losing every game so far, many by wide margins with them sitting with a negative 220 point difference.
One or two players from the URC squad were used sporadically for playing time, but it wasn’t until the Lions’ last game, a 23-17 final loss to Griquas, that they provided a decent number of URC players on the side.
In this game, their entire front row, nine and 15 were all URC regulars, and it showed as they dominated the game for large parts and only lost when Griquas scored a try on the whistle full time.
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With the Lions set to continue this trend in upcoming games against the Cheetahs and Bulls over the next two weekends to keep their URC players fresh and ready for their final game against the Dragons, they will be much more competitive in the Currie Cup.
“We have two Currie Cup games (before the Dragons) so between the playing time and the number of players available per position, we will make a good calculated decision regarding these two games,” explained the URC Lions manager. , Ivan van Rooyen.
“It will be similar to our last Currie Cup games. I think we started using the Currie Cup to give some of the guys who had been a little short. This will continue over the next two weeks.
The Lions face a tough challenge against the in-form Cheetahs though, which should make for an interesting game if they field enough URC players.
The Cheetahs have been in imperious form so far, winning all seven of their games and they will be aiming for another victory to return to the top of the table, ahead of the Bulls who play their game against the Griquas on Saturday.