If the Lions are to enjoy another successful Super Rugby run this year, a good start will be paramount according to new head coach Swys de Bruin.
The Lions’ impressive run a year ago ended with Johan Ackermann’s team topping the overall log and playing at home in the quarterfinals, semifinals and final.
And according to De Bruin, who takes over as the head coach from Ackermann this year, the new format of the competition forces teams to be switched on every weekend.
After playing their first five games of the tournament of South African soil, the Lions face a tough four-match tour of Australasia this time, something they haven’t had to deal with in years.
What this means for the Lions is that they need to make the most of the first few weeks of the competition, when certain teams could still be finding their feet and be somewhat “cold”.
De Bruin says: “We’ve got four overseas games this year, which is different to last year and the year before, so it’s certainly tougher than what we’re used to.”
His Lions open their challenge with a match against the Sharks at Ellis Park on Saturday.
And the former No.2 adds: “Starting well will be important and making the most of our home fixtures.”
De Bruin will name his first match-day line-up on Thursday, with fit-again Warren Whiteley set to captain the side from No 8.