New Golden Lions Currie Cup coach, Ivan van Rooyen, wants to use the competition as a building block for next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Van Rooyen faces his first test against the Griquas on Friday evening in Johannesburg and has appointed Springbok scrumhalf Ross Cronje as his captain.
Van Rooyen is new to the head coaching department but has been in the Lions structures for the last six years.
His previous role was that of strength and conditioning coach.
He says not much will chance regarding the Lions’ style of play under his guidance.
“We never enter a competition not to win so obviously the first priority is to do very well in Currie Cup. But for us it’s also a bigger picture to get guys ready for Super Rugby. So, I think it’s both to do well in the Currie Cup and get ready for Super Rugby.”
For the players, it’s an opportunity to not only stake a claim for next year’s Super rugby competition, but also for higher honours.
Last year, one of their team mates, Aphiwe Dyantyi, was an unknown in the rugby world and now he’s setting the international stage alight.
Lions flank, James Venter says: “I think it gives a lot of youngsters an opportunity. This competition gives a lot of youngsters the opportunity to put their foot in the door.”
Kick-off at Ellis Park on Friday evening is just after 7pm.