Lions coach Dick Muir, stung by his team’s eight-match losing streak and shocking defensive lapses, has called in the help of Springbok legend and former Rugby League star Ray Mordt.
Jan de Koning, rugby365
It took the Lions brainstrust eight defeats and 43 leaked tries, but Mordt has been “helping out” Muir since Monday.
Golden Lions Rugby Union President Kevin de Klerk, who earlier admitted that “poor defence” has been the side’s biggest problem in their Super Rugby losing streak, confirmed on Wednesday that Mordt is helping Muir in a “caretaker” capacity.
“No formal appointment has been made,” De Klerk told rugby365.com.
“Dick [Muir] decided to bring in somebody immediately and he [Mordt] has already made a huge difference,” the GLRU boss added.
However, De Klerk said it is not a given that Mordt will become a permanent fixture in the side. “We are also looking at a few other guys, such as the team’s former defence coach Wimpie Vermeulen.
“He [Vermeulen] is currently in Palaborwa, so he is not immediately available. But we are looking at these guys to help out a couple of times a week,” De Klerk said, adding that a final decision on a permanent coach would be taken soon.
“I am having a meeting with the executive committee of the union’s professional arm next week, where we will discuss a number of issues – including the appointment of a defence coach and a Currie Cup head coach.”
Next week’s meeting will include De Klerk, his two deputies Neville Jardine and Altmann Allers, CEO Manie Reyneke, as well as team manager Mac Hendricks.
Mordt, who was a Bok legend that scored a hat-trick in the infamous ‘flour bomb’ Test against the All Blacks at Eden Park in 1981, was also a crucial cog in the 1995 World Cup-winning coaching set-up of Kitch Christie.
He joined Wigan Rugby League club in 1986, winning one league title and a cup competition with them before retiring due to injury.
Mordt, speaking after taking charge of a training session in Johannesburg, said the Lions have been lacking is a culture of defending.
“All great sides have a good defence,” Mordt told the Independent group newspapers.
“Defending is all about technique and speed off the line. But most importantly, it’s about attitude and communication. And these two aspects must come to the fore when the team is under pressure because it’s in pressure situations when things go haywire.”