Defeat for the Lions in Kimberley could prove disastrous in the long run for their chances of making a semi-final this year.
Already lagging behind after four rounds, a fourth loss would mean a massive mountain to climb, especially with the tricky trip to Newlands next weekend.
“We’ve only got three more games in the first round of matches,” returning Lions skipper Wikus van Heerden told keo.co.za. “And we need to win at least two of those if we don’t want to lose touch with the other teams.”
The Lions remaining games in the first round are against Griquas tomorrow, Western Province (away) and the Pumas at home. The obvious targets for wins would be the Griquas and Pumas games, meaning the pressure is on Van Heerden’s team tomorrow. It is a must win game if they hope to feature in the play-offs.
“We don’t want to be in a position of having to win all seven games in the second round to qualify for the semis, or hope for other results to go our way.”
Griquas in Kimberley is a bit of a bogey team for the Lions. “We always seem to struggle there, but hopefully we can put that behind us and get a good win. Griquas are playing well so anything is possible. But we are mentally ready for the challenge.”
Training has been intense this week as coach Eugene Eloff tries to build on the win over the Valke at Ellis Park last weekend.
Van Heerden missed out on the win last week as he was rested. His record as captain in this years’ competition stands at played three lost three. It is something he is desperate to correct.
“I was happy for the guys last week because it was a vital win, but I missed being a part of it. I really want to get my first win as captain on Saturday.”
The Lions arrive in Kimberley via charter plane on Saturday morning. The match kicks-off at 3pm.
By Andrew Hollely