With plenty of precipitation predicted between now and Saturday, not to mention a possible downpour on matchday, the Lions are geared for another mud bath when they face the Boland Cavaliers in a crucial Currie Cup fixture.
The Boland Stadium in Wellington, with its poor drainage that results in the playing surface resembling a cabbage patch and a very wet one at that, often turns the game into a lottery for visiting teams.
Jan De Koning of Rugby 365 writes that they call it the great leveller and with victory being the Lions’ only option if they want to retain their lofty third place on the tournament standings, they have to ensure they don’t get bogged down by the conditions.
The astute Lions coach, Eugene Eloff, already has his game plan sorted out.
“We have to be more clinical,” Eloff told rugby365.com, when asked how his team will beat the combined might of the weather and the Cavaliers.
“[Last] Saturday [in the 41-20 win over Griquas] I was not happy with the clinical qualities of our game, especially when the game opened up,” the coach added.
He said his team simply can’t afford to give away easy points as they did against Griquas, which saw the men from Kimberley score two soft tries to narrow the gap from 34-6 to 34-20 – before a late try sealed the win for the Lions.
In Wellington, this coming Saturday, the Lions will need to ensure they take every single opportunity and shut the opposition down with ruthless efficiency.
While the Lions have an outside chance of hosting a home semifinal, depending on the results of the last three weeks of league action, their main priority will be to secure a top-four finish.
And having to face the Cavaliers, Sharks and Western Province in the last three rounds, it is indeed a tall order.
However, Eloff was adamant that his team is focussed on this week’s game and that they are not going to look at any possible tournament scenarios, as they then run the risk of being distracted.
“The tournament still has a long way to run,” Eloff said when asked about his team’s tournament goals.
“The guys have worked really hard to get where we are [third place on the standings], and, yes, we must focus on not conceding that place.
“From that point we approach every game in a very serious light, regardless of who we play,” he said, adding that they are fully aware of the tough road ahead.
“We play Boland away, we play the Sharks at home and we play Western Province away, but we are not looking ahead or thinking about the Sharks and Western Province at this stage. We are totally focussed on our away game against Boland.”
He also dismissed the notion that the Lions’ main aim would be to secure a bonus point to cement their place on the standings.
“My philosophy is firstly that we must control the game and once we control the game we can start looking at a win, and only once we have the win in the bag, do we start looking at a bonus points,” Eloff said.Tweet