A trip to Newlands is a daunting task at the best of times, but for the Lions this weekend there is added pressure.
Another defeat, coupled with other results not going their way this weekend could see the Johannesburg-based outfit propping up the log come next Monday morning.
And that for a province that has contested the last seven semi-finals, hosted the 2002 final and last won the title in 1999 is simply unacceptable. And they happen to be one of the wealthiest unions around.
After a woeful start to the Absa Currie Cup – four losses in five matches – the Lions are plotting the same route as the Cats did in the Vodacom Super 14 earlier this year. And that ended with coach Frans Ludeke getting the boot.
The Lions’ only victory this season came at home against the Valke, and with respect to the Brakpan-based team, even the most ardent Lions fan cannot take too much glee from that achievement.
On Saturday victory against Luke Watsonâ€™s province outfit will go a long way to easy the pressure on the team and on the coach. As was said throughout the Super 14, all it takes is one win to get back on track.
“Western Province are probably playing the best rugby of all the teams in the Currie Cup, so it is going to be tough,” coach Eugene Eloff told keo.co.za.
Eloff has started to spew the same excuses that punctuated the last few months of Ludeke’s tenure and the only cure is a win against a quality team. Even better if it is away from home.
And WP are just that, having disposed of the Blue Bulls, Cheetahs and Valke on consecutive weekends and currently lie third on the log. The Lions are sixth.
“They have an organised loose-trio and are capable of attacking from anywhere. They donâ€™t really have a pattern, which makes it difficult to defend against them,â€ said Eloff. “And they have good athletes in the backline and their style is to be adventurous and attack from anywhere.”
Maybe the Lions should take them on at their own game. They have the backs to compete against WP, but it is up front where the major concern is.
By Andrew Hollely