There is huge excitement in the air ahead of the year’s Super Rugby South African derby. It is always a spectacular occasion, and fans on both sides marvel at the impending clash with bated breath.
The Lions welcome the Stormers, who last week lost their two frontline players, captain Siya Kolisi and hooker Bongi Mbonabi to medium and long-term injuries, at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday. The Western Cape-based have the added pressure of keeping their perfect start to the campaign intact, as they have yet to concede a point over two games in the competition.
They are braced to come up against a side which prides themselves on attack. But the Lions have not shown a staunch attacking prowess, so far, which may just be what they want to do to take down a wounded Stormers. The Lions will want to be blunt, accurate and innovative if they are to break down the Stormers defence this weekend.
Springbok lock Marvin Orie is confident that the Johannesburg’s team’s plans for the Stormers are more than satisfactory, at this stage. “I think we have some of the smartest attacking coaches,” said Orie. “Our current attack coach is a close relative of the previous attack coach and everyone knows the Lions have been known for good attacking rugby.
“But there is also mauls and defence, and together with all the plans, we have to be mindful as well. On Saturday, it will be up to us to execute,” he added, feeling that pre-match excitement has firmly gripped his camp. “I think there is something different to playing all South African derbies. This is a local derby in which the Stormers will come in having been doing well. So, we’re excited for the game!”
Beyond this, however, will be a real need to stop the Stormers on the Highveld. Orie believes it will all come down to basics, with the game braced to be decided on the setpieces. “Since I’ve played rugby, the setpieces are always a crucial ingredient for any rugby game, whether lineout, scrum or maul, it is important for any rugby game.
We have to make sure we maul well. We have to make sure we stop their maul and setpieces and, hopefully, we can better that. We strive for perfection in lineouts and we don’t always get it. There are systems we judge ourselves on, and from our assessments our curve is on an upward trend in most departments, and that is good for us,” Orie added.