JOHANNESBURG – The Golden Lions conditioning, with a dollop of luck, has remained intact one other week, because the group introduced that there have been no damage considerations.
The Johannesburg-outfit face the Blue Bulls tomorrow of their final common season encounter. Right here we have a look at what they might want to do if they’ve any inkling of securing a house semi-final.
1 Get again these returns …
Make no mistake, Marvin Orie has been one of many gamers of the season, not just for the Lions, however within the Currie Cup. The Lions lock has labored tirelessly on defence and within the melee of the contact level, whereas his marshalling of the line-outs has been very good.
Towards the Pumas, nonetheless, the usually dependable service from that exact set-piece broke down, the Lions shedding 4 of their very own throw-ins.
They nonetheless snaffled a pair themselves, however additionally they fluffed good attacking positions because of the stress the Pumas the place placing them beneath. The Lions have a fantastic line-out, so that you’d anticipate it to simply return to these excessive requirements in opposition to the Bulls, and it should if the Joburgers even desire a sniff at victory …
2. As a result of, the scrum …
The final encounter between the 2 sides, in October, noticed the Bulls bully the Lions at scrum time, particularly throughout the first half. The Lions scrum has arguably come leaps and bounds since then, however tomorrow’s battle up-front could be nothing lower than seismic.
Once more, in opposition to the Pumas, the Lions did not impose themselves once they packed down, even coming beneath stress, and being penalised at occasions – an enormous shock, to make sure. That can’t occur in opposition to the Bulls, who use the scrum to intimidate and stifle their opposition at each alternative.
3 Belief in your endurance …
The Lions had been responsible on Saturday of speculating on 50/50 performs that resulted in a knock-on right here, a ahead cross there. When it did break open for them, they had been chic – with particular reference to
Tiaan Swanepoel’s second attempt – however they typically felt rushed of their assault, little question because of the Pumas’ brilliantly disruptive recreation plan and execution thereof.
It’s simple, with hindsight, to decree that they need to have in all probability first floor the Pumas into mud earlier than taking part in the expansive stuff, however then in current reminiscence the Lions have by no means died questioning.
They must be a lot tighter in opposition to the Bulls, and defend their breakdowns with extra intent, but additionally conscious that they’ve a backline that may explode at any second. Hanging a wholesome stability between the 2 types nonetheless alludes the Joburgers – there have been glimpses – and if they will nail it down in opposition to the Bulls, oh boy, that may be magnificent.
4 These are the numbers …
If the Lions have any hope of internet hosting a semi-final subsequent weekend, then make no shakes about it, Elton Jantjies and Co must beat the Bulls at Loftus. Many have argued that home-ground benefit counts for little this season, however the Pretoria-based aspect has not misplaced at Loftus for the reason that begin of home rugby in October. They’ve additionally not performed since their loss to the Sharks in Durban on December 12.
Maybe that will likely be to the Lions’ benefit.
The Lions should additionally hope that the Sharks beat the Western Province at Newlands on Saturday, with no bonus level, or see that match finish in a draw after which depend on their superior factors distinction to guide a house semi.