Lions remember 2014 Waratahs 'lesson'
Johannesburg - The Lions go into this Saturday's Super Rugby clash against the Waratahs as favourites, but they have seen enough of the Australian franchise in recent years to know that it won't be easy.
The Lions, runners-up in 2016, defeated the Waratahs in 27-22 in 2015 but the year before that they were well and truly outclassed in Sydney.
Eventual champions that year, the Waratahs scored five tries to just one from the Lions as they cruised to a resounding 41-13 victory.
Lions skipper Warren Whiteley remembers that game well.
"We met them in 2014 when they won Super Rugby and they taught us a rugby lesson there," he said in the build-up to this weekend's clash.
"It's always been a great physical battle against the Waratahs. They're a tough side with a lot of Wallabies. They're a team that we have a lot of respect for."
The Lions were far from their best in the first week of competition, scrapping for a 28-25 win in Bloemfontein against the Cheetahs.
But despite the performance being below par, Whiteley says the result will give his side a boost as they look to get their season going.
"We're a team that looks at performance and improving every week and we weren't happy with our performance last week. We'll be looking to up that this week," he said.
"I believe the character we showed and the maturity not to panic when we were about 10 points behind was fantastic to see. That comes with a lot of experience and it's great to see that. A couple of years back, we might have lost that game."
Saturday's match kicks off at 15:05.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Sylvian Mahuza, 23 Jaco van der Walt
15 Andrew Kellaway 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson
Substitutes: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 David Lolohea, 19 David McDuling, 20 Senio Toleafoa, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro