Lying fourth on the Currie Cup table with just a single round left to play, you’d fancy that the fairytale season that has so far managed to remain just out of the grasp of the Griquas team for the last three or four years may just become a reality this year. The Lions, though, look set to end that dream, in so doing gaining a measure of revenge for the way in which the men from Kimberley have dented their own championship aspirations.
The Johannesburg side have responded to their exclusion from next year’s Super Rugby competition in the best possible way, by decimating virtually all opposition they’ve faced in the Currie Cup. They’ve only lost three times in nine starts, but two of those losses have come against Griquas, with the Kimberley boys the only team to beat the Lions in Johannesburg this year. They then repeated the feat last week in the Diamond City, in so doing knocking the Lions off top spot and allowing the Sharks to sneak in.
Looking at how congested the bottom half of the log is, though, the Griquas team will know that they could just as easily finish last as they could claim a semi-final berth, with few giving them much hope against the Sharks in Durban on Friday night. Realistically, they’ll probably be hoping to get a point or two out of that game, and then put their faith in both Western Province and the Lions winning their respective home games, which should keep both the Cheetahs and Blue Bulls from leapfrogging Griquas into fourth spot.
The Lions look set to throw a real spanner into those works, though; coach Johan Ackermann seems to have all-but conceded top spot to the Sharks and may opt to field a weakened side against the Bulls this weekend in the interests of keeping his side fresh for the upcoming semi-final, probably against a Bok-laden Western Province team. Should the Bulls pick up a good enough win in Johannesburg against a Lions side that may not be trying all that hard, they could easily jump into fourth spot and set up a repeat of the 2010 semi-final, against the Sharks in Durban.Tweet