Wikus sent away

Lions captain Wikus van Heerden will not play in the next two rounds of the Absa Currie Cup.

The inspirational Lions skipper has earned a well-deserved rest from a campaign that already looks like it is going off the rails. “We have decided to rest Wikus for the next two weeks as he has taken an enormous battering in the last three games,” coach Eugene Eloff told keo.co.za.

In fact Van Heerden will not even attend practices in the next two weeks and has been sent to a farm outside of Johannesburg to get away properly. “Both physically and mentally Wikus was in need of a break, so he has now got it.”

Van Heerden will miss Friday night’s must-win match against the Valke as well as the trip to Kimberley to take on Griquas. They are both games the Lions will be expected to win.

Three players are in the running to assume the captaincy. They are Schalk van der Merwe, Roland Bernard and Jean Deysel.

Van Heerden has been prominent in the Lions losing cause against the Sharks, Blue Bulls and Cheetahs. The heavy 59-5 defeat suffered against the defending champions in Bloemfontein though has not prompted wholesale changes.

“We will not be making too many changes and apart from Wikus, we have also decided to rest Grant Esterhuizen who took a heavy knock against the Cheetahs.

Eloff expressed disappointment at not yet having won a game. “We nearly pulled off a victory against the Sharks, but nearly is just not good enough. We had hoped for one win out of the first three, but we have to put that behind us and concentrate on the Valke game.”

Van Heerden is expected back at the helm for the away match against Western Province on July 29.

By Andrew Hollely