Lions seek playoffs momentum
Johan Ackermann (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - While the Golden Lions could still claim a spot in the Currie Cup semi-finals, victory alone over Griquas at Ellis Park on Saturday will not suffice, says coach Johan Ackermann.
The Johannesburg-based side currently occupy fourth place on the log, going into the last round of the round-robin phase, but need to shed their inconsistency, having won only three and drawn one of their nine matches.
“We want to get momentum for the semis if we do get ourselves into that position. There are still some things we're working on, where we want to see improvement regardless of the opposition,” Ackermann said.
“To play badly and get a win won’t really help us but if we play good rugby and get a win, that will give us confidence.”
Western Province and the Sharks have already booked their places in the semi-finals which leave the Free State Cheetahs, the Lions and the Blue Bulls to battle it out for the remaining two spots.
The Cheetahs are in third place - five points ahead of the fifth-placed weekend opponents, the Blue Bulls.
A bonus point would be good enough for the Cheetahs to advance to the next round. However, should they suffer a defeat, without a bonus point, and by eight points or more, and the Blue Bulls win the clash with a bonus point, they would fail to qualify for the semi-finals.
The Lions, meanwhile, would be guaranteed a berth if they manage to beat the Peacock Blues.
They come up against a battle-bruised Griquas team languishing at the foot of the log with a single victory to show for their efforts.
Griquas coach Pote Human rested some of his key players for this weekend’s clash to have them fresh for their promotion/relegation matches against the Pumas.
Ackermann said his team would nevertheless show Griquas the respect they deserved.
“We want to treat these guys like their full-strength team and we want to play to win,” he said.
Lions captain Derick Minnie said they would not leave anything to chance and the team needed a win to get a semi-final berth.
“It is important that we get the win but we won’t change what we are doing,” Minnie said.
“It won’t help us to do funny things now to get the victory... Griquas are always a dangerous team no matter where you play against them.”
15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Andries Coetzee, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie (captain), 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Substitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Bees Roux, 18 Lambert Groenewald, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Ross Cronjé 21 Lionel Cronjé, 22 Kobus de Kock
15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 Jonathan Francke, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Du Randt Gerber, 9 Jacques Coetzee, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Jaco Nepgen, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Rory Arnold, 4 Ligtoring Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse (captain), 2 Matt Dobson, 1 Janro van Niekerk.
Substitutes: 16 Simon Westraadt, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Dalton Davis, 19 Patrick O'Brien, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 JP Nel, 22 Logan Basson