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Semi Final Preview – Lions v Hurricanes

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I am sure Lions supporters will not survive another close call this weekend but I will suggest you go and see your doctor before Saturday and get something to calm the nerves as this will be another close one.

It is a repeat of last years final only difference is that they will be playing this time at Emirates Airline Park and not in Wellington.

The Lions have done the work to get the top spot and secure home play-offs matches and need just one more win to get that all important home final.

It will take everything they have and a bit more to overcome the Hurricanes who is looking to have peaked at the right time yet again.

They are the only side (beside the British & Irish Lions) who could beat the Crusaders this year and they have also been boosted with some players back in their team for Saturday.

Dane Coles is back at hooker and will run out for the 100th time for them in Super Rugby and at the backs they have the brilliant Vince Aso back in the midfield.

When you look at the Hurricanes team you see all class from number one to number 23 but if their is one team that can beat them then it is Ackermann Lions.

The coach have kept faith in the same team now for three weeks and will be hoping that third time lucky as they have lost twice last year home and away against the Hurricanes but this is the one that matter now.

Ackermann will be hoping that that Jantjies will get back in the game after a very poor performance last week as his play and decision making will be key in their quest for a victory.

Upfront it will be a huge battle and the Lions have not just the tight five to compete but to dominate as well.

Leadership looked absent last week so a big game is expected from Jaco Kriel.

Who ever comes out the winner will be worthy of a place in the final but all hopes are leaning for a Lions win and home final.

Prediction: At home the Lions must be favorites, but this is a very good Hurricanes team, for me unfortunately Hurricanes by 4 points.

Teams:

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.

Replacements: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sylvian Mahuza

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (c), 8 Brad Shields, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Mark Abbott, 3  Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben May.

Replacements: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Reed Prinsep, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 22 Otere Black, 23 Julian Savea.

 

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