Here we are at the semi final stage of the Super Rugby 2018 competition. As the Tasmanian region gears up for an all Newzealand derby in Christchurch, Johannesburg sees South Africa and Africa’s last hope host the Australian franchise of Waratahs at Ellis Park.
The Lions have been impressive thus far but will need to be at their sharpest as they aim to do better against a Waratahs side that started the season in shambolic fashion but have picked up form at the right time; their comeback victory last weekend against the Highlanders should be enough to warn the Lions of what comes their way.
While they focus on their semifinal, fingers will remain crossed in anticipation of the outcome from the other semi final – if the Crusaders win, then the Lions will have to travel to Christchurch to play the final (provided they win their semi), a place that is very hard to get victory from. The South African side will be hoping for a Hurricanes victory in New zealand that would mean the Lions get to host the final, presenting them with much needed home advantage.
The Lions will be looking for their very first Super Rugby title, while the Waratahs were crowned champions in 2014 and will go to Johannesburg with a mountain of confidence having come from 23-06 down to beat the Highlanders.
Lions hooker, Malcolm Marx stressed the importance of the first scrum to impose who will boss the other and create a suitable platform for their respective backs come Saturday evening. He added that he will be expecting a tough physical battle when the Waratahs visit.
“They will definitely be physical in their approach, but we just have to take it as it comes. We will definitely focus on our game and our approach to the game,“ he said, as quoted by EWN Sport.
At this stage of the competition, there is no room for coy tactics as the Lions will look to assert their dominance from the get go and not allow Bernard Foley and his charges a chance to comeback in the game.
Both coaches will name their respective teams on Thursday, with Saturday’s clash at Ellis Park scheduled for 16:05 East African Time.