Lions still hoping for a win

2012-06-01 14:20

Johannesburg - Lions coach John Mitchell this week almost seemed to have resigned himself to his side's fate at the bottom of this year's Super Rugby competition.

Mitchell, however, has not changed his tune since the start of this season believing that the Lions' fortune depended on how they used their opportunities.

"The Sharks will be blunt, I guess it is up to us to deny them access into the game," Mitchell said.

"So I guess it will come down to how long we are prepared to remain in an arm wrestle and maximise what we have. If we do that then we will present ourselves with an opportunity."

The ill-fated Lions may feel like life had a bone to pick with them as they face a resurgent Sharks team in Johannesburg on Saturday, fresh off a disastrous tour of Australasia.

"They (The Sharks) are playing good rugby, they look like they're a side back to the sort of fluent rugby they played back in 2010. I think Plum (Sharks coach John Plumtree) has done a bloody good job with them," said Mitchell.

"They've sort of started off slowly but they've good fluency in their game and they're a very coherent team they actually had very little change to be fair."

After a sequence of lacklustre performances, the Sharks have emerged as one of the better oiled machines in the competition. The coastal side racked up four convincing victories over quality sides on the trot.

While Mitchell had to contend with a flurry of injuries and the possibility of relegation at the end of the season hanging over his side, Plumtree had the advantage of continuity in selection.

Plumtree made only one change to the side that beat the top-of-the-table Stormers last week, whereas Mitchell made four changes to his team for the local derby.

"Bringing back Beast (Mtawarira) but Steven Sykes has certainly brought the necessary presence that's maybe been missing in the forward pack," said Mitchell.

"They are very aggressive and hungry because they're within a sniff of playoffs so they are a dangerous animal."

With only one victory to their name so far this season, the Lions' character will truly be tested when they go up against a Sharks team gunning for a spot in the playoffs.

"I think the quality of their backs is probably superior in finishing than us right now in the competition which clearly the statistics will support that," the Lions mentor said.

"They are no different to where they have been before they're just more coherent and that they look hungry and that is always a dangerous Sharks side."

Plumtree empathised with his fellow countryman and the difficulties the Lions faced in the competition.

"The Lions have had a tough season and they've had a lot of off-field distraction which hasn't helped them. They've suffered a lot of injuries and it's hard enough to do well with a fit squad in this competition," said Plumtree.

"But we're expecting them to come into this game with a lot of passion. We know that spending time on tour together builds a lot of team spirit. No-one really put them away on tour, there were no real hammerings. We have to go up there with the right amount of respect."


  • Harold - 2012-06-01 14:39

    It's best you take the rest of this competition to prepare for the Currie cup.

      Jahendel - 2012-06-01 15:40

      @Harold Ur not a sight for sore eyes...u got bad sight because of sore eyes

      Harold - 2012-06-01 16:07

      Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Idiot.

      bloudaan.blou - 2012-06-01 18:26

      @Harold Ek dink nie eers daar is n CCup vooruisig vir die Lions nie. Dis hartseer maar waar.

      Harold - 2012-06-01 18:32

      In agree Daan, but at least they can still play in it.

  • Jahendel - 2012-06-01 15:29

    ...and i'm hoping for a Ferrari this birthday

  • michael.kleber.376 - 2012-06-01 16:43

    And i am hoping to win the lotto even though i don't buy lotto tickets , still think i have more chance of winning the lotto though ,

      Sean - 2012-06-02 18:03

      presume you're still sticking to this comment?

      Sean - 2012-06-02 18:54

      :D tosser!!!

  • Tokolos - 2012-06-01 16:45

    Give them hell Lions.... You have nothing to lose and a lot of self respect to restore!!!

      cavin.snyman - 2012-06-02 08:10

      Wishfull thinking. Can't wait for the big clash!! See ya at the top of the conference :))

  • cavin.snyman - 2012-06-01 17:33

    Just stick to the game plan and the Sharks will be one step closer to a Super 15 cup. Top teams are starting to feel the pressure the Sharks are putting on this competition. I do hope this another 5 pointer. As for the other derby, the Bulls are sitting with the upper hand and should take the game. So by the end of the weekend the points should be standing like this: Bulls 52 - Stormers 50 - Sharks 50. What an unexpected turn of events. SHARKS forever!!!!

      Tokolos - 2012-06-01 17:38

      How about this one.... BULLS 53 STOMPIES 50 SHARKS 45 LIONS 19 That would be fun won't it?

      paul.sdoow - 2012-06-01 18:30

      or realistically stormers54 sharks50 and bulls49

      Cavin - 2012-06-01 22:51

      Unfortunately it would only come true in a fantasy world Tokkie. Sharks are starting to heat up this competition. Whether you love or hate them it is the truth. Makes for and interresting end of season does it not? Now that is fun :))

      Tokolos - 2012-06-02 01:57

      Cavin......"Sharks are starting to heat up this competition" The Sharks have always blown hot and cold in derbies my friend, especially against the Lions. How many games between the Lions and the Sharks could you have predicted correct in the past with accuracy? In the CC last year you guys thrashed the Lion in Durban without your Springboks. I think 3 or 4 weeks later you guys rocked up with a star studded team just to come and collect what you thought was yours.... big surprise hey!!! Don't get me wrong. The Sharks look good and they are sitting pretty on the log, but NEVER underestimate the Lions!

      Cavin - 2012-06-02 02:46

      Yes I know the past and that is just it, the past. I do not live in the past as it is done and dusted and that I cannot change. I have the utmost faith in my team to pull it through this year. Gonna be interresting to see where our teams sit when it comes to the big crunch at Kings Park. Hopefully no injuries on either side. SHARKS forever!!!

      cavin.snyman - 2012-06-02 08:07

      Only the fearfull Bull supporters giving me a thumbs down on hoping that the Sharks and Bulls are at full strength when they meet next month :p

      Sean - 2012-06-02 13:51

      @Cavin, that game at Kings Park could be very interesting. I saw the Crusaders play yesterday and they looked really good. There may very well be more benefit in ending sixth rather than 4/5 in the overall log. I believe the Chiefs will hold on [just] to the top spot, and the Crusaders will take the other 4/5 spot. So 'throwing' the game by the Bulls or Sharks, depending who it would benefit would mean they end 6th. This sets up a quarter final against the Brumbies, followed by a semi against the Chiefs. Two weeks in a row with limited travel between games. The team playing the 4/5 spot may have to travel to Auckland. If they win that they travel back to SA. If they win that they may get rewarded with a home final if the 6th spot beats the Chiefs! In NZ all three top sides are playing each other. In SA all three top sides have to play the bottom two. These are the dangerous games, as they may be a little complacent. As a Lions fan I'm hoping we play really well today, but I'll be content with a Sharks win by two. Cheers

      Tokolos - 2012-06-02 18:53

      What did the Tokolos tell you CAVIN.... Sharks blow hot and cold my friend. Sorry Sharks... well done Lions!!!

      pat.schutte1 - 2012-06-03 11:01

      @Cavin.snyman WHAT do you say now???

      pat.schutte1 - 2012-06-03 11:02

      @ Cavin.snyman!! WHAT do you say now???

  • Hans - 2012-06-01 22:50

    yip, they are going to be blunt - like a blunt object, ever been hit by one? or perhaps blunt like the nose of a tiger shark, ever seen it shredding it's prey? quite scary stuff. a battle is sometimes won or lost before it began.

      boltonbarry - 2012-06-03 10:28

      I guess that blunt object you were referring to is the table you are hitting your head on this morning :-)

      pat.schutte1 - 2012-06-03 11:05

      Hahahaha!!! WHAT do you say now? NEVER underestimate ANY team in THIS competition. The competition is FAR from OVER!!!!!

  • lourensv1 - 2012-06-02 07:58

    HAHAHAHA! Loosers!!!! Ek het gewag dat die wiel draai vir die klomp unhopefulls!!! Doppies en Kie is die slegste loosers en wenners(as hulle wen) EVER!!!! Sien julle in die CC maar nie weer in die S15 nie!!! BAAI!!!!!

      Sean - 2012-06-02 18:53

      way to go Lourens, how many chickens did you manage to count???

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