Jaque Fourie’s return to the Lions will bolster them, but his team-mates mustn’t rely on him to do their jobs.
Coach Loffie Eloff has constantly harped on how different their season would’ve been had Fourie’s guiding hand been present throughout the campaign, but the other players must still be held accountable for the way they play tomorrow. Fourie can’t be expected to perform miracles in his first Super 14 match of the season and transform a misfiring unit into a devastating one.
Fourie’s leadership and presence will be massive, but he has acknowledged that numbers 9 to 15 all have to do their jobs if they are to break the Lions’ attacking drought (the team has only scored five tries in their past four matches).
“To play at that level [Super Rugby] there are no juniors or seniors in a team, we are all professional rugby players and we need to do our jobs. I will be there to help with decision-making and to hopefully bring calmness, but all of us must perform as a unit,” Fourie told keo.co.za.
Fourie’s re-introduction to the Super 14 will be a tough one against a potent backline, but he has tackled Kiwi opposition many times before so he should be well-informed on how to counter the Chiefs. He and the rest of his team-mates have a plan to put the likes of Dwayne Sweeney, Lelia Masaga and Sitiveni Sivivatu on the back foot, it’s just a matter of putting these ideas into effect.
“They don’t like it if you play in their faces – they are physical but we have to match that by tackling them as hard as we can. They’ll probably be going for a bonus point straight away so we have to put them under further pressure with our play,” said Fourie.
Fourie has been frustrated at his enforced lack of involvement this season due to a stomach injury and is eager at having an active role in tomorrow’s result.
“It’s been difficult watching the games without being able to do anything, so I’ve been excited the whole week knowing I’ll be able to make a difference. Hopefully I will make an impression,” he said.
Fourie will undoubtedly have an influence on the Lions performance, but the 14 other players will also have to imitate his lead if they are to compete with the Chiefs.
By Grant Ball