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Preview: WP v Golden Lions

04th October 2013 11:13

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Louis Schreuder WP v G Lions CC 2013

WP v Golden Lions: Set to be close

Defending champions WP will be brimming with confidence as they head into this clash with the Lions in Cape Town on Saturday.

The home side are the only unbeaten team left and are also sharing the top spot in the standings with the Sharks even though the Durban-based side are ahead of them by virtue of having a better points difference.

They face a Lions side who WP boss Allister Coetzee is wary of, however, as the Johannesburg-based outfit always seem to reserve their best for the closing stages of matches.

"It always looks like the Lions are capable of closing out their matches rather strongly but, more often than not, their opponents become sloppy and that sort of thing has given the Lions a 'kick'," said Coetzee.

"We need to put two (excellent) halves together against a team like the Lions otherwise we'll get badly hurt.

"For 80 minutes, we have to make sure we stay in our structures and respect the ball. We have the players on the bench who sustain our challenge right to the end."

WP might be unbeaten and at the top of the table but they are the only side in the competition who haven't scored a try-scoring bonus point, something which must be a concern for their supporters.

They do have a proven match-winner in Demetri Catrakilis back in their run-on side again, after he clinched a late victory with a well-taken drop goal against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein last weekend.

Coetzee believes the the ace goal-kicker could play a huge role for his side this weekend.

"Demetri showed last week that he can remain calm under pressure situations and that's the kind attribute that we need for this match against the Lions," he said.

"He knows our playing systems well and even when the team goes out of the system he is capable of directing play efficiently."

But despite the confidence of playing in front of their home fans WP know a defeat could have disastrous consequences. A defeat could ultimately cost them a home semi-final as they have to travel to Durban to face the Sharks in their final league match next weekend.

The Lions know a win this weekend will be a great boost as they face basement dwellers Griquas in their final match in Johannesburg next weekend.

But their boss Johann Ackermann is focussed on this weekend's match and although he acknowledges they face a tough encounter he is quietly plotting the champions' downfall.

"The first thing we'll do is have a look at the weather," he revealed.

"There are reports that it's going to rain.

"You have to be prepared to work harder against WP. You have to work for 80 minutes and it could come down to a try in the dying minutes that could win the game.

"We just have to keep the ball and we have to play smart rugby."

One of the Lions' strengths throughout the competition has been the performances of their back row throughout the competition. Warren Whiteley, captain Derick Minnie and Jaco Kriel have been superb throughout and Minnie and Kriel, in particular, provided WP nightmares when these sides drew 31-31 in Johannesburg earlier this year.

Prediction: There's plenty at stake in this match but although the Lions should run them close, hoem ground advantage and Catrakilis' accurate boot will pave the way for a WP victory by four points!

The teams:

Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Michael van der Spuy, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie (capt), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Frans Malherbe, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Schalk Burger, 19 Josh Katzen, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Ryan Nell.

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Chrysander Botha, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Lionel Cronje, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie (capt), 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Willie Britz, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 CJ van der Linde.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Hugo Kloppers, 19 Warwick Tecklenberg, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Kobus de Kock, 22 Deon Helberg.

Date: Saturday, October 5
Kick-off: 14:00 local (13:00 BST, 12:00 GMT)
Venue: Newlands, Cape Town
Referee: Stuart Berry

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