Lions eye Chiefs upset

Lions coach Loffie Eloff is drawing inspiration from a number of shock results ahead of their clash with the Chiefs.

Going into the round, 10 log places separate the two teams and although the Lions may have upset the Chiefs at Ellis Park last year, it would take a brave or foolish man to bet on the same result.

The Chiefs have scored 113 points in their past 160 minutes of rugby and have latched onto any unforced errors from their opponents. Turnovers will be punished while flimsy defence will result in another comprehensive victory for the Kiwis.

These are exactly the two areas where the Lions have been so poor as they easily concede the ball and all to meekly give up tries out of nowhere. Despite this, Eloff is confident his team can improve in this regard and cause a shock result.

‘They are the form side of the competition at the moment,’ Eloff told keo.co.za, ‘ but so were the Sharks before they played the Reds and the Bulls before they faced the Highlanders.

‘It just goes to show how close the teams are in the Super 14, anyone can beat the other on their day.’

What both the Reds and Highlanders had in those upsets was a clear game-plan and the confidence to execute this properly, as well as a hunger to win. The Lions have put some promising pieces of play together, but nothing meaningful for the full 80 minutes.

‘We played well against the Hurricanes, but again there were silly mistakes close to their line,’ said Eloff. ‘All of the New Zealand sides will murder you if they get turnovers, so we have to control the ball and not let them run against us.

‘We’re not expecting them to kick much, while they should also be very physical.’

The Sharks toppled the Chiefs in Hamilton early in the competition in round three, and Eloff believes they provided a blue print for what it takes to succeed against the highest place Kiwi team.

‘We have to try and control the tempo of the game,’ said Eloff. ‘We have to try make it slow and boring and frustrate them. The Sharks pulled them into an arm-wrestle and then kicked for the corners and we have taken cognisance of that.

‘But at the same time we realise the Chiefs are a much different and improved side since then.’

By Grant Ball