The Lions will have some confidence going into this weekend match against the Hurricanes but will have to still improve a hell of a lot to beat the New Zealanders.
The Hurricanes came away with the win last week against the Sharks but have to face a Lions side that looks much better than what we have seen for most part of the season.
Lions coach De Bruin has showed faith in his side after last week win against the Stormers and named an unchanged side for this weeks clash.
Jantjies who was dropped last week will return to the side on the bench which means Shaun Reynolds keeps his place in the starting XV.
With Jantjies coming in, Hacjivah Dayimani will loose out this week.
The Hurricanes have their star halfback combination in Perenara and Beauden Barrett playing the 100th time together in Saturday. They first game as halfback combination was in 2012
For the starting XV, Plumtree made five changes from the side that beat the Sharks.
Proctor and Goosen are back after they recovered from their injuries. Jordie Barrett have moved to the midfield with Taitia starting on the wing.
Ben lam will move to the right wing with Marshall taking up the fullback spot for this weekend.
A win for the Lions is so important with so many teams still in it to take that wild card spot. A loss in the last two rounds may just give another team the gab to steal a spot.
The Lions pack has shown great improvement and it will definitely be an area where they will want to come hard at the Hurricanes.
The worry is that the Lions can not make the game to loose, as it will play in the Hurricanes hands. With both sides having the ability to counter attack and use their backline, it may all come down who has the better defence.
The bench will play a major roll specially for the Hurricanes playing at altitude. With guys like Coles and Savea on the bench Plumtree has the perfect backup to send on in the second half.
This is going to be a greta game of rugby and if the Lions can produce the same intensity as last week they have a great opportunity to beat the second best side in New Zealand.
Some Interesting Facts (OPTA)
- The Hurricanes have won nine of their last 10 matches against the Lions (L1), their only loss in that time coming in the 2017 Super Rugby Semi-Final (29-44).
- The Lions have won 10 of their last 12 Super Rugby games on home turf, including their last three on the bounce.
- The Hurricanes have won their last four away games on the bounce in Super Rugby; the last time they won more was a six-game streak in their first six away games of 2015.
- The Lions are one of only two teams (Rebels) with a success rate of 90% or greater at both the lineout (90%) and scrum (93%) this Super Rugby campaign.
- Ardie Savea (Hurricanes) won a round-high six turnovers in Round 16 to take his season tally to 22, the most of any player thus far in Super Rugby 2019.
Prediction: This one is 50/50 for me, if the Lions pitch up and build on last weeks game they will take this but if they don’t the Hurricanes will punish them. I go with performances this year, Hurricanes by 8
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Carlü Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (captain), 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Tyrone Green
Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Ben Lam, 13 Jordie Barrett, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Chase Tiatia, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara (captain), 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Isaia Walker-Leawere, 4 James Blackwell, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith
Replacements: 16 Dane Coles, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Liam Mitchell, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 23 Salesi Rayasi