Title favourites Lions will be looking for bragging rights over WP
FINALLY a game in the Currie Cup to get the fans excited!
Today’s showdown between the Golden Lions and the visitors from the Cape, Western Province, at Ellis Park (3pm kick-off) is the first real blockbuster of the competition, pitting two attacking teams against each other, with unbeaten records on the line.
The Lions go into the clash with a three-from-three record, having already got the better of Griquas, Blue Bulls and Free State Cheetahs, while WP are two-from-two after registering big wins against the Cheetahs and Pumas.
It has been somewhat surprising to learn that quite a few men in the know in local rugby have installed John Dobson’s team as the favourites to go all the way this year, with Cheetahs boss Daan Human calling them the team to beat, while Victor Matfield said WP played a style of rugby closest to that dished up week in and week out by the All Blacks.
The Lions would wholeheartedly disagree. It is they, after all, who have mastered the attacking game in South Africa by using the full width of the field and not showing any fear in playing from all parts and at any time.
Either way, today’s match should be a cracker and give a good indication of which team will be the one to beat.
Both teams are high on confidence; the Lions after demolishing the Cheetahs last week, the Province boys after going to Nelspruit and showing up the until-then highly-rated Pumas.
In what should be good conditions, expect a high-speed game, with plenty of flowing, attacking rugby.
The Lions are back to what can be classified as their first choice team with Andries Coetzee back after a week off, but it has been those on his inside – Lionel Mapoe, Howard Mnisi and Shaun Reynolds – who have been the danger-men up to now, creating all the opportunities for the outside players, like try-hungry Sylvian Mahuza.
Province will also do well to keep a close watch on Hacjivah Dayimani, whose showdown with the equally talented Juarno Augustus should be a highlight of the match.
Exciting backline players SP Marais, Ruhan Nel, Sergeal Petersen and Dillyn Leyds are also sure to keep the Lions’ defence guessing.