Lions players Willem Alberts and Andre Warner are set to play a big role in preparing the side for a French onslaught when they face Stade Francais in the Challenge Cup competition at Ellis Park on Friday night.
Utility forward Alberts and scrumhalf Warner have both played at French clubs and will thus have a good idea of what to expect from the visitors in the match.
Former Springbok Alberts will most likely be the key figure this week, having spent five years at Stade Francais, while Warner’s was just a short stint, but both players should have some insight into the French challengers.
ALSO READ: Lions won’t need extra motivation for Stade Francais clash
“I was there for three months, and I think Willem was there for three or four years, so he will probably chip in a lot,” Warner said.
“It is a completely new setup they have now. New coaches, and there are only a few guys I know that still play there. I can talk about their rugby culture.
“They like to throw the ball around. The French are known for that. If we can help, we will and I think Willem will have the bigger input.”
Warner has found playing time this season limited and had not featured for the team before the international break, but he finally got some game time in the following three matches, – two in the United Rugby Championship and one over the past weekend in the Challenge Cup.
He came off the bench in both URC games against the Dragons and Scarlets, and he started the last week’s Challenge Cup clash against the Dragons and will hope to start against Stade Francais as well.
However, he faces stiff competition from Sanele Nohamba, who has been the preferred scrumhalf for the Lions so far this season, while Morne van den Bergh hasn’t been seen since the international break but could make a return at any time.
“I am feeling good and we trust the coaches. The coaches have communicated with all the nines. We help each other out,” explained Warner.
“When I wasn’t playing, I kept sharp and I know when I get my chance, I will have to play well. That is the mindset that I have worked on and it is awesome to get to play every week. If you get the opportunity, you must take it.”