Lions waiting on injured players
The Lions are sweating over the fitness of scrum-half Vian van der Watt ahead of the second leg of their Super Rugby promotion-relegation match.
The men from Johannesburg won the first leg against the Kings 26-19 in Port Elizabeth on Friday and will take their place in Super Rugby 2014 if they can repeat the feat.
However, they will have to do so with first choice number nine Michael Bondesio who was forced out of the first leg by injury and will be sidelined for some time. The Lions’ problems were compounded when back up scrum-half Ross Cronje was ruled out by a hamstring injury.
This meant that Van der Watt was forced into a starting role, only for the South Africa U20 man to suffer a shoulder injury. Van der Watt soldiered on for some time before being replaced by Guy Cronje who is in the process of being converted from a fly-half into a scrum-half.
Coach Johan Ackermann is hopeful his scrum-half stocks will be at least partially replenished ahead of Saturday’s game, but Bondesio is a definite non-starter.
"Michael [Bondesio] underwent surgery [after struggling with calf and knee injuries in recent weeks] and will be sidelined for two to three months," Ackermann told Rugby365.
"We realised last Thursday he [Bondesio] won't recover and opted to travel without him.
"[After the Cronje injury] it meant Vian [van der Watt] was the next in line, given that he played a game of similar significance - when he featured for the Baby Boks [SA Under-20] against New Zealand in the IRB Junior Final at Newlands last year.
"Eventually he could not handle the pain," he added of van der Watt’s injury. "Then we made the change with Guy Cronje.
"We did fine, even though we were without three of our frontline players [at No.9]."