The derby clash between the Lions and Blue Bulls on Saturday could make or break both teams’ Absa Currie Cup campaigns.
Far from deciding who will or won’t make it to the semi-finals the outcome will decide who takes the high road and who takes the low.
The Lions suffered a loss in their first match against the Sharks in Durban and failed to secure what could become a vital second bonus point. The Bulls meanwhile were pushed all the way before eventually holding out against the impressive Valke outfit.
The Bulls are among the favourites for the title, while the Lions are the dark horses at best. Despite this coach Eugene Eloff is adamant his team can win at Ellis Park on Saturday.
“I have no doubt it is possible. We have been training very well this week. I can see the team also believes we can win,” Eloff told keo.co.za. “I would admit that the Bulls along with the Cheetahs and Sharks are favourites, but there is no reason that if we play like we have practiced we can’t get a win.”
Since Eloff took over from Frans Ludeke, changes have been made. The team no longer trains all week at Joburg Stadium and instead enjoys the more comfortable surrounds of Mark’s Park. “I just had to get the guys out of the city and I can already see the lift it has given them.”
Eloff said the Lions were not too worried about what the Bulls will do as their recipe for success is well documented. “We are just focussing on ourselves. The proof must come in the pudding. We can’t keep talking, we need to win,” he said.
And Saturday seems like a good place to start – against a team they thumped 46-17 at the same venue last year.
Recent Absa Currie Cup results between the two teams (home team listed first):
Lions 46 Blue Bulls 17
Blue Bulls 31 Lions 23 (semi-final)
Lions 36 Blue Bulls 33
Blue Bulls 47 Lions 38
Blue Bulls 40 Lions 33 (semi-final)
Lions 23 Blue Bulls 28
Blue Bulls 52 Lions 40
Lions 20 Blue Bulls 33
Lions 7 Blue Bulls 31 (final)
By Andrew Hollely