The Stormers should not expect any favours when they face the Lions in their Super 14 rugby match at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Hennie Brandt writes in Beeld that the Lions are certainly not going to “throw” the match to ensure a South African team will be involved in the playoffs. The Stormers will have to earn every point they need to reach their target.
“We want to finish the competition on a high by beating one of the top teams,” says Lions coach Eugene Eloff.
“It’s going to be a titanic battle. A lot of pride is at stake. We are going to do our best, because we owe it to ourselves, to our supporters and to our sponsors.
“It will by cowardice to throw the match. We must play to win because it’s about integrity.
“We’re certainly not going to lose to the Stormers on purpose. If they want to play in the semi-finals, they have to get there under their own steam.”
“I don’t think (Stormers coach) Rassie Erasmus and his players want anyone to do them any favours.
Ellis Park, where only 4 500 spectators watched the Lions break their long drought by beating the Chiefs 33-27 on Saturday, should be well populated this week.
Did the Sharks a huge favour
Cobus Grobler and his team proved they would not serve as a punch bag for the Stormers. At the same time, they virtually wrecked the Chiefs’ chances of reaching the semi-finals and did the Sharks a huge favour.
Discussing the team’s victory over the Chiefs, Eloff said the Lions had played well in all their matches, with the exception of the one against the Blues.
“Our strategy was good and, as they had done in other matches, every player was prepared to put his body on the line.
“For a change the ball bounced in our favour. We forced the Chiefs out of their rhythm and pattern by tackling them hard and low and by limiting their space. They were unable to get on the front foot.”
The Lions failed to take their opportunities to score more tries but Eloff felt it also proved they had made progress.
The turning point was when the Chiefs prop Ben May received a red card for putting the boot into Joe van Niekerk’s face.
Grobbelaar said that, despite the victory, the Lions had not achieved what they had been trying to do.
“We’re not where we want to be. This win is only a step towards where we want to be,” the captain said.
“The big difference was the patience the guys showed and the way they stuck to the game plan. We did what we had practised to do and we did not make so many mistakes.”Tweet