The Waratahs have a perfect win-lose-win-lose record since February – with a couple of byes thrown in for good measure. Based on that form they should lose this week, except that they have a 100 percent home record.
The Lions, who haven’t registered a ‘W” since their fourth win back in March, will have to produce their best performance of the season if they are going to end their five-match losing streak.
As a franchise, ever since the split of the Cats after the 2005 season, the Lions have never beaten the Waratahs – in South Africa or abroad. If the Lions do have an edge over the home team it will be in the scrums, where they have beaten allcomers this year and will be able to put the home team under pressure.
Despite their unbeaten home run this season and the Lions’ recent slump, Waratahs coach Michael Cheika believes it won’t be a walk in the park against a side that came within a point of beating the Highlanders – only to be denied by a direful refereeing error.
2011: Waratahs won 29-12, Sydney
2010: Waratahs won 73-12, Sydney
2009: Waratahs won 38-33, Johannesburg
2008: Waratahs won 26-3, Sydney
2007: Waratahs won 25-16, Johannesburg
2006: Waratahs won 50-3, Sydney
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Matt Carraro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Dave Dennis (captain), 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Stephen Hoiles, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Alofa Alofa, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro.
Lions: 15 Courtnall Skosan, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 JW Jonker, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Rudi Matthee, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Chrysander Botha.
Referee: Nick Briant (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Andrew Lees (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)