Lions confident of avoiding a Shark bite

The Lions will almost certainly need a victory against the Sharks this weekend – and another victory next weekend – if they are to remain in contention for the Currie Cup.


The Cheetahs are expected to to pick up five points against the Leopards in Bloemfontein, Western Province will more than likely to do the same against Boland at Newlands and Blue Bulls should win against Griquas.


Both the Griquas and the Lions – who are both away from home this weekend – will need wins if they are to stay in the hunt.


But even if Griquas fail to make an impression against a Springbok-laden Bulls side in Pretoria on Saturday, they get another chance in Kimberley against the Sharks next week while the Lions have to win both their remaining games just to be in with a chance


Sadly for the Lions they face the Sharks in Durban and then a home match against Western Province.

 

The Lions will also have to do all of this without their stars scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, centre Alwyn Hollenbach and wing Dusty Noble who are all injured.

Compounding matters is that there are a number of other question marks over some players heads but inspite of all this the Lions are pretty confident.


Lions captain Cobus Grobbelaar said the fact his team were able to score 13 tries last weekend and, at the same time, stick to their game-plan, will stand the team in good stead this weekend.


“There are a few things we tried last week and they worked well for us,” said Grobbelaar.


“We can build on that performance, even if it was a run-away win.”


“We executed our plans well and were pretty well-disciplined.” he told the Star.


The Lions took heart from the way that they Leopards pushed the Sharks all the way last weekend.


“They put the Sharks under a lot of pressure, especially up front, and they took their chances well, even if the Leopards scored a few intercept tries. We’re going to have to do the same and apply a lot of pressure,” said Grobbelaar.


But while the Lions are confident of causing an upset in the Shark-tank, they’re fully aware that a big challenge awaits them.

 

“The fact that they can call on so many of their Springboks is a massive boost. They’re also a side who have lots of experience and have been playing together for some time.

“Defensively, they’re rock solid and their discipline is good … we’re going to have to work really hard to breach the defence,” said Grobbelaar.


The Sharks have conceded just 16 tries in their 12 matches to date and scored 40. The Lions have conceded 22 and scored 39 – a figure that was significantly boosted by their 13 tries last week against Boland.


“We’re going to have to play out of our skins to win it,” said Coetzee.


“While it’s all good and well to concentrate on winning possession, as we did the last time we met, we need to be more clever and clinical when we have the ball.”


“We’re not going to achieve anything on Saturday if we play as conservatively as we did in August when they beat us at home.”

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