Lions Happy With Their Double-Barrel ‘Pop-Guns’

lions rugby - Lions Happy With Their Double-Barrel ‘Pop-Guns’

The Lions are happy to concede the tale of the tape in their face-off with the Stormers at Newlands on Saturday.

The Lions have named the rather diminutive duo of Albertus Smith and Marnus Schoeman as their flanks.

Their Stormers rivals – Springboks Pieter-Steph du Toit and Siyamthanda Kolisi – will literally be “towering” over them in this all-South African derby.

Schoeman is just 1.78 metres and weighs in at 96kg. Smith is marginally taller at 1.82m and 93kg.

In stark contrast, Du Toit is 2.00m and 120kg, while Kolisi is 1.88m and 105kg.

Lions coach Swys de Bruin is confident his pocket-sized duo more than makes up for their lack of stature with their enormous workrate.

“We’ve done it before, against Waratahs last year,” he said of fielding Schoeman and Smith together in the Lions’ 29-0 win in a league match Sydney and the 44-26 victory in the semifinal in Johannesburg.

“This is the kind of game where Province [Stormers] will come [at us] at the breakdown,” the Lions coach added.

“That’s the one area we will have to be very good at, so to play with two, No.6 flanks [openside in South Africa] is maybe not a bad idea at this stage,” explained De Bruin.

Lions captain Warren Whiteley echoed his coach’s sentiments and praised Smith and Schoeman for their contribution in all aspects of play.

He said the duo is a lot more than just ‘fetchers’ – breakdown specialists.

“They are a lot more than that [just fetchers],” Whiteley said.

“I see them as ball carriers,” he said, adding: “They are [also] dynamic players.

“Both of them offer a lot more than just stealing the ball [at the breakdown].

“They are guys that play towards the ball, but they are a lot more than that. They are dynamic, they get around the park.”

Whiteley pointed out that with accomplished line-out players like Stephan Lewies and Marvin Orie they can afford to have smaller loose forwards.

“We call them [Schoeman and Smith] Japanese locks,” he quipped.

“We laughed [about it] at our line-out session,” the Lions skipper said, adding: “Kwagga [Smith] gets in their air quite nicely, but Marnus [Schoeman] is a bit top heavy. But Kwagga we get ion their air quite nicely.

“They are deserving of their positions.

“Marnus had a fantastic game [three tries against the Jaguares] and Kwagga would have started the previous weekend if it wasn’t for his calf injury.

“They are both fantastic players,” Whiteley added.

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