Lions need to tame Hur­ri­canes

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Sport -

SOUTH Africa’s Golden Lions must over­come de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Welling­ton Hur­ri­canes to­mor­row if they are to host this year’s Su­per Rugby de­cider in their first meet­ing with New Zealand op­po­si­tion this sea­son.

The Lions will stay in Jo­han­nes­burg if they win a re­match of last year’s Welling­ton fi­nal and take on ei­ther the Can­ter­bury Cru­saders or fel­low New Zealan­ders Waikato Chiefs.

The Cru­saders, bid­ding for a record eight Su­per Rugby ti­tles, have home ad­van­tage in to­mor­row’s other semi-fi­nal in Christchurch.

The Lions, un­der out­go­ing coach Jo­han Ack­er­mann, have won 15 of their 16 games and fin­ished on top of this sea­son’s stand­ings to claim home ground ad­van­tage at El­lis Park should they win through to the fi­nal.

It would be only the fourth time a Su­per Rugby fi­nal has been staged in South Africa since 1996.

But the Hur­ri­canes, ex­pected to be strength­ened by the re­turn of dy­namic All Blacks hooker Dane Coles, will be a tough nut to crack.

Welling­ton were the last team to beat the Lions at home in Su­per Rugby, a spank­ing 50-17 win on April 30 last year.

“The Hur­ri­canes are a team that play in your face,” said Ack­er­mann.

“They like to put teams un­der pres­sure and they did that to us last year, so hope­fully we’ll han­dle that pres­sure bet­ter this time.”

Coles, widely re­garded as the best hooker in the game, re­turned to ac­tion for the ‘Canes in their quar­ter­fi­nal win against the Brumbies in Canberra last weekend com­ing off the bench.

He is ex­pected to start in Jo­han­nes­burg for the first time since March.

A key match-up will be be­tween the fly-halves, with the Hur­ri­canes play­maker Beau­den Bar­rett up against Elton Jan­t­jes for the Lions.

“Elton has been con­sis­tently good this sea­son. He just had a bad game last weekend (against the Sharks), which hap­pens to all 10s,” Hur­ri­canes as­sis­tant John Plumtree said. – AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.