Johannesburg - Golden Lions captain Jaco Kriel will use the
disappointment of last year’s Currie Cup final defeat as motivation to give his
all in Saturday’s semi-final against the Free State Cheetahs at Ellis Park
The Lions came painstakingly close to lifting the trophy in
2014 only to see Western Province claim the title with a 19-16 victory.
“That is a feeling I wanted to forget as quickly as possible,
that is behind me and what I am thinking about is what I can do for the team to
ensure they don’t experience that disappointment,” Kriel said.
The Johannesburg side have been in a class of their own this
season by ending the round-robin phase unbeaten with 10 out of 10 victories.
Kriel said the biggest challenge in the build-up had been to
channel the excitement and keep the troops calm as they go into their fourth
“We can just stick to our structures in a team environment, we
are trying to keep it calm and although there is a lot of excitement it is
important to stay calm,” he said.
“We know the 10 victories means nothing in the semi-final
and it is a new experience for some of the guys in the team and that is where
the senior guys need to make the step-up and help out.”
The Lions could become the first team in nearly two decades
to go unbeaten in a season should they go on to win the title for the first
time since 2011.
The Sharks were the last team to finish the Currie Cup
without a single defeat when they claimed the 1996 title with 15 victories from
as many matches.
However, Lions coach Johan Ackermann would not entertain the
idea of the perfect Currie Cup season but instead focussed all his attention on
the upcoming match against the Cheetahs.
“This is the time where we have to focus on this match as
much as we can and give it the best shot we can,” Ackermann said.
“We are grateful to get the 10 out of 10 but it is not
something we are chasing, and it is not something we put up on a wall to
motivate the players to get 12 out of 12. Playoffs are a once off and you need
to perform in that game.”
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12
Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Arno
Botha, 7 Lappies Labuschagne (captain), 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4
Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Corniel Els, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 RG Snyman,
19 Jason Jenkins, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Louis Fouché, 22 William Small-Smith
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Dillyn Leyds, 13. Johnny Kotze, 12.
Juan de Jongh (captain), 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Robert du Preez, 9. Nic
Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6. Rynhardt Elstadt, 5. Ruan
Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Wilco Louw, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 1. Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16. Michael Willemse, 17. Oli Kebble, 18. Chris
van Zyl, 19. Jurie van Vuuren, 20. Jano Vermaak, 21. Kurt Coleman, 22. Huw