Lions to focus on own game
Johannesburg - Golden Lions coach John Mitchell says his team will only focus on what lies ahead of them in Saturday’s Currie Cup final against the Sharks at Coca-Cola Park.
Gallery Lions signing session for fans:
The side was surrounded by hype ahead of the weekend’s crucial match with hundreds of fans queuing for autographs from the players on Wednesday.
The Golden Lions Rugby Union (GLRU) confirmed that all 62 000 tickets for the final had sold out, the first time since the 2002 final between the Lions and the Blue Bulls that Coca-Cola Park would be at full capacity.
Mitchell announced an unchanged run-on team with only prop JC Janse van Rensburg possibly making a return from injury off the bench.
His availability to play will only be confirmed before kickoff said Mitchell.
"We got through our work and we are ready to go and obviously today (Wednesday) we wanted to connect with our community and fans."
Mitchell once again emphasised the importance of his side working as a unit which would be key in outwitting the Sharks.
The coach said after their semi-final victory over Western Province on Saturday, the tight five had laid the foundation for his team’s strong performance.
This weekend they will be up against a star-studded Sharks forwards pack which Mitchell identified as one of their strong points.
"The set piece accuracy is very critical and your ability to create pressure in that area," Mitchell said.
"The game hasn’t changed at all and you had an example of that over the weekend in the World Cup final. They are a very good side and very good forward pack with a heap of test players."
Mitchell emphasised, as he did the whole season, that they would not dwell too much on what the opposition will bring to the match and rather focus on what they needed to do to get the job done.
"We are just focusing on our own performance and clearly we have total confidence in our forward pack and team," Mitchell said.
"So yeah, we will just get on with our own game. Right at this moment you don’t change a lot - all our work is done - so we’ve just focused on being more accurate and bringing some of the attitude that is important at this time of the year."
Lions lock Wikus van Heerden, the only man who played in the 2002 final, said it was a welcome change to be rewarded for the hard work that they had put in.
"The great thing is that we are not a young group anymore; we went through a whole grooming process through Super 15 and in our second year of Currie Cup," he said.
"Butch (James) mentioned on the field today that we need to play the game only on Saturday and not get ahead of ourselves."
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 CJ Van der Linde
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse/JC Janse van Rensburg, 18 Warren Whiteley, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar/Jaco Kriel, 20 Butch James, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 James Kamana