Lions with one foot in semis
Cape Town - A bonus point victory for the Golden Lions over the Leopards could all but assure them a spot in the semi-finals of this year's Currie Cup.
The Lions currently stand on 37 log points, five ahead of the second placed Western Province, who have a tough encounter against the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld over the weekend. And if the statistics from the last few years are anything to go by, five points over the struggling Leopards in Potchefstroom should be enough for them to reach the last four.
According to the Beeld newspaper, if John Mitchell's charges manage that feat on Friday night, they will have amassed more points after 10 games than what they had after their 14 completed matches over the previous three seasons. In 2007 - the last year they made the Currie Cup final - they made the semi-finals with a combined total of 42 log points after their allotted 14 round-robin games.
42 log points were also enough in any of the last four seasons for team's to reach the knockout phases, which means - barring a major upset in Potchefstroom - the men from Johannesburg are all but assured of at least a semi-final spot in 2011.
However, despite their handy log position, coach Mitchell refuses to let his players get ahead of themselves, and insists they should stay focused on the immediate job at hand.
"That's the last thing on our minds mate," Mitchell told a reporter.
"There's still a lot of rugby that needs to be played. Leon Boshoff (Leopards coach) has worked wonders with the Leopards and they are suddenly very well conditioned. They hurt us when we showed a lack of respect for the ball when we played against them earlier (in the season)," said Mitchell.
15 Hoffmann Maritz, 14 Charl Weideman, 13 Hennie Skorbinski, 12 Joubert Engelbrecht (captain), 11 Vainon Willis, 10 Wesley Dunlop, 9 Whestley Moolman, 8 Spanner Pretorius, 7 MB Lusaseni, 6 Robert Kruger, 5 Roan van Heerden, 4 Brendon Snyman, 3 Stoof Bezuidenhout, 2 Gavin Williamson, 1 BG Uys
Substitutes: 16 Stoffel Duvenhage, 17 Dewald Coetzee, 18 Bêrend Botha, 19 Philip de Wet, 20 Johann Laker, 21 Clayton Durand, 22 George Tossel
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 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 Johan Snyman, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Warrem Whiteley, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Rudi Paige, 21 Burton Francis, 22 James Kamana