Hendro Scholtz believes that the Lions are living dangerously with their new expansive style of play.
The Vodacom Cheetahs captain is well aware of the affect Lions coach Eugene Eloff has had on the young side from Johannesburg, and thinks that for all their flair shown in the last few games, it has ultimately worked to their detriment.
“Loffie enjoys the expansive game, and you can see the positive influence he has had on the Lions team,” Scholtz told Keo.co.za. “But the way they are playing at the moment is far too risky.”
The Cheetahs have been clinical in their past two performances, starting off slowly in the first quarter and then finishing with a flourish at the end. The Lions may not be the team they once were, but still boast a better team than that of Griquas or the Valke.
“We will continue with our gameplan of keeping it tight in the first 20 minutes or so,” said Scholtz. “Everything has gone right so far so we will want to keep the continuity going,” Scholtz said.
“That is not to say that we won’t play the situation. If it’s on, we won’t be afraid to run it.”
Although Scholtz has criticized the Lions style, he believes that they still have some quality players and so Free State won’t be taking anything for granted.
“They have a lot of exciting young players with loads to prove, and that can be dangerous for the opposition.”
Free State coach Rassie Erasmus has made only two changes to the team that beat Griquas and the Valke on successive weekends. Dale Heidtmann comes into the centres to replace Meyer Bosman, while Corniel van Zyl returns at lock at the expense of Rory Duncan.
SA Schools flanker turned hooker Richardt Strauss comes onto the bench along with utility back Chris Kruger.
Vodacom Cheetahs: 15- Bevin Fortuin, 14- Giscard Pieters, 13- JW Jonker, 12- Dale Heidtmann, 11- Gavin Passens, 10- Willem de Waal, 9- Michael Claassens, 8- Ryno van der Merwe, 7- Darron Nell, 6- Hendro Scholtz (captain), 5- Barend Pieterse, 4- Corniel van Zyl, 3- Jannie du Plessis, 2- Jaco du Toit, 1- Ollie le Roux. Replacements: 16- Richardt Strauss, 17- Wian du Preez, 18- Rory Duncan, 19- Kabamba Floors, 20- Falie Oelschig,Â 21- Chris Kruger, 22- Philip Burger.
Lions: 15- Louis Ludik, 14- Wylie Human, 13- Jaco Pretorius, 12- Wayne Julies, 11- Grant Esterhuizen, 10- Earl Rose, 9- Jano Vermaak, 8- Ernst Joubert, 7- Wikus van Heerden (c), 6- Cobus Grobler, 5- Gerhard Mostert, 4- Jean Deysel, 3- Gert Muller, 2- James van der Walt, 1- Heinke van der Merwe. Replacements: 16- Etthiene Reynecke, 17- TBC, 18- Willem Stoltz, 19- Schalk van der Merwe, 20- Rory Kockott, 21- Jody Rose, 22- Jaco van Schalkwyk.
By Jon Cardinelli