The Lions’ Absa Currie Cup clash with the Cheetahs at Ellis Park tomorrow night is shaping up as a must-win for both teams.
While the Cheetahs could probably afford to drop points, it doesn’t get much bigger for the Lions. “We are playing the defending champions and log leaders. We are using that as motivation. What more could you ask for,” Lions captain Wikus van Heerden told keo.co.za.
Victory tomorrow night will put the seal on a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the Johannesburg-based outfit. “It is going to be huge,” Van Heerden explained. “We have been speaking about it this week and I think tomorrow’s match is going to be vital to our chances of making the semi-finals.”
A defeat tomorrow night will virtually signal the end of the Lions already slim chances, while the Cheetahs need the victory to stay ahead of the chasing pack in the race for a home play-off.
“The guys are full of confidence and we are going for magic (win) No 4. It has been incredible the change in the guys after they realised what we were saying was actually true. Now they know we are capable of beating the best.”
And also at the back of the Lions minds will be the 59-5 thrashing dished out at Vodacom Park in the first round. “That was probably the low point of our season and to think we are still in with a chance is incredible. We simply have to believe we can still make the semis.”
The Lions completed training today and everyone came through without any problems. Consistency in selection has been key to the Lions comeback and tomorrow night they will be relying on the same starting XV to lay the foundation for a win.
Two weeks ago, 22 000 fans turned up at Ellis Park and Van Heerden is hoping for more tomorrow. “I know it is a Friday, but finally we have given our fans something to shout about. I hope they come out and we can treat them to something special again.”
By Andrew Hollely