Head coach Ivan van Rooyen has picked a relatively unchanged Lions lineup to lock horns with French giants Racing 92 at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Lock Reinhard Nothnagel starts at No 5 alongside Willem ‘Bone Collector’ Alberts, while Emmanuel Tshituka, Ruan Venter and Francke Horn continue as the loose-trio combination for the Challenge Cup last-16 clash. Marius Louw leads the team at inside centre alongside the in-form Manuel Rass.
Asked about pressure in the build up to this weekend’s knockout game on the Highveld, backline coach Ricardo Loubscher suggested that pressure could perhaps be on the French visitors.
“The biggest thing with them is that, if you look at the French national team and how they play, you can see that style of play filtering down to the domestic clubs. From our point of view, we want to focus on ourselves, but we know that they are a dangerous side. It’s all about expecting the unexpected.”
Your Emirates Lions Matchday 23 set to take on French visitors Racing 92 in the Round of 16 clash at Emirates Airline Park.
? Racing 92
?: EPCR Challenge Cup
?: Saturday, 1 April
?: Emirates Airline Park#ChallengeCupRugby#LionsPride? pic.twitter.com/h9vsZ35IYb
— Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) March 31, 2023
“We need to prepare for a massive kicking game as well as a team that is willing to run from their own 22m line. It’s hard to prepare for that but from our point of view, it’s important that we are ready for anything they throw at us on Saturday.”
“There’s great buzz within the camp. We took a lot of confidence out of the last few games in terms of just getting momentum. For this week, we see it as just another game.
“The big thing for us to just take one more step forward in terms of how we want to play, so we want to make sure that we force our strengths onto them. So let’s see, maybe we can put them under pressure with our style-ball in hand as well as our kicking game,” he added.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) March 30, 2023