Home Emirates Lions Lions must use home ground advantage

Lions must use home ground advantage

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - MARCH 17: Swys de Bruin Lions coach during the Super Rugby match between Emirates Lions and Sunwolves at Emirates Airline Park on March 17, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images)

It is as if we hit the repeat button again this year with the Lions side the only survivors of another dismal season in Super Rugby for South African teams.

Behind them the Sharks sneaked in at number 8 on the log but was dealt with by the Crusaders last week.

The Stormers and Bulls ended 11th and 12th on the overall log with six wins each this season.

The return of Marx and Whiteley has come at the right time for the Lions and they look like a more complete side now than before the June internationals.

Finishing second on the overall log also mean they have home ground advantage for both their playoff matches which will come into play when they face the Waratahs side this weekend.

The Lions most properly have the best scrum in the competitions with the Crusaders and they have played their best rugby with their pack dominating not just the set pieces but also the breakdowns.

Here Marx and Brink has been absolutely brilliant and they will need to be on par again this weekend.

The Lions may still even host the final again this year if the Crusaders stumble against the Hurricanes this weekend.

If the Crusaders and Lions win the final will then be in New Zealand and if by some odd reason the Lions and Crusaders loose both this weekend the final will then be in Sydney.

It more likely that it will either be a Crusaders v Lions or Crusaders v Waratahs final but anything can happen.

The Lions have no excuse to put away the Waratahs but they will be careful to underestimate the Aussies.

Last week was one of those great fight backs by the Waratahs although the yellow card helped them.

The Waratahs have quality Wallabies in their squad and when they are on song they can be devastated.

Luckily it is all up to the Lions to get the win and with home ground advantage they should have the better of this Waratahs side.

Even coach De Bruin knows how much value home ground advantage mean for his team

It’s enormous to play at home. Your chance of winning increases significantly,” De Bruin admitted in an interview with Netwerk24.

The Lions mentor added that they’ll be fully behind the Hurricanes on Saturday as it would give them the opportunity to host the final at Ellis Park.

Maybe I should send Boydie (Chris Boyd, Hurricanes coach) a message of encouragement to go and beat the Crusaders in Christchurch. The two of us worked together at the Sharks academy and I know him well.”

De Bruin said a Hurricanes victory would be extra motivation for them when they step on to the field against the Waratahs.

“Damn, it would be nice for that to happen,” De Bruin said.

 

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Yip Tahs normally have the strongest Ozzie pack. Like the Bulls of old. Should be an interesting scrum battle. Lions small pack but best technique. Very well coached team.

  2. The Lions must not kick on that huge back three and keep the Tahs on the back-foot at pace without letting the ball get to Beale too.

  3. I honestly hope the Lions don’t win, those extra 2 weeks will be invaluable in resting and preparing for the RC with Rassie.

    I block of ice has a bigger chance of staying frozen in hell than the Lions have of winning in NZ anyway, it’ll be a total waste of a trip down under with travel fatigue, and the risk of injuries to key Springboks Whitely, Marx, Dyantyi, Mostert, Jantjies.

  4. Also true, no point in traveling for that game. Only chance is if canes beat crusaders

  5. Waratahs not a team of rockstars (except for Falau) but collectively they are not to be underestimated. Back in May they came within 2 points of upsetting the Crusaders in Christchurch. As Bryce said, don’t let Jantjies kick possession away down to Falau. he is deadly in the air and on counterattack. I would prefer to see the ball being played back to the forwards and attack them up the middle with Marx leading the charge.

  6. Lions should hold the superiority in the setpieces especially the lineouts where the Tahs were dismal against the Highlanders. Foley is probably out of range as he stands so deep from the setpieces but a big hit on Beale early on the game should keep him quiet. On the topic of quiet, Lions need to be advised not to get riled by the constant japping from Phipps. Who is reffing the game – wish it was Nigel Owens. He would shut the little fox terrier up.

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