Lions coach Eugene Eloff has ‘levelled’ the playing by telling his players that they can’t rely on home ground advantage, the elements or the referee to help them in their Currie Cup crunch match in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Eloff, speaking to rugby365.com’s Jan de Koning after his team’s workout at their home base on Monday, acknowledged that they will face a Sharks team “on a mission”.
“We know that the Sharks will be determent to secure a home Final [by finishing top of the standings], they will be on a mission,” he said, adding that his players are up for the challenge.
“The [Lions] players are motivated, you could see [in training] that the mindset is right.
“We will take the game to them and we will focus on executing our game plan accurately,” Eloff added.
The Lions have escaped any serious injury, following their torturous 31-10 bonus-point win over the Boland Cavaliers at the Wellington cabbage patch at the weekend.
Wellington’s Boland Stadium pitch was so waterlogged that referee Phillip Bosch considered calling off the match, with the curtain raisers being cancelled.
But Eloff was happy to report nothing more than the “usual bumps and bruises” from the match which saw the Lions cement their third place on the standings.
That makes it easier for the Lions coach to approach the Sharks game with a “settled” squad at home.
But, according to Eloff, home ground won’t be an advantage.
“It is nice to play at home,” he said, adding: “But we are well aware that the field won’t win the game, or the wind, or the referee … or whatever.
“The players will have to go out there and play the game.”
Speaking of the need to focus on the basics and ensure they executive those clinically, Eloff also said there are no real weaknesses in the Sharks team.
“They [the Sharks] are a total team. They have a well-drilled pack and they can carry the ball in hand … they are well balanced,” he said, adding that the game won’t be won or lost by any individual players, but that it will take a team effort.
“We do know who their key players are, but we’ll focus on our own game,” he said.
Eloff also spoke of his team’s mission for their final two weeks of league action – against the Sharks this week and Western Province in Round 14.
“We have worked hard to get to where we are on the standings [third]. We cannot and will not give it away,” he said.Tweet