If we really want to be honest then we will admit that the Lions have been limping these last couple of weeks.
The Sharks have now for two weeks in a row unsettled the Lions team firstly in Durban and then again this weekend in Johannesburg. If the players and coaches are brutally honest they will admit that they have drop in form and it is not what the doctor ordered for the play-offs.
They have the luxury this year to get a home final and all they have to do is beat the defending champions the Hurricanes this weekend at Emirates Airline Park.
In recent weeks the Lions have lost one of the most important person in their setup, Warren Whiteley. Whiteley has been ruled out of the Super Rugby as he recovers to lead the Springboks next month in the Rugby Championship.
If their was any doubt how much Whiteley leadership means to the team, we just need to look at the turnaround the Springboks made this year with him as their leader. We saw this kind of leadership back in the days of Francois Pienaar, Gary Teichmann and John Smith. Teams do well when they have inspirational leaders and Whiteley is surely one of those.
The last few games from the Lions felt a bit panicking which is natural in these types of game but there was not enough leadership. Take nothing away from Jaco Kriel who has led the Lions before in Whiteley absence but on Saturday we could see that Whiteley leadership was missed.
This does not make Kriel suddenly a bad player, it rather show us just how great a leader Whiteley is to this team and surely to the Springboks as well.
A great leader steps up when the chips starts falling against you. The Lions have a great group of leaders and experience in their team and they will have to make a collective effort this weekend against the Hurricanes from all the senior players to take a leadership role and help Kriel.
It has been said before….in all honesty, in any successful team all of it’s players are leaders in their own way.