The Golden Lions will be brimming with confidence when they take on Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
Although Griquas are playing on their own turf, the Lions are on a high after some impressive victories in recent weeks.
Two weeks ago they ended Western Province’s unbeaten run with a 35-33 victory and last weekend they claimed a 29-15 triumph over the Pumas.
Both those games were played in Johannesburg but under the guidance of coach Johan Ackermann the Lions’ have provided headaches for most teams at home or away this season.
But despite their confidence, the Lions will not underestimate their hosts.
Lions captain Lionel Mapoe said his side would handle the Griquas with kid gloves on at their home ground in the Northern Cape.
“It is always tough going down there, it is not going to be easy, the boys know that and Griquas would want to prove a point that they belong in the Currie Cup Premier Division,” Mapoe said.
“It is going to be a tough two weeks, the guys must just absorb that pressure and keep the pressure on them (Griquas). Going down there we know we have a job to do and just stay focussed.”
The Lions have been bosted by the return of ace goal-kicker Marnitz Boshoff who has recovered from a broken arm and will look to make an appearance off the bench.
Lions assistant coach Swys de Bruin believes the Springbok fly-half’s return is a great boost for their side.
“It is nice to have a Springbok back and he comes back with authority and you feel his presence but I must say Jaco van der Walt has done well,” said De Bruin.
A victory for the Lions would increase their chances of securing a home semi-final with three rounds of matches remaining before the play-offs.
Griquas in turn will be desperate to move away from the bottom two places on the table where they would be forced to play in the qualifying competition for next year’s Currie Cup.
The home side have a solid set of forwards and exciting backs who could make life difficult for their visitors if they manage to build momentum.
Keep an eye on Gouws Prinsloo, whose excellent goal-kicking has been one of the standout features of Griquas this year.
Griquas have claimed big scalps this season and will look to repeat this feat in the hope of keeping alive their faint semi-final hopes.
The home side’s defence, in particular, will have to be solid to achieve this as the Lions have scored an impressive 30 tries in their seven matches up to now.
Form aside, the visitors will take comfort from the fact that they have won five of the last seven matches between the teams, with two of these wins being in Kimberley.
Prediction: The Golden Lions are on a high and will have little trouble beating their hosts. Golden Lions to win by 10 points!
Griquas: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Johnathan Francke, 12 Wayne Stevens (c), 11 PJ Vermeulen, 10 Dean Grant, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Jaco Nepgen, 6 Ruaan Lerm, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Hilton Lobberts, 3 Maks van Dyk, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Janro van Niekerk.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Simon Westraadt, 18 RJ Liebenberg, 19 Marnus Schoeman, 20 Abrie Griesel, 21 Jacquin Jansen, 22 Danie Dames.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe (c), 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Schalk van der Merwe/Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Derick Minnie, 19 Kwagga Smith, 20 Mark Richards, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Stokkies Hanekom.
Date: Saturday, September 27
Kick-off: 15:00 local (14:00 BST, 13:00 GMT)
Venue: GWK Park, Kimberley
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Oregopotse Rametsi, Jan Venter
TMO: Jason Jaftha