Lions looking for Currie Cup revenge over Griquas

Currie Cup champions the Golden Lions are eager to avenge their early defeat to Griquas when they meet for the second time this season in a Currie Cup encounter in Kimberley on Saturday.

Griquas ran out 42-32 victors when the sides met at Ellis Park in August, and while the table toppers expected another challenge, Lions interim coach Johan Ackermann remained confident as they looked to book themselves a home semi-final this weekend.

“They were the better side in round one in Johannesburg,” Ackermann said ahead of the clash.

“They played an attacking brand of rugby that we just couldn’t counter.

“Now they’re also fighting for survival, which makes them even more dangerous, but we’ve come a long way since that slump and I believe the guys have learned from it.”

Griquas coach Pote Human said his side would need to dominate in the scrums if they were to cause another upset in an effort to draw themselves clear of the relegation zone.

“We have a lot of respect for the Lions’ scrums,” Human said.

“We believe they are the strongest scrum outfit in the entire competition.

“They will be a huge test up front and we need to be at our best if we are to counter them.”

Later on Saturday, in Bloemfontein, the Free State Cheetahs will look to keep their semi-final hopes alive against a Sharks outfit that are aiming to book themselves a place in the semi-finals.

“We know that we’ve struggled in Bloemfontein in the past so we’re not pitching with the idea that it’s all going to go our way,” said Sharks assistant coach Hugh Reece-Edwards.

“We know the Cheetahs want to remain in the race for the semi-finals and therefore they will be at their best.

“But we’ve also learnt how to obtain a winning result there in recent times, so we are positive.”

In their previous encounter, in Durban last month, the Cheetahs looked set to beat the hosts after holding a 16-point lead going into the final quarter of the match, but they allowed the Sharks back into the game and eventually lost 34-32.

Their inability to play the full 80 minutes has haunted the Bloemfontein-based side, but they showed last week in a 35-20 victory over Griquas that they could maintain their composure to the end.

“We are still very much in the race to play in the semi-finals, but we need good results against the Sharks this weekend and Western Province next week if want to keep our hopes alive,” said Cheetahs captain Robert Ebersohn.

“We did well to gain momentum against Griquas last week, but the Sharks pose a new threat and we will have to give nothing less than our best if we are to beat them.”

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