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Round 2: Lions v Highlanders



Last week’s losers to the Waratahs take on last week’s winners against the Force in Jo’berg.
Sad days for the Highlanders with both fly half Nick Evans and winger Vilame Waqaseduadua both out with injuries.
Have not heard as yet what the injury toll is for the Lions.

I’m going for the Lions in this one as they were not outclassed by the Waratahs last week, the Highlanders have had bugger all time to recover from a physical game against the Force (not just the players but the weather was pretty hot to play a game of rugby). The Highlanders are without (regardless of missing 2/3 of a class front row) are still without Evans. Callum Bruce has really stepped up but still this is still early days for the youngster.
Also their midfield is pretty young but managed to hold their own against the Force’s backline and time will do them well.

If the Highlanders are going to win this then they need to put in a bigger ‘team’ effort than last week.
Just don’t think they can do it.
This is shaping out to be another dull game with very low scoring from both sides.
Head to Head:
1 â€" Heinke van der Merwe
2 â€" Willie Wepener
3 â€" Brian Mujati
4 â€" Cobus Grobler
5 â€" Anton van Zyl
6 â€" Cobus Grobbelaar
7 â€" Ernst Joubert (captain)
8 â€" Willem Alberts
9 â€" Janno Vermaak
10 â€" Louis Strydom
11 â€" Jaco Pretorius
12 â€" Doppies la Grange
13 â€" Jaque Fourie
14 â€" Wylie Human
15 â€" Louis Ludik.
16 â€" Ethienne Reynecke
17 â€" Bertus Smit
18 â€" Gordon Gilfillan
19 â€" Franco van der Merwe
20 â€" Ricky Januarie
21 â€" Earl Rose
22 â€" Jaco van Schalkwyk.

1 â€" Chris King
2 â€" Jason MacDonald
3 â€" Clarke Dermody
4 â€" Kane Thompson
5 â€" James Ryan
6 â€" Hoani MacDonald
7 â€" Josh Blackie (captain)
8 â€" Craig Newby
9 â€" Jimmy Cowan
10 â€" Callum Bruce
11 â€" Viliame Waqaseduadua
12 â€" Jason Kawau
13 â€" Matt Saunders
14 â€" Lucky Mulipola
15 â€" Craig Clare.
16 â€" David Hall
17 â€" Jamie Mackintosh
18 â€" Ezra Taylor
19 â€" Alando Soakai
20 â€" Toby Morland
21 â€" Charlie Hore
22 â€" Greg Zampach.
here is the real highlanders line-up

Highlanders: 15. Craig Clare, 14. Lucky Mulipola, 13. Matthew Saunders, 12. Jason Kawau, 11. Greg Zampach, 10. Callum Bruce, 9. Jimmy Cowan, 8. Craig Newby, 7. Josh Blackie (capt), 6. Hoani MacDonald, 5. James Ryan, 4. Felipo Levi, 3. Clarke Dermody, 2. Jason Macdonald, 1. Chris King. Res: 16. David Hall, 17. Keith Cameron, 18. Erza Taylor, 19. Alando Soakai, 20. Toby Morland, 21. Charlie Hore, 22. Willie Rickards.
Although I reckon that this is a much-improved Lions team vs. last year`s Cats joke, with a much better coach thrown into the mix, they still have precious little experience, and without Pretorius to land the 78-minute penalty to win the game by 1, I`ll tip the Highlanders to win a close-fought game by 2.

In the Lion`s favour is altitude, plus the weary legs from the long flight and very little recovery time for the Highlanders. If this very young Lions side can keep their composure, they might just spring a surprise, but I doubt it.
Oh me of little faith- Cobus "Varkhond" Grobbelaar looked like one of the form SA locks in week 2, as did Cobus "Baywatch" Grobler, the blindside flanker.

I reckon the Highlanders were caught off-guard by the altitude, jet-lag and a seriously commited Lions side. Not the stuff of legend by either team, but a win is a win. Congrats to the Lions, and to Dumbo for calling it spot-on.

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